Sunday, December 19, 2004

Sunday, bloody Sunday

The tempo of death accelerates. AP for Sunday has the story:
Car bombs tore through a Najaf funeral procession and Karbala's main bus station Sunday, killing at least 60 people and wounding more than 120 in the two Shiite holy cities. In Baghdad, gunmen launched a bold ambush, executing three election officials, in their campaign to disrupt next month's parliamentary ballot. ...

The bombings in Najaf and Karbala, which Shiite officials suspected were coordinated, were the deadliest attacks since July. They were a bloody reminder that the Shiite heartland in the south - not just the Sunni regions of central and northern Iraq - is vulnerable to the mainly Sunni insurgents aiming to wreck the vote.
It's foolish and short-sighted to link everything to the vote, that is, to make "disrupting the vote" the goal of every violent act. First because the opposition started long before there was even discussion of the January elections, long before anyone even knew what form the existing interim government would take, long before anyone knew for sure there would even be an interim government.

Second and more importantly, it turns the election into another of those moments of supposed finality, the act that was going to mark the creation of a "new" Iraq and de-legitimize the resistance. Just like the settlement on an interim constitution. Just like the so-called transfer of authority. The underlying assumption - the underlying hope - the underlying fantasy - is that when the elections take place, the insurgents will have somehow "lost" and the issue will be settled.

I think the elections - or at least some form of them - will take place as scheduled; there is simply too much invested in that date to expect anyone to back away from it. Even if only some areas can vote, even if it's little more than a demonstration election, it will happen. But it won't end the issue. Because the elections aren't the issue. As I said on Wednesday, the issue has "more to do with who will be dominant in Iraq."

Is a suicide bombing of a funeral procession an attack on occupation forces? Is a bomb in a bus station calculated to drive US troops from Iraq? The targets in these attacks, attacks which fit a classic definition of terrorism - violence against civilians for political gain - were not US forces, they were not even military. The targets were Shiites. Does anyone really imagine that once the elections are over, that the insurgents, having failed to stop them, will simply give up?

Two weeks after it was first asked, the question rings truer and truer: Has civil war already started in Iraq?

No comments:

// I Support The Occupy Movement : banner and script by @jeffcouturer / (v1.2) document.write('
I support the OCCUPY movement
');function occupySwap(whichState){if(whichState==1){document.getElementById('occupyimg').src=""}else{document.getElementById('occupyimg').src=""}} document.write('');