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Losing Friends and Influence: Mainstream Condemns Occupation in Iraq PDF Print E-mail
Peace News
Wednesday, 07 June 2006 12:00
Losing Friends and Influence: Mainstream Condemns Occupation in Iraq

Informed Comment
- Juan Cole - The Iraqi Islamic Party on Tuesday accused the United States military of having committed numerous massacres against innocent civilians, not only Haditha. Specifically, its spokesman, Omar al-Juburi, charged that: "On May 13, US forces launched an air assault on a civilian car in Latifiyah and killed six people inside the car," Juburi told reporters. "On the same day the US forces attacked with aircraft the house of a civilian, Saadun Mohsen Hassan, and killed seven of his family members."


Losing Friends and Influence:
Mainstream Condemns Occupation in Iraq

Juan Cole

Informed Comment
June 7, 2006

Juburi said US forces carried out another air strike the next day on the house of Sheikh Yassin Saleh Shallal in the town of Yusifiyah "killing 13 people, including women and children." I am afraid that if we started counting all the innocent civilians killed by US airstrikes on Iraqi towns and cities as murders, the number would be very large indeed."

The significance of these charges is that they are coming from the Iraqi Islamic Party, a group that has been mostly willing to cooperate with the US. Indeed, al-Zaman says that they handed the file to US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad. The IIP forms the core of the Iraqi Accord Front, the Sunni religious coalition that holds 44 seats in parliament. A vice president, a vice premier, 4 cabinet members, and the speaker of the house all belong to this coalition. So these charges are originating not with hard liners or radicals outside the new system, but with persons who are de facto allies of the United States. If this is how a key element of the Iraqi Accord Front feels about the US, relations between Washington and parts of the new government it so trumpeted are obviously very shaky.

Al-Zaman reports that the Sunni Arabs of Basra are mostly forced to stay at home, going out only when absolutely necessary, for fear of being assassinated or kidnapped. They are virtual prisoners in their homes.

The assassinations are ongoing, despite new security steps of the al-Maliki government. The day before yesterday, a Sunni Arab was killed in the middle of Basra. Sunni Arabs also pray at home rather than going to mosque, for fear they would be targeted or captured. Sunni Arab government employees have begun staying home and missing work in ever greater numbers.

The state of emergency declared by PM al-Maliki has not brought security. A wave of assassinations, mostly aimed at Sunni Arabs, has swept Basra.

The Arab League is preparing to send a commission to Basra, at the request of the Sunni Arabs. (Arab League member states have as their citizens mostly Sunni Arabs.)

Meanwhile, al-Zaman says, hundreds of British troops have spread through Basra neighborhoods, arresting persons on its list, who belong to the Mahdi Army or Iraqi military intelligence. (The latter in Basra was presumably mostly recruited from the Badr Corps paramilitary of the [hard line Shiite] Supreme Council).

Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 June 2006 12:00

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