Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Some Want Civil War

It can be argued that the number of sectarian-motivated killings in Iraq is overestimated (killings by criminals, rival tribes etc. may be propagandised as such, just remember the bodies fished from the river and how Iraqi puppet President Talabani jumped on it), but some attacks like bombings of mosques make certain there is are elements wanting civil war.

On the Sunni Muslim side, I thought about which branches could be behind this. I close both nationalists and ex-Baathists out. While I wouldn't put such a cynical mass-murdering strategy beyond the ex-Baathists, it just doesn't make sense: without tanks and planes and area weapons, I doubt they won't realise that this would is a conflict they are bound to lose. While the USA can be chased away, the Shi'a will have to stay - and with both well-trained militias like the Badr Corps and militias of high numbers like the Mahdi Army, they'd be crushed.

No, I more see the sectarian religious extremists as culprit. On one hand, Arab groups like Zarqawi's, on the other, the Kurd Sunni fundamentalist group Ansar-e-Islam and its spinoffs. (For the latter, a sectarian Sunni-Shi'a instead of an ethnic Arab-Kurdish conflict would be a boon, in most part to be watched safely from a distance.)

As for the Shi'a side, it's not just the US-dependent powers-that be with irresponsible propaganda. Some in the police, possibly ex-Badr-Brigades, have started abducting, torturing and killing Sunnis, allegedly on suspicion of their membership in the resistance. As this chilling Knight Ridder report suggests, they're not behind the Sunni extremists and the Americans in cruelty - their methods include dragging someone to death behind a car. (That report is close to how I imagine real journalism - for example, after giving the official 'explanations' for the killings - Sunni insurgents dressing as police - they put forth a truckload of evidence that, let's just say, makes the official explanation unlikely.)

So, just like in Yugoslavia, it might happen that while majorities in even the sub-populations don't want war, extremists and irresponsible leaders at home and misguided to irresponsible to malicious foreign powers will make it real.

To close this off, interestingly, ever more Islamic clerics who support armed resistance denounce and call for an end of attacks on civilians - the last was the top cleric in Egypt. He said:

"The individual operations and almost daily bloody acts which kill civilians under the slogan of jihad to liberate Iraq are a kind of mockery and chaos which distort the image of Islam and Muslims," Grand Mufti Ali Gumaa said.

It is strange that an atheist like me would like to see the word of a cleric followed, on the other hand, I am pessimistic about anyone heeding his and others' calls.


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