The recent proclamations that Iraq is on the brink of civil war appear to be premature. In spite of the media’s reports about civil war in Iraq, the Pentagon doesn’t see things that way. Instead, it says the current violence in response to the bombing of the Golden Mosque is the largest challenge so far but doesn’t see Iraq moving into a civil war:
“What the extremists are trying to do is to foment a civil war. But we don’t see it. We don’t see it succeeding,” said Peter Rodman, assistant secretary of defense.
Rodman, however, said the burst of sectarian violence is the biggest test of US efforts to stabilize the country since the assassination in August 2003 of Shiite leader Mohammad Baqer al-Hakim in a car bombing in Najaf.
A key indicator, he said, will be whether political leaders resume negotiations on forming a new government, which broke off after the mosque bombing.
And this may happen as the elected Sunni leaders are prepared to return to government negotiations:
BAGHDAD, Iraq — The main Sunni Arab political bloc said Saturday it “will not hesitate to reconsider” its decision pulling out of talks on a new government if Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari takes steps he promised to ease the sectarian crisis.
The Iraqi Accordance Front welcomed a statement Friday by al-Jaafari promising to rebuild the Shiite shrine in Samarra that was destroyed in a bombing Wednesday and Sunni mosques that were damaged in reprisal attacks.
Al-Jaafari also appointed a committee to establish responsibility for the Samarra bombing “and what followed.”
In its statement, the Sunni front said the statement included “positive signs” indicating the government wanted to address the concerns of the Sunni Arab community in the sectarian crisis.
Don’t count out the Iraqis yet. Cooler heads will most likely prevail
Update: President Bush placed phone calls to seven Iraqi leaders urging them to push forward with the new Iraqi government:
Bush made phone calls to Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd; Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari, a Shiite; the leader of the Iraqi Islamic Party, Tarek al-Hashemi, a Sunni; and other prominent political leaders from different religious and ethnic communities, the White House said.
It was the first time Bush had spoken to Iraqi leaders since Wednesday’s bombing of a major Shiite mosque that triggered reprisal violence claiming at least 140 lives.
Fox News is also reporting about the Shiite/Sunni talks:
BAGHDAD, Iraq — Sunni and Shiite clerics reached an agreement Saturday in Iraq that could quell sectiarian violence with has claimed nearly 50 lives in the last day and riddled the country with attacks after this week’s bombing of a Shiite shrine.
This is a very good development.
However, the MSM will be a bit disappointed.
Kim Priestap blogs at Kim Priestap: A Conservative Blog in Flyover Country