Can Civil War in Iraq Be Averted?

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“Analysts See the Lebanon-ization of Iraq in Crystal Ball,” reports the Los Angeles Times. And USA Today peeks in the cupboard of possible things the U.S. could do to stave off a real civil war in Iraq—and finds it pretty much bare. The news today that Sunnis have agreed to join the political process again seems like a good development, but that doesn’t mean reconciliation is in hand: according to the UN’s outgoing human rights chief in Iraq, John Pace, even before the Samarra bombing, Shiite and Kurdish-backed death squads were torturing and executing hundreds of Iraqis every month in Baghdad alone.

Sunni leaders appear to be rattled by the violence in recent days enough to want to negotiate with the Iraqi government, but as Israelis and Palestinians have known for years, it only takes a few people who don’t actually want peace for there not to be peace. The more militant Iraqi clerics such as Muqtada al-Sadr are gaining in influence by the day, drowning out saner and more moderate religious voices. Under the circumstances, it’s no surprise that more and more analysts here in the United States are talking about withdrawal; because Iraq may continue to disintegrate regardless of whether the U.S. stays or goes. And in that case, as Suzanne Nossel says: “The only thing worse than Iraq as a failed state is Iraq as a failed state with 130,000 Americans living there.”

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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