Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sunni Extermination?

Before the US invasion of Iraq there were about 5 million Sunnis in the country. There are currently about 2-2.5 million Iraqi refugees in Syria and Jordan, both are Sunni states so these refugees are probably Sunni. In addition, the best available data 1 suggest that about 500,000 Iraqis have died due to the invasion, mostly to violence. Assuming at least half of these are Sunnis, a pretty safe assumption, roughly half of all Iraqi Sunnis are either dead or have left the country.

In this context it's clear why some Sunni's are at least temporarily allying themselves with US forces, they are well on the way to being completely removed from Iraq. Allying themselves with America may be their only hope for survival 2

1. This is from a study done a year or two ago that used nation-wide interviews to determine total deaths. The data aren't that good, there are very wide error bars, but it's the best we've got. Totals based on newspaper accounts, for example, are known to be major undercounts since many war deaths are not reported in newspapers.

2. The alliance is against al Qaeda in Iraq, which are bunch of scum bags if there ever were any. Reaction to al Qaeda in Iraq's excesses is probably an additional motivation.

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