The "epic battle" between Sunnis and Shiites has been going on for fourteen hundred years. It will take a great deal more than a "surge" of American troops to prevent it indefinitely from breaking out again. From New Europe:
Trying to persuade a sceptical Congress to support sending more troops to Iraq, US President George W Bush warned January 22 that if the United States fails, sectarian violence could spill over into an “epic battle” between Sunnis and Shiites in a wider regional conflict.
The warning came in Bush’s annual “State of the Union” address, which was closely watched by European Union leaders, most of who have opposed the war in Iraq and have distanced themselves from the US leader.
Bush has begun deploying the first of 21,500 more troops to Iraq as part of his revised strategy announced earlier this month, but the Democratic-controlled Congress and some members of Bush’s Republican Party steadfastly oppose the plan.
“If American forces step back before Baghdad is secure, the Iraqi government would be overrun by extremists on all sides,” Bush said. “We could expect an epic battle between Shia extremists backed by Iran, and Sunni extremists aided by al-Qaeda and supporters of the old regime.”
“A contagion of violence could spill out across the country and in time the entire region could be drawn into the conflict,” he added in the State of the Union address. “For America, this is a nightmare scenario.”
Unfortunately, there are nightmare scenarios all around.