In a post at Danger Room today, Noah Shachtman, who recently visited Iraq, describes how the effort to turn Sunni groups against Al Qaeda in Iraq relies on “a steady diet of anti-Shi’ite propaganda” that could be creating the conditions for “an all-in sectarian battle royale”:
I worry that’ll be the case on the political scene, as well. Sunni political and tribal leaders are increasingly throwing in their lot with U.S. forces here against Al-Qaeda in Iraq and other insurgent types. But, to get them to come over to our side, the American military has fed them a steady diet of anti-Shi’ite propaganda.
Arrests and killings of Shi’ite militants are announced from loudspeaker blasts; President Bush’s bellicose rhetoric towards Shi’a Iran is reported on friendly radio programs. But the majority of this country is Shi’ite. Are we setting ourselves up as the enemies of the majority here? Are we priming the pump for an all-in sectarian battle royale? It seems like a possibility.
(HT: Robert Farley)