8 Killed, 44 wounded in Karbala Bombing
Sunni Guerrillas break off Talks with US
First-rate Iraq historian Sarah Shields argues that Iraq is not having a civil war so much as it is living through the consequences of the US having destroyed its functioning state. I agree with her that the framework for the fighting was set by Rumsfeld/Cheney/Bush policies in Iraq. But you could say that and still admit that they are now fighting a civil war. The latter is a social science question, not a moral judgment. Avoiding the appearance of a moral judgment of a negative sort that might attach also to the US effort is also the reason that the Right won’t call it a civil war.
Alissa J. Rubin of the LA Times argues that Iran has won the Iraq War in a big way, and is now feeling invulnerable as a result of the ISG report.
Iran’s foreign minister offered to help the US in Iraq, as long as the US leaves Iraq. Well, somebody should see us off when we go.
The London Times says that secret US talks with leaders of the Sunni Arab guerrilla movement, who have inflicted substantial damage on the US military, have been broken off by the guerrillas. That is really too bad. Only successful parleys with the enemy can end a war short of military victory, which seems pretty elusive.
The Iraqi government is putting the final touches on petroleum legislation, which will allow contracts to be signed by the oil majors. Up until now, legal uncertainties kept them away. My guess is that James Baker crafted the Iraq Study Group report so as to have the least possible negative impact on such petroleum negotiations.
The NYT has done another story about how the Iraqi military is selling the weapons given it by the US on the black market, basically helping arm the guerrillas.
On Sunday morning, according to Reuters, sectarian violence got off to a good start:
‘ BAGHDAD – Shi’ite militias attacked Sunni homes in Baghdad’s religiously mixed Hurriya district on Saturday, Interior Ministry officials and witnesses said. More than 30 families fled after the militias torched homes and killed at least one person, witnesses and officials said.
BAGHDAD – A total of 40 bodies — many of them shot and tortured — were found across Baghdad on Saturday, an Interior Ministry source said.
Read the whole report.
On Saturday, 8 people were killed and 44 wounded when a car bomb was detonated in a market in the Shiite holy city of Karbala.
‘ BAGHDAD – Mortar rounds killed two people and wounded at least three when they landed on Baghdad’s Shi’ite district of Kadhimiya, police sources said. ‘
Karbala is a prime religious symbol for Shiites, and we have already seen what the destruction of the Askariya Shrine in Samarra has done to promote sectarian violence on a vast scale. Bombings in Karbala are very, very scary.
Now we have an Iraq syndrome. These syndromes would not be necessary if US political elites could just remember one simple rule: No long drawn-out Asian land wars, please.