Thursday, June 21, 2007

A question worth asking...

A friend of mine pointed this out a few days ago. Seeming as he hasn't got anywhere near a computer yet I'll do the posting.

Now, Iraq is boring, which is incredible given the levels of violence happening there. Here's a selection from my some of my usual news sources.

(1) Kidnapped Britons being held by group backed by Iran - US general

Five British civilians kidnapped in Baghdad last month are being held by a group trained, funded and armed by Iran, according to the US commander in Iraq. General David Petraeus said he believed that the Britons - four security guards and a consultant - were taken by a "secret cell" of the Mahdi Army, the Shia militia loyal to cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

Which is doubly evasive as (a) they're not civilians they're mercenaries (b) there is no simple equation Al-Sadr = Iran.

(2) US 'wants Blair' for Mid-East job

Altogether now "there may be trouble ahead".

(3)Baghdad truck bomb kills dozens

At least 78 people have been killed and another 218 injured in a truck bomb attack near a Shia mosque in the centre of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.
The massive explosion in the busy Sinak commercial district destroyed part of the al-Khilani mosque and sent large clouds of black smoke into the air.

This kind of carnage is usually put down to overflowing sectarian tension which (to sudden, latter day experts) is innate in the Iraqi psyche. Think other sites of sectarian tension, say India or Northern Ireland or the pogroms is Tsarist Russia. What is common to sectarian struggle is mass mobilisation, often with state connivance.

This isn't what happens in Iraq.

Firstly, mass mobilisation tends to be anti-sectarian. What's chalked up to 'sectarianism' is terrorist outrages committed by clandestine groups with no obvious social base.

Why should Iraq be different to every other sectarian conflict that has happened? There are some hints, such as the sponsorship of the Badr Brigades, or the exposure of British secret service black-ops such as this. But at the moment we can only ask the question, why? It's possible that asking the question is 3/4 of the way to getting the answer.

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