Thursday, November 22, 2007

Iraq violence down, but shit spreads

Literally. Violence in Iraq is down; whether due to success of The Surge™ or else due to the success of ethnic cleansing or the scattering of millions of refugees is still an open question.

But, all that rebuilding of the country that Iraq’s oil money was supposed to finance still hasn’t happened. In fact, the situation there continues to get worse, something that neocons and their O’Hanlon fellow travelers of the pre-emptive war hawk world just don’t want to discuss.

One additional problem the Guardian story mentions is that most Iraqi sewer pipes are only shallowly buried, and so are “collateral damage” from IEDs. Another way in which our continuing occupation not only isn’t helping, but is actually part of making a situation worse.

That said, there’s corruption in sewer repair contracts, on both the American/Western and Iraqi sides, as there is in other reconstruction work.

But, the worse could get worse yet. Northern Iraq has already had a cholera outbreak; if it hits densely populated Baghdad, cholera could be devastating.

And, in good news/bad news, Baghdad says Iraqi refugees are starting to return home from Syria. Good news in that it’s a sign of trust and belief in their country’s future. Bad news because it will add even more to the strain of an overburdened, unreconstructed infrastructure. (And, the return is just from Syria, not Jordan.)