Iraq: descending into chaos mirroring Syria, yet media refuses to state the obvious

Professor As’ad Abukhalil (of Angry Arab News Service) did state the obvious in January:

“In Iraq, the US is arming the government against the rebels.  In Syria, the US is arming the rebels against the government.  But here is the irony: the rebels in Iraq are allies of the rebels in Syria, while the Iraqi government is aligned with the government of Syria.  Figure it out.”

 

Read this Reuters report published yesterday titled “Iraqi forces, images testify to atrocities in new fighting”. Excerpts from the article:

Almost three months after Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki declared war on Sunni militants in Iraq’s western Anbar province, the fighting seems to have descended into a series of brutal atrocities, often caught on video and in photographs by both militants and Iraqi soldiers.

Iraqi soldiers say they are bogged down in a slow, vicious fight with ISIL and other Sunni factions in the city of Ramadi and around Falluja. They describe a hellish world in which Iraqi forces are running low on tank shells, lack aerial cover, are short of armored vehicles, and have been hit by high casualties and desertion rates. More than 380,000 people have fled their homes to escape the fighting, according to the United Nations…

Now, according to the police officer, an army officer, a general and an Iraqi Special Forces member, some Iraqi troops have begun replying in kind, carrying out extra-judicial executions, torture and humiliations of their enemy and posting images of the results online.

The images and disturbing accounts from Anbar are testament to the sectarian fervor sweeping Iraq. The security forces, who are mostly Shi’ite, and the Sunni militants often see themselves as players in a larger regional and sectarian battle. The brutalities are in turn deepening those divisions and risk turning Iraq’s Sunni region into a permanent battlefield. Already the fighting is bleeding into the civil war in neighboring Syria

The interior ministry, which has police stationed in Ramadi, told Reuters it took the allegations seriously. “If some mistakes happened, or human rights standards were violated during one of the battles, keep in mind it is not systemic,” said spokesman Sa’ad Ma’an. “If it happened, whoever committed it will be investigated, held accountable and sent to a military court.”

The U.S. government has rushed nearly 100 Hellfire missiles, M4 rifles, ammunition and surveillance drones to the Iraqi military since the start of fighting in January. The Obama administration has also started training Iraqi Special Forces in Jordan. Before the U.S. military withdrawal in late 2011, the military trained, equipped and conducted operations with Iraqi Special Forces…

The insurgent group ISIL, energized by its successes in Syria, then exploited an incident in which Iraqi security forces, reacting they said to gunfire, shot dead at least 50 unarmed protesters. ISIL launched a blistering campaign of suicide and car bombings that made last year Iraq’s deadliest since 2008.

By late December 2013, the government had begun fighting back, targeting Ramadi and Falluja, which quickly became war zones

Now some Iraqi troops have adopted the same tactics.

An officer in an Iraqi army unit assigned to Ramadi since February said he first suspected the killings were happening within weeks of his arrival. He had been sitting at a lunch with officers from the army and the Golden Division, who have borne the brunt of casualties. “They were saying, ‘We are suffering huge losses. We want to terrorize the terrorists. We want to smash and break their morale.'”

Emphasis in bold is LR’s

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Comments

  1. Majd Lahham says:

    Hello
    I think the most important issue that the article doesnt discuss is the situation of tribes in the area of conflict. I think the tribes support the army in this war because they tend to live under the control of real government rather than some radical islamic militias

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