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July 18, 2005

Civil war

This may be the most pessimistic assessment yet of the situation in Iraq:

Weekend of slaughter propels Iraq towards all-out civil war
Iraq is slipping into all-out civil war, a Shia leader declared yesterday, as a devastating onslaught of suicide bombers slaughtered more than 150 people, most of them Shias, around the capital at the weekend.
One bomber killed almost 100 people when he blew up a fuel tanker south of Baghdad, an attack aimed at snapping Shia patience and triggering the full-blown sectarian war that al-Qaeda has been trying to foment for almost two years.
Iraq’s security forces have been overwhelmed by the scale of the suicide bombings — 11 on Friday alone and many more over the weekend — ordered by the Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
“What is truly happening, and what shall happen, is clear: a war against the Shias,” Sheikh Jalal al-Din al-Saghir, a prominent Shia cleric and MP, told the Iraqi parliament.
Sheikh al-Saghir is close to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the supreme Shia spiritual leader and moderate who has so far managed to restrain powerful Shia militias from undertaking any outright attack on Sunni insurgents. His warning suggests that the Shia leadership may be losing its grip over Shias who in private often call for an armed backlash against their Sunni assailants.
… At least one desperate parliamentarian called for the population to form local militias to defend their neighbourhoods — a move that many see as prelude to a sectarian war. “The plans of the Interior and Defence ministries to impose security in Iraq have failed to stop the terrorists. We need to bring back popular security committees,” Khudair al-Khuzai, a senior parliamentarian who claimed that 50 fellow MPs supported him, said.
But with the streets of Baghdad seething with fear, anger and rumours of impending conflict, confidence in anything that the Government says has plummeted. A poll in the state-sponsored al-Sabah newspaper indicated that 51 per cent of Iraqis see the Government’s performance as weak, while only 32 per cent approved.

As Iraq implodes, it’s worth recalling what Cheney said less than a month ago:

“We will succeed in Iraq, just like we did in Afghanistan. We will stand up a new government under an Iraqi-drafted constitution. We will defeat that insurgency, and, in fact, it will be an enormous success story.”

Just like Afghanistan.

Posted by Stephen at 12:06 AM in War | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

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