February 27, 2006 | Graham

Dragon’s teeth gambit leads to detente in Iraq

The bombing of the golden-domed Askariya Shrine in Samarra was blamed on Al Qaeda and led to an outbreak of sectarian violence that so far has killed at least 227 and raised the possibility that Iraq might slip into civil war. But it may have had a perverse effect – peace might break out instead.
The original dragon’s teeth gambit was played by the Greek hero Jason on the fields of Colchis. One of the trials he had to undergo to win the Golden Fleece was to plough a field and plant it with the teeth of the dragon. From the teeth grew a field of warriors. An ordinary hero would have tried to fight them, but Jason threw a stone (or his helmet, depends who is telling the story) into the middle of the crop and the “sons of the earth” ended up fighting each other to the death. They were so quarrelsome they blamed the person next to them for the missile.
Who knows whether bin Laden or his lieutenants know the myth, they played the tactic when they bombed the mosque and didn’t take credit for it. Or maybe it was someone else, but nevertheless the same tactic.
Problem is that myth is never as true as reality. According to this NYT report it seems that the Sunni minority have looked into the abyss and have decided it is better to be a minor, but certain, part of something, rather than an uncertain expectant heir of chaos. As a result of the violence they now want to talk business.
Wonder how long it will be before this is reported here? Or will it be submerged in the rather odious schadenfreude, of which this post by Tim Dunlop is a particularly striking example.
Note also in the report the slippery role of Moqtada al Sadr. It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that he perpetrated the outrage. If I were a financial planner I’d be selling him a life insurance policy while her still could buy one.

Posted by Graham at 11:14 pm | Comments Off on Dragon’s teeth gambit leads to detente in Iraq |

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