Sunday, February 25, 2007

Perspective: Sunni fratricide in Iraq's Anbar escalates

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- The killers started early. Just after sunrise, they tracked the imam to his modest brick mosque, where he was praying on a green carpet. Three masked gunmen muscled past a handful of worshippers and pumped four bullets into the chest of Sheik Adbul Rahman Jawhar al-Karbouli.

His murder Feb. 16 in a village near the Syrian border was barely noticed in Iraq's daily body count. But -- like a vivid footnote in a dry collection of statistics -- it helps bring the violence among Iraqis into sharper focus.

To much of the world, the meltdown in Iraq is a two-act spectacle: insurgents versus U.S.-led forces and Iraqi allies, and the sectarian bloodletting between Sunni Muslims and the majority Shiites. Yet out in the desert of the western Anbar province there is another story -- told one attack at a time -- of an internal struggle among Sunnis, between militant factions and those who have stood up against them.

Read the rest at the Guardian