Monday, August 29, 2005

The Rift Widens

Via the SF Chronicle:

A leader of Iraq's largest Sunni political group blamed Shiite-led security forces Monday for the deaths of 36 Sunnis found shot in the head and said such acts could have unforeseen consequences.

Tarek al-Hashimi, secretary-general of the Iraqi Islamic Party, said the Sunnis were abducted by squads in police uniforms from Baghdad's northern neighborhood of Hurriyah. Their bodies were discovered last week in a dry riverbed south of the capital.
I don’t want to exaggerate the impact of one man’s comments, but these accusations are characteristic of the growing tension between Sunnis and Shiites. Along with his accusations, al-Hashimi offered a bleak forecast for retribution.

"How were groups in government cars and wearing government uniforms able to do this act?" Al-Hashimi asked. "We warn that the indignation created by this matter may cause a reaction with consequences that only God can predict. I hope this message will be clear to the authorities in charge of security in this country."
If Iraq is to avoid civil war and division into separate states, reconciliation needs to come from somewhere. And so far, the constitution, which many had hoped would unite a divided Iraq, seems to be driving the wedge even further between Sunnis and Shiites.

--Matthew McCoy