The current prospects of civil war vs. unity: Iraq the Model
When events such as the mosque bombing and the subsequent unrest and violence in Iraq happen, I turn--as I've done so many times before--to Iraq the Model for some inside information.
I've written this previous post about Iraq the Model, a tribute to its authors and the fine job they've done over the years since the official Iraq War ended. I've been reading the blog for all that time, and you know what? Omar and Mohammed, the Baghdad-based Iraqi brothers who write the blog, have never disappointed.
That's not to say they've never had negative things to say--they certainly have. But, in retrospect, I can't recall a time when they turned out to be seriously incorrect about anything important that was happening in their country. Unlike some even in our own beloved MSM, their reports and predictions on Iraq have withstood the test of time.
A few days ago, right after the bombing, Omar seemed shaken by the turn of events. Usually calm and level-headed, he displayed uncharacteristic anxiety:
As if we didn't have enough problems already!
The quality of the target and the timing of the attack were chosen in a way that can possibly bring very serious consequences over the country....
Things look scary here in Baghdad and I hope there won't be more updates to report as I can't see a positive thing coming out of this.
What are the brothers saying now? They seem to have found quite a few positives, although the difficulties of the situation are far from over.
Take a look:
Life is coming back to normal in Baghdad and marketplaces and offices are open again after being shut for 4 days...
However, it seems there are also some positive outcomes from this incident and its aftermath; the first one in my opinion was the performance of the Iraqi army which had a good role in restoring order in many places. Actually the past few days showed that our new army is more competent than we were thinking.
But the latest events have also showed the brittle structure of the interior ministry and its forces that retreated before the march of the angry mobs (if not joined them in some cases) and I think the statements that came from the meetings of our politicians pointed this out so clearly when Sunni politicians said they wanted the army to replace the police and police commandos in their regions and this indicates growing trust between the people and the army.
The other positive side is represented by the line we've seen drawn between clerics and politicians.
In spite of the attempts of clerics to look like as if they were the defenders of national unity with all their meetings, joint prayers and hugs, the political leaderships got a sense of their growing danger and the meeting at Jafari's home (which al-Hakeem didn't attend) showed that the government is keen to keep the country intact and the government systems as functional as possible to contain the crisis. This meeting indicates that politicians have realized that those clerics whether Sunni or Shia are the origin of the problem and are ready to coup on even their political allies which made the politicians more aware of the danger imposed by clerics on the project of building a state ruled by the law.
It's worth reading the whole thing. As I said, I've grown to trust the brothers' analysis and insight more than I trust that of the media. It appears that the bombing has created an opportunity, at least. We'll see whether the government can capitalize on that opportunity in order to form a more unified state.
Unity, in traditionally fragmented Iraq, a country cobbled together post-WWI, and with the additional legacy of decades of Saddam and his Sunni Baathists persecuting the Shi'ites and Kurds? Gateway Pundit has a roundup of stories, photos, and posts that seem to indicate there is more desire for unity among Iraq's people than many think.
Perhaps some of this unity comes from the recent adversity that the Iraqi people have shared. There's an old Bedouin saying that you've probably heard:
I against my brother I and my brother against our cousin, my brother and our cousin against the neighbors all of us against the foreigner.
The saying has been invoked many times to illustrate why Iraqis will rise up against any US occupation. But as I read Omar and Mohammed's posts, it seems that the Iraqis may actually be in the process of becoming more united against a different foreigner (or, rather, foreigners) influencing events in their country lately: Syria and Iran.
[ADDENDUM: The NY Times is reporting that the Sunnis have returned to participate in discussions for a new government. The talk, at least, is of unity:
The Sunni negotiator, Mahmoud al-Mashhadany, said Sunni politicians now recognize the need to form a widely inclusive government as quickly as possible to succeed the current interim government, dominated by religious Shiites and Kurds.
"We've canceled our withdrawal from the talks," Mr. Mashhadany said in a telephone interview. "We should hurry up and form a national unity government, to change this hopeless government. In the new government, everyone will handle responsibility."...
But he [Mashhadany] generally struck a conciliatory tone, saying "there's a desire to accelerate the formation of the cabinet" and adding, "This is from the leadership of all the groups — the Sunnis, the Shia and the Kurds."
Doesn't sound exactly like civil war to me. We'll see.]