Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Iraq Civil War, Step 4.2

Posted without comment, from today's New York Times:

BAGHDAD, Iraq, March 14 — The police reported finding 68 bodies today scattered around the city, as the wave of reprisal killings for Sunday's attack on Shiite civilians appeared to gain steam.


The wave of killings followed a graphic display of street violence on Monday, in which Shiite vigilantes seized four men suspected of terrorist attacks, interrogated them, beat them, killed them and left their bodies dangling from lampposts on Monday morning, witnesses and government officials said.


The toll, as reported by an Iraqi Interior Ministry official, was equal to the worst of the many bombings that has racked the city over the last year, but spread out in individual acts of violence across its entire breadth.


On Monday, in Sadr City, the Shiite section in Baghdad where the terrorist suspects were executed, government forces vanished. The streets are ruled by aggressive teenagers with shiny soccer jerseys and machine guns.

They set up roadblocks and poke their heads into cars and detain whomever they want. Mosques blare warnings on loudspeakers for American troops to stay out. Increasingly, the Americans have been doing just that.

There seems to be no minimum age to join the action. A playful boy named Musa, who said he was 11 but looked about 8, was part of a 4-foot-tall militia struggling to drag chunks of concrete into the street to block cars on Monday. "We're guarding the road," Musa explained. He was carrying a toy pistol. Some of the other boys had real ones.


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