"It is getting worse. The Iraqi army and police are not loyal to the state. If the US army decides to confront the Shia militias it could well find Shia military units from the Iraqi army cutting the main American supply route between Kuwait and Baghdad. One convoy was stopped at a supposedly fake police checkpoint near the Kuwait border earlier this month and four American security men and an Austrian taken away.
The US and British position in Iraq is far more of a house built on sand than is realized in Washington or London despite the disasters of the last three-and-a-half years. President Bush and Tony Blair show a unique inability to learn from their mistakes, largely because they do not want to admit having committed any errors in the first place.
Civil war is raging across central Iraq, home to a third of the country’s 27 million people. As Shia and Sunni flee each other’s neighbourhoods Iraq is turning into a country of refugees. The UN High Commission for Refugees says that 1.6 million are displaced within the country and a further 1.8 million have fled abroad. In Baghdad neighbouring Sunni and Shia districts have started to fire mortars at each other. On the day Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death I phoned a friend in a Sunni area of the capital to ask what he thought of the verdict. He answered impatiently that "I was woken up this morning by the explosion of a mortar bomb on the roof of my next door neighbour’s house. I am more worried about staying alive myself than what happens to Saddam." Patrick Cockburn
"Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night."
Matthew Arnold – Dover Beach 1867
That pretty well sums it up. We are going to go all the way down, down down…. All the way down to whatever circle is reserved for the ignorant, proud and presumptuous.
And the Iraqis, whomever they are? They are going to go with us although perhaps to a different circle. Their’s may be one reserved for the bloody minded who can’t see their neighbors as other than mortar targets.
June, 2007? Maliki says June, 2007? There may be a special place for him.