Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Civil war?

Gregory Djerejian made the remark, 'never has there been a better timed and more critical curfew' and got the comment  back: 'Can you imagine back in April 2003 that [...] you would be viewing a "curfew" no matter how well timed as a reason for optimism?'

Things look rather differently from Europe, or at least what the media is telling us does. According to Channel 4 News in Britain, Iraq 'is descending into' civil war - cf Bernard Guetta's 'C’est à un début de guerre civile auquel on assiste désormais en Irak (sic)'.

Even the BBC (World Service) initially described the curfew as a panic measure, then, when the violence continued (on Saturday, I think) said, 'If even a curfew can't stop the violence...'

'Civil war', like so many other expressions is a code: it means the Shi'a finally responding to provocation and taking it out on Sunnis, who may well be innocent of any involvement in the insurgency (let's stick with that word for now).

After the bombing of the Askariya shrine, this undoubtedly happened, though al-Qaeda propagandists seem to have exaggerated the scale, for example, from 22 Sunni mosques attacked to 100: according to one US Army source quoted by the BBC, they had reports of mosques being attacked and found that nothing had happened.

Now it seems mostly to have gone back to the pattern that is so familiar from the last two and a half years: attacks that the European media would describe as terrorist if they happened anywhere other than Iraq, targeted mainly at the Shi'a.


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