Monday, December 17, 2007

The Surge In Shovel Sales

Needlenose picks up a very interesting story:

There's no question that violence across Iraq has declined: in December 2006, approximately 3,000 Iraqi civilians were killed across the country; this November about 600 were. But the problem—and the reason no one from U.S. commander Gen. David Petraeus on down is declaring victory yet—is that those statistics do not tell the whole story: [. . .] militias are making more of an effort to disguise their grisly handiwork—burying bodies in shallow graves, dumping them in city sewers. . . .

In the past two months, more than half a dozen mass graves have been found in Iraq, at least half of them in Baghdad. At one site discovered in late November, in a yard in Baghdad's Saydiya neighborhood, bodies and their severed heads were buried in two separate holes, according to a source at the Ministry of Interior who isn't authorized to speak on the record. An additional 16 bodies were found buried in a ditch north of Baghdad last Thursday.

. . . in the heat of the civil war, militias boldly advertised their slaughter. Bodies—headless, burned, slashed open and perforated with drill holes—were left in plain sight as a message to others. Now, with most Baghdad neighborhoods dominated by one sect or the other, the death squads can afford to be more subtle in their killing. . . .

The strategy also reflects some positive developments in Baghdad. With many more U.S. and Iraqi troops out on the streets, killers cannot be as brazen as before.
Why? Because the fundamental problems in Iraq remain and will remain until they decide to solve it. With the Americans in country, that decision to resolve the internal conflicts can be postponed indefinitely as the U.S. props up one side or the other.

No comments: