Friday, March 28, 2008

Iraq, the Forgotten Illegal, Immoral Invasion, Occupation and Theft

Five Things You Need to Know to Understand the Latest Violence in Iraq
By Joshua Holland and Raed Jarrar, AlterNet. Posted March 27, 2008.

Heavy fighting has spread across Shia-dominated enclaves in Iraq over the past two days. The U.S.-backed regime of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has ordered 50,000 Iraqi troops to "crack down" -- with coalition air support -- on Shiite militias in the oil-rich and strategically important(to whom?) city of Basra, U.S. forces have surrounded Baghdad's Sadr City and fighting has been reported in the southern cities of Kut, Diwaniya, Karbala and Hilla. Basra's main bridge and an oil pipeline connecting it to Amara were destroyed Wednesday. Six cities are under curfew, and acts of civil disobedience have shut down dozens of neighborhoods across the country. Civilian casualties have reportedly overwhelmed poorly equipped medical centers in Baghdad and Basra.

(There are hundreds of Pakistani, Afghani, and Iraqi BOYS in jail aged 8-15 years old, some held for more than three years without charge) I challenge you to run your own searches and look up FRANKLINGATE, and how it has been hushed up for years.

"The cease-fire is over; we have been told to fight the Americans," one militiaman loyal to al-Sadr told the Christian Science Monitor's Sam Dagher by telephone from Sadr City. Dagher added that the "same man, when interviewed in January, had stated that he was abiding by the cease-fire and that he was keeping busy running his cellular phone store."

A political track is also in play: Sadr has called on his followers to take to the streets to demand Maliki's resignation, and nationalist lawmakers in the Iraqi Parliament, led by al-Sadr's block, are trying to push a no-confidence vote challenging the prime minister's regime.
The conflict is one that the U.S. media appears incapable of describing in a coherent way. The prevailing narrative is that Basra has been ruled by mafialike militias -- which is true -- and that Iraqi government forces are now cracking down on the lawlessness in preparation for regional elections, which is not. As independent analyst Reider Visser noted:

(Hey if Americans want to see how the Air Bus contract was landed they might want to talk to Karl Heinz Schreiber (before the cash n' carry Canadian conservatives deport him to Germany).
Schreiber helped Thyssen Germany bribe Canadian officials with over ten million dollars so Air Canada would use Air Bus. They too were successful and only now are we the people still scratching years later to try to get a public inquiry into $350,000
changing hands between Schreiber and Prime Minister Mulroney. Our illustrious PM who even walked off with the furniture from Sussex Drive. )

Back to our story,

On closer inspection, there are problems in these accounts. Perhaps most importantly, there is a discrepancy between the description of Basra as a city ruled by militias (in the plural) ... [and the] facts of the ongoing operations, which seem to target only one of these militia groups, the Mahdi Army loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr. Surely, if the aim was to make Basra a safer place, it would have been logical to do something to also stem the influence of the other militias loyal to the local competitors of the Sadrists, the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq [SIIC], as well as the armed groups allied to the Fadila party (sic) (which have dominated the oil protection services for a long time). But so far, only Sadrists have complained about attacks by government forces.

To better understand the nature of this latest round of conflict, here are five things one needs to know about what's taking place across Iraq.

1. A visible manifestation of Iraq's central-but-under-reported political conflict (not "sectarian violence")
2. U.S. is propping up unpopular regime; Sadr has support because of his platform

Most Iraqis:
Favor a strong central government free of the influence of militias.
Oppose, by a 2-1 margin, the privatization of Iraq's energy sector -- a "benchmark towards progress according to the Bush administration.
Favor a U.S. withdrawal on a short timeline (PDF) (most believe the United States plans to build permanent bases -- both are issues about which the Sadrists have been vocal.
Oppose al Qaeda and the ideology of Osama Bin Laden and, to a lesser degree, Iranian influence on Iraq's internal affairs.

3. "Iraqi forces" are, in fact, "Iranian- (and U.S.-) backed Shiite militias"

4. Colombia-style democracy
The United States, for its part, continues to take sides in this conflict -- in addition to providing air power, U.S. forces are enforcing the curfew in Sadr City -- rather than playing the role of neutral mediator. That's because the interests of the Bush administration and its allies are aligned with Maliki and his coalition. That they are not aligned with the interests of most Iraqis is never mentioned in the Western press, but is a key reason why Bush's definition of "victory" -- the emergence of a legitimate and Democratic state that supports U.S. policy in the region -- has always been an impossible pipe dream.

5. Chip off the old block: Maliki's attempt to criminalize dissent

The much-touted troop "surge" had little to do with the drop in violence in recent months -- it didn't even correlate with the lull chronologically and was certainly a minor causal factor at best. A number of factors led to the reduced violence, but Sadr's cease-fire had the greatest impact. Nonetheless, the Maliki regime, backed by the United States, continued a campaign of harassment and intimidation against Sadr's followers, denied them space to peacefully resist the occupation and forced his hand.
Given the degree to which the coalition has continued to stir a hornets' nest, we may be seeing a perfect illustration of the dangers of believing one's own propaganda play out as Iraq is once again set aflame.

...These are merely excerpts from a long and well researched article which the reader may explore at: There are a considerable number of comments at the site that add insight to actual conditions on the ground in Iraq.

The major drain on the American economy and permanent loss of moral standing in the world can be attributed to the Iraq war and the muted American media. As citizens in a failing democracy we need to be alert and make and extra effort to inform ourselves. When the people in power are devoid of the very things that make us human, we all have a problem.


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