Saturday, April 08, 2006

NYT: What the boots on the ground say

U.S. Study Paints Somber Portrait of Iraqi Discord - New York Times

WASHINGTON, April 8 — An internal staff report by the United States Embassy and the military command in Baghdad provides a sobering province-by-province snapshot of Iraq's political, economic and security situation, rating the overall stability of 6 of the 18 provinces "serious" and one "critical." The report is a counterpoint to some recent upbeat public statements by top American politicians and military officials.
The report, 10 pages of briefing points titled "Provincial Stability Assessment," underscores the shift in the nature of the Iraq war three years after the toppling of Saddam Hussein. Warnings of sectarian and ethnic frictions are raised in many regions, even in those provinces generally described as nonviolent by American officials.
The patterns of discord mapped by the report confirm that ethnic and religious schisms have become entrenched across much of the country, even as monthly American fatalities have fallen. Those indications, taken with recent reports of mass migrations from mixed Sunni-Shiite areas, show that Iraq is undergoing a de facto partitioning along ethnic and sectarian lines, with clashes — sometimes political, sometimes violent — taking place in those mixed areas where different groups meet.

The graphic shows how laughable the "it's only bad in 3 provinces" excuse is -- they're the only ones with people in them. Things are just peachy in Iraq's versions of North Dakota and Wyoming. And who in their right mind thinks the Kurds are going to give up their de facto separate peace for a greater Iraq?

Think they are learning from this? Right. The last time they put on a blindfold and tried to whack something with a stick, it turned out to be a hornet's nest. But hope springs eternal that Iran will turn out to be a magic piñata, showering us all with with cheap oil.


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