Friday, September 21, 2012

New "Milestone" for Iraq's Democracy - and Neocons' Legacy

Reported in al-Monitor, the bull-dozing of the historic al-Mutanabbi book-sellers' district in Baghdad.

On September 17, bulldozers guarded by armed soldiers stormed the street late at night and smashed the wooden stalls used by booksellers for displaying and selling their books.

The vendors said they did not receive a warning to evacuate the area. An eyewitness told Al-Hayat that a large bulldozer, alongside other heavy equipment, entered Mutanabi Street after the shops closed and books were returned to the stores.

The Municipality of Baghdad released a statement the following day saying that “the campaign aims to remove violations from Mutanabi Street.”

The statement obligated the vendors “to carry out their activities only on Fridays.” According to the Municipality of Baghdad, the crackdown “included removing the stalls, book exhibits and publications from the sidewalks.”

Al-Hayat has learned that officials in the municipality are planning to turn Mutanabi Street into an animal market like Souk al-Ghazal. Booksellers would only be permitted to work on Fridays, as is the case with vendors of birds and dogs.

The raid came as a great shock to the intellectual circles in the Iraq. It led to a wave of complaints and prompted a flood of disapproving comments on social media websites against the “hostile manner” of the security services on a street that enjoys a high cultural status among Iraqis.

Read the rest of the report here.

Ain't liberation wonderful?  After tens of thousands of lives destroyed, Iraq now has a dysfunctional democracy led by a semi-theocratic Saddam-lite who's in league with Mr. Assad's massacring of Syria's civilians and Iran's continued support for same.

This is as much a part of US neocons' legacy as is anything else.  The same neocons, by the way, who now advise Mitt Romney on foreign policy (John Bolton) and pound for more US intervention in Syria and Iran (Elliot Abrams, Max Boot . . . the list goes on).

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