Friday, July 21, 2006

Iraq: Much, much worse.

Iraqi officials have resigned themselves to the inevitability of civil war and are now calling for the sectarian division of Baghdad into Sunni and Shia enclaves in a bid to reduce the coming casualties as much as possible.

"Iraq as a political project is finished," one senior government official said -- anonymously because the coalition under Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki remains committed in public to the U.S.-sponsored constitution that preserves Iraq's unity.

One highly placed source even spoke of busying himself on government projects, despite a sense of their futility, only as a way to fight his growing depression over his nation's future.

"The parties have moved to Plan B," the senior official said, saying Sunni, ethnic Kurdish and majority Shi'ite blocs were looking at ways to divide power and resources and to solve the conundrum of Baghdad's mixed population of seven million.

"There is serious talk of Baghdad being divided into east and west," he said. "We are extremely worried."

Faced with this kind of pessimism, mirrored in unusually frank assessments of how bad things have gotten from Military and intelligence sources on the ground in Iraq even Republicans are having trouble denying the truth.

The collapse of Yugoslavia and the subsequent hell of civil war only really got rolling when the various ethnic groups started streaming thousands of refugees into separate enclaves. Iraq has long since entered this phase.

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