Friday, December 08, 2006

Can US Prevent Civil War in Iraq?

"If the Iraqi government can't stop sectarian killing today when it is able to call on the world's most powerful military, it can hardly be expected to do so once the Americans have left. The more likely outcome is an escalation of the civil war, with elements of the security forces taking sides. The Shi'ite militias will enjoy numerical superiority and the continued surreptitious backing of Shi'ite Iran. But what the Sunni insurgents lack in numbers, they make up for in greater killing experience. Their suicide bombers, fighters and improvised explosive devices are responsible for the overwhelming majority of the 2,800-plus U.S. deaths in Iraq. And the Sunnis have friends. The U.S. has long accused Syria of harboring both Iraqi Baathists and jihadists of various nationalities who infiltrate Iraq to make mischief. And Iraqi officials routinely claim that the insurgency receives money and men from extremist organizations in neighboring Sunni-majority countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Jordan."

-Aparisim Ghosh, "What We Would Leave Behind" in the December 11, 2006 edition of Time

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