Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Iraq snapshot

Wednesday, April 16, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Nouri's assault on Anbar continues and we take a look at these War Crimes which have taken place since the start of the year, Iraq comes in at the top of a list (for getting away with murder), and much more.

In Iraq today, Nouri continued his streak of War Crimes as he continued his targeting civilians with collective punishment.  NINA notes the shelling of residential neighborhoods in Falluja left 16 civilians dead and nineteen injure. From Ned Parker offers "Iraq: The Road to Chaos" (The New York Review of Books):

In interviews, US officials portrayed the fight in Anbar as a battle between Baghdad and al-Qaeda, and sent hellfire missiles for Maliki to use, regardless of the consequences and of the lack of a clearly defined objective. As my Reuters colleagues and I have documented, in recent weeks Iraqi Special Forces soldiers have bragged of executing suspected militants in Anbar. They describe it as revenge for what ISIS did to them. On Facebook community pages, Iraqi soldiers post pictures of ISIS fighters they have killed, depicting the executions as part of a regional war against Sunni extremists that spans from Iraq to Syria to Lebanon. Despite such boasts, control of the province’s main cities, Fallujah and Ramadi, is now divided among the Iraqi security forces, tribal leaders, ISIS, and other Sunni insurgents. ISIS has even seized a dam near Fallujah and flooded land to prevent the military from approaching its strongholds.

That's important and thank goodness there's a reporter like Ned Parker. But let's go back to the civilian issue.

When is the world going to object?  When are people going to express their outrage?  The US has weaponized Nouri, giving him what he needs to kill civilians.  And he's killing them.

Will anyone speak out?

BRussells Tribunal carried "Iraq - Genocide in Fallujah" by the European Parliament's Struan Stevenson:

The unfolding tragedy in the Iraqi city of Fallujah seems to have slipped off the international radar screen, as the focus of the global community drifts from Syria to Kiev and back again. The humanitarian situation in Fallujah is dire. The sectarian prime minister of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki has surrounded the city with thousands of troops, effectively sealing it off. The Iraqi air force has mounted daily bomb attacks, cutting off electricity and water supplies and destroying several bridges in an effort to prevent food and water from reaching the besieged inhabitants. Last week, they bombed Fallujah General Hospital, killing nearly all of the doctors and nurses and many of the patients and forcing its closure. More than 300,000 people have been made homeless.
Ban Ki Moon and the United Nations Assistance Mission to Iraq (UNAMI) continue to plead with Maliki to provide humanitarian aid to the city and to enter into negotiations that can bring an end to violence in the predominantly Sunni, Al Anbar Province. The sharp response from the aggressively pro-Shia prime minister was there would be "no negotiation with terrorists." In a single sentence he has labeled all of the residents of Iraq's largest province as "terrorists" in order to justify his genocidal campaign.

And, as BRussells Tribunal points out, the European Parliament as a body has called out these attacks on civilians and did so in the European Parliament resolution 27 February 2013 on the situation in Iraq:

Is deeply concerned about the continuing acts of violence perpetrated against the civilian population, vulnerable groups and religious communities; calls on the Iraqi Government and on all political leaders to take the necessary measures to provide security and protection for all people in Iraq, in particular members of vulnerable groups such as women, journalists, young people, fundamental rights activists, trade unionists and religious communities, including Christians; calls on the Iraqi Government to ensure that the security forces comply with the rule of law and international standards;

In January,  Human Rights Watch issued "Iraq: Protect Anbar Residents From Abuses." And that's it for the world's attention.  It's a shame other bodies and government officials can't call out these War Crimes.  The White House not only can't call Nouri out, they can't stop arming him, it's like an addiction with them.

And yet there's no outcry in the US.  Everyone looks the other way and rushes to find some problem -- real or faux -- to pretend they care about.

How many civilians have to die before Nouri's assault is called out?

Maybe people think, "Oh, it's just a few."  It's a number nearly every day.

We're going to through past snapshot's to illustrate.  Please note, there's more than we've covered.  And there's more than the below and our missed coverage.  This is one of the most under-reported series of killings by the press.

From the January 10th snapshot:

And fearful, scared Nouri resorted to collective punishment again today.   Iraqi Spring MC reports Nouri al-Maliki's air force bombed residential areas in Ramadi today, denied humanitarian aid to Falluja, killed a child named Taha Ayoub Aelchortani and left two more injured with his bombings, bombed homes in Falluja, Ramadi's hospital has received 200 dead or wounded from Nouri's bombings and Falluja has received 150 dead or wounded.  Omar al-Jaffal (Al-Monitor) reports:

Meanwhile, the head of the tribal council in Anbar, Abdul Rahman al-Zobaie from Ramadi, told Al-Monitor, “The army ought to stop the indiscriminate shelling of civilian houses.” He noted, “This has killed and injured hundreds of civilians and destroyed a large number of houses. The government of Anbar ought to expedite measures to meet the needs of the affected families.” 
Zobaie said, “Local police forces are deployed at the entrance of the city, and checkpoints have been established in all areas in Fallujah, [and are] working on protecting the governmental institutions with the support of the tribes. There are no members affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham [ISIS] as propagated by some politicians and the government of Anbar.” 
He added, “The government of Fallujah, with all its tribal sheikhs and dignitaries, are demanding that the central government and the armed forces stop the indiscriminate shelling of residential areas and withdraw the armed forces, as the [local] police are the only party responsible for managing the crisis.”

Now for, January 18th:

 Cheng Yang (Xinhua) adds of Falluja, "The city has no electricity for several days as large parts of the electric power grid were destroyed by the bombings, the source added." 

January 19th:

Nouri's military has resumed bombing in Falluja and Nouri's military helicopters resumed bombing of Falluja and Ramadi as Nouri's assault on Anbar continues.   NINA reports, "The city of Fallujah has seen this morning major displacement, not seen since the start of military operations since more than two weeks because of the intensification of indiscriminate shelling by the army forces stationed on the highway outside the city."

January 21st:

The assault on Anbar continues.  Kareem Fahim and Yasir Ghazi (New York Times) report, "Thousands of residents have fled Falluja in recent days, fearing worsening violence after the failure of negotiations between local leaders and jihadist militants to end a standoff that has lasted weeks, leaders from the city said Monday." AFP reports 22,000 families have been forced to flee their homes due to the Anbar operations and they note, "The UN said the actual figure was likely to be higher, as not all those who fled had registered. It said of those who had left, most had found refuge elsewhere in Anbar, but some had gone as far afield as the northern Kurdish region."   UPI adds, "Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is having a tough time trying to dislodge al-Qaida forces who hold much of the western cities of Fallujah and Ramadi because his army doesn't seem to be up to the task, despite emergency shipments of U.S. arms."

NINA reports today:

Security source announced on Tuesday the continuation of the displacement of hundreds of families in several neighborhoods of Fallujah as a result of the shelling of the city by the army.
A security source in Anbar, told / NINA / that hundreds of families fled the city of Fallujah, because of the artillery intense shelling that led to the killing and wounding of many civilians.

And they note that among the Falluja shelling targets today was a school.  Steve Inskeep (NPR's Morning Edition -- link is audio and text) spoke with AFP's Prashant Rao this morning about the violence.

RAO: In terms of how the government is responding though, it varies depending on the area. In Baghdad, they have locked out a lot of areas. They've sort of increased checkpoints and they've sort of tighten those checkpoints. But in Anbar, the response have been a combination of the deploying of U.S.- supplied Hellfire missiles and also clashes in some towns in between Ramadi and Fallujah, where the Iraqi army and Iraqi police, allied tribal fighters are all looking to take back territory that the government lost about three weeks ago.

From January 23rd:

the Iraqi military's shelling of Falluja left 2 civilians dead and ten more injured ("including women and children")

From Janaury 24th:

National Iraqi News Agency reports that the Iraqi military's mortar shelling last night left 4 people dead and 32 more injured "including women and children" and today's military shelling of Falluja left 5 people dead and 14 more injured -- "most of them women and children."   Collective punishment is what Nouri's pursuing.  If you doubt that:  Iraqi Spring MC notes that Nouri's army shelled Falluja General Hospital.

From January 25th:

 Alsumaria quotes medical sources who explain that the residential neighborhoods in Falluja are being targeted and that many citizens are being killed and injured.  It's so bad that even Abu Risha called today for the bombing of Falluja to stop. NINA reports that the military's shelling left three people injured in Ramadi in one incident, another incident of the Iraqi military shelling Ramadi with mortars left 3 civilians dead and five more injured,  the military's shelling on Falluja left 3 civilians dead and eleven more injured and a second military shelling on Fallua left 3 civilians dead and six more injured.

From January 27th:

NINA notes that "hundreds" continue to flee Falluja as military helicopters continue to bomb Falluja and Ramadi which today left 8 civilians dead and thirty-nine more injured.  Dar Addustour reports that multiple cities in Anbar have been placed under curfew.

From January 28th:

Mohammad Sabah (Al Mada) reports that the MPs stressed today in the Iraqi Parliament that there is no "military solution" to Anbar, there is only a "political solution."  They noted that the use of the military had only increased tensions and inflamed the crisis   NINA reports security sources tell them seven civilians were wounded in the military bombing of Falluja today.

From January 30th:

احد الجرحى الذين اصيبوا اليوم بسبب القصف المتعمد من قبل مليشيات المالكي التي تستهدف الاحياء السكنية في ،

That's one of Nouri's victims today --  injured by his forces shelling Falluja.  NINA reports that hospitals have received 141 civilians have been killed in Ramadi and Falluja alone this month with another 509 injured and:  "He added that this can not be considered as final number because there are dead and wounded in areas which could not be moved to the hospital."  Through yesterday, Iraq Body Count counts 1037 violent deaths in Iraq so far this month.  It's doubtful many counts will include the 141 civilians killed by the bombings and shellings from Nouri's forces.  NINA also notes military shelling left 3 civilians dead in Ramadi with eight more injured

From February 7th:

National Iraqi News Agency reports Falluja General Hospital received 5 dead and twenty-injured people as a result of Nouri's shelling of the city (the dead and wounded included children and women),  

From February 10th:

Falluja General Hospital was again shelled (by Iraqi military) and 1 person was killed with fourteen more left injured ("including a doctor and three nurses"),

From February 11th:

shellings left 5 people dead and thirty-one injured in Falluja, a mortar attack on Falluja Educational Hospital left one doctor injured,

From February 12th:

NINA notes Iraqiya MP Leaq Wardi stated, "The continuation of indiscriminate shelling and concentrated, the past few days, on the health institutions, especially the Falluja General Hospital, confirms the existence of a deliberate intention not to resolve the crisis, despite the announcement of continuous initiatives to solve the crisis." [. . .]   military shelling in Falluja left 3 civilians dead and seven more injured,

And let's really emphasize this:

A security source told the reporter of the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA / that"a number of artillery shells of army forces stationed outside the city fell on the building of Fallujah hospital, wounding / 9 / workers, including / 3 / Indian doctors and two nurses from Bangladesh as well as four Iraqi employees. "

These are War Crimes.  You are not allowed to target hospitals.

Alsumaria notes a family of 6 in Falluja are dead from a shelling.

NINA explains:

5 civilians have been killed and ten others injured on Sunday 23, Feb as a result of the bombing of military forces to Fallujah despite the decision to suspend military operations for three days .
A security source told the reporter of the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA / "The army forces stationed outside the city of Fallujah pounded, with heavy artillery and tanks, Fallujah despite the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces' decision yesterday to stop military operations in Fallujah for / 3 / days ."
He added, "The bombing killed five civilians and wounded / 10 / others , including 3 children ."

Military bombing in Falluja today left three civilians injured.  

From February 25th:

NINA reports 5 civilians were left injured by the military's bombing of Falljua's residential neighborhoods of Jubail Nazal and al-Sinaei while the military's bombing of western Falluja left 1 woman dead and three members of her family injured in Albu Alwan Village.

From February 26th:

Nouri's military shelling of Falluja left five family members ("including two children") injured,

From February 28th:

NINA notes Nouri's forces have walled off Falluja with dirt and one of their mortar attacks today -- during the supposed 'truce' and 'cease-fire' -- left two children and two adults injured when the mortars hit their home.

From March 1st:

If the military's shelling of western Falluja (Nassaf Village) today left three civilians injured, there is no cease-fire.
If another Falluja shelling leaves 1 child dead and nine people injured, there's no cease-fire.

From March 2nd:

NINA notes Nouri's military shelled Falluja Sunday evening leaving eight civilians injured,

From March 3rd:

Today, Anadolu Agency reports:

Four Iraqis have been killed in an airstrike that targeted a passenger vehicle in the western city of Fallujah, a tribal source said Monday.
"The aircraft shelled a vehicle carrying ten people in the city," the source told Anadolu Agency."

And in another incident today, NINA notes Nouri's shelling of residential areas in Falluja left ten people injured -- including three children.

From March 5th:

NINA reports the military's bombing of Falluja left 4 civilians ("including a child") dead and seven more injured.  And the military's airstrike in Ramadi left a man and a woman dead and three more in their "civilian car" injured.

From March 6th:

Under the guise of fighting 'terrorism,' Nouri continues to kill Iraqis.  National Iraqi News Agency reports Nouri's military shelled  al-Jughaifi, al-Shuhada and al-Asakari neighborhoods in Falluja leaving 4 civilians dead and twelve more injured (three of the injured were children).  Another round of shelling left 1 civilian dead and twelve more injured.

From March 8th:

That wasn't the only way Nouri celebrated International Women's Day in Iraq.  No, he had his military again shell residential areas in Falluja leading to the death of 1 woman and 1 child with six more people ("including two young girls") being left injured.

From March 9th:

Collective punishment is defined as a War Crime and Nouri excels at War Crimes.  So today, his indiscriminate shelling of Falluja residential neighborhoods left 6 people dead and seventeen injured.

From March 12th:

As his assault on Anbar Province continues, so do Nouri al-Maliki's War Crimes.  The thug and prime minister of Iraq continues to resort to the crime of collective punishment.  Today that means his military shelling of Falluja residential neighborhoods today left 1 child dead, two children injured, one woman injured and one man injured.

From March 14th:

  National Iraqi News Agency notes that the military shelled a residential neighborhood in Rawa killing 1 person and injuring three members "from the same family."  Nouri also ordered bombings in Falluja's residential neighborhoods and 1 adult and 1 child were killed while another child, a woman and five males were left injured.  Civilians are targeted, hunted and killed in Nouri's Iraq.

From March 15th:

  Alsumaria reports the latest numbers from Falluja General Hosipital are that Nouri's shelling of the city has left at least 131 people dead and 752 more injured and that the victims have mainly been children, women and the elderly.  Mu Xuequan (Xinhua) reports 1 "civilian killed and seven others injured" in Falluja as a result of the military bombing residential neighborhoods.

From March 17th:

Moving to violent deaths, Nouri's bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhood today have killed 1 child and 1 woman while leaving five more family members injured and a military bombing in Anbar last night left four civilians injured.

From March 18th:

In addition, Nouri's bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhoods left 1 civilian dead, two adults injured and two children injured.

From March 20th:

 NINA reports the military shelling of residential neighborhoods in Falluja left ten civilians ("including three children") injured. 

Also on March 20th, Betty noted a second shelling:  "15 civilians died and forty more were injured on Thursday in Falluja due to Nouri's mortar attacks and bombings of residential neighborhoods."

From March 21st:

NINA reports that Nouri's bombing of residential neighborhoods in Falluja today left 3 civilians dead and eleven more injured.

From March 22nd:

Nouri continues committing the War Crime of collective punishment and his shelling of residential neighborhoods in Falluja left five civilians injured today.

From March 24th:

Nouri's continued assault on Anbar, specifically his bombing of residential neighborhoods, left 2 women dead and two children injured

From March 25th:

In addition, Nouri's continued assault on Anbar continues.  His shelling of residential neighborhoods in Fallujah today has left 6 civilians dead and ten injured (the injured include two children).

From March 26th:

NINA reports the military's shelling targeting Falluja not only left five people injured but also set afire a power plant -- burning over 50% of the plant.
From March 28th:

Doubt the victims of Nouri's shelling of Falluja residential neighborhoods with have a "Happy Friday!" either.  NINA notes 2 civilians are dead and thirty-nine injured from today's shelling.

From April 1st:

Nouri continues attacking civilians in Falluja. Anadolu Agency reports, "At least eight civilians were killed and 16 others injured in Iraqi army shelling of Fallujah in the western Anbar province, a medical official said."

From April 4th:

NINA notes the military's continued shelling of residential neighborhoods in Falluja -- this happens every day, this bombing -- has left 6 civilians dead and nine more injured.

From April 5th:

Nouri's assault on the civilians of Anbar continues.  NINA noted early Saturday that the military's bombing of Falluja neighborhoods had left 1 civilian dead and nine more injured and then, later in the day, 2 more civilians were killed and six more were injured.

From April 6th:

 NINA reports that a hospital in Falluja has been shelled by the military. The hospital isn't identified.  In the past. Falluja General Hospital and Falluja Teaching Hospital have both been shelled.  Nouri also continued the shelling of Falluja's residential neighborhoods and five civilians were injured.

From April 7th:

Yang Lina (Xinhua) reports the latest outcome of the Iraqi military shelling residential neighborhoods in Anbar:

Separately, artillery and mortar shelling on several neighborhoods in the besieged city of Fallujah left a civilian killed and nine others wounded, a medical source from the city hospital said.
Meanwhile, several mortar rounds landed on the town of Garma near Fallujah, damaging several houses and wounding four civilians, including a child, a local police source said.

From April 8th:

After all, today NINA reports, "23 civilians killed and wounded due to the resumption of indiscriminate shelling by army forces of the residential neighborhoods of Fallujah city today."  Five dead -- including one child -- and eighteen injured.  And when does the world call out Nouri's assault on the civilians of Anbar?  Every day brings news of more people in Falluja killed and wounded by Nouri's bombing of residential neighborhoods.  This is a War Crime.  Sometimes, as over the weekend, it also includes bombing of hospitals in Falluja.  War Crimes as well.  But the same White House that wants to convince you that Putin is 'evil' but they really, really care about human rights?  That same White House is arming Nouri al-Maliki and looking the other way as he terrorizes the people.   Anadolu Agency quotes Falluja General Hospital spokesperson calling today's shelling "the most violent."  Iraqi Spring MC reports that the military is also shelling residential areas in Abu Ghraib's Khudayr Zawbaa Village.

From April 9th:

 NINA reports his bombing of residential neighborhoods in Falluja today killed 7 civilians and left twenty injured.  In an update, Alsumaria notes the tolls increased:  9 dead and twenty-three injured. War Crimes. 

From April 10th:

National Iraqi News Agency reports 5 civilians ("including a child") died from the bombings with fourteen more injured.  Meanwhile, Nouri's ordered the same bombings in Ramadi and NINA reports people are fleeing their homes, being rendered refugees, as a result.

From April 11th:

 Alsumaria reports three children were wounded in the bombing of the residential areas of Falluja and 3 more children were killed.

From April 12th:

 NINA reports 3 civilians were killed and nine ("including two women and a child") were left injured.

From April 13th:

NINA reports Nouri's continued shelling of the residential neighborhoods in Falluja left 5 people dead (including one child) and eighteen people injured.  NINA reports that.

From April 14th:

 In his latest bombing of Falluja residential neighborhoods,  NINA reports, 2 women have been killed and two children badly wounded. These are War Crimes and not only has the US government provided the weapons for Nouri to kill civilians, they're also training and advising on how.  World Tribune reports, "Officials said U.S. advisers were training and mentoring Iraqi SOF units in the war in Anbar. The officials said the advisers were training the Iraqis in urban warfare, counter-insurgency techniques, bomb detection and coordinated helicopter assaults."

From April 15th:

National Iraqi News Agency reports his shelling of Falluja's residential neighborhood have left 7 civilians dead today and seventeen injured.

Does is start to overwhelm?

Do you see how long this has been going on?  These are War Crimes and the White House pretends to give a damn about the Ukraine in yet another pissing match while they're the ones arming Nouri.

I don't want to hear any more crap about Bully Boy Bush from Americans who can't call out the above murders.  The US has had months to get it together enough to respond.  No one in Congress has called it out.  No leading figure of the left has called it out.

In the US, there's not even serious coverage of this issue.

There's been plenty of time.

It's April, it's been going on since January.

Where's the concern?  Where's the dismay?

In the months that these War Crimes have taken place, US talking heads and gas bags have found time to pontificate about Bully Boy Bush this and Dick Cheney that but they haven't had the spine, courage or guts to call out what's going on right now.

I don't give a damn about their electoral choices or  other partisan crap.

And clearly they don't give a damn about humanity or what happens in Iraq.

Iraq matters to them then and now only as a political football.

Today the BRussells Tribunal kicked off their two-day Towards Accountability and Justice for Iraq Commission  Among the notable participants are Dirk Adriaensens, Michael Chossudovsky,  Dahr Jamail, Mike Powers, Haifa Zangana, Sabah Al Mukhtar,  Ross Caputi, Eman Khamas, Lindsey German and Niloufer Bhagwat.   The commission continues its work tomorrow.  Also tomorrow, the Dubai International Peace Convention takes place.

Dubai Internation Peace Convention
17-18-19 April 2014
Speakers at the Conference
Sheikh Mishary Al Afasy -
Dr Zakir naik - Yusuf Estes - Mufti Ismail Menk - Nouman Ali Khan -Tawfique
Chowdhury - Muhammad Salah

In other violence, National Iraqi News Agency reports Baghdad Operations Command announced they killed 4 suspects, a battle in Shura left 2 rebels dead, five homes being built in Khanaqin left two people injured, 1 person was shot dead in Sha'ab, a bombing in Hammam al-Alil left 1 military captain and 1 soldier dead with two more injured, a Sab'a Bour roadside bombing left 2 people dead and nine others injured, a battle at a Ramadi police station left 12 rebels dead, 3 suspects were shot dead by security forces in Tahrir, an attack on a Haouz checkpoint left 4 Sahwa and police dead and six more injured, security forces killed 8 suspects in Babil Province, and an attack on Colonel Salman Mohammed Sheet's car in Mosul left him and his son injured. All Iraq News notes 1 traffic police member was shot dead "north of Mosul city," 2 Ramadi "suicide bombers detonated their car bombs near Ahmed Abu Risha's house," 1 butcher and 1 shop owner were shot dead in Basra, and 2 corpses were discovered dumped "to the north of Salah-il-Din province."  Alsumaria notes that 2 suicide bombers attacked Anbar Operations Command leaving 2 soldiers dead and two more injured as well as three members of the police injured.  Xinhua updates that toll, "The blasts killed five soldiers and three policemen, and wounded seven others, the source said."

Still on violence,  Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) writes, "An Iraqi Justice Ministry official said Wednesday that this week's closure of the infamous Abu Ghraib prison west of Baghdad is temporary and that it will be reopened once the security situation in the surrounding area is stable."

So which is it?  It's temporary or it's until the security is stable -- because those are two different things.

lastly, it's award season all over again.  Monday, the Pulitzers were announced and Jane Arraf won The Quil Lawrence Award.  Iraq has come in first in a poll.  It would be a proud moment for Nouri if the poll were a good thing.

The Committee to Protect Journalist has released its "Impunity Index" and Iraq tops the list:

With 100 journalists murdered in the last decade and 100 percent impunity, Iraq is the worst offender on the Impunity Index, a spot it has held since 2008, when CPJ first compiled the index. Nine new murders in late 2013 amid a resurgence of militant groups broke a two-year quiescence in fatal anti-press violence. Three of the victims, plus two media workers, were killed in a single attack when armed militants bombed and stormed Salaheddin TV station in Tikrit on December 23. Al-Qaeda affiliate Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack, according to news reports accusing it of warring against the Sunni people.
Impunity Index Rating: 3.067 unsolved journalist murders per million inhabitants
Last year: Ranked 1st with a rating of 2.818

For the second year in a row, Nouri's Iraq has come in number one when it comes to getting away with murdering a journalist.