Iraq: Stop the massacre in Sadr City…

… so says Al-Ghad.

In the weeks following the high profile attack on Basra by the Iraqi army and its high profile failure something of a low-level war has been going on across Iraq much behind the scenes of the mainstream media. Yet now the situation seems to be coming to a head.

Al-Ghad issued a statement giving an urgent warning that an imminent massacre of the people of Sadr City is being planned:

The occupiers have decided to implement the Israeli style ghettos of imprisoning people in concrete walls. When this didn’t solve their problem, they came to the idea of mass slaughter of the whole of Sadr-City, using mass bombing, rockets and heavy artillery against a civil population.

Wafaa’ Al-Natheema condemned the attacks against hospitals in Baghdad:

Today the Shu'la hospital in Karkh district was attacked… Historically, I am unaware of military operations targeting civilian hospitals!!…

Who will evacuate the dead bodies and heal the wounded? I really can not keep silent when today my colleague, the journalist, Yasir Shammri described Sadr City Hospital as the hospital of death whose function is just to keep corpses.

While Ladybird reports rumours of plans to use chemical weapons on Sadr City:

I don’t know the truth behind this story … but there are rumors .. that neighborhoods around Sadr-City are being evacuated.

According to al-Badeel al-iraqi, their sources in Sadr-City sent a message saying that the attacking forces are preparing to hit the city with opiate fentanyl non-lethal gas, the same gas the Russians used to attack the rebels in Moscow theater in 2002.

Whatever can be said about the new security plan in Iraq, it has not come without cost. The new Iraqi army can hardly be called non-sectarian. Zeyad posts a video showing Iraqi Security Forces raiding a small town in Iraq in a scene reminiscent of Saddam's violent quelling of an uprising in 1991. He writes:

A massacre that you will not see on CNN, perpetrated by the US-backed “Iraqi security forces” or, more accurately, Badr/SIIC/ Da'wa gangs in uniform and out of uniform… The soldiers are heard spitting out obscenities at the wounded detainees and even at dead bodies. Others are seen dragging another injured detainee, kicking him violently and cursing him before throwing him on a pile of dead bodies… Those are the “security forces” that our American friends want us to trust and to condemn attacks targeting them.

Raed posts stills from the same video and writes:

The Iraqi police, army, interior ministry forces, and other US backed forces are nothing more than nice titles for militias that happened to be called “governmental”. The Sunnis and Shiites allied with the US get to have their militias treated as “good militias” with governmental titles, but the other Sunnis and Shiites who represent the majority of Iraqis and oppose the occupation are the ones with “bad militias” that are described as terrorists and extremists…

The congress has approved billions of dollars of US-taxpayers money to fund these sectarian militias who are directly responsible of the ethnic and sectarian cleansing that has been taking place in Iraq during the last 5 years.

On a lower level Last of Iraqis has a confrontation with the same kind of soldiers at a checkpoint in Baghdad. He was stopped and nearly arrested. He writes:

During the ordeal many things were running through my head, I was thinking about the previous trouble that I have faced and remembered the comments; that really helped me to be cool, I was thinking about my dead friend; Omar who was killed by the Iraqi army in a situation like mine, he was talking with my other friend on the phone when he reached a checkpoint for the Iraqi army in Harthia neighborhood so he placed the phone aside and my friend could hear everything through the phone…it was so similar to my case but they took him and the next day his dead body was found in a garbage!!!

I know you are bored from the same story being told over and over by me but this is what the ordinary Iraqis go through everyday despite the countless explosions and assassination. That's the army and police that should protect us!! How funny.

These events leaves me with the same questions that Wafaa’ raised:

Aren't these disasters sufficient to move the conscience? What freedom and democracy and what government reform, reconstruction and national unity are those? Will these events move the corrupt political parties to PM Maliki's table? What constitution allows the army to kill people and insults and threatens doctors? Is there any wise man amongst you, deputies and ministers? Where is the Islam of the Islamic parties where is the democracy of the liberal and patriotic parties?

206 comments

  • Tyrone

    War is a mess (or hell as it is often described). I notice this blog focuses on the humanitarian tragedy of it. As long as there is war, there is no getting around it. But to withdraw the US forces and leave the country to the strongest militias and the Al Qaeda butchers is not a viable option (far worse than what the war is inflicting now).

    This war continues, largely for the reasons given by the prior posters on this thread. The US “broke it”, now we must “fix it” (not that Sadam was a picnic). The Iraqi’s must be given space and time to continue to form government and institutions for their society (security provides that space). There can be only one functioning government (no militias) or else one has warlordism as in Somalia (chaos) or no-state/competing states as in Lebanon.

    That people are still hurting (and getting killed) in Iraq is heartwrenching. But the approach being followed (now that the strategy has changed with Patreaus), is the most likely to produce a good long term outcome. The short term will be far far worse without the course currently being followed and long term will be a catastrophe. Thus the Shia militia must be eliminated or folded into the political system (stop battling the elected government and turn in heavy weapons). The choice is totally the militias. If the Iraqi Army and US Army in Sadr city were not being attacked and heavy weapons were turned in to the Iraqi government, there would be no fighting in Sadr city. There would be reconstruction projects instead (which is what will likely be coming soon in the little pockets that get carved out by the walls).

    No established State allows mafioso style militias to run sections of cities or sections of the country. When discovered, the army and/or police are sent in to arrest or kill if necessary the criminals. Finally, with Al Qaeda suppressed and on the run (but not yet defeated by a long shot), there is breathing space to take on the militias.

  • Anti War

    None of this would be happening if the Iranians weren’t financing and arming the locals. $1000 to plant a bomb buys a lot of moonlight workers.

    When Iran wants to stop seeing Iraqis killing Iraqis, this will end. Until then Iran wins Iraq loses and the US military is caught in the middle

    r/Georgi

  • Gary

    It is fortunate for me to read these comments and find that what most of you have said is a very true and factual and an educated way to say and express your feelings of this matter.
    I am a veteran of 5 diffrerent deployments and 9 1/2 years in Special Forces Marines. I have traveled to 6 different Arabic countries and the manner is the same of all to me, except Isreal. When do they become the bearers of there own ill will and cause of matters. Why is it that the Sleeping Giant, AKA Americans, get blamed for the matters at hand, when all we have done is go in after all the world tells us we need to help and now we are the bad guys. Will we be the bad guys when we are forced to help Tibet in there crisis they cant fix?

  • Mike, I agree that a significant part of the troubles the Iraqi people face is due to the meddling of its neighbors. But, unfortunately I cannot see America as a neutral party. In the latest conflict it has shown itself willing to take sides – effectively backing one militia against another. The core of the Iraqi army is made up of a militia that was created and trained by Iran during the Iran-Iraq war in the Eighties. While the core of Sadr’s supporters comes from the poor Iraqis that fought against Iran in that war.

    The Iraqi government was made up of several groups that united in an alliance. Now only a minority group rules the country. In a normal democracy the Iraqi government would have faced a vote of no-confidence and elections called. But this is not a normal democracy. Instead the current government is only existing through American support. As a result it has to fight its opponents on the streets to maintain the semblance of control. America has taken sides in a very bloody way without any understanding of who it is backing. The result? More needless bloodshed. More Iraqis who becoming violently opposed to any American presence in Iraq. And a more unstable region for years to come.

  • Lets not forget that the reason we are there (Iraq) is because we are looking to influence and share the resources not to bring peace or tranquility. Offcourse, we must look good, therefore we seem to want to bring democracy to people who don’t care about it. If we really want democracy for them, then lets allow them to rule themselves and not place our own puppets to rule them. Iraq was much better when we were not there. We have created a mess, because us like other countries use people for their own purposes and goals regardless of the amount of innocent people being killed in both sides of the fence (Ther working Amerinca class citizens and Iraqie) Every nation involved in the fight in Iraq have its own goals and objectives in mind, not peace and freedom for this poor country and its people. So lets not kid ourselves, no one is doing anything good in Iraq or for Iraq.

  • Matt

    light: so you are saying that Iraq was better off before the invasion? However, you don’t take the facts in account. People were being murdered by the hundreds by Saddam’s regime, with no end in sight. US forces have made significant changes to Iraq since the US-backed coalition invasion.

  • Matt

    Also, I agree with Gary. It always seems like America is blamed for EVERYTHING we do. Genocide happening in a country, we go in to stop it, and we get blamed for any violence that occurs.

    Maybe, America should stop helping other countries other then their allies when they need aid. Then lets see what happens as the world falls apart even faster.

  • Jay S.

    A massacre, you say. You say a lot. What’s the matter with the residents of Sadr City. They think bullets will bring what ignorance has bred? Turn the place into melted glass.

    These people will never learn.

  • Jerry Joe

    LOL… next they’ll be say we’re getting ready to use nuclear weapons.

  • Tom

    When one is no longer appreciated, it is time to leave. I will lose no sleep knowing our troops are out of harm’s way, but the fighting continues as shiites take revenge for the sunny domination of them under the previous regime. Let them fight, but let us not fall victim to news stories leading us to feel sorry for a region that only understands the language of violence. We should put forth our best efforts in the civilised world where people understand the concepts of peace and freedom. America should not lose one more life to an ungrateful region…Wall it off and check back in 20 years to see if they have matured!

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