I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Iraq - Reduced Violence

Violence in Iraq has decreased over the last few months, certainly a good thing, but why? A couple of months ago I suggested it was at least in part because the ethnic cleansing had largely been completed in Baghdad prior to the surge. Well Andrew Sullivan has an additional reason in the form of a letter from a reader. The reader's son is an officer in Iraq and writes the following:
"No one ever mentions the fact that we have literally built walls around each neighborhood and along every highway as the reason the violence is down here. The place looks like an Orwell novel gone wrong. The people cannot shoot each other through walls and the insurgents cannot move around to plant their bombs. A society cannot function walled off form each other. We pay every bill, manage every facet of governance. The government at every level is a joke. The ministries are controlled by one faction (Shia). They have almost no experience or education. A bunch of guys walk around in suits and look important while they do nothing.
The local governments (to use the term loosely) are a collection of gangsters and strong men concerned with consolidating power and lining their pockets with cash from kickbacks of U.S. construction projects. The people have no work ethic. (I offered two grubby starving men 20 dollars each to unload some grain bags... they asked for fifty and then refused to work for less. I unloaded it myself) They throw their trash in the street until it piles high enough for the kids to play on it, and get sick. So, in short, I don't see a Capitalistic Democracy sprouting along the Tigris. I see the little boy (The U.S. Army) with his finger in the dike. If we remove our hand, it all goes away."
Violence is down but nothing has really changed. The violence is down because the waring factions have be separated through ethnic cleansing or by walls. The civil war is on hold but the fuel is still there.

1 comment:

  1. I'm puzzled by the decline in violence. It's true that the different ethnic groups might now be separate and walled off from each other, but what about attacks on Western troops? They are down too. 131 were killed in May, but it was down to 40 in November.

    As well as the things you've discussed, I think part of the explanation must be the effort to engage Sunni tribal leaders. If they are playing along, they can probably shut down the insurgency in their areas, but are they intending to keep this up permanently?


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