However, this has produced a misconception of Iraq’s security. Sectarian Violence has been nearly constant in Iraq since February 2006, and actually began to show a steady rise in December of 2005. While dead bodies and execution-killings grab the scarce space provided in our daily newspapers, these are only the most extreme conclusion of Iraq’s problems with sectarian violence.
This week we look at one day in Baghdad, February 1st, 2007, when a neighborhood’s calm was ripped apart by a hail of mortar and possibly rocket-fire. These events happened just as the “surge” was beginning. According to FinancialTimes.com via MSNBC,
General David Petraeus said there had not been any “real substantial achievements” in terms of political reform and progress.
General Petraeus’ assertion also fits with what we continue to hear from our correspondents and other contacts on the ground in Baghdad. Just last week, Bureau Coordinator Omar Abdullah reported chatting via Yahoo Messenger with friends who were hearing mortar-fire nearby at the same time. These events took place some four months ago, but similar acts are a daily experience for Baghdadis.
The use of anonymous assaults by mortars and rockets are even more common than carbombs, death squads, IEDs, and the like. In certain Baghdad neighborhoods, such as Adhamiya and Hay Jema’a, a veritable rainstorm of mortars or rockets has been experienced. This issue appears to more often target Sunni neighborhoods, but certainly this violence goes both ways.
The anonymity of such attacks results in yet another particularly difficult issue in a tribal society. When the aggressor or guilty party is not instantly obvious, collective punishment is too often deemed the acceptable response. With little focus on this type of violence, its difficult to see how reconciliation between Iraqis can be possible in the short-term.
For previous videos depicting the dangerous impact of these weapons, please see Adhamiya Family Describes Katyusha Attack, Another Rocket in Baghdad, and of course most recently, Mortars & Rockets in Iraq.