The bombing of the al-Askari Mosque, also known as the Golden Mosque of Samarra —the holiest one for the Shiite majority of Iraq— and the wave of repression, revenges and violence that it unloosened are linked to the political crisis that paralyzed the formation of a new “national unity government”. The “Shiite list”, which won the elections three months ago, is deeply divided. The candidate for prime minister of the Americans, Abdel Mahdi, was defeated by one vote —in the internal election— by Ibrahim Jaafari, the current prime minister. Jaafari belongs to a minority party within the Shitte coalition (Dawa) and won thanks to the vote of the 30 deputies of ayatollah Al Sadr, the popular chief of the insurrection in Najaf. Armed clashes between the militias of Mahdi's party and the militias of Sadr's party have been taking place for a long time.
The other parties (Sunnis, Kurds, secular Shiites) block the assumption of Jaafari. Behind the division of the “Shiite list” and the opposition of the rest of the parties “are the Americans, which consider Jaafari too close to Iran. (...) Washington would like to articulate some sort of alternative around the former prime minister of the provisional government after the invasion, Ayad Allawi, who has scarce support in Iraq: his party got 25 seats out of 285” (El País, 3/3). Besides, “external pressure has been exerted for Sciri, the party of Abdel Mahdi, to abandon the “Shiite list”...” (Ibid.). The incapacity to designate a prime minister has prevented the meeting of the parliament even three months after the elections.
In this framework of political crisis and manipulations, attacks, counterattacks and conspiracies by the occupiers, began the “war of the mosques”, which weakens Jaafari, the current prime minister, due to his inability to prevent the flare up of violence.
The negotiations for the formation of a “national unity” government have reached an impasse: the Sunnis withdrew from them and the Shiites refuse to give up the key ministries —in particular Defense and Interior, the ministries of repression. But it is precisely those negotiations that prevented, for the time being, the outbreak of an open civil war.
A civil war would not have just an “inter-sectarian” character, but would also produce armed conflicts within the Sunni and Shiite camps. Among the Shiites, the clashes between the militias of Sciri and those of Sadr are commonplace; among the Shiites, there are growing indications of armed clashes between the secular and the fundamentalist rebels. The civil war would also not be restricted to Iraq's borders, but would spread out immediately to the neighboring countries, all of which have been supporting, more or less openly, the different groups operating in Iraq.
Instead of “redrawing” the map of the Middle East, the occupation could end up setting on fire the entire region.
A civil war in Iraq and a regional war in the Middle East would sharpen exceptionally the world crisis as a whole. Will the world economy be able to bear a clash having as its scenario the countries with the largest oil reserves in the world?