Døden som rammer uskyldige sivile nærmer seg et nivå hvor sunniene kan skremmes til å inngå kompromiss. Alternativet er å bli styrt av shiaene og Iran, sier kurdervenn og diplomat Peter Galbraith.

Peter Galbraith of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, a former US ambassador, said Zarqawi’s brutal war aims were already being met.

«There is a civil war in Iraq,» he said. «It’s being waged by Sunni insurgents, principally commanded by Zarqawi, whose aim is to kill as many Shi’ites as possible. In retaliation, there is a dirty war of the sort you got in Central America. People in police uniforms pick up Sunnis and they end up as mutilated corpses.»

«Increasingly the British and American forces are irrelevant to what is going on,» said Galbraith. «The insurgents’ strategy from the beginning has been to foment civil war, but it is also because power has shifted in Iraq from the American occupation to the Shi’ite-led government and to Iran.»

That reality could eventually persuade resentful Sunnis to accept a federal Iraq rather than fight an all-out civil war and face the prospect of bitter defeat. «In the end they are going to have to welcome it because the alternative is that they get run by the Iranians and the Shi’ites,» Galbraith said. The sickening killing of civilians could ultimately provide the strongest incentive to stop the war.

Det er tegn til at sunniene er skremt av risikoen for borgerkrig.
Foreningen av sunni-skriftlærde tok avstand fra Zarqawis krigserklæring mot shiaene. Hans mål kan bare resultere i borgerkrig. Det er en krig sunniene aldri kan vinne.

The Muslim Scholars Association, an organisation of hardline Sunni clerics, demanded that Zarqawi retract his threats. «What Zarqawi said is very dangerous and plays into the hands of the occupier who wants to split up the country and spark a civil war,» it said in a statement. «It harms the image of jihad, obstructs the success of the resistance and leads to more innocent Iraqi bloodshed.»

Selvmordsbomberne har høstet mye død i Bagdad og andre steder i uken som gikk. Likevel sier amerikanerne at de har hatt fremgang i nord.

Colonel Robert Brown, commander of an infantry brigade in the northern city of Mosul, was particularly upbeat. «One of the great pieces of information we got recently is 80% of the Al-Qaeda network in the north has been devastated,» Brown said. «Those are not our figures, those came from the last six leaders in Mosul — Al-Qaeda leaders that we captured. They told us that…So we’re very proud.» Two more alleged Al-Qaeda leaders were detained in the city yesterday.

The foreign fighters were an increasingly bedraggled lot, Brown added. «They’re very poorly trained. We would call them more like RPGs (rocket-propelled grenade launchers) for hire.» Zarqawi’s organisation was having trouble recruiting new leaders because «if they step up, they get captured or killed».

Dette rimer ikke helt med meldingen om at flere sunni-opprørsgrupper har underkastet seg Zarqawis kommando.

Den høyt respekterte Michael Clarke sier mye avhenger av om regjeringen står oppreist. Hvis folk mister tilliten til myndighetene, vil de begynne å se seg om etter lokale grupper for beskyttelse.

Professor Michael Clarke, director of the International Policy Institute at King’s College London, said Zarqawi was moving in a «classic progression» from a terrorist phase to a guerrilla phase. «First you create mayhem, then you establish no-go areas, then you take wider control. We’ve not reached civil war yet, but we are a long way down that road.»

The tipping point, Clarke suggested, could come when «the majority of people stop having faith in a future for Iraq» and begin to look to their own communities for protection, as happened in Yugoslavia. «When the idea of a state collapses, it can collapse almost overnight,» he warned.

Race against time to stop Iraq civil war

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