Welcome to the Net Muslims Forums.
Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Iraq Update

  1. #1
    Member Array
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    10,378

    Default Iraq Update

    Blasts In Baghdad Show Terrorists' Inherent Animosity Toward Islam

    Iran has censured terrorist bombings in two busy districts in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, saying the "criminal move" clearly indicated the inherent enmity of terrorists toward Islam and Muslims.

    May 30, 2017

    Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi on Tuesday expressed his sympathy with the Iraqi government and nation as well as the bereaved families of the victims of the terrorist blasts, which killed at least 27 people and wounded more than 115 in Baghdad.

    In the deadliest of the two attacks, a terrorist detonated an explosives-rigged vehicle at a popular ice cream shop at around midnight (2100 GMT Monday), killing at least 16 people and wounding 75.

    The Daesh Takfiri terrorist group claimed responsibility for the bombing, with its affiliated Amaq outlet saying a bomber had targeted a "gathering of Shias."

    The Iranian spokesperson said the criminal act in the holy month of Ramadan was a clear indication of Takfiri terrorists' inherent enmity toward true Islam and Muslims.

    It was also the latest futile attempt by terrorists to make up for their defeats in Iraq, he added.

    Qassemi emphasized that the final victory against terrorism in Iraq was imminent and expressed hope that Iraq would be completely cleansed of Takfiri terrorists soon given the recent achievements by the Iraqi popular forces in the northern city of Mosul.

    In a statement on Saturday, the Iraqi military announced the beginning of an offensive to retake the last enclave controlled by Daesh in Mosul as the Takfiri terrorist group is being dealt final blows in the Arab country.

    The statement was released one day after the air force dropped leaflets urging residents in Mosul's Old City center to flee through safe corridors.

    http://presstv.com/Detail/2017/05/30...osul-terrorist

  2. #2
    Member Array
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    10,378

    Default Iraq Update

    Mosul's bloodbath: 'We killed everyone - IS, men, women, children'

    26 July 2017

    Iraqi soldiers receive brutal, final order in last days of battle with IS: kill anything that moves. Results can be found crushed in the rubble

    MOSUL, Iraq - The Iraqi soldier looks out from his tiny three-walled room across a wasteland of rubble that crumbles steeply down to the banks of the Tigris River, and contemplates the last days of the savage fight against the Islamic State (IS) group.

    "We killed them all," he says quietly. "Daesh, men, women and children. We killed everyone."

    What remains of this part of Mosul's Old City, where IS militants made their last stand, and what lies beneath betray the horrific final days of the battle.

    Hundreds of corpses lie half-buried in the broken masonry and rubble that was once a bustling, historic quarter. The stench of decaying flesh, which comes fast in the 50C summer heat, overwhelms the senses.

    Feet are the most distinguishable remains; there are many poking from the rubble.

    That final killing spree has left its mark, and it is one some appear keen to cover over.

    Over the last week, armoured bulldozers have trundled back and forth over the crumpled houses, grinding uncounted corpses into the rubble.

    But the dead refuse to go away. Rotting body parts glow a reddish-brown amid the pale grey of the undulating heatscape of masonry, dust and broken buildings.

    "There are many civilians among the bodies,"
    an Iraqi army major tells MEE. "After liberation was announced, the order was given to kill anything or anyone that moved."

    Speaking on condition of anonymity, the major says the orders were wrong, but the military had to follow them.

    "It was not the right thing to do,"
    he says. "Most of the Daesh fighters surrendered. They gave themselves up, and we just killed them."

    'We make very few arrests'

    The major scoffs at claims made by some Iraqi soldiers that the jails in Baghdad were already too full to take any more IS prisoners.

    "It's not true, we have plenty of prisons, but now we are not treating the prisoners like we did before," he says. "Earlier in this war, we arrested a lot of Daesh and brought them to the intelligence services. But now, we make very few arrests."

    On Monday, several journalists witnessed an IS captive being dragged through the ruined streets of the Old City by special forces soldiers.

    The man was bound and had a rope fastened around his neck. The journalists had their memory cards confiscated by soldiers and were ordered to leave.

    "There is no law here now," the major says. "Every day, I see that we are doing the same thing as Daesh. People went down to the river to get water because they were dying of thirst and we killed them."

    Corpses line the western banks of the Tigris. Killed in air strikes, fighting and executions, or having died of hunger or thirst, some have washed ashore while others float in the blue waters. Some of the bodies are small. They were children.

    Footage released on social media on 17 July shows Iraqi helicopters carrying out what are believed to have been some of the last air strikes of the nine-month-long battle for Mosul.

    To a soundtrack of cheerful, victorious music, the helicopters target desperate people attempting to escape the Old City by swimming across the wide river.

    Nearby, soldiers pose for victory photos before an Iraqi flag, the pole planted atop a pile of rubble and body parts.

    They have become inured to the landscape of death over which they move. The brutality of this long conflict and the barbarity of their enemy have taken their toll on the Iraqi armed forces. There is little humanity left.

    Soldiers - most with scarves wrapped around their faces to fend off the overpowering stench of death - pick through the rubble and corpses, looking for modest spoils of war. Burned and broken pieces of AK47s, empty magazines, a few tins of ammunition.

    Late last week, Iraqi forces were still being attacked by occasional IS militants emerging from the rubble or collapsed buildings to shoot at soldiers or hurl grenades.

    On Thursday, a soldier approached what he thought was an IS corpse. The militant was pretending to be dead and shot the soldier at close range with a pistol.

    There were still people alive under the rubble on Monday, when four IS members - two foreign fighters and two Iraqis - were found hiding. All four were shot, according to an Iraqi soldier stationed there.

    These are likely to be among what soldiers believe are comparatively few survivors, some of whom are still managing to target Iraqi forces from underground hide-outs.

    Last Thursday, Iraqi army soldier Haidar said eight tunnels with people inside had been identified by the military, mainly from interviews with women and children who had escaped.

    "In our section, there are three. One tunnel has six Iraqi Daesh fighters, in another there are 30, including nine women, and in the third, we do not know the exact number but people coming out tell us there are a lot," he says.

    It is not known what became of any of those people - but very few civilians have emerged alive from the ruins since Thursday.

    Supplies of food and drinking water are either scarce or non-existent below ground.

    The last civilians to emerge from the rubble resembled concentration-camp victims, many reporting they had not eaten for a fortnight. Some were near death.

    Last Wednesday, a starving Yazidi boy, 11, wept in a field hospital where he was treated for extreme dehydration and malnutrition as he described watching four other children die of thirst.

    IS abducted the boy and his 13-year-old sister, who he had not seen for the preceding 30 days, from their home town in Iraq's Sinjar mountains in 2014.

    IS massacred thousands of Yazidis - whose ancient faith they decry as devil-worship - and took thousands more women and children into captivity.

    "We will give them nothing," Haider said on Thursday. "Yesterday, one of the soldiers relented and bent down to hand a bottle of water into a hole where he thought civilians were trapped and an IS fighter seized the gun from his shoulder. It was an M4 (assault rifle)."

    Near the river, bulldozer driver Hussein said that his job was to manoeuvre over the rubble, filling in any suspicious entrance holes to block possible IS activity.

    "I fill the holes with rubble so the Daesh can't come out again," he says, adding that he was not sure whether he was burying people alive.

    "Some of the tunnels stretch a long way and maybe they can get out some other place. But my job is to make sure they can't come out of these holes again."

    Death is everywhere

    Even in areas of the Old City that were liberated weeks ago, death still lingers.

    Near the remains of the destroyed al-Nuri mosque, the blackened disembodied head of a female IS adherent who blew herself up among fleeing women and children lies beside a crater.

    In the dust nearby is a hairbrush, a fashionable handbag, colourful clothing - small things with which people had hoped to escape - and a woman's leg.

    A cat steals across a ruined street with a piece of fresh meat hanging from its jaws. It is inevitably human - the only flesh left anywhere in the Old City is that of dead people.

    New corpses still appear at different locations across the Old City. Some have clearly been executed, shot in the head at close range.

    Many still have ropes trailing from tied hands and feet, indicating that either while dead or alive, they were dragged through the deserted streets. Many have been set on fire to curb the smell of decomposition.

    Iraqi forces proudly claim to have killed at least 2,000 IS militants in the last stages of the Old City battle. Many of these were foreign fighters.

    No one has offered a figure for the dead civilians - the women and children who could not escape.

    The way the bulldozers have churned over the rubble and corpses and then driven back and forth over the terrain means that the real loss of life in the final bloodbath of the Mosul conflict will never be known.

    The once-elegant historic Old City of Mosul is now an expansive graveyard - a crumbled flattened monument to one of the most merciless conflicts of the still young 21st century.

    http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/mo...ren-1721780413

  3. #3
    Member Array
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    10,378

    Default

    The massacre of Mosul: 40,000 feared dead in battle to take back city from Isis as scale of civilian casualties revealed

    Exclusive: Many bodies are still buried under the rubble and the level of human suffering is 'immense', a top Kurdish official reading from latest intelligence reports tells Patrick Cockburn in the last of his special series on the last days of the caliphate


    More than 40,000 civilians were killed in the devastating battle to retake Mosul from Isis, according to intelligence reports revealed exclusively to The Independent - a death toll far higher than previous estimates.

    Residents of the besieged city were killed by Iraqi ground forces attempting to force out militants, as well as by air strikes and Isis fighters, according to Kurdish intelligence services.

    Hoshyar Zebari, until recently a senior minister in Baghdad, told The Independent that many bodies "are still buried under the rubble". "The level of human suffering is immense," he said.

    "Kurdish intelligence believes that over 40,000 civilians have been killed as a result of massive firepower used against them, especially by the Federal Police, air strikes and Isis itself," Mr Zebari added.

    Mr Zebari, a native of Mosul and top Kurdish official who has served as the Iraqi Finance Minister and prior to that Foreign Minister, emphasised in an exclusive interview that the unrelenting artillery bombardment by units of the Federal Police, in practice a heavily armed military unit, had caused immense destruction and loss of life in west Mosul.

    The figure given by Mr Zebari for the number of civilians killed in the nine-month siege is far higher than those previously reported, but the intelligence service of the Kurdistan Regional Government has a reputation for being extremely accurate and well-informed. Isis prevented any monitoring of casualties while outside groups have largely focused on air strikes rather than artillery and rocket fire as a cause of civilian deaths. Airwars, one such monitoring group, estimated that attacks may have killed 5,805 non-military personnel in the city between 19 February and 19 June 2017.

    Mr Zebari accuses the government in Baghdad, of which he was until recently a member, of not doing enough to relieve the suffering. “Sometimes you might think the government is indifferent to what has happened,” he said. He doubts if Christians, Yazidis, Kurds and other minorities, who have lived in and around Mosul for centuries, will be able to reconcile with the Sunni Arab majority whom they blame for killing and raping them. He says some form of federal solution for future governance would be best.

    Reading from Kurdish intelligence reports, Mr Zebari says that a high level of corruption among the Iraqi military forces occupying Mosul is undermining security measures to suppress Isis in the aftermath of its defeat. He says that suspect individuals are able to pass through military checkpoints by paying $1,000 (£770) and can bring a vehicle by paying $1,500. He says corruption of this type is particularly rife in the 16th and 9th Iraqi Army Divisions and the Tribal Volunteers (Hashd al-Ashairi), drawn in part from the Shabak minority in the Nineveh Plain.

    The ability of Isis militants to remain free or be released from detention by paying bribes has led to a change in attitude among people in Mosul whom Mr Zebari says “were previously willing to give information about Isis members to the Iraqi security forces.” They are now wary of doing so, because they see members of Isis, whom they had identified and who had been arrested, returning to the streets capable of exacting revenge on those who informed against them. Several anti-Isis people in Mosul have confirmed to The Independent that this is indeed the case and they are frightened of these returnees and Isis “sleeper cells” that continue to exist.

    Civilians in Mosul say they do not fault the behaviour towards them of combat units that have borne the brunt of the fighting, such as the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS), but they are concerned about what to expect from less well-disciplined troops. A belief that Isis fighters and officials detained in Mosul are later able to bribe their way free explains why soldiers, most of whom are not complicit in bribery networks, have summarily executed Isis prisoners, sometimes by throwing them off high buildings.

    Corruption by the occupying military forces takes different forms, according to Kurdish intelligence information cited by Mr Zebari. Some people are “being charged $100 for removing a body from the rubble and others $500 to reoccupy their house”, where it is still standing. Iraqi army and militia units have always been notorious for exacting fees and protection money from civilians, with trucks moving goods on the roads being a particularly profitable target when they pass through military checkpoints.

    Much of the blame for the calamitous level of destruction in west Mosul has been put on air strikes, but it is evident at ground level that a lot of the damage was caused by artillery shells and rockets. This is confirmed by an Amnesty International report issued last week titled At Any Cost: The Civilian Catastrophe in West Mosul, which points to a greater and more indiscriminate use of its firepower by pro-government forces in the final stages of the attack on east Mosul, starting in January 2017 and continuing over the following six months during the assault on west Mosul. It says that Iraqi government and US-led coalition forces “relied heavily upon explosive weapons with wide area effects such as IRAMs (Improvised Rocket Assisted Munitions). With their crude targeting abilities, these weapons wreaked havoc in densely populated west Mosul, where large groups of civilians were trapped in homes or makeshift shelters.” The UN estimated that Mosul had 1.2 million inhabitants at the start of the siege.

    In addition, Isis snipers killed great numbers of civilians trying to escape whose departure would have robbed Isis of its “human shields”, though in the event their presence shielded very little. Mr Zebari said that intelligence had even intercepted messages “from Isis fighters to their commanders saying they were tired of killing civilians”.

    Mr Zebari says that he is disappointed by the lack of Iraqi government plans to reconstruct Mosul. As Finance Minister in Baghdad until late last year, he had made provision for $500 million in the budget for rebuilding Mosul. He says: “I wanted $500 million upfront to encourage other donors, but now the government has withdrawn from the fund and used the money elsewhere. This was not an encouraging sign.”

    Even if there is reconstruction, Mr Zebari, who grew up in Mosul and still has a house in the east of the city (though long confiscated, first by Saddam Hussein and later by Isis), laments that “the soul of Mosul has gone and its iconic buildings are destroyed.” He says he cannot imagine Mosul without the Nabi Yunus mosque (the tomb of Jonah) that Isis blew up as a heretical shrine in 2014 and the al-Nuri mosque, with its 12th century leaning minaret, which Isis destroyed in the last stage of the battle to prevent its capture by government forces. In addition, there is “an unimaginable level of human suffering with more than one million people displaced.”

    He agrees that the government has won a big victory by destroying the Islamic State as a state structure controlling extensive territory. But he warns that Isis has shown that it is capable of “adapting themselves to new realities.” He says that the arms and heavy equipment from three Iraqi army divisions that Isis captured when it seized Mosul in June 2014 has never been fully accounted for. He says that there have been reports that much of it was hidden by Isis in tunnels, gorges and valleys in the arid wastelands of western Iraq and eastern Syria. “This is where they came from when they started their attacks,” he says.

    Asked if the self-declared Caliph Abu Baqr al-Baghdadi is alive or dead, Mr Zebari said he did not know. But he added that, if Baghdadi was dead, it was strange that no new Caliph or Isis leader had been declared since part of the ideology of such movements is that they do not rely on a single human being. Successors had been quickly announced when Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, was killed in a US air strike in 2006 and Osama bin Laden was shot dead by US special forces in Pakistan in 2011. Moreover, he says that there “has been no sign of a change in the Isis command and control structure.”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...-a7848781.html

  4. #4
    Member Array
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    10,378

    Default

    War crimes we endorse: pursuing IS with impunity has created monsters

    By Moazzam Begg and Karen Jayes

    Introduction: The use of chemical weapons by coalition forces, an illegal invasion, torture at Abu Ghraib and other black sites, beheadings by Iraqi forces and impunity for war crimes ushered in by the pronouncements of the US President are major contributing factors to the insanity that is Iraq today. In order to understand its present, and diffuse a potentially catastrophic future, it is necessary to examine the recent past and, crucially, learn from it.


    War crimes we endorse: pursuing IS with impunity has created monsters

    The images were too disturbing for even the tabloids to publish: a video of an Iraqi soldier dancing with two severed heads, allegedly those of “jihadists”, on a Mosul street. He is smiling broadly as his legs move to the beat of music in the background.

    In another brazen example of impunity, another Iraqi army soldier boasts of his beheadings, recording his actions and disseminating the videos on social media. He has decapitated over 50 victims, he says. Falah Aziz and his comrades beat bound and gagged men with batons, suffocate them to death with their bare hands and slaughter their captives with a knife.

    Other videos released by Iraqi army and militia operatives depict beatings, systematic torture and sexual violence. All this debauchery is justified in the name of destroying ISIS and “fighting terror”, a repetitive and oft-repeated US trope. The sheer brutality depicted in these videos and pictures is unbearable to watch. So most people don’t.

    On the other hand, perpetrators of these war crimes feel confident enough to film and disseminate their grisly recordings because they’re fighting an equally soulless opponent against whom America and its allies have declared endless war.

    One journalist who had been embedded with Iraqi forces last year had to escape with his life after he went public with horrors he witnessed. Ali Arkady was brought in to photograph and record the apparent Sunni and Shia cooperation in the fight against IS. As commanders began to trust him, however, he became privy to extreme torture, sexual abuse and murders committed by the Iraqi Army’s elite forces – the US trained heroes who had come to liberate the oppressed. Arkady now lives in hiding after receiving death threats.

    This ‘War on Terror’ paradigm has become familiar to us. The barbarity of (IS) has been eclipsed only by that of US coalition-backed troops. In an attempt to reclaim the moral high ground, the UN calls for Iraq to investigate, but stops short of holding its US sponsors accountable.

    The pressure to “kill the terrorists” continues in a toxic global climate. On the ground in Iraq, a living hell materialises where a man’s worth is measured by the brutality by which he can kill, and the number of people that are his victims or who are silent witnesses to it. From the lessons of history, we know that this killing becomes indiscriminate.

    But this depraved situation did not emerge out of a vacuum. This kind of violence is taught and learned. To understand and defuse it, it is necessary to examine its recent history.

    Use of chemical weapons supported by US and UK is in Iraq’s history


    The US coalition’s approach to Iraq is beset by hypocrisy. Before the US coalition turned on Saddam Hussein in 1990, British, French and German companies, with the knowledge and support of the United States, supplied Iraq with chemical weapons including mustard gas. The coalition also supported him in his war against revolutionary Iran between 1980 and 1988. During this war over one million people were killed.

    Britain and US have been bombing Iraq non-stop since 1991 – this makes it a 26-year-old transcontinental bombing campaign, which is the longest in human history. Between 1990 – 1991, during what is commonly referred to as the ‘Persian Gulf War’ coalition forces dropped bombs and fired artillery shells containing depleted uranium on Iraq which some have called the “most toxic war in history.”

    This has resulted in congenital birth defects and the development of neuroblastoma in children. In some areas, almost half the population will develop cancer. A WHO report in 2013 stated birth defects had risen to a “crisis” right across Iraqi society as a result of the use of uranium by Britain and the US, not only during 1990-1991, but also more recently.

    The US and Britain bombed Iraq, then prevented crucial medical supplies from reaching the country through 13 years of sanctions and embargo which at a conservative estimate by UNICEF claimed the lives of 500,000 children. US Secretary of State Madelaine Albright blithely said when questioned about this mass murder at the time, that the price was “worth it”, betraying a startling disregard for the sanctity of human life.

    An illegal ground invasion by US and UK in 2003

    It is ironic then given the history of their support and supply of chemical weapons in Iraq that Bush and Blair claimed their countries needed to embark on a ground invasion of Iraq in 2003 to destroy “weapons of mass destruction”.

    This we all now know was a lie, since in 2004, 1,625 US and UN inspectors released a report after searching nearly 1,700 sites in Iraq at a cost of over $1bn which found no evidence of such weapons as they had been destroyed.

    The same could be said for the alleged links between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda, announced by Colin Powell in a speech to the UN in 2003 also to justify the US-UK ground invasion, and based on “evidence” gathered from the torture of Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi.

    These links, the CIA later found, did not exist. Instead, Powell managed to mention the name of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi 21 times, gathering the relatively unknown al-Qaeda figure greater prominence in Iraq, which helped lay the groundwork for ISIS.

    The initial invasion of Iraq saw coalition forces fighting both Sunni, Baathist and Shia groups in the name of “bringing freedom to the people of Iraq”. Soon, however, it became clear that the coalition chose sides after igniting sectarian conflict.

    A culture of impunity developed. The active support or tacit approval of Iraqi government or aligned forces saw coalition troops either involve themselves in human rights violations or offer silent approval of Iraqi government or aligned militia’s war crimes, which included kidnap, torture, rape, and extortion. This continued even after the official end of the occupation.

    An atmosphere of torture and killing cultivated by occupation forces

    In the wake of the pre-emptive invasion, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, alarmed at the growing insurgency and frustrated at the lack of intelligence coming out of Iraq, ordered top military officials to “Gitmoise” Iraq.

    Under the auspices of a 17-person “tiger team”, military intelligence officers were placed in charge of prisons in Iraq and interrogations were centralised at Abu Ghraib.

    Abu Ghraib had been the centre of Saddam Hussein’s torture programme. Now the abuses were set to continue, this time under US watch. Inhumane measures such as isolation, abuse by dogs and sexual humiliation became the norm.

    Former US Army Lieutenant General of coalition forces in Iraq Ricardo Sanchez wrote in his memoir: “The civilian leaders at the highest levels of our government … unleashed the hounds of Hell.”

    The world was soon to see the devastating results. In 2004, CBS News published the now well known photographs of prisoners at Abu Ghraib – some were hooded and connected to wires, others were naked and leashed like dogs.

    The scandal, however, was minimised. Despite the orders clearly having come from the top echelons of the Bush administration, only a handful of lower enlisted soldiers were prosecuted.

    It was explained away as an ‘isolated incident’ even though the emergence of a further 2000 images in 2009 (which were blocked by Obama for fear of harming the US mission in Iraq), were evidence that, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, the torture was “essentially official policy. It was widespread at different facilities under different commanders”.

    Over time, further atrocities came to light. US war crimes included the Mukaradeeb wedding massacre in 2004 where 42 civilians were killed and generals refused to apologise, the 2005 Haditha mass executions where US Marines killed 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians.

    Perhaps most shocking was the gang-rape by five American soldiers and the killing of 14-year-old Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi and the murder of her family in 2006 – including her 6 year-old sister at Mahmudiyya. For this, the men responsible received life sentences but the culture of abuse by the US military remained unaddressed, their inhumanity starkly evident. Appealing his conviction one of the perpetrators told the US courts, “I did not think of the Iraqis as humans” after being exposed to the extreme violence of the conflict.

    Three days after this brutal incident, US soldiers raided a house north of the city of Balad. Iraqi troops accused them of deliberately shooting and killing eleven civilians, among them five children and four women, including a 6-month old baby.

    And in 2007, four Blackwater operatives – private military contractors operating in the shady mercenary world that has gone hand-in-hand with US operations in Iraq – opened fire on and killed 14 civilians in Nisour Square. During their trial in 2013, one of the men told how they had seen the conflict through the prism of mainstream media lies, viewing the murder as “payback for 9/11”. No link between Iraqis and 9/11 has ever been proved.

    The actions of British forces have also been called into question. Several cases entered the British legal system where Iraqi civilians had alleged that British soldiers had tortured, beaten and sexually assaulted them between 2003 and 2008. Key amongst these was the case of Baha Mousa, an Iraqi civilian who died after “lack of food and water, heat, exhaustion, fear, previous injuries and the hooding and stress positions [were] used by British troops”.

    The rise of ISIS in the dark vacuum after Fallujah

    US military operations severely affected civilians. During the two sieges of Fallujah in 2003 and 2004, media was accused of drastically under-reporting the US atrocities; at least 6000 Iraqis were killed, and one-third of the city was destroyed.

    Several independent news sites, however, reported how the United States gave the citizens of Fallujah two choices prior to the second siege: leave the city or risk dying as “enemy insurgents”.

    Local journalists and residents told how Americans entered houses and killed people because they couldn’t understand and therefore obey their orders, which were in English. Accounts of people being shot by Americans as they attempted to swim across the Euphrates to escape the siege emerged.

    None of the relief teams from the Iraqi Red Crescent in Baghdad were allowed into Fallujah three weeks after the invasion and food and water stores were cut off or destroyed.

    During the “battle” for Fallujah, the US army used white phosphorous, a chemical that can burn through the flesh, right through to the bone, and which reignites days after release. The actions were justified by a Pentagon spokesperson, chillingly, as a “shake and bake” mission. There are also reports of the use of uranium in Fallujah, resulting in birth defects neural tube, cardiac, and skeletal malformations, and cancer.

    Ironically, as the US and Britain created a lie based on torture evidence linking Saddam to al-Qaeda where there was none, the invasion of Iraq and its occupation by coalition forces, particularly the atrocities in Fallujah, directly led to the rise in popularity of Al Qaeda in Iraq and its eventual transformation into the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI). This state of affairs was openly acknowledged by President Barack Obama in 2015 who admitted that the rise of ISIS was an “unintended consequence” of the US-led invasion.

    Coalition invasion frustrates sectarian divisions, dismembers the state

    Into the nightmare of chaos that was the coalition occupation – which has been termed an “atrocity producing situation” by former US marine Ross Caputi – and through the installing and propping up of sectarian leadership, age-old intra-religious faultlines and divisions were reignited.

    The execution of Saddam Hussein on the day of Eid 2006 was choreographed to further incite Shia-Sunni violence. In records of Saddam Hussien’s last words, a group of individuals are heard chanting “Moqtada! Moqtada!” referring to the Shiite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr. Saddam Hussein is heard to reply (translated): “Moqtada…Moqtada! Do you consider this bravery?” (Moqtada in Arabic is roughly translated as “valour”)

    That same year, US war planes dropped two 500-pound bombs on a house to kill al Zarqawi but reports that came to light in 2006 from witnesses and a member of the Delta team told how he was still alive after the bombing and his head was wrapped in cloth before he was bludgeoned to death.

    US actions in Iraq were characterized by illegality. The killing of innocent civilians was facilitated by the systematic use of “reconnaissance by fire”, which is when soldiers fire into a house first to see if anyone is inside. Former marine Caputi wrote of how US troops stole from dead bodies and mutilated them.

    It was these US soldiers that trained the Iraqi military. The Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Force known as the Golden Division, assisted by Iranian-supported Shiite militias and US military advisors and hailed in the Western media as heroes against ISIS, was consolidated in 2005.

    By the time the US withdrew between 2007 and 2011, the brutality had caught on. Imprisonment, arbitrary detention, torture and execution of prisoners by Iraqi forces followed. Iraq became one of the four top countries for carrying out executions.

    A descent into sectarian barbarism while US and UK rubber stamp abuse

    Abuses continued as ISIS increased its hold on Iraq, and secured major victories, capturing important strongholds like Fallujah in January 2014 and Mosul in June that same year. Between a rock and a hard place, Sunni Iraqi civilians persecuted by Shiites cautiously welcomed ISIS as the lesser of two evils. But ISIS capitalized on the ongoing sectarian divisions since the state had collapsed and been divided along sectarian lines, roughly pitting the Kurds and Shia against the Sunnis.

    When Mosul fell to ISIS, the collapse of the Iraqi Armed Forces gave rise to the Hashad al-Sha’bi (Popular Mobilization Forces). This non-state, sectarian military force, was made of a mesh of Shia militias that enjoyed government support. Abu Izrael, one of their most prominent fighters is hailed as a hero for his crimes, one of them being roasting a prisoner alive on a spit then carving his flesh like a kebab.

    Into this chaos came the US-backed and trained Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Force known as the Golden Division which rose to prominence after the killing of Abu Ayyub al-Masri and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi the leaders of ISI in 2010.

    In 2015, graphic images of members of the Golden Division massacring civilians, torturing and executing prisoners, and displaying severed heads emerged.

    But the impunity continued. In early 2017, the US coalition openly used white phosphorous in highly populated areas of Mosul. Also this year, US President Donald Trump – with no castigation by his British ally Theresa May – declared that “torture works”, officially rubber stamping war crimes on all sides of the conflict.

    The War on Terror frames, facilitates and encourages abuse


    The bombardment of Iraq from the sky has not ceased. Between February 19 and June 19 2017 alone, in what the Western media coined “the battle for Mosul”, coalition strikes reportedly killed 3,706 civilians, according to Airwars, an independent monitoring group in Iraq.

    ISIS also reportedly killed hundreds, perhaps thousands, and Amnesty International accused them of herding civilians into conflict areas to use them as “human shields”. Amnesty, however, accused the Iraqi government forces and the US-led coalition of “failing to adequately adapt their tactics to these challenges – as required by international humanitarian law – with disastrous consequences for civilians”.

    Reading between the lines, it is abundantly clear that the US coalition is fully aware of their own actions and that of their allies but there is little reporting in the mainstream news of the widespread terror and chaos they are unleashing.

    Instead, isolated stories make it to the news. Last week, Linda Wentzel, 16, from Dresden, Germany who joined IS was captured by Iraqi troops who posed with the child, smiling, after they reclaimed Mosul this month. Wentzel is currently being detained by Iraqi forces, known for torture and sexual abuse.

    The impunity with which war crimes are occurring in Iraq is rampant. The ‘War on Terror’ narrative has ensured that the moral compass on the ground is determined by the example of its leading nation, the United States, whose President advocates torture.

    Plainly speaking, this must stop. There must be an immediate cessation of all hostilities and military action against areas with civilian populations and a halt to ethnic cleansing and arbitrary detention of non-combatants. Objective investigations into the multitude of war crimes committed in Iraq needs to take place.

    In the light of the silence by the British media, the Foreign Affairs Select Committee or the Intelligence and Security Committee must investigate Britain’s complicity in the brutality unleashed in the region.

    With networked communications abuzz around the world, we are all witnesses to the ineptitude or unwillingness of governments to act to put a stop to the cycles of violence. We simply cannot offer ignorance as a viable excuse.

    Putting a stop to the violence means seeking accountability for war crimes at the very top of our bastions of power and attempting the seemingly impossible task to restore justice to all the people of Iraq.

    Not learning from the lessons of the recent past and the ongoing open support by our governments for the forces unleashing this horror will by necessity lead to a creation of a threat far greater and more brutal than IS.

    https://cage.ngo/article/war-crimes-...ated-monsters/

  5. #5
    Member Array
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    10,378

    Default

    One Week After Mosul’s “Liberation,” Horror of US Siege Continues to Unfold


    One week after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi proclaimed the “liberation” of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, the scale of destruction wrought during a nine-month, US-backed siege is becoming clearer, even as reports mount of collective punishment being meted out to survivors.

    Abadi presided over a victory parade in Baghdad on Saturday in which elements of the security forces marched past the prime minister and other officials in the Iraqi capital’s heavily fortified Green Zone. It is a measure of the state of the country that the parade was not publicly announced because of security concerns, with the media learning about it only afterwards and the population of the city excluded.

    Evidence of the death toll inflicted upon Mosul’s civilian population during the siege—largely the result of unrelenting US-led air strikes and artillery bombardments carried out against crowded neighborhoods, particularly in western Mosul’s Old City—continues to mount.

    Conservative estimates have put the number of civilians killed at over 7,000. The London-based monitoring group Airwars documented the deaths of 5,805 civilians between February and June of this year. There were undoubtedly many more deaths that went unreported, not to mention those killed in the four months preceding this period, as well of those who died in the intense assault waged on the area of the city during the last three weeks of fighting.

    Officials in Mosul report that civil defense workers have already dug some 2,000 corpses from the rubble created by US 500- and 2,000-pound bombs as well as heavy artillery shelling and strikes by attack helicopters.

    It is clear that neither the Iraqi government nor the Pentagon has any interest in clarifying the scale of carnage unleashed upon the city.

    According to a report published in the Washington Post Saturday, the grim task of recovering the dead from Mosul’s rubble has been relegated to a “25-man civil defense unit with one bulldozer, a forklift truck and a single vehicle to carry the corpses.” The Post reports that the unit has “found hundreds of people suffocated under the ruins of their homes” after they were flattened by US air strikes. Most of the victims are reportedly women and children.

    The head of the civil defense unit, Lt. Col. Rabia Ibrahim Hassan, told the Post that he had asked the government for more equipment and resources, but had received no response.

    While vast resources were expended by the Pentagon on organizing the siege of Mosul and providing the arms and ammunition to lay waste to the city, it is by no means clear that either Washington or Baghdad has any plan to mobilize comparable resources to rebuild it. One Iraqi government official conservatively estimated that the cost of rebuilding Mosul would exceed $50 billion.

    The regime in Baghdad was compelled last May to negotiate a $5.4 billion standby loan with the International Monetary Fund, which demanded sharp austerity measures. The country’s economy contracted 10.3 percent in 2016 as a result of falling oil prices and the destruction wrought by war.

    The scale of civilian casualties, the massive destruction caused by US bombs, missiles and shells, and the reported use by the American military of white phosphorous, a weapon internationally banned for use in populated areas, all point to a US war crime of historic proportions.

    This crime continues, as the survivors of the massacre in Mosul face collective punishment at the hands of US-backed forces. According to the International Organization for Migration, the nine-month siege forced 1,048,044 people to flee their homes. As of last Friday, according to the IOM, fully 825,000 remained displaced by the offensive.

    Return for the majority of these internally displaced war refugees is impossible. Many have no homes to return to as a result of the US air strikes. Most of the city lacks access to water and electricity, food is scarce, and schools and hospitals have been destroyed.

    Meanwhile, the wreckage of the city is littered with unexploded ordnance. It is estimated that at least 10 percent of the high explosives dropped and fired into Mosul by the US-led “coalition” failed to detonate, meaning there are thousands of bombs and shells waiting to go off, on top of the booby traps left behind by ISIS. Experts have warned that it could take a decade to clear the city of explosives.

    Men, women and children who have escaped from the destruction of Mosul have been housed in tent camps, in many cases as virtual prisoners. Women and children suspected of being family members of ISIS fighters killed in the siege are being sent to desolate “rehabilitation camps.”

    As for young men found in and around Mosul, there are increasing reports of summary executions, torture and abuse at the hands of the Iraqi security forces and allied Shia militias. A video posted on the Mosul Eye Twitter account, set up by an independent historian in Mosul who has documented the city’s destruction, shows members of the Iraqi security forces dragging men to the edge of a 30-foot parapet, throwing them off it and then pumping automatic weapons fire into their bodies. Other disturbing videos show a gang of soldiers beating a teenager to death and a member of the security forces stabbing a prisoner repeatedly in the face and neck.

    The British Guardian reports that unidentified corpses are washing up “with grim regularity on the banks of the Tigris downstream from Mosul,” with the bodies “heavily decomposed, most bound and blindfolded, some mutilated.” Human rights groups have blamed these killings on Iraqi security forces, which operate in close collaboration with US Special Forces “advisors.”

    The same US and Western media that endlessly denounced last year’s Russian-backed siege of Aleppo by the Syrian government as a war crime have, for the most part, chosen to ignore crimes of a more massive scale carried out against the people of Mosul.

    In the first instance, the media was mobilized in defense of the Islamist militias holding eastern Aleppo because they were fighting as part of the CIA-orchestrated war for regime change in Syria. In the second, the destruction of Mosul was hailed as a “victory” and even “liberation,” because similar Sunni Islamist fighters had challenged the US-backed regime in Baghdad. Nothing could more clearly expose the duplicity and hypocrisy of US foreign policy in the region and the functioning of the corporate media as the obedient propaganda arm of American militarism.

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/one-wee...unfold/5599927

  6. #6
    Member Array
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    10,378

    Default

    More than 4,000 have disappeared in secret prisons in Iraq

    August 25, 2017

    The Iraqi authorities have been unable to determine the fate of more than 4,000 people who have been “forcibly disappeared” since 2014. They have also been unable to reach the secret prisons where they have been kept, as organised crime in the capital Baghdad and other Iraqi provinces increases at a phenomenal rate. Such prisons are run by terrorist and other groups unknown to the Iraqi state. “Disappeared” people are not kept in state-run prisons.

    Zana Said is a member of the Iraqi parliament’s legal committee and responsible for the enforced disappearance portfolio. “According to delegates from the western and central provinces, of the 4,000 forcibly disappeared since 2014, most are from the Baghdad area,” Said told Al-Quds Al-Arabi. “There are officials who are preparing lists of those who have disappeared, and dealing with the complaints from their relatives as they search for them.” There must be some information about the places where they are imprisoned, he suggested, but the government cannot take any practical measures to rescue them.

    Said blamed “security chaos” in Iraq for the rise in forced disappearances. “Iraq’s exposure to brutal campaigns by terrorist groups, the weakness of the Iraqi state and the emergence of armed groups and militias under the state,” he explained. “All of these things have made the state unable to control the spread of arms, and engendered groups of people who exercise power on the streets, especially in Baghdad.” There are streets in the capital where he, even as an MP, would be unwise to go, he pointed out. “The streets are not controlled by the government and groups of outlaws attack citizens, kidnapping and killing whoever they want.”

    He noted that the Ministry of the Interior is making serious efforts in this field, but as long as so many arms are outside of state control, and as long as there are outlawed armed groups operating under official banners, organised crime will remain. His greatest fear, he said, is that the groups will return to the cities when the war against Daesh ends, because they are used to spread violence. Sectarian war is also a major concern, as it might lead to yet more people simply disappearing.

    “There is no official security authority which would deal with these armed groups,” claimed Said. “These groups operate under the cover of the security forces, with their weapons, military uniforms, cars and their offices… All are exploited for the benefit of organised crime.” He confirmed that “most” of the kidnappings and arrests take place using official uniforms, cars and official names, but the victims are not sent to the authorities. “They simply disappear.”

    With organised crime now the main funding source of the mafia and gangs in Iraq, said Said, official cover is essential for these crimes to be committed. “How can any armed group move freely in Iraq without the support and cover provided by officials?” he asked.

    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20...isons-in-iraq/

  7. #7

  8. #8
    Member Array
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    10,378

    Default

    Iraqi Army discovers US made weapons from ISIS base



    TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iraqi army and popular forces have discovered a number of US-made missiles from a military position of Daesh (ISIL) in the Southern part of Mosul, informed local sources disclosed after the first group of pro-government troops opened their way into Southern Mosul on Monday.

    “Several US-made missiles were found in al-Shoura region to the South of Mosul,” a local source said on Monday, Global Research reported.

    The Iraqi army and popular forces had previously found US-made missiles in Anbar province.

    Provincial officials confirmed that the US-made weapons were sent by the so-called US-led coalition for the ISIL terrorists in Anbar province.

    Meantime, Iraqi security officials announced that the terror group has sent US-made military equipment to Tal Afar region in the last two days to stand strong against Iraqi popular forces’ impending attack to capture the region.

    “The ISIL terrorists have sent US-made TOW anti-tank missiles to Tal Afar and it is quite evident that they are preparing for a long-term war,” local sources quoted an Iraqi security official as saying on Monday.

    In late August 2015, a senior Iraqi intelligence official revealed that the US helicopters drop weapons and other aids for the Daesh terrorists in the Western province of al-Anbar.

    Yet, he said the helicopters could have also been sent from Turkey or Israel.

    He added that in addition to dropping aids, the helicopters transfer the ISIL ringleaders and wounded members from the battleground to some hospitals in Syria or other countries which support the terrorist group.

    The official cautioned that such assistance further prolongs the conflicts in Anbar, adding that when the Iraqi army and popular forces purge the terrorists from Anbar province, the US helicopters will transfer the ISIL ringleaders to other regions to prevent the Iraqi forces’ access to ISIL secrets.

    Meantime in February 2015, a senior lawmaker disclosed that Iraq’s army had shot down two British planes as they were carrying weapons for the ISIL terrorists in al-Anbar province.

    https://timesofislamabad.com/iraqi-a...se/2017/10/02/

  9. #9
    Member Array
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    10,378

    Default

    Why the Kurdish referendum means the end of Iraq

    by Peter Van Buren - September 27, 2017

    There are many worthy markers that America’s Iraq Wars have been a terrible, terrible waste, but as history loves a signature event, let it be the 25 September, 2017 Kurdish independence referendum. While the referendum is non-binding and the final vote tally may not be known for several days (though it will certainly be “yes” to independence), the true results of America’s decades of war in Iraq are already clear.

    Along with the ongoing decimation of Iraq’s Sunni population, the referendum means that in practice “Iraq” no longer exists. In its place is a Shiite state dominated by Iran, the de facto new nation of Kurdistan, and a shrinking population of Sunnis tottering between annihilation or reservation-like existence, depending on whether the United States uses the last of its influence to sketch out red lines or abandons the people to fate.

    The waste comes in that a better version of a de facto tri-state Iraq was available in 2006. Every life lost (out of a million some, including 4,424 Americans), every dollar spent (in the trillions), and every unanticipated outcome suffered (rise of Daesh, conflict in Syria, de-democratization of Turkey) since then has been unnecessary.

    The post-World War One failure to create a Kurdish state resulted in 30 million Kurds scattered across modern Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Syria. The 2003 American invasion of Iraq destroyed civil order in much of the area populated by those Kurds and opened the door to Iranian influence. Iran and its Iraqi-Shiite allies directed political violence against Iraqi Sunnis, paving the way for a Sunni protector, Daesh, to move in.

    When the American-trained (cost: $25 billion) Iraqi national army dropped its weapons and ran in 2014, and Shiite militias proved too weak to fill the breach, Obama reinserted the American military into Iraq, saving the Kurds, by then also under threat from Daesh. The United States subsequently turned those Kurdish fighters loose in Iraq and later Syria against Daesh. It was expediency over strategy; there was no force otherwise available in bulk. And it kind of worked. In the short run.

    The Kurds, with American help, blunted Daesh’s progress. The problem was that while American diplomacy, the carrot-and-stick of aid, and the difficulty of maintaining long-distance logistics saw the Kurdish forces replaced by Shiite militias in some locations, the Kurds held on to their gains in the north, having in most instances displaced Iraqi Sunnis. Victorious and bloodied, the Kurds were not about to renounce their hard-earned gains.

    The need for American arms did force Kurdish leaders to postpone an independence referendum, opposed by Washington, in 2014. Three years later, with Daesh mortally weakened, Washington no longer holds sway over Kurdish ambitions. And although the 25 September referendum has no legal force, Kurdish leaders will use the vote to push Baghdad for full autonomy. Donald Trump, the fifth consecutive American president to make war on Iraq, may be the last – simply for lack of an Iraq to fight over.

    The ground truth of autumn 2017 – a Kurdistan in the north, a Shiite state in the south, a marginalized Sunni population out west – is pretty much the deal that could have been had in 2006 when then-Senator Joe Biden proposed dividing Iraq into statelets. Biden wanted the United States to leave a “residual force to combat terrorists and keep the neighbors honest.” The Senate actually passed a resolution supporting Biden’s idea.

    It probably would have stabilized the region. The Middle East in 2006 was a very different place.

    In 2006 Iran faced an American military as yet undamaged by an additional decade of grinding war. That military sat on both Iran’s western border with Iraq and its eastern border with Afghanistan. The Iranian nuclear program was years behind where it is today. Syria was a relatively stable place under not-then-yet-enemy of the free world Bashar al-Assad; indeed, the British-educated Assad was initially seen as a minor reformer. Turkey was stable. Russia was not a major player in the Middle East.

    With many of 2017’s regional Pandoras still in the box, by Middle Eastern standards security in a divided Iraq would have been manageable via a modest American military presence.

    Instead, events of the last decade mean the chance of Kurdish independence adding to regional stability is near zero. Iran, fearing that an independent Kurdish state could threaten its own sectarian balance, is already conducting maneuvers on the border, has canceled flights to and from Kurdistan, and will push its proxies in Baghdad to take action. Will Turkey, now politically distant from NATO, move to open war over disputed borderlands with Kurdistan? The Turkish parliament just extended its authorization for cross-border incursions for another year. Will Kurdish minorities in Turkey and Iran see this all as their moment to rise? Will Israel, which backs Kurdish independence in its search for regional allies, supply weapons?

    In a best-case scenario, where everyone tacitly acknowledges Kurdistan while maintaining the status quo (as with Taiwan, which officially exists as a part of China even as it acts like an independent nation) there may be a measure of stability in the near term. Baghdad will talk tough even as it allows the Kurds a surprising amount of free reign – for example, Baghdad has withdrawn its police from contested Kirkuk, leaving Kurdish forces fully in charge of the oil-rich city. Kurdistan already has full control over its own education, security, military, taxes, and diplomatic representation. Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan regional government, has experimented with diplomatically vague language, saying “self-determination wouldn’t mean a direct separation from Iraq.”

    Darker predictions involve Syrian-Russian forces contesting Kurdish occupiers inside Syria. Iranian-backed Shiite militias have signaled plans to re-enter Kirkuk, and Turkey already has a running war with Kurdish fighters; tank maneuvers are ongoing with new threats gushing out of Ankara.

    American policy has been a blurry gray for some time, calling for the referendum to be postponed without actually supporting or opposing independence. Traditionally the State Department favored a united Iraq somehow, while the Pentagon, with its history of in-the-dirt cooperation with Kurdish fighters stretching back to the 1991 no-fly zone and Operation Provide Comfort that essentially established the preliminary borders of Kurdistan, has been more sympathetic towards independence. The wording of America’s reaction (there has been no post-election statement issued as this is written) to the referendum could signal which part of government is making foreign policy in Iraq these days.

    What seems clear is the American role going forward will be mostly limited to diplomacy, and that, regardless of who is carrying out the task, is not the country’s strong suit these days. There seems no appetite in Washington for large-scale troop redeployments, the kind of boots-on-the-ground necessary to decisively shape events.

    The American military, which once could have played a role similar to its help in bringing peace to former Yugoslavia, instead will exist as a crumple zone among its own warring semi-allies. Such a scenario exposes what might have been in 2006 when the United States could have managed events, and 2017, when America can do little more than witness them.

    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20...e-end-of-iraq/


 

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •