Failure to launch--civil war

LTC. John Kanaley:

When we passed the third anniversary of the invasion of Saddam Hussein’s regime, there was much talk about sectarian violence in Iraq. However, a strange thing happened on the way to that predicted civil war: it failed to materialize.

The repetitious headlines about internecine warfare go back to the summer of 2003 when the Ali Mosque was bombed in Najaf, resulting in the death of SCIRI leader Sayed Al Hakim, one of the most revered Shiite clerics. The importance of that particular religious site is similar to that of the Golden Mosque recently destroyed in Samarra. The bombing of the Ali Mosque was preceded ten days earlier by an explosion resulting in the death of UN representative Sergio de Mello, and the bombing of the Jordanian Embassy, all in the month of August, 2003.

The terrorists failed in their attempts to place responsibility for each of the bombings on the Coalition, and they failed to ignite a civil war at that time. Although Iraqi public trust was still somewhat tenuous during that period, the people were able to see through the terrorist information campaign and realize who the culprits were. Since then, their trust in the Coalition and a new government has grown, while support for the terrorists has waned.

There are two primary reasons why the civil war has not occurred, and why it is unlikely to become a reality. The first is that the terrorist strategy and tactics have failed. As General Camillus defended Rome against the Gauls during their invasion nearly 2500 years ago, he made the following observation,

“Always they bring more smoke than fire – much terror but little strength.”

And so it describes the terrorist attacks in Iraq that continue without any popular mandate. Along with this lack of support is an absence of a clear strategy, aside from seeking complete power.

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