Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Iraq: the refugee crisis, the health crisis and more

Alsumaria reports that the governor of Babylon Province, Sadiq Madloul al-Slutani, is calling for humanitarian aid and noting that the province is currently hosting over 60,000 refugees -- mainly from Mosul and Anbar Province.  This number may increase if Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi sticks to the promise that All Iraq News reported on Saturday, he intends to up "the campaigns to liberate the ISIL held-cities" over "the next days."

Meanwhile Alsumaria's posted video -- from Arabic social media -- of an assault of a doctor in a Baghdad hospital.

The British Red Cross Tweeted an overview of Iraq's healthcare system.

  • The healthcare has been on a downslide for years, doctors and nurses began fleeing in the early stages of the Iraq War in the period known as "the brain drain."

    The only 'addressing' of the problem has been periodic efforts to import nurses from other countries.

    Near the end of his second term, the final year, Nouri began making noises about investing in programs to allow the vast unemployed in Iraq to pursue nursing degrees.

    That should have been implemented and should have been implemented years ago.

    Instead of focusing on that, Iraqi leaders focus on what?

    Dar Addustour notes that one-time US government beloved Ahmed Chalabi has taken to his Facebook page to announce there are irregularities in the 2014 voting.  He wants an investigation and is charging fraud.

    Tom Vanden Brook (USA Today) reports that the offensive counterinsurgency program (war on a native people) that has dominated the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War has taken a hit and that the one using social scientists (who abuse their own field of study and the ethics involved) has ended:

     The initiative, known as the Human Terrain System, had been plagued by fraud and racial and sexual harassment, a USA TODAY investigation found.
    HTS, which spent at least $726 million from 2007 to 2014 in Iraq and Afghanistan, was killed last fall, Gregory Mueller, an Army spokesman, said in an email. Commanders in Afghanistan, where the U.S. combat mission ended last year, no longer had a need for the advice of civilian anthropologists.

    Somewhere Monty McFate is crying and, no doubt, George Packer is sobbing as well.

    If you're late to the story, see "When Dumb Ass Met Dumb Ass" from December 20, 2006 when we first began noting this unethical program.

    Meanwhile Samira Shackle (New Statesman) weighs in on the coverage of rape in Syria and Iraq:

    A group of scholars argued last year in the Washington Post that the coverage risks being counterproductive: “To scholars of sexual violence, these media narratives look typical in three related ways: They are selective and sensationalist; they obscure deeper understandings about patterns of wartime sexual violence; and they are laden with false assumptions about the causes of conflict rape.”
    The violence against Yazidi women is unarguably horrific, an exceptionally extreme example of sexual violence. But this is not the whole story. As in any war, the “rape crisis” is complicated: it is not perpetrated by any one group. In Syria, regime forces have been using rape as a weapon of war since the conflict began in 2011. Islamist groups and rebels have also been responsible for violations. Women displaced by conflict, often left widowed or without a male guardian, face exploitation and abuse at refugee camps or in host countries.

    Mandana Hendessi, the regional director for the Middle East for the NGO, Women for Women International, objects to the way that women have often been portrayed as victims. “With the Yazidi women, to some degree, I felt that their experiences were sensationalised,” she says. “In none of those articles have I read anything about how they resisted. There’s no mention of women trying to take things in their control. The very fact they ran away the moment they had the opportunity – that shows incredible resilience. Some self-harmed with corrosive substances on their faces to protect themselves from the men, and some shaved their eyebrows and eyelashes. But the way it has been portrayed in the media, it looks like these women had no power. Stripping them of agency removes their dignity.”

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