Iraq: Just Like The Serbs

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May 31, 2007: Many U.S. troops have earlier served as peacekeepers in the Balkans, where American troops have been stationed for over a decade. Similarities have been noted. The most common one is that the Iraqi Sunni Arabs have a lot in common with the Serbs. Both groups are a powerful minority in a polyglot part of the world. Both groups see themselves as the local "big brother," with a God given right to tell the other minorities what to do, and use lethal force if anyone refuses to toe the line. If denied absolute power, both groups fall back on cries of victim hood and unlawful oppression by outside powers (some NATO nations in the Balkans, another bunch of NATO, and non-NATO, nations, in Iraq). Both groups insist their own atrocities and brutal use of force were legitimate, and the only way to bring peace to their part of the world. A big difference between Iraq and the Balkans is that the Iraqi Sunnis have no "Serbia" to flee to. As the Serbs like to point out, ethnic cleansing works both ways, and the largest number of refugees in the 1990s Balkans were Serbs forced back into Serbia. In Iraq, intransigent Sunni Arabs have no homeland to go to. Some Sunni Arabs insist that Anbar Province (western Iraq) could be a "Serbia," but that only works if the majority Kurds and Shia Arabs agree. May 30, 2007: While combat deaths are up, overall casualties are down. Last year, about five percent of U.S. troops in Iraq were killed or wounded. This year, it's closer to four percent. The majority of the losses are from roadside bombs, because American troops are more active in Sunni Arab areas, where the bombers live, and are protected by like minded Sunni Arabs. While many Sunni Arabs in western Iraq (Anbar Province) have decided to side with the government, and fight against the Sunni Arab terrorists, such is not the case in Baghdad, and the Baghdad suburbs. This was where Saddam supporters, and beneficiaries, were concentrated. Saddam is still regarded as a hero in these areas, and pacifying them is a hard slog. The Kurds and Shia Arabs insist that, for the hard core Sunni Arabs, the only solution is death or expulsion from Iraq. This is unacceptable to the United States, and an alternate solution is being sought.

May 29, 2007: A British computer consultant, and his four British security guards, were taken from the Finance Ministry by men impersonating Iraqi police commandos. This operation was apparently carried out by pro-Iranian groups. Iran has basically bought the services of thousands of Iraqi Shias with cash and promises of other rewards if Iraq can be turned into a Shia Islamic dictatorship. Thus several political parties and militias are basically branches of the Iranian secret police. But now the U.S. and British forces are dropping earlier restraints and going after these Iranian backed groups. This kidnapping appears to be the last straw, and American forces swarmed into eastern Baghdad (Sadr City), to search known pro-Iranian militia neighborhoods. The British are doing the same down south in Basra.

 

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