Saturday, January 07, 2006

In Iraq The Worst Is Yet To Come

Bad news from Iraq

Martin Sieff reports:

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- The intense wave of killings and bombings that have swept Iraq this week comes as a shock awakening, or hangover, following the unrealistically high expectations and self-congratulations in the administration that surrounded the Dec. 15 parliamentary elections and their immediate aftermath.

The decision of the Sunni Muslim insurgents in central Iraq to largely restrain their forces during the election campaign and the voting period could easily be misconstrued as a weakening of will or loss of morale on their part. But, as was clear even at the time, it was no such thing. Like the Irish Republican Army of two decades ago, the insurgents had not forsaken the bullet for the ballot box. Instead, in the manner of sophisticated -- and all too often, successful -- insurgencies throughout the 20th century, they were following a sophisticated strategy of bullets and ballots.

Consistent with this view, Kim Sengupta reports that Shia accuse US forces of appeasing insurgents:

...yesterday, thousands of Shia Muslims marched in protest through Baghdad, accusing the Americans of hindering the war against insurgents in their attempt to appease the Sunni community.

Several Shia clerics used the Friday prayers to call for action. At the Khadimiyah mosque in Baghdad, Imam Hazim Araji, holding a Kalashnikov rifle aloft, said in his address to 5,000 worshippers: "How long can we remain silent? Terrorists are pampered in Iraq."

There was widespread Shia anger elsewhere, with residents in the holy city of Karbala, where 49 people were killed in a suicide attack on Thursday, demanding that religious leaders should authorise the community to fight back.


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