Al-Anbar Residents approve of Sunni withdrawal
Remember all that reporting about “progress” against “al-Qaeda” in al-Anbar Province? But for Sunni Arab Iraqis to hate the foreign Salafi fighters is not strange, and it says nothing about al-Anbar’s relationship to the Shiite government in Baghdad. al-Hayat writing in Arabic reports that its interviewees in al-Anbar wholeheartedly supported the withdrawal of the Iraqi Accord Front (Sunni fundamentalist) from the Baghdad government. They characterized the move as “deserting a sinking ship.”
Su’ud Ahmad, a researcher in the Political Science college at al-Anbar University told al-Hayat, “For the Iraqi Accord Front to continue in the government throughout the recent period was not particularly useful, once the other parties had determined to dominate the government, especially the Shiite Alliance, and to ignore the Front’s presence and that of the people it represents.” He added, “The Front could not prevent the massacres to which the Sunnis are subjected in Baghdad right to this moment, and could not stop the expulsion of hundreds of Sunni families at the hands of sectarian militias (with the supervision of the government occasionally), could not accomplish any positive change, including regarding the issue of thousands of detainees in the prisons of the Interior Ministry and the prisons of the American Occupation– the bulk of which are Sunnis.”
Shaikh Dr. Thamir al-Dulaimi, an imam, preacher and professor in the Islamic Law Division of the College of Law in Fallujah told al-Hayat, “This step came very late in the day, after the character of the government had become clear soon after the elections, but it is a step on the correct path, since it deprived the government of its ability to claim that it represented all the sections of the Iraqi people at a time when it was practicing the most hideous sort of ethnic cleansing and expulsions with regard to the people in the entire modern history of Iraq.”
Iraq’s electricity grid is on the verge of collapsing. Baghdad, the capital, is getting only one or two hours a day in the midst of a torrid summer. The Shiite holy city of Karbala has suffered without electricity for three days, which has also led to it lacking water. Karbala’s merchants depend on Shiites coming on pilgrimage to the city, and lack of water and electricity discourages this pilgrim trade, costing the city its income.
About a third of Iraqis also lack access to clean water, a situation that will contribute to high infant mortality (small children die easily of dehydration caused by diarrhea) and potentially to the outbreak of diseases dangerous to adults, as well.
Reuters details political violence for Saturday.