Attacks continue in Iraq
The President's analysis, via A.P.:
WASHINGTON - President Bush on Tuesday decried the latest surge in sectarian violence in Iraq and declared that for Iraqis "the choice is chaos or unity."Andrew Sullivan:
"And they say there is no sectarian war? What do you call this?" - an Iraqi, reacting to the massive casualties of the past few days. 1300 dead in a few days is not a portent of civil war. It is civil war. The question is whether it can now be stopped. Imagine if 16,000 Americans had been slaughtered in a few days in sectarian conflict. Would you call it peace?Zeyad has another must-read update:
A few months ago, when Baghdad was ripe with news of Interior ministry's death squads raiding Sunni neighbourhoods at night, the local National Guard commander in our area started touring mosques to warn them from uniformed security forces operating at night. The commander's own words were "Never, never open your doors to security forces after dark. If they attempt to force their way in, be prepared to defend yourselves." That was the time when people started forming neighbourhood watch teams again.
But I digress.
The Defense Ministry spokesman also stated that orders have been issued to arrest 'anyone who carries weapons, regardless of their religious or political backgrounds.' A committee was formed to place a mechanism to disarm militias and to ban armed demonstrations on the street. The Interior Ministry also formed a committee to incorporate the militias in the armed forces, except the Peshmerga. Now, that is deeply troubling.
General Rasheed Flayih, commander of Interior Ministry forces, stated to Al-Mada newspaper that his forces have the authority to conduct raids and detentions in any area of Iraq, without returning to the Multinational Forces or the Defense Ministry. He also mentioned that several units from his ministry have been assigned to police stations, and at 18 'hot' districts of Baghdad as undercover agents, named 'Field Intelligence units.' He announced that a new department called the 'Department of Night Patrols' has been formed, and that it would start operating night patrols in several areas of Baghdad on March 15. I sense major trouble coming.