Fundamentalism on the march in Iraq:
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.
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.
...The man the group installed, Hussein al-Tahaan, is a member of the Badr Organization, the armed militia of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, known as Sciri.
The militia has been credited with keeping the peace in heavily Shiite areas in southern Iraq but also accused of abuses like forcing women to wear the veils demanded by conservative Shiite religious law....
--New York Times
This is the mayor Christopher Hitchens wrote about Monday in Slate.
Question: Why have several large American cities not already announced that they are going to become sister cities with Baghdad and help raise money and awareness to aid Dr. Tamimi?
Talk about your devolution: Apparently it's now the job of U.S. cities to prevent coups.
In fact, several U.S. cities, including Baghdad, have formal relationships with Iraqi cities, according to Sister Cities International:
Tempe is the fifth U.S. community awarded a grant through the Partners for Peace project and will link with Hilla. Iraqi officials will visit Tempe officials to learn about democratic government as part of the program, and coordinating committees in both countries will work to improve humanitarian conditions in Hilla....
Last year Dallas, Texas paired with Kirkuk and Tucson, Arizona with Sulaymaniyah. The Denver Regional Council of Governments in Colorado linked with the province of Baghdad. Two weeks ago, Sister Cities International announced that the Philadelphia International Visitors Council is paired with Mosul.
It has been pointed out that, strictly speaking, Denver's link to Baghdad isn't a formal sister-city relationship. Whatever it is, though, it didn't prevent this coup. Then again, neither did billions in federal tax dollars, 1,800 servicemembers' lives, and semi-permanent occupation by 130,000 U.S. troops.