October 12, 2008

Update On The (Unnamed) Civil War

Wall Crumbles

Dora Car Bomb

“In fact, there is no trust between us and the National Police,” said Sami Hassan Saleh al-Jubori, a leader of the Awakening Council in Dora and a former general in Saddam Hussein’s military.

He offered his own warning to the government. “If the Awakening is let go, Dora will go back to worse than it was before,” he said. “I hope you don’t consider this a threat.”

from: As Fears Ease, Baghdad Sees Walls Tumble (NYT)

Although U.S. interest in the Iraq War died with the so-called “surge,” Sunni – Shiite tension in what remains a low-intensity civil war is making the situation far from stable.  Specifically,  the recent turn-over of the Sunni ‘Awakening Councils’ to Shi’ite-government control threatens to dramatically escalate hostility in Baghdad and Anbar that was artificially suppressed due to the U.S. creation, cultivation and independent sponsorship of this Sunni paramilitary.    (The tension is evident in this NYT slideshow from three weeks ago, showing Awakening member in the Adhamiya neighborhood one week before their payroll was transferred to the Shiite government.)

Because of the lack of interest in (and corresponding dearth of coverage of) the war, images seem the most effective vehicle for getting basic points across. The top shot above, for example, appeared on Thursday’s NYT front page, leading a story based on the Dora neighborhood about how blast walls are being removed in certain parts of Baghdad.  According to the write-up, Sunni shopkeepers there have been anxious to make the neighborhood more accessible.

The image just below it comes from Friday’s NYT “Pictures of the Day” slide show, a day later.  It shows the aftermath of a powerful car bomb that targeted shops in Dora that morning.

(image 1: Max Becherer/Polaris, for The New York Times. Dora. October 9, 2008.  image 2: Loay Hameed/Associated Press. Dora. October 10, 2008)

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Michael Shaw
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