Friday, March 03, 2006

How do we tell if Iraq is actually having a civil war?

Over and over in the media I hear the phrase "Iraq is on the verge of civil war." Or "brink of civil war." Well ok, but at what point do know that it's a full-fledged civil war, versus a "sectarian conflict" or "don't worry, Iraq's doing great now that the American military is there"?

civil war: A war between factions of the same country; there are
five criteria for international recognition of this status: the
contestants must control territory, have a functioning government,
enjoy some foreign recognition, have identifiable regular armed
forces, and engage in major military operations.
Hmm. That's a rather strict qualification for civil war, and it makes me wonder if that also refers to War with a capital W. Trouble with calling this whole ordeal "The War on Terror" is that is that Terror is not a nation. It doesn't control territory, have an officially recognized government, nor have identifiable, regular armed forces. Hell, it's an emotion, for heaven's sake! "Terror" is an abbreviation for "terrorism" for better propaganda purposes. But even terrorists don't fit the above criterion.


Bookmark and Share
posted by Brian at 5:23 PM


Blogger Sagepaper said...

Long before September 11, I pondered the definition, or threshold, for "civil war." The media used many different terms for different levels and scales of conflict. Why were only some "civil wars?"

After long thought and observation, I discovered that the use of artillery is the threshold for undeniable "civil war." That is not the same as the formal definition you cite. Nonetheless, there have probably been some similarities in the past. Artillery pieces are not as accessible to little rabbles as they are to highly organized, wealthier groups. Also, artillery doesn't move as swiftly as small arms do. You need to control at least the little plot of land where your cannon is.

That gets to another matter; what is artillery? Rocket propelled grenades do not seem to make the media switch to calling a matter a "civil war." After studying that, the answer would appear to be mortars. That's a little surprising since they are still fairly mobile. Perhaps, though, that is because arms exporters do not pass mortars out lightly. Perhaps it is simply De Jure v. De Facto.

March 18, 2006  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home