When the debate on whether or not to go into Iraq was being played out, I didn't have a blog. However, I was playing around in the brutal world of political message boards and if you had read many of my posts, you would have read some pieces that conveyed my apprehension at the time, in the whole affair. (Not fear, but apprehension; there is a difference.)
In any intervention of any kind, there are potential side effects or unintended outcomes.
Many people before the war were focused on the gung ho aspect of it all, fully believing it was the right thing to do. But I think some people really did not think about the different scenarios that could play out, if things didn't go as planned. And I do firmly believe that there have been some significant things that have NOT gone as planned.
One of the those side effects made its grand appearance yesterday, as is reported by the AP, via My Way with the hat tip going to Drudge.
The attack on the Shiite mosque yesterday was designed and executed for the specific purpose of inciting a civil war and it appears it may be working. (The London Times thinks so too.) The violence is escalating, throwing the new Iraqi government into its first significant test as a nation. How they respond will be a key indicator as to how much longer we can expect to have troops in Iraq.
If they respond weakly, and Shiites feel they cannot be protected from radical Sunnis, they will begin to form militias. Militias aren't always well regulated and can, in and of themselves, spark more violence. If the government does crack down harshly, then we have a situation where Sunnis will pull out of the government and continue an internal insurgency against the newly elected government. There is a fine line that can be walked here and there is no clear solution.
Iran has weighed in, as they always seem to do in these cases. But in true hostile rogue state fashion, they have not been particularly helpful. For them to suggest that the U.S. or Israel had anything to do with this, is a typical response that one has to expect from an evil regime. Any opportunity to demonize the Israelis or us, is what the Iranians crave in their quest to incite worldwide jihad.
What I think has happened is one of two things. Either, the foreign fighters of al Qaeda (being Sunnis themselves and no big fans of the Shi'a) were responsible or the Iranians did it to incite a civil war, so as to draw the Iraqi Shiite population closer to Iran.
Tha bad news in all of this, is that continued instability will only delay the withdrawal of troops from that region. The good news is, the Muslim world shows no real signs of uniting for the big final, bloody, worldwide jihad, anytime soon.
But beyond all of that, one of the points I want to make is this:
Anytime a brutal and oppressive dictator has ruled a nation for as long and oppressively as Saddam did, the nation becomes a power vacuum after he is gone, unless a powerful, equally as oppressive government follows. Democracy for some is still an experiment, and Iraq is no exception. Just look how hard it has been to de-Stalinize the former Soviet Union. it still isn't completely de-Stalinized, even today. And what we are seeing now in Iraq, is more evidence of this theory coming to light and vaulting into full-fledged "fact" status.
Will there be a civil war in Iraq? Maybe. If it does happen, the only real answer may be to partition it off, into three autonomous regions: A Kurdish region, a Sunni region, and a Shiite region.