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Iraq: A bloody mess

excerpts from a report by Patrick Cockburn, the [UK] Independent, June 28, 2005

The news now from Iraq is only depressing. All the roads leading out of the capital are cut. Iraqi security and US troops can only get through in heavily armed convoys. There is a wave of assassinations of senior Iraqi officers based on chillingly accurate intelligence. A deputy police chief of Baghdad was murdered on Sunday. A total of 52 senior Iraqi government or religious figures have been assassinated since the handover. In June 2004 insurgents killed 42 US soldiers; so far this month 75 have been killed.

The "handover of power" last June was always a misnomer. Much real power remained in the hands of the US. Its 140,000 troops kept the new government in business. Mr Allawi's new cabinet members spent their time out of the country. Safely abroad they often gave optimistic speeches predicting the imminent demise of the insurgency. Despite this the number of Iraqi military and police being killed every month has risen from 160 at the handover to 219 today.

The the capture by US Marines of the rebel stronghold of Fallujah last November -- after a bloody battle which left most of the city of 300,000 people in ruins -- was supposed to be a turning point. But the fall of Fallujah did not break the back of the resistance. Their best fighters simply retreated to fight again elsewhere. Many took refuge in Baghdad.

The sense of fear in Baghdad is difficult to convey. Petrol is such a necessity because people need to pick up their children from school because they are terrified of them being kidnapped. Parents mob the doors of schools and swiftly become hysterical if they cannot find their children. Doctors are fleeing the country because so many have been held for ransom, some tortured and killed because their families could not raise the money.

You have been reading excerpts from "Iraq: A bloody mess" by Patrick Cockburn which we found here: news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/story.jsp?story=650186. Thanks to AntiWar.com for bringing this article to our attention. We visit their site often and we hope you will too.

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