Why Iraq Bombs Aren't Sparking Civil War

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2009 2:04 PM CDT
A man walks past a destroyed truck after a double truck bombing tore through a Shiite minority community near northern city of Mosul.   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Iraq was rocked by two deadly, possibly destabilizing bombings this weekend, but the proof is in the reprisals, Larry Kaplow writes in Newsweek—and there were none. “Iraq today is a different place than it was when ethnic conflict threatened to engulf the country in 2006,” Kaplow continues. “The powder here is wetter than it once was.” And that’s due mostly to Shiite military power and restraint in the face of Sunni attacks.

True, “most of the bombings, which are carried out by Islamist Sunni insurgents, target Shiite Muslims, just as they did in 2006,” Kaplow writes. But Muqtada al-Sadr and his militia have bowed out of the retribution game. Most neighborhoods are now segregated, press coverage is minimal, and recent bombings have been in the provinces, where they affect the national mood less than violence in the capital. And PM Nouri al-Maliki is keeping order with twice as many troops as he had in 2006. Instead of killing, they respond with a slightly less reprehensible tactic: Sunni profiling.