Monday, March 20, 2006

The Iraqi Civil War
The third anniversary of the Iraq War is here and rather than celebrating the birth of a free-market wet-dream as the Neo-Cons and Neo-Labour had hoped, all indications are that we are instead to look back on this date at the beginning of the Iraqi Civil War. So does the beginning of a civil war look like? The English Civil War began with the raising of the King's standard in Nottingham in August 1642. As there was no mass media, many people would not have known the civil war had come until it affected them personally – for example Bristolians would have had no doubt that civil war had arrived as by 1643 the Royalist had captured and occupied the city. In Iraq various militia, insurgent and terrorist groups have been raising standards in one for or another since before the US/UK forces began their occupation. I think it would be a reasonable assumption that given the rate of killing of civilians in the country, that most people in Iraq have been affected personally by the loss on friends or family. For example John Pace, the former United Nations human rights chief in Iraq, said: "The Baghdad morgue received 1,100 bodies in July alone, about 900 of whom bore evidence of torture or summary execution. That continued throughout the year and last December there were 780 bodies, including 400 having gunshot wounds or wounds as those caused by electric drills." But Bush says he is pleased by the progress being made in Iraq while the the Iraqi occupation government are putting enormous pressure on morgue officials not to talk. Robert Dreyfuss, author of 'Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam', says that the civil war is here because it looks a lot like a more recent war; Lebanon’s civil war; "In Lebanon, a kaleidoscopic mix of Maronite Christian militias, Sunni warlords, Shiite militia, Palestinian guerrillas and others formed shifting alliances with each other over fifteen long years. Some parts of Lebanon were relatively stable and quiet, while Beirut, Lebanon’s seaside capital, and towns and villages surrounding it became bloody battlegrounds. Barriers, checkpoints, red lines and green lines divided the capital and its suburbs. There were scores of ceasefires which later collapsed. Throughout it all, there were elections, and Lebanese governments came and went. Presidents were assassinated. As the fighting raged in Beirut, all sides drew on the resources of their twin hinterlands. The first 'hinterlands' were the ethnic and national enclaves, which were like armed camps, who provided the troops, arms and supplies for the main fighting. The second hinterlands were the foreign powers who supported various sides in Lebanon. Above all, that meant Syria and Israel, but it included Iran, Iraq, Libya and others." That seems a pretty good parallel to whats going on in Iraq to me. Elections have come and gone, politicians, officials and clerics have been assassinated. Syria and Iran are reportedly involved in supplying bombs and triggers to various factions. Israel has clandestine special forces in Kurdistan training the Peshmerga there as a buffer to the chaos.

Iraq is in the midst war. The bungled US/UK war was the trigger.

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