Patrick Cockburn reports that Baghdad is under siege
Sunni insurgents have cut the roads linking the city to the rest of Iraq. The country is being partitioned as militiamen fight bloody battles for control of towns and villages north and south of the capital....
Well-armed Sunni tribes now largely surround Baghdad and are fighting Shia militias to complete the encirclement.
The Sunni insurgents seem to be following a plan to control all the approaches to Baghdad. They have long held the highway leading west to the Jordanian border and east into Diyala province. Now they seem to be systematically taking over routes leading north and south.
The Kroll mercenary supplier is puling out, announcing that Iraq is too dangerous for its mercenaries:
Manhattan security company Kroll has withdrawn its bodyguard teams from Iraq and Afghanistan after it lost four workers in Iraq, its parent company said Wednesday.
Michael Cherkasky, president and chief executive of Kroll owner Marsh & McLennan Cos., told The Associated Press that the business in the two countries wasn't worth risking the lives of their employees.
And that other type of bloodsucker mercenary company, Bechtel, is p ulling out:
Bechtel -- which charged into Iraq with American "can-do" fervor -- found it tough to keep its engineers and workers alive, much less make progress in piecing Iraq back together.
"Did Iraq come out the way you hoped it would?" asked Cliff Mumm, Bechtel's president for infrastructure work. "I would say, emphatically, no. And it's heartbreaking."
Perhaps not surprisingly, in private the US military is saying the country is headed full-steam toward complete chaos, aka, civil war:
classified briefing prepared two weeks ago by the United States Central Command portrays Iraq as edging toward chaos, in a chart that the military is using as a barometer of civil conflict.
A one-page slide shown at the Oct. 18 briefing provides a rare glimpse into how the military command that oversees the war is trying to track its trajectory, particularly in terms of sectarian fighting.
The slide includes a color-coded bar chart that is used to illustrate an "Index of Civil Conflict." It shows a sharp escalation in sectarian violence since the bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra in February, and tracks a further worsening this month despite a concerted American push to tamp down the violence in Baghdad.
It's horrifying how those who milked the Iraq situation for all its worth get to leave. Even those poor US troops who don't die there will eventually get to leave. But 25 million Iraqis are left the carcass of their country to fight over. Heck of job, Georgie!