Tal Afar Bloodbath Shows Iraq Mess Not Improving
First, there was the suicide bombing in the marketplace that killed 85 persons, many of them Shiites. A man drove up in a truck loaded with flour and yelled to the shoppers he had come to give them aid. Then, as they crowded around, he detonated the bomb. Another example of Arab depravity generated by the Sunni Al Qaeda people who killed 3,000 Americans in New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001.
(A few days later, the Iraqis corrected the death toll in the suicide bombing, upping it to 152).
In any case, just after the attack, Shiite police and irregular Shiite units retaliated, going through Sunni neighborhoods, seizing men and boys and summarily shooting them to death. Generally, they were murdered by shots to the head. Another 70 persons died in these vile acts.
Martial law has now been declared, and reports from the scene say 18 local police have been taken into custody. I wonder if they were "trained" by American forces.
In any case, the police murderers were released within two days. It was another instance of dishonorable conduct by the sleazily sectarian Iraq regime of Nouri Maliki.
What is clear is that the Al Qaeda-lining insurgents, continue to undertake mass murder in an attempt to provoke sectarian warfare, and that, when American troops are not on hand to prevent them from doing so, the Shiites, which run the government we are backing, retaliate in kind.
(In another development, the insurgents launched another poison gas attack in Fallujah, and initial reports were 15 American and Iraqi troops were injured with chlorine poisoning).
This is a civil war which in all likelihood would only intensify should American troops withdraw from Iraq, as the Democratic majority in Congress seems to want.
But, with American troops staying, things are not improving, and they are unlikely to improve as long as Al Qaeda is determined to destabilize the country, and the rest of the Middle East as well, with its slaughters of other Arab ethnic groups. Many thousands are dying as a result of this group's unmitigated barbarism.
Between Al Qaeda and the Democratic Congress, the Bush Administration is between a rock and a hard place. It may be able to stave off either a binding withdrawal order or a funding cut off generated by Congress, because many Democrats realize that if America were to withdraw from Iraq, losing the war, terrorism in the Middle East and perhaps elsewhere in the world would probably spread. At the same time, the American people are growing more and more impatient with the whole mess, and the political consequences of not withdrawing may be to empower the anti-war Democratic left here at home. These lulus would bring "peace in our time" all right, and it would last about as long as it did in the 1930s.
This is a political imbroglio of the first water. It seems we can only watch things get worse on every hand. Yet, let me be clear, I don't see any alternative to fighting on, in hopes the enemy in Iraq will crack in the end and Al Qaeda sustain a defeat. It could, however, take years, there is no sugarcoating it. And probably ousting Maliki and getting someone we can live with would be part of the solution.
(An anonymous comment on this blog below tries to draw a distinction between Sunnis and Saudis and says most of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudis. In fact, Saudis are Sunnis, Saudi Arabia is predominantly a Sunni state and Al Qaeda is a Sunni organization).