Two sectarian atrocities in the Middle East over the last two days point to the growing cost of the lack of U.S. leadership in a region. First, in Iraq, The New York Times reports that:
At least 72 people from a majority Sunni village in eastern Iraq were methodically singled out for slaughter this week, according to witnesses and local Sunni leaders, who said the victims were killed by Shiite militiamen who were supporting Iraqi security forces.
Meanwhile, in Pakistan:
An explosion ripped through a Shiite mosque in southern Pakistan during weekly prayers on Friday, killing more than 40 people and wounding at least 50 in an apparent suicide bombing, hospital officials said.
The bombing in Shikarpur, about 300 miles north of Karachi, was the country’s worst sectarian attack in months. It offered further proof that extremists are spreading deep into Sindh Province, which had previously escaped the worst of Pakistan’s violence.
As TAI Editor Adam Garfinkle wrote yesterday, the abdication of U.S. responsibility in the region has opened the door to an escalating struggle that threatens to be a regional catastrophe of historic proportions, one that will be extremely costly for the U.S. and the world—and that is getting harder and harder for anybody to do anything about.As horrible as these are, on current trends these atrocities will become more frequent, more widespread, and larger in scale.