Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Just another day in the life and death of Iraq LXXXVII, LXXXVIII, and LXXXIX

By Michael J.W. Stickings

The U.S. will soon be gone, Iraq left to the Iraqis. The U.S. shouldn't be there, and perhaps never should have been there, but there is no denying that the Iraqis face an enormous task.

For their country is still a deeply divided and deeply violent place:

At least 33 people, including a local army chief, have died and 46 have been injured in a suicide attack on the western edge of Baghdad, officials say.

The attack took place in the Abu Ghraib municipality, and appeared to target a group of dignitaries as they left a national reconciliation conference.

Violence levels have declined in Iraq recently, but this is the third major attack in the last few days.

More than 30 died in an attack on a police recruitment centre on Sunday.

On Thursday, a car bomb exploded at a cattle market in Babel province killing 10.

How ironic, and telling, that the latest attack, or at least the lasted attack reported here, targeted a reconciliation conference. Clearly, the perpetrators of these attacks want nothing of reconciliation. Their Iraq is a sectarian one, a tribal one, a genocidal one. And their attacks will likely increase as the U.S. draws down, and then again when the U.S. leaves.

There are forces of peace in Iraq, elements of reconciliation, but it is still not clear how the Shiite majority, which controls the government in Baghdad, will rule in the absence of the U.S. It is also not clear how the Sunnis, many of whom have made temporary peace with the U.S., and the Kurds, who retain their separatist aspirations in the north, will respond. There is at least the possibility that reconciliation will prevail, if without the Kurds, but there is little doubt that progress will not be made without great struggle against the mass murderers who continue to turn Iraq into a bloodbath, and who will oppose peace literally to the death.

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