Serial killer's paradise
Iraq has to be a serial killer's paradise. Scores of dead bodies turn up on dumping grounds outside the country's main cities every morning. Iraqi police reports speak of corpses discovered bound, often showing signs of torture, and shot in the head. And yet nobody is ever arrested and charged with the killings. The overload of bodies prompted Baghdad's main morgue to announce this week that due to lack of storage space they would from now on keep corpses for only two weeks before burying them in mass graves.
The murders, along with the daily attacks against U.S. soldiers and Iraqi security forces, have led military commanders here and in the United States to speak of the country's descent towards civil war. But many Iraqis say their country is already in one.
This week an Iraqi doctor, in our bureau for an interview, said in his opinion the ongoing violence here can be directly blamed on the occupation of his country by foreign forces who have failed to repair the basic infrastructure. Shortages of fuel and electricity have led to economic stagnation, he said, and poverty is helping to drive the insurgency against coalition troops and Iraqi security forces.
Sectarian violence, he said, is being blamed on coalition forces for sponsoring an incompetent central government which has allowed Shia Muslims to dominate the Iraqi police. There have been numerous kidnappings and murders of Sunni Muslims carried out by armed men wearing police uniforms.
The violence has also displaced more than 30,000 Iraqi families in the past six months as Sunni Muslims move from Shia-dominated areas, and Shia move closer to their own for protection from militias which are active in most city neighborhoods.
Herein lies the problem: How can Iraqi forces and their U.S. allies disarm the militias which are seen by many here to be the only guarantee of security?
This week the first of 3,500 extra American troops arrived in Baghdad to begin security duties. We wait to see if their presence will affect the daily violence.
- Life beyond the violence
Suicide attacks and murders due to sectarian conflict continue around Iraq. See how residents live their lives amid the attacks.