Balkanizing Baghdad

The London Times reports:

More and more, Baghdad is splintering into Shia and Sunni enclaves that are increasingly no-go areas for anyone from outside. The trend is fuelled by the ugliest sectarianism. It also reflects a crude power grab, with both sides egged on by political parties aiming to maximise their clout in the Iraqi Government by dominating as much of the capital as possible. The result is that since February, when Sunnis bombed the golden-domed mosque in Samarra, a Shia shrine, 146,322 individuals have been displaced in Baghdad, according to the International Organisation for Migration.

The paper supports the point with a fascinating map of Baghdad drawn up by the U.S. military:

Via American Footprints, which notes that in addition to all the internal displacements, over a million -- maybe two million -- Iraqis have fled the country. Jim Henley comments: "I still read bland statements on conservative sites that Iraq can't be in a civil war because we're 'not seeing a massive refugee problem.' That may be because 'we're' not looking."

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  • Jane||

    stay the course! stay the course! kill them all!

  • ||

    Flay the source!

  • ||

    I wouldn't want to be in that "green" zone. It's right in the middle of some nasty shit.
    When will those foolish environmentalists learn?

  • ed||

    That's one city where you don't want to make a wrong turn.

  • ||

    That's funny. Dr. Michael Savage has been talking about this for almost 2 years. Atleast dividing Iraq into 4 seperate areas. Which seems to me the most sensible option.

    I know, I know. A lot of you don't like him, but I do enjoy his program.

  • GILMORE||

    Four, Ron?

    (counts fingers....sunni....shia.....kurdish...)

    I guess you're saving one for Halliburton? Disneyland?

    The @(#$*@$ NY times only started *vaguely* referring to the 'sectarian conflict' in iraq as Civil War fairly recently... despite much nagging and letter writing by me, asking them to for God's sake cease using the "slipping into all-out...." phrase. I finally got a letter in print asking if the US was in a war itself, or "slipping into an 'all-out' something"? 1000 iraqis can die a month from violence, while we lose a few dozen, and yet they dont rate a 'War' yet, apparently.

  • GILMORE||

    one more comment...

    The US wont need to be drawing any maps, defining who gets what, where. They're doing it themselves already.

    I wonder if anyone's made a similar map of Kirkuk. It would also be interesting to see #s behind what Bdad neighborhoods represent what % of the ongoing violence....

  • ||

    Doesn't look much different from a map of Los Angeles.

  • Bryan||

    Is it true that Inglewood is always up to no good?

  • Bryan||

    And what about the city of Compton. They still keep it rockin' right? They keep it rockin'?

  • Bazil||

    Dr.? Dr. Michael Savage

    In economic terms the value of the title "Dr." goes down the drain if it's in front of that windbags name. (windbag is carefully considered adjective to describe Mr. Savage, PhD. talk show personality, professional savage.)

  • ||

    That's funny. Dr. Michael Savage has been talking about this for almost 2 years. Atleast dividing Iraq into 4 seperate areas. Which seems to me the most sensible option.

    Although the Kurds have managed to do their own thing in the north pretty well, the factions will continue to fight over oilfields, which are not evenly distributed, and the capital. Division is not a quick solution - look at Northern Ireland - but then again, what is?

  • ||

    "Jim Henley comments: "I still read bland statements on conservative sites that Iraq can't be in a civil war because we're 'not seeing a massive refugee problem.' That may be because 'we're' not looking."

    I guess people aren't fleeing the green zone. ...not much outside the green zone gets reported on, does it?

    Oh, and, per the map, it's interesting to see that roughly half the green zone is Sunni.

  • phocion||

    In economic terms the value of the title "Dr." goes down the drain if it's in front of that windbags name

    I'm guessing that not much that a libertarian would recognize as economics is taught in UC Berkeley's nutritional ethnomedicine PhD program.

  • Ray G||

    The civil war point is really moot since our presence - right or wrong - created the scenario for whatever one wants to call the current warfare/sectarian violence/whatever.

    Again - regardless of personal opinion on the war itself - we went in there because we judged the place to be a training ground and funding source for international terrorism.

    So we either unleash such violence that the place is not capable of being any good to anyone, or we stick around until a viable govt is in place that can withstand the pressures to go "Islamofascist."

    But we've already went in and turned the place upside down, enabling the civil war/sectarian violence/whatever, and so now we are responsible to do something besides "redeploy."

  • ||

    I wonder if there's a way we can set aside an area of the desert, far removed from civilian populaions, and make it a free-fire zone for sectarian death squads and terrorist groups to kill eachother.

    We could say something like, "Al-qaeda in this corner, death squads who want a genocide of sunni arabs over here, death squads who want a genocide of shia over there, everyone else in that corner. When we say "go" you can kill eachother." There would be no innocent people in this area that we set aside, so US and coalition forces wouldn't have to intervene unless some death squad member tried to leave the free-fire zone. In the mean time, coalition forces could surround(sp?) the area, and afterwards they could deal with whoever is left.

    Something tells me though, that this proposal is not in the Baker Report.

  • ||

    """I wonder if there's a way we can set aside an area of the desert, far removed from civilian populaions, and make it a free-fire zone for sectarian death squads and terrorist groups to kill eachother."""

    That's a pay per view special!

    ""But we've already went in and turned the place upside down, enabling the civil war/sectarian violence/whatever, and so now we are responsible to do something besides "redeploy.""""

    I agree, but what do we do?

  • ||

    That's a pay per view special!

    Or a reality show.

  • ||

    I was really suprised by the christians when I was in Iraq. We spent a lot of time in the catholic 'hood across the river from the green zone, and the little kids even were catholic schoolgirl outfits. I have a small picture of a swarthy jesus that a cute little girl gave me while we were in the area. There is also a really strange cluster of red headed white people that look like they should be in Ireland. No point to my story, i just hope these smaller groups can survive.

  • ||

    Ray G | December 15, 2006, 8:09pm | #
    The civil war point is really moot since our presence ...



    yes, well, kind of. its certainly not moot to *them*.

    we went in there because we judged the place to be a training ground and funding source for international terrorism.

    thats a bold statement. ask any person who has detailed knowledge of the middle east from the 70s through the 2000s to rate which state ranked highest in 'international terrorism', and iraq rates near the bottom of the pile. the regime wasnt particularly tolerant of outside influences or interested in jihadism. saddam gassed and shot civilians for being passively tolerant of outside agents - the charges for which he's now been sentenced to death for. to say that the main driver of the invasion was because of fear of 'safe haven' in iraq for international terrorist organizations is nonsense. there were many reasons, but this one is nothing but a rhetorical gesture that has little basis in fact.

  • Jennifer||

    Slightly off-topic, but are right-wing apologists still saying that Iraqis are better off nowadays than they were before we invaded? What with work and Christmas shopping, I haven't been able to keep up with the current buzzspeak.

  • thoreau||

    I believe the current official position, Jennifer, is that the Iraqis are blessed to be busy with Christmas shopping:

    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/56648

  • ||

    great piece

    Like many U.S. operations in Iraq, Operation Desert Santa has met with some resistance. A convoy transporting fruitcake and gingerbread came under rocket attack Sunday night just outside Checkpoint Noël in Basra, and unidentified bands of Iraqis exchanged gunfire with Marines operating an armored Humvee simulated sleigh ride in a Baghdad suburb. In spite of these troubles, regional commanders report progress, with only eight U.S. casualties resulting from the operation.

  • ||

    Doesn't the Global Terror Syndicate take a Christmas vacation?

  • thoreau||

    You left out the best part, Gilmore:

    "...in order to ensure a meaningful holiday season for all Iraqis, provisions were made for those Iraqis who elected to observe Hanukkah."

  • ||

    Two things:

    1- The people here are blessed that the scam that is Christmas hasn't reached them. Maybe because of all the fake things they are interested in, the fake birthday of Jesus isn't one of them.

    2- """I wonder if there's a way we can set aside an area of the desert, far removed from civilian populaions, and make it a free-fire zone for sectarian death squads and terrorist groups to kill eachother."""
    That would be cool, but it wouldn't work, as the prize for the winner of this war is the population. So fighting it in the desert away from the civilian populace makes no sense.

  • ||

    Jen,
    No, I am not. And I don't think the right wing apologists are either.

    That is the goal, and that is what we were hoping for.

    I think a good study for this war is the last war of the Russians in Afghanistan. With the Syrians, the Iranians and others doing against us what the CIA and others did against the Russians.

  • thoreau||

    kwais-

    I have a few Iraq-related posts up at Inactivist. I would be very interested in seeing your comments.

    www.inactivist.org

  • ||

    Just went there Dr T.

    (BTW is is kosher to go on one website and ask posters to migrate to another?)

    jk

  • ||

    That would be cool, but it wouldn't work, as the prize for the winner of this war is the population. So fighting it in the desert away from the civilian populace makes no sense.

    Yeah, my idea was sort of like: "Whoever wins this desert battle royale gets to fight us in the lightning round. If they can beat us and our allies, they get to do whatever they want to the civilian population. (but they'd all be surrounded in one relatively concentrated area and greatly outgunned so...)"

    I know it probably not a realistic plan. The people the coalition is fighting would probably not identify themselves and report to our desert battlefield to fight on US-arranged terms. It would be nice though.

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