Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Iraq: At least 35 dead and 39 injured

Before we get into anything else, who the hell keeps hacking Niqash?

It was hacked last week, it's hacked today.

This is at least the fourth time in the last two years the site has been hacked.

Niqash does actual reporting from Iraq -- posting three or four pieces of journalism each week.  (Usually on Thursday.)  We always try to link to at least one a week.

If it's being hacked for political reasons, there are stories they do that I agree with, there are ones I have no interest in.  But I am so glad that Niqash is out there covering Iraq.

Niqash does not present only one viewpoint.  If someone's hacking it for political reasons, they're really uninformed.  If Niqash is being hacked for non-political reasons?  Shame on you.  Why don't you instead go after one of the many outlets that turned their back on Iraq years ago.  Niqash is doing journalism and they don't deserve this.  You're harming not only that site but also the world's understanding of Iraq.

And the world needs to know what's going on Iraq.

Such as the never ending violence.  National Iraqi News Agency reports 1 suicide car bomber took his own life at a Habbaniyah police station entrance and he was followed by a suicide bomber wearing a belt with both bombings claimed the lives of 3 police officers with five more injured, an Albu Assaf suicide bomber  "blew himseful up at the gate of the police station," 1 "suicide car bomber blew himself up at the entrance of the headquarters of Peshmerga forces in Jabarah county of Khanqin" leaving 3 Peshmerga dead and ten more injured, an Abu Ghraib suicide bomber took his own life at a Baghdad funeral and killed 9 other people with twenty more left injured, an armed attack on a Mosul police station left one police officer and one detainee injured, a Qa'im roadside bombing left 1 Iraqi soldier dead and two more injured, 1 real estate worker was shot dead in Mosul, Hussein Sameer Malalah (Dept of Compensation employee) was shot dead in Mosul and Homam Adnan Ahmed (Dept of Energy employee) was shot dead in Mosul.  Multiple attacks on police stations and assassinations but that's not the focus of the non-Iraqi press.  Check my math but I think that's 35 reported dead and 39 injured (13 of the dead will be noted in a second.)

The foreign press is zooming in on today's corpses.

Duraid Adnan (New York Times) reports, "But on Wednesday, the daily tally of violence took on an air of pinpoint deliberation with the execution-style killings of several groups of civilians, a grim reminder of the worst days of sectarian warfare in the country. While major bombings have become common, the killings reintroduced the prospect of a resurgence in the type of violence that rattled Iraq in 2006 and 2007."  If you're only going to read one English language article on Iraq today, make it Adnan's.  Many others are pursuing the topic -- I have problems with the topic, hold on for that -- but Adnan's article (with assistance from Christine Hauser) is the strongest.  Thought and heavy work went into it, that's obvious.  Others just run with the topic: execution-style killings.

My problem with the narrative?  I don't know that execution-style killings are a reminder of the ethnic cleansing.  I remember, for example, Sabrina Tavernise reporting for the Times during this period about execution-style killings of police recruits.

But dead is dead.  Dead by stabbing, dead by strangulation, dead by gunfire, dead by gunfire inflicted 'execution-style.'  While execution-style would most likely indicate the work of the Shi'ite militia Nouri's backing -- I found it sad that Adnan didn't reference the Times' September reporting on that -- the hallmark wasn't execution-style, not of the 2006 to 2007 period.  The hallmark was the dumping of corpses in the streets.

That was the point of October 3rd's "Corpses in the street and still no election law:"

Today's violence?  National Iraqi News Agency notes that 3 corpses were discovered rotting in the streets of Amiryat al-Falluja.  Again, this is disturbing, these corpses turning up in the streets.  Because?  They were one of the key signatures of the 2006 and 2007 ethnic cleansing that took place in Iraq.

Again, it was the corpses in the streets.

Execution-style killings take place all the time, throughout the ongoing Iraq War.

And it's not just me making that point today.  Salam Faraj (AFP) observes:

At the peak of sectarian fighting, Sunni and Shiite militiamen would regularly carry out tit-for-tat kidnappings and assassinations and leave scores of corpses littering the streets, many of them bound, blindfolded and showing signs of torture.

Sinan Salaheddin (AP) also makes that point today, "Bodies were frequently found dumped during the height of Iraq's sectarian violence in 2006 and 2007, when the country was at the edge of civil war."

I'm going to wind down on this point -- ticking off the many who've e-mailed the public account, I'm sure.  We'll do a link-fest later today or tomorrow.  I don't have time this morning.

But this is what ticks me off about the reporting on Iraq.

And let me say thank you --  due to the upcoming holiday, let's be thankful --  that NYT, AP, AFP and CNN continue to report on Iraq.

But this is what ticks me off.

When the violence was building, we were pointing it out here.  It took record levels for the press to finally note that violence was on the increase in Iraq.

And with the corpses?  By the start of October, the pattern of corpses being tossed in the street was evident.  It was a characteristic of the ethnic cleansing period.  It was returning.  And it's not noticed, it's not pointed out, by the press until today with a spectacular event -- 5 corpses dumped in Baghdad today and 8 in Arab Jabour.

Tracy Chapman once sang, "The police always come late, if they come at all" ("Behind The Wall," written by Tracy, appears first on her self-titled debut album).  Maybe she should have added "the press" to that?

ADDED: The following community and non-community sites updated last night and today:

  • The e-mail address for this site is