This week marks the beginning of the Iraqi Civil War. The American mission in Iraq is over. We can either stay and fight everyone, pick sides, or leave. No choice open to America now will improve the situation on the ground.
The events kicked off by the Samarra bombing have now been book-ended by the attack on the mosque in Baghdad. We have entered the fray in a big way with the attack on the mosque. Images of the dead lying in a prayer room in the mosque and reports that the 80-year-old imam of the mosque has also been killed are being beamed continuously to everyone with a TV and electricity in Iraq. The American military’s protestations that the mosque was not entered will fall on deaf ears. We have no credibility there – not only because we are not trusted, but also because we have been unable or unwilling to stop the bloodletting there.
The ingredient missing from Iraq’s slide into civil war was mainstream outrage and anger and an embracing of the sectarian militias as the only guarantors of security. We have, perhaps unwittingly, provided the last piece of the puzzle and now the civil war picture is complete.