Nine people died yesterday when gunmen (thought to be Shi’ites) shot up 12 liquor stores in Baghdad. The killers approached their targets in SUVs, raking shops and supermarkets with gunfire. Most of their victims were Yazidi Kurds. Since their syncretic faith (Sufism and Zoroastrianism) takes a liberal line on alcohol, most of Baghdad’s liquor stores are staffed by Yazidis.
Did the gunmen see themselves as Untouchables, blasting seven bells of hell out of Prohibition hooch? For that truly authentic experience, instead of SUVs they could have hired an armour plated Cadillac and stood on the running boards brandishing their Tommy guns. Al Capone meets Al Qaeda. Shame if a few bootleggers caught a round of lead and ended up dead of the post-modern condition.
Meanwhile in Makhachkala, capital of the federated Russian republic of Dagestan (North Caucasus), anti-alcohol terrorism looks more straightforward. Naïve by comparison, like a bunch of schoolboys out shoplifting.
Here they come now, including the one in a bright red anorak (must have missed the class entitled ‘the importance of being unobtrusive’). They almost collide with the security guard as he saunters out through the shop doorway. Anorak pulls a gun, drops him – suddenly the guard’s legs and feet are poking back into the CCTV frame. Furtively, the three boys enter the shop and drop a bag with a bomb in it behind the nearest counter. Then scuttle out again. On their way out, did they grab a few sticks of chocolate and shove it up their jumpers?
Outside, on the other side of the street, another CCTV camera records the smoke and dust as the shop windows are blown out. Next: the security guard is lying largely where he was before; still flattened, his face now blackened, encircled by shop debris – bits of a wire trolley, twisted light fittings and shelving. Woven together with autumn leaves, this rubbish forms a bargain basement wreath around him.
Baghdad, it seems, is blessed with a better class of terrorist.