by Erik Leaver and Raed Jarrar
As each day is greeted with news of Iraq's daily death toll, the media
debates whether Iraq is embroiled in an all-out civil war. While
conventional wisdom holds that the country is being cleaved apart by
religious differences, this conflict actually stemmed from the U.S.
government's political miscalculations.
Foreign politicians have a history of misguided analysis about the potential
for civil war in Iraq. In 1920, British Prime Minister David Lloyd George
warned of civil war if the British army withdrew from Iraq. The exact same
thing is heard today in the United States. Ironically, the same Iraqis
George wanted to protect from each other instead united in a revolution
against the British occupation forces. With rising opposition within the
Shi'ite ranks against the occupation, the United States could see a similar
revolt in the coming months.
Iraqi Shia and Sunnis have lived in harmony for centuries. Historically, the
two sects lived in the same areas, intermarried, worked together and didn't
fight over religious beliefs. During the decade of U.S.-imposed sanctions,
Iraq's generally secular society became far more religious. This
transformation even affected the secular Baathist regime, which gave Islam a
bigger role in schools and other aspects of everyday life. Still, there were
no social conflicts based on religious differences in the country.
When the United States ousted Saddam Hussein in April 2003, crime spiked and
full-scale looting erupted. But there were still no signs of sectarian
clashes. That quickly changed, however, as the U.S. administration assumed
control over Iraq, led by Paul Bremer.
Bremer, attempting to put an Iraqi face on the occupation, appointed members
to the Iraqi Governing Council. Instead of reflecting how Iraqis saw
themselves, the council's makeup mirrored and reinforced the U.S. sectarian
view of the population . . .
[The de facto role of the US armed forces will be to keep the world safe
for our economy and open to our cultural assault. To those ends, we will
do a fair amount of killing.--Ralph Peters, "
Constant Conflict" Parameters, US
Army War College Quarterly, Summer 1997, pp. 4-14]
Enver Masud, "Basra: Were the
'British' Undercover Agents Carrying Explosives? Why?," The Wisdom
Fund, September 28, 2005
[From the founding of the United States, the federal government has relied
on subterfuge, skullduggery, and secret operations to advance American
interests. . . .
The post-invasion stage in Iraq also is an interesting case study of fanning
discontent among enemies, . . . Like their SOG predecessors in Vietnam, U.S.
elite forces in Iraq turned to fostering infighting among their Iraqi
adversaries on the tactical and operational level.--Thomas H. Henriksen, "THE WAR: Divide et
Impera," Hoover Digest, 2006 - No. 1 - Winter Issue]
"Mosque Bombing: Who Benefits? Iran Blames
U.S.," The Wisdom Fund, February 23, 2006
[Unity between Shias and Sunnis has always been a barrier to the success of
the occupation.--Dahr Jamail and Simon Assaf, "United
Iraqi protests against US divide and rule policy,"
socialistworker.co.uk, March 4, 2006]
"Puppet Government Takes Charge in
Iraq," The Wisdom Fund, May 21, 2006
[Al-Mash'hadani accused the American forces of standing behind terrorist
attacks in Iraq--"Mashhadani on Americastan in Iraq," Al Hayat, August 8, 2006]
[ . . . anything other than the continuance of government under the
national-unity government, with Iraq as a unified country, would be
disastrous.--Ehsan Ahrari, "Iraq's
downward spiral toward partition," Asia Times, August 11, 2006]
[As for those who refuse to "think the unthinkable," declaring that
boundaries must not change and that's that, it pays to remember that
boundaries have never stopped changing through the centuries. Borders have
never been static, and many frontiers, from Congo through Kosovo to the
Caucasus, are changing even now (as ambassadors and special representatives
avert their eyes to study the shine on their wingtips).
Oh, and one other dirty little secret from 5,000 years of history: Ethnic
cleansing works.--Ralph Peters, "Blood borders: How
a better Middle East would look," Armed Forces Journal, August 2006]
[In Iraq, in contrast to the embedded lie that the killings are now almost
entirely sectarian, 70 per cent of the 1,666 bombs exploded by the
resistance in July were directed against the American occupiers and 20 per
cent against the puppet police force. Civilian casualties amounted to 10 per
cent. In other words, unlike the collective punishment meted out by the US,
such as the killing of several thousand people in Fallujah, the resistance
is fighting basically a military war and it is winning. That truth is
suppressed, as it was in Vietnam.--John Pilger, "Return Of People
Power," New Statesman, September 4, 2006]
[The Iraq Study Group,
co-chaired by James Baker, the former US secretary of state, is preparing to
report after next monthÕs congressional elections amid signs that sectarian
violence and attacks on coalition forces are spiralling out of control.
--Sarah Baxter, "America
ponders cutting Iraq in three," Sunday Times, October 8, 2006]