Friday, November 24, 2006

Race Against Hatred

For three years I've wondered just how stupid Iraq's Sunnis could be. They are a minority and will lose eventually if they persist in fighting and killing Shias. The more time that passes without the Sunnis coming to terms with the Shia majority and the Kurds, the more likely the Sunnis won't like the terms demanded by the majority for ending Shia/Kurd attacks on the Sunnis.

This report indicates that the Sunnis are running out of time:

Shiite militiamen grabbed six Sunnis as they left Friday worship services, doused them with kerosene and burned them alive near Iraqi soldiers who did not intervene, police Capt. Jamil Hussein said.

The savage revenge attack for Thursday's slaying of 215 people in the Shiite Sadr City slum occurred as members of the Mahdi Army militia burned four mosques, and several homes while killing an unknown number of Sunni residents in the once-mixed Hurriyah neighborhood of Baghdad.

Gunmen loyal to radical anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr began taking over the neighborhood this summer and most of its Sunni residents already had fled.
This is extremely dangerous. While our minimum goal of getting rid of an Iraq dangerous to us and its neighbors will be met with a Shia-dominated Iraq with a semi-independent Kurd region and few Sunnis, our medium level goal of an Iraq democracy will be made harder. And our maximum goal of having a regional example that could topple other thug dictatorships (like Syria, Iran, Egypt, or Saudi Arabia) will be even harder to achieve. We need to slow down the rate of violence against civilians. Back before Samarra in February, it looked like the Sunnis would be ground down and defeated without inspiring a major Shia backlash against the Sunnis.

But even as Shias commit even more vicious murders in retaliation for past and continuing Sunni-backed terror (and this does not excuse the murders, but does go far to answer the apparently all-important question of "why they [the Shias] hate them [the Sunnis]"), the prospect of controlling the idiot Iranian pawn Sadr enough to suppress Shia revenge attacks seems to decline. For more than three years I've called for the killing of Sadr (no, his arrest is not enough) as an enemy of the state. But the government doesn't seem able to fully confront him and the Iranians have supplied him with enough to hold out against all but a determined campaign to defeat Sadr's militia.

So the main hope for ending the Shia revenge killings is defeating the Sunnis quickly enough to reduce the motivation for Shia revenge attacks on Sunnis. This is being done in Anbar:

Al Qaeda no longer boasts of a base in western Iraq. To do so would have to address the fact that most al Qaeda losses in the area have been at the hands of angry Sunni Arab tribesmen. The tribes are fighting for their homes, and western Iraq is the only part of the Iraq that is almost wholly Sunni Arab. Angry Kurds and Shia Arabs are driving Sunni Arabs out of other parts of Iraq, and the only alternative to foreign exile, is moving to western Iraq. The only way to hang on to western Iraq is to eliminate the al Qaeda and Baath Party groups that refuse to halt their terrorist operations. Al Qaeda knows it's losing its battle for western Iraq, which is one reason why they have shifted so many resources, especially cash and leadership, to Afghanistan. The al Qaeda defeat in western Iraq has not gotten much attention in the media, but it's there, it's real and it will soon be over.

The question is whether there will be any Sunnis left outside of Anbar after the Sunnis finally go down in defeat and reduce the Shia desire for random revenge attacks. Truly, the Sunnis are, in the end, their own worst enemies.

UPDATE: Sadly, the source for the lead report, "Capt. Jamil Hussein," does not in fact exist. Well, to be more exact, he is not a captain (or any other rank) in the Iraqi police. But he is a regular source for stories of atrocities that AP publishes.

But for our Sunni terrorist enemies inside Iraq whose hope for victory is pinned on inspiring enough fear in Iraqi Sunnis to get them to join the Sunni-based terrorists, it doesn't matter whether horrible attacks take place, just that the Sunnis believe they take place.