Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Iraq: Still no peace

map from globalsecurity.org

Despite the claims of the United States military's propaganda machine, Iraq still simmers. This week saw two major spasms of violence. Their differences underlined the multifaceted nature of the on-going conflict. As the Clarion Content has warned many times previously, Iraq is riven in multiple ways. It has fissures and cracks beyond the most discussed; Sunni, Shi'ite, and Kurd. In addition to religion and ethnicity, sectarian, tribal, economic and class tensions among others pressure Iraq.

The first outbreak of horrifying violence was a series of nighttime raids that saw twenty-five people killed. The Los Angeles Times reports gunmen methodically made their way through four homes and killed 25 people in the rural, farming Hawr Rajab district south of Baghdad. They say that, "Many of the victims had been part of the U.S.-backed Awakening movement, Sunni Arab paramilitary groups..." This is the sort of violence that was an epidemic at the height of the Iraqi civil war. In the wake of last months disputed elections this type of assault and intimidation is especially troubling.

The Awakening program was ended when it was co-opted into the Iraqi government's security forces. The surviving Sunni villagers fear that the Shi'ite dominated security forces won't protect them. They tell the Times that many Sunnis Awakening members have been shuffled out of the government's security apparatus and into the bureaucracy. The current government has also arrested the former leader of the Awakening in the area and barred him from running for parliament, accusing him of being a high-ranking member of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party, despite the fact that the old regime executed some of his immediate relatives.

The Clarion Content has always believed that an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind. We mean, score settling never ends things, it only leaves the other side thirsting for revenge. This is why the cycle of violence has to be transcended to be ended.

The other more widely reported awful incident of violence in Iraq was seven massive bombs that hit apartment buildings across the Iraqi capital, Baghdhad, killing at least 35 people and wounding more than 140 on Tuesday. The targeted areas are heavily populated by Shiites; some neighborhoods that were bombed had seen fierce sectarian cleansing of Sunnis who used to live there.

The Christian Science Monitor reports American and Iraqi officials blamed Al Qaeda in Iraq, the mostly homegrown Sunni Muslim extremist group, for the attacks. The Monitor notes that residents who live near the sites of the explosions said that they thought that the recent violence was a result of Iraq's post-election political wrangling.

One local resident was quoted, "Why is Iraqi blood being used as a means of political pressure? Those innocent people were working for their families, and the politicians are using us for their political interests. I'm sure the situation will get even worse. We can feel it from the statements from the politicians on TV."

This coordinated bombing is an attack on the social order. It is not targeted, vengeance killing as the night time raids in the Hawr Rajab were. Its victims are more random, broader. It is an effort to destabilize the government and demonstrate its lack of control. This type of violence attempts to undermine the belief of the average Iraqi that civil society is functioning and can function in Iraq.

Both of these incidents demonstrate the likelihood of on-going conflict in Iraq because they show there are so very many rifts and rents in the fabric of what the West calls Iraq. This is of course without even mentioning the unresolved issue of Kurdish independence, which has been dealt with neither by American policymakers nor the Iraqi state.


Maliki said...

At any cost democracy should be followed in iraq.It is the solution for the problem.

Clarion Content said...


Thanks for commenting. We agree that democracy is ultimately the way to go. Unfortunately, there is not enough economic and/or political stability in Iraq to have a functioning democracy. The United States must be careful not to end up on the side of an autocratic regime.