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Cartoon: Iraqi puppets

August 3, 2011 1 comment

As Iraq dithers on its decision regarding US troop extension beyond 2012, violence only increases in the war-torn nation. The cartoon shows the massive presence US boots have in Iraq, but that the military is simply biding its time as Iraq tears itself apart. Iraqis have increased suicide bombings, targeted their own oil fields and ramped up sectarian violence.

The US has long played puppetmaster in Iraq. All bets are off when the US cuts the strings. Instability and unpredictability are about the only things foreign investors and Iraqi citizens can count on. That will have a detrimental effect on investment and economic recovery for decades to come. Not only that, but a stressed economic system and security situation will only cement corruption in the hands of powerful, oppressive leaders who believe they must resort to force.

The US might have unnecessarily involved itself in Iraq when it went to war there in 2003, and it might leave Iraq’s society and economy even more tangled.

From UPI:

Stuart W. Bowen Jr. said in his quarterly report that June was the deadliest month for the U.S. military in more than two years, with 14 soldiers killed, The Washington Post said. Most of the deaths were the work of Shiite militias, he added.

“Iraq remains an extraordinarily dangerous place to work,” Bowen wrote. “It is less safe, in my judgment, than 12 months ago.”

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Cartoon of the Day: Fear in Yemen

Clearly, I’m not in Yemen, but I’ve written about the fractious nation steamrolling toward violence and a significant power vacuum that will only lead to more abuse. Sure, there’s a shadow government in the works, but one that will exert little force or control over Yemen’s tribal militants. Really, Yemen’s society is beginning to sound a lot like Afghanistan, with an important al Qaeda faction to boot.

Dozens were killed today at a Yemeni army base. A brief cease fire at the normally peaceful, intellectual haven of Taiz ended today as clashes resumed. And now, militant groups seeking to exert power and influence have begun kidnapping aid workers for ransom. (For the record, al Qaeda is employing a similar “fundraising” tactic.)

This cartoon from the Yemen Times sums up the feelings of already one of the bleakest nations in the world even before the six-month uprising that have crippled the (already faltering) economy — people have simply stopped paying back loans because they need money, which has crippled banking institutions and hurt any future prospects of economic development — and (never respected) fragile rule of law:

Editorial cartoon of the day

Like father, like son

The central Syria city of Hama was the epicenter of 1980s protests, when minority Alawite ruler Hafez al Assad mercilessly murdered at least 20,000 of the Syrian majority Sunnis there. Hama has now risen against Hafez’s son, Bashar, where protests grew to 300,000 led by a mostly secular Sunni crowd. Bashar had pulled forces out of Hama last month, only to remove the regional governor and return with force.

Of course, pacifying (or, more likely, forcefully ending) Hama will be different for Bashar than it was for Hafez. Word travels quickly now with social media, but Hafez was able to (however paradoxically) quietly massacre the mostly-Islamist led revolt in 1982 because it took days for word to circulate around the country. There are more eyes on Bashar, so it will be interesting to see how far the apple falls from the tree.

In case you were wondering how Saudi Arabian editorial cartoonists viewed the Arab Spring…

Yeah. OK. Well, it’s good to know Paul the Octopus lives on as the official mascot of the Arab Spring.

arabnews.com

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