Monday, March 13, 2006

Black Sunday in Iraq (Juan Cole)

For several years now, the Sunni Arab "insurgents" in Iraq have pursued a systematic terrorist strategy of murdering Shiite civilians in order to provoke the Shiite majority into an all-out civil war that would render the country ungovernable and force the withdrawal of US troops. (I discussed this a year ago here.) At fist sight, this strategy may seem odd, since their base of support comes to less than 20% of the Iraqi population, while the other 80-85% of Iraqis mostly hate and fear them. But they clearly believe, rightly or wrongly, that if they can panic the US into withdrawing, then they have the military and organizational resources to win a civil war and take over the country--especially since they expect the rest of the Arab world, which is unhappy about the idea of an Iraq dominated by a bunch of Shiites and Kurds, to support them.
So far, the "insurgents" have not succeeded in detonating a full-scale civil war--primarily because the mainstream Shiite religious and political leadership have made frantic efforts to prevent it. However, since their attack on a major Shiite shrine in Samarra several weeks ago, which provoked a big upsurge in sectarian violence, it is beginning to look more likely that they may push Iraq over the brink. Meanwhile, they have continued bombing people as well as shrines.
--Jeff Weintraub
Juan Cole - Informed Comment
Monday, March 13, 2006

80 Killed, over 200 Wounded in Black Sunday

Dawn estimates that mortar attacks and bombings in Iraq killed 80 persons on Sunday. Other sources suggest the number of wounded may exceed 200. Some 52 of the dead were killed by carbombings at markets in Shiite Sadr City, east Baghdad. The violence is aimed at provoking sectarian warfare, in hopes it would force the US out and pave the way for a coup by the guerrillas.Courtesy