BAGHDAD, Iraq, Aug. 9 - Armed men entered Baghdad's municipal building during a blinding dust storm on Monday, deposed the city's mayor and installed a member of Iraq's most powerful Shiite militia.Baghdad is not only the seat of power in Iraq, it is also a symbolic position.
The deposed mayor, Alaa al-Tamimi, who was not in his offices at the time, recounted the events in a telephone interview on Tuesday and called the move a municipal coup d'état. He added that he had gone into hiding for fear of his life.
"This is the new Iraq," said Mr. Tamimi, a secular engineer with no party affiliation. "They use force to achieve their goal."
The coup happened under the nose of the U.S. forces which are hunkered down in the capitol.
This does not bode well for hopes of a democratic or even benevolent form of government. The proposed drawdown of forces in time for the 2006 mid-terms may lead into even more out-right fighting between factions. It happens already, of course, but the small U.S. presence may serve as a deterrent to all-out fighting.