We call on those states responsible for the invasion and occupation of Iraq to terminate their illegal and immoral war, and express our solidarity with the Iraqi people in their struggle for peace, justice and self-determination.

In particular, we demand:

  1. An immediate end to the US and UK-led occupation of Iraq;
  2. Urgent action to fully address the current humanitarian crises facing Iraq’s people, including help for the more than three million refugees and displaced persons;
  3. An end to all foreign interference in Iraq's affairs, including its oil industry, so that Iraqis can exercise their right to self-determination;
  4. Compensation and reparations from those countries responsible for war and sanctions on Iraq;
  5. Prosecution of all those responsible for war crimes, human rights abuses, and the theft of Iraq's resources.

We demand justice for Iraq.

This statement was adopted by the Justice for Iraq conference in London on 19th July 2008. We plan to publish this more widely in future. If you would like to add your name to the list of supporters please contact us.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Iraq’s Identity Crisis

Matthew Schweitzer and Harith Hasan al-Qarawee write for Counterpunch (August 14th): In the land where history was first written, the complete erasure of over 8,000 years of cultural heritage, record, ethnic pluralism, and memory is underway. Although sidelined by the exigencies of war, those losses will impact Iraq’s potential to rehabilitate post-conflict. They represent an abrogation of a collective heritage: the world’s first legal code, writing system, and cities developed in Mesopotamia.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Endless war, leading nowhere

Two years after MPs voted not to take part in the bombardment of Syria, British forces have been doing precisely that.  A cross-party group of MPs and peers will investigate the air strikes, the Government’s authorisation of which shows complete contempt for parliamentary democracy. As Michael Meacher pointed out, “The excuse given by the Prime Minister’s office that they were embedded with US forces and not operating under a British chain of command is risible.”
http://www.leftfutures.org/2015/07/so-tory-ministers-lying-to-parliament-is-now-ok/#more-43544

But, beyond the challenge to constitutional government in the UK, it’s worth asking what the aerial attacks on Isis are likely to accomplish. Last year. Parliament authorised air strikes on the terrorist group in Iraq as part of a US-led coalition of attacks. Nearly a year on, little has been achieved, except for the continued suffering of the Iraqi people, at considerable cost to the taxpayer. The value of bombs dropped by British warplanes and drones on Iraq since September has likely exceeded around £20m, according to an analysis by the Independent.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/british-warplanes-and-drones-have-dropped-20m-of-bombs-on-iraq-since-strikes-restarted-10397634.html?printService=print

Britain is stepping up its role in the conflict. with a sharp increase in SAS operations, drone missions and RAF strikes announced in July.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/britain-set-to-launch-sas-operations-and-raf-strikes-on-isis-in-iraq-and-syria-10384063.html

Meanwhile, retired US Army General Mike Flynn, a top intelligence official in the post-9/11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, says that the drone war is creating more terrorists than it is killing, just as the US-led invasion of Iraq helped create the Islamic State.
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/07/16/retired-general-drones-create-terrorists-kill-iraq-war-helped-create-isis/

This latest phase of the conflict is turning into one of the bloodiest for some time. According to a UN report, some 15,000 civilians had been killed in the sixteen months up to April 2015.
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/14/iraq-conflict-leaves-nearly-15000-civilians-dead-over-last-16-months
Since January 2014, nearly three million Iraqis have been displaced due to the fighting.
http://www.irinnews.org/report/101584/briefing-how-2-9-million-iraqis-were-displaced-in-18-months

Civilians continue to bear the brunt of the latest offensive against Isis. Reuters report: “As Iraqi forces prepare to try to recapture the city of Falluja, tens of thousands of civilians find themselves trapped between Islamic State militants ready to use them as human shields and a government suspicious of their loyalties.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/16/us-mideast-crisis-iraq-anbar-idUSKCN0PQ16U20150716

Iraqi forces have inflicted considerable civilian casualties in Anbar province in recent weeks. Elsewhere, in one notorious incident in July, an Iraqi fighter jet accidentally dropped a bomb over a Baghdad neighbourhood, killing at least 12 people. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/06/iraqi-jet-accidentally-bombs-baghdad-district

Isis’s murderous barbarism is undisputed. In addition to the atrocities perpetrated against civilians for smoking, eating instead of fasting, being of the wrong faith, and so on, there is now evidence that they are engaged in the manufacture of rudimentary chemical weapons. But whether pouring more weaponry into the region will solve anything looks increasingly doubtful.

When Iraqi forces fled Mosul last year without firing a shot, allowing Isis to establish its most significant urban base in the country so far, they left behind a large amount of materiel for the terrorists to make use of. No fewer than 2,300 Humvee armoured vehicles were left to fall into Isis’s hands - a majority of all the Humvees the US has delivered to the Iraqi army. The US taxpayer might just as well be funding Isis directly.
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/01/isis-captured-2300-humvee-armoured-vehicles-from-iraqi-forces-in-mosul

Nor was this an isolated incident. In May, Iraqi army and police ran away from an Isis advance on Ramadi, allowing more valuable American weaponry to fall into the terrorists’ hands.
http://www.juancole.com/2015/05/iraqi-running-away.html

With the Government gearing up to ask Parliament in the autumn to overturn its 2013 policy and extend its bombing of Isis into Syria, it’s instructive to remember this record of futility in Iraq.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Iraq: When will it end?

Twelve years on from the 2003 invasion of Iraq, there is no let-up in the misery being inflicted on the Iraqi people. The UN mission to Iraq says violence in the country claimed the lives of at least 1,100 Iraqis in February, including more than 600 civilians.

The war crimes of Isis are well-documented: summary executions including of children and people on account of their sexuality; men flogged for using mobile phones; the kidnapping of hundreds of women from the Yazidi sect, who were subjected to physical and sexual abuse, slavery and forced marriage.

Thousands of rare manuscripts in Mosul’s library have been destroyed along with priceless antiquities at the museum. ISIS has blown up the historic wall of Nineveh and destroyed the  ancient Assyrian site of Nimrud and 2,000 year-old ruins at Hatra.

These are a form of genocide, aimed at erasing the collective identity of the Iraqi people. But is it so different from the mentality of the US, who permitted looting of treasures in the early days of the occupation?  A total of 15,000 invaluable Mesopotamian artefacts disappeared from the national museum, as Haifa Zangana pointed out recently. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/feb/27/destruction-iraq-ancient-artefacts-war-crime-islamic-state

The US also used ancient historic archaeological sites as military bases, such as Ur, capital of the 3,000 old Sumerian civilisation, or Babylon where 300,000 square metres of the site were flattened - including 2,600 year old paving stones, by US tanks.

It is worth considering this because what we are told about Isis again and again is that they are uniquely evil. But actually there are recent precedents for many of their crimes from the very forces now ranged against them.

It’s reported that ISIS used chlorine gas in an attack on Iraqi soldiers. International law prohibits this. But in Falluja, the US used banned weapons against civilians whose toxic effects are being reflected in birth defects that could continue for generations to come. A recent survey in the city showed a four-fold increase in all cancers and a twelve-fold increase in childhood cancer in under-14 year olds.

And like all previous conflict in the last 12 years in Iraq, caught between these opposing forces, it is the civilians who are suffering. The country’s Human Rights Commission reported recently that Iraqis under siege by Isis militants in the town of al-Baghdadi are turning to grass and weeds as means of sustenance.

Meanwhile as tens of thousands flee the Isis-controlled city of Tikrit, the US Human Rights Commission has called on Iraqi forces to protect civilians from revenge attacks by pro-government militias. According to Al-Arabiya, “By U.S. Army General Dempsey’s admission, Iran's proxy Shiite militias make the overwhelming majority of the forces fighting ISIS in the Iraqi town of Tikrit. Out of roughly 25,000 fighters, 20,000 of those, said Dempsey, are from militias funded and trained by Iran, thus highlighting Tehran’s rising influence and dominance in neighboring Iraq.”
http://english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2015/03/12/Iran-s-moment-of-victory-in-Tikrit-.html

The Iraqi government has earmarked $60 million to Shiite militias. It’s part of the tribalisation of a country that was once a beacon of anti-colonial nationalism against western imperialist interests.

In Mosul itself  as many as one million people could flee the city if the Iraqi army, backed by US air strikes, seeks to recapture it, aid agencies say. Dozens of homes have had letters left on the doorstep by a shadowy group calling itself the Freemen of Mosul saying "vengeance is coming," and containing threats of retribution.

Serious questions are also being raised about the air strikes intended to destroy Isis forces by the US and its allies. There is evidence of scores of non-combatants killed since the US bombardment began in August. In one particular incident, an estimated 65 civilians, mainly women and children, were bombed in a crowded market, an atrocity scarcely reported in western media.  Just last week, 22 Iraqi soldiers were killed by US aircraft “friendly fire” on the edge of Ramadi.

The UK, Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, France, Belgium, as well as Singapore, Canada and Australia - are active in northern Iraq. Last  week the Brits sent another 60 military personnel. To do what? Last month a House of Commons Select Committee report was absolutely scathing about Coalition aims in Iraq. It declared itself “shocked by the inability or unwillingness of any of the service chiefs to provide a clear, and articulate statement of the UK’s objectives or strategic plan in Iraq. There was a lack of clarity over who owns the policy – and indeed whether or not such a policy exists.”
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/isis-in-iraq-britain-has-no-plan-for-tackling-the-militants-and-no-idea-whos-in-charge-10031274.html

But this confusion is not unique to Britain, US CIA Director said recently, that in Iraq the “good guys and the bad guys” are “tough to sort out.”

A lack of strategy, policy, understanding and leadership - but that won’t stop Britain and the US running their bombing raids - as if all Iraq needed was more bombs.

Over the next few weeks, millions of ordinary people will be talking politics and all over the country, election hustings are being organised. We should go to these meetings and ask: Twelve years on from the invasion of Iraq, when is it going to end? When will you stop the endless war and bombing and western-inflicted misery on the Iraqi people? When will the Iraqi people get justice, some reparations for the damage done to their country, prosecutions of the war criminals who inflicted it, control over their own natural resources, an end to foreign interference, and an end to western military intervention?

Friday, 30 January 2015

Another massacre, same old justification

By: Haifa Zangana

While the US-led alliance continues its airstrikes against the Islamic State group (IS, formerly known as Isis) in Iraq, and while it continues to supply the Iraqi government with weapons and troops in the guise of "advisers" and "trainers", the Iraqi people are struggling to survive the deadly cycle of militias' retaliations.

On Monday 26 January
in the village of Barwana, near the town of Muqdadiya in the Iran-bordering province of Diyala, 72 unarmed men were taken from their homes by militias.

Heads down and bound together, they were led in small groups to a field, forced to kneel, and shot, one by one.
Iraqi troops watched, say survivors. 

Women are among the 35 others that remain missing. After the militia left the village, women and children came out to mourn their dead.

War rhetoric

Those killed were not members of IS, but civilians who had fled to Barwana's relative safety from Sinsil, about 5km to the southwest, where fighting between IS troops and militias believed to be Iranian-sponsored and backed by US-led alliance's airstrikes had broken out.

In a move that brings to mind US military statements after the 2003 invasion whenever a massacre was committed by Washington's troops,
 the Iraqi government now accuse IS forces of carrying out the killings and call for investigations only in rhetoric. Over the years, Iraqi officials have proven themselves to be tenacious implementers of the former occupiers' propaganda.

The Haditha massacre 
was one of the Iraqi government's primary lessons.  

The curriculum went like this: On 19 November, 2005, a squad of US marines went on a five-hour rampage in the Iraqi city of Haditha, in the western Iraqi province of Anbar, killing 24 civilians - including seven women, three children and elderly men - who were shot multiple times at close range while unarmed. 

It was an act of retaliation after a roadside bomb hit their Humvee, killing the driver. The initial US military statement the following day reported that the death of the civilians was a consequence of a roadside bomb and attacks by Iraqi insurgents:
"A US marine and 15 civilians were killed yesterday from the blast of a roadside bomb in Haditha. Immediately following the bombing, gunmen attacked the convoy with small arms fire. Iraqi army soldiers and Marines returned fire, killing eight insurgents and wounding another."


Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich, who led the squad, attempted to justify the killings of unarmed civilians in their homes. "We cleared these houses the way they were supposed to be cleared," he said.

The blueprint

A similar statement followed
 the rape and murder of Abeer Qassim al-Janaby, a 15-year-old girl who was killed by US troops alongside her father, mother, and nine-year-old sister in Mahmudiyah, 20 miles south of Baghdad, on 11 March 2006.

The crime 
was, as usual, ascribed to "Sunni Arab insurgents active in the area", contrary to local eyewitness reports.

Crimes committed by the US-led occupation with impunity have became the blueprint for subsequent Iraqi regimes
: retaliation rather than reconciliation,  sectarianism rather than citizenship, and loyalty to foreign powers rather than to Iraq as a country.

The cumulative injustice all but 
provides local incubators for the growth of IS and any other extremist group.


Civilians in fighting zones are carrying the brunt of collective punishment by a foursome of vicious groups: the Iran-led sectarian militias, the security forces of the nominal government, the US-led airstrikes (2,000 sorties within six months, apparently paid for by Iraqi money), and the Islamic State group itself. 

Hiding in plain sight
On the ground outside the IS controlled territories, the rulers today are a bunch of militias masking their daily killings with clean-shaven faces occupying seats in the parliament in Baghdad's Green Zone. 

There are now at least 30 of these militias, and they are mushrooming fast. Their powers extend to controlling city streets and daily life - including in the capital, Baghdad.

Aside from adopting the massacre rhetoric of the US occupation
the militias are evolving their propaganda techniques. They name their role "jihad" and "protecting the shrines". More recently, they have called themselves "the Islamic resistance". Huge black shrouds and four-storey banners around Baghdad proclaim their presence.  
These religious brand names are intended to cover up their daily atrocities and let these militia enjoy the same impunity the US Marines had during the occupation, long before the emergence of IS. Fighting IS, in fact, has provided Iran-led militias with the pretext to carry on their sectarian killings in the areas surrounding the capital and in the Diyala province - through which runs the main road from Iran to Baghdad.

And they are doing all this in the open while benefiting from internationally implicit support or international silence.
 


The reality is, together with slicing up of "disputed areas" by the Kurdish Peshmerga, those militias are serving a strategic function - to change the demographic make-up of Iraq, while coupling collective humiliation with intimidation and terror. 
The Iraqi government's sectarian war rhetoric contributes to the ever-increasing power of the militias - and the US-led international support, while it continues its sectarian policy and human rights violations under the guise of anti-terrorism, will only lead to more bloodshed. 

http://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/comment/4329b70f-6951-41c5-b618-5d6e363c67dc

Monday, 8 December 2014

Iraq - it could take years

Ten weeks after Parliament voted to bomb IS (Islamic State) in northern Iraq, US Secretary of State has admitted that it could take years for them to be defeated. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/03/us-isis-iran-islamic-state Since Parliament’s vote in September, other European countries have lined up to take part in the campaign - but it remains uncertain whether these actions will materially alter the balance of forces on the ground.

The murderous nature of IS is not in question. Three months ago they kidnapped hundreds of women from the Yazidi sect and subjected them to physical and sexual abuse, slavery and forced marriage. http://www.niqash.org/articles/?id=3575
 In Iraq, there are reports of former election candidates being hunted down and publicly executed in areas now under their control.
http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/isis-terror/isis-militants-hunt-down-publicly-execute-former-election-candidates-n257616  In Syria, children are being recruited, given religious training and sent off to fight. http://news.yahoo.com/islamic-state-group-recruits-exploits-children-110950193.html

But serious questions are now being raised about the air strikes intended to destroy their forces by the US and its allies. There is evidence of 100 or more non-combatants killed since the US bombardment began in August. In one particular incident, an estimated 65 civilians, mainly women and children, were bombed in a crowded market, an atrocity scarcely reported in western media. http://ninanews.com/english/News_Details.asp?ar95_VQ=HHEGIH
Yet the Pentagon has no plans to pay compensation for those killed in error - a significant departure from its practice in recent conflicts.

A recent article in Foreign Policy in Focus expresses fears this might play into IS hands. It quoted a terrorism researcher at Human Rights Watch: “The U.S. and its allies began making no-fault payments for civilian casualties in Afghanistan after their failure to acknowledge these tragedies created a backlash and handed a recruiting card to groups like the Taliban. While states have no international legal obligation to compensate for so-called ‘acceptable collateral damage,’ doing so is the right move morally and strategically.” http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/12/03/pentagon-in-denial-about-civilian-casualties-of-u-s-airstrikes-in-iraq-and-syria/?wp_login_redirect=0


The US-led Coalition against IS continues to grow. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE are bombing IS targets in Syria and the Europeans - the UK, Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, France, Belgium, as well as Canada and Australia - are active in northern Iraq. In a move that could well backfire politically, Iran too has joined the bombardments. Everyone, it seems, wants a piece of the action. Singapore is the latest country to send military personnel. http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/xinhua-news-agency/141202/singapore-sends-personnel-combat-terrorism-iraq-and-syria

Boots on the ground are supplied by the notoriously corrupt Iraqi army. Patrick Cockburn has documented how salaries and  equipment were claimed for some 50,000 “ghost soldiers”. It was this state of affairs that led to the army’s military collapse in Mosul earlier this year, leading to the town’s seizure by IS.
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/12/02/iraqs-ghost-army/

The New York Times confirms this: “The Iraqi military and police forces had been so thoroughly pillaged by their own corrupt leadership that they all but collapsed this spring in the face of the advancing militants of the Islamic State — despite roughly $25 billion worth of American training and equipment over the past 10 years and far more from the Iraqi treasury.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/24/world/middleeast/graft-hobbles-iraqs-military-in-fighting-isis.html


Despite the removal of former prime minister Nouri Al-Malaki whose sectarian policies fuelled the Sunni uprising from which IS extremists have profited, the Iraqi military continues to behave in a sectarian manner, targeting Sunnis indiscriminately. According to a recent New York Times report, when the Euphrates Valley farming town of Jurf al-Sakhar was recaptured from IS, the town's last remaining civilian residents - about 70,000 Sunnis -were driven out of town. The army was helped in its work by the Shia militias that accompanied it.  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/06/world/middleeast/sunnis-fear-permanent-displacement-from-iraqi-town.html?ref=middleeast&_r=0  There have been reports of these militias carrying out the most brutal reprisals. http://online.wsj.com/articles/shiite-militias-win-bloody-battles-in-iraq-show-no-mercy-1417804464

In a classic mission creep, US combat troops are gradually returning to Iraq too. Under the new puppet prime minister Haider al_Abadi, the Pentagon has secured for its forces what was denied by his predecessor: immunity for US soldiers from prosecution for any offence. http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/dec/04/us-troops-in-iraq-will-get-immunity Bush’s discredited war looks like being part of Obama’s legacy too.

In the UK, it’s tempting to be discouraged by the large numbers of MPs who voted to join the bombing of northern Iraq eleven years after British forces invaded. But talking to some of them, it’s clear that they are profoundly ignorant of the situation. They have bought the line that IS are “pure evil” and that other forces in play are well-meaning, including the puppet Iraqi government, that is in fact led by the same Shia party that unleashed a sectarian conflict in Iraq that fuelled the Sunni rebellion that IS have been able to capitalise on. It’s worth trying to explain patiently to some of these MPs - especially those who rebelled against the 2003 invasion - what’s really happening.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre

By  
As journalist Nermeen Al-Mufti observed in 2004, “Fallujah was once called the city of minarets. It once echoed the Euphrates in its beauty and calm. It had plentiful water and lush greenery. It was a summer resort for Iraqis. People went there for leisure, for a swim at the nearby Habbaniya lake, for a kebab meal.”
At that time, Fallujah was a centre of resistance. Fallujah was the symbol of a whole region in defiance of an occupation. That is why Fallujah was destroyed – now 10 years ago. In Fallujah, the largest high-tech army in history applied its fire-power on one of the most densely populated areas in Iraq.
Fallujah was largely treated as a “free-fire zone”. Before ground forces searched houses for “terrorists”, homes were flattened with bulldozers – regardless of the consequences. Fallujah is Guernica, Fallujah is Grozny. Fallujah is the Srebrenica of the USA. But the Fallujah massacre has been kept in silence.
During the US/Coalition-occupation of Fallujah, which started after the Iraq War of 2003, aggressive street patrols, house raids, intimidations, detentions into Abu-Ghraib prison and killings of Fallujah’s citizens provoked resistance against the Coalition. The people of Fallujah were consequently labelled as “insurgents” and “terrorists”. That was a distortion. Essentially, the uprising in Fallujah was a legitimate resistance that struggled against an illegitimate foreign occupation.
In 2004, the US/Coalition army set up a “counterinsurgency operation” in Fallujah to crush the resistance. In reality, the “operation” resembled collective punishment. This was indicated by the “operation’s” designs and outcomes, “Eight weeks of heavy bombardments expelled about two thirds of Fallujah’s 300,000 inhabitants. Many people stranded in “squatters’ camps without basic facilities” and tens of thousands have remained refugees for years to come.”
In early November, Fallujah was sealed off, while males between the age of 15-55 where prevented from leaving the city. The military “cut off the city’s water, power and food supplies”.
In his book Failed States, Noam Chomsky commented as follows, “The plans resembled the preliminary stage of the Srebrenica massacre, though the Serb attackers trucked women and children out of the city instead of bombing them out.”
US/Coalition forces conducted a full-scale military attack. The US/Coalition used heavy weapons and ordnance such as AC-130 gunships with automatic cannons, Cobra gunships firing anti-tank missiles, F-18s, Abrams tanks firing 120mm rounds, Bradley tanks firing 25mm rounds, explosive coils to clear minefields containing 1,800 pounds of explosives, 500 and 2,000 pound bombs, rocket assisted shells with a 55 yard killing range, 155-millimeter artillery shells, howitzer shells, mortar rounds, heavy cannons, and high velocity machine guns.
On 10 November, the German Süddeutsche Zeitung published a report by Reuterswhich cited Lt Col. John Morris stating that US troops would slog through Fallujah “like a fist” (US-Truppen Erreichen Zentrum Falludschas,” Süddeutsche Zeitung, 10 November, p. 1., 2004).
How the military hit through Fallujah can be read from exemplary descriptions in newspaper coverage. In the Independent, Kim Sengupta and Justin Huggler reflected on early operational tactics, “An AC-130 gunship raked the city all night long with cannon fire as heavy explosions from US artillery continued well into the morning. The city was pounded all day with air strikes, artillery and mortar fire. War planes carried out some two dozen sorties against the city, and four 500-pound bombs were dropped over Fallujah before dawn.”  (Battle for Fallujah Rages,” The Independent, 9 November, pp. 1, 4, 2004)
The New York Times’ Dexter Filkins, who was embedded with the US military in Fallujah, depicted the soldiers’ “firing a 200-yard cord containing 1,800 pounds of explosive southward from the berm, toward downtown Fallujah” (Urban Warfare Deals Harsh Challenge to Troops,” New York Times, 9 November, p. 1, 2004). This was a mine clearing-system called Miclic that had firstly been used on D Day to sweep the beaches of the Normandy. The Times’s defence editor Michael Evans commented:
“The Miclic is normally designed for open spaces because it generates tremendous pressure, setting off mines over a large area. […] It is highly effective but also indiscriminate, and not normally considered suitable for an urban environment.” (Deadly Rockets Blast Way Through,” The Times, 10 November, p. 9, 2004)
Robert F. Worth, of the New York Times cited a website journal by NBC journalist Kevin Sites, who was embedded with Marines in Fallujah and who wrote that the military had operated “with liberal rules of engagement”. According to Worth, the writing went “on to quote a marine saying everything to the west of his position in Falluja was ‘weapons free.’ It continues, ‘Weapons free means the marines can shoot whatever they see – it’s all considered hostile.’” (Newsman Who Taped Marine Shooting Captive Keeps Silent,” New York Times, 18 November, p. 15, 2004)
Consequently, and as Jacqui Spinner wrote in the Washington Post, civilians in Fallujah had stated “they had simply been caught up in a sweep for insurgents that unfairly targeted all military-age males” (Fallujans Staying at Mosque Get Grim Task: Grave Digging,” Washington Post, 20 November, p. A 12, 2004).
In fact, there is evidence that US/Coalition forces may have indiscriminately killed civilians. For example, US-American independent journalist Dahr Jamail reported at the time in the New Standard online newspaper, “Men now seeking refuge in the Baghdad area are telling horrific stories of indiscriminate killings by US forces during the peak of fighting last month in the largely annihilated city of Fallujah.”
In an interview with The New Standard, Burhan Fasaâ a, an Iraqi journalist who works for the popular Lebanese satellite TV station, LBC, said he witnessed US crimes up close. Burhan Fasaâ, who was in Fallujah for nine days during the most intense combat, said Americans grew easily frustrated with Iraqis who could not speak English. “Americans did not have interpreters with them,” Fasaâ a said, “so they entered houses and killed people because they didn’t speak English. They entered the house where I was with 26 people, and [they] shot people because [the people] didn’t obey [the soldiers’] orders, even just because the people couldn’t understand a word of English.”
Consider that according to official estimates by The Emergency Working Group which comprised of the UN, the Red Cross/Crescent and various ministries of the Iraqi Interim Government, about 50,000 civilians were expected to hide in Fallujah, a dense city with the size of about 3 x 3,5 kilometers in square. Consequently, the “operation” destroyed about 70% of the city and killed up to an estimate of 6,000people.
In a documentary for the RAI broadcasting channel, Italian Journalists Sigfrido Ranucci and Maurizio Torrealta called this event The Hidden Massacre.
Yet, until today, Fallujah has largely not been described as a massacre in Western intellectual and media culture. Without any legal investigation, the Fallujah massacre has been kept in silence.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Tadhamun in Reading


This link contains video footage of a recent meeting organised by Reading Peace Group in conjunction with Tadhamun (Iraqi Women Solidarity) on the human rights crisis in Iraq.