Saturday, February 25, 2006

Iraq Civil War: February 23-25, 2006

There are signs today (well, tomorrow, actually: this is reported by the Weekend Australian where it's Sunday already) that our tentative prediction will be correct that the bombing of the Golden Mosque would not lead to civil war in Iraq.

Overnight in Iraq Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has made peace with Sunni leaders, with whom he has issued joint statements condemning the bombing as the work of foreigners and calling on all Iraqis to unite, regardless of sect. He has condemned those wearing the uniform of his militia who have perpetrated crimes while calling for all groups that have seized places of worship to turn them back.

In other words, a sectarian leader has decided to boost his position by attempting statecraft. We can expect that this will not only boost al-Sadr but also force him generally to moderate his stance, all for the good.

So when everything is just back to the usual level of chaos in a few more days, will the MSM acknowledge its hysteria? Expect less of a confession than we got after the exaggerations of the chaos in post-Katrina New Orleans.

Update: The immortal William F. Buckley has now concluded that the bombing of the Golden Mosque signals the end of hope in Iraq. This will not be remembered the esteemed Mr. Buckley's finest column. It may be remembered as signaling that it's time for the aged Mr. Buckley to retire altogether from punditry.

Update: The Washington Post notes the following in its edition of Sunday, February 26:

When the Iraqi leaders came out of the meeting for a news conference broadcast on Iraqi television, Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jafari solemnly removed his glasses and announced unequivocally that there would not be a civil war in Iraq. . . .

A U.S. military spokesman disputed the media's account of the crisis to date, saying that 22 mosques had been attacked since the Samarra bombing, a considerably smaller number than the 120 reported by al-Iraqiya television on Friday.

Note also Ramesh Ponnuru notes that Buckley was never a full-throated supporter of the war and is now not calling for immediate withdrawal. Says Ponnuru: "I myself think that Bill's conclusion is premature." N. B. that Ponnuru earns his bread by writing for Mr. Buckley's magazine.

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