The Sunni are threatening to imminently pull out of the Malaki Government if the Shiite death squads are not being actively disarmed by this time next week. This could make the government just a little too fragile to survive a no-confidence vote, if any other party was strong enough to risk taking power. The number of political assassinations make the prospect of being in government at this time less than delightful. The job probably pays well but the likelihood of surviving each week in office is increasingly grim. And the Sunni who are helping battle people being called “Al Qaeda” but who are actually Salafi Jihadis – and not strictly the same thing – want to carry on when that is over and get the Shiites in the South.
“If this is not civil war…” statements do not clarify what it is. It is a concerted effort by a number of parties to be in control of Iraq’s vast oil wealth. It is also a question of loyalty and brotherhood. Can Iraq take possession of its jewel collectively without slaughtering each other?
Perhaps we should be saying “Look, this IS A CIVIL war with specific objectives. Now what we are going to be able to achieve by occupation is… and that means….”
Then perhaps the American troops would be able to improve matters by fulfilling a valuable role rather than just battling “terrorists” with no clear objective except to cause trouble for the Americans.