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“It’s a tragedy,” he said. “These innocent children were here to study. What sins did these children commit?”

Iraq: Children Killed In Playground Bombing – 10/6/2013.

Baghdad, 1 October 2013 – According to casualty figures released today by UNAMI, a total of 979 Iraqis were killed and another 2,133 were wounded in acts of terrorism and violence in September.

UN Releases Casualty Figures for September | ReliefWeb – 10/6/2013.

Related: Sectarian violence kills dozens in Iraq – CNN.com – 10/6/2013.

But a little over a year after it was suspended, the death penalty was reinstated by the new Shiite-led central government. A year later, in 2005, the executions, usually by hanging, resumed.

Since then, around 500 people have been executed, according to records kept by human rights observers including Amnesty International. During the first four months of this year alone at least 50 people were hanged.

In Iraq, executions rise as deadly attacks escalate | Al Jazeera America – 10/5/2013.

Iraq is one of the world’s most prolific executioners, as the government continues to battle against a high level of violence by armed groups. Hundreds of prisoners are currently held on death row. In 2012 a sharp rise in executions was recorded in Iraq making it the country with the third highest number of executions in the world, after China and Iran. At least 129 people were executed in 2012, almost twice the known total of 201 since the beginning of 2013 at least 83 people, including two women, have been executed.

www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE14/017/2013/en/2c1cf331-1948-4e4e-bc58-7ec4548f9a11/mde140172013en.pdf

The civil war in neighboring Syria — itself a volatile, sectarian conflict — has spilled across the border, and Sunni jihadi factions are operating in both countries. Now, four months before the next parliamentary elections, Iraq increasingly appears to be spiraling toward a civil war.

Iraq’s Months of Sectarian Violence May Lead to a Civil War | TIME.com 10/1/2013.

The Iraqi government plans to form a division comprised of Iraqi Shi’a militia members. This planned division will be deployed in Baghdad. This development is recognition by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that current security measures are ineffective. While the formation of this division may appeal to the Iraqi Shi’a, it may lead to further discontent by the Iraqi Sunnis. Al-Qaeda in Iraq will capitalize on the formation of this division and seek new opportunities to escalate sectarian violence in Iraq. The formation of the division will damage Maliki’s credentials and likely lead to further instability.

The Baghdad Division: Iraqi Shi‘a Militia Elements to Form State-Backed Force | Institute for the Study of War Iraq Updates – 9/27/2013.

For those who may take a special interest in Iraq. Stephen Wicken‘s blog on which the above quoted piece by Ahmed Ali appears, updates weekly.

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“Two mad wasps in a bell jar” — my analogy for Shia vs Sunni fighting in Syria would seem to hold up as well for Iraq, which looks to me to be dissolving into a purely retributive bloodbath of a civil war.

The UN’s count approaching 1,000 dead in Iraq in September appears in brief overview a reliable monthly rate with sources reporting 5,000 dead by way of political violence in the land since April of this year.

Related: Bullet-riddled corpses echo brutal Iraqi sectarian war | ReliefWeb 9/19/2013.

Saturday 5 October: 100 killed
Baghdad: 55 in bomb attacks.
Mosul: 5 by gunfire.
Balad: 15 by car bomb.
Baquba: 11 in separate bombings.
Yusufiya: 3 Sahwa members by IED.
Hawija: 3 Sahwa members by gunfire.
Muqdadiya: 1 by IED.
Tikrit: 3 (women and child) killed during clashes.
Falluja: 4 by gunfire, IED.

October casualties so far: 183 civilians killed.

Recent Events :: Iraq Body Count

The month is yet young.

Presuming that those remote to the fighting are nonetheless getting an accurate impression of Iraq’s fully functioning if entirely off-kilter slaughterhouse, one begs to ask about motivation on the part of killers, and never mind their affiliation.

“At the root of these attacks – said Msgr. Sako – is a strong tension between the Shiite majority and the Sunni faction and this violence is clearly sectarian and confessional in nature.” In Kirkuk alone, the archbishop continued, there were four targeted killings of innocent people. “The aim – says the prelate – is to destabilize the country” because “the central government lacks unity and political force even within the same Shiite majority. There is great tension, there is no dialogue between groups and greater barriers are emerging “.

IRAQ Archbishop of Kirkuk: sectarian violence in Iraq “politically motivated” – Asia News – 9/10/2012.

Note the date!

Such explanations prove so good and useful that one may live with them for years . . . .

Related: Iraq will not become another Syria, says government, as car bombs kill 34 | Reuters – 8/15/2013; Sunni-Shi’ite Jihad in Iraq | FrontPage Magazine – 9/26/2013.

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It appears in Iraq that even such things as wanton destruction and murder may become habits, first of mind in excessively perceived oppressive, anxiety-ridden, paranoid, and infernal atmospheres, i.e., the bizarre, surreal, and untrustworthy atmosphere of a war zone, and then habits in activity and action: some population has long been accustomed to the presence of firearms, ammo, explosives and, this perhaps spelling the difference between a predominantly peaceful “gun ownership” and a restless one prone to violence, a mise en scene of explosions and shootings overlaying thousands of smaller but vicious acts of intimidation and suggestion.

There’s the madness of the wasps in the bell jar in that.

The state’s monopoly on violence, as in Hussain’s day, may suppress and reduce violence in the streets, but imposed along sectarian lines, or perceived as such, it will fail.

The battle that looks like Shiite vs Sunni may turn out an unformed middle — about to be called into being out necessity — against an habituated cast of aimless, mindless, morally bankrupt and vengeful war zombies today reduced to blowing themselves up among pilgrims and school children.

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Attacks Across Iraq Leave 66 Dead – YouTube – Rudaw English – 10/6/2013.

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No one who has retained either an ounce of their own courage or humanity can fail to see the inchoate and lost qualities in these deluded monsters who walk around with death their only real meaning.

While Robert Spencer noted recently, “. . . the idea that the Sunni-Shi’ite divide, which is 1,400 years old and goes all the way back to the murky origins of Islam, is something that can without undue difficulty be “overcome” is a sterling manifestation of the general superficiality of Washington’s analysis of the Middle East, during both the Bush and the Obama Administrations,” I would ask who is not fighting that fight today for the good reason they had on one day or another in this lifetime found the world changed when they opened their eyes.

Their numbers needs must dwarf these others.

Where are they?

Do they not understand what is killing them?

Habits of mind are like any other: one foregoes the behavior for a while, whether some form of gluttony or excessive passivity, and then, so one may hope, moves on to better thoughts and brighter days.

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Related: Iraq: Attacks Amount to Crimes Against Humanity | Human Rights Watch – 8/11/2013.

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