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What We Left Behind

What We Left Behind: a return of sectarian violence, and a nation worried for its future.
posted by semmi on Apr 29, 2014 - 25 comments

The new normal in Baghdad

"What is more worrying is that politicians themselves are adapting to the situation rather than trying to change it. The new regime seems to have slipped in to the shoes of the former. Officials squat in the opulent residences of their predecessors, whose era they claimed they were ending. Almost no infrastructure has been built in Baghdad over the past 10 years, except the local government headquarters, the road to the airport and a few flyovers. Traffic police shelters at crossroads are stamped “gift from the town hall”, recalling the “donations” (makarim) of Saddam: a personalised substitute for what should be provided anonymously by the state. Public service salaries remain insufficient, driving employees to find supplementary sources of income, legal or not. High-level corruption is tolerated, documented and used as leverage when necessary. Pervasive social climbing, nepotism and incompetence are poisoning institutions." -- Almost ten years after the start of the War on Iraq, Le Monde Diplomatique looks at what has really changed.
posted by MartinWisse on Mar 3, 2013 - 54 comments

I am the gravestone and the photograph - part 2

"After the blast the entire building came down. As the rescue teams and journalists rushed to the scene, a second explosion took place." Hazaras are a religious minority who fled from Afghanistan. They are called infidels by Sunni extremist groups operating in Pakistan, and as an ethnic minority, are easily recognized and targeted. The Pakistani government has done nothing to stop these attacks. Last night, more than 83 people from my community lost their lives. For nothing. [more inside]
posted by legospaceman on Jan 11, 2013 - 17 comments

Is it tinfoil hat time again already?

The recent bombing of a a Shi’ite mosque in SE Iran by the Sunni Muslim rebel group Jundullah raises again the question of whether the US is in bed with the enemy. The Groups leader Abdolmalek Rigi was recently executed by the Iranians.
In 2007 ABC News reported on The Secret War Against Iran.
"Some former CIA officers say the arrangement is reminiscent of how the U.S. government used proxy armies, funded by other countries including Saudi Arabia, to destabilize the government of Nicaragua in the 1980s”.
posted by adamvasco on Jul 16, 2010 - 15 comments

The path to 'victory'

Is This a 'Victory'? "We hear again and again from Washington that we have turned a corner in Iraq and are on the path to victory. If so, it is a strange victory."
posted by homunculus on Sep 28, 2008 - 52 comments

Baghdad Nights

Baghdad nights: evaluating the US military ‘surge’ using nighttime light signatures (PDF). A team of UCLA geographers using satellite imagery to track the amount of light emitted in Baghdad at night found that electricity use in Sunni neighborhoods fell prior to the surge and never returned, indicating that ethnic cleansing by Shiite militias drove the Sunnis away before the surge began and was largely responsible for the subsequent decrease in violence. [Via Passport]
posted by homunculus on Sep 23, 2008 - 33 comments

Surge? More like... something that rhymes with surge.

The military surge in Iraq is failing. Sure, violence in the country is down significantly, but that's as much due to the Sunni Awakening, which began significantly before the surge got going in 2007. Unfortunately, everyone, particularly the McCain campaign, seems to have forgotten that the goal of the surge was to provide political stability, and it totally hasn't. [more inside]
posted by Caduceus on Sep 10, 2008 - 32 comments

A look inside the Sunni insurgency in Iraq.

A look inside the Sunni insurgency in Iraq.
posted by delmoi on Jan 14, 2007 - 29 comments

Partitioning Democracy

The practical future of the country formerly known as Iraq. [NewsFilter, but a significant acknowledgement of something long-in-coming.]
posted by digaman on Aug 9, 2006 - 63 comments

we're the Mafia now

the "Second Liberation of Baghdad" --coming soon, in which we act as "enforcers", providing "protection" --...American and Iraqi troops would move from neighbourhood to neighbourhood, leaving behind Sweat teams — an acronym for “sewage, water, electricity and trash” — to improve living conditions by upgrading clinics, schools, rubbish collection, water and electricity supplies. Sunni insurgent strongholds are almost certain to be the first targets, although the Shi’ite militias such as the Mahdi army of Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical cleric, and the Iranian-backed Badr Brigade would need to be contained. ... Will we be greeted with candy and flowers again as well?
posted by amberglow on Apr 16, 2006 - 65 comments

The Ongoing Iraqi Civil War To Date

Civil war. Surely this is an adjectival misnomer of the first rank. Of all of the various types of war, civil war -- that is, a violent conflict waged between opposing sides within a society -- has generally been the least mannerly and the most savage... By just about every meaningful standard that can be applied -- the reference points of history, the research criteria of political science, the contemporaneous reporting of on-the-ground observers, the grim roll of civilian and combatant casualties -- Iraq is now well into the bloody sequence of civil war. Dispense with the tentative locution "on the verge of." An active, if not full-boil, civil war is already a reality.
Shattering Iraq
See also Iraq: see no evil, hear no evil
Iran gaining influence, power in Iraq through militia
Bush's Strategy, Iraq's New Army Challenged by Ethnic Militias
Outside View: Iraq's Grim Lessons   More Inside
posted by y2karl on Dec 14, 2005 - 93 comments

Dick Cheney's Pre-Emptive Nuclear War on Terror

In case of emergency, nuke Iran. From the folks who brought you Operation Iraqi Freedom and the "last throes" of the insurgency, the latest strategy for enhancing homeland security and US global standing is to launch a nuclear first-strike against Iran in the event of another 9/11-style attack -- whether Iran has ties to the attackers or not. As Juan Cole points out, turning a Shiite Muslim nation into the next Hiroshima could have disagreeable consequences. (First reported by the American Conservative, not your typical liberal rag, and via DailyKos.)
posted by digaman on Jul 29, 2005 - 78 comments

Converting to which Islam?

"White Muslim." Converting to which Islam? Most of the new Muslims I read about in the usual media feel impelled to join the "orthodox" Sunni (if not outright Wahhabi) variety, as if there is no other. But, as many of you no doubt already know, a non-negligible minority of the world's Muslims are Shi'ite, whose biggest "Twelver" branch was made famous by this Ayatollah. To further refute the image of "monolithic" Islam,within the Shia minority are a minority known as "Seveners" or Ismailis , whose biggest branch is run by this gentleman , whose conception of Islam as "a thinking, spiritual faith, one that teaches compassion and tolerance" seems more congenial to the self-selected strata inclined to, oh, post to MetaFilter, perhaps especially to "Secular Humanist" atheists like me. (I'll bet some of you can even relate to his divorce.) Further reading from these links (perhaps with Google's help) should further belie much of the dumbed-down propaganda "mainstream" Americans are spoon-fed about Islam, showing the kaleidoscopic nature of one of today's One True Faiths. (And then there are the almost Zen-like Sufis, and ....)
posted by davy on Dec 7, 2004 - 58 comments

The battle the US wants to provoke

The battle the US wants to provoke Make no mistake: this is not the "civil war" that Washington has been predicting will break out between Sunnis, Shias and Kurds. Rather, it is a war provoked by the US occupation authority and waged by its forces against the growing number of Shia who support Moqtada al-Sadr (by Naomi Klein in Baghdad).
posted by acrobat on Apr 6, 2004 - 49 comments

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