March 14, 2006

Intercommunal warfare in Iraq

There has been a gruesome and grotesque rise in the level of intercommunal violence between Sunni and Shi'a Arabs in Iraq since the attack on the Shi'a shrine in Samarra (a true act of blasphemy, by any standard, as opposed to some Dane's scribblings).

Note, however, that contrary to what you may hear, intercommunal violence is not new in Iraq. In the past, a largely Sunni Arab led army committed genocide against Kurds and Marsh Arabs. The state was, under many regimes in Iraq, a vehicle for the ascendancy of one community (not the largest) over the others.

Nor can the “insurgency” be treated as a different phenomenon to intercommunal violence. Contrary to the myth that the “insurgents” are Iraqi patriots, the insurgency in western and northwestern Iraq is overwhelmingly composed of Sunni Arabs. Their victims have been Sunni Arabs who have decided to accommodate themselves to the new Iraq, Shi’a Arabs and Kurds. For the victims, particularly many Shi’a who are not being allowed to enjoy the fruits of voting, the “insurgency” feels like a form of sectarian, intercommunal violence.

All of which means that scuttling out of Iraq now and betraying the Iraqis again is not a viable option. Even the BBC seems to have worked that one out (the penny drops very slowly here).

Andrew Apostolou (in his pyjamas)

Posted by Andrew Apostolou at March 14, 2006 03:52 AM

IF you are getting your news about all the violence between the sects from the main stream media, you need to start reading blogs written by Iraqi's living in Iraq.

Our STUPID ASS Media LIES! They LIE by over reporting bad things and under reporting the good things. They LIE by ommission. What little respect I used to have for our media is leaving very quickly.

Neil C. Reinhardt

Posted by: Neil C Reinhardt at March 14, 2006 12:10 PM

It's true Andrew, the real civil war is between Sunni fascist dead-enders and Sunnis willing to accept democracy and move forward.

The former are slowly being ground down. It will take a long time though, and in the meantime they make life hell for the latter, not least by inciting Shia against all Sunni Arabs.

Interestingly, the Shia reprisals have reportedly targeted primarily Wahabi and Salafi Sunnis, who are most likely to support Al Qaeda. This suggests the Shia militia are not striking out blindly, and therefore a wider civil war is extremely unlikely.

Posted by: TallDave at March 15, 2006 09:21 AM
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