We don't hear about it very often, but Sunni and Shia can live together. The insurgency does everything it can to create friction between the two groups, and has in many cases succeeded. But not completely. A coming together of Sunni and Shia will be the key to freedom in Iraq.
It is so much easier to break something than it is either to fix it or to create it in the first place. Seeing a news report on the thing that is broken is a lot more tantalizing to the average news consumer, as well. Liberty is in this way a lot like physical things.
In days gone by, Sunni and Shia worked and walked hand in hand in Iraq. In many if not most cases, noone really cared which group you came from. This was especially the case before Saddam Hussein came to power. For a brief interlude after Saddam was captured, this coming together had a renaissance.
More recently, however, the terrorists have come along and worked tirelessly to destroy the bonds of brotherhood. Realizing that destruction gets the attention and makes weak people back down, and having their assumptions validated day after miserable news reporting day, terrorists became emboldened in their attempts to kill a few Sunnis here and a few Shia there in order to pit them against each other, and cause them to lose trust in one another.
More and more Iraqis are realizing that terror is a sham with no goal other than destruction. Along with the slanted news the Iraqis see on their sattelite TVs, they also catch a glimpse of what it can mean to be free and in control of one's own destiny. And they want it.
More and more Iraqis are defending their freedom by standing up against the terrorists. About 2 months ago a predominant majority of tribes in Anbar province vowed to stand up against the terrorists in an effort to bring normality to the lives of Anbar Iraqis. Recently al Sabaah news reported the ongoing support of religious and political leaders for the action.
I met Iraqis in Anbar province of both Islamic sects who were civil and friendly to each other (this was not always the case, however), although it may not seem this way because the breakers always receive more press coverage than the fixers and creators.
The Iraqi News Agency October 29th reported a cooperative incident between Sunni and Shia tribes. Terrorist tactics were to assault one tribe in an attempt to make it look as though the other tribe were the perpetrator. Fortunately, both tribes saw through the chicanery and banded together to ward off the terrorists.
Imagine an Iraq where Sunni and Shia work together with no animosity. Imagine an Iraq where terrorists are universally blamed and shunned for being terrorists. Imagine an Iraq where there are no terrorists because lovers of freedom no longer countenance such duplicity. Such a day can happen. In fact, it appears that it is happening.
Ultimately, American servicemen and women will not be the ones that silence the terrorists. Only Iraqis can do this. But they must make the universal choice that freedom is better than terror, even as this means that Shia and Sunni will sit down to the table of liberty as brothers and sisters.
It looks like this sentiment may be starting to take root. Let us pray for the Iraqi people, that they will have the stamina to see this adventure through to a glorious and peaceful end.