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Civil War in Iraq?

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Submitted by Maurice Picow (Israel), Feb 28, 2006 at 15:12

The conflicts between the Shiite and Sunni Muslim communities in Iraq, as well as in the rest of the Islamic World, is one which has been ongoing for literally hundreds of years. Periods of relative quiet or 'peace' between the two groups has only been due to some major force occupying and dominating the areas in question preventing mass sectarian bloodbaths not unlike what we have witnessed in the Balkans and in parts of Arfica during recent times.

Saddam Hussein and his minority Baathist Party kept the majority Shiite population in check through fear and intimidation. The same thing happened in Iran during the reign of the Shah. It must be remembered that the Shiites number only about 10 per cent of the total world Muslim population, with most of them living either in Iran or Iraq. The rift between the two sects began following the death of the Prophet Muhammad, when the originally unified new religion began to break up due to rivalries among Muhammad's descendants.

Iraq, in its current state of flux, is ripe for a civil conflict due to a weak central government ruling only because the occupying foreign forces back it up. Iraq will most likely never become a true democracy, as power and might still determines who becomes the chief landlord. In a way, it might not be a bad idea to let the country divide up into 3 or even 4 smaller states. Let the Kurds finally have their long dreamed republic; and as for sections further south, the Shiites will have to be worried about because they will most likely ally themselves with their Shiite neighbors in Iran. The Sunnis will be wedged somewhere in the middle between the Kurds and Shiites.

Despite this, however, perhaps these smaller states will be easier to manage than the one that is virtually unmanagable now. The concern facing Mr. Bush and his government is who controls the oil reserves in these regions; one of the chief, repeat, chief reasons why Iraq was invaded in the first place.

Most Americans (and Britons, etc.) would love to see an end to the mess that has been created, and a civil, religious war that could ignite in Iraq will catch American and other foreign troops right in the middle between the warring factions. And the bottom is: no matter how sophisticated your weaponry may be, it is no match against a violently disturbed populace with hate and revenge in it's eyes.

Rwanda, Croatia and Kosovo may have been child's play compared to what we may witness in Iraq in the coming weeks and months.
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