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Friday, March 25, 2005

Baghdad - Medellin with a Shawarma

The LA Times investigates the Iraqi capital's insane crime rate:

"As Iraq's newly elected leaders cobble together the foundation of a fledgling democracy, a killing epidemic has taken hold of this troubled nation. Ministry of Health statistics show that record numbers of Iraqi civilians are coming to violent ends, particularly here in the capital.

Assassinations and bombings have garnered worldwide attention. But Iraqi officials say violence unrelated to the insurgency is growing, and Iraqis are more likely to die at the hands — or in the cross-fire — of kidnappers, carjackers and angry neighbors than in car bombings.

In some cases, authorities say, the motives are so opaque that they cannot tell whether they are investigating a crime disguised as an act of war or a political assassination masquerading as a violent business dispute.

In Baghdad alone, officials at the central morgue counted 8,035 deaths by unnatural causes in 2004, up from 6,012 the previous year, when the U.S. invaded Iraq. In 2002, the final year of Saddam Hussein's regime, the morgue examined about 1,800 bodies."

From everything I've read Iraq in general, and Baghdad in particular, has experienced a massive growth in criminal activity since the American invasion, yet with everything else that is happening in that country this factor has dropped somewhat off the radar of Westerners. 8,000 murders is pretty spectacular, even allowing for the insurgency.

|| RPH || 5:18 AM || |