17 Bombings of Shiite Districts Kill 113; Fears of Sectarian Reprisals

The LA Times is putting the death toll of Tuesday’s series of 17 bombings of Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad at an astonishing 113, one of the biggest one-day tolls in recent years. Over 200 were said wounded. The Sunni Arab guerrillas have long had a strategy of attempting to provoke Sunni-Shiite civil war as a way of destabilizing the new Iraqi government and hastening a US departure, in hopes that they could then make a coup and come to power.

It is a stupid strategy and has already failed. In 2006-2007, the guerrillas did provoke a civil war, and all that happened was that Shiites ethnically cleansed Sunni Arabs from mixed neighborhoods in the capital, expelling hundreds of thousands of them. One of the reasons that I doubt Tuesday’s atrocities will kick off a repeat civil war is that the Sunni Arabs are mostly gone from the formerly mixed neighborhoods, and Shiites would have to travel for a while to find a Sunni to kill. Moreover, the normal, sane Sunni Arabs know that they lost the last civil war badly, and are not eager for another whupping.

That said, the level of sectarian violence clearly could increase if security remains this bad. And it does not help that no new Iraqi government has been formed. The caretaker government suffers from increasing lack of legitimacy.

Russia Today has video on conflicts among neighborhood-based sectarian militias:


Meanwhile, hundreds of Christians took part in funeral processions on Tuesday for those killed by al-Qaeda terrorists in a church on Monday during a botched Iraqi military rescue attempt. Al-Ra’y in Jordan reports that the office of the Rector of al-Azhar Seminary, among the top religious authorities in the Sunni Muslim world, reaffirmed that Islam recognizes freedom of worship and forbids attacks on Christians. All this, as al-Qaeda” in Iraq (the Islamic State of Iraq) announced that it would now systematically target Christians.

Reuters has video on the church attack and its aftermath:

6 Responses

  1. …And wasn’t this a part of the Petraeus strategy in the first place?

    The revelation by WikiLeaks of a U.S. military order directing U.S. forces not to investigate cases of torture of detainees by Iraqis has been treated in news reports as yet another case of lack of concern by the U.S. military about detainee abuse.

    But the deeper significance of the order, which has been missed by the news media, is that it was part of a larger U.S. strategy of exploiting Shi’a sectarian hatred against Sunnis to help suppress the Sunni insurgency when Sunnis had rejected the U.S. war.

  2. What a fine gift the people have Iraq have received from their American friends.

  3. Of course the occupiers were trying to divide-and-rule. That’s Imperialism 101.

    The only surprising thing in the Iraq War is that it took the Americans over two years to get a civil war going between Iraqi factions. That’s more time than it took the Germans and Italians to get the Greeks into a civil war.

    BTW the Iraqi Sunni resistance groups were not finished. They made a deal with the Americans in 2007 to stop fighting, and retained most of their arms.

  4. Regarding al-azhar, it “was” the top sunni religious institution in past islamic history

    But to label it as an “authority” is incorrect. Sunnis do not accept institutions as authorities. Incase of al-azhar today, being dominated by unqualified puppet scholars from the Egyptian governement, giving non-shariah fatwas, it is even worse for a pious Sunni to even think of this institution and its rector office as an “authority” on shariah.

    To Sunnis, authorities, are only the leaders of the sciences that the ummah have concensus on as being authorities. Institutions come and go in history.

    Al-Azhar has some qualified scholars who relay what the past Sunni authorities have said. That, and including its, past great history, makes people give some attention to it today, but the fame is fast falling.

  5. “In 2006-2007, the guerrillas did provoke a civil war, and all that happened was that Shiites ethnically cleansed Sunni Arabs from mixed neighborhoods in the capital, expelling hundreds of thousands of them.”

    Is this perhaps an historical revision. I thought the Sunnis, equipped and financed by the US, were simply taking part in the so-called Surge. .

    • Correction:

      Is this perhaps an historical revision. I thought the Shiites, equipped and financed by the US, were simply taking part in the so-called Surge. .

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