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The state of Iraq

From Juan Cole:

"I am an American currently working in Baghdad for a news organization. I've been here numerous times over the past 15 years.

The current security situation here has gotten much worse since the elections. We had a security briefing yesterday right after a fellow journalist was abducted. Besides the usual reminders to keep a low profile and going over our own unique security measures and procedures as to what to do in any given scenario we were told that there's a high probability of all out civil war.

Iraq has been in a low level civil war since the end of 2003 that has been increasing in intensity ever since, but now our security team is telling us that should all-out war break out most, if not all of us, may have to be evacuated to safety in a nearby country. Instead of the scores of Iraqis dying each day as do now, thousands a day could perish. Most Sunnis have given up hope of getting adequate representation in the new Iraqi government and radical elements in the Shiite parties want to exact revenge on the Sunni for supporting Saddam over the years. Shiite death squads roam the city at night (in police and army uniform no less) dragging all the male members of a Sunni family out into the street and executing them in front of their women folk. Sunni insurgents (not in uniform) do the same to Shiite families in areas claimed as theirs.

The Sunni insurgents, it seems, are now determined to bring the new government to its knees by cutting off fuel supplies to Baghdad. The city's supply of gasoline nearly dried up last week and local authorities literally shut the city down by banning all privately owned vehicles from the streets. They claimed it was to help hunt down the kidnappers of the Interior Minister's sister but the real reason seems to be to reduce the demand for gas until supplies could be replenished. Electricity in most Baghdad neighborhoods has now been further reduced to as low as 1 hour per day. The black market rate for fuel for generators has doubled again and in many areas even that has run out. At this rate the city will go dark by the end of the month. Iraqi troops are reluctant to escort fuel trucks into Baghdad and American troops have their hands full escorting their own convoys.

Most US casualties are a result of trying to protect US military supplies. You can forget about the US military escorting civilian fuel convoys. So it all comes down to the Iraq army's ability to get fuel into Baghdad and I don't have much confidence they will succeed."

By fnord12 | January 11, 2006, 11:20 AM | Liberal Outrage