Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Iraqi Christians

Throughout the Iraq War minority populations have been targeted in the 'new' Iraq. The targeting comes in waves and the press attention in much smaller waves. For Iraqi Christians, the latest wave of targeting began October 31st with the attack on Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad. That attack and the ones that followed forced many Iraqi Christians to flee Baghdad and Mosul for northern Iraq or for places outside of Iraq. Aidan Clay (Continental News) observes:

The U.S. government had received numerous cries for help. In July 2010, Christian leaders from Iraq visited Capitol Hill to beg for the preservation of their communities. They came as representatives of a newly established council of churches. Putting aside denominational differences, the council was formed by the common belief that together they could best withstand persecution. At the time of the visit, some estimate that only 400,000 Christians remained in the country, a fraction of the 1.4 million who were there before the war.
"We have no militia. We have no way to defend ourselves. We are sitting ducks. And when we are attacked, no one is prosecuted. How can we survive?" the head of the council told a congressman's office. However, pleas and policy recommendations fell on deaf ears and the Christian council grew void of hope. "Nothing is going to change," one council member told me. "Who is concerned about Christians whent he U.S. is trying to win a war?"

If you're new to the issue, you may be interested in the recent timeline the article provides. Brooke Anderson (Catholic News Service) reports on some of the Christians who fled to the KRG in hopes of safety. Suhail Louis is one such person and now he wonders if he should attempt a life there or attempt to leave Iraq? Another is Rakan Warda who says, "I want to leave Iraq. I'm thinking about my daughter and her future. I'm no longer thinking about my own future."

For those e-mailing articles quoting or revolving around Andrew White, we don't endorse him. He's lied too many times. Most infamously, he was caught (by IPS) telling one story publicly and then another in testimony at a hearing -- testimony he snapped at IPS that he thought was private. Andrew White is one of the biggest problems. He cheerleaded the illegal war and he's done damn little for Iraqi Christians other than set them up to be targted and repeatedly insist that they must stay -- as he jets in and out of the country to this event or his British home or whatever. We don't take Andrew White seriously. That's a long standing policy at this site.

AFP reports that Austria has granted 30 Iraqi Christians asylum. But in Iraq, questions remain about the October 31st assault and fingers are pointing towards Nouri al-Maliki. Ken Timmerman (Assyrian International News Agency) reports:

Four months later, Hana and her husband continue to mourn Ayoub in their home in Karakosh, where they fled from Mosul a year earlier after jihadi Muslims murdered her husband's brother. A portrait of the 27-year old Ayoub sits on a chair in their living room. He had just gone down to Baghdad to visit family.
But the story of what happened to Ayoub Adnan Ayoub is much more than just a sad testimony to the persecution Iraqi Christians are enduring on a daily basis at the hands of jihadi Muslim groups. It is also prima facie evidence of criminal malfeasance on the part of the Iraqi government.
"There was an outside door to the side chapel where those people were hiding," said Yohanna Josef, who made an unsuccessful campaign last year for the Iraqi parliament as an independent. "They could have gone in through that door and rescued many people," he told Newsmax in an interview at the Ayoub home in northern Iraq. "Instead, they burst in through the front doors and shot everyone in sight."
Iraqi bloggers and even some politicians have openly accused the Iraqi government for its handling of the Oct. 31 attack.
They point out that the terrorists brought explosives and weapons to the church in cars with dark-tinted windows and no license plates that are only available to officials with high-level security clearance. This allowed them to get waved through checkpoints without being stopped.
They also point to the slow reaction of the security forces, and the botched handling of the rescue attempt itself. It still remains unclear how many of the victims were killed or wounded by the Iraqi rescue team, who opened fire wildly once they burst into the church.
A senior officer in the Iraqi police, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the subject, said that for the 10 days prior to the attack that the Interior Ministry security forces gradually moved barriers closer to the church, until the terrorists could drive right up in front.

The following community sites -- plus SDS, Jane Fonda, Diane Rehm and NPR -- updated last night and this morning:

Political prisoner Bradley Manning is the topic of Medea Benjamin and Charles Davis' "Under Obama, Better to Commit a War Crime Than Expose One" (Information Clearing House):

Bradley Manning is accused of humiliating the political establishment by revealing the complicity of top U.S. officials in carrying out and covering up war crimes. In return for his act of conscience, the U.S. government is holding him in abusive solitary confinement, humiliating him and trying to keep him behind bars for life.

The lesson is clear, and soldiers take note: You're better off committing a war crime than exposing one.

An Army intelligence officer stationed in Kuwait, the 23-year-old Manning – outraged at what he saw – allegedly leaked tens of thousands of State Department cables to the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks. These cables show U.S. officials covering up everything from U.S. tax dollars funding child rape in Afghanistan to illegal, unauthorized bombings in Yemen. Manning is also accused of leaking video evidence of U.S. pilots gunning down more than a dozen Iraqis in Baghdad, including two journalists for Reuters, and then killing a father of two who stopped to help them. The father's two young children were also severely wounded.

“Well, it's their fault for bringing kids into a battle,” a not-terribly-remorseful U.S. pilot can be heard remarking in the July 2007 “Collateral Murder” video.

None of the soldiers who carried out that war crime have been punished, nor have any of the high-ranking officials who authorized it. Indeed, committing war crimes is more likely to get a solider a medal than a prison term. And authorizing them? Well, that'll get you a book deal and a six-digit speaking fee. Just ask George W. Bush. Or Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld or Condoleezza Rice. Or the inexplicably “respectable” Colin Powell.

In fact, the record indicates Manning would be far better off today – possibly on the lecture circuit rather than in solitary confinement – if he'd killed those men in Baghdad himself.

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends