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Hullabaloo


Thursday, April 25, 2013

 
Well at least they know they're free

by digby


As Atrios used to say: "meanwhile, over there"

In what appeared to be a new phase in an intensifying conflict that has raised fears of greater bloodshed and a wider sectarian war, Iraqi soldiers opened fire from helicopters on Sunni gunmen hiding in a northern village on Wednesday, officials said.

The air attack was among clashes throughout the country between forces of the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government and Sunni gunmen that left at least 27 people dead and dozens wounded. The Sunni tribesmen were continuing a fight that began on Tuesday after the Iraqi Army stormed a Sunni protest encampment in the village of Hawija, leaving dozens dead and injured.

Several others were killed on Wednesday in explosions, including the detonation of a car bomb at a public market in the evening in a Shiite neighborhood north of Baghdad, and a roadside bomb attack on an army patrol in Tikrit, also in the north.

The deadliest battles occurred near Hawija and Sulaiman Pek, northern towns near Kirkuk, and battles were still raging in the early evening. In Hawija, the army shut off electricity, and troops shouted through loudspeakers, urging civilians to evacuate, witnesses said. Government helicopters also fired at Sunni gunmen on the ground in Sulaiman Pek.

The Sunni uprising, having now turned violent, represents a significant challenge to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, whose consolidation of power over the security forces and the judiciary, and his targeting of high-level Sunni leaders for arrest, has raised alarms among world powers. Mr. Maliki has presided over an unwieldy power-sharing government, which nominally gives prominent roles to Sunnis but in reality has resulted in political stasis, and he has signaled in recent months that he would prefer to move to a majority government, dominated almost solely by Shiites. On Tuesday, two Sunni ministers quit to protest the raid in Hawija, and the largest bloc of Sunni lawmakers suspended participation in Parliament.

Mr. Maliki made no public comments on the situation Wednesday, but on Tuesday, after being pressed by American officials and the United Nations, he said he would open an investigation into the events in Hawija, and promised to hold military officers accountable for any mistakes.

I'm going to take a wild leap and suggest that whenever the US decides to "liberate" someone, we really need to take a step back and be very sure that we can actually accomplish that and whether that's what our leadership is really trying to do. It's so tempting to see ourselves as heroes marching off to rescue the underdog and yet history often shows that our motives are rarely so pure. And we often leave things no better, and often worse, than before.

If we've learned nothing else over this past decade (or centuries of human history, for that matter) we should learn that much.

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