Sunday, May 25, 2003

Iraq:

  1. Why is there anarchy in Iraq?:

    "The US Army came to make war but is now under intense pressure from Washington to end the disorder in Baghdad, part of which can be blamed on the determination of Donald Rumsfeld, the US Secretary of Defence, to use small numbers of troops. According to well-placed British sources, the Americans had two divisions fewer than the number required to protect the city's main installations."


  2. Heavily armed gangs are taking over Iraq, particularly in the south, rendering some neighborhoods so dangerous that it is not safe to enter without armed guards (so Iraq is becoming more like Los Angeles every day).

  3. The Kurdish purging of Arabs from traditional Kurdish areas is starting to cause much suffering amongst the dispossessed Arab population. Sabrir Hassan Ismael, a mother of six, has now been forced to find shelter in Khan Bani Saad prison:

    "Look at me; look at my family. We live in prison. We can't buy food because we don't have money. We have no gas to cook. We can't sleep because it's very hot. There are huge insects that bite us. All night my daughters cry and they can't sleep. I live without any hope. Just look at us."

    Hadeb Hamed Hamed, her tribe's sheikh, said:

    "The Americans promised us food and medicine and freedom. But we have lost our homes, our land, our crops. Now we live in prison with nothing, and they ignore us. It is the allied forces that have done this to us. When we run out of food, I don't know what we will do. If we don't have a solution, we will fight the Americans even if they kill us. It is better than sitting here with nothing and just dying."


  4. The Americans are supposedly attempting to disarm the Iraqis (I wonder what Charlton Heston has to say about this), but are allowing the Kurdish militias to keep their assault rifles and heavy weapons, while disarming Shiite and other militias. This makes the bona fides of the disarmament very suspect. The Americans actually had to disarm members of the militia group of Ahmad Chalabi, the Pentagon's choice to run Iraq, after they engaged in a gun battle in a Baghdad suburb. It appears that whether you get to carry a gun or not has less to do with public safely and more to do with politics.

  5. Dr Hamas Assad Walid of the pediatric ward of the Khadessia Hospital in Thawra City on the edge of Baghdad: "We have been seeing some 1,000 patients a day, and taking in about 60 to 70 - turning away hundreds of children a day." Due to water contamination children now dying from chronic dehydration and gastroenteritis, and the first cases of jaundice and suspected cholera are appearing. As many as 1,000 children arrive at Baghdad Pediatric Hospital every day, more than 700 of them with diarrhea. Children are also being shot each day, and killed or maimed by unexploded munitions.

  6. Iraqi looters are destroying archeological sites all over Iraq. The United States and Britain have an obligation to secure these sites, but are not doing so. The information that is lost in the looting can never be recovered.

  7. General Franks has now admitted that senior Iraqi officers who commanded troops crucial to the defense of key Iraqi cities were bribed not to fight by American special forces. Therefore, at least part of the thesis that Iraq was not won in battle but was purchased has been confirmed.

  8. The United States is holding thousands of Iraqi POW's and other captives at compounds close to Baghdad airport, denying them access to human rights officials, and thus breaching the Geneva Convention. A French cameraman saw an encampment with 'hundreds of men' hooded, with their arms tied behind their backs, and a worker for a non-governmental aid organization said that he saw men in a similar state on a truck. The Americans are under an obligation to treat prisoners of war humanely.


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