Meaningful Message for all Iraqi Political Forces

  • 19 August 2008

The latest developments in Iraq contain an important and meaningful message for all forces, trends, and sectarian groups that there is a common enemy who does not differentiate between Iraqis on racial, religious, or confessional grounds. The terrorist attacks over the last few days that killed and maimed tens of people were aimed equally at Sunnis and Shiites, a fact that proves the point that terrorism is the gravest danger to Iraqis and that its confrontation should be a priority over all others.

Since 2003, terrorist groups have tried many tactics to achieve their goals in Iraq. First, they declared that the Shiites are the enemy in order to sideline the Sunnis and gain their support. Second, they fomented discord between Sunnis and Shiites. Third, they claimed the mantle of fighting foreign troops as a smokescreen for committing heinous crimes against the Iraqi people by arbitrarily bombing markets, streets, and public and private establishments. After the failure of these nefarious tactics, terrorists began to target Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds, and others alike and worked toward exploiting differences between them to feed the flames of conflict because they know they cannot survive without an atmosphere of disagreement, chaos, and tension.

The end of the pilgrimage by three million Iraqis to the city of Karbala to celebrate the "Middle of Sha`ban" occasion without significant disruption by terrorists – aside from small attacks that pale in comparison to others in previous years – indicate that they are suffering from an acute crisis and siege. The security plans put in place have been able to constrain terrorist activities and limit their damage. This, however, does not mean that terrorism will simply give up in Iraq, and the occasional attacks that take place here and there are proof. That's why the latest successes should be maintained, protected, and consolidated through concerted efforts to bridge the differences between the different forces in the country.

Whatever the severity or complication of the problems, good will, the belief in coexistence, and a recognition of the common dangers will help Iraqis arrive at satisfactory compromises with which everyone can live. Conciliation in Iraq is the best support for improvements in security and the best incentive for re-construction. Surrender to differences and exacerbating them will ultimately serve the forces awaiting an occasion to re-shuffle the cards and spread chaos, conflict, and violence among Iraqis.