Back to Iraq has some very good analysis from Iraq on the civil war that is breaking out there. He believes that the Jihadis are behind the attack on the Askariya shrine in Samarra; trying to ignite sectarian violence to force the collapse of the American backed state and plunge the country into civil war. The situation looks pretty bleak. I didn't have a blog three years ago, but I predicted this exact scenario on several Internet political forums. Sectarian violence, armed militias with links to Iran, Syria, the Taliban, Turkish Kurds, Iran escalating its nuclear weapons program, domestic pressure in the US to cut and run; there is no satisfaction in saying I told you so. Of course, I'm not the only one who predicted this. In September of of 2004 - admittedly a little bit late, the CIA in the National Intelligence Council Assessment of the Iraqi security situation predicted that "in the best case scenario [Iraq] could be expected to achieve a tenuous stability over the next 18 months. In the worst case, it could dissolve into civil war." That was .... oh about 18 months ago, about the time Dick "shotgun" Cheney was predicting that Iraq was turning the corner. But realistically the blunder, rather series of colossal blunders, was made 18 months before that. The die was cast during the invasion and the several months immediately following it. There was little the Administration could do by 2004. And there is still no clear path ahead. Unfortunately, this thing could easily escalate into a broader conflict involving any of the neighbouring states. The situation is truly tragic, the Iraqi people need our prayers. At this point it appears the this is out of the hands of the US Administration. I just hope the leaders of the Shi'a and Sunni communities and the fragile Iraqi government are able to bring this thing back from the brink.