Sectarian Violence and the Possible Civil War

When Howard Dean exclaimed that “America could not win the war in Iraq”, who knew that his party at home and the insurgents in Iraq would be doing such an efficient job at trying to make that a reality. Iraq has now been pushed closer to a civil war by a well plotted attack on a Holy Shiite Mosque on Wednesday. Sectarian strife has now hit a high point since the toppling of one of history’s most brutal dictators and the fatalist movement has already jumped all over this opportunity.

I don’t see a civil war taking place but I do see pent up rage being unleashed on bitter religious rivals. I doubt most Iraqis would engage in an all out war with each other because most Iraqis, I think, are tired of oppression and violence. This incident and the following deaths are a direct result of insurgent planning and forethought and that fact should be recognized. As most people know, excluding liberals, this long term war on terror that is centralized in Iraq is a matter of will and commitment. The insurgents have a military objective that includes causing a civil war and then taking over Iraq to use it for their base of operations. I think we should all hope that a civil war does not engulf Iraq but if that does happen, which is unlikely, what should the United States do, what are the options? We can pull out and say good luck. That of course will give Al Qaeda a huge victory and provide them an entire country to use to attack American interests. We could take sides in the religious feud by defending and protecting the Kurds and the Shia but who knows what type of backlash that would cause. We could take no sides and let them fight it out until the Iraqi government can quall the violence and restore order but who knows if the government could make that happen. Although, I don’t give too much credence to the likelihood of an all out civil war breaking out. According to Jack Straw, the British Foreign Secretary, the bombing was planned by Al Qaeda in Iraq so I’m hoping when that claim gets out it will cause a backlash against the true enemy of Islam, Al Qaeda.

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Gunmen shot dead 47 civilians and left their bodies in a ditch near Baghdad Thursday as militia battles and sectarian reprisals followed the bombing of a sacred Shiite shrine. Sunni Arabs suspended their participation in talks on a new government. At least 111 people were believed killed in two days of rage unleashed by Wednesday's attack on the Askariya shrine in Samarra, a mostly Sunni Arab city 60 miles north of Baghdad.

The hardline Sunni Clerical Association of Muslim Scholars said 168 Sunni mosques had been attacked around the country, 10 imams killed and 15 abducted since the shrine attack. The Interior Ministry said it could only confirm figures for Baghdad, where it had reports of 19 mosques attacked, one cleric killed and one abducted. [ Read Full AP Story at Link Above ]