The southern Iraqi city of Basra, once a pro-American oasis, has now changed its tune as mafia-style warlords terrorize the population. It’s a reality check for the world in the wake of the euphoria that greeted Zarqawi’s death.
BASRA, Iraq ? Politics, once seen as a solution to the problems of a society broken by years of brutal single-party rule, has paralyzed the heart of Iraq’s south.
This once-quiet city of riverside promenades was among the most receptive to the American invasion. Now, three years later, it is being pulled apart by Shiite political parties that want to control the region and its biggest prize, oil. But in today’s Iraq, politics and power flow from the guns of militias, and negotiating has been a bloody process.
“We’re into political porridge, that’s what’s changed,” said Brig. James Everard, commander of the British forces in Basra. “It’s mafia-type politics down here.”