As the U.S. steps up air and artillery strikes on the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah ahead of a major offensive, Reuters reports this afternoon that Iraqis are increasingly being left on their own to deal with the spreading insecurity and war-torn infrastructure of the country.
"Underlining a rapid deterioration in security in Iraq, one of the few remaining international aid groups said it was quitting the country because of 'extreme risk' to aid workers. 'It has become impossible ... to guarantee an acceptable level of security for our staff, be they foreign or Iraqi,' Medecins sans Frontieres general director Gorik Ooms said in Belgium.
"Another major aid group, Care International, also ceased its operations last month after the British-Iraqi woman running them was kidnapped. She is still being held by an unnamed group.
"Iraqi's government and its U.S. backers are battling to capture rebel-held cities such as Falluja and Ramadi and pacify the country to prepare for elections due in January. But they face a mounting insurgency and kidnappings aimed at driving out U.S.-led forces and foreign workers."