The (Civil) War in Iraq

The Washington Post reports on what should, for all thinking people, be the final proof that a nascent Civil War is unfolding in Iraq:

KIRKUK, Iraq -- Hundreds of Shiite Muslim militiamen have deployed in recent weeks to this restive city -- widely considered the most likely flash point for an Iraqi civil war -- vowing to fight any attempt to shift control over Kirkuk to the Kurdish-governed north, according to U.S. commanders and diplomats, local police and politicians.

The Mahdi Army, led by firebrand cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, has sent at least two companies, each with about 120 fighters, according to Thomas Wise, political counselor for the U.S. Embassy's Kirkuk regional office, which has been tracking militia activity.

Although still in its early stages, the militia buildup "is something that definitely concerns us, and something that we are watching very carefully," said Col. David R. Gray, 48, of Herscher, Ill., commander of the 101st Airborne's 1st Brigade Combat Team, based in Kirkuk. "So far they haven't been that violent, but does it add to the tension, putting them into this maelstrom? Absolutely."
That all sounds an awful lot like a bunch of domestic factions competing among themselves for territory and resources - not so much like an insurgency trying to chase out American Forces.
In a meeting here last week, Sadr's representative in the city, Abdul Karim Khalifa, told U.S. officials that more armed loyalists were on the way and that as many as 7,000 to 10,000 Shiite residents were prepared to fight alongside the Mahdi Army if called upon. Legions more Shiite militiamen would push north from Baghdad's Sadr City slum, he said, according to Wise.

"His message was essentially that any idea of Kirkuk going to the Kurds will mean a fight," Wise said. "He said that their policy here was different from in other places, that they are not going to attack coalition forces because their only enemy here is the Kurds."
"What does our Dear Leader, George W. Bush have to say about the situation in Iraq?
"It's not easy work, by the way, to go from tyranny to democracy ... And what you're watching on your TV screens is a new democracy emerging.
Something's emerging, Mr. Bush, but I'm not sure I'd call it democracy.

No comments: