THE OTHER MIDDLE...

THE OTHER MIDDLE EAST MESS. In case Israel's attempts to level Lebanon had temporarily lifted your depression on all issues Iraqi-related, The New York Times reports that Sunni calls for American withdrawal have quieted as fears of mass slaughter at the hands of rampaging Shiites have deepened.

Recently, Shiite militias have been conducting public executions of Sunnis in broad daylight, and Sunni areas have had to erect armed checkpoints to deter roving Shiite death squads. Consequently, groups who once wished us out post haste are rconsidering the decision, fearing our vacuum will embolden a virtual genocdie. In this context, those pockets of Baghdad still littered with Saddam Hussein supporters are rejoicing every time the Americans pass, using the loudspeakers to inform residents that the military rolling through is not Iraqi, and thus should not be shot at. Next thing you know they'll be giving us BFF lockets.

--Ezra Klein

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