Saturday, 3 February 2007

Surging violence, surging deaths

Well over 100 people have been killed today in Baghdad from a bomb attack. Some figures have placed blame on Sunni groups and Baathist (Saddam) loyalists for the second most deadly single attack to hit Iraq since the invasion.

The reason for the escalating violence lately can partially be put on the troop surge President Bush has pushed for. Competitive insurgent forces and sectarian militias are attempting to go out with a bang, so to speak, before Baghdad security is due to increase, hopefully for the better. These groups want to inflict as much damage as possible before — in their eyes — it might be too late. (The key word in that sentence: “might”.)

BBC News:

At least 135 people have been killed and 305 injured in a lorry bombing at a market place in central Baghdad, Iraqi security officials have said.

Article continues…
Only the Sadr City bombings in November, which killed more than 200 people, have claimed more lives.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki blamed loyalists of the executed former leader Saddam Hussein for the al-Sadriya attack.
BBC world affairs correspondent Mike Wooldridge says the attacks on markets are widely seen as militant groups deliberately stepping up their activities before a new joint Iraqi-US security operation for Baghdad gets under way.
The US is to deploy an extra 21,500 troops.

On Saturday, Iraq's most prominent Shia cleric, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, made a new appeal to all Iraqis.
"Everybody knows the necessity for us to stand together and reject the sectarian tension to avoid stirring sectarian differences," he said.

It was only yesterday when a NIE report warned that sectarian (‘Iraqi-on-Iraqi’) violence was the primary agitator of the insurgency and source of turmoil — contrary to the Bush administration's continuous blaming of Iran and Al Qaeda for inflaming the situation in Iraq.

As an update to my post on the NIE, it is important to note the ‘civil war’ wording the report used — wording many policymakers and plenty others in the US are afraid to use.
"The term 'civil war' does not adequately capture the complexity of the conflict in Iraq," said the report. "Nonetheless, the term 'civil war' accurately describes key elements of the Iraqi conflict.”

January had already seen some of the worst violence since the invasion. Even when removing the US v. Iran factor, there's still an unbelievable amount of death and destruction in a ravaged nation such as Iraq.

Bush is asking Congress for hundreds of billions more dollars for the war effort in Iraq. This administration is already slated to spend — or has already spent — a minimum of half a trillion on its “war on terrorism”. The budget, which the White House is getting ready to propose to Congress, will top $2.8 for fiscal year 2008.

If one ever finds themselves thinking about the morality and ethics instead of the politics relating to Iraq war policy, at least acknowledge civilian deaths. These people did nothing wrong; they were just unlucky being in the wrong place at the wrong time... with the wrong leader of the country invading their own.

Update: Check out this great Slate article by Fred Kaplan on Bush's poor Iraq strategy in re to sectarian violence and the Sunni-Shia conflict.

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