Iraq: Sorting It Out
As I do on many occasions, Neo turns to Iraq the Model for insights. ITM is a site that believes in a free and democratic Iraq. It thus is not inclined to wallow in bad news, but it will tell you when things get really bad. Along with some other English-language Iraqi bloggers, it was alarmed after the mosque attack, then its writing indicated the situation had calmed down again.
But today was another bad day in the country, and some of the other bloggers I read regularly, such as Zeyad, who had been seeing a return to normal earlier this week, are writing again of violence and chaos and sectarian tensions on the boil.
One of the most dismal assessments comes from "Hammorabi." The situation he describes matches what I think I have been reading in the more detailed news accounts: The Shi'ite religious leadership has been hte principal calming force in the nation during this crisis, and outside (non-Iraqi) Wahhabist fundamentalist terrorists have been the chief de-stabilizing force:
In 2003 and after the regime fall we thought that the country is going to be a model for democracy and freedom for the Middle East however after more than 3 years Iraq is now burning and heading for a sectarian war.
We know that the Wahabi group of Al-Zarqawi threatened to create a civil war but not enough have been made to prevent and stop these groups which are funded and supported by the Arab Gulf states.
For the last few days hundred of Shiite families were expelled from their homes by Sunni pro-wahabi militia in Tarmyiah and Aboghareb which is extended into many areas today. Some of these families have been located in schools or with relatives in very in-humane situations and cold weather.
By the minutes we are writing this, tens of Shiite families in Al-nahrawan area calling the government to rescue them as they are surrounded by Sunni Wahabi terrorists and threatned to kill them. This is going on now until this moment.
Attacks against Shiite mosques continued including rocket attacks against the shrine of Imam Kadhem in Baghdad few hours ago. Earlier today a car bomb exploded near Shiite mosque and open market killed 30 and wounded 45.
Hundred of people were killed and wounded today in many car bombs in Baghdad. Many of them were children burned to death after the car bombs.
The security border forces arrested one Saudi terrorist near Mothana province after crossing the border from Saudi Arabia to support the Wahabi terrorist in Iraq.
Al-Arabiyah TV 3 days ago showed an interview with Kuwaiti wahabist long beard and Saudi red headed uniform who stated that his group alone recruited and sent [nine] thousand from Arab states for Iraq and he will send more as well as financing them. The broadcaster asked him if he is afraid from his declaration and he said not! He was speaking from Kuwait!!
Without the positive interference of Ali Sistani to call for restrain it would have been a civil war long time ago.
Now, at this point it would be possible to digress into the question of what exactly constitutes a civil war. And that would absorb a lot of energy among people who really can't think of anything better to do at this point. No doubt such a fight will happen online. I'm more interested in what's happening in Iraq, whatever name you give the situation.
Ali has some remarkable observations:
What I find most insulting in this attitude from religious and political leaders is that after provoking violence and increasing fear and distrust among their own communities towards the others, they suddenly, and when it's in their interest, start to ask people to calm down! But the people were calm in the 1st place until they told them to rise to defend the sect. Moreover when the people rose they didn't carry RPGs and machineguns and started shooting at each other. It was the militias and gangs on both sides that did that while the people merely went in angry demonstrations upon calls from their leaderships.
Yesterday two districts in Baghdad were subject to random mortar attacks, one mostly Sunni (Al Doura) and one mostly She'at (Sadr city). I'm not aware of any Iraqi outside those gangs and militias who keep mortars in their homes. This happened while clowns from both the Sadr trend and the Association of Sunni Scholars were signing an honor agreement that prohibits Iraqis from fighting each other. But why am I surprised! They are actually prohibiting Iraqis, average people, from killing each other but they are not prohibiting their own militias from killing Iraqis!
Why are they faking this and what do they want from it? I'm not sure, but one thought is that this behavior is typical of all ME dictators. They start the killing and the chaos and then they blame it on the people. They show themselves in public as the peacemakers and then continue to pursue their crimes in the dark. These are not ideological fighters. They're opportunists and hypocrites who seek the help of criminals and thugs and still present themselves as religious and patriotic people, mimicking dictators to a great extent. Religious fanatics are no better than them but at least they are honest about who they are and they remain most of the time faithful to their sick beliefs. This is not a theory or a guess, as I know many Sadirists and many Sunnis who sympathize with the Sunni Scholars, and Sadirists are mostly thugs and looters while Sunni 'fanatics' are just ex-Ba'athists and mercenaries.
So I don't expect peace to take place anytime soon and I still think it's even better this way, as I would never want the peace of the Sadirists and their like just like I never wanted the peace of Saddam. We wanted the war at Saddam's times knowing fully what it means because it was the only way, and I want war now.
Wide scale civil war is still unlikely but the wider and more destructive the sectarian violence becomes the faster, as I think, Iraq will find her way. Those militias are now stronger than ever. They're seen as protectors of the sect. if you're a Sunni in a mixed area, who would you support, She'at militia that want to kill you or terrorists and ex-Ba'thists who want to kill those militias? Same thing apply for the She'at even if they dislike the Sadirists and the Badr Brigade. It's no longer about what's wrong or right. It's about trying to stay alive.
So civil war would certainly strengthen those militias, but all civil wars sooner or later come to end, and it's usually when the majority of people decide they can't take the violence anymore and when they can't see victory as possible. Then militias would lose their strength, as why would a Sunni need the terrorists and why would a She'at need the Sadirists! Any force willing and capable of disarming those militias will not find any opposition among the majority of people and its effort may very well be welcomed. Militias can survive only if they find an enemy and when a civil war ends they have to find an enemy outside the borders. The only possible enemy then would be the US but the difference is that they will have to fight it alone without any significant support from the population which was the case when Sadr revolted the 1st time but sadly the Americans didn't see that or were convinced by the formal She'at leadership that Sadr had a huge support which wasn't true at all.