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 Post subject: "Civil War" is No Longer a Taboo Phrase in Iraq
PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2005 6:48 pm 
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Civil War’ Is No Longer a Taboo Phrase in Iraq
Luke Baker, Reuters

BAGHDAD, 27 April 2005 — Civil war. It’s a phrase everyone in Iraq has strenuously avoided for the past two years.

Yet now, with no government formed three months after elections, and tensions deepening between Iraq’s Muslim sects and other groups, it’s on many people’s minds. Several clashes between Sunni and Shiite Muslims in events apparently unrelated to the two-year-old anti-US insurgency have highlighted the danger in recent months.

Whereas once politicians were not willing to utter the term for fear of dignifying it, it is no longer taboo. “I do not want to say civil war, but we are going the Lebanese route, and we know where that led,” says Sabah Kadhim, an adviser to the Interior Ministry who spent years in exile before returning to Iraq after Saddam Hussein’s overthrow. “We are going to end up with certain areas that are controlled by certain warlords ... It’s Sunni versus Shiite, that is the issue that is really in the ascendancy right now, and that wasn’t the case right after the elections.”

In Madaen and other mixed Sunni-Shiite towns on the rivers south of Baghdad, rival groups have been carrying out revenge attacks since before the January polls, police said. This month more than 50 bodies have been pulled from the Tigris River. In the poor Shiite district of Shuala in western Baghdad, there has been a series of car bombings and killings, apparently related to tensions with Sunni militants in the neighboring district of Abu Ghraib, one of Iraq’s most violent. Similar violence has hit towns north of Baghdad, such as Baquba, where Sunni and Shiite mosques have been bombed.

In part the tensions are the result of the long-declared intention by Sunni militants such as Jordanian Abu Mussab Al-Zarqawi to sow sectarian discord and provoke civil war. But they also reflect a natural increase in animosity between the two sects since the Jan. 30 poll, which handed power to the Shiite majority after decades of Sunni-led rule.

The failure to form a government in the immediate aftermath of the ballot, when the nation was buoyed by the fact more than 8 million people defied threats and voted, has allowed distrust to grow as all sides scramble to secure a share of power.

“The huge window of opportunity created by the success of the elections has been frittered away in the politics of personal gain and internecine squabbling,” said Toby Dodge, an Iraq expert at Queen Mary University of London. He now sees politicians using the sectarian issue to leverage more power, a move that could backfire. “Using sectarianism as a bargaining chip and for political advantage is rankly irresponsible ... it’s the sort of thing that can start a slide into civil war,” he said.

At the same time, he said conditions in Iraq did not yet resemble the conventional scenario of civil war in which various communities with militias face off against one another — as they did in Lebanon in the 1970s and 80s. “Iraq is more fractured and atomized than that,” he said.

Still, there are worrying signs. Several Sunni-led military units operating under the Interior Ministry’s banner and created with the support of US forces, are leading the battle against the insurgency. But if, as widely expected, a Shiite takes over the Interior Ministry when a new government is named, those units could be purged — a course that US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld warned against during a visit to Iraq this month.

The Sunni-led units could be replaced by soldiers from the Badr Organization, a militia loyal to the main Shiite party. Interior Ministry officials fear the Sunni commanders, with their well-armed and trained men, could then break away to set up rival militias. “Both sides are sharpening their knives. They are saying, ‘we’ve got to protect our own people’. It is not a good situation,” said Kadhim at the Interior Ministry.

Tensions are not limited to Sunnis and Shiites. Non-Arab Kurds, who came second to a Shiite alliance in the election, are also determined to consolidate their power. President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, wants a security role for the peshmerga, or Kurdish militia, to safeguard the Kurdish heartlands in the north. Yet he rules out civil war.

“The wisdom of the Sunni and Shiite leadership,” he told Al-Hayat newspaper yesterday, “prevents ... the possibility of the outbreak of civil war, and this is unlikely.”


Link: http://www.arabnews.com/?page=7&section ... m=4&y=2005

Catherine

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2005 8:05 pm 
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"THEY KILL MY MARINES AND I'LL DESTROY THEIR HOUSES, RAPE THEIR WOMEN AND KILL THEIR KIDS, IT'S AS SIMPLE AS REVENGE"

Few things that i heard or seen surprise me when it comes to the stories coming from the alternative media about the atrocities going on in Fallujah. I have seen the graphic photos and videos. But it didnt really hit me that some of our soldiers are slaughtering these people for fun. I realized this when my brother in law came home from his second tour of iraq. I thought he was crazy when he went over there but i had no idea. He proudly showed me his six or seven rolls of film. These images took the cake. His first day back we went out drinking at a few San Diego bars. This is when i realized men, women and children were not only dying from bombs and stray bullets. They are actually being hunted for sport. Now i know many soldiers are "good' and would never do this, but many believe "these fucking hajis deserve to die". Seemingly no remorse for anybody. Here is a soldier that doesn't question his president and believes that we are fighting terror. A perfect justification for killing "these terrorist fucks!" I guess the point that im trying to make is that no matter how much politics goes on regarding the good vs bad reasons for the war and occupation of iraq, one thing is for certain, we have unleashed an army of crazy motha fu**ers who dont give a damn about politics. The war that is being fought is as simple as the ones being fought in the San Diego ghettos where we are from. Its as simple as revenge. You kill my friends and ill kill yours.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2005 2:34 am 
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You've got it, ECS...I think some of these soldiers are believing they're taking part in some kind of reality television show or video game. They're terribly angry people, but the anger was there when they joined up. Now, they've been given a weapon and told they can legally use it to kill as they please. The people are brown, they dress "funny," and they talk "funny." They're the "enemy," so shoot first and ask questions only if you want to and only at a later date.

What did your brother-in-law say to justify the killing of innocent civilians? Perhaps someone should remind him of My Lai during the Vietnam war.

Catherine

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2005 1:41 pm 
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He is not interested in justification. In fact the act of murdering the civilians is his justification. He simply wants revenge for his marines. The civilians just happen to be at the wrong place/wrong time when the troops show up. For many soldiers, it is very personal now. Politics have nothing to do with the personal missions of these men.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2005 9:57 pm 
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I guess the term War Crimes has no meaning to those Marines... Well, when they find themselves at the Pearly Gates, their hunting hajjiis will not bode well for their entrance into the promised land... au contraire... tis a long long ride straight to hell that they'll be on...

I hope they like it hot.

:evil:

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2005 2:46 pm 
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I am by no means an atheist but, I personally dont believe there is a central being in the clouds above judging everybody. To judge someone is a human emotion. I believe we are all a part of GOD. Why would he condemn his "children" to an eternity of pain and suffering? Why would he give us free will, then punish us for using it? I can go on and on but i wont. The "hell" that my brother experiences is right now. He would never admit it to me, but he has many sleepless nights of pain, agony and nightmares. All I can do is learn from the actions and choose if I want those "consequences" for myself. Anyways, there is a board for religion so I wont dwelve to deep. Lets bring our brothers home so the nightmares can cease.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2005 2:46 pm 
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I am by no means an atheist but, I personally dont believe there is a central being in the clouds above judging everybody. To judge someone is a human emotion. I believe we are all a part of GOD. Why would he condemn his "children" to an eternity of pain and suffering? Why would he give us free will, then punish us for using it? I can go on and on but i wont. The "hell" that my brother experiences is right now. He would never admit it to me, but he has many sleepless nights of pain, agony and nightmares. All I can do is learn from the actions and choose if I want those "consequences" for myself. Anyways, there is a board for religion so I wont dwelve to deep. Lets bring our brothers home so the nightmares can cease.


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 Post subject: Well said
PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2005 9:25 pm 
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ECSMOKELOC wrote:
I am by no means an atheist but, I personally dont believe there is a central being in the clouds above judging everybody. To judge someone is a human emotion. I believe we are all a part of GOD. Why would he condemn his "children" to an eternity of pain and suffering? Why would he give us free will, then punish us for using it? I can go on and on but i wont. The "hell" that my brother experiences is right now. He would never admit it to me, but he has many sleepless nights of pain, agony and nightmares. All I can do is learn from the actions and choose if I want those "consequences" for myself. Anyways, there is a board for religion so I wont dwelve to deep. Lets bring our brothers home so the nightmares can cease.


I am an athiest but I hear you loud and clear!

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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2005 10:16 pm 
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I am a former Southern Baptist Conservative Republican who is now an Atheist (I prefer to call myself a Free Thinker) Liberal Democrat.

I completely agree with you both. Good posts.

Catherine

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"Behind every great fortune lies a great crime."
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"Democrats work to help people who need help.
That other party, they work for people who don't need help.
That's all there is to it."

~Harry S. Truman


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