February 23, 2006
|What's At Stake||Future Iraq Palestine/Middle East|
Yesterday's bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra triggered widespread sectarian violence and prompted the withdrawal of Sunnis from talks aimed at forming a new Iraqi government. There can be little doubt that the bombers, whoever they may be, intended to spark a massive escalation in sectarian fighting, perhaps all-out civil war.
Since the target was a Shiite shrine, everyone seems to assume the attackers were Sunnis, but there are any number of possible candidates. All-out sectarian civil war would bring Iraq a giant step closer to partition into three statelets along sectarian lines — a happy outcome, for example, for neocons here and abroad. Are they pulling the strings? I have no idea. But it is sometimes hard to escape the feeling that the whole Iraq campaign has had, from the outset, the unstated goal of Iraq's partition. Pretty much everything that's happened has furthered that end. But it's perhaps even harder to believe that the people managing the war are secret (evil) geniuses — given that they still can't manage, for example, to armor their own troops. Meanwhile, who knows what other actors are working for Iraq's partition to further their own ends.
Dark days in Iraq.
A longtime reader of PastPeak who sends me thought-provoking emails from time to time wrote me late last night (excerpt):
The destruction of Iraq cannot be undone. The bombing today of the Shiite shrine, which serves no conceivable Sunni insurgent purpose, but brings much closer the final breakup of what was once a modernizing, secular and economically equitable country, cannot be undone. And of course an attack on Iran, by what will, given current European rhetoric, be viewed by Muslims everywhere as an attack by the West, will finally make real the "Clash of Civilizations" the neocons have been dreaming of.
You are right about the overarching importance of Global Warming, and the consequences of the end of the oil economy. In the meantime though all possibility of a rational response to these things will be destroyed by war with the Islamic world.
That last paragraph brought me up short. Of course, he's right. Should the Middle East continue its downward spiral into a far wider war, the war's deadliest consequence would be that the world would miss a critically important window in time, perhaps our last best chance to avert catastrophe on the climate and peak oil fronts.
As we slide towards war in Iran or Syria, let us remember this: peace is a prerequisite for rational and constructive action on the real problems facing humanity. The stakes couldn't be higher. We need peace.