Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Iraq returns to violence after football victory

After brief celebrations over Iraq’s win against Saudi Arabia [BBC] this week the violence soon returned to the streets of Baghdad and elsewhere in the beleaguered country. Even during the festivities four people died after being ‘accidentally shot’ during celebratory gunfire.

Today at least 67 died and more than 100 were injured in a series of bomb blasts [BBC]. The biggest death toll resulted from a petrol tanker being exploded at a filling station near Mansour, a mainly Sunni district of Baghdad, killing 50 [CNN]. And whilst coalition casualties have dropped in July from the previous month, Iraqi officials say that civilian casualties have risen by almost a third to 1600. However July’s troop casualty rate still towers above figures for the same time last year besides the new security initiative. This July saw 87 coalition troops killed, nearly double from the same month last year []. The rising casualty rate, standing at 3,950 including 164 British and 129 other coalition countries, is making difficult reading for the US and British public alike. Many see no end in sight to the conflict, and besides Bush and Brown’s resolve to turn the country over to Iraq’s own security forces, few see this as coming any time soon. Unfortunately, even for critics of the war, to leave Iraq in the near future, may we well see the whole area become further inflamed, spilling over into the region as a whole. As the Americans might say, they’re ‘caught between a rock and a hard place’.

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