Are US-backed Iraqi militias committing ethnic cleansing under the cover of fighting Daesh?

From Sputnik

25.05.2016) Get short URL
Iraqi forces and affiliated Shiite militias are accused of ethnic cleansing and mass atrocities in Iraq, under the cover of fighting to liberate territory from Daesh.

On Monday, the Iraqi Army announced plans to begin an offensive to retake the city of Fallujah from Daesh forces. The heavily-populated Iraqi city was the first to fall to the extremist group in 2014, but in recent months Iraqi forces have been able to sharply reduce the militants’ stronghold over the city.

The city also played site for one of the bloodiest battles following the US-led invasion of Iraq, leading to mass casualties of US service members and leaving a once-prominent city in ruins.

Following the ouster of Saddam Hussein, Fallujah, like many other multicultural cities in the country, descended into sectarian strife leading then-Senator Joe Biden to call for the partitioning of Iraq in 2006.

The Sunni-dominated city faced the worst of the systematic effort to expunge loyalists of Saddam Hussein’s secular Ba’ath Party, in a process now known as de-baathification, from positions within the Iraqi government, including ordinary social sector positions in education, medicine, and engineering.

The once prominent Sunni middle class found themselves the subject of persecution at the hands of the Shia-led government, and violent Shiite militias, notably Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army.

The widespread alienation of Sunnis and the repeated violent tides of ethnic cleansing by Shiite militias forced many secular Sunnis into league with the violent Daesh extremist group, whose Iraqi branch is now dominated by a cadre of former Saddam Hussein loyalists.

With the government unravelling in Iraq, and the violent Mahdi army once again threatening to seize control of the country, the situation has been described as waves of ethnic cleansing by competing and increasingly extremist sectarian militias – the Mahdi Army, supported by Iraqi forces on the Shia side, and Daesh, along with al-Qaeda, on the Sunni side.

In this descent into social cataclysm, the Iraqi army, along with loosely-affiliated Shia militias, looks to ‘liberate’ Fallujah, using American weapons and support, but with many residents of the Daesh-occupied city fearing another violent round of ethnic cleansing. On Tuesday, Loud & Clear’s Brian Becker sat down with Iraqi-American and foreign policy analyst Raed Jarrar to discuss the latest offensive.

Has the offensive on Daesh-controlled Fallujah begun?

“The news coming from Iraq indicates that there are no signs that the offensive has begun yet, but the Iraqi government has announced its intentions to start an offensive,” explained Jarrar. “US sources have been denying that any operations have started taking place so there is some confusion about that.”

The foreign policy analyst observed that people remaining in Fallujah are frightened by the Iraqi forces and affiliated militias, who they believe will use the presence of Daesh as a cover for ethnic cleansing.

“Militias affiliated with the Iraqi forces have made shocking announcements of late, calling Fallujah a cancer that has to be cut out, and these proclamations are concerning because the militias have committed war crimes when they attacked towns controlled by ISIS in the past,” said Jarrar. “There is a real concern that the anticipated attacks on Fallujah will follow the pattern of abuses committed by Iraqi forces and affiliated militias in the past.”

What do they mean by ‘liberating’ Fallujah? Ramadi was ‘liberated’ but there was nothing left.

“There was a report by Human Rights Watch that came out last year that was titled ‘After Liberation Came Destruction.’ The word liberation is a very problematic word in this context,” said Jarrar. “Human Rights Watch reported the premeditated and systematic way that Iraqi forces and militias took towns back from ISIS and destroyed towns, committing ethnic cleansing. They targeted some ethnicities against other ethnicities, demolished homes of some sects and kept homes of other sects.”

“I expect that this is just another campaign of ethnic cleansing and they are using ISIS as a pretext to enter these towns and bombard them,” said Jarrar. “This is a premeditated policy of destruction and ethnic cleansing that the Iraqi government has been following since 2003.”

Where should forces attack to get a handle on the unravelling situation in Iraq?

“From my point of view, that is not the discussion that we should be having. It is not about which city to bombard first or what city to allow the US and its allies to bomb first,” said Jarrar. “That is why I wanted to comment on the word ‘liberate,’ because it implies that there is a legitimate force that will come in to kick out an illegitimate group. That is not the situation in Iraq. Iraq has many extremist and violent groups, including the government forces.”

“If the United States wants to give good advice to Iraq, then we need to start by stopping support to groups and the Iraqi government, that have been committing mass violations of human rights, funding these groups is illegal under US and international law,” said Jarrar. “We continue to give funds and weapons to groups committing atrocities in Iraq.”

Jaraa claimed that a more meaningful solution to the ongoing sectarian violence in Iraq and throughout the region, would be to focus on policies of division and persecution that pit groups against each other, likening the violence committed by Shia militias to that committed by Daesh, which he referred to as a similar force on the Sunni side.

“The idea of getting rid of all these things will not include dropping more bombs on Iraq, it will not make the country more peaceful and it will not make these groups more moderate. It will actually make more death and destruction and that is what the US has been doing in Iraq since 1991,” stated Jarrar.

Daesh is blocking Fallujah residents from leaving while the Iraqis demand that they leave – what will happen to the civilians?

“They are the ones that pay the hefty price and many of them have been paying a heavy price, not as a consequence of violence, but because that is the actual goal of violence – displacement,” explained Jarrar. “The Iraqi militias, especially those affiliated with the Iraqi government, have been implementing a plan of systematic displacement to gain more territory for their own group.”

“This is a different analysis than you receive in the mainstream media that the violence is part of the medicine, part of the solution, and the US has to support attacks on Fallujah and Mosul because this is the way to get rid of the bad guys and liberate these towns,” explained Farrar.

“That is not what is going on in the real world. In the real world this is more violence that has illegitimate agendas to displace more Iraqi and create more sectarian enclaves,” he said.

http://sputniknews.com/news/20160525/1040198115/iraq-shia-sunni-daesh-fallujah.html

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The U.S. bombing of Germany continues today

From David Swanson.org

The US just bombed Germany
by David Swanson
May 3, 2016

If the bombing occurs when the bombs that have been dropped from U.S. airplanes explode, then the United States just bombed Germany and has been bombing Germany every year for over 70 years.

There are still over 100,000 yet-to-explode U.S. and British bombs from World War II lying hidden in the ground in Germany. Notes the Smithsonian Magazine:

“Before any construction project begins in Germany, from the extension of a home to track-laying by the national railroad authority, the ground must be certified as cleared of unexploded ordnance. Still, last May, some 20,000 people were cleared from an area of Cologne while authorities removed a one-ton bomb that had been discovered during construction work. In November 2013, another 20,000 people in Dortmund were evacuated while experts defused a 4,000-pound ‘Blockbuster’ bomb that could destroy most of a city block. In 2011, 45,000 people—the largest evacuation in Germany since World War II—were forced to leave their homes when a drought revealed a similar device lying on the bed of the Rhine in the middle of Koblenz. Although the country has been at peace for three generations, German bomb-disposal squads are among the busiest in the world. Eleven bomb technicians have been killed in Germany since 2000, including three who died in a single explosion while trying to defuse a 1,000-pound bomb on the site of a popular flea market in Göttingen in 2010.”

A new film called The Bomb Hunters focuses on the town of Oranienburg, where a huge concentration of bombs keeps up a constant menace. In particular the film focuses on one man whose house blew up in 2013. He lost everything. Oranienburg, now known as the city of bombs, was a center of nuclear research that the U.S. government did not want the advancing Soviets to acquire. At least that’s one reason offered for the massive bombing of Oranienburg. Rather than possibly speed up the Soviet acquisition of nukes by a handful of years, Oranienburg had to be rained on with blankets of enormous bombs — to explode for decades to come.

They weren’t just bombs. They were delayed-fuse bombs, all of them. Delayed-fuse bombs were usually included along with non-delaying bombs in order to terrorize a population further and hinder humanitarian rescue operations after a bombing, similar to how cluster bombs have been used in recent U.S. wars to extend the terrorizing of a population by blowing up children for months to come, and similar to “double taps” in the business of drone murder — the first missile or “tap” to kill, the second to kill any rescuer bringing aid. Delayed-fuse bombs go off some hours or days after landing, but only if they land the right way up. Otherwise they can go off some hours or days or weeks or months or years or decades or god-knows-when later.

Presumably this was understood at the time and intended.

So, that intention perhaps adds to the logic of my headline above. Perhaps the United States didn’t just intend to bomb Germany, but it intended 70 years ago to bomb Germany this year.

A bomb or two goes off every year, but the greatest concentration is in Oranienburg where thousands and thousands of bombs were dropped. The town has been making a concerted effort to find and eliminate the bombs. Hundreds may remain. When bombs are found, neighborhoods are evacuated. The bomb is disabled, or it is detonated. Even during the search for bombs, the government must damage houses as it drills test holes into the ground at evenly spaced intervals. Sometimes the government even tears down a house in order to conduct the search for bombs beneath it.

A U.S. pilot involved in this madness way back when says in the film that he thought about those under the bombs, but believed the war to be for the salvation of humanity, thus justifying anything. Now, he says, he can see no justification for war.

Also in the film, a U.S. veteran writes to the Mayor of Oranienburg and sends $100 to apologize. But the Mayor says there’s nothing to be sorry for, that the United States was only doing what it had to. Well, thanks for the codependency, Mr. Mayor. I’d love to get you on a talk show with Kurt Vonnegut’s ghost. Seriously, Germany’s guilt is immensely admirable and worthy of emulation in the guilt-free United States, which grotesquely imagines itself forever sinless. But these two extremes build on each other in a toxic relationship.

When imagining that you’ve justified a war involves imagining that you’ve thereby justified any and every atrocity in that war, the results are things like nuclear bombings and bombings so intense that a country remains covered with unexploded bombs at a time when almost nobody involved in the war is alive anymore. Germany should strengthen its peace-identity by shaking off its guilt-ridden subservience to the United States and putting an end to U.S. warmaking from bases on German soil. It should ask the U.S. military to get out and to take all of its bombs with it.

http://davidswanson.org/node/5134

The doctor who treated women raped by “Azov” fighters, died from a stroke in Mariupol

From Fort Russ

March 30, 2015
Varjag2007
Translated by Kristina Rus
 
A Mariupol doctor, who frequently treated women raped by soldiers of punitive battalions, died of a stroke.

“Kharkov” news agency has reported about atrocities by soldiers of punitive battalions stationed in Mariupol. Residents said that they live like under the occupation during the Great Patriotic War (WWII). The only difference is that back then it was the German invaders who went on a rampage, but now they are – Ukrainian.

Almost weekly raped and battered women are brought to the hospital.

Fortunately, Mariupol clinics have highly qualified doctors. They managed to save the lives and health of even those women who were not just raped, but abused in particularly brutal ways. For example, by filling the anus with construction foam. Such incidents shocked the staff of the clinics.

The facts of the atrocities of the punishers were confirmed by the “Kharkov” news agency and an employee of the Mariupol female penal colony, reporting that the soldiers from battalions stationed here are raping young female inmates.

Commanders of the battalion take 15-20 women under 35 from the 107th Azov female penal colony on a daily basis. The inmates are taken to their base, raped, and in the morning returned to the colony barely alive. Many of them had to be treated by Mariupol doctors.

The other day one of the doctors who saved the lives of the female victims died of a stroke, unable to cope with stress. To live and work in such conditions was a real trial.

KR: 

Mariupol is a largely pro-Russian city, which held a referendum in May 2014, like the areas of DPR and LPR, while Azov battalion is notoriously filled with those neo-nazis, russophobes and ultra-nationalists, who volunteered to go to war with Donbass on their own.

Azov is one of the battalions working with the U.S. military in upcoming training and war “games”.