Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Liberation Of Iraq, Bush Style

According to that wash-out John McCain, things are improving. Is he talking about things such as this?

Asia Times Online    By Pepe Escobar   April 6, 2007

A 100-square-meter apartment sells for 2 million Syrian pounds (roughly US$40,000) - four times as much as before the Iraqi invasion. One square meter in prime business premises is now $20,000. Iraqis always pay US dollars cash. No wonder the price of potatoes has also risen fourfold. Not to mention the inflation of hairdressing salons - where Mesopotamian sirens perfect their Christina Aguilera-influenced, multi-shaded pompadours. And right beside al-Nahda is the action - al-Rahda, peppered with smart cafes like the Stop In and al-Nabil not far away from a huge Sunni mosque.

There's not only Little Fallujah. There also are Little Baghdad, Little Mosul, Little Babylon, Little Najaf. But even exile replicates the stark divide found in Baghdad. Middle-class Sunnis won't be seen around the middle-class Shi'ites who tend to go to the area around the spectacular Sayyida Zaynab shrine - a key Shi'ite pilgrim site boasting distinctive Persian architecture that would be perfectly at home in Qom or Mashhad. This area is Little Najaf. The stories, though, are similar to Little Fallujah's. Shi'ite families had to abandon their homes in predominantly Sunni neighborhoods - otherwise they would have been killed. They came, they saw, they opened a restaurant, and they're in business.

This proliferation of Little Iraqs accounts for the biggest exodus in the Middle East since the Palestinians were forced to abandon their own lands in 1948 as the State of Israel was being created. In every single month in Iraq at least 40,000 people are displaced. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there may be as many as 50,000 a month. Were that rate to continue, before 2020, all the population of Iraq would have been "liberated" from its own country.

Whichever Iraq one picks in Damascus, the mantra is recited in unison. Any glimmer of hope for the future hinges on the Americans leaving - and the establishment, by Iraqis, with no foreign interference, of a non-sectarian government.