View Poll Results: Civil War in Iraq?

Voters
31. You may not vote on this poll
  • Yes

    21 67.74%
  • No

    10 32.26%
Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast
Results 21 to 40 of 41

Thread: Poll: Civil War in Iraq - Yes or No?

  1. #21
    Council Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    24

    Thumbs up civil war

    Let's have a look on definition!

    A civil war is a war in which parties within the same culture, society or nationality fight for political power or control of an area.

    When does sectarian violence (shia vs sunni or sunni vs kurds) become civil war?

    Respectfully,
    George

  2. #22
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Stafford, VA
    Posts
    262

    Default definition

    The World Bank uses a definition of civil war that is widely accepted by political scientists - when an identifiable rebel organization challenges the government militarily, and then the resulting violence results in 1,000 or more combat related deaths, with at least 5% on each side. With this definition, Iraq qualifies.

  3. #23
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,098

    Default Options for Iraq

    CSIS, 11 Oct 06: Options for Iraq: The Almost Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
    ...Iraq is already in a serious civil war, driven by rising sectarian and ethnic violence between Arab Sunni and Arab Shi’ite, and Arab and Kurd. Iraq’s government is not moving towards political conciliation and compromise at the rate necessary to keep this civil war from getting worse, discrediting the central government, and potentially dividing the country. Existing security efforts cannot succeed without far more political conciliation and compromise than has taken place to date. They are at best buying time, and so far without arresting the escalation of civil conflict. The US cannot simply wait to see if its existing strategy and actions will work. They will not. The situation is spiraling out of control, and the US must either strongly reinforce its existing strategy or change it. It also needs detailed plans and options for “Plan B,” the possibility that it may have to withdraw its troops and possibly most or all of its civilian presence from Iraq.

    This paper surveys a range of US options for dealing with these issues. They range from options designed to make the current Coalition and Iraqi government strategy work to options for US withdrawal. Some set goals are not only are probably unworkable, but would impose demands on US policy and Iraqi action in ways that could make things worse and further erode the chances of success. Others might well increase the odds of success.

    No mix of options for US action can provide a convincing plan for "victory" in Iraq. The initiative has passed into Iraqi hands. US and outside action can encourage progress towards political conciliation and compromise, and improved security, but cannot force it upon Iraq’s leaders or the Iraqi people...
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 10-20-2006 at 02:52 AM. Reason: Change link to reflect 18 Oct 06 revision of the report

  4. #24
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,098

    Default

    Here's a follow-up report from CSIS, 16 Oct 06:

    Is There a "Civil War" in Iraq?
    The AOL short version of the Merriam Webster dictionary defines civil war as "a war between opposing groups of citizens of the same country" The Webster's New World Dictionary, 3rd College edition, defines it as "war between geographical or political factions of the same nation."

    The level and sources of violence in Iraq has clearly reached the level where they clearly meet this definition. The trend data issued by the Department of Defense in its August Quarterly Status Report are provided in the attached analysis (Note the numbers in the graphs are derived by CSIS, but the graphs are direct copies from the graphs in DoD report). They show a roughly 10 to 12-fold increase in sectarian violence over the last year, as well as a steady trend towards more violent civil war...

  5. #25
    Council Member SSG Rock's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Fort Leavenworth, KS
    Posts
    125

    Default I had to think about this awhile....

    I had to vote yes.
    Don't taze me bro!

  6. #26
    Council Member Stu-6's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Occupied Virginia
    Posts
    243

    Default

    I find myself becoming increasingly pessimistic about this question. The degrading of the ability of international forces to hold down civil strife seems to be happing at a faster rate than when this thread started. International troops now seem to be only slowing the pace at which the civil war moves not preventing it.

    On a sort of related note; I was thinking the other day about how when this war started some politicians and the like went to strained lengths to say that there was not a guerrilla war in Iraq, are we approaching the same point about a civil war there? Obviously it is not an exact comparison but there are some similarities.

  7. #27
    Council Member Culpeper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Roswell, USA
    Posts
    540

    Default Yes and No

    An insurgency is a civil war. But I voted "no" due lack of consensus on what is a civil war.

  8. #28
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,098

    Default

    From the Brookings Institution:

    Sectarian Violence: Radical Groups Drive Internal Displacement in Iraq
    ...The sectarian violence between Shi‘a and Sunni has grown dramatically in Iraq in recent months – the politically motivated work of radical armed groups on both sides. The dehumanization of the ‘other’ community is evident from the targeted killings, organized terror, and systematic eviction campaigns. The violence in Iraq is in fact reminiscent, on both sides, of the dynamics of sectarian violence and ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia, the Great Lakes of Central Africa, the Caucasus, Sudan and other great human rights disasters of the past 15 years. But the violence is neither spontaneous nor popular in nature. It is a war waged by armed groups against the other side’s civilians. What has changed, however, is that Shi‘a restraint, so conspicuous throughout 2004 and much of 2005, diminished dramatically following the Samarra attack...

  9. #29
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    4,818

    Default

    Jed, great post about what is really going on over there, but it is just so sad to read it.

  10. #30
    Council Member Culpeper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Roswell, USA
    Posts
    540

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    Jed, great post about what is really going on over there, but it is just so sad to read it.
    Look on the brighter side. A successful counterinsurgency has a strong indigenous government and military that works side-by-side with the counterinsurgency. In Iraq, this is not really taking place. A successful insurgency needs a safe base of operation and a identifiable leadership that the populace will rally towards. This also is not really taking place. I don't see the latter doing anything towards the goals of a successful insurgency. I do see a mess. What we need is a new doctrine for counter-mess warfare, where CATCH-22 is the bible. The bottom line is that Iraq has been under civil war since they shook hands with Nazi Germany. Hitler maintained control of Germany as did Saddam in Iraq. However, that don't make it right. I guess we are stuck with letting Iraq burn itself into the ground and then build it up from scratch.

  11. #31
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    4,818

    Default For Culpepper

    Counter mess warfare, you are on to something with that.
    I agree we may end up waiting until people have either left the country or get tired of fighting and are willing to try something else, like living instead of killing. I also agree that for CI to work there has to be and INDIG group for US to fight along side with to restore the legitimate government.

    PS maybe we should offer Saddam a Pardon if he comes back and fixes the everything and promises to be a good boy towards the US from now on.
    Last edited by slapout9; 10-28-2006 at 02:19 PM. Reason: add remarks

  12. #32
    Council Member CaptCav_CoVan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    36

    Default Iraq Index

    The latest figures can be found at the Brookings Institute publication, Iraq Index: Tracking Variables of Reconstruction & Security in Post-Saddam Iraq 2 October 2006. Very interesting statistics and trends.

  13. #33
    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Largo, Florida
    Posts
    3,989

    Default Language on Iraq - When is it Civil War?

    31 October Reuters - Language on Iraq - When is it Civil War? by Bernd Debusmann.

    What do you call a situation where 3,000 citizens of a country kill each other every month through bombing, shooting and beheading? If the country is Iraq, it depends on who answers the question.

    U.S. and Iraqi government leaders are avoiding the term "civil war," although President George W. Bush, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and several generals have said Iraq was "close to," "nearing" or "in danger of" civil war.

    Experts outside the administration have been less circumspect.

    "Iraq's conflict is now worse than civil war," said an October report by the Center for American Progress, a Washington think tank close to the Democratic Party.

    "The country suffers from at least four internal conflicts -- a Shiite-Sunni civil war in the center, intra-Shiite conflicts in the south, a Sunni insurgency in the west and ethnic tensions between Arabs and Kurds in the north."

    Gen. John P. Abizaid, the commander of U.S. military operations in the Middle East, told a Senate committee in August that "the sectarian violence is probably as bad as I've seen it, in Baghdad in particular, and that if not stopped, it is possible that Iraq could move toward civil war."...

  14. #34
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,098

    Default

    Here's the report from the Center for American Progress referenced in that article:

    Progress in Iraq: A 2006 Report Card on the Bush Administration's Iraq Policy
    ...Iraq today stands between civil war and utter chaos, hardly the hope of a bipartisan majority of 79 U.S. Senators who nearly a year ago called on President Bush to put forward a strategy for “the successful completion of the mission in Iraq.” That vote prompted the Center for American Progress to issue quarterly report cards assessing the Bush administration’s Iraq policy.

    With fewer than three months remaining in 2006, our third quarter assessment of the Bush administration’s Iraq policy finds Iraq on the brink of collapse, with growing violence, increased sectarian tensions and divisions in the Iraqi national government, and few significant advances in Iraq’s economic reconstruction. All indicators point to the utter failure of President Bush’s strategy for Iraq.

    Iraq is a weak and failing state, with tens of thousands of innocent civilians killed and at least two million civil war refugees and internally displaced Iraqs, including thousands of Christians who faced increased persecution during the last three years. In three key areas outlined in the Bush administration’s “National Strategy for Victory in Iraq,” the United States has not achieved sufficient progress towards its goals...

  15. #35
    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Largo, Florida
    Posts
    3,989

    Default U.S. Central Command Charts Sharp Movement of the Civil Conflict in Iraq Toward Chaos

    1 November New York Times - U.S. Central Command Charts Sharp Movement of the Civil Conflict in Iraq Toward Chaos by Michael Gordon.

    A classified briefing prepared two weeks ago by the United States Central Command portrays Iraq as edging toward chaos, in a chart that the military is using as a barometer of civil conflict.

    A one-page slide shown at the Oct. 18 briefing provides a rare glimpse into how the military command that oversees the war is trying to track its trajectory, particularly in terms of sectarian fighting.

    The slide includes a color-coded bar chart that is used to illustrate an “Index of Civil Conflict.” It shows a sharp escalation in sectarian violence since the bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra in February, and tracks a further worsening this month despite a concerted American push to tamp down the violence in Baghdad.

    In fashioning the index, the military is weighing factors like the ineffectual Iraqi police and the dwindling influence of moderate religious and political figures, rather than more traditional military measures such as the enemy’s fighting strength and the control of territory...

  16. #36
    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Largo, Florida
    Posts
    3,989

    Default The Chart...

    The chart on the NYT web page:


  17. #37
    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Largo, Florida
    Posts
    3,989

    Default Last Gasps In Iraq

    2 November USA Today commentary - Last Gasps In Iraq by Ralph Peters.

    On Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki obeyed Muqtada al-Sadr's command to withdraw U.S. troops from Baghdad's Sadr City. He halted a vital U.S. military operation. It was the third time in less than a month that al-Maliki had sided with the anti-American cleric against our forces.

    President Bush insists that we have no conflicts with the al-Maliki government. The president isn't telling the truth — or he himself doesn't support our military's efforts. He can't have it both ways. Bush appears increasingly desperate just to get through the upcoming elections...

    Iraq is failing. No honest observer can conclude otherwise. Even six months ago, there was hope. Now the chances for a democratic, unified Iraq are dwindling fast. The country's prime minister has thrown in his lot with al-Sadr, our mortal enemy. He has his eye on the future, and he's betting that we won't last. The police are less accountable than they were under Saddam. Our extensive investment in Iraqi law enforcement only produced death squads. Government ministers loot the country to strengthen their own factions. Even Iraq's elections — a worthy experiment — further divided Iraq along confessional and ethnic lines. Iraq still exists on the maps, but in reality it's gone. Only a military coup — which might come in the next few years — could hold the artificial country together...

    For us, Iraq's impending failure is an embarrassment. For the Iraqis — and other Arabs — it's a disaster the dimensions of which they do not yet comprehend. They're gleeful at the prospect of America's humiliation. But it's their tragedy, not ours.

    Iraq was the Arab world's last chance to board the train to modernity, to give the region a future, not just a bitter past. The violence staining Baghdad's streets with gore isn't only a symptom of the Iraqi government's incompetence, but of the comprehensive inability of the Arab world to progress in any sphere of organized human endeavor. We are witnessing the collapse of a civilization. All those who rooted for Iraq to fail are going to be chastened by what follows.

    Iraq still deserves one last chance — as long as we don't confuse deadly stubbornness and perseverance. If, at this late hour, Iraqis in decisive numbers prove willing to fight for their own freedom and a constitutional government, we should be willing to remain for a generation. If they continue to revel in fratricidal slaughter, we must leave...

  18. #38
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,098

    Default

    CSIS, 14 Dec 06:

    Iraq's Ethnic and Sectarian Violence and the Evolving Insurgency: Developments Through Mid-December 2006
    ...In the fall of 2006, Iraqis faced continued high levels of violence, carried out by a tangled set of warring factions. As the nature of the violence became more complex, the prospects for national reconciliation grew more distant.

    Changes in the dynamics of the fighting, and the character of the insurgency and civil conflict, largely centered on the following set of emerging trends:

    • Sectarian fighting, led by the growth of some 23 militias around Baghdad, formed the foundation of the civil war. Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army developed rogue components that acted outside of his command. Sunnis formed loosely organized neighborhood death squads in the urban areas, some with ties to al-Qai’da or ex-Ba’athist groups. Two large scale attacks formed the foundation of reprisal killings in the fall: On 14 November Shi’ite militias were accused of abduction 150 people from the Ministry of Higher Education and on 23 November Sunni militants were accused of killing over 200 in bombings in Sadr City.

    • Baghdad and other major cities – such as Basra and Baquba - were almost completely divided into sectarian strongholds as both Sunnis and Shi’a fled neighborhoods in which they were a minority. Soft ethnic cleansing forced upwards of 400,000 Iraqis to relocate within Iraq since the February Samarra mosque bombing.

    • The Sunni Arab insurgency remained focused in the western Anbar Province and benefited from the relocation of US troops to quell sectarian violence in Baghdad.

    • Attack patterns continued to focus on civilians with the average deaths per day rising to almost 100 in October. According to Iraq Coalition Casualty count, 3,539 Iraqi civilians died in September, 1,315 died in October, and 1,740 died in November. The US also saw an increase in attacks in the capital and IED attacks reached an all time high. 104 US troops died in October, the highest since January 2005. One-third of the deaths were in the capital, but the majority of US troops were killed in Anbar Province. An additional 68 US troops died in November.

    • The Shi’ite community was internally divided, increasingly along militia-support lines. The Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) was the most powerful political bloc, but al-Sadr’s militia and its rogue components found widespread support from the Shi’ite population. An incident in Amara in October underscored the tensions between SCIRI and al-Sadr.

    • US military attention focused on curbing the heightened concentration of violence in Baghdad, while violence outside of the capital continued to intensify, particularly in key areas such as Baquba, Basra, Mosul, and Falluja.

    • Turkey pledged their support for the minority Turkoman population in Iraq and urged Iraq to take action against PKK rebel activity in the Kurdish north. Kurds continued to conflict with Arabs in key cities such as Kirkuk and Mosul.

    • Regional players, particularly Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, and Turkey were increasingly concerned about the spread of civil war across the region....

  19. #39
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    New York, NY
    Posts
    1,665

    Default In the Middle of a Civil War

    In the Middle of a Civil War - LTCOL Gian P. Gentile, Washington Post, 7 Aug.

    In late February 2006, al-Qaeda destroyed the Askariya Shiite shrine in Samarra. During the previous two months that my cavalry squadron had been operating in Iraq, my main focus was the technical training of the Iraqi national police and combined operations with them against Sunni insurgents in west Baghdad. Before Samarra, it did not seem important which areas of Baghdad were Shiite or Sunni or that the police battalions I operated alongside were almost completely Shiite. Before Samarra, I assumed that Iraqi citizens saw the national police as the security arm of the elected, and thus legitimate, government and that the officers had the people's support against insurgents.

    It took about three weeks after the attack, in which time my combat patrols sprang from one Sunni mosque to another to protect them from Shiite militias that were at times supported by members of the national police, for me to realize what was really going on. For me, Samarra came to define the nature of the violence in Iraq: civil war.

    ...

    In the summer of 2006, my squadron was assigned to Amiriyah, a Sunni district of Baghdad. I was the American commander in charge, and over five months I came to know well Sunni perspectives of Iraq. Many if not most Iraqi Sunnis think that the Iraqi government is not legitimate but sectarian and out to crush them. The Sunnis in Amiriyah believed that the government was using its institutional powers to deprive them of essential services such as electricity, trash pickup, banking facilities, health care and, most important, security. People I spoke with said that Iraqi security forces, especially the local and national police, were determined to kill them because they were Sunni. Their response to these ideas was not passive: Residents of Amiriyah, working with Sunni insurgents, would regularly target the Shiites in the area as payback for what they saw the government doing to them. The bodies that my squadron helped retrieve from the streets each day were almost always Shiite.

    I decided that the best way to secure the neighborhood would be to hire local men, vetted by me and trusted imams in the district, and turn them into a police force. Not only did this prove to be exceedingly difficult, but government officials often told me that doing this was arming their enemy.

    I ordered a concrete barrier to be built around Amiriyah and limited entry to one checkpoint controlled by the Iraqi army. The goal was to keep Sunni insurgents from bringing in weapons and to prevent attacks by Shiite militias. But while the barrier helped isolate the neighborhood from outside insurgents and militias, it could not stop, and actually facilitated, killings within Amiriyah. The security we helped provide for Sunnis gave them increased freedom to go out and kill Shiites or, more recently, to conduct fights against local al-Qaeda members. Amiriyah became one of the safest areas in Baghdad for Sunnis but lethal for the few remaining Shiites ...

  20. #40
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,098

    Default

    CSIS, 22 Aug 07: Iraq’s Insurgency and Civil Violence: Developments through Late August 2007
    ....Much of the progress in the fighting came from a rising Sunni tribal resentment and anger against al-Qa’ida and the most extreme elements of the Sunni Islamic extremist movements that had nothing to do with US plans and strategy or the actions of the Iraqi central government. US military officials were able to pursue local alliances with tribal and sectarian groups to fight against al-Qa’ida in Iraq. There were also signs that such alliances could be expanded from Anbar to cover other parts of Northern and Central Iraq and Shi’ite, as well as Sunni tribes. In Taji, the first Shi’ite-Sunni tribal alliance was formed between the 25 local tribes in the area of Anbar.

    At the same time, however, some aspects of the Shi’ite extremist threat continued to increase. Many Shi’ite militia elements did “stand down” as a result of the “surge,” and did not clash with US troops. Less violent forms of Shi’ite sectarian cleansing continued, however, and Sunnis continued to be pushed out of mixed areas, including Baghdad. According to one calculation by U.S. military officials, 52% of violence in Iraq was caused by al-Qa’ida and other Sunni insurgent groups, while 48% was due to Shi’ite militias.

    Coalition encounters with the Mahdi Army in northeast Baghdad increased, raising tensions between Coalition forces, Muqtada al-Sadr, and the Maliki government. Prime Minister Maliki has publicly condemned American-led actions such as the blockade of Husseniyah and raids into Sadr City, which did not receive the official sanction of the Iraqi government. Maliki feared thatsuch US-led offensives without Iraqi sanctioning worked to undermine the credibility of the government.....

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •