Iraqi Mosque Reprisals: Teetering On the Brink
It was inevitable that Shi’ite Iraqis would strike back at Sunnis after the destruction of the 9th-century al-Askariya mosque, ‘The Golden Mosque’, in Samarra. Immediately, there was talk of civil war. But one of the key indicators of how difficult it is going to be to pull the sides back from the brink comes from a single paragraph in a Times Online story today.
The reprisal attack on al-Quds Sunni mosque in western Baghdad was typical. Residents ran for cover as more than a dozen masked Shia gunmen raked the building with bullets. The firing halted as suddenly as it had begun. The men stepped back into their six saloons and pulled away slowly, singing and waving jubilant V-signs from the windows. They were ushered from the scene by soldiers from an Iraqi National Guard checkpoint, who cheered and waved.
The Sunnis have long lamented the Shi’ite dominance of the Iraqi Security Forces, though more Sunnis had been joining since the last election. True, this imbalance was of their own making, as the majority of the Sunnis had chosen since early on to either align with the insurgency or refrained from joining the ISF out of fear of reprisals from those around them who supported the insurgency.
But the cause is a moot point at this juncture. If the Iraqi Security Forces are indeed widely conducting themselves in such a manner, they will be a prime factor in what will draw the country into all out civil war, with both Shi’ite and Sunni Iraqis handing victory over to the imported al-Qaeda animals who most surely brought down The Golden Mosque.
It is no surprise that the same ideological thugs who wailed against American forces for disrespecting Islam whenever an armored vehicle rumbled past a mosque or shot at an insurgent sniper taking nested shots from atop a minaret are now the ones who completely destroyed one of Shi’ite Islam’s most sacred mosques. To be sure, it was expected.
From a human perspective, intentionally targeting a house of worship for the effect its destruction would cause is deplorable. But from a strategic perspective, it is a master stroke by beasts who do not hold nearly as dear the ideals they publicly profess. They seek a civil war, with Sunnis killing Shi’ites…and the Kurds, well they can just stay home for this fight, thank you. And, to their credit, they probably would, with the exception of a quick and lopsided fight for Kirkuk. Why would they do otherwise? They, unlike the Iraq to the south, live in relative peace and prosperity in their largely autonomous north.
So, for Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Khalid Mashaal, Hassan Nasrallah, and all those who claim to seek to establish a Muslim Caliphate, witness this day. For this day is but a tiny glimpse of the first day of your Caliphate, when alliances of convenience and necessity among Shi’ite and Sunni sects come to a violent end, and one turns to kill the other for ideological dominance of the new glorious Caliphate and the right to lay down the one ‘true’ Islam.
The bloodshed of their close yet distant ideologies will never cease, not even without an infidel among them. And for the few who wield the power of destruction and persuasion, their hatred and ceaseless mayhem will spell doom for the majority among them, either consumed by the flames of their seemingly endless anger, joining in it, or subjugated and condemned to broken lives by it.
May enough Iraqis see this, especially the largely Shi’ite Iraqi Security Forces, in order to pull back from the brink of their own destruction, Sunni and Shi’ite alike.