Monday, March 06, 2006


Who wants civil war?

Fisk: ELEANOR HALL: ...Now, you've been a bit of an optimist about Iraq and civil war, but do you think what's going on now is already civil war? ROBERT FISK: Well, it's perfect proof that somebody wants a civil war. Um, but the problem for me is that the narrative is that the Shi'ites are being attacked by the Sunnis and their mosques are being blown up and now the Shi'ites are attacking the Sunni mosques and the Shi'ites and the Sunnis are going to fight each other. I think that's far too simple a version of events. There's never been a civil war in Iraq. Sunnis and Shi'ites, despite the fact that the Sunnis as a minority have always effectively ruled Iraq, have never had this sectarian instinct. It's not a sectarian society, it's a tribal society. People are intermarried.... I mean, we keep hearing about kidnaps. In every case they were kidnapped by people, quote, "wearing police uniforms," unquote. ...Now, we used to have this phenomenon in Algeria, when I was covering the Islamist government war there, and it took a while before we realised that they were policemen and they were soldiers. In other words, they were being paid by the authorities.... What we've got is death squads, and some of them are clearly working for government institutions within Baghdad. ... ELEANOR HALL: So somebody wants a civil war?... You must have some clues about who. ROBERT FISK: I don't haveā€¦ I have suspicions, I don't have clues. I spend a lot of time, when I'm in Baghdad, trying to find out who this is and what this is. Clearly, the Interior Ministry have been torturing people to death, and clearly the Interior Ministry have people who do operate death squads. ... I'm not saying the CIA are doing the death squads and this is an American plot - no, I'm not. ...I still think something's going to happen [to seriously damage US prestige and perhaps more]. I don't mean September 11, but something. Not the CIA. Possibly Al Qaida. Possibly Iran. But the Pentagon has morphed into something completely unAmerican. Deep in its bowels could also be Fisk's answer.
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