Wednesday, July 11, 2007

it's not easy being green

... in fact, it "sucks big time."

(image © will sherman)

juan cole: on tuesday, guerrillas launched some 20 katyusha rockets and mortar shells into the green zone in downtown baghdad, killing 3 persons, including a us soldier, and wounding 25 persons.

the green zone was originally supposed to be the safe place in iraq, with the area outside it (everything else) called the "red zone." the us embassy in baghdad appears to have forgotten what the phrase "green zone" means, since a spokesman there told [the la times], "there's fire into the green zone virtually every day, so i can't draw any conclusions about the security situation based on that ..."

let me draw the conclusion. if you've got fire into the friggin' green zone every day, then we can draw the conclusion that the security situation in baghdad sucks big time. when you've got people killed and a large number of people wounded in the one place in iraq that was supposed to have a "permissive" security environment, then security in general is the pits.

now you might say that we can't draw many conclusions from the events of a single day. and, being able to lob mortar shells over a wall doesn't speak to that much organization. but then what about these two nuggets in [the la times] story?

1) there were about 39 attacks [on the green zone] in may, compared with 17 in march, according to a u.n. report.

2) tuesday's attack came the same day gunmen kidnapped iraqi police col. mahmoud muhyi hussein, who directs security inside the green zone ...

in other words, the security situation in the green zone is spiralling down at an alarming pace, and the guerrillas have such good inside knowledge that they can kidnap the very person responsible for security in it, as he drives in jadiriya. that, my friends, is an inside job. and such an inside job doesn't bode well for future security in the green zone. for one thing, presumably they are "debriefing" col. hussein as we speak, looking for weak points.

people i know and respect are in the green zone, so i'm pretty distressed by this situation, and not amused by the embassy spokesman's attempt to blow smoke up our posteriors. this looks bad.

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