Iraq Civil War

It never ceases to amaze me the excuses people can give themselves to justify (in their mind) cold blooded murder. To an increasing extent over the past year, Iraqi people have become divided along lines of fairly inconsequential religious sectarian differences. Based on my reading, there is honestly no more of a difference between Sunni and Shiite than there is between Protestant and Catholic, but there seems to be increasing numbers of Iraqis who would rather not see themselves as Arab, Muslim, Iraqi, or Human, but rather strictly as Sunni or Shia; and they have been indoctrinated enough to believe that to kill for such a meaningless reason is acceptable. How can people allow themselves to be led like that? I just don't understand.

This has been a bloody weekend in Iraq.
This was the news from AFP today:

BAGHDAD (AFP) - Bands of masked gunmen went on a rampage in a predominantly Sunni Baghdad neighborhood, killing at least 42 Sunni Arabs in a gruesome sectarian attack despite a massive security crackdown, witnesses said.

The apparent response to the attacks was swift, with at least 19 people killed and 59 wounded in two powerful car bombs next to a Shiite mosque in a mixed neighbourhood of the predominantly Sunni district of Adhamiyah on the capital's north side, an interior ministry official said.

German news agency Deutsche Welle ran the following in their english section:

Dozens Killed in Baghdad

Gunmen in the Iraqi capital Baghdad have killed at least 40 people at a fake checkpoint, in an apparent sectarian attack against Sunni Muslims. Police say Shia militants stopped cars in the western Jihad district, separated Sunnis and shot them. The area is close to a Shiite mosque where a car bomb killed three people late on Saturday. Security forces have sealed off the area and imposed a curfew, in an effort to prevent revenge attacks. In other violence two car bombs at a mosque in central Baghdad has killed at least 25 people and wounded 30. And an Iraqi army intelligence officer was shot dead in Karbala, south of Baghdad. There has been an upsurge in sectarian violence in Iraq in recent months, raising fears of a civil war.

A sectarian civil war in "Liberated" Iraq. How could this happen?
Iraqi Blogger-turned-author Riverbend made a few statements on the subject over the past 3 years.

Saturday March 18, 2006:"I read constantly analyses mostly written by foreigners or Iraqis who’ve been abroad for decades talking about how there was always a divide between Sunnis and Shia in Iraq (which, ironically, only becomes apparent when you're not actually living amongst Iraqis they claim)… but how under a dictator, nobody saw it or nobody wanted to see it. That is simply not true- if there was a divide, it was between the fanatics on both ends. The extreme Shia and extreme Sunnis. Most people simply didn’t go around making friends or socializing with neighbors based on their sect. People didn't care- you could ask that question, but everyone would look at you like you were silly and rude."

August 26, 2003: Let's Play Musical Chairs...
The nine-member rotating presidency is a failure at first sight. It’s also a failure at second, third, fourth… and ninth sight. The members of the rotating presidency, composed of 4 Shi’a Muslims, 2 Sunni Muslims and 2 Kurds, were selected on a basis of ethnicity and religion.

It is a way of further dividing the Iraqi population. It is adding confusion to chaos and disorder. Just the concept of an ethnically and religiously selected council to run the country is repulsive. Are people supposed to take sides according to their ethnicity or religion?

"Are people supposed to take sides according to their religion?" she asked. Well, it would seem that's what has happened, with disasterous consequences. For those of you who are religious, say a prayer for the poor souls in Iraq today.


Fatima said...

I heard some details from my mother in law, watching Al Jazeera, and I read an article about it in the Washington Post, but no bloggers have reported about it yet. I'm waiting for more news, but it is a horrible, pathetic situation.

misneach said...

It's shocking to me that someone could ever execute a fellow human being, and for it to happen on such a large scale is indicative of grave problems in Iraq. It can't go on like this, something needs to be done.

theBhc said...

"there is honestly no more of a difference between Sunni and Shiite than there is between Protestant and Catholic"

Actually, Misneach, the differences are more like that between Christian and Jew. But even so, look at the political strife and war the Catholic/Protestant rift has caused. Northern Ireland was a hotbed of this supposed religious angst for decades.

Don't forget one important thing: these supposed religious differences are merely a pretext for division. The real struggle is political and that always leads to war.

theBhc said...

Oh, I missed Riverbend's comment. Yes, that seems patently obvious on the face of it. In day to day activity, most people could care less whether someone was Catholic or Protestant or Jewish, or ....

It is not until one moves into the halls of power that suddenly sectarianism appears as an issue. Look at our own election in 2004, when the media decided that John Kerry being a Catholic was somehow problematic because no Catholic had been president since Kennedy. I know most people weren't even cognizant such nonsense. In fact, most went, "huh?"

misneach said...

fatima, do I not count as a blogger now? (*makes a sad face*) I find the situation almost beyond words, and it has gotten even worse today.

bhc, speaking of the situation in the north, I have to note that, while 10 years ago the "marching season" (a season of riots due to Orange Order protestant parades through catholic neighborhoods to celebrate a victory of loyalists over nationalists what seems like millenia ago) lasted for 3 months, now it's going off in the span of only a few days, and without the requisite massive riots we were all so used to in the past.

The situation in Iraq is, like the situation in Israel/occupied territories/lebanon, spiraling out of control. This is on of the stories that greeted me today in the news:

Shiites massacred as Rumsfeld, Maliki discuss security
MUQDADIYAH, Iraq (AFP) - The bodies of 24 kidnapped Shiites were found as visiting US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld discussed the worsening security in Baghdad with Iraqi and US officials.

In another gruesome example of the sectarian bloodshed that has engulfed Iraq, 24 Shiites were executed after 26 were abducted earlier on Wednesday from the town of Muqdadiyah, northeast of Baghdad.
...it continues...

misneach said...

Riverbend has a blog post on the subject, under the title " Atrocities .

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