Iraq: politics and reality
Meanwhile, Dick Cheney states the obvious (while drawing no actual lessons from doing so) and the U.S. Embassy deals with the current reality. The last item, in particular, is a bit of bad news for the surge, although arguably it's easier to lob mortar rounds during a still-unfolding crackdown than it is to mount more direct and bloody attacks. Once again, the verdict on the surge is still out.
Update: This isn't good news for the surge, either:
Christians are fleeing in droves from the southern Baghdad district of Dora after Sunni insurgents told them they would be killed unless they converted to Islam or left, according to Christian leaders and families who fled.
Similar episodes of what has become known as sectarian cleansing raged through Baghdad neighborhoods last year as Sunnis drove Shiites from Sunni areas and Shiites drove Sunnis from Shiite ones, but this marks the first apparent attempt to empty an entire Baghdad neighborhood of Christians, the Christians say.
The article goes on to note that more than half of Iraq's prewar Christian population now lives outside the country.
What makes this particularly hard to fathom is that Dora is a known insurgent stronghold. So why have we ignored it thus far? One possible explanation is that we're securing the easy stuff first, so that the insurgents will have no place to go when we finally crack down on the hard cases. Still, I'd like to see an explanation of that.
Another thing to note is that Iraqi Christian groups blame Al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadists for such cleansings. They're there because we're there, and they're only tolerated by Iraqis because we're there. So mark this down to another little piece of joy our presence has brought to the country. The expulsions themselves are not our fault, but they are at least partly our responsibility.
Iraq, politics, midtopia