Saturday, April 19, 2014

Nouri's Iraq: Abu Ghraib, mounting death toll, War Crimes, fleeing Christians

Tuesday, Iraq's notorious prison Abu Ghraib shut its door -- a torture chamber under Saddam Hussein, a torture chamber as run by the US occupation and a torture chamber when Nouri took over it.  Andrew J. Bacevich (Los Angeles Times) writes about the prison's meanings:

Now the prison's closing lays bare the full magnitude of the U.S. failure in Iraq. What moved authorities in Baghdad to act now was their fear that Sunni militants would seize Abu Ghraib. "Liberating" those held there would swell the ranks of the insurgency that is plunging Iraq back into civil war. The partial restabilization attributed to the so-called U.S. surge orchestrated in 2007-08 — subsequently styled as a "victory" — is today almost entirely undone.
The Iraqi government abandoned the prison because Iraq itself is unraveling. Of course, it is Iraqis rather than Americans who must deal with the consequences. Even so, those consequences ought to give pause to advocates of U.S. intervention in places such as Syria or Ukraine. To those who will listen, the lessons of Abu Ghraib are unmistakable.

Another lesson is that war doesn't bring peace.  It certainly brought no peace or security for Iraq's religious minorities.  That includes Iraq's Christian community -- some of which still live in the country but many more who have fled.  Tomorrow many Christians will celebrate Easter (the rebirth, when Jesus Christ rose from the dead).  Deutsche Welle reports that those in Iraq live in fear of being targeted with violence on their holy day.  The outlet also notes:

Before the US invasion of Iraq in March 2003, the country was home to around 1.5 million Christians. Today there are only around 400,000 left, and they are continuing to seek refuge in other countries. Nearly all Christian families in Iraq have at least one relative abroad who is determined to get the rest of their family out of Iraq. Youssef would also like to move. He has applied for an immigration visa to Canada, which so far has been keen to accept educated Christians from Iraq. Youssef is an engineer and believes his chances of moving overseas soon are good.

Iraq Body Count notes 575 violent deaths through Friday.  Today?  National Iraqi News Agency reports police officer Hussein al-Hazzimawi and his two children were kidnapped in Al-Ankur, a Mosul bombing targeted State of Law MP Mudreka Ahmed and claimed the life of 1 of her bodyguards (she was uninjured), an al-Qaem sticky bombing targeted Motahedoon Coalition candidate Ahmed Attia leaving him and his driver injured1 police member was injured in a Sulaymaniyah City shooting, a roadside bombing west of Mosul left 1 Iraqi soldier dead and another injured, an Auwaza roadside bombing killed 2 people, 1 police member was shot dead and another left injured "in Tamouz area west of Mosul," a family traveling in a car was attacked "near the city of Qalaat Suker" with both parents and 3 children being killed in the shooting and two more children being left injured, 2 Doura roadside bombings left 2 people dead and five more injured, 3 Dora bombings left five people injured, a Muqdadiyah roadside bombing left three Iraqi soldiers injured, a Mosul car bombing killed 2 people and left thirteen more people injured, Baghdad Operations Command announced they killed 1 suspect, security forces say they killed 21 suspects to the south of Ramadi, security forces say they killed 1 suspect in Diyala Province,  a "northwest of Baghdad" mortar attack left three civilians injured, and 1 corpse was discovered "northeast of Baquba."  The Belfast Telegraph notes, "Outside of Baghdad, police said a suicide bomber killed five soldiers and wounded eight at a checkpoint in Mishada, some 20 miles north of the capital. Also today, a roadside bomb killed two soldiers on patrol and wounded five people in Tarmiyah, 30 miles north of Baghdad. "

There's more.

Nouri continues killing and wounding civilians in and near Falluja as he targets residential neighborhoods.  NINA reports 1 person died and three more were injured in one bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhoods and  3 civilians were killed and eight left injured in a second shelling.  Fu Peng (Xinhua) reports, "In Anbar province, at least four people were killed and 15 wounded at dawn when Iraqi army pounded the town of Garma near the militant-seized city of Fallujah, some 50 km west of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, a provincial police source said."  Anadolu Agency observes, "Many local Sunni tribes opposed to Iraq's Shiite-dominated government, meanwhile, have continued to voice anger over the operation's mounting civilian death toll."

This week saw a two-day conference in Brussells.  Dahr Jamail was present and reports on it for Truthout.  Excerpt:

"Now is a time for us to close the net on the war criminals," Dirk Adriaensens, a long-time Iraq activist who cofounded the conference, told Truthout. "If we don't do that, the fish will get away. But if this is only a legalistic thing, without the activism, it won't work because people won't know that it is happening."
Adriaensens is aiming to generate one massive lawsuit that condemns former (and current) members of the US and UK governments for war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes against peace for their roles in the Iraq invasion and occupation.
"The conclusions of such a court case would lead to reparations being paid to the state and people of Iraq," added Adriaensens, who is also a member of the executive committee of the Brussels Tribunal. The tribunal is an international network of intellectuals, artists and activists who denounce and organize against the logic of permanent war promoted by the US government that is currently targeting the Middle East. "We're here to condemn the original sin: the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq and how we can bring the perpetrators to court."

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