Sunday, February 11, 2007


Plenty of violence still takes place in Mosul. It's Northern Iraq, the safe part of Iraq, but there's still plenty of violence.

I've been out and about the last three days outside of the wire. I've seen two car bombs go off and have heard a number of mortars. Everything is always a good 400 to 1000 meters away, and the spot I've been at gives a good view of most of the city in proximity to us, so the situation has made for good observation.

Put into perspective, both the car bombs and the mortars have been very small, relatively. It's Northern Iraq and most of the explosions are smaller than the ones you hear of in Baghdad killing 17 or more people. We aren't without our horrific ones, but they are far and few between.

I've noticed a pattern, though. You never hear of sectarian death squads or really any Islam on Islam violence for the sake of the Shi'ite/Sunni divide. The car bombs I saw were fairly clearly directed at Iraqi Army or Iraqi Police checkpoints. The mortars were directed at one of the two bases in Mosul. I don't ever hear of civilians being murdered or kidnapped or blown up in public places by alleged groups of a differing Islamic devotion.

Mosul doesn't seem to be torn into disarray by religious/civil war.

It makes me wonder why Baghdad is so much the area of focus for the more extreme religious sects vying for power. Baghdad is the center of political power. That's one obvious factor. But it seems strange that the sort of violence that is so prevalent in one part of the country is nearly non-existent in another.

Mosul has nearly two million people.

Optimist that I am, it makes me think that the intensity of the fighting in Baghdad is far from a normal indicator of the actual level of religious/civil division in Iraq. No one is sure how prevalent these extremist religious groups are in the general population of Iraq. I take those groups to be any that are willing to murder innocent civilians on the basis of religious distinction, whether for religious cleansing or political empowerment.

Sectarian violence in Mosul would not effectively propagate political agendas. That fact reveals extremist Islamic violence for what it really is. The violence may wear a head covering of religious motivation, but politics and political aspirations are the real motivator.

That's ironic to me. I read all these politically heated blogs and newspaper articles that imply religion is the heart of extremist violence. Usually from the worst half, the less reasoning half, of the political left. Movies are the worst... no, pop music is the worst... no, John Mayor is the worst... I can't stand popular culture at its unthinking-mimicking-anti-war-catch-emotive worst.

I just think politics lies at least one step closer to that heart of the violence.


Blogger Andrew said...

Something that I never fail to admire in you is your ability to hold ideas in tension. That's a failing of mine, so I know when I see someone else with the capability of doing it.

Great last couple of posts - "Snow" and "Iraq." I look forward to more on the war and Iraq, especially as my brother's over there now near Fallujah.

11:40 AM  

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