Free Iraqi

I was not living before the 9th of April and now I am, so let me speak!

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Sadr's peace.

Sadr's peace.

Iraqi politicians and religious leaders have been busy conducting talks to try to contain the crisis by calling for speeding up the formation of the government and reassuring public that their leaders are united. (Just a side note: Al-Iraqiya TV was hailing Sadr and calling him "His eminence Saiyd Muqtad Al-Sadr God bless him" (Imagine my joy!) and praising his efforts to unite Sunnis and She'at in his tour in the southern governorates. In his speech in Basra, he asked Sunnis and She'at to go on unified demonstrations against sectarian violence, but 1st against "occupation"! So Sunnis and She'at kill each other and then they make out by condemning America!)

This is something I always found very insulting and maddening. People here do not react that much on their own and it always takes their leaders to push and push in certain direction for them to finally move. Now the feelings of distrust and bitterness have been there all the time among different Iraqi sects and were more visible after the oppressive power was removed, but no one was going to act upon it, not in a place where almost everyone look for their leaders to show them the 'truth' and the way with very few exceptions when public rage can go on its own beyond the control of any leadership like what happened in the 1991 uprising.

What I find most insulting in this attitude from religious and political leaders is that after provoking violence and increasing fear and distrust among their own communities towards the others, they suddenly, and when it's in their interest, start to ask people to calm down! But the people were calm in the 1st place until they told them to rise to defend the sect. Moreover when the people rose they didn't carry RPGs and machineguns and started shooting at each other. It was the militias and gangs on both sides that did that while the people merely went in angry demonstrations upon calls from their leaderships.

Yesterday two districts in Baghdad were subject to random mortar attacks, one mostly Sunni (Al Doura) and one mostly She'at (Sadr city). I'm not aware of any Iraqi outside those gangs and militias who keep mortars in their homes. This happened while clowns from both the Sadr trend and the Association of Sunni Scholars were signing an honor agreement that prohibits Iraqis from fighting each other. But why am I surprised! They are actually prohibiting Iraqis, average people, from killing each other but they are not prohibiting their own militias from killing Iraqis!

Why are they faking this and what do they want from it? I'm not sure, but one thought is that this behavior is typical of all ME dictators. They start the killing and the chaos and then they blame it on the people. They show themselves in public as the peacemakers and then continue to pursue their crimes in the dark. These are not ideological fighters. They're opportunists and hypocrites who seek the help of criminals and thugs and still present themselves as religious and patriotic people, mimicking dictators to a great extent. Religious fanatics are no better than them but at least they are honest about who they are and they remain most of the time faithful to their sick beliefs. This is not a theory or a guess, as I know many Sadirists and many Sunnis who sympathize with the Sunni Scholars, and Sadirists are mostly thugs and looters while Sunni 'fanatics' are just ex-Ba'athists and mercenaries.

So I don't expect peace to take place anytime soon and I still think it's even better this way, as I would never want the peace of the Sadirists and their like just like I never wanted the peace of Saddam. We wanted the war at Saddam's times knowing fully what it means because it was the only way, and I want war now.

Wide scale civil war is still unlikely but the wider and more destructive the sectarian violence becomes the faster, as I think, Iraq will find her way. Those militias are now stronger than ever. They're seen as protectors of the sect. if you're a Sunni in a mixed area, who would you support, She'at militia that want to kill you or terrorists and ex-Ba'thists who want to kill those militias? Same thing apply for the She'at even if they dislike the Sadirists and the Badr Brigade. It's no longer about what's wrong or right. It's about trying to stay alive.

So civil war would certainly strengthen those militias, but all civil wars sooner or later come to end, and it's usually when the majority of people decide they can't take the violence anymore and when they can't see victory as possible. Then militias would lose their strength, as why would a Sunni need the terrorists and why would a She'at need the Sadirists! Any force willing and capable of disarming those militias will not find any opposition among the majority of people and its effort may very well be welcomed. Militias can survive only if they find an enemy and when a civil war ends they have to find an enemy outside the borders. The only possible enemy then would be the US but the difference is that they will have to fight it alone without any significant support from the population which was the case when Sadr revolted the 1st time but sadly the Americans didn't see that or were convinced by the formal She'at leadership that Sadr had a huge support which wasn't true at all.

But can the US just stay detached and watch what's happening? It doesn't sound like this is possible or accepted by most parties involved. Maybe the US can reduce its military interference to minimum while maintaining its political efforts to solve the crisis in public. I know all this sounds crazy but unusual situations sometimes require unusual solutions.

Trying to keep things calm and pretend that things are not that bad and then expect such crazy and malicious groups to agree on what's good for Iraq is not realistic and not right. To expect Sadr and his thugs to suddenly, or gradually, become not just human beings but capable leaders is very unrealistic. The same applies of course to the Sunni Scholars.

Other alternatives (For America) include the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq and even then I think Iraq would find its way but it would take much longer time and more importantly is much less possible with the interference from Iran and other neighboring countries. Can the Americans stop the political process and assume full control again to deal with all those criminals and start building everything again in a way that allow more sane voices more room than fanatic ones? Almost impossible but to be honest that's what many Iraqis think is the best solution. I've heard it from many people saying, "This was all a mistake. We're not ready yet. We don't know what democracy is and the Americans should rule for 10 or 20 more years before they allow Iraqis to take control" I don't agree with this totally but I always thought that things in Iraq were moving faster than they should.

The militias have to go, one way or another, as we can never have a democracy or peace with their presence. I believe it can only happen through a civil war but I still hope I'm wrong and that there's a cheaper price for freedom.