Sunni Arab Politicians threaten Civil Disobedience
At least 14 were killed in bombings and violence in Iraq on Wednesday. One bomb targeting Shiites killed 8 in Baghdad. Two Iraqi television journalists were kidnapped.
Sunni Arab politicians in Iraq demanded on Wednesday that the Shiite minister of interior be sacked, and threatened to mount a campaign of civil disobedience if their community does not cease being attacked. The BBC summarizes the demands of the Iraqi Islamic Party (an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood):
‘* Deployment of the Iraqi army to protect the citizens of Baghdad
* Dismissal of the interior minister and his senior aides
* Suspension of the tasks of the Interior Ministry security units, “which target innocent people on the pretext of pursuing terrorists”
* Disbanding of militias
* End of “random” arrest campaigns
* Release of all prisoners at prisons run by the Iraqi government
* Release of all prisoners in the prisons run by multi-national forces, “especially women”
* Publication of the findings of the investigation conducted into the Jadiriya detention facility, where 170 prisoners, some showing signs of apparent torture, were found by US troops in November.’
On the other hand, the Sunni Arabs have produced people who blow up Iraqis, and thre may be a sense in which a civil disobedience campaign would be an improvement.
This article in a Bahrain daily argues that a lot of Iraqis were dismayed by Bush’s pledge to stay the course, since they feel that the situation would be better if US troops withdrew. (This view is supported by opinion polls. A majority of Iraqis wanted US troops out after the Dec. 15 elections.)
This article talks about proliferation of Iraqi satellite channels, many of which have a strong sectarian or ethnic agenda and which are accused of spreading hatred of other groups.
Jim Krane of AP explores the ways in which the Iraqi guerrilla movement succeeded in stopping a majority of some kinds of reconstruction projects, and in scaring away civilian contractors.
Ferry Biederman of the Financial Times discusses the isolation of the US military and officials from the real Iraq, and the unrealistic expectations it breeds.
But, in response to one of the US officers, I have to say that it is not fair to speak of “age-old” conflicts in Iraq. There wasn’t a lot of Sunni-Shiite violence in modern Iraq until recently.