Decreased violence in Iraq? Think again.

With decreasing reports of deaths coming out of Iraq, I was beginning to think that perhaps the surge had some sort of influence toward decreased violence.  Then I came across this article in the Asia Times today in which a retired Iraqi General says that the surge has nothing to do with it at all.  The decreased death numbers are due to a massive migration and demographic division along sectarian lines so that now, there are no more Sunni’s and Shia’s living in the same neighborhood.  The General points out that if we think violence has really decreased, let’s get the 4-5 million refugees back into their homes to rediscover why the fled in the first place. 

This explanation makes perfect sense to me.  I don’t think the surge can take much credit here.

Please check out the article at:

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/IK14Ak03.html

“I would like to agree with the idea that violence in Iraq has decreased and that everything is fine,” retired general Waleed al-Ubaidy told Inter Press Servce (IPS) in Baghdad. ”But the truth is far more bitter. All that has happened is a dramatic change in the demographic map of Iraq.”

“And as with Baquba and other violence-hit areas of Iraq, he says a part of the story in Baghdad is that there is nobody left to tell it: ”Most of the honest journalists have left.”

“Ahmad Ali, chief engineer for one of Baghdad’s municipalities, told IPS: ”Baghdad has been torn into two cities and many towns and neighbourhoods. There is now the Shia Baghdad and the Sunni Baghdad to start with. Then, each is divided into little town-like pieces of the hundreds of thousands who had to leave their homes.”

“Many Baghdad residents say that the claims of reduced violence can be tested only when the refugees go back home. Many areas of Baghdad that were previously mixed are now totally Shia or totally Sunni. This follows the sectarian cleansing in mixed neighborhoods by militias and death squads. On the Russafa side of Tigris River, al-Adhamiya is now fully Sunni; the other areas are all Shia. The al-Karkh side of the river is purely Sunni except for Shula, Hurriya and small strips of Aamil which are dominated by Shia militias.”

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