Saturday, September 20, 2008

Other Items

Sam Dagher's "A Group Describing Itself as Sunni Defaces the Web Site of Iraq's Foremost Shiite Cleric" (New York Times) describes the attack on Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani's website which is thought to have been done by Sunnis but curiously features a YouTube video of American menace Bill Maher insulting al-Sistani. It may well have been Sunnis (in Iraq or out) but one has to wonder why they would go with Bill Maher who is not globally known and whose words (in English) would not be as easily understood by most visitors to al-Sistani's website?

With over four million internal and external refugees, the Sunni-Shia violence would decrease due to migration. Maggie Fox explains the basics in "Satellite Images show ethnic cleanout in Iraq" (Reuters):

Satellite images taken at night show heavily Sunni Arab neighborhoods of Baghdad began emptying before a U.S. troop surge in 2007, graphic evidence of ethnic cleansing that preceded a drop in violence, according to a report published on Friday.
The images support the view of international refugee organizations and Iraq experts that a major population shift was a key factor in the decline in sectarian violence, particularly in the Iraqi capital, the epicenter of the bloodletting in which hundreds of thousands were killed.
Minority Sunni Arabs were driven out of many neighborhoods by Shi'ite militants enraged by the bombing of the Samarra mosque in February 2006. The bombing, blamed on the Sunni militant group al Qaeda, sparked a wave of sectarian violence.

The refugee crisis came before the 'surge'. Many have noted how impacted levels of violence.

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