Deadlier Weapons Signal Start of 'Full Scale Civil War'

More deadly weapons have entered Iraq’s the bloody sectarian fray, which shows that the country is at the doorstep of full-scale civil war.

Iraqis have always been armed to their teeth. For example, under former leader Saddam Hussein, officials were permitted to take an automatic rifle, a rocket launcher or even mortars home with them. If you declared loyalty to the regime, you could easily gain entry to the Baath Party armory. And whether you were really loyal hardly mattered.

But back then, there were no instances of Iraqis turning these guns against their neighbors who belonged to different religious sects or ethnic groups.

True, opposition groups occasionally waged mortar and Katyusha rocket attacks at the regime’s security forces but we have no instances of Iraqis attacking Iraqis for sectarian, religious or ethnic reasons.

But today mortars and Katyushas are the weapons of choice for armed groups in residential areas of ethnically and religiously mixed cities. Opposing sects in villages now regularly resort to these deadly weapons, fired indiscriminately at civilians. Only God knows how many innocent Iraqis are being killed or maimed as a result of these attacks.

As night falls in Baghdad, mortars and Katyusha rockets begin falling on residential quarters. There is no one to hear or give a damn for the wails of children and women that break the silence of the night in the aftermath of such bombing.

For example, Baghdad at night, home to over five million people, turns into a battlefield. It is a tit for tat between the capital’s various residential areas. If a Shiite-dominated quarter fires mortars and Katyushas at a Sunni-dominated area, then it goes without saying that the former will be targeted by the latter almost immediately.

The point is that every night, Baghdad and almost all of Iraq turned into no-man’s land. Even the Americans don’t have the guts to patrol any part of Baghdad at night.

So, the rebels, insurgents, militants, terrorists, or whatever you want to call them, have the entire arena to themselves.

How can peace and stability return to Iraq if government or occupation troops don’t have the courage to remain on the streets of Baghdad and other major cities after 4 pm? There are reports that U.S. and Iraqi troops would like to dig a moat around Baghdad to prevent gunmen from entering the city.

But the gunmen are already inside the city.

Perhaps they will need to build moats separating different quarters of Baghdad and then move on to build walls between certain districts and separate streets from one another by concrete fortifications as is the case with the Green Zone …

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