Saving Baghdad Like We Saved Fallujah: Guest Comment
A reader who was in Iraq recently writes:
‘[Baghdad:] . . . The city is virtually shut down, and the population suffers from collective trauma. The good people of Iraq did not deserve this. Bush Team paved the way for monsters to take over, and still they call it progress.
The security plan for Baghdad . . . was supposed to be a coordinated effort between Iraqi forces and the Americans. The two would join forces and secure the city neighborhood by neighborhood, and Casey said that Sadr City would be last. But, as so often happens in this place bereft of leadership, the Americans decided to go into Sadr City early without informing the Iraqis. Thus, the anger of Malliki to the attack. [Someone who] lives in Sadr City noted that the attack of the other day began at about 1:00 am, and was ferocious. The suspicion of many is that the Americans will save Baghdad like it saved Fallujah and Tel Afar.
But the real news is in Kurdistan. The people of that region are angry, very angry. Gas (benzene) is purchased on the side of the road in jerry cans, but the stations are empty. Gas in Irbil is more than $1.00/liter. In Chamchamal, angry young men rioted over the price of gas and burned a gas station. More protests are planned. Massoud [Barzani] announced on television that he is doing his best and if someone thought he could do better he should volunteer to try. In the meantime, any type of demonstration is now considered illegal in Kurdistan . . .
The grumbling is not confined to gasoline. Poor water and sewerage, especially in the Barzani governorates, is a source of frustration in Kurdistan. Also, still there is no electricity, and with temperatures hovering at 50 degrees C, people are naturally unhappy. But, most important, it’s the economy. In Kurdistan the rich, mainly the families, get richer and the poor get stiffed with high prices of everything, food, gas, real estate, clothes, everything.
. . . The talk on the street is not demonstrations or protests. The talk is about revolution! No one takes it seriously . . . ‘