Dafydd: Why Do the Bombings Continue?

Actually, the answer is absurdly simple. There are many, many, many Sunnis in Iraq who are not themselves terrorists; but they know who the terrorists are, where they can be found, and they know that they are plotting to murder dozens of children, women, and other innocents. But because the victims are largely Shia, these Sunni simply do not care enough to become “rats” or “tattletales;” thus the bombings continue.
This probably describes a minority of Sunni, but it must be a sizeable minority, and sufficiently clustered together that there are “safe zones” known to the terrorists where they can plan, plot, and produce their deadly product. That is why the Iraqi forces cannot round them all up: a core group of several thousand are being shielded and supported by a group of cheerleaders for al-Qaeda among the Sunni in Iraq.
There might be a smaller group of Shia in Iraq who are also allowing al-Qaeda to operate freely; but they would have to be in the remote frontier areas, perhaps close to the Iranian border. The deadliest group is the one in the Sunni Triangle.
(By the way, please notice that I am boycotting apostrophes as parts of names. I refuse to jump through that hoop any longer. This is a transliteration anyway. I don’t know if there are apostrophes in Arabic, but if they want them, they can keep them. In English, it’s UnAmerican. No, it’s worse than that… it must be French. In any event, out they go! I’ll keep them for contractions and possessives, as God intended; but until the president becomes Ge’orge B’ush and we all go down to the Ga’alleri’ya, I eschew them for all other purposes.)
Where was I? Oh, yes, “Sunni Triangle.”
Maybe it’s due to fear: the Sunni who know where the terrorists are also know what they’re capable of doing if doublecrossed. Or mayhap it’s because of pent-up rage among some Sunni because they are no longer the masters. I’m sure a great many of these people are literally so low on the social-evolutionary scale that they believe only members of their own tribe are “people,” and members of other tribes are subhumans who can be killed without moral guilt. This is the essence of tribalism, and it exists in every country; but moreso in tribal countries, of course — hence the name.
But for whatever reason, logically, in order for such a widespread campaign of arbitrary bombings, mostly among the Shia, to continue (such as the one today at a gas station that slew more than fifty innocents), there must be a large number of terrorists; and such a large number cannot operate invisibly. They are known; they are observed. And they are allowed to continue.
The terrorists desperately want a civil war. And eventually, light will dawn on the Sunni: they will finally realize that if the terrorists are successful in provoking such a civil war, the Sunni will be annihilated. They will be slaughtered like goats before a feast, because they are vastly outnumbered… and because after decades of fear, terror, and oppression, the Shia are extraordinarily hungry men.
This is really not very complicated stuff. I’m articulating it here, but I know I’m preaching to the choir: everyone here knows this as well as I. At the moment, Grand Ayatollah Sistani and the Shiite members of the government are managing to hold the Shia back from a mass wave of revenge and slaughter. But with sufficient pounding, and with an odious enough indifference by the aforementioned minority of Sunni who know, the dam will burst — and then, the deluge.
That would be terrible, especially for the Sunni. It would be moderately bad for us; but the country of Iraq, and its nascent democracy, would survive… because the Shia have already caught the democracy bug from the Kurds and from us, and they will rebuild a republic from the ashes of the empire that the Baathists built. But it would take a long time, and there would be a lot of dead to bury and revenge-ridden Iraqis to eliminate.
So really, the only question is one of perception: how bright are the Sunni of Iraq? Typically, a civil war does not spring forth fully grown. There is a continuum of rationality among any group of people, and like most things in a statistical world, it tends to fall into a bell curve. At the fringes, there is a small percent of Shia that are irrational enough to retaliate against the Sunni by bombing their mosques and murdering their children. But a “small percent” of millions of people is thousands of people, and that is a lot of potential Shiite suicide bombers.
If this goes on, what will happen is that Ayatollah Sistani and Ibrahim Jaafari will gradually begin to lose control of these fringes. Sunni will begin to die in significant numbers of suicide and other attacks carried out, not by Zarqawi’s al-Qaeda, but by enraged Shia… perhaps relatives or lovers of those killed in an al-Qaeda attack. This is Zarqawi’s plan, of course, and he would cheer, expecting to see a full-scale civil war that somehow, magically, will result in Iraq coming under the control of Zarqawi, or at least once again under the rule of the Baath Party, with whom Zarqawi can deal.
But it doesn’t have to happen that way. When the Sunni suddenly wake up to the reality that it is they who are getting killed — their children, their women, their innocents — when their markets and mosques are being bombed, when their leaders are being ambushed with IEDs, when they start being driven out of mixed neighborhoods by irate Shia… that is their last chance at reclaiming rationality.
The Sunni can at that point realize that their only hope of avoiding a civil war that would obliterate them is to begin, en masse, dropping a dinar on the vast number of Sunni terrorists among them. They can tell Coalition members; they can tell Iraqi police and soldiers. Makes no difference.
But we will know that the Sunni have finally turned the corner when we begin reading about sudden sweeps that net thousands of suspects; when there is a sudden mass exodus across the Syrian border (outward bound); and when the bombers suddenly fall silent.
If that happens, then the Sunni component of Iraq will be saved. If it never does… well, c’est la guerre.

One thought on “Dafydd: Why Do the Bombings Continue?”

  1. Sunni Jeopardy

    Dafydd, the guest blogger at Captains Quarters has a thought provoking article in which he envisions a future Iraq. An Iraq in which enraged Shiite’s finally turn on the Sunni minority.
    The trigger for this? The Sunni indifference to the cont…

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