What does the start of a new civil war in Iraq look like? It looks a lot like this:
The Times reports today matter-of-factly on the pattern of assassinations of Sunni members of the Sons of Iraq militia by Shiite death squads:
American military leaders disagree among themselves about whether the assassinations are increasing or whether some of the killings are merely criminal acts. But they are “watching the numbers closely,” said a military official who attends briefings on attacks.
Yesterday I wrote a lengthy piece for The Nation about the likehihood of a new civil war and a new Sunni resistance movement stemming from the sectarian Shiite government’s refusal to make a political deal with Iraq’s Sunnis. The American military may indeed be “watching the numbers” of murdered Sunnis “closely,” but there’s not much that they intend to do about it. (Here’s a clue for the vaunted US military intelligence people “watching” these assassinations: they’re not “criminal.” They’re political.)
In a major feature this week on the handover of the Awakening movement and the Sons of Iraq to Prime Minister Maliki’s bloodthirsty regime, the Post cited the fears of Ibrahim Suleiman al-Zoubaidi, one of the movement’s leaders in Baghdad:
“They will kill us,” Zoubaidi declared. “One by one.”
Across Baghdad, leaders of the groups speak about the transition in similarly apocalyptic terms. Some have left Baghdad, saying they fear that the Iraqi government will conduct mass arrests after the handover. Others are obtaining passports and say they will flee to Syria.
Reports Leila Fadel of McClatchy, one of the very best reporters in Baghdad:
The Sons of Iraq worry that putting them under the control of Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki is a ploy to detain and disband them. Already, Sons of Iraq leaders in the northern province of Diyala are hiding in neighboring Syria.
Others aren’t fleeing at all. They’ll fight.
It’s going to get uglier. Here’s an excerpt of an important story in the