Neighbors are Killing Neighbors (Washington Post): After more than a week of some of the most vicious sectarian violence of the war, Baghdad is a skeleton of a city: Many of its shops are shuttered, its streets drained of people. The violence erupted July 9 when Shiite Muslim militiamen rampaged through the al-Jihad neighborhood and killed dozens of Sunni Arabs. By Friday, the sixth day, the death toll in Baghdad stood at 628 people, according to Brig. Gen. Mahmoud Nima of the Interior Ministry, citing a figure that far exceeded the numbers previously suggested by news reports.
Iraq Draws First Front Line of Civil War (Sunday Telegraph): Many of the recruits to Iraq’s fledging armed forces are drawn from al-Sadr’s militias. As Iraqi security forces and the US military are accused of turning a blind eye to the slaughter, observers fear that the country has reached a third, even more intractable, phase in the recent conflict, beyond insurgency and beyond even combat between organised armed groups.
"What we’re now seeing has no shape whatever," a Western diplomat said. "It’s just everyone fighting everyone. Anarchy."
Can it be a total coincidence that the hellstorm of murder and mayhem that has now turned Baghdad into "a skeleton of a city" began just after Bush and al-Maliki announced their ballyhooed "security push," pouring thousands of new troops and police into the capital’s streets?
Can it be a total coincidence that much of the new violence has been carried out by "men dressed in the uniforms of the Iraqi police," to use the timid euphemism adopted by the mainstream media, and by militia forces associated with perhaps the key political player in the new "sovereign" government, the hidebound religious crank Motqada al-Sadr?
Can it be a total coincidence that the new horror devouring the conquered land has led some hardline Sunni leaders once bitterly opposed to the U.S. occupation now want American forces to stay, in order to quell the chaos, offset Shiite dominance and ward off Iranian influence? Can it be a total coincidence that this desire bolsters the Bush Regime’s long-held intention to establish a permanent military presence in Iraq?
Can it be a total coincidence that the steady rise in militia violence — now reaching apocalyptic heights — has followed the Bush Regime’s open bruiting of the "Salvador Option" — i.e., employing militias and death squads as part of "counterinsurgency" operations in Iraq, just like those Reagan-Bush glory days of yore, when the ditches and back alleys of Central America ran red with the blood of innocent thousands slaughtered by U.S.-backed, U.S.-bought terrorists?
Can it be a total coincidence that this rise followed the implementation of the Bush Regime’s lavishly-funded, openly attested program "to arm and train non-governmental ‘local militias’ — i.e., bands of lawless freebooters — to serve as Washington’s proxy killers in the so-called ‘arc of crisis" that just happens to stretch across the oil-bearing lands and strategic pipeline routes of Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and South America," as we reported in August 2004? That’s when then-Pentagon poo-bah Paul Wolfowitz told a Congressional committee that:
Bush wants big bucks [the request was for $500 million] to run ‘counter-insurgency’ and ‘counter-terrorist’ operations in ‘ungoverned areas’ of the world — and in the hinterlands of nations providing ‘sanctuary’ for terrorists. Making copious citations from Bush’s 2002 ‘National Security Strategy’ of unprovoked aggressive war against ‘potential’ enemies, Howlin’ Wolf proposed expanding the definition of "terrorist sanctuary" to any nation that allows clerics and other rabble-rousers to offer even verbal encouragement to America’s designated enemies du jour.
Any rogue state that countenances such freedom of speech within its borders will become a prime target for ‘the path of action,’ said Wolf, quoting Bush’s most ringing Hitlerian phrase from the 2002 manifesto. To relieve the overstretched U.S. military, the ‘action’ will be carried out largely by Bush’s new hired guns: religious and ethnic militias, tribal forces, mercenaries, cultists, insurrectionists, druglords, pirates — basically anyone willing to slit throats and terrorize populations at the order of the Oval One.
Can it really be a total coincidence that the rise in sectarian and terrorist murder follows the Pentagon’s adoption of a plan to foment terrorism by infiltrating violent groups and goading them into action? I first wrote of this plan back in November 2002, when it first surfaced via outstanding investigative work by William Arkin. Then in January 2005, Sy Hersh came up with the goods to confirm that the plan was indeed in operation. As I wrote then:
Not only will U.S.-directed agents infiltrate existing terrorist groups and provoke them into action; the Pentagon itself will create its own terrorist groups and "death squads." After establishing their terrorist "credentials" through various atrocities and crimes, these American-run groups will then be able to ally with — and ultimately undermine — existing terrorist groups.
Top-level officials in the Pentagon, the U.S. intelligence services and the Bush administration confirmed to Hersh that the plan is going forward, under the direction of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld — just as we noted here in November 2002. Through a series of secret executive orders, George W. Bush has given Rumsfeld the authority to turn the entire world into "a global free-fire zone," a top Pentagon adviser says. These secret operations will be carried out with virtually no oversight; in many cases, even the top military commanders in the affected regions will not be told about them. The American people, of course, will never know what’s being done in their name.
The covert units — including the Pentagon-funded terrorist groups and hit squads — will be operating outside all constraints of law and morality. "We’re going to be riding with the bad boys," one insider told Hersh. Another likened it to the palmy days of the Reagan-Bush years: "Do you remember the right-wing execution squads in El Salvador? We founded them and we financed them. The objective now is to recruit locals in any area we want. And we aren’t going to tell Congress about it"
Incredibly, as Hersh notes, the Bushists are now openly citing a sinister role model for their campaign: Britain’s brutal repression of the Mau Mau in Kenya during the 1950s, when British forces set up concentration camps, created their own terrorist groups and killed thousands of innocent civilians in putting down an "insurgency" against their colonial rule. And in fact, Rumsfeld and other Bush officials increasingly talk of combating not just terrorism but a "global insurgency" — as if the whole world is now an American colony, filled with recalcitrant "natives" rising up against their rightful masters.
Can it really be a complete and total coincidence, an amazing accident of history, that the "blood-dimmed tide" now loosed upon Iraq follows so closely upon the Bush Regime’s plans to foment terrorism, employ death squads and "ride with the bad boys" in order to achieve its strategic goals — and that the reign of terrorism, death squads and bad boys now ravaging Iraq has convinced even some of the most recalcitrant opponents of the occupation that American forces should stay in Iraq which happens to be one of the Regime’s primary strategic goals?
Without in any way imputing the hydra-headed hell in Iraq to a single cause — for of course as with all human events, the situation there has coalesced from a myriad of different, confused, even contradictory factors — can we really say that the rise in violence has nothing to do with the plans and intentions of the Bush Regime outlined above?
Is it really just a complete coincidence?