Is civil war in Iraq inevitable?

Is an Iraqi civil war inevitable

  • Yes

    Votes: 33 55.0%
  • No

    Votes: 27 45.0%

  • Total voters
    60
  • Poll closed .
  • #101
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Civil war apparently can have various definitions. But when the people start to leave the country to escape the violence, that is a good indicator there is something more than sectarian bloodshed going on.:rolleyes:


Updated: 4:43 p.m. MT Oct 13, 2006
GENEVA - Thousands of Iraqis are fleeing the country every day in a “steady, silent exodus” and a spike in sectarian violence has stopped others from returning to their homeland, the U.N. refugee agency said on Friday.
 
  • #102
Astronuc
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Exiting Iraq: A Discussion
Exiting Iraq: Adeed Dawisha's View
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6397238
Weekend Edition Saturday, October 28, 2006 · Adeed Dawisha is a professor of political science at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Born in Iraq, Dawisha urges the United States to acknowledge that his homeland is a de facto segregated country. He wants American diplomats to urge the Iraqi government toward a peaceful partition or a loosely federated state.
Apparently something like 500,000 Iraqis have been internally displaced and sectarian killings are more or less a daily occurrence. It sure sounds like a civil war to me. :rolleyes:

Partitioning the country would represent a failure. However, the Bush administration will redefine victory so as to claim victory. :yuck:

Who will maintain security in Anbar province, which could become like the tribal lands in Pakistan? It would appear that the US forces will maintain a permanent presence in the region, which means Iraq and the other nations are not exactly free.
 
  • #103
Astronuc
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The Case For Dividing Iraq
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1555130,00.html
With the country descending into civil war, a noted diplomat and author argues why partition may be the U.S.'s only exit strategy
By PETER W. GALBRAITH

Iraq is broken!

Iraq's national-unity government is not united and does not govern. Iraqi security forces, the centerpiece of the U.S.'s efforts for stability, are ineffective or, even worse, combatants in the country's escalating civil war. President George W. Bush says the U.S.'s goal is a unified and democratic Iraq, but we have no way to get there. As Americans search for answers, there is one obvious alternative: split Iraq into separate Kurdish, Sunni and Shi'ite states.

The case for the partition of Iraq is straightforward: It has already happened. The Kurds, a non-Arab people who live in the country's north, enjoy the independence they long dreamed about. The Iraqi flag does not fly in Kurdistan, which has a democratically elected government and its own army. In southern Iraq, Shi'ite religious parties have carved out theocratic fiefdoms, using militias that now number in the tens of thousands to enforce an Iranian-style Islamic rule. To the west, Iraq's Sunni provinces have become chaotic no-go zones, with Islamic insurgents controlling Anbar province while Baathists and Islamic radicals operate barely below the surface in Salahaddin and Nineveh. And Baghdad, the heart of Iraq, is now partitioned between the Shi'ite east and the Sunni west. The Mahdi Army, the most radical of the Shi'ite militias, controls almost all the Shi'ite neighborhoods, and al-Qaeda has a large role in Sunni areas. Once a melting pot, Baghdad has become the front line of Iraq's Sunni-Shi'ite war, which is claiming at least 100 lives every day.

Most Iraqis do not want civil war. But they have rejected the idea of a unified Iraq. In the December 2005 national elections, Shi'ites voted overwhelmingly for Shi'ite religious parties, Sunni Arabs for Sunni religious or nationalist parties, and the Kurds for Kurdish nationalist parties. Fewer than 10% of Iraq's Arabs crossed sectarian lines. The Kurds voted 98.7% for independence in a nonbinding referendum.

Iraq's new constitution, approved by 80% of Iraq's voters, is a road map to partition. The constitution allows Iraq's three main groups to establish powerful regions, each with its own government, substantial control over the oil resources in its territory and even its own regional army. Regional law supersedes federal law on almost all matters. The central government is so powerless that, under the constitution, it cannot even impose a tax.

American leaders seem to be in denial about these facts. . . . . .
The Bush strategy has failed, and failed as Bush was declaring "Mission Accomplished". What happens with Sunni and Shiite areas if Iraq is divided. Will the US be welcome? Maybe in the Kurdish north, but that may be it. Resentment may last a generation or two for all the people killed during the US occupation.
 
  • #104
BobG
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Partitioning will be messy - just like it was in Yugoslavia. It's easy to designate some areas as definitely Kurdish, Sunni, or Shi'ite, but there will still be trouble over the overlapping regions. There also has to be a way to give the Sunni region at least enough of the oil revenues to keep them from raiding the Shi'ite and Kurdish regions.

There's going to be a lot of concern by Iraq neighbors if the country breaks up into an independent Kurdistan, Sunni region, and Shi'ite region. Some of Iraq's neighbors might be a little more accepting of any idea that avoids total catastrophe, or maybe they'll just stand in the way of any decision that they've been left out of.

That doesn't mean I don't think partitioning isn't a more realistic and easier solution than we're pursuing now. It just means I'll be surprised if it's a lot easier. Any direction points to a long road, which probably makes it even more important not to waste too much time following the wrong one.
 
  • #105
Astronuc
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It would be great if the various groups could reconcile and stay together as on stable nation state, but how do they overcome the incessant retribution and retaliation. If they would stop with the tit-for-tat killings and kidnappings, there might be a chance.
 
  • #106
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The jobless rate in Iraq is horrible. These people need jobs. If these people had jobs to go to it would decrease the violence. They need some kind of a public works program, and a leader that wasn't selected by the USA.

We have 14 permanent military bases under construction in Iraq along with a $5 billion dollar embassy. Most of the workers are from India, because we dont trust the workers of the country which we liberated.:rolleyes:

Somehow we have to get the men of Iraq back in the workplace. If half of those 14 U.S. bases were converted into trade and commercial centers complete with trade schools, housing, police and jobs I think it would help. "As my mother used to say: Idle hands are the devils plaything."
 
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  • #107
Astronuc
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Iraqi Official: 150,000 Civilians Dead
from The Associated Press
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5642694 [Broken]

BAGHDAD, Iraq November 9, 2006, 5:03 p.m. ET · A stunning new death count emerged Thursday, as Iraq's health minister estimated at least 150,000 civilians have been killed in the war -- about three times previously accepted estimates.

Moderate Sunni Muslims, meanwhile, threatened to walk away from politics and pick up guns, while the Shiite-dominated government renewed pressure on the United States to unleash the Iraqi army and claimed it could crush violence in six months.

After Democrats swept to majorities in both houses of the U.S. Congress and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld resigned, Iraqis appeared unsettled and seemed to sense the potential for an even bloodier conflict because future American policy is uncertain. As a result, positions hardened on both sides of the country's deepening sectarian divide.

Previous estimates of Iraq deaths held that 45,000-50,000 have been killed in the nearly 44-month-old conflict, according to partial figures from Iraqi institutions and media reports.

No official count has ever been available, and Health Minister Ali al-Shemari did not detail how he arrived at the new estimate of 150,000, which he provided to reporters during a visit to the Austrian capital.

But later Thursday, Hassan Salem, of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, or SCIRI, said the 150,000 figure included civilians, police and the bodies of people who were abducted, later found dead and collected at morgues run by the Health Ministry.
Seems an awful lot like a civil war to me.
 
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  • #108
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Another study has the death toll over 600,000. Is that possible or am I miscounting zero's?:confused:

A new household survey of Iraq has found that approximately 600,000 people have been killed in the violence of the war that began with the U.S. invasion in March 2003. The survey was conducted by an American and Iraqi team of public health researchers. Data were collected by Iraqi medical doctors with analysis conducted by faculty of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. The results will be published in the British medical journal, The Lancet.
http://i.a.cnn.net/cnn/2006/images/10/11/human.cost.of.war.pdf
 
  • #109
Office_Shredder
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That study has been largley discounted, because it used a number of methods that artificially boosted the count (such as interviewing people who lived on main roads exclusively, even though people who live on main roads have a higher chance of being killed)
 
  • #110
Gokul43201
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Office_Shredder said:
That study has been largley discounted, because it used a number of methods that artificially boosted the count (such as interviewing people who lived on main roads exclusively, even though people who live on main roads have a higher chance of being killed)
It has been discounted? I'd like to see the rebuttal.

Edward, the peer-reviewed study you quote does not count the number of killed but in fact does a calculation based on estimation of death rates (so it counts the increase in number of deaths as a result of the war) - the same kind of calculation that has been used for years now to calculate deaths from epidemics and famines. I saw a CNN(?) interview where (I believe it was) John Zogby (who) said the survey methodology was sound and that he felt confident in its results. He also said that the disparity between this number and the typical numbers reported by the media is partly because the media isn't counting all the deaths in the country (most of the media is concentrated in the green zone, and has little knowledge of what happens in remote parts of the country) but also because the two different sources are talking about two different numbers.
 
  • #111
turbo
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Gokul43201 said:
It has been discounted? I'd like to see the rebuttal.

Edward, the peer-reviewed study you quote does not count the number of killed but in fact does a calculation based on estimation of death rates (so it counts the increase in number of deaths as a result of the war) - the same kind of calculation that has been used for years now to calculate deaths from epidemics and famines. I saw a CNN(?) interview where (I believe it was) John Zogby (who) said the survey methodology was sound and that he felt confident in its results. He also said that the disparity between this number and the typical numbers reported by the media is partly because the media isn't counting all the deaths in the country (most of the media is concentrated in the green zone, and has little knowledge of what happens in remote parts of the country) but also because the two different sources are talking about two different numbers.
And anybody that thinks the Iraqi Health Ministry knows about ALL the people killed in this war and is willing to report on all of them is in serious need of some education.
 
  • #112
Astronuc
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edward said:
Another study has the death toll over 600,000. Is that possible or am I miscounting zero's?
No, this the same study Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health which was reported in October and is to be published in the Lancet, the principal medical journal in the UK.

'Huge rise' in Iraqi death tolls
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6040054.stm


I don't know that the study has been discounted, but it has been dismissed by the Bush administration, and certainly is disputed by others. We may never know because people have just disappeared, which could be due to internal/external migration, kidnapping, in addition to being killed.
 
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  • #113
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Astronuc said:
No, this the same study Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health which was reported in October and is to be published in the Lancet, the principal medical journal in the UK.

'Huge rise' in Iraqi death tolls
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6040054.stm
I was referring to a previous study published in the Lancet that had the total around 100,000. I think it was done in 04.

The latest one was funded by MIT.
http://www-tech.mit.edu/V126/N45/45iraq.html

Duh Ok we are talking about the same study.
 
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  • #114
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Office_Shredder said:
That study has been largley discounted, because it used a number of methods that artificially boosted the count (such as interviewing people who lived on main roads exclusively, even though people who live on main roads have a higher chance of being killed)
I would like to see a source for that info.

The Johns Hopkins team conducted its study using a methodology known as "cluster sampling." That involved randomly picking 47 clusters of households for a total 1,849 households, scattered across Iraq. Team members interviewed each household about any deaths in the family during the 40 months since the invasion, as well as in the year before the invasion. The team says it reviewed death certificates for 92% of all deaths reported. Based on those figures, it tabulated national mortality rates for various periods before and after the start of the war. The mortality rate last year was nearly four times the preinvasion rate, the study found.
http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB116052896787288831.html
 
  • #115
Astronuc
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Syria and Iran: Keys to Iraq Peace?
Nov. 12, 2006 — Despite past disagreements with Syria and Iran, if a bipartisan commission recommends talks with them to improve the situation in Iraq, the Bush administration will be open to the suggestion, White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten told ABC News' "This Week."

Bush is slated to meet Monday with the Iraq Study Group, co-chaired by former Secretary of State James Baker. The panel is supposed to advise the president on new strategies in Iraq.

Recently on "This Week," Baker indicated that he thought negotiating with Syria and Iran could be a strategy for improving the situation in Iraq. The commission will reportedly recommend such a solution during talks with Bush this week.

"Iran and Syria have been meddling in Iraq in a very unhelpful way," Bolten told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos. "Iranian weapons and technology have found their way into the Iraqi conflict and are being used to kill Iraqis and American soldiers. … That needs to stop."

"That said, we'll be open to what the Baker/Hamilton commission has to recommend, and we'll be trying to treat that in as open and bipartisan a way as possible," he said.

After meeting with the president and other top administration officials Monday, the study group plans to brief Democrats on Tuesday. The group's members hope to release their final report within weeks.

Analysts Weigh In

"There's no silver bullet here," said retired U.S. Gen. Jack Keane, an ABC News military analyst. "So I think their plan will reflect a political strategy, a military strategy, an economic one and a very strong diplomatic one."

. . . .
A bit too early to plan a vacation in Baghdad or Basra.
 
  • #116
Office_Shredder
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http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/story/0,,1930001,00.html

The critics argued that the Lancet paper does not indicate that the researchers moved far enough away from the main street. "The further away you get, the further you are from the convoys that roll down the streets and the car bombs and the general violence," said Sean Gourley. "By sampling only cross streets which are more accessible, you get an over-estimation of deaths."
 
  • #117
Gokul43201
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Office_Shredder said:
I don't see anything there that says the "study has been largely discounted". All I see is one group of people arguing that the methodology is flawed and the other group rebutting that (i) the first group does not know the complete details of the methodology, and (ii) that the sampling was done to relfect actual distributions and hence isn't flawed (and it certainly doesn't say that it "exclusively" interviewed people on main streets...in fact, it clearly rebuts any such thing).
 
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  • #118
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Sean Gourley and Professor Neil Johnson of the physics department at Oxford University and Professor Michael Spagat of the economics department of Royal Holloway, University of London, claimed the methodology of the study was fundamentally flawed by what they term "main street bias".
Perhap these guys should actually go to Iraq before making a judgement call. The Shiite vs Sunni killings are not just happening on the main streets. In other incidents, more people are killed on the main streets because more people are on the main streets as compared to more rural areas or side streets. If the bombs were blasting craters in vacant streets the death toll would naturally be lower.
 
  • #120
BobG
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It looks like any debate over whether civil war is inevitable or whether Iraq is already in a civil war will be ended in a few days. Whatever Baker's group's recommendations may be, they'll be too late to ever be implemented.
Sunni mosques attacked
al-Sadr's group may only control 30 seats in the parliament, but I think their effect will be larger than that. It will be the start of the break up of the Iraqi government.

I don't see any hope of maintaining even a semblance of control.
 
  • #121
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I don't see any hope of maintaining even a semblance of control.
The people in the know, knew that Bush's *experiment* (If you call it that) would end worse than it was started, all those years ago with shock and awe!
 
  • #122
Astronuc
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Shiite Ministers Threaten to Boycott Parliament
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6533222
Morning Edition, November 24, 2006 · The political block loyal to the radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is threatening to withdraw from the Iraqi government if Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki meets with President Bush next week in Jordan. The announcement comes on the heals of mass explosions that killed more than 200 people in Sadr City, Baghdad's Shiite stronghold.

Government officials issued a 24-hour curfew after mortars were fired on the holiest Sunni shrine in the capital, a suspected Shiia reprisal to yesterday's triple-car bombing in Sadar city.

Yesterday's violence was the single bloodiest attack since the U.S.- led invasion in 2003, and adds to worries by both the American and Iraqi governments that the sectarian violence could erupt into a civil war.
Well - others maintain that Iraq has been involved in civil war for many months, if not 2-3 years. They however indicate that it could get worse.

Shiite Militiamen Kill 25 Sunnis in Iraq
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5642694 [Broken]
BAGHDAD, Iraq November 24, 2006, 1:05 p.m. ET · Shiite militiamen doused six Sunni Arabs with kerosene and burned them alive as Iraqi soldiers stood by, and killed 19 other Sunnis in attacks on their mosques Friday, taking revenge for the slaughter of at least 215 Shiites in the Sadr City slum the day before.

The mosque attacks came after the government, in a desperate attempt to avert civil war, imposed a sweeping curfew on the capital, shut down the international airport and closed the country's main outlet to the shipping lanes in the Persian Gulf.

The Mahdi Army militiamen, armed with machines guns and rocket-propelled grenades, swept through Hurriyah neighborhood near an Iraqi army post, burning four mosques and several homes, and attacking worshippers as they left Friday services, said police Capt. Jamil Hussein. Gunmen loyal to the radical anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr had begun to take over the mixed neighborhood this summer and a majority of its Sunni residents had fled.
Sectarian Violence in Baghdad Kills at Least 130
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6531100

This morning, I heard over 144 were killed, but I don't know if that included Shiite retaliation, or its just those killed in Sadr City.
 
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  • #123
turbo
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This morning, I heard over 144 were killed, but I don't know if that included Shiite retaliation, or its just those killed in Sadr City.
Apparently, those seriously injured in Thursday's attack are still dying. The death toll has topped 215 and Shiite militia have immolated a number of Sunnis in retaliation while Iraqi troops looked on.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061124/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq_061124144023 [Broken]
 
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  • #124
Ivan Seeking
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I have to laugh when I hear how Iraqi troops or police who stood by idly, or who even participated while civilians were slaughtered, just need more training.

It will be interesting to see how close I came with this poll. It is set to close Dec 21st. Based on what the analysts were saying, I was betting that by then the question would be moot.
 
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  • #125
Gokul43201
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How does one tell when there's a civil war on? Does it take uniformed armies fighting on battlegrounds, death rates exceeding some number, a group of "experts" deciding to call it that,...what?
 
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