Dozens of Red Crescent Workers Kidnapped
The horror show in Iraq continued on Sunday, when men dressed as special police commandos invaded the offices of the Red Crescent Society [which is allied with the Red Cross] in Karrada in central Baghdad and kidnapped “dozens” (the local Adhamiyah police say they don’t know how many) of employees. The kidnappers invaded the building, says al-Zaman, and separated the men from the women, then took all the men captive, including employees, guards, and visitors who happened to be in the lobby.
Al-Zaman said in Arabic that “militias belonging to religious parties yesterday” attacked “a number of Baghdad districts and buildings of civil society organizations in the center of the capital under the eyes of the police, which did not stir to stop them.” One group of commandos attacked the Dental School of Baghdad University. Others conducted operations in Adhamiyah, which actually have been going on since the day before yesterday. A militia invasion of the largely Sunni Arab district of West Baghdad was beaten off by inhabitants. On Sunday, a member of the district council of Adhamiyah was killed and 3 others were kidnapped.
Reuters reports other violence, including the killing of two Sunni clerics in Iskandariyah.
Hannah Allam on the Sadr movement and the social services it provides in a country beset by poverty, unemployment and insecurity.
Colin Powell thinks Iraq is in a civil war and that victory for the US is unattainable.
PS I see a lot of pundits and politicians saying that Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq have been fighting for a millennium. We need better history than that. The Shiite tribes of the south probably only converted to Shiism in the past 200 years. And, Sunni-Shiite riots per se were rare in 20th century Iraq. Sunnis and Shiites cooperated in the 1920 rebellion against the British. If you read the newspapers in the 1950s and 1960s, you don’t see anything about Sunni-Shiite riots. There were peasant/landlord struggles or communists versus Baathists. The kind of sectarian fighting we’re seeing now in Iraq is new in its scale and ferocity, and it was the Americans who unleashed it.
See Brian Uhlrich’s comments on this, linking to Issandr El Amrani re the New York Times op-ed by Lee Smith. Contrast to this better overview in NYT recently.
I remember a Peanuts cartoon in which Charlie Brown observed Lucy filling Schroeder’s head with a bunch of nonsense. He observed that it would take the poor guy 12 years just to unlearn all the silly things Lucy had taught him. It is the same with Americans and the Neocons on the Middle East.