February 26, 2006

Iraq: 'On the edge of a hot knife.'

That's the word from journalist Chris Albritton in his latest update from Baghdad.

Mourning the dead in Baqouba

An unidentified relative mourns in the front of the coffins of his family members, in Baqouba, 60 km [35 mi) northeast of Baghdad, on Saturday. Provincial police said an unidentified gunmen broke into a house of a Shiite family killing 13 members. The name of a local mosque is written on the side of the coffin. [Photo: Mohammed Adan/AP]

We have reached a point where the facade of the "political process: has been shredded. The real power lies — and has always lain — in the hands of the sheikhs, the clerics — especially Moqtada — and the gunmen. The politicians in Baghdad can continue their silly little exercise in government building and the Americans and the foreign diplomatic corps can tell their audiences in their home countries how much progress Abdul Aziz al-Hakim is making at building bridges with Saleh Mutlak. But we on the ground know the truth. We're on the edge of a hot knife, and it's getting hotter. There may be a pause now, but only for now. And we might have pulled back from the abyss just in time. This might end soon after all and my doom-saying will be proven wrong.

But I don't think so. If there's another bombing of a Shi'ite shrine, or some other massacre of Sunnis, then all bets are off. Sistani has already instructed his followers to take matters into their own hands if the government can't keep them safe. For Iraqis, their fate appears to lie with the scruffy young men standing at the ends of their streets, not with the politicians in the Green Zone.

Albritton has sometimes had a more positive outlook on events in Iraq than this magpie thought was warranted, so his taking such a dark view of the current situation carries added weight. You can read his full post here.

Via Back to Iraq.

Posted by Magpie at February 26, 2006 01:44 AM | Iraq | Technorati links |