The good news is there have been no signs – as of yet – of reprisal killings against Iraq’s Sunni community in turn. Tit-for-tat assassinations and terror attacks were what tipped Iraq’s simmering violence into a raging boil during the early years of the war, and the Iraqi public by and large is desperate to avoid a repeat. But as I wrote yesterday, better trained soldiers or intelligence officers alone are not the answer to Iraq’s still dangerous conditions, which a US government report in July found have deteriorated badly in the past year.
What’s needed is for Maliki and his allies to find a political answer to the still significant numbers of Iraqis who feel the country’s current order is hostile to them. That’s an answer that Iraq – and the US, with spending of nearly $800,000 on the conflict so far and the loss of more than 4,000 soldiers’ lives – has been groping toward for almost a decade now.
Dan Murphy, the Monitor’s roving editor/foreign correspondent on the latest situation in Iraq.
The death toll in Iraq yesterday, with at least 70 murdered in attacks across the country, was bad enough. But the scope of the killing carries worrying echoes of the way sectarian warfare ramped up across Iraq starting in late 2003, leading to the country’s civil war.
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