That's because Al Qaeda bodies have been turning up around al-Sadr's part of Baghdad with hands bound and a shot to the head. It's not pretty, but Abu Musab al-Zarqawi may get the message.
Al-Sadr has been saying he doesn't want a civil war and he's not targeting innocent Sunnis. But he definitely is targeting Sunnis. If Sunni fighters attacking Shias in Sadr's part of town get caught by Sadr's Shia fighters, they're dead. Four were hanged on Monday.
That's fine so far. But Sadr has also taken over Sadr City, a Baghdad slum/ghetto. His teenage boys in soccer jerseys are armed with AK-47s and RPGs and now run the streets in Sadr City.
Once again, Sadr City has militia checkpoints everywhere and, according to The New York Times reporter today, it's a "no go" area for the U.S. military and Iraqi police.
It's fine by me if the U.S. military doesn't go, but I think the Iraqi police must.
If they don't, then what are they police of? Whatever part of Baghdad al-Sadr doesn't want?
Is it a civil war yet? Is it just sectarian violence? Is there much of a difference?
I think it's a little like asking if a forest fire started on its own or is it a controlled burn that got away? In either case you got a big fire. But not every controlled burn escapes and goes wild.
A lot of bodies are turning up on the streets of Baghdad. It's not clear yet if this is the first flames of a civil conflagration or stamping out the embers of an insurgency that was trying to start a civil war.
I hope for the best, but we'll see.
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