Hussein Al-alak: Welcome to Democracy

By Hussein Al-alak, The Iraq Solidarity Campaign
Special to PalestineChronicle.com

Has anybody fallen down with shock, with the revelation by the United Nations on Wednesday 25/4/2007 that the Iraqi Government has refused to co-operate with providing factual information, relating to the number of deaths for this year inside of democratic Iraq?

According to the US based CNN: "Even without the numbers, the report delivers a grim message: Iraq is facing "immense security challenges in the face of growing violence and armed opposition to its authority and the rapidly worsening humanitarian crisis."

"It was a matter of regret that the Iraqi government did not provide UNAMI with access to the Ministry of Health\’s overall mortality figures for the reporting period." The report includes the facts that: "A total of 1.9 million are internally displaced and four million are estimated to be acutely vulnerable due to food insecurity".

The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq also said that "more than 700,000 people were forced to flee their homes over the past year" but Iraqi government officials denied that information was being withheld and the prime minister\’s office said the U.N. report "lacks accuracy."

"Our district hasn’t had electricity for more than a year. Street lights have been long broken and not repaired, despite requests to the municipality," reported IRIN on the 25/4/2007, in the article Decline in municipal services boosts violence and disease.

Acram Rabia’a, a community leader in Dora, one of Baghdad’s most populated districts also explained in the article that: "Because of this [lack of light at night], violence has increased.People are afraid to leave their houses in the evenings because of thieves and children who used to study at night have been forced to stop after some people tried to kill them."

According to the AFP on the 22/4/2007 "Shia death squads returned to the streets of Baghdad in force last week, claiming more than 100 lives, as fury over a spate of Sunni bombings – and the failure of the US troop "surge" to prevent them – led to a sharp rise in the number of murders."

"Iraqi officials said Shia militiamen who (are said to be part of the Al-Sadr Mehdi Army) melted away from Baghdad when the troop surge began in mid-February had returned. Many had received fresh training in Iran, they claimed."

A press release issued by the Iraq League on the 23/4/2007, claimed that "Members of Jaysh al Mahdi who are also part of the ministry of interior targeted a 16 year old girl named Samira who lives in the Mansour District."

"They arrived at her house and knocked on her door. The minute she opened, they riddled her with bullets killing her on the spot and leaving her dead."

AFP concluded their article with "The majority of the bodies were found dumped in ditches and rubbish tips, or simply left on street corners, were those of Sunnis. Most had their hands tied behind their backs and had been tortured before they were shot."

The Associated Press announced on the 24/4/2007 that "A suicide car bomb struck a patrol base northeast of Baghdad on Monday, killing nine U.S. soldiers and wounding 20 in the single deadliest attack on American ground forces in more than a year."

Reuters reported on the 25/4/2007 that "Eleven British soldiers have now been killed in Iraq this month, the highest number of casualties suffered by British forces in a single month since March 2003 when 27 were killed in the opening days of the U.S.-led invasion."

The HAQ News Agency reported on the 26/4/2007 that "at least 37,641 people were being held in US and Iraqi-run jails across the country."

In the preface to the book Saddams Iraq: Revolution or Reaction, first published by the Campaign Against Repression and for Democratic Rights in Iraq in 1986, the now so-called British Human Rights envoy to Iraq, Ann Clwyd MP asked "What kind of regime would do so much damage to a country just to keep control of it?"

In December 2006, the Iraqi Minister of Women’s Affairs along with local NGOs, came out and said that "female prisoners in Iraq are being held in appalling conditions, often without charge, and are sometimes raped and tortured."

The minister also said that "We don’t know the exact number of female prisoners but there are many being held in different prisons – even though the [other ministries in the] government and US forces deny it."

Amnesty International have also slammed the government and now claim that Iraq is the fourth biggest user of the death Penalty. A report published on the UNObserver 21/4/2007 claims that: "Since the reinstatement of the death penalty in mid 2004, more than 270 people have been sentenced to death and at least a hundred people have been executed."

Amnesty explained that: "The broadcast of televised "confessions" ceased in late 2005 but many of those who appeared continue to be held on death row or have been executed."

According to Azzaman on the 23/4/2007, "Iraqi soldiers who desert their units now face execution, according to a decree by the country’s Presidential Council." "The harsh penalties come following reports of large-scale desertion from army ranks in the wake of the latest surge in rebel attacks against U.S. and Iraqi forces."

"The dramatic increase in use of this cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment represents a dangerous slide into the brutal errors of the past, particularly when so many executions have come after unfair trials, televised \’confessions\’ and uninvestigated allegations of torture", said Malcolm Smart, Director of Amnesty International\’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

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