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Ethnic Cleansing, Not Surge, Pacified Iraq

From (we kid thee not) the health and science editor at Reuters:

Satellite image of night lights in Baghdad. By tracking the amount of light emitted by Baghdad neighborhoods at night, a team of UCLA geographers has uncovered fresh evidence that last year’s U.S. troop surge in Iraq may not have been as effective at improving security as some U.S. officials have maintained.

Satellite images show ethnic cleanout in Iraq

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor, Reuters

Fri Sep 19

WASHINGTON — 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.

“By the launch of the surge, many of the targets of conflict had either been killed or fled the country, and they turned off the lights when they left,” geography professor John Agnew of the University of California Los Angeles, who led the study, said in a statement.

“Essentially, our interpretation is that violence has declined in Baghdad because of intercommunal violence that reached a climax as the surge was beginning,” said Agnew, who studies ethnic conflict.

Some 2 million Iraqis are displaced within Iraq, while 2 million more have sought refuge in neighboring Syria and Jordan. Previously religiously mixed neighborhoods of Baghdad became homogenized Sunni or Shi’ite Muslim enclaves.

The study, published in the journal Environment and Planning A, provides more evidence of ethnic conflict in Iraq, which peaked just before U.S. President George W. Bush ordered the deployment of about 30,000 extra U.S. troops.

The extent to which the troop build-up helped halt Iraq’s slide into sectarian civil war has been debated, particularly in the United States, with supporters of the surge saying it was the main contributing factor, and others arguing it was simply one of a number of factors.

“Our findings suggest that the surge has had no observable effect, except insofar as it has helped to provide a seal of approval for a process of ethno-sectarian neighborhood homogenization that is now largely achieved,” Agnew’s team wrote in their report.

Agnew’s team used publicly available infrared night imagery from a weather satellite operated by the U.S. Air Force.

“The overall night light signature of Baghdad since the U.S. invasion appears to have increased between 2003 and 2006 and then declined dramatically from 20 March 2006 through 16 December 2007,” their report said.

They said the night lights of Shi’ite-dominated Sadr City remained constant, as did lights in the Green Zone government and diplomatic compound in central Baghdad. Lights increased in the eastern New Baghdad district, another Shi’ite enclave.

Satellite studies have also been used to help document forced relocations in Myanmar and ethnic cleansing in Uganda.

This would almost be funny if it weren’t so despicable:

The study, published in the journal Environment and Planning A, provides more evidence of ethnic conflict in Iraq, which peaked just before U.S. President George W. Bush ordered the deployment of about 30,000 extra U.S. troops.

Gee, what a coincidence that the violence would peak just before we sent still more of our brave men and treasure over there. What are the odds?

But no lie is too obvious or too shameful to be used to try to deny our courageous military and administration their credit for a tremendous victory.

By the way, in case you are wondering just who is John Agnew when he is at home?

Why he is the world famous author of the anti-US screed, Hegemony:

Hegemony – Book Description

Hegemony tells the story of the drive to create consumer capitalism abroad through political pressure and the promise of goods for mass consumption. In contrast to the recent literature on America as empire, it explains that the primary goal of the foreign and economic policies of the United States is a world which increasingly reflects the American way of doing business, not the formation or management of an empire. Contextualizing both the Iraq war and recent plant closings in the U.S., noted author John Agnew shows how American hegemony has created a world in which power is no longer only shaped territorially. He argues in a sobering conclusion that we are consequently entering a new era of global power, one in which the the world the US has made no longer works to its singular advantage.

Funny how Reuters would leave that bit of information out about their “expert.”

(Thanks to Sheehanjihad for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, September 21st, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

13 Responses to “Ethnic Cleansing, Not Surge, Pacified Iraq”

  1. brad says:

    A win-win situation here. Did the surge work? Who cares. Did they ethnically cleans each other, I hope so. Let’s face it, Saddam was the only one cruel enough to control the lawless nutcases in this lawless country. Sure, he brought “law” to Iraq, at the price of slicing the skin off with a rusty shaver. Unfortunately, that is the kind of brutality these people need to keep them from living like chaotic animals. I mean, worse than they are now. So muslims killing muslims is just less idiots we have to kill.

    Saddam was a threat, but look how many billions we spend on trying to keep order there? And why do we care? Let them kill each other, it is the way life is for them, that is how Saddam got in power, and it will continue.

    Why are we trying to install all of our worst institutions upon them anyway? Our court system, or prisons, our way of government? Yech, are we trying to punish them more?

    Let them kill each other, and when they finally install a dictator that doesn’t want to bother with us, we should feel happy about it. If that dictator antagonizes us, then send in the missiles and let them try again.

  2. Curmudgeon says:

    I care whether the surge worked. I have a sincere hope that the Iraqi people (whom I do not consider as animals) will be able to have a stable democracy. I respect life.
    “Our court system, prisons, our way of government” = “our worst institutions” ?????
    Also, there will never be a dictator over there that “doesn’t want to bother with us” and most of us would rather the formation of a democracy work in this particular case than to have to go “send in the missiles” later.
    Your comments make me think you are either woefully flippant/misguided, or you are a liberal posting ridiculous comments here to make us real right-wingers look bad.

  3. Reality Bytes says:

    I’m confused. The evidence is whether they keep their night lights off? Maybe they’re Amish.

  4. Reality Bytes says:

    Or maybe, it’s because cockroaches and rats prefer the dark.

  5. Exeter says:

    “Your comments make me think you are either woefully flippant/misguided, or you are a liberal posting ridiculous comments here to make us real right-wingers look bad.”

    I’m with you, Curmudgeon.

    brad, if you really think what you write, then you may as well vote for Obama. In fact, give the Anointed One a call – you could probably be hired as a foreign policy advisor.

  6. Reality Bytes says:

    “Lighten Up Frances” (I mean Exiter). You’re panties are bunching up.

    Perhaps you haven’t heard of using the absurd to highlight, well, the absurd. Get it? Colonel, little help here!

    FYI – you’re gonna have to dig pretty deep to find someone with more conservative tomes than I my friend.

  7. Exeter says:

    RB – Um…I was quoting Curmudgeon, and talking to brad. You’re free to jump in of course, but what are you getting at? I didn’t call you Liberal – I wasn’t even referring to you.

  8. Reality Bytes says:

    I’m a little tense!!! OK?! SORRY!

    You have any idea what it’s like to not be afraid to point out the logs in the eyes of liberals?

    Yeah, you probably do.

    But unlike locast, there seems to be more of tehm every 4 years instead of 7.

    Just read “Brad” (as if that’s his real name): Son, you can’t be serious. WE WENT INTO IRAQ TO PREVENT GENOCIDE NOT ENCOURAGE IT!

    You may be more comfortable back at Daily KOS there buddy.

  9. Exeter says:

    No problem, RB – I was pretty sure you just misread my post (but don’t sic the Colonel on me again!).

    Now, back to “brad” (as if that’s his real name): kid, you’re clearly a moonbat – your argument is nowhere near a Conservative one, though I daresay it fits the Liberal caricature of Conservatism. If you want to play ‘secret agent’, you need to work on your cover. Let me help you out. Here’s a list of things you said that no conservative would ever say:

    “Did the surge work? Who cares.”
    “Did they ethnically cleans each other, I hope so.”
    “Sure, he [Saddam] brought “law” to Iraq…”
    “…that is the kind of brutality these people need…”
    “Saddam was a threat, but look how many billions we spend on trying to keep order there?”
    “…that is how Saddam got in power, and it will continue.”
    “Why are we trying to install all of our worst institutions upon them anyway? Our court system, or prisons, our way of government?”
    “Let them kill each other, and when they finally install a dictator that doesn’t want to bother with us…”
    “…send in the missiles and let them try again.”

    You’re about as credible as a Klansman infiltrating a Black Panther rally in blackface and talking like Uncle Remus.

  10. Reality Bytes says:

    Yeah, and the horse you road in on too!


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