Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Iraqi forces 'committing abuse'

Here is today's story:

One more week, one more report of human rights abuses in Iraq...
This time, it's about the Iraqi security forces. The organization bringing the case is the US-based group Human Rights Watch.

About the context, here is what the Washington Post reported 4 months ago (Sep 27, 2004): "A war within a war is playing out across Iraq. On one side are the jobless and underemployed young men who continue lining up to apply for positions in the reconstituted police and National Guard. On the other side are the insurgents working assiduously to kill them."
About the way these Iraqi security forces are perceived by the Iraqi (Sunni Iraqi?) population, there is at least one blog who gives some hints, unfortunately I can't find the link anymore. There is also this blogger calling the Iraqi security forces "national thieves":
About Human Rights Watch:

From these reports, I have learned that we can't expect the Iraqi security forces to bring back stability to the country.
They appear to apply for this kind of jobs for the salary. They seem to be considered as "mercenaries" by at least some part of the population.

Here is the list of human rights violation: "Detainees were routinely beaten with cables and metal rods during interrogation, given electric shocks and kept blindfolded and handcuffed for days" / "Detainees were held for long periods in isolation, deprived of food and water and crammed into small cells with standing room only" / "Iraqi police sought bribes in return for releasing prisoners or allowing them access to family members or food and water."
These violations are said to be "systematic". No need to blame a few "bad apples".

Those who still fancy talking about "a liberation war for freedom and democracy" will either keep their eyes closed or get away with some quick denials. Others will only focus on these list of violations and atrocities of the last few months without looking at the big picture.

It's still time to keep saying that the war started with a lie. There was no WMDs. Saddam Hussein's Iraq was not a threat to the US population.
Justifying the ongoing occupation with the arguments of "stability"/"nation-building" are definitely helping the Bush administration feel more morally right. The thing is the evidence brought by all these reports are not supporting these views. The country is not getting more stable.

We can't even look surprised by these reports. It's true that all these atrocities take place in a war-zone. Attacks and killing of civilians by the insurgents are a good reason for "being tough" from the perspective of the coalition soldiers and Iraqi security forces.
On the other hand, they are no reason to be surprised that part of the Iraqi population have long given up their support to the occupation: Too many evil things are being done in the name of "anti-terrorism".


Here are more media reports on the same issue:

Washington Post, DC:
Financial Times, UK:
International Herald Tribune, France:
CTV, Canada:
Reuters, UK:
CNN International:
The Times, UK:,,7374-1455417,00.html
Los Angeles Times (subscription), CA:,1,4804001.story?coll=la-headlines-world&ctrack=2&cset=true
Hindustan Times, India:,001300180001.htm
ABC Online, Australia:
Al-Jazeera.Net, Qatar:
Turkish Press, Turkey:
China Daily, China:
Independent, UK:
Today (Singapore), Singapore:


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