No Civil War in Iraq

Do not fear a civil war in Iraq. The strife on display is the unfortunate evolution of a burgeoning democracy. These are the last gasps from a segment of the populace reluctant to accept its diminished political clout as the country's ethnic minority. There are already signs of Sunnis backing away from an all—out confrontation. For good reason.

While everyone suffers under tyranny, some groups must endure more than others. So while Saddam Hussein's predominantly Sunni henchmen brutally ruled Iraq by crushing dissent and savagely subjugating the entire population, the Shiite and Kurdish majorities bore the brunt of their atrocities. The stories of ruling Sunni atrocities against the Shiites and Kurds are now undeniably confirmed by the unearthing of mass graves and first hand accounts from a suddenly free Iraqi population.

The evidence of Hussein and ruling Sunni carnage is extensive, obvious and, not surprisingly, underreported by an antique media fixated on the empty rhetorical scowls of Hussein himself rather than the cries of his victims.

Despite this decades' long butchery and slaughter, neither Shiites nor Kurds have openly sought retribution against their former oppressors, except in isolated instances. In the spirit of reconciliation and nation—building that has followed the liberation of Iraq, the formerly—oppressed have shown remarkable restraint.

The Sunni government was simply removed from power through the advent of democracy where, for the first time in the very long history of the Arab Middle East, the will of the people has spoken. Although the Sunnis initially refused to vote in what can only be described as a delusional denial of reality, they were graciously included in the constitutional deliberations  and concessions were made to appease their leadership.

Despite this appeasement and various acts of reconciliation orchestrated by the US in order to include the Sunnis in the rebuilding of Iraq, many Sunnis have instead harbored al Qaeda terrorists and participated in attacks against US forces.  Or at least maintained silence about the activities leading to such attacks, which they may have seen or heard.

It is important to note that the vast majority of Sunnis participated in the most recent election — in overwhelming numbers. Many are actively involved in the reconstruction and have been the unfortunate victims of al Qaeda and sectarian violence, like other Iraqis. But their leadership continues to act duplicitously, condemning the violence yet doing nothing to end it.

They know who and where these perpetrators are and should actively root out the foreign fighters in their community and quell the Sunni 'insurgency' instead of sitting idly by in Arafat—esque fashion. Reaping the rewards of violence without its repercussions is not leadership and never ends well. At the moment, al Qaeda terrorists are given sanctuary and assistance by many in the Sunni community as they devise heinous attacks against the civilian population of the Shiites as well as their holy sites in order to foment unrest and encourage ethnic violence.

The unadulterated hope of al Qaeda and former Ba'athists is that with the onslaught of violence and its chaos, the newly formed government will collapse. As the violence escalates and the casualties mount, political demands from the apologist left in the US would intensify, paving the way for a withdrawal of US forces and a humiliating American defeat.

In essence, al—Qaeda is eager to sacrifice Sunni and Shia lives for political gain. Now, in a moment that can only be considered sheer lunacy, elements of the Sunni minority in Iraq, spurred on by Ba'athists remnants and al Qaeda murderers, have inconceivably decided to take up arms.  But they should be careful what they wish for, because the withdrawal of US forces and the commencement of civil war would have catastrophic consequences for the Sunni minority.

What these killers don't seem to understand is that it is the threat of civil war not the actual initiation of hostilities that is the true bargaining chip. The Sunnis have yet to fully appreciate the monumental shift that has occurred in the Iraqi power structure. Like Saddam before them, the Sunni leadership fails to grasp that they no longer have a monopoly on power. The feared Republican Guard is non—existent and Hussein's chemicals will not rain down on the villages of the defenseless. Acts of violence will now be met with reciprocal attacks. The Sunnis are outnumbered, likely outgunned, and surrounded by a population that has, for the moment, forgiven but not forgotten yesteryear's bloodbaths. The Sunnis may find that the today's hated US 'occupier' is tomorrow's merciful defender.

The Shiite and Kurds who make up the overwhelming majority of the population will make concessions in order to avoid bloodshed and to rebuild a nation where they now, for the first time in decades, have a political voice. However, once the general fighting of a true civil war begins, the Sunnis lose the ability to demand any concessions whatsoever and will find that the Shiites and Kurds will indisputably be much more heavy—handed than a US Marine.

In the end, the civil war that the former Ba'athists and al Qaeda foreign jihadists so desperately crave would be disastrous for the Sunnis, the majority of whom are looking forward to a new day in Iraq diligently assisting in the reconstruction of their country.

It is time for the Sunni leaders to show true leadership and rid their communities of destructive elements and continue to work in the spirit of compromise, understanding that a civil war will likely deteriorate into their worst nightmare. There are already signs that they are doing so, returning to negotiations over the formation of a new government. The building of a nation and its political infrastructure is immeasurably difficult and compromise is essential. Sunni disapproval of the currently proposed 'federalist' system is understandable and concessions on the composition of a national government are necessary in building a democracy.

It is said that democracy is essentially the process of compromise between conflicting interests according to mutually agreed upon rules. The ultimate rule is to work within the framework of compromise in order to avoid bloodshed. If bloodshed is the goal, then the Sunni population will learn to its disadvantage that it is easier and more expedient to compromise than take up arms.

Do not fear a civil war in Iraq. The strife on display is the unfortunate evolution of a burgeoning democracy. These are the last gasps from a segment of the populace reluctant to accept its diminished political clout as the country's ethnic minority. There are already signs of Sunnis backing away from an all—out confrontation. For good reason.

While everyone suffers under tyranny, some groups must endure more than others. So while Saddam Hussein's predominantly Sunni henchmen brutally ruled Iraq by crushing dissent and savagely subjugating the entire population, the Shiite and Kurdish majorities bore the brunt of their atrocities. The stories of ruling Sunni atrocities against the Shiites and Kurds are now undeniably confirmed by the unearthing of mass graves and first hand accounts from a suddenly free Iraqi population.

The evidence of Hussein and ruling Sunni carnage is extensive, obvious and, not surprisingly, underreported by an antique media fixated on the empty rhetorical scowls of Hussein himself rather than the cries of his victims.

Despite this decades' long butchery and slaughter, neither Shiites nor Kurds have openly sought retribution against their former oppressors, except in isolated instances. In the spirit of reconciliation and nation—building that has followed the liberation of Iraq, the formerly—oppressed have shown remarkable restraint.

The Sunni government was simply removed from power through the advent of democracy where, for the first time in the very long history of the Arab Middle East, the will of the people has spoken. Although the Sunnis initially refused to vote in what can only be described as a delusional denial of reality, they were graciously included in the constitutional deliberations  and concessions were made to appease their leadership.

Despite this appeasement and various acts of reconciliation orchestrated by the US in order to include the Sunnis in the rebuilding of Iraq, many Sunnis have instead harbored al Qaeda terrorists and participated in attacks against US forces.  Or at least maintained silence about the activities leading to such attacks, which they may have seen or heard.

It is important to note that the vast majority of Sunnis participated in the most recent election — in overwhelming numbers. Many are actively involved in the reconstruction and have been the unfortunate victims of al Qaeda and sectarian violence, like other Iraqis. But their leadership continues to act duplicitously, condemning the violence yet doing nothing to end it.

They know who and where these perpetrators are and should actively root out the foreign fighters in their community and quell the Sunni 'insurgency' instead of sitting idly by in Arafat—esque fashion. Reaping the rewards of violence without its repercussions is not leadership and never ends well. At the moment, al Qaeda terrorists are given sanctuary and assistance by many in the Sunni community as they devise heinous attacks against the civilian population of the Shiites as well as their holy sites in order to foment unrest and encourage ethnic violence.

The unadulterated hope of al Qaeda and former Ba'athists is that with the onslaught of violence and its chaos, the newly formed government will collapse. As the violence escalates and the casualties mount, political demands from the apologist left in the US would intensify, paving the way for a withdrawal of US forces and a humiliating American defeat.

In essence, al—Qaeda is eager to sacrifice Sunni and Shia lives for political gain. Now, in a moment that can only be considered sheer lunacy, elements of the Sunni minority in Iraq, spurred on by Ba'athists remnants and al Qaeda murderers, have inconceivably decided to take up arms.  But they should be careful what they wish for, because the withdrawal of US forces and the commencement of civil war would have catastrophic consequences for the Sunni minority.

What these killers don't seem to understand is that it is the threat of civil war not the actual initiation of hostilities that is the true bargaining chip. The Sunnis have yet to fully appreciate the monumental shift that has occurred in the Iraqi power structure. Like Saddam before them, the Sunni leadership fails to grasp that they no longer have a monopoly on power. The feared Republican Guard is non—existent and Hussein's chemicals will not rain down on the villages of the defenseless. Acts of violence will now be met with reciprocal attacks. The Sunnis are outnumbered, likely outgunned, and surrounded by a population that has, for the moment, forgiven but not forgotten yesteryear's bloodbaths. The Sunnis may find that the today's hated US 'occupier' is tomorrow's merciful defender.

The Shiite and Kurds who make up the overwhelming majority of the population will make concessions in order to avoid bloodshed and to rebuild a nation where they now, for the first time in decades, have a political voice. However, once the general fighting of a true civil war begins, the Sunnis lose the ability to demand any concessions whatsoever and will find that the Shiites and Kurds will indisputably be much more heavy—handed than a US Marine.

In the end, the civil war that the former Ba'athists and al Qaeda foreign jihadists so desperately crave would be disastrous for the Sunnis, the majority of whom are looking forward to a new day in Iraq diligently assisting in the reconstruction of their country.

It is time for the Sunni leaders to show true leadership and rid their communities of destructive elements and continue to work in the spirit of compromise, understanding that a civil war will likely deteriorate into their worst nightmare. There are already signs that they are doing so, returning to negotiations over the formation of a new government. The building of a nation and its political infrastructure is immeasurably difficult and compromise is essential. Sunni disapproval of the currently proposed 'federalist' system is understandable and concessions on the composition of a national government are necessary in building a democracy.

It is said that democracy is essentially the process of compromise between conflicting interests according to mutually agreed upon rules. The ultimate rule is to work within the framework of compromise in order to avoid bloodshed. If bloodshed is the goal, then the Sunni population will learn to its disadvantage that it is easier and more expedient to compromise than take up arms.