"Misunderestimating" Bush's Iraq (an Iraqi Hezbollah waiting to emerge?)
DAMASCUS - This summer former US ambassador Peter Galbraith released a groundbreaking book called The End of Iraq: How American Incompetence Created a War Without End. One of the most interesting facts presented by Galbraith was that two months before the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, President George W Bush was unaware that there were two branches of Islam (Sunni and Shi'ite). Bush once also famously said, "They are misunderestimating me."
Now, with the war in Lebanon having overshadowed events in Iraq, perhaps it is the US that is "misunderestimating" the situation there, where July was the bloodiest month in terms of deaths since the invasion of March 2003.
Iraq and its people have probably been the greatest losers in the Israeli war with Hezbollah. For a month, the world's attention was completely fixated on Israel, Lebanon and Hezbollah. The rising sectarian violence in Iraq, until a ceasefire came into effect in Lebanon this Monday, was ignored.
Before the Lebanon war started, it seemed that Iraq was already on the verge of civil war, due to the brutality of death squads and the visible helplessness of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
A month later, Iraq is at civil war. Just look at the figures. In July, the number of Iraqis killed in sectarian violence - and what else can one call it? - was a staggering 3,438 - two times the number of Lebanese civilians killed during the 30 days of daily air raids by Israel, and more than 100 deaths a day.
Amid all these problems, there is the danger of the "Hezbollah model" being adopted in Iraq. Muqtada, who has been a nightmare for the Americans since they invaded, has all the credentials to create such an organization in Iraq, modeling himself after Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.