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Iraq lurches toward civil war

Thanks to the Coalition of the Willing invading Iraq, 9 years later it very much looks like that act of war could be leading to a civil war.    All the signs point to one as Sunnis and Shias "fight" it out.    When one reflects on it, Saddam may have been a terrible man and tyrant, but the country was basically peaceful and things like education for woman was an accepted fact.    And most certainly the country wasn't racked by various communities engaged in deadly conflict with one another.

"All indicators are pointing to a looming sectarian civil war on Iraq’s horizon. It is possible to avoid this civil war, but so far, the country’s leaders are not willing to compromise, and outside parties show little interest in stopping it. They should care more than they do: if not resolved, a bloody civil war in Iraq will fuel the rising conflict  among Sunni-Shia across the Middle East — now in Lebanon and Syria — with the potential of spreading into other countries and inviting extremists to take advantage of the conflagration.

Of course the United States’ nine-year occupation of Iraq unleashed this friction between Sunni and Shia, the underlying inferno that keeps Iraqis killing each other. According to  Iraq Body Count, 4,505 Iraqis died from violence in 2012-409 in the month of Ramadan alone. Many will say this is civil war already, with numerous groups carrying out suicide attacks, bombings and outright assassinations on a daily basis. No one knows for sure who is responsible most of the time, but invariably it is Al-Qaeda, Sunni militants, lingering Baathists, sectarian fighters, and insurgent nationalists who are to blame.

Politically, it’s a mess. Iraq’s President  Jalal Talabani is in failing health, suffering from the effects of a stroke and convalescing in Germany. Talabani is a moderate and a Kurd and has been a unifying figure on the issue of the Kurdish relationship with the central authority in Iraq. Many political factions are gearing up for a fight to replace him, amid serious tensions between the semi-autonomous north and Baghdad.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is hunting down his opponents, including his own vice president,  Tariq Al-Hashimi. The Sunni politician was charged with terrorism in 2011 when three of his bodyguards were accused of murder and committing acts of torture, supposedly under al-Hashimi’s orders. Al-Hashimi escaped first to Kurdistan, and in September 2012 was sentenced to death in absentia by an Iraqi court. He is now residing in Turkey where he is reportedly safe from extradition. Furthermore in December, al-Maliki’s security forces raided the home and offices of the Sunni finance minister,  Rafie al-Issawi, and arrested ten of his bodyguards on charges of terrorism. Mr. Issawi was accused in the past with links to terror, but no proof has ever been offered."



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