Tuesday, May 08, 2007

On With The Carnage

While Republican leaders and administration apologists move the accountability date for Preznut Bush's surge policy forward to September ("We have to give the surge time to work and, besides, all the surge troops aren't in place yet..."), the carnage in Iraq rages on, worse than ever:

BAGHDAD (AP) -- A suicide car bomber tore through a busy market in the Shiite holy city of Kufa on Tuesday morning, killing at least 16 people and wounding 70 in an attack sure to further enflame tensions between Iraq's Sunni and Shiite populations.


The revered Kufa mosque was about 400 yards from the blast. Millions of Shiite Muslim pilgrims visit the shrines at Kufa and Najaf, home to top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani as well as radical anti-U.S. Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

The predominantly Shiite southern areas have seen a spike in violence and unrest, blamed in part on militants who have fled a security crackdown in Baghdad.

On April 28, a suicide car bomber killed 68 people in a crowded commercial area near two of Iraq's most sacred Shiite shrines in Karbala, 45 miles northwest of Kufa. That attack came two weeks after a car bombing killed 47 people killed and wounded 224 wounded in the same area.

Hillah, about 60 miles south of Baghdad, also has been hit by some of the deadliest bombings this year, including a double suicide attack that killed 120 Shiite pilgrims and another one that killed 73 people in a market. Kufa itself was struck by a Dec. 30 at the fish market that killed 31 people.

Also Tuesday, a roadside bomb went off next to a passing mini bus in the Shiite area of Zafaraniyah on the southeastern outskirts of Baghdad, killing three passengers and injuring five others, police said.

At least 68 people were killed or found dead nationwide on Monday, police said, including the bullet-riddled bodies of 30 men found in Baghdad -- the apparent victims of sectarian death squads.

All but two were found in west Baghdad, including 17 in the Amil neighborhood where Sunni politicians have complained of renewed attacks by Shiite militiamen, said a police official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not supposed to release those details.

A suicide bomber struck a market on the outskirts of the city of Ramadi, west of Baghdad, Monday afternoon, killing eight people, said police Col. Tariq Youssef. About 15 minutes later, a second car bomb struck a nearby checkpoint, killing five people, including two policemen, Youssef said.

The one piece of progress that surge supporters and administration apologists have pointed to since the administration began deploying additional troops to Iraq earlier this year is the decrease in death squad activity and sectarian killings in Baghdad.

That progress was mostly due to the Mahdi Army standing down during the surge, but you will note in the above article that death squad activity and sectarian killings of Sunnis are making a comeback.

If this development continues (as seems likely given all the attacks on Shiites), then there will not be one piece of progress for surge supporters to point to other than it's helping delay the inevitable "retreat and defeat" to the next administration.

Which was the point of the surge policy implementation in the first place.

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