Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Iraq announcement followed by massacre

The Iraqi prime minister, Nouri Maliki, has said that Iraq's security forces will take over securing the devastated country from the United States and others by end of 2007. The forces, sections of which allegedly have strong ties to militias (e.g. Sunni soldier helping Sunni insurgents and fighting opposing Shias). There are roughly 325 thousand Iraqi security forces, including police and law enforcement.

In more violent areas, Iraq's military is weak at best. However, much of the country, notably the Kurdish north, is relatively tranquil.

Car bombings killed up to 200 in Baghdad following the announcement — the bloodiest attack since a step up by the Iraqi government and American military in February (remember the 'surge'?).

The chain of events is probably a coincidence, because there is little reason for the bombings unless they were a sectarian attack or an attack against America or Iraqi government in general. In addition, the Maliki announcement will be welcomed by most in Iraq.

If it's not a coincidence, the attack could be an omen of bad things to come in the civil war; a war that will hopefully end soon. The next couple of years will see policy shifts by the Iraq government and those of America and its allies as pressure increases on governments and some have already begun change in their policy on Iraq.

This is an amazingly bloody war being fought in Iraq, with the death toll going up every day. Let's not forget the innocent civilians who are, for the most part, bystanders to this carnage. And what is the objective of the sides? Sunnis against Shias, Shias against Sunnis, and various other groups only stirring up the violence. Unlike the foreign 'freedom fighters' (e.g. 'al-Qaeda in Iraq'), domestic insurgents (e.g. al-Sadr's Mahdi Army), and foreign military presence (e.g. US, Britain), the ordinary people of Iraq did not volunteer to die; they did not volunteer to be put at risk. Just like we have seen in the North Ireland conflict of ages past, in many uncivil civil wars, no body really wins, but lives are lost — see BBC Newsnight's intriguing Iraq 2020 debate.

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