No need to Panic. (Yet)
Since the attack on the Golden Mosque, there's been good reason for many of us start panicking over a feared scenario of a Civil War emerging from all this.
However, I'm cautiously optimistic that it won't get that far. For sure this will create some short-term havoc and the long-term implications are yet to be determined, but judging from some testimonies from some Iraqi bloggers, there's reason to remain calm for now:
Omar at ITM:
Baghdad looks more alive today but in a very cautious way, traffic in the streets is heavier than it was yesterday but still way below normal.
There's some kind of shopping frenzy because people are trying to be prepared if the worst happens; people are stock-piling small reserves of food, cigarettes, bottled water…etc especially after they heard some of the roads to/from Baghdad are closed and vehicles were turned away.
The Sunni political leaders were invited to a meeting with the UIA suggested by president Talabani but they refused to join the meeting saying the government has to condemn attacks on their mosques as well before they consider ending the boycott.
Talabani responded positively to their demand and gave a short statement to the press half an hour ago and condemned all attacks on worshipping places of all kinds.
The situation is still very tense but the good thing is that the Sunni have not returned the attacks and I hope the Shia have satisfied their vengeance by now because I don't want to even think of what can happen if this situation lasts longer than this.
Which is always a promising sign, considering retaliatory attacks tend to happen within hours in situations like this. Further more, 24 Steps to liberty details some promising signs of cooperation efforts among Shiites and Sunnis to help diffuse the crisis.
Another factor to keep in mind is that the Iraqi people can't stomach another conflict. they've been through 3 major wars for the past 25 years, which devastated their country entirely, which could be a very important incentive to act through this matter rationally.
But then again, when it comes to religion in the Middle East, these type of things are never predictable. So who knows what will happen.