Saturday, February 24, 2007

Time Magazine: Behind the Sunni-Shi'ite Divide

I have posted so much about this subject that I'm tired. If people are reading my posts they are not bothering to leave comments, pro or con. Since so much material is already available to search engines one more item will get lost in the volume, but this piece is especially well-done. These people have done their homework. No big news, but the uninformed reader trying to figure out what's going on in Iraq should find a quiet place to read and stay on task reading this piece until it sinks in.
Thanks, 3Quarks.

...Hatred has gone mainstream, spreading first to victims of the violence and their families--the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have lost loved ones, jobs, homes, occasionally entire neighborhoods--and then into the wider society. Now it permeates not only the rancorous political discourse of Baghdad's Green Zone but also ordinary conversations in homes and marketplaces, arousing a fury even in those who have no obvious, pressing grievance. Neither Muslawi nor Hussein has suffered personal loss, but they are relatively able to tap into the same loathing that motivates the Shi'ite militias and Sunni jihadis. "The air has become poisoned [by sectarianism], and we have all been breathing it," says Abbas Fadhil, a Baghdad physician. "And so now everybody is talking the same language, whether they are educated or illiterate, secular or religious, violent or not."


It's too early to tell if the new operation will damp down sectarian tensions. "There are more ways in which this could go wrong than go right," says political analyst Tahseen al-Shekhli. "We have seen too many plans fail to have any faith in this one." Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a lifelong Shi'ite partisan, has shown little patience for Sunni grievances and has failed to start an oft-promised national reconciliation process. So despite his professed conviction that the security operation is working, chances remain high that it will eventually falter, brought down by the inability of Sunnis and Shi'ites to find a political settlement or the reduction of U.S. forces that is
bound to happen one day.

No comments: