Dick Cheney and John McCain came and went announcing to the media how the Bush surge had significantly reduced violence in Baghdad. During the past few days, warning sirens echo through Baghdad and within seconds rockets and mortars strike, sometimes in one or two, other times 10 or more. The danger has completely reshaped lives of those living in the heavily protected area. On Thursday, the State Department ordered Embassy personnel not to leave reinforced structures and all employees are required to wear helmets and other protective gear while in or outside. The attacks apparently are the work of members of Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi militia who are fightng the government of Iraq both in Baghdad, Basra and elsewhere. One explosion on Thursday ignited a fire in the central area of the zone that sent a massive column of thick, black smoke drifting over the Tigris River.
On Easter Sunday at least 12 innocent Iraqi civilians were killed by rockets that went astray. Inside the Green Zone, American personnel are sleeping on cots and on couches in heavily reinforced buildings to escape rocket and mortar shells. The barrages are definitely coming from Shiite areas located in eastern Baghdad. Rockets are fired from mobile rocket launchers which are quckly moved to other locations.
We await comments from John McCain about the success of his ideas that additional soldiers, in themselves, will result in peace in Iraq. The failure to launch a political offensive is among the reasons for further violence.