Just a brief one…cross posted to A Magnificent Wreckage

This isn’t good news:

The rumors spread quickly last month around the central Baghdad neighborhood of Sab’ah Nisan that Salem Khudair’s nephew had insulted the name of Imam Hussein, one of the most important historical figures in the Shiite branch of Islam. It fell to Khudair, the eldest son of a family from the Sunni branch, to meet with local Shiites and explain that his 26-year-old nephew had said no such thing.

A day later Khudair’s family received a note insulting them as Sunni Muslims, calling them sons of whores. On March 27, Khudair was kidnapped.

What came next has become typical for Iraq as sectarian tension and violence rise. Khudair’s family formed an armed group of more than 20 relatives and neighbors who are demanding Khudair’s release and vowing to kill those responsible.

“If something happened to my brother, no Shiite would be safe,” said Khudair’s brother, Sameer, who’s convinced that Shiite militia members are behind the kidnapping.

The political instability in Iraq and the ethnic divides behind it are pushing Iraqis toward gang-like violence that many worry could start a slide toward civil war.


I’ve observed rather frequently lately that the “insurgency” in Iraq is becoming more and more an intra-Iraqi conflict.  What we have regarded as a weakness of the Iraqi insurgency, its disparate and disunified nature, may ultimately result in an Iraq far more dangerous and unstable than an Iraq under assault by a single unified command.  This disparate nature reflects the underlying sectarian and tribal differences that have riven Iraq since foreign powers decided to cobble together a multitude of Levantine wilayets into a highly unstable nation state.

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