Saturday, December 02, 2006
So, naturally, the US, and its allies in the media, like Newsweek, are trying to instigate public hostility towards one of the primary political figures trying to prevent the conflict from spiraling out of control. Mahajan's post should be read in its entirety, especially for its insight as to how the administrators of colonial occupation exploit ethnic, religious and social divisions to justify their perpetual presence.
Unfortunately, the United States, by its continuing presence and operations, is creating another force that offers an even more frightening prospect of civil war, with a clear religious basis. The model for potential civil war in Iraq is not, or at least not primarily, Lebanon; it is Algeria. Returned fighters from the Afghan jihad formed the GIA, which has fought the Algerian government in a war that is phenomenally brutal on both sides and that has killed 100,000 people since 1992. That was, for Americans, such a minor byblow of the CIA operation in Afghanistan that even after 9/11 no one talks about it.
The GIA was distinguished by the extremism of its ideology, even among Wahhabis; at one point, bin Laden dissociated himself from them because of their extremism.
In Iraq, that role is to be played by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s Tawhid wal Jihad (Monotheism and Holy War). By “monotheism,” they mean primarily anti-Shi’ism. They are not primarily an anti-occupation force; they target Shi’a directly, with American soldiers occasionally as collateral damage.
So virulent are their methods and ideology that they would have had no chance to grow in the absence of the occupation. Zarqawi emerged openly on the Iraqi scene with a missive in which he denounced the Shi’a for being inherently collaborators with the occupation. Then he had the Ashura bombings of early March carried out, with over 180 killed. At this point, nobody in Iraq supported him.