Monday, May 01, 2006

Civil War or Not Civil War, That Is The Question

It's still being booted around. Is Iraq in a civil war. Michael Yon says "yes". Gen. Casey says "no". Others say that it is in the pre-stages or simply not "open" civil war as we think of it with two opposing forces lining up to do battle in the open and clearly declaring themselves as at war with the government of Iraq. Too many groups, too many people fighting each other for too many reasons. It's more like organized anarchy.

The other option is "partition" according to this article:

As the U.S. military struggles against persistent sectarian violence in Iraq, military officers and security experts find themselves in a vigorous debate over an idea that just months ago was largely dismissed as a fringe thought: that the surest -- and perhaps now the only -- way to bring stability to Iraq is to divide the country into three pieces.

Those who see the partitioning of Iraq as increasingly attractive argue that separating the Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds may be the only solution to the violence that many experts believe verges on civil war. Others contend that it would simply lead to new and dangerous challenges for the United States, not least the possibility that al-Qaeda would find it easier to build a new base of operations in a partitioned Iraq.

None of the options are good. Partition and civil war means that Al Qaida and like minded Islamists stay in country with free areas for safe harbor. It means that Syria and Iran will become more openly active in the separate groups, possibly turning Iraq into a proxy state, and very likely it means that Iraq becomes a full blown proxy war for Shi'ite and Sunni Islamists reliving the sectarian struggles that continually plagued the old Caliphate. Something that Al Qaida has clearly been reluctant to mention in all of their rhetoric to like minded Islamists about the dream Ummah where all Muslims would live together in peace and prosperity. All Muslims, that is, that wanted to live as Al Qaida's idealogues thought they should live.

Interesting that Zawahiri told Zarqawi not to get involved with religious discussions between different groups. He was hoping to maintain unity and determined that the new Caliphate would resolve religious issues later by discussions between "educated" religious leaders. As if the new Caliphate would not have the same problems that the old did. As if it would not become a matter of contentions when Zarqawi decided to start a war with the Shi'ite in Iraq. For Al Qaida, it is too late to rectify the matter. They have separated themselves from the masses of Islam, they just refuse to recognize it.

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