Sunday, April 17, 2005

This can't be good

One of the surprises in Iraq has been the willingness of Shiites, in the midst of bombings, assassinations and kidnappings, to stay on the sidelines and not strike back at the Sunni insurgency (well, other than Moqtada al-Sadr, but he seemed mostly interested in attacking Americans and being a thug). But events in a small city south of Baghdad suggest that things are spinning toward sectarian violence. After the latest mass abduction by Shiites, the NYT gives an alarming explainer on what's happening in Madaen:
The kidnapping appeared to be a retaliation for another kidnapping a few days earlier of 20 Sunnis from a neighboring town. Those hostages are still being held, the officials said. That kidnapping was in turn provoked by an incident earlier in the week, in which Sunnis abducted a group of traveling Shiites from the southern city of Amara. The kidnappers are accused of raping a woman hostage and then sending her back to her tribe in Amara to tell them what had happened, Interior Ministry officials said.

If Shiites are kidnapping people now, hmmm. And in an indication of how seriously this is is being taken, the Washington Post reports that a team of Iraqi soldiers backed by Americans has deployed to find the hostages. I think that's the clearest sign that they know what's at stake.

More recent update here. Iraqi forces raid town.

UPDATE: Well, now that was weird. The NYT says there's no 'there' there. Just folks relaxing, sipping tea. No hostage crisis. The WaPo is more circumspect in their reporting, but seem to blame the power vacuum in Baghdad for hyping the thing. Read both accounts. Fake news travels fast, huh?

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 8:22 AM

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?