August 02, 2006
by: jovial_cynic
With the increase in Iraqi sectarian violence between Shi`ites and Sunnis (which has led to more deaths of innocents), it's key to note that US occupation was the catalyst for destabilization. There are rumors and conspiracy theories about the goals of the US occupation -- some stating that the US wanted destabilize Iraq, and some stating that the US deposed Saddam to gain favor with the Shi`ite groups... but in the end, the result is massive sectarian violence between two major factions. This sort of thing tends to come in the aftermath of a power-void, and since the two factions are Islamic fundamentalists (as opposed to Saddam's largely secular rule), the citizens of Iraq may find themselves under greater oppressive rule than before. Both the Shi`ites and Sunnis aren't terribly fond of the US, so it's not going to be easy for the US to maintain some semblance of stability in Iraq.

In Lebanon, we are on the cusp of another power void, and the new players are a familiar face -- the radical Shi`ite and the Sunni groups. This will certainly make things worse for Israel, worse for the US, and worse for the Lebanese people.

As'ad AbuKhalil writes on this post:

The future trends in Lebanese politics are not going to be good. Secular and leftist groups and parties will be increasingly marginalized. Tomorrow, a new Islamic fundamentalist front will be founded in Lebanon. The Islamic Action Front will be announced by its founder, Islamic fundamentalist thinker, Fathi Yakan, who broke with Al-Jama`ah Al-Islamiyyah in the wake of Hariri's assassination. The Sunni front will comprise many radical Sunni fundamentalist groups and will declare its support for Hizbullah. I think that Sunni and Shi`ite politics in Lebanon will become more fundamentalist out of this, not less. This new front will weaken the stance of Al-Jama`ah Al-Islamiyyah which has clearly distanced itself from Hariri Inc since the Isareli war started. It is likely that Hariri Inc may try to cultivate and finance some of the kooky Bin Ladenite groups in order to prop up their "Islamist credentials." They have done that in the past.
np category: politics


Luke said:
Not sure if I read you right. Are you suggesting that the Sunnis and Shi'ites are fighting BECAUSE of US occupation? They've been fighting for years! Sunnis have killed 600,000 Shi'ites (and others) in Africa over the last decade (with no US occupation). Maybe I'm not reading you right...
August 02, 2006

jovial_cynic said:
No, you're not reading me right. For the case of Iraq, a balance of power was established. The Shi`ites did their thing, the Sunnis did their thing, and there wasn't a great deal of strife in Iraq. Yes, I'm aware of the Shi`ite massacre that happened under Saddam, and while I certainly don't defend it, the power-politics make sense - dictators generally try to squash rebellions. However, you did not see Sunni and Shi`ite death squads roaming the streets of Iraq as you do now; the two groups (as far as daily civilian life is concerned) were in a state of general inactivity under Saddam.

... and then enters the US, which removes Saddam and his army, and then you have Sunni and Shi`ite warlords grasping for power, which results in the death of a lot of innocent people. Iraq is undergoing a civil war right now, and the US invasion was the clear catalyst.

It's possible that civil war may have come about anyway... but it's also possible that Saddam's successor would have maintained the same secular control over the country for the next several decades, and who knows -- continued successors could have carried the same plan for hundreds of years.

I think a bad dictator is sometimes better than civil war under fundamentalist zealous warlords. I think less people die. I'd argue that a circumstance in which less people suffer and die is preferable.

August 02, 2006

Luke said:
Fair enough but you'd have to demonstrate that less people are dying than under the regime of Saddam. The Iraqi war, I don't believe, has even come close to the number of people killed under Saddam's regime (civilians, Shi'ites/Sunnies, Turks, etc...). Plus under his dictatorship there was no control to stop terrorists from residing and grouping together in camps for training and planning. Hopefully under the new leadership terrorists will be sought out and ended.
August 02, 2006

jovial_cynic said:
Actually, I tied together some arguments that don't work so well together. Here's the information, sorted a little more clearly:

In Iraq, the US invasion led to the collapse of the power balance, creating civil war in Iraq. Yes - many more civilians died under Saddam than during the US occupasion. This page outlines that out pretty well. Anyhow, my point about Iraq is that by disrupting the power-balance, the US is going to end up having to deal with even greater anti-US sentiments, because both the militant Shi`ites and the Sunnis hate the West.

In Lebanon, where we do not have a dictator, we have another disruption of a power-balance... in which case I do believe that more innocent people will die than before Israeli's attacks.

So... yes. Saddam's 700,000+ civilian executions far outweigh the civilian deaths since the US invasion of Iraq. I unintentionally mashed Iraq and Lebanon on the civilian issue when I only meant to connect them on the power-void issue.

August 02, 2006

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