Today we spoke to journalist Dexter Filkins. His latest piece on Iraq in the New Yorker, What We Left Behind, explores “An increasingly authoritarian leader, a return of sectarian violence, and a nation worried for its future.” In the conversation Filkins explains how Iraq is “falling back into civil war:”
"I think I was there in February, just off the top of my head I think January there were a thousand civilians killed… A thousand in a month, that’s 30 people a day or so, that’s right up there, not with the bloodiest of months of the civil war when the Americans were there, but it’s pretty bloody. That’s mostly, almost entirely Shiite civilians being killed at the hands of Sunnis, but of course there are plenty of Sunnis being killed by the government, which is mostly Shiite.
The civil war that we are witnessing—that we witnessed when the Americans were there—is certainly a consequence of the invasion. Iraq is this deeply artificial country cobbled together after World War I, lines drawn in the sand really with very little regard for sect or tribe or nationality or anything. The country has been held together—and certainly when we invaded was being held together by this steel frame of a dictatorship overseen by Saddam Hussein and he was a terrible, awful human being but he held the country together in this ruthless way. When we broke that steel frame it all came apart and that’s what we’re witnessing.”
photo: Members of an Iraqi tribe protest military operation in Fallujah on January 7, 2014. via ny post