Sunday, June 04, 2006

If We Abandon Iraq

Two articles from this morning's newspapers paint a chilling picture of the barbarous, totalitarian nature of our adversaries in Iraq. Anyone who thinks that withdrawing US and coalition forces from that country would produce a situation that could be called "peace" needs to read them both:

From the Sunday Times:

NOOR and her boyfriend used to go out a lot and listen to dance in their favourite restaurant in Baghdad. The 26-year-old university lecturer also used to enjoy going window shopping at night in the city’s once-glitzy Mansour district, dressed in the latest fashions.

That was before the “men in black”, the Taliban-style militias waging terror against the urban middle class, arrived in Noor’s neighbourhood, threatening to shoot, kidnap and shave the heads of anyone who challenged their draconian strictures.

The militias are part of a hardline religious crackdown organised by Abu Musab al- Zarqawi, the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. On Friday he released a four-hour sermon, effectively a message of hate, calling on Sunni Muslims to confront adherents of the rival Shi’ite branch of Islam.

Zarqawi, who appears to act with impunity in Iraq despite a £13m bounty on his head, has printed pamphlets that were delivered through doors in the Amariya district of Baghdad, one of his self-declared Sunni “emirates”.

The “emir”, identified as Abu Houzeifa, announced new rules: “Women cannot drive; women cannot go out after midday; women and men are not allowed to go out and walk together, they must walk separately.” The rules are enforced by Al-Qaeda thugs who drive around in cars in Amariya, Yarmouk and other Sunni areas that Zarqawi has declared are his. Noor said: “If they see someone breaking the rules, they shoot them.”

From the Washington Times:

As the purveyors of nothing spicier than the odd dash of hot chili sauce, Baghdad's falafel vendors had never imagined their snacks might be deemed a threat to public morality.

Now, though, their simple offerings of chickpeas fried in bread crumbs have gone the same way as alcohol, pop music and foreign films -- labeled theologically impure by the country's growing number of Islamic zealots.

In a bizarre example of Iraq's creeping "Talibanization," militants visited falafel vendors a couple of weeks ago, telling them to pack up their stalls by today or be killed.

The ultimatum seemed so bizarre that, at first, most laughed it off -- until two of them were fatally shot as they plied their trade.

"They came telling us, 'You have 14 days to end this job,' and I asked them what was the problem," said Abu Zeinab, 32, who was packing up his stall for good yesterday in the suburb of al Dora, a hard-line Sunni neighborhood.

The struggle in Iraq is essential to the outcome of the broader war with radical Islamism. If we lose, and allow the jihadists to carve out the first stage of their planned "Caliphate", the consequences for Iraq, the US and the world could well be catastrophic.


Anonymous JasonM said...

What Durant didn't quote from the article:
"But under the dictatorial rule of Saddam Hussein, Iraqi women were among the most liberated in the Arab world. “My friends at university, my neighbours — they’re all in the same situation as me,” Noor mourned.

Iraqi women are now dependent on the men in their family. One young Iraqi woman, who writes a blog called Riverbend, described her humiliation when she tried to return to her job as a computer network administrator. “My former manager said females weren’t welcome and told me, in not so many words, to ‘go home’,” she said. “There was a hostility I couldn’t believe.”

Now, to go out, she must take two “preferably large” male relatives. She makes up reasons why she must go shopping. “And always the question, ‘But do you have to go out and buy it? Can’t I get it for you?’ “ ‘No you can’t’, I reply, because the kilo of aubergines I absolutely have to select with my own hands is just an excuse to see the light of day and walk down a street. It feels like we’ve gone back 50 years.”

In other words, the average Iraqi woman is even worse off now than under Saddam Hussein.

9:20 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home