Michael Ubaldi, April 5, 2004.
Zeyad's chilling report on civil disarray took more than one blogger by surprise, the former almost teetering into panic. Now that the shock of news has subsided and the events are slowly being set into perspective, Glenn Reynolds responds to several very insightful reader e-mails. He says:
It's worth emphasizing that this is factional fighting, not popular uprising, and that Sadr is not particularly popular outside his own faction.
Maybe. But I see two certainties. First, the situation is far from out of control; not to be overly grim, but if Baghdad's population of five million were descending into chaos, casualties would be numbering well into the hundreds, even thousands. Anecdotes, photographs and maps will easily compress a city larger than New York into a hamlet - we can never forget that.
Second, as everybody is taking the time to notice, Moqtada al-Sadr is worth less in Iraq than a Saddamite dinar. As IP reader Eric Hall postulates, the Allies are lucky that Iraq's spiders have been coaxed out before the political transfer, when - pardon the pun - boots are still on the ground. We have even less to worry about in the long run if the authorities foresaw advantages to cracking down now, and are exploiting the inevitable to rout major components of instability once and for all.
IF THIS ISN'T WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING FOR: Over the past several days I've been checking my referrals and several web surfers have entered this post looking for, I assume, information on spiders in Iraq and not my figurative usage. If so, here's a news article and here is a rather unsettling picture of the camel spider. I hope you find what you're looking for.