Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened. -- Winston Churchill

All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them. -- Galileo Galilei

I never give them hell. I just tell the truth and they think it's hell. -- Harry Truman

Location: Wichita, Kansas

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Monday, March 13, 2006

Is Iraq in Civil War?

There are those in Iraq who desperately want civil war and will do anything they can to bring it about. Most notably, of course, Zarqawi and Al-Qaeda. That the bombing of an important Shiite mosque, an extreme act of desecration, did not cause the break down into civil war is the remarkable thing. It was a provocation designed to do just that, and failed to achieve it's end.

For Al-Sistani and even Moqtada Sadr to push for unity after that event, and thousands to march in the streets against civil war, speaks to the deep desire of Shiites for Iraq to emerge intact. The Kurds could have used the situation to try to break away from Iraq, but they did not. An increasing number of Sunnis are committed not only to participating in the government, but are actively fighting against Al-Qaeda, a story that receives virtually no media coverage, but may be one of the most important developments happening in Iraq.

Groups in one of Iraq's most violent provinces claim that they have purged the region of three quarters of al-Qaeda's supporters after forming an alliance to force out the foreign fighters.“There is a hatred for Zarqawi in Ramadi now,” a resident said. “People are exhausted by what he has done. Six months ago he was still accepted, though not 100 per cent. Now we see him continue to target locals and their sons and kill our leaders, and we reject him totally.” "We have killed a number of the Arabs, including Saudis, Egyptians, Syrians, Kuwaitis and Jordanians," said an insurgent representative in the western province of Anbar.

All three of the major groups in Iraq have centuries of dislike, distrust, and blood between them. Overcoming that is an extraordinary challenge for them, and is not going to come easily. It may be in the end that they will fail. The insurgents who are willing to kill indiscriminately and destroy even sacred mosques to prevent a democratic Iraq may prevail. But those that say this has already occurred are wrong.

The violence we see now is not millions of people at war with each other. It is the same IED's and suicide bombers as before. The same murder of civilians by those that don't care who they blow up, as long as someone dies.

There are many agendas and a labyrinth of political maneuvering going on in Iraq, as groups jockey for influence. Sadr hates America, and yet he has pushed for restraint in sectarian violence. He knows that in the long run it is not in his best interest. "Sunnis and Shias are not responsible for such acts, national unity is required," he said after Sundays car bombs in Sadr City, adding he would order his Mehdi army militia not to respond.

Each time a bomb goes off in Iraq, the media portrays it as sectarian violence. It is not. It is murder by terrorists who want to incite sectarian violence. If that is civil war, fine, call it that. But no major leader of any of the factions in Iraq is calling for his followers to go out and kill the others. None of them.

Comments on "Is Iraq in Civil War?"


Anonymous James said ... (3:47 PM) : 

The sad fact is, that mainstream leaders don't speak for the masses (do Bush/Blair speak for the Western world?).

It is the sick, idealistic messages from radicals that appeal, and inspire anger. They like whipping up conflict, and bombings take their toll - how long can Sunnis accept Shia bombings and vice versa, before it escalates?

When it happens, foreign troops and innocent civilians will be lambs to the slaughter. And to think we complained about Saddam - sure he wasn't a nice guy, but he didn't preside over this sort of crap.


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