Lebanon Bleeds, Iraq Burns, People Flee
"Habibi, to live in Baghdad now is to live in a big prison. You stay in your home, and that's it. You only go out when you must. So many are being killed daily, and you only hope that your day to die is not today."
-Abu Talat, independent reporter Dahr Jamail's translator who is traveling with him throughout Damascus
As catastrophic as the bloodletting between Lebanon and Israel is, and let us not discount the scope of this war of aggression that has now left over 400 dead and well over 1,250 wounded in total, it still pales by comparison to Iraq - which now is getting even less coverage than usual.
On the 18th of this month, a suicide bomber drove his van packed with explosives near the golden-domed mosque in Kufa, south of Baghdad. Kufa, the city where Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr prays, was then rocked as the bomber detonated himself and his van outside the mosque, killing at least 59 and wounding over 130.
Less than two weeks before this, members of the Muqtada al-Sadr's militia, the Mehdi Army, donned their typical all-black uniforms and entered the Sunni al-Jihad district of the capital. They went on the rampage, killing at least 40 Sunnis after checking their identification cards.
An average of a dozen bodies per day wash up on the shores of the Tigris in Baghdad as sectarian killings have spun completely out of control. Revenge killings are occurring not by the day but by the hour in Iraq. In February, Les Roberts, one of the co-authors of the Lancet report, said that we shouldn't be discussing Iraqi deaths by the tens of thousands, but rather whether it is 100,000 or 200,000 or 300,000.
That was five months ago. That was before this June, when the Baghdad morgue alone received 1,595 bodies that month. That was before a recent UN report, released last week after gathering data from the Iraqi Ministry of Health (which tracks deaths recorded in hospitals around Iraq) and the Baghdad morgue, reported that in March, 2,378 Iraqis were killed, 2,284 in April, 2,669 in May and 3,149 in June.