Iraq moves closer to genocide

As if the facts in the headline aren’t bad enough, note also the armed attacks on the Sunni religious establishment. It is starting to seem more and more like Bush’s blundering into Iraq will have only succeeded into plunging the country into a genocidal situation. From AP, July 20:

Killers slit throats of mom, 3 children
Baghdad family had fled to Basra to escape threats

BAGHDAD — Assailants slit the throats of a mother and her three children Wednesday in southern Iraq, where the family had fled to escape threats that they had cooperated with the Americans.

The mother’s sister also was slain in the savage attack, which occurred in an apartment in the southern city of Basra, police said. Five other family members were rescued before they could bleed to death.

Officials said the family had fled Baghdad for Basra after receiving threats because they had cooperated with U.S. forces. The officials gave no further details and spoke on condition of anonymity because they feared reprisals by sectarian militias that have infiltrated Basra’s police.

Sunni leaders, meanwhile, said 20 Sunnis who work for a government organization that maintains mosques and shrines of that Muslim sect were abducted in two areas of Baghdad. Sunni officials demanded the Shiite-led security forces do more to stop sectarian kidnappings and killings.

There were conflicting reports whether the employees of the Sunni Endowment were seized late Tuesday or Wednesday. The organization announced it was suspending its work for a week to protest the kidnappings and demanded its employees be freed.

The head of the organization, a major institution among the country’s Sunni community, blamed “militias in official uniforms” for the wave of kidnappings. The choice of words suggested he was referring to Shiite militiamen who have infiltrated the Defense and Interior ministries and whom Sunnis blame for killing civilians.

In a joint statement Wednesday, America’s two top officials in Iraq deplored the recent surge in sectarian violence and called on the Iraqi people to unite against “the terrorists and death squads.”

Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and Gen. George Casey urged Iraq’s leaders “to take responsibility and pursue reconciliation not just in words, but through deeds as well.”

The statement reflected U.S. disappointment that the national unity government, which took office May 20, has faltered in its attempts to win public trust, calm sectarian tensions and persuade Sunni-led insurgents to lay down their weapons.

At least 30 people were killed Wednesday, including one Iraqi who died when two rockets struck the fortified Green Zone, where the U.S. and British embassies are. Two Iraqis were wounded in the attack, the U.S. military said.

One Salvadoran soldier died Wednesday and another was wounded in a bombing near Kut, southwest of Baghdad, his country’s defense minister said. It was the third fatality among Salvadoran troops since the Central American nation sent forces in 2003.

Sixteen other bodies were found in widely separate parts of the country; apparently they were victims of sectarian death squads.

See our last post on Iraq.