Sunday, July 10, 2005

So, tell me again, who are the Bad Guys?

In the wake of the leaked British memo describing a possible UK/US partial withdrawal from Iraq, I thought I'd give a short recap of the "good guys" that will be taking over security duties. 1) For starters, there is the Kurdish Peshmerga and related militia who have been accused of sectarian-based murder and torture. The Kurds were brutalized by Saddam Hussein in a deliberate campaign to marginalize them in the oil-rich region around Kirkuk. According to a Human Rights Watch report, the initial Kurdish response in post-Saddam Iraq was to abuse Iraqi Arabs in a similar fashion. This outburst of violence was quelled but soon erupted again, this time also involving the other sizable Kirkuk minority group, the Turkomen. As it stands today, the Kurds, Turkomen and Iraqi Arabs have avoided flat-out civil war but as this May 23rd, 2005 article in USA Today states, 'In January, four Kurds were dragged into the street in Hawija, a mostly Arab town 20 miles southwest of Kirkuk, and shot to death. Then in March, an Arab police major and three officers were killed in Kirkuk by a roadside bomb during a funeral procession for a fellow officer who was killed the day before by another roadside bomb. The Iraqi Institute for Human Rights in Kirkuk, an independent group, has documented more than 300 cases of vanished Arabs during the past two months. "Every day, someone is in here complaining about it," says Jalal Ibrahim, deputy director of the institute. Armed Kurdish militia, called peshmerga, or "those who face death," still patrol the streets in pickups. Other members of the militia have joined the local police.' You may notice that USA Today (not my favorite media source btw) tries to put a positive spin on the story but even they can't make death squads sound good. 2) The Mehdi militia. I can't find much current info except for this article from The Guardian stating that some have joined the Basra police force. Moqtada al-Sadr is obviously still an important figure. 3) The Badr Brigade. This Iranian-trained militia has been targeting Sunni religious figures. The above link and this one also contain some information on this group. There has been a good deal of speculation that the Badr Brigade has been killing ordinary Sunnis as a possible prelude to civil war. 4) The Iraqi Ministry of the Interior. Really not good. There are rather graphic descriptions in this link. The human rights abuses may not reach the volume of Saddam Hussein's regime but the techniques appear to be the same. With friends like these . . . Technorati tags: , , ,

2 Comments:

Blogger Jeff Huber said...

Yet another aspect of the folly of invading, occupying, and attempting to "rebuild" another nation.

If you have to go abroad to meet people like that, you're better off staying at home.

Jeff

7/11/2005 06:47:00 AM  
Blogger Tarantula Lady said...

I wonder if Iraq will splinter into three sections: 1) a brutal Sunni dictator in the South; 2) a Shiite theocracy in the East; and 3)a Kurdish state in the northwest that's completely despised by its neighbors -- Turkey, Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, etc. A second Israel, in other words. That way, we can have worst of all possible outcomes (insert smiley denoting weary cynicism).

Karen

7/11/2005 07:13:00 PM  

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