Tuesday, July 18, 2006

"He said the gunmen stepped on their victims' heads to keep them still."

As the world's attention turns to events in Lebanon and Israel, Iraq and Afghanistan show signs of serious deterioration of whatever passes for order in the aftermath of US intervention. This summary spells it out, including the remarkable requests from Sunni groups in Iraq for continued US presence to protect them from Shiite retribution. I'm not sure why, if this account from the WaPo article is accurate.

Iraqi survivors also condemned U.S. forces, saying they watched the attack from their posts but did nothing until the killing stopped. American troops reported hearing detonations and gunfire, the U.S. command said, but added that Iraqi troops are responsible for security in Mahmudiyah and that American soldiers there do not intervene unless asked by the Iraqis.

Begging the question: which Iraqis? Further down the writer alludes to "neutral" US and Iraqi forces.

The strength of the militias is growing despite repeated pledges by the Shiite-led government to disband them. Iraqi soldiers and U.S. forces are generally credited by Sunnis and Shiites alike as being more neutral parties in the sectarian conflict, while the heavily Shiite police forces are widely seen -- and feared by Sunnis -- as allies of the Shiite militias.
Apparently "neutrality" does not involve stopping openly criminal activity.

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