- Seven years under occupation, Iraqis still cope with
what Refugees International calls "a dire humanitarian crisis that
sees huge numbers of displaced (and other Iraqis) struggl(ing) to survive,"
a situation "for which the US bears special responsibility" but
does nothing to correct.
- Recent UNHCR figures estimate around 4.5 million refugees,
nearly 2.8 million internal ones (IDPs), a third of these in squatter slums
in Baghdad, Diyala and Salah al-Din. Many fear returning home. Most are
impoverished. Settlements lack basic services, including water, sanitation,
electricity, and health care. Education is difficult where available.
- Camps are built in precarious places - under bridges,
alongside railroad tracks, and near garbage dumps. In 2009, they were ordered
to vacate. They remain. The directive was postponed, but they fear eviction
with nowhere else to go, and little help for their needs and welfare.
- Most get no government, US, UN or NGO aid given security's
top priority. "The zero-risk mentality of the burgeoning security
industry has hijacked more rational and creative thinking" to provide
vitally needed humanitarian assistance.
- As a result, the occupation grinds on while conditions
deteriorate, "3,000 new individuals registering for refugee status
each month," adding to a growing crisis. They lack proper shelter,
food, health care and other essentials, living day to day fearing greater
misery, disease or death.
- In February 2010, the International Rescue Commission
(IRC) issued a report titled, "A Tough Road Home" on uprooted
Iraqis in Jordan, Syria and Iraq, saying since last visiting the region
in February 2008:
- "the needs of displaced Iraqis have become more
acute, while international concern and assistance have diminished. In particular,
assistance from European countries has begun to fall off," given concern
for their own situation at home.
- For their part, refugees and IDP's fear returning, citing
persistent violence, insecurity, and little access to housing, other services,
and jobs as well as mistrusting the Americans, puppet government, and fearing
- Conditions for IDPs are precarious, international law
guaranteeing no protection, nor can they get economic aid or the right
to work where they live. They desperately want to go home, rebuild their
lives, but need safe and stable conditions to do it as well as resolution
of property disputes to allow it.
- External refugees also want to return. Others fear persecution
and won't, but sustainable reintegration structures and basic services
don't exist, and no plans are in place to institute them. As a result,
millions of Iraqis remain scattered internally, in neighboring Syria and
Jordan, and other countries, trapped in poverty, fear, and uncertainty
under worsening conditions.
- Like IDPs, external refugees face an ongoing struggle
to survive without reliable incomes or safety. Besides lost loved ones,
property and savings, they're traumatized, see no end to their suffering,
and feel hopeless, frustrated and desperate.
- In his March 15 article titled, "The New 'Forgotten'
War," Dahr Jamail noted Afghanistan getting most attention while the
"Iraq occupation falls into media shadows," except briefly after
significant violent events killing dozens or a prominent figure.
- Yet hundreds die most months. Millions have been killed,
irrepararably harmed, and displaced - victims of genocide.
- Essential services are spotty or nonexistent, and persistent
depravation on October 11, 2009 got Iraqis in Baghdad streets to chant,
"No water, no electricity in the country of oil and the two rivers,"
according to AP.
- Exacerbating conditions, including a four year long draught
"plagues most of Iraq. In the country's north," AP, on October
13, 2009, reported inadequate water "forced more than 100,000 people
to abandon their homes since 2005, with 36,000 more on the verge of leaving."
- Cancer is another issue, the result of "more than
1,700 tons of depleted uranium" used during the war and invasion besides
more during the Gulf War. "Literally every local person I've spoken
with....during my nine months (in the country) knows someone who either
suffers from or has died of cancer."
- It's a war/occupation-inflicted plague that will claim
many thousands more lives for years to come, including children born with
DU-caused deformities, especially in heavily bombed areas.
- After two decades of war, sanctions, and occupation,
Iraqis have suffered horrifically from one of the greatest ever crimes
of war and against humanity - ongoing, destructive, devastating, unreported,
- War Takes Its Toll on Both Sides
- Consider an April 24 Army Times report headlined, "18
veterans commit suicide each day," saying:
- "Troubling new data show there are an average of
950 suicide attempts each month by veterans who are receiving some type
of treatment from the Veterans Affairs Department (VA)."
- About 7% succeed. Another 11% try again within nine months.
VA's hotline gets about 10,000 calls a month from current and veteran service
members - troubled, desperate for help they're not getting, and in danger
of taking their lives to escape.
- On April 24, New York Times writers James Dao and Dan
Frosch headlined, "In Army's Trauma Care Units (WTUs), Feeling Warehoused,"
- "For many soldiers, they have become warehouses
of despair, where damaged men and women are kept out of sight, fed a diet
of powerful prescription pills and treated harshly by noncommissioned (and
- They suffer from wounds, loss of limbs, depression, PTSD,
and despair, yet their treatment "has made their suffering worse."
Since 2007, at least four WTU soldiers committed suicide. Coverups try
to hide them, and according to Lt. Col. Andrew L Grantham, WTU commander,
"These guys are still soldiers, and we want to treat them like soldiers."
In other words, they're to blame, not the army, Pentagon or White House.
- Not for Iraq's toxic environment either, affecting US
forces like Iraqis, endangering their health, welfare, and lives that for
many will be lost, with or without physical wounds.
- Iraq A Toxic Wasteland
- Twenty years of war, sanctions, and occupation left vast
parts of the country's land, water and air contaminated by scores of pollutants,
including depleted uranium, chemicals, toxic metals, oil, bacteria, and
- The Gulf War was an environmental disaster. It destroyed
power and chemical plants; factories; dams; water purification facilities;
sewage treatment and disposal systems; oil wells, pipelines, refineries,
and storage tanks besides bringing the entire country to its knees, the
result of vast gratuitous destruction. In 2003, it was repeated, a "shock
and awe" blitzkrieg intermittently continued.
- Tigris and Euphrates river waters are contaminated and
unsafe. According to Dr. Ibrahim Ali, a Baghdad laboratory owner, "It
is definitely not good for human consumption, and every time we analyze
it we find something new that might, in time, cause death. Various kinds
of bacterial pollution and germs we are finding can be as dangerous as
- Imagine a cocktail of oil, gasoline, heavy metals, depleted
uranium, pesticides, fertilizers, benzene, other chemicals, various other
pollutants, and the result is poisoned water and fish producing an epidemic
of typhoid, dysentery, cholera, hepatitis, and diarrheal diseases if consumed,
cancer and other diseases later.
- Four years of drought added other woes, reducing food
and feed grain crops by 40% or more, threatening as well to turn fertile
farmland into a dustbowl. Lack of rain and dust storms dropped Tirgis and
Euphrates levels by half in some places, creating "a real serious
disaster," according to agricultural experts.
- The combination of war, pollution and drought wrecked
Iraq's ecosystem, drying up fertile farmland and marshes, turning arable
land into desert, killing trees and plants, and making a Garden of Eden
a wasteland, much perhaps never to be reclaimed.
- Empowering bio-pirates, agribusiness predators, is another
crime, the result of (Paul) Bremer's Order 81 (April 26, 2004) - "Amendments
to the Patents, Industrial, Undisclosed Information, Integrated Circuits
and Plant Variety Law."
- It crippled traditional farming by protecting developer
rights of new and improved plant varieties (GMO seeds), forcing farmers
to plant them, prohibiting traditional seed saving, and instituting Technology
User Agreements, requiring annual royalties to companies like Monsanto.
- Bremer's 100 orders turned Iraq into a giant free-market
paradise, a hellish nightmare for Iraqis. They colonized the country for
capital - pillage on the grandest scale, a cutthroat capitalist laboratory,
weapons of mass destruction.
- Iraqis got no role in the planning nor were given subcontracts
to share the benefits. New economic laws instituted low taxes, 100% foreign
investor ownership of Iraqi assets, the right to expropriate all profits,
unrestricted imports, and long-term 30-40 year deals and leases, dispossessing
Iraqis of their own resources, so no future government could change them.
- One of them is oil, ahead of passing the Iraq Hydrocarbon
Law, what former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said he'll do quickly if his
coalition forms the new government as well as honor all signed deals in
- Its provisions include a radical restructuring of Iraq's
oil industry, shifting the country's reserves from public to private hands
with locked in deals as long as 30 years. If enacted, it will be theft
on the grandest scale, legalized plunder of most of the nation's oil and
all yet to be discovered. Big Oil will be free to expropriate all profits
with no obligation to invest anything in Iraq's economy, nor partner with
Iraqi companies, hire local workers, respect union rights, or share new
- With or without it, foreign investors are signing deals,
ExxonMobil the first US company in 35 years last November. Others are being
finalized and more will follow - on favorable terms for the giants to the
detriment of Iraqis. Based on current negotiations, foreign companies will
produce most Iraqi oil, whether on grand or grandest theft terms to be
- Under Bremer laws, free-market pillage was sanctioned.
Mass layoffs followed, social services cut, and local infrastructure rebuilding
ignored. Corporate interests alone were addressed. Iraq became a metaphor
for everything wrong with cutthroat capitalism, showing it to be predatory,
heartless and bankrupt.
- Violence and Corruption Plague Iraq
- The 2007 launched Global Peace Index (GPI) ranks countries
annually according to peacefulness, identifying key peace or violence drivers.
Of the 144 countries in its 2009 report, Iraq ranked last, Afghanistan
- On a 1 - 5 scale, 1 the most peaceful, Iraq scored 5
- -- number of deaths from organized internal conflict;
- -- level of organized internal conflict;
- -- perceptions of criminality in society;
- -- respect for human rights;
- -- potential for terrorist acts;
- -- number of homicides per 100,000 people;
- -- level of violent crime;
- -- ease of access to weapons of minor destruction; as
- -- low scores in numerous other categories, showing the
country to be violent and dysfunctional, the result of war, occupation,
and an internal struggle to free Iraq to sovereign control.
- Notably unmentioned is that Iraq, the cradle of civilization,
no longer exists - destroyed, balkanized, and colonized for capital, planned
genocide murdering its people.
- Annually, Transparency International (TI) ranks 180 countries
on their perceived level of public sector corruption, claiming a 90% confidence
of accuracy. Its latest 2009 lowest scores went to Somalia, Afghanistan,
Myanmar, Sudan and Iraq.
- Not addressed were free and open elections, impossible
under occupation. Those held are media hyped and manipulated for stability.
A democratic process is absent.
- As a result, US choices govern, puppet leaders, not democrats,
and rampant corruption follows, the kind New York Times writers Marc Santora
and Riyadh Mohammed highlighted in their October 28, 2009 article headlined,
"Pervasive Corruption Rattles Iraq's Fragile State," saying:
- "Corruption is a phenomenon that forms a real threat
to the structure of the state," according to interior minister Jawad
Bolani. His report detailed corruption throughout his ministry employing
one in four public sector employees:
- -- money skimmed from salaries;
- -- contracts manipulated and fudged for personal gain;
- -- ghost police officers on payrolls so commanders can
take their pay, and other officers fired to steal theirs;
- -- criminals freed by well-placed bribes, their records
expunged for payment;
- -- detainees abused by guards to extort money from relatives;
- -- political corruption to secure loyalty of large portions
of the security apparatus.
- Corruption runs from top officials to street corner cops,
according to investigators without listing names.
- But in early 2009, a fraud scandal related to food distribution
forced the trade minister to resign, and the deputy transportation minister
was arrested after being caught trying to bilk a security firm for more
than $100,000 to get a contract for Baghdad International Airport.
- "Going after corruption (can exact) a high cost,"
said The Times writers. One official, "after issuing an audit report
on the Iraqi Supreme Criminal Court, which examines (Saddam Hussein-era
crimes), was informed - through the local media, he said - that a judge
on that court had issued an arrest warrant for him." It first read
for "the extermination of the human race, (then) changed to an accusation
- Human Rights Abuses in Iraq
- In April 2010, Amnesty International released a report
titled, "Iraq: Human Rights Briefing," covering major media suppressed
- -- thousands detained without charge or trial, some for
years in overcrowded conditions, gravely affecting their health and safety;
- -- torture, ill-treatment and other abuses against men,
women and children, including beatings with cables and hosepipes, prolonged
suspension by their limbs, electric shocks to sensitive parts of their
bodies, breaking of limbs, removal of toenails with pliers, and rapes,
- -- unfair trials, with low quality court appointed lawyers,
using torture extracted confessions to convict;
- -- the death penalty, increasingly imposed in the last
five years; currently, at least 1,100 detainees have been sentenced to
death; over 900, including 17 women, have exhausted all means of appeal
or clemency; government supplied information on executions is suppressed,
many carried out secretly;
- -- killings and other human rights abuses by armed groups,
including kidnappings, torture, bombings, and other attacks;
- -- impunity for prison guards, US and Iraqi security
forces, and security contractors after whitewashed or no investigations
of their crimes;
- -- violence against women (domestically and on streets),
given little or no protection by authorities;
- -- refugees and internally displaced people enduring
severe hardships as explained above;
- -- human rights abuses in Kurdistan, including those
explained above; and
- -- future prospects.
- AI's conclusion - "the human rights situation in
the country remains grave. All parties to the continuing conflict have
committed gross abuses and the civilian population continues to bear the
brunt of the ongoing violence. The security situation is still precarious
despite some improvement in 2009. Attacks on civilians, arrests, kidnapping,
armed clashes" happen daily.
- AI covers vital issues without explaining their cause:
- -- an ongoing war and genocide;
- -- Iraq illegally occupied;
- -- a US approved puppet government in place;
- -- a proxy army doing America's bidding;
- -- no concern for vulnerable civilians;
- -- the absence of vital infrastructure;
- -- a longstanding humanitarian crisis;
- -- the inability of millions of Iraqis to cope; and
- -- a brutal colonizer addressing none of the above issues
or the right of Iraqis to sovereign freedom, peace and security - only
possible free from occupation.
- The BRussels Tribunal (BT)
- In February 2010, BT published Professor Souad Al-Azzawi's
report titled, "Violations of Iraqi Children('s) Rights Under the
American Occupation," saying:
- "Numerous violations to Iraqi children's rights
have continuously and systematically been committed under the Anglo-American
occupation of Iraq," including:
- -- targeting them and other civilians during the invasion;
- -- American forces murdering them, sometimes by massacres,
during raids in Fallujah, Haditha, Mahmodia, Telafer, Anbar, Mosul, and
most other Iraqi cities;
- -- killing them by bombings and other attacks;
- -- detaining, torturing, and raping them;
- -- impoverishing them;
- -- starving them, causing acute malnutrition;
- -- starving whole cities as collective punishment;
- -- killing one in eight children (650,000) by microbial
pollution, lack of sanitation, and clean drinking water;
- -- inflicting grave harm through chemical and radioactive
- -- a failed health care system by design, including by
"the international assassination of medical doctors;"
- -- a dysfunctional education system, available only to
30% of Iraqi children;
- -- a crippled economy, ongoing violence and killings,
American troop raids on civilians, and horrific hardships gravely harming
Iraq's men, women, and children; and
- -- a 4.5 million orphan population, according to a Ministry
of Labor estimate; others say five million; 500,000 live on streets with
no institutional help; others are in US and Iraqi-run prisons or internally
or externally displaced.
- Al-Azzawi concludes saying that since 1991, US administrations
committed "genocide amongst the Iraqi population, including the children."
After Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and the Gulf War, imposed genocide began
with crippling sanctions, then continued during war and occupation.
- "The (ongoing) excessive and unnecessary use of
power against the civilian population, and the intentional targeting of
even unborn children (through chemical, radiological and other weapons
as well as other means reveals) a premeditated plan to depopulate Iraq."
- As a result, children live in "an environment of
total chaos, violence and terror." Genocide will only stop when US
forces leave, but their crimes will affect Iraqis for generations. The
historic record will last forever, including in the collective public memory.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour
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