Wednesday, November 22, 2006

And back to the bad...

Regardless of whether you believe the number proposed by the recent Lancet Survey, the death- rate of civilian casualties is completely out of control. Yesterday, the United Nations reported that 3,709 Iraqi civilians were killed in October. As the AP notes, this is:
"...the highest monthly toll since the March 2003 U.S. invasion and another sign of the severity of Iraq's sectarian bloodbath."
Quick aside: When will the press begin referring to the conflict as the civil war it has become instead of using phrases such as "sectarian bloodbath"?

In other news, the possibility of negotiations with Syria were further reduced with the assasination of Pierre Gemayel, a Lebanese cabinet minister and strong opponent of Syrian influence in Lebanon. Syria has of course denied any involvement in the assassination, but this will regardless complicate US efforts to engage Syria in a dialog over Iraq. You'll remember that the US originally withdrew its ambassador to Damasus in 2005 when Syria came under suspicion for the assassination of Rafik Hariri.

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