Wednesday, March 29, 2006

If It Seems A Little Strange, Well That's Because It Is

I admitted yesterday that I was having a tough time parsing the riddle represented by the violence in Iraq over the weekend: a military style raid that, apparently, pitted Iraqi army units (that the Iraqi government doesn't control or know about) against militia members from Sadr's Mahdi Army (with the US acting as, perhaps, reluctant accomplices).

Andrew Sullivan tipped me off to a couple of posts from Iraqi bloggers that show that any confusion on our part could be even greater for the denizens of Baghdad. Though the consequences are obviously far more drastic for Iraqis. First this [emphasis mine throughout]:

The situation in Baghdad is deteriorating from day to day. I have warned about this long ago....Very soon, if this situation continues like this the city is going to be brought to a complete standstill and paralysis. The confusion and conflict between the Americans, the army and the Ministry of interior is producing a situation where the citizens don't know anymore whether the security personel [sic] in the street are friends, enemies, terrorists or simply criminals and thieves. Everybody is wearing the same uniforms. Whole sections of the city have virtually fallen to gangs and terrorists, and this is sepecially [sic] true for the "Sunni" dominated neighborhoods. People and businesses are being robbed and the employees kidnapped en mass in broad daylight and with complete ease as though security forces are non-existent, although we see them everwhere [sic].
But it's not technically a civil war mind you. And that's the important thing. Riverbend adds this observation about the text that she noticed scrolling along the bottom of the television screen:

"The Ministry of Defense requests that civilians do not comply with the orders of the army or police on nightly patrols unless they are accompanied by coalition forces working in that area."

That’s how messed up the country is at this point.[...]

It really is difficult to understand what is happening lately. We hear about talks between Americans and Iran over security in Iraq, and then American ambassador in Iraq accuses Iran of funding militias inside of the country. Today there are claims that Americans killed between 20 to 30 men from Sadr’s militia in an attack on a husseiniya yesterday. The Americans are claiming that responsibility for the attack should be placed on Iraqi security forces (the same security forces they are constantly commending).

All of this directly contradicts claims by Bush and other American politicians that Iraqi troops and security forces are in control of the situation. Or maybe they are in control- just not in a good way.

They've been finding corpses all over Baghdad for weeks now- and it’s always the same: holes drilled in the head, multiple shots or strangulation, like the victims were hung. Execution, militia style. Many of the people were taken from their homes by security forces- police or special army brigades… Some of them were rounded up from mosques.
This sort of puts a new twist on the "as they stand up, we'll stand down" formula, huh? As a wise man once said, "Sometimes freedom is messy." Unfortunately, someone else might have to clean it up. Down at the morgue.

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