Iraq: November 5, 2004

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The Sunni Arab terror campaign against Iraqis and foreigners continues, with the government hesitating on going after Sunni strongholds like Fallujah. The roads into Fallujah, which lies astride the main highway to Jordan, have been now closed by U.S. and Iraqi forces. An attack seems imminent. Iraqi president Allawi knows that an attack on Fallujah, and other Sunni cities, would be seen as the start of a civil war between Iraqi Sunni Arabs, and the rest of the population (the 80 percent who are Shia Arabs, Sunni Kurds and Christians.) Allawi knows that the Sunni Arabs cannot regain power, not as long as United States troops are there to back the majority. But too many Sunni Arab factions are unwilling to accept the non-Sunni majority running the country. Many of these diehards are Baath party officials, some of them want Saddam back in power. Others support a religious dictatorship, led by Sunni Arab clerics. Some are foreigners, Sunnis from neighboring countries who do not want to see Kurds or Shia Arabs take control of a "Sunni" country. The Sunnis are aware that this is evil, that the Sunni Arabs have no inherent right to rule the Arab world. So you only hear the "Sunnis are superior" line in Mosques, or coffee shops. The Arab media pushes the more palatable (to Western ears) line that the fighting in Iraq is from a spontaneous "Arab resistance" to the "foreign occupation." Most Iraqis consider this just another Sunni scam to steal Iraq's oil wealth for themselves, as they have done for the last few decades. 

Allawi knows that if he can get Sunni leaders to turn against the Sunni gunmen and terrorists, a civil war can be avoided. If the civil war cannot be avoided, the Sunnis will lose. But this will leave in its wake even more resentment and desire for revenge from the Sunni Arabs. The neighboring Sunni Arab countries will also be more hostile, and Iraq will find itself looking more to Shia Iran for alliances. The problem with that is Iran's current government, dominated by a Shia Islamic conservative minority, will want to use Iraq for more political and religious mischief in the Persian Gulf. .

Allawi is also under pressure from many Kurds and Shia Arabs to simply flatten Fallujah, and any other Sunni city that harbors terrorists, and give the Sunni's a taste of what they have been giving out for many decades. There is hardly a Kurdish or Shia Arab family that does not have a member who was killed, imprisoned or mutilated by a Sunni Arab thug working for Saddam, the Sunni Arabs in general. There's a lot of hate and desperation out there. The Kurds and Shia Arabs hate the Sunni Arabs, and the Sunni Arabs are desperate to avoid paying for their past atrocities. As much as Allawi would like to calm the calls for revenge, he may have to purge them with fire. 

 

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