Documented civilian deaths from violence according to Iraq Body Count.

90,329 – 98,605


Civilian death toll in Iraq dramatically decreased during the year 2008. Fortunately, the expected overt civil war did not break out in Iraq. Anyway, I have especially expressed my disgust  for several female or even teenage suicide bombings on the occasion of Shi’a festivals here on this blog.

President G. W. Bush’s legacy will be a burden not only for his successor in the White House. His initial statement ‘mission accomplished’  has been attenuated to ‘term accomplished’ with most if not all questions left unanswered and new problems, in particular with Iran’s role in the region, emerging. The proxy war in Gaza insufficiently conceals that the  arch enemies Israel and Iran have lined-up already for new military conflicts in the near future. Coming-in President Barack Obama will have to learn that regional powers may not be kept under control by drastically economically weakened United States which have completely lost their moral reputation (if they ever had it) in the Middle East.

But that might be a chance as well. Obama may set the stage for confidence-building measures by quickly declaring the end of the ‘War on Terror’, even before closing down Guantanamo Bay. International collaboration and diplomacy even with Iran and Syria is overdue after years of solo actions of the previous US administration and attempts to force allies into ‘coalitions of the willing’. Due to his background, Obama might have much more intercultural competence and an open, not restricted and fundamentalistic, mind as regards to cultural and religious matters.

It is clear that Israel’s new war in Gaza is intended to quickly set the stage in order to prevent Obama from starting his diplomatic initiative. Let’s see what his first steps will be next week.

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