A response to Time magazine’s “Why they hate each other”
“Sunnis vs. Shi’ites, Why they Hate each other. What’s really driving the civil war that’s tearing the Middle East apart.”
So proclaims the cover of the March 5th, 2007, issue of Time magazine, U.S and Pacific editions. Presumably, they know better than to put it on the cover of the European edition.
It reminds me of the “Iraq at war with itself” cover of The Economist, May 2006, which featured the face of a bawling Iraqi man. I commented on it here.
Then it was the face of grief. Now it’s the face of hate.
In both cases, Iraqis are portrayed as unfortunately emotional before the typical reader of Time, whose “person of 2006”, let us recall, was You, the face of which is rationality itself, a computer.
Note the shades of “Why do they hate us?” which followed the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.
There is now a rat’s nest of attacks and retaliation, causes and effects. But let’s start with the event which seems to have transformed a united Iraqi resistance to the occupation into a civil war, the bombing of the al-Askari mosque, a little over a year ago.
My own thoughts on this at the time are in The al-Askari mosque: who were those masked gunmen?
Is it true that the mood on the street following the destruction of the dome was anti-Sunni? Not according to Sami Ramadani, writing in The Guardian: The word on the street was (and is) that this was the work of the U.S. and its allies—U.S. and Israeli flags were burned in protest—not Sunni extremists. The mood was anti-occupation, not sectarian.
So who were those masked gunmen who took around 12 hours to plant the explosives under that dome, in the then U.S. controlled Samarra?
It’s a question many Iraqis are asking even now. It underlies Akram Abdulrazzaq’s Iraq’s Car Bombers—Who are They? Why is it that of the thousands of car bombs, not a single owner of these cars has been identified?
He goes on:
Before Baghdad fell to U.S. troops, the country had a sophisticated car registration system, and the authorities were able to identify the owner of any wrecked vehicle in a matter of minutes.
So why not now?
Don’t these cars have registrations and serial numbers? We have yet to hear of the authorities identifying the owner of a single vehicle used in a car bombing or even where it came from.
Iraqis, he argues, are not persuaded by the authorities’ “naive excuses”.
They need the Americans and the Iraqi authorities they support to tell them where in the world all these car bombs are coming from. How is it that they manage to sneak through so many American and Iraqi checkpoints and road blocks, especially in Baghdad?
With more than 80,000 American troops now in Baghdad, and every modern means of technology available to them, how indeed.
Amin al-Hashmee, in Hiding Iraq’s Death Squads is No Game, asks:
How can one ignore the fact that with all of their capabilities, the occupiers and the government failed to prevent a vehicle carrying hundreds of kilos of explosives from freely crossing the border, traveling the streets and passing through check point after check point? On top of that, the authorities have been unable to identify even a single car bomb or person who prepares them; and they have failed to inhibit their passage through government checkpoints on their way to park amid shops and innocent people.
Wouldn’t you think that the “security services” would make a special effort at the February 12 ceremony at the Shorja market to mark the one year anniversary of the bombing of the al-Askari mosque? Two car bombs. At least 80 people killed. [Link]
Where did these cars come from? Who owned them? How is it that the perpetrators of these car bombings are always “unknown”?
Read all of it here.