Reaping George Bush’s whirlwind
Somebody better put the plans for George W. Bush Victory Square in downtown Baghdad on hold:
In interviews across Baghdad on Saturday, Sunnis and Shiites said they were preparing themselves for upheaval, both violent and psychological. They viewed the bombings that killed more than 200 people Thursday in the heart of Baghdad’s Shiite Muslim community of Sadr City as a trigger for more reprisal killings.
“We feel our world has become narrow, and we are being squeezed,” said Karar al-Zuheari, 31, a Shiite taxi driver. “We have no place to run.”
Since those attacks, quasi-armies of residents in mixed and majority-Sunni Arab neighborhoods have formed to protect their streets. Sunni Web sites are offering advice on how to kill Shiite militiamen. College students and executives pace at their homes, clutching rifles and handguns around the clock. Iraqis are posting pleas on Internet message boards to buy extra ammunition and weapons.
Despite a government-imposed curfew, Iraqis described Shiite militiamen murdering Sunnis at checkpoints, controlling neighborhoods with impunity and conspiring with Iraq’s majority-Shiite police force, which the Interior Ministry controls. Other Iraqis spoke of mortar shells raining on their mosques and gun battles outside their houses, deepening their mistrust of Iraq’s security forces and elected politicians.
As Sammaraie watched from his front gate, two militiamen stopped a Sunni man who worked in an electrical shop. A local informant looked at him and nodded. Then one of the gunmen shot him dead and left. Two weeks ago, the electrician had complained loudly when Shiite gunmen attacked a nearby Sunni mosque.
Welcome to Abattoiraq.
Population: Rapidly declining.