Dexter Filkins: What We Left Behind in Iraq : The New Yorker

any piece by Dexter Filkins is a must-read for people interested in the Middle East. i've found him to consistently be the best, most informed writer covering the region since 9/11.

Iraq is almost completely out of American news and therefore out of Americans' minds. "Iraq? that war's over" seems to be the dominant attitude. no, it's not over, and there's reason to believe the civil war America's invasion set the conditions for is about to start again.

11 years ago the government rallied average citizens to support invading Iraq by using the words "Saddam Hussein" and "al-Qaeda" in the same sentence and implying if the US did not invade an atomic bomb would destroy an American city.

in 2003 there was maybe one member of al-Qaeda in Iraq and he was wanted by Saddam, hiding out in the Kurdish controlled north.

today, after the US invaded Iraq to fight terrorism and then left, groups calling themselves al-Qaeda control 2 of the largest cities in Iraq.

"but what about democracy? Iraqis, like, vote now, right? so there's that?"

a Sunni member of parliament after speaking at a protest:

Three days after Maliki’s speech, security forces surrounded Alwani’s compound. Officials claimed that they had gone not to arrest him—as a member of parliament, he had immunity—but to capture his brother, who was wanted on vague charges of “terrorism.” Gunfire broke out. The troops killed six people and took Alwani away. A photograph apparently smuggled from jail showed him in an orange jumpsuit with bruises on his face. His brother had fared far worse: he was shot to death in the fighting.