Saturday, May 28, 2005

Violence Continues To Surge Across Iraq

From John Burns in the NY Times:

BAGHDAD, Iraq, May 28 - The surge of violence that has swept Iraq since its first elected government took office nearly a month ago continued on Saturday, with at least 30 new deaths reported across the country, some of them in what appeared to be sectarian killings.

The latest attacks raised the total number of Iraqis killed this month to about 650, in addition to at least 63 American troops who have been killed, the highest American toll since January.

In two of the worst incidents reported on Saturday, at least five Iraqi border guards were killed and more than 40 people were wounded in a double suicide bombing near the gates of an Iraqi military base at Sinjar, 40 miles from the northwestern border with Syria.

Farther south along the Syrian border, in the Sunni Arab city of Qaim, a police commander confirmed the killing in recent days of 10 Shiite pilgrims returning from a shrine in Syria, The Associated Press reported.

In other incidents, two Sunni Arab tribal leaders, one in Baghdad and the other in the northern city of Kirkuk, were killed on Friday, according to police reports. In the Kirkuk killing, local officials suggested that the victim, Sheik Sabhan Khalaf al-Jibouri, might have been a target because of his attempt to have friendly relations with Kurdish leaders.

How close is Iraq to total civil war? Here's a Newsday article from May 12th, 2005 that quotes security experts who say Iraq already is a civil war no matter what the ostrich-heads in Washington think:

With security experts reporting that no major road in the country was safe to travel, some Iraq specialists speculated that the Sunni insurgency was effectively encircling the capital and trying to cut it off from the north, south and west, where there are entrenched Sunni communities. East of Baghdad is a mostly unpopulated desert bordering on Iran.

"It's just political rhetoric to say we are not in a civil war. We've been in a civil war for a long time," said Pat Lang, the former top Middle East intelligence official at the Pentagon.

Other experts said Iraq is on the verge of a full-scale civil war with civilians on both sides being slaughtered. Incidents in the past two weeks south of Baghdad, with apparently retaliatory killings of Sunni and Shia civilians, point in that direction, they say.

Also of concern were media accounts that hard-line Shia militia members are being deployed to police hard-line Sunni communities such as Ramadi, east of Baghdad, which specialists on Iraq said was a recipe for disaster.

"I think we are really on the edge" of all-out civil war, said Noah Feldman, a New York University law professor who worked for the U.S. coalition in Iraq.

He said the insurgency has been "getting stronger every passing day. When the violence recedes, it is a sign that they are regrouping." While there is a chance the current flare of violence is the insurgency's last gasp, he said, "I have not seen any coherent evidence that we are winning against the insurgency."

"Everything we thought we knew about the insurgency obviously is flawed," said Judith Kipper of the Council on Foreign Relations. "It was quiet for a little while, and here it is back full force all over the country, and that is very dark news."

Note the quote by Professor Noah Feldman, former employee of the Coalition Provisional Authority. He says every time the violence recedes "it is a sign they are regrouping...I have not seen any coherent evidence that we are winning against the insurgency."

Funny thing, George W. sees something different when the violence in Iraq periodically recedes. He sees "victory"! From USA Today on May 21st:

In Iraq, Bush said, two deputies of the terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi have been captured and thousands of other terrorists and insurgents have been killed or captured near the Syrian border.

"While some difficult days still lie ahead, these recent victories are making America safer and the world more secure," the president said. "As we make progress against today's enemies, we are also transforming our military to defeat the enemies we might face in the decades ahead."

Sure, Mr. Preznit, the nation is safer now that you've got the army bogged down in Iraq for the forseeable future, the Muslim world up in arms over American abuse of "terror suspects" and"mishandled" copies of the Koran, and a federal deficit and debt quintupling by the millisecond because you decided to fight simultaneous wars on the tax code and Islamic terror.

Yup, America's safer. If only those bastards at Newsweek and CBS could be shut down for good, Putin-style, and America would really be safe!!!

Well, I guess they can do that during Jeb's first term.

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