Hussein Al-alak, The Iraq Solidarity Campaign (29 July 2007)
Since the US/UK invasion of 2003, the Iraqi people have been subjected to a sectarian divide, which has been thrust upon them by the occupation and the illegally imported “Iraqi Government”.
It is often said, that both sides have used the situation inside of the country, from thirteen years of the embargo to the so-called “liberation”, to justify the ethnic cleansing of Iraqi’s and the construction of so-called “security walls” around ethnically mixed neighbourhoods.
The Bishop of Mosul reported in 2006 that a “fourteen year old boy was crucified in the neighbourhood of Basra”, with other incidents including assaults and racially motivated attacks by Government workers, against Iraq’s Christian population.
It has also been reported by Asia News, that the Iranian backed Mehdi Army, have been threatening women into wearing the “veil”, with other news agencies reporting that Christians are also being made to pay extra taxation for their refusal to change religion, an occurrence which certainly did not take place under Saddam Hussain.
The opposition to such incidents have been few and far between inside of the West, with deathly silences from both the anti-war movement and governments, echoing as loudly as a thousand screaming voices.
The causes of this could partly be explained by allegations, that Iranian backed death squads may be operating inside of the United Kingdom, with the Stop the War Coalition having allowed such people as Sheikh Zagani, the foreign affairs spokesperson for Mehdi Army leader Moqtada al-Sadr, to speak at a 2006 anti-war demonstration, in front of an audience of 100,000 British people.
Other victims of “indiscriminate acts of violence” by sectarian death squads, include Iraq’s Palestinian community and people who are also suspected of being either lesbians or gay, with the Sadr and Badr militias boasting they are “cleansing Iraq of 'sexual perverts’”.
According to the Sunday Telegraph: “Iraqi police say the Palestinians….are the target of a backlash by hardline Shias, including members of the Mehdi Army led by Moqtada al-Sadr.”
Having been warned to “leave Iraq or face death”, more than 600 Palestinians are believed to have died at the hands of militias since the war began in 2003. According to reports, many bodies which have been claimed by families, have reported to the media to have been “tortured with electric drills before they died.”
Organisations, which have stood firm against such crimes include the Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq, who recently had their offices violated by American Troops.
Having shown a firm commitment to defending all Iraqi’s, irrespective of ethnicity and religion, “The occupation forces stole all the computers and then attacked AMSI officials”, along with wrecking furniture, files and other contents of the Associations building. The Scholars also claimed in their press release on the 21st July, that the occupation forces arrested those present in the offices, with wide spread condemnation for the attack, coming from both long time Iraq campaigners and the Arab League.
Speaking recently to Al-Jazeera, Dr. Sheikh Faydi, a spokesman for the Association declared, “we believe that this attack was intended to send a message to the strong anti-occupation groups during the raid at the headquarters of AMSI.” The Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq also pledged that they “will not change their policy toward ending the occupation.”
The disaster which is the “occupation“, has also been exposed once more as being the fatal floor of US/UK foreign policy, with Sam Dagher of the Christian Science monitor claiming on the 27/7/2007, that the regime of Maliki, is “appearing dangerously close to collapsing”, with many in the parliament “simply trying to keep the government from disintegrating”.
Western relations have also become further strained, with the appearance of what the US are describing as “fake documents”, which according to the Guardian (28/7/2007) claim that “Mr Maliki was an Iranian agent and had tipped off the radical Shia cleric, Moqtada al-Sadr, about a US crackdown on his Mehdi army militia.”
The mockery of shock, which has come from Arabic speaking Iraqi’s and not the Farsi speaking “Iranian Agent” in the Green zone, is that Al Sharqiyah reported in March 2007, about “hundreds of Al-Mehdi Army members who continue to receive training in the Kermanshah area of western Iran”.
It was also claimed in March that “Iranian Revolutionary Guard Intelligence Units have asked Al-Mehdi Army to establish a command-in-waiting that would include new elements that are not publicly known, while maintaining the central command of Al-Mehdi Army militia.”
The “Iranian Agent” has repeatedly declined to give official information on the movements of death squads within Iraq and Iran, the Iraqi authorities have also failed to protect Iraqi’s from Government backed militia’s and death squads, thus once more posing the question but directly to both the British and American Governments, whom exactly are your troops “protecting“?
The War Against Iraqi Women
Hussein Al-alak, The Iraq Solidarity Campaign (06 August 2007)
The present day situation is a continuation of “mediaeval traditions”, which is being enforced by the “civilised colonialists”, in a scene which was first described in 1982 by Suad Khari of the Iraqi Women’s League.
During the colonial occupation of Iraq, Dr. Khairi explained, “Under tribal laws the woman could be murdered and the murderer escape punishment”. “Women were “regarded as deficient human beings”.“Women suffered from the consequences of backwardness and dependency, and the cruelty of the mediaeval traditions that the “civilised” colonialists strove to maintain.”
Under the atmosphere of colonial repression, women also took an active role in resisting the presence of British troops, by taking arms to the rebels and actively protesting for the release of those captured.Women also took a leading role in resisting the ill treatment that was being forced upon them by the British occupation, along with mounting a direct challenge to the forced wearing of the veil and for a woman’s right to receive an education.
A story is often told, of one woman whose brother had been taken by the “British authorities“ and she confronted his captors. Throwing the “veil” into the air, this left her long hair flying loose, where she declared to the occupying power that she too, would fight for the freedom of Iraq.
For those uncertain of womens rights before the 2003 occupation, womens rights were enshrined within state law and women did participate fully within "Iraqi Society". One major gain was in the 1958 revolution, which brought to power Abdul Karim Qassim and Iraqi women did make regional history by having Naziha Dulaimi, the first-ever female cabinet minister, elected to an Arab government post.
The war against Iraqi women, did not start under the occupation but in truth, after the Gulf War and in the 1990's, when the “allies” under the auspices of the United Nations, saw the concept of the "Iraqi family" as being a pack of wild dogs in need of being destroyed.
This was demonstrated through the mass genocide of over one million children under the age of five, who lost their lives as a result of “embargo related causes“. Due to Sanctions, Iraq was unable to purchase items such as tampons, pencils, a variety of medication and life saving equipment.This was apparently down to the fact that the UN classed such items as being “Duel Use”, there for could allegedly be used in constructing “weapons of mass destruction“.
According to Sarah Flounders of the US based International Action Centre, items denied to the Iraqi people included; “batteries, X-ray machines, ambulances because they could be used in battles, computers and even enriched powdered milk, which supposedly could be used in germ warfare.”
“Many of the children killed by Sanctions died from diseases carried in impure drinking water." It was estimated before the Gulf War, the vast majority of Iraqi people did have access to potable drinking water, a health service that was described by the UN “as being the best in the region” and each child was guaranteed a free education.
Developing the water supply after the Gulf War, was made virtually impossible for the Iraqi Government, as Flounders points out; “Good drinking water needs pipes, pumps, filtration and chlorine. But Washington defines chlorine as a “Duel-Use” item, as it does the pipes that would be used to carry water.”
A study conducted by Harvard, discovered that after the Gulf War there had been a “fourfold increase in child mortality and a high incidence of health problems among women, including psychosomatic conditions such as sleeplessness and mental disorders.”
In the essay “Women: Honour and Shame“, Dr. Suha Omar described how there was also an increase in domestic violence, with “war traumatised conscripts” returning to Iraq, who “would take out their distress and anger on wives, daughters, mothers and sisters.”
In other words, “Women had to pick up the pieces” because the men were either mentally or physically damaged by the war, with the situation being exasperated by the “drastically worsened economic situation, as victims of the pauperisation of Iraqi society.”
Even Ahmed Chalabi was compelled to give an account of life under the Sanctions, where he described in 1994 to the “Iraqi Opposition“, “A journey through Iraqi countryside today would be a journey of horror through a wasteland of disease, hunger and war … In this rich land of oil and great agricultural potential, millions are subsisting on UN handouts.”
For over a decade now, the human rights of the Iraqi people have been treated by the West, as an “underhand and subversive” measure used by Saddam Hussein, to obtain the equipment to make imaginary “weapons“, which apparently are still being looked for, even though in 1997, a UN weapons inspector declared “Iraq had been disarmed.”
In 1919, Woodrow Wilson wrote how effective “sanctions” could be, with the process being a “peaceful, quiet and lethal remedy”, which “doesn’t take a single human life outside of the country exposed to the boycott, but instead subjects that country to a pressure that, in my view, no modern country can with stand.”
When Madeline Albright, then US secretary of state to Bill Clinton was asked on US television, wherever she believed the deaths of 6,000 Iraqi children a month, was an effective way to “contain” Saddam Hussain, her response was similar to those who now see death, destruction and the rape of women, as being “a price worth paying“, for “freedom and democracy“.
Hussein Al-alak, The Iraq Solidarity Campaign
(17 Aug 2007)
The study found that nearly a quarter of troops deployed for longer than 13 months in Iraq, had severe alcohol problems. Alcohol problems were less severe among those who served less than five months.
According to Combat Stress, the British military charity which is dedicated to helping soldiers suffering psychological problems, "the seemingly indefinite struggle in Iraq has created the greatest crisis of morale among British troops for decades."
Another study revealed that US troops returning from Iraq, have the highest rate of psychological problems compared to troops returning from other trouble spots.
One third of US troops returning from Iraq have needed at least one mental health consultation and one in five has been diagnosed with combat-induced psychological problems.
The Observer recently described an "exhausted and worn out" army, in the article "Fatigue cripples US army in Iraq" by Peter Beaumont.
Beaumont describes "young soldiers washed up like driftwood at Baghdad's international airport, waiting to go on leave or returning to their units, sleeping on their body armour on floors and in the dust."
The Association of Psychologists of Iraq, warned the Multi National Forces in 2005, how the violence in Iraq has led to a growth of mental illness among children and has produced a "fear of guns, bullets and death".
The Association also warned of other "fear" induced impediments, which are leaving children unable to attend school, form friendships etc, having witnessed gunmen "shooting my friends" or being too terrified of the threat of "kidnapping" and then sold into the sex trade.
Spokesman Mohammed Abdul for the Ministry of Education, told IRIN News (15/8/2007) that at least 125 children had been killed and 107 injured since 2005 in attacks on schools. These numbers do not include children killed or injured on their way to or from school.
Dr Fua’ad Azziz, a psychologist in Baghdad, said "Children have become prisoners", as a consequence of violence but has also warned that keeping them inside could seriously affect their development. "Children need to move, read, learn and play but today in Iraq such normal things might lead to death".
The violence has also begun to take its toll on how women in Iraq give birth, with media reports claiming that women are forced to deliver at home as a consequence of gun battles on the streets and suicide bombings, along with the fear of going into hospital.
According to the Iraq League, on August the 10th 2005, an eight-month pregnant Iraqi woman "fell victim to the indiscriminate shooting by the American forces in Mosul", where "she was shot several times in the stomach."
"Instead of rushing to help her as she fell into a pool of blood, they simply walked away," and it was "down to the family of the shot woman to pick her up and rush her to the nearest hospital."
Islam Online reported in December 2006, how death squads from Sadr City were financially "rewarding" medics, for giving over information relating to the "ethnicity" of patients, that "if you have those (Sunni) patients in the future just tell me and I will give you $300, just for that information."
One doctor recalled "a more fearful incident, when three militiamen walked into the hospital and, unchallenged by the security guards, demanded one of his patients by name."
"The family of another patient hid him and refused to hand him over. But the following day army members came and took him away, and said they were moving him to another hospital … Since then we haven’t heard anything from him."
"I found that many patients were dying with no cause.Most of them were well and ready to walk out of the hospital. Instead they left in wooden boxes," explained one doctor, whilst also claiming that other patients were being "murdered in their beds" and medical records were either being lost or altered.
A commentator recently posted a message, on one prominent Iraqi website and stated that, "If people are deluded enough to think that the situation with Post Traumatic Stress on both sides is bad now, then lets give it another ten, twenty and thirty years… Lets wait until children grow up and people grow old … Some will develop dementia, then lets watch as the "dead" return to haunt us all!"
As a result of nationalised oil, during the 1980’s the Iraqi regime led by Saddam Hussain had run literacy campaigns, which saw the decline of illiteracy, an anti-social disease drop to less than 10% of Iraq’s population. UNESCO applauded the fact that all Iraqi’s were able to access free education and come out with qualifications and employment on the other side.
It was stated at the 1998 anti-sanctions conference organised by the Fire Brigade Union in Britain, that “UNESCO said that Iraq was one of the only countries in the world where, even if you were born in absolute poverty, with illiterate parents you could come out of the education system either a brain surgeon, archaeologist or whatever you wished to become.”
Those dreams which the Iraqi people held for their children are gradually being destroyed, as conflict has closed down schools and predominantly non-Iraqi militias direct their envious hatred towards the teachers, children and students and anyone who qualified under the system of free education.
Instead, they are seeking to replace education, social consideration and cultural progress with a subservience to alcohol and drugs, with "violence, unemployment and poverty” leading to a dramatic “increase in alcohol abuse," according Younis Obeidi, a psychiatrist at the Ibn Rushd Hospital.
These claims have been backed up by Kamel Ali, head of the Iraqi Health Ministry’s drug and alcohol-prevention programme, who said that "The consumption of alcohol in Iraq has surprisingly increased in the past few months", with "Every day more patients looking for help as their addiction begins to seriously affect their personal lives."
"Iraq has one of the worst treatment and follow-up regimes for alcohol abusers in the Middle-East," Ali states, with staff shortages complicating the situation and denying patients access to consistent after care.
“The Iraqi Psychologists Association have said that a recent internal study conducted by doctors”, “in the past two months“ have claimed “the number of alcoholics in care has increased by 34 percent compared to the figure for June 2006” but due to a lack of funding, has prevented the study from being published and made widely available.
Drugs have also become an alternative to the squalor of poverty, which last year was stated at being around 2 million people “living below the poverty line“ but has grown in recent months. It has been repeatedly warned that widows in Iraq, have also been forced to separate families as a consequence of war induced poverty, with others turning to the sex trade in the effort of trying to make ends meet.
On May 12th 2005, the United Nations organization which monitors drug trafficking announced that Iraq “is about to become a transit station for transporting the heroine, which is manufactured in Afghanistan and is heading towards Europe through neighbouring Iran“.
Having been made homeless due to sectarian violence and left unemployed, Abu Teif turned to the selling of drugs to “support his family - three children and a handicapped wife”, whose disability was caused by militants shooting her “for not wearing a veil”.
"At the beginning it was like a miracle. It was easy work and I had a lot of clients and to be frank, I didn't even know the effect of the drugs.” Claimed Abu Teif in the interview "I sell drugs to feed my family" and published by IRIN News.“I learned what the effect could be only after an addict tried to kill me to get heroin."
“I started to see food in my home again. My grandchildren also started eating well and my wife was able to get proper treatment for her leg, but those glorious days soon ended”, when the drug dealers started to extort more money from him and then threatened to kill his wife and family if he tried to escape the drugs trade.
"I don't know how to escape this life“ Abu Teif states, “If I try to run away with my family they will find me”, his words echoing the same fears as those fleeing death squads but this time it's drug dealers, “I started to do wrong [selling drugs] and now I'm paying the price."
Hussein Al-alak (09 Nov 2007)
The opportunism of those who ran to the British and Americans in 1991, were those who saw the systematic murder of 1.5 million children due to sanctions, as being the "price worth paying", to insure that Saddam Hussain was unable to build their imaginary Weapons of Mass Destruction.
For everyone who knows Iraq and remembers the suffering of the Iraqi people, they will remember the Harvard Study, which was conducted after the first Gulf War and they will remember that it exposed the "fourfold increase in child mortality and a high incidence of health problems among women, including psychosomatic conditions such as sleeplessness and mental disorders."
In the essay "Women: Honour and Shame", Dr. Suha Omar described how after the Gulf War, there was an increase in domestic violence, with "war traumatised conscripts" returning to Iraq, who "would take out their distress and anger on wives, daughters, mothers and sisters."
In other words, "Women had to pick up the pieces" because the men were either mentally or physically damaged by the war, with the situation being exasperated by the "drastically worsened economic situation, as victims of the pauperisation of Iraqi society."
Since the first Gulf War, the human rights of the Iraqi people have been treated by the West, as an "underhand and subversive" measure by Saddam Hussein, to obtain the equipment to make the alleged "weapons", which has been claimed are still being looked for by the discredited occupying governments, even though in 1997, one UN weapons inspector declared "Iraq had been disarmed."
It will come as no surprise, that with the horrors brought into Iraq, the Association of Psychologists of Iraq did warn about the damage which has been caused to Iraq’s children, with a growth in "learning" and other "impediments", having been brought on by the fear of guns, bullets, death and a general "fear of the US occupation."
A justified fear, which one child described to IRIN on the 9/1/2007, that "I am 10 years old but I have not been to school for the past three years because I'm scared of the killings taking place in Iraq. Many of my friends have either been kidnapped or killed."
In the same "Id rather be illiterate" article, IRIN also exposed how "Attacks and kidnapping in schools have made parents afraid that the next victims would be their children. So they prefer to let them not have a proper education until the situation improves. Others require their children to start working early because poverty has risen and their [financial] help has become more important."
The cycle of violence which has been imposed upon Iraq and could possibly be passed down to a new generation, was exposed by the Wall Street Journal, who reported earlier in the year, how a child as young as five, was allowed to go on patrol with Al-Sadr’s Mehdi Army.
With a five year old whose "clothes were all black, the favourite attire of the militia. He introduced himself as a commander, shouted the incantation "God is greater" and warned Sunni Muslims not to fight back. With that, he raised his plastic pistol."
And so lo and behold, Iraqis fleeing this violence are in need of help, to deal with the real life effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which has been thrust upon them, as a result of the unaccounted for lies, of the "Parliament" in the US protected Green zone.
For those seeking refuge in Jordan, one news outlet recently reported how an aid agency, claimed that the kingdom "lacked the capacity to treat the increasing number of Iraqi refugees with mental health symptoms."
According to the UNHCR, "there are an estimated 750,000 Iraqi refugees in Jordan alone, accounting for more than 10 percent of the population. In addition to the Palestinians, this means Jordan now hosts the largest number of refugees, per capita, of any country in the world."
"At present, there are only two psychiatric hospitals in Jordan: a public one in Fuheis town, 18km west of the capital, Amman, and the al-Rashid hospital in Amman, which charges fees that Iraqi refugees cannot afford, according to local NGOs."
According to counsellors at the CARE centre, "many disorders in Jordan relate to gender based violence (GBV) among Iraqi refugees. "There are many Iraqi refugees living in Jordan under extremely poor conditions, a situation that can lead a frustrated husband who cannot find a job to beat his wife."
"Also prevalent is Post Traumatic Symptom Disorder (PTSD), affecting men, women and children, who were exposed to torture or witnessed the killing of a family member."
One example given was of a child who witnessed his "father’s murder while driving with him and has since developed PTSD. According to counsellors, the child keeps drawing graves with his father’s face on it, as well as red and black cars", which represent the colours of both his fathers and the killers vehicles.
Yet, the Iranian backed murderers, who the United States and Britain’s Governments continue to support were according to Radio Sawa, supposed to have "allocated $125 M to displaced Iraqis inside and outside of the country," but "no one has received a [cent]" from the money that was supposed to have been paid out six months ago, according to Sallama al-Khafaji, an advisor to Nouri Al-Maliki, the alleged Prime Minister of Iraq.
It would come as no surprise,
if an entire generation of Iraqi boys were born to bear the
name of Caesar Saadi Al-Jibouri, the Iraqi soldier who
recently killed three American soldiers after seeing them
kicking down the door of a house in Mosul and assaulting a
Angered by the actions, it has been reported that Caesar opened fire on the US troops and killed two soldiers and a captain but now, like many other Iraqi’s in the “democratic” country, Caesar is languishing in a Government prison, although his actions have not gone unnoticed.
The Lebanese newspaper Al-akhbar have reported, that in the streets of Mosul, graffiti has appeared on walls proclaiming “Well done Caesar!” with groups also distributing leaflets sending their greetings and congratulations to the Iraqi soldier.
Praise has also been given by the Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq, claiming that Caesar is a “hero” and have called upon the Iraqi police force and Army to look upon his response to repression as being that of a “role model”.
But what is rarely debated within the West, is where such reactions do come from and undoubtedly some will claim this is an “isolated incident” and bares no connection to the fact, that inside of Iraq, there currently exists a minimum of five million orphaned children.
Unlike the empty promises and false allegations of Western leaders, the killing of the US soldiers was a direct response to the death, destruction and misery which the US and UK have brought with them to Iraq but more importantly, it was an act of defence and a reflection of the reality which Al-Jibouri and millions of Iraqis are facing daily.
The British and American governments have ignored the repeated warnings, which have been given to them, such as those by the Independents 23/6/2005 State of the Nation report, which stated that “more young people today are illiterate in Iraq than in previous generations,” and that “Almost a quarter of children between the ages of six months and five years suffer from malnutrition.”
The West also fell silent to the Association of Iraqi Psychologists, who also announced in 2005 that there had been an increase in learning impediments, brought on by the fear of guns, bullets, death and a general “fear of the US occupation.”
Whilst the world cheered the murder of Saddam Hussein, the Iraq Solidarity Campaign published several article’s in Feb 2006 which stated that around two million Iraqi families were living below the poverty line, with many “war widows being forced to separate their families“ and with poverty growing to such a degree, consistent reports have left the country of people being forced to eat out of rubbish dumps.
In post invasion Iraq, there are families who through fear and the economic situation who are actually selling their children, with the hope that somebody may be able to provide these traumatised kids with a semblance of stability, whilst other people are turning to alcohol, drugs and prostitution, as a financial alternative to the forced separation of families.
But with over one million dead and millions displaced, normality for Iraq’s children is highly unlikely, when you also consider the fact that nearly 400,000 of these children, are suffering from a condition called “wasting”, which is characterised by chronic diarrhoea and high deficiencies of protein.
Even as refugees there has been no escape, with the aid agency CARE International reporting last year, that “many disorders in Jordan relate to gender based violence among Iraqi refugees. "There are many Iraqi refugees living in Jordan under extremely poor conditions, a situation that can lead a frustrated husband who cannot find a job to beat his wife."
“Also prevalent is Post Traumatic Symptom Disorder (PTSD), affecting men, women and children, who were exposed to torture or witnessed the killing of a family member.”
One example given by the charity was of a child who witnessed his “father’s murder while driving with him and has since developed PTSD. According to counsellors, the child keeps drawing graves with his father’s face on it, as well as red and black cars”, which represent the colours of both his fathers and the killers vehicles.
The situation for the Iraqi people, is likely to deteriorate further, as the dictatorship of Nouri Al-Maliki is preparing to cut the already meagre rationing system and will render the majority of Iraqi families into further poverty and destitution, in an oil rich country which is already impoverished and destitute.
Such cuts to the food rationing system will only increase the difficulties and tensions facing the population, as one health worker told Dahr Jamail of the International Press Service last month: "I and my wife have five boys and six girls so the ration costs a lot when it has to be bought. I cannot afford food and other expenses like study, clothes and doctors."
The most deprived layers of Iraqi society are also going to face the prospect of malnutrition and outright starvation, with one mother telling Al Jazeerah: "If they reduce the quantity of the ration, we will be displaced [made homeless] as the money to pay bills will have to be used for food. If we are considered a poor family today, tomorrow we will be considered absolutely desperate."
It is most probable with these reasons, why Caesar Saadi would have pulled the trigger, which killed the illegally occupying US soldiers and their Captain but unlike the US soldiers who were found guilty of the Abu Ghraib “scandal”, I doubt Caesar will receive a slap on the wrists and a few months in a comfortable prison cell. For his actions, I am sure we will hear families shouting the name “Caesar” throughout the streets of Iraq.
Hussein Al-Alak, The London Progressive Journal
In January 2007, the Iraq Solidarity Campaign informed the international community about the damage which the growth of poverty has caused to the children of Iraq, through the muc- publicised paper "Western Civilisation - The Unspoken Fate of Iraqi Children".
The report, which was published by a wide variety of publications including the Morning Star, the UN Observer, Palestine Chronicle and the Global Research Institute, reported that the increase in poverty since the 2003 invasion has resulted in the growth in the child sex trade, the forced separation of families, an increase in drug and alcohol abuse. Psychiatrists have also highlighted the effect of the ubiquitous violence on the school attendance rates and performance, referred to in the report as "learning impediments".
The report also found that 400,000 of Iraq’s children are also suffering from a condition called “wasting”, which is characterised by chronic diarrhoea and high deficiencies of protein. However, the conduct of the US-backed government of Iraq has sunk to a new low, with news that the regime of Jalal Talabani and Nouri Al-Maliki, who are not satisfied with the murder of one million Iraqis since the occupation began, now plan to starve the rest by eliminating Iraq’s already meagre ration service by June 2008.
The ration system was first established during the 1990s to combat the widespread poverty which had resulted from the UN Sanctions, in a British and American backed blockade which saw the murder of an estimated 1.5 million children due to “embargo related causes”. The 6,000 children lost per month was viewed by America’s Madeline Albright as being a “price worth paying“.
Whilst the country was ruled by Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath Party, the United Nations themselves praised Iraq’s ration system as being “the world’s largest and most effective relief effort” and even in the face of invasion, the “tyrannical” Iraqi President “ruthlessly” provided his population with an advanced six months' supply but now the “independent” Iraqi government have decided to end the system, which has saved millions from starvation, on the grounds that the closure is “in line with the obligations it has made to the World Bank“.
Some analysts say that millions of Iraqis will be affected, particularly families with no bread winners, as well as women, the unemployed and children. It is also believed that Iraq is going to lose control of its own inflation and that the people are therefore going to experience a price increase in food, fuel and other daily essentials.
In other words, British and American Troops who are based in Iraq at the “invitation” of the Iraqi Government are going to be made to shoot their bullets at, and kick down the doors of, an increasingly starving population. Is this what being against Saddam or Al-Qaida now means?
The news has come as a shock to both campaigners and Iraqi families, in the face of recent allegations by one Arab newspaper, which recently revealed that Iraqi MP’s were being offered five million dollars each, to vote in favour of the privatisation of Iraq’s nationalised oil. It was further revealed that monies brought in from oil revenues were not even going towards the so-called ”reconstruction” of democratic Iraq.
But campaigners, led by the Iraq Solidarity Campaign (ISC), have sworn that plans to eliminate this essential service will not go unopposed in either the Middle East or the West, and have already begun to mount a challenge to the Iraqi regime and the US/British occupying powers, in a direct challenge which is already gathering momentum.
Within twenty-four hours of launching the campaign, the international petition “Act Against Iraq Poverty”, addressed to the governments of Iraq, Britain and America, has been endorsed by a variety of political parties and personalities. The ISC demand that the ration service be maintained and be developed to provide for the needs of Iraqi families.
Already the petition has been signed by many political organisations including the Communist Party of Britain’s Somerset Branch, RESPECT (renewal), a Liberal Democrat councillor, the Polish Labour Party, the Pakistan Peoples Party, the Australian Socialist Alliance, the US Party for Socialism and Liberation, the Massachusetts Green Party. Even some members of the Democratic and Republican parties in the US have endorsed it.
This is alongside the National Revival and Sovereignty Movement of Russia, the Iraq Solidarity Association in Stockholm, the Uruknet Association in Italy, and the former Scottish MSP Tommy Sheridan’s Socialist Solidarity Party in Scotland.
The breadth of international support from campaigners has also come from as far afield as Palestine, Jordan, Iraq, Mexico, Sweden, Thailand, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Sri Lanka, the UK and Venezuela, each with a crystal clear message to the occupying governments and their stooges; “If you don't shoot or torture your victims, you starve them to death. Shame on you!”
One supporter from the United Kingdom wrote, “I add my name to those who urge the UN, the British and Americans, to continue the rationing program in Iraq and stop the abuses aimed at hungry Iraqis!” with Ian Douglas from Cairo asking Bush, Brown, Maliki and Talabani, “What is a government that starves the people?”
Comments to the occupiers from US citizens have also included “Over a million slaughtered, millions of widows and orphans, millions of refugees - and now the dirty occupiers want to snatch the bread from the mouths of the living - stop this genocide of the defenceless Iraqi people.” As others have stated on the petition, the occupying powers need to pay the Iraqi people reparations for the damages and trauma caused by the illegal invasion in 2003. There have been other demands for an independent commission to be established and see to the perpetrators of the war and invasion be tried as war criminals.
The international campaign against the elimination of the rations has been established against the backdrop of the seriousness that ending the service will cause to the Iraqi people, as one health worker recently told Dahr Jamail of the International Press Service: "I and my wife have five boys and six girls so the ration costs a lot when it has to be bought. I cannot afford food and other expenses like study, clothes and doctors."
But as one woman recently said to Al-Jazeera, "If they reduce the quantity of the ration, we will be displaced [made homeless] as the money to pay bills will have to be used for food. If we are considered a poor family today, tomorrow we will be considered absolutely desperate."
To sign the international petition please follow the link:
Hussein Al-Alak is Chairman of the Iraq Solidarity Campaign.
We are making this call, in response to the outcry by the Iraqi media, which has informed the international community, that the regime of Jalal Talabani, The Dawa Party and SCII, plan to eliminate the food rations by June of 2008, a system which was first put in place under the UN Sanctions and have since helped to save millions of Iraqi’s from starvation.
Under the rule of Al Ba’ath Party, the United Nations praised the ration system as being “the world’s largest and most effective relief effort” but since the introduction of the US protected death squads in 2003, the Iraqi peoples welfare has been subjected to corruption, hatred, abuse and a deluded form of vengeance.
The Iraq Solidarity Campaign has repeatedly warned both Iraqi and Western governments about the growth of poverty in Iraq (see some examples below!), along with the effects which have been brought with it, such as the increase in malnutrition, prostitution, substance abuse and people searching for food from rubbish dumps.
We are asking that people consider the seriousness of these cuts and through dignified and peaceful methods mobilise human rights and political organisations, to force the regime and their allies in the fortified Green Zone to change its direction and maintain the ration service.
Sign our new International Petition!
Some examples of poverty in Iraq!
Half of Iraq 'in absolute poverty' by Al-Jazeera
AMSI Humanitarian Assistances by the Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq
Iraq: Hail Caesar? by Hussein Al-alak
Iraq: Hearts and Minds by Hussein Al-alak
Between Dealers and Death Squads by Hussein Al-alak
Western civilisation? by Hussein Al-alak
For those in the UK, Europe and America, please direct your protests to:
The Prime Minister
10 Downing Street,
You can also fax the Prime Minister on 020 7925 0918. (From outside the UK, the number is +442079250918)
Contact Your Member of Parliament
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street, London SW1A 2AH
Main switchboard: 020 7008 1500
MOD Ministerial Correspondence Unit
5th Floor, Zone A
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Hussein Al-Alak, Friday 25 April 2008.
There is a war against Iraq’s Christians taking place, at the behest of two allegedly Christ-loving regimes and one supposed Islamic government, with one commonality being their need to hide behind the walls of Jericho to carry out the persecution of men, women and children.
How else can any one describe the systematic ethnic cleansing of Iraq’s Christians, who were born and raised in the land between two rivers, the land which gave birth to the founder of the three major religions and whose lineage of Judaism, Christianity and Islam is now the land which being destroyed at the hands of “god fearing” heathens.
It has been five years and still silence is the golden fleece for Britain and America. They have chosen to ignore the murders - the beheadings, the attacks, the forced displacement and increases in taxation upon the Christians for refusing to convert, the intimidation by militias upon women for not wearing a headscarf .
Most Christians in Iraq are Chaldeans, members of an Eastern Rite denomination that recognizes the pope's authority. Other sizable denominations include the Assyrian Catholic Church, which traces its roots to the 1st century. Iraqi Christians are also affiliated with the Church of the East, the Anglican Church and other Protestant faiths. Pope Benedict XVI and President Bush said that in a meeting last week they discussed the "precarious state" of Christian communities in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East.
The Bishop of Mosul reported in 2006 that a “fourteen year old boy was crucified in Al Basra” and how members of the US/UK trained Iraqi Police forces, have assaulted “civilian passers-by with anti-Christian and racist slurs” - grotesque acts which apparently Britain takes seriously within its own borders, when addressing “institutional racism” in the police force and cases relating to honour killings against its own civilians.
But how the West has turned the other cheek, when Paulos Iskandar the Syriac-Orhtodox priest was beheaded in October 2006, and how they failed to act when reports emerged from Iraqi newspaper Azzaman, when they reported that US troops were taking over churches and using them for military purposes, with over fifty percent of Iraq’s Christians having believed to have already fled.
In March this year, Paulos Faraj Rahho, archbishop of Mosul's Chaldean community, was found dead after being abducted. This month, Youssef Adel, an Assyrian Orthodox priest, was fatally shot in a drive-by attack in Karrada, one of Baghdad's safest neighbourhoods and home to Abdal's Holy Catholic Assyrian Church
Let's not forget the looting of churches, the bomb attacks carried out against congregations. Let's remember the priests, decons and other members of the Christian Church who have become the victims of sectarian kidnappings, and how militias have taken their hatred of a multi-national society and left their victims' heads on the doorsteps of God's holy “house“.
The Western response has been typically quiet, and in an effort to be emphasise its multi-cultural credentials, the Socialist Worker reported how the, “highlight” of one Stop the War Coalition demonstration in “Red” Ken Livingston’s London was Sheikh Zagani, foreign affairs spokesperson for Moqtada al-Sadr, who under the noses of New Labour, MI5, MI6 and the Foreign Office announced to 100,000 non-Burkha-wearing British people that, “We are the voice of humanity,” but failed to mention the murders of Christians, Palestinians, Shiite, Sunni, the destruction of ancient sites, the collapse of the health service, the murder of academics, and growing illiteracy.
Asia News has also reported that the Iranian-backed Mehdi Army death squads, have been threatening women into the forced wearing of the “veil”, with IRIN reporting how the Mehdi have also been responsible for the “hunting” down of women for “religious reasons or because they had criticised the militants” or, as one resident put it, "They accuse them [the women victims] of different things such as prostitution, or of being informants for Iraqi and US forces, or of not wearing a headscarf or for wearing Western clothes,"
Al-Sadr’s forces have also been responsible for the murders of homosexuals, which they claim to be “sexual perverts”, along with having murdered members of Iraq’s Palestinians community. Unlike the Mehdi Army, which was brought to Iraq in 2003, the Palestinian community has been resident in the country since the creation of the state of Israel.
It is perhaps hardly surprising that the US and UK should fail to act upon the plight of the Christians, when most people in “liberated” Britain don’t even know that under Saddam Hussain, the various religions were celebrated and not persecuted, and that many in the US still think that Saddam was behind the 9/11 twin towers attack.
At present, Iraq’s Christians are one of the few communities left which do not have their own army to protect themselves, something that maybe the Christian community should consider as being essential, if only to assist and save the lives of religious minorities against slaughter in present-day Iraq.
Hussein Al-Alak is Chairman of the Iraq Solidarity Campaign.
Would someone be so kind and please explain why the Indymedia UK website has taken down the following article: "Iraqi artists and singers flee amid crackdown on forbidden culture" by Afif Sarhan in Baghdad and Caroline Davies.
The article is about the persecution of artists in Iraq and the cultural cleansing by sectarian death squads, with death threats and killings being directed against actors, singers and painters and even includes a paragraph about how one person was even beheaded for his trade.
The article was first published by the national Observer newspaper on May 11th 2008 and has also been carried by highly respected online Middle Eastern sites including Uruknet and Iraqi Solidarity News (Al-Thawra) but yet, the article has been taken off Indymedia, by what appears to be a member of the Indymedia Collective.
What is worrying, is that Indymedia claims to be an "independent" media outlet and is allegedly run by radicals, leftists and members of the British anti-war movement but quite possibly, anti-Arab (anti-Semitic) sentiments maybe prevalent if the person who removed the article cannot cope with statements such as "Culture was encouraged under Saddam, but not anymore".
It maybe the case that the authors of the article should not have mentioned the fact that until the invasion of Iraq, the country did have a thriving culture or that "Cinemas, art galleries, theatres, and concert halls are being destroyed in grenade and mortar attacks in Basra and Baghdad", but the question that comes to mind is why the plight of the Iraqi people is being censored by the British anti-war movement .
"According to the Iraqi Artists' Association, at least 115 singers and 65 actors have been killed since the US-led invasion, as well as 60 painters. But the terror campaign has escalated in recent months as both Shia and Sunni extremists grow ever bolder in enforcing religious restrictions on the citizens of Iraq."
It appears though, that in Great Britain it has become advisable to not mention the destruction of Babylon by the occupying forces, the growing illiteracy among Iraqi children or the killings of those in the arts because clearly, in a "democracy" your words may just be censored.
Hussein Al-alak, The Iraq Solidarity Campaign (11 March 2010)
It was Karl Marx who stated that men make history but not in circumstances of their choosing and if men are the ones who make history, then we need to have a serious debate about the contributions that women are making, especially when women are forced into action by circumstances not of their choosing. This debate has got to include just how far the occupation of Iraq is willing to turn the clocks back, on the rights and civil liberties of women in Iraq, where the displacement, poverty, the imprisonment and forced separation of families have become the weapons of choice to both humiliate and control Iraq’s female population.
The current situation faced by Iraqi women is a continuation of a “mediaeval tradition”, which is being enforced by “civilised colonialists”, a scene which is reminiscent of a description of life under the first British rule of Iraq in the 1920‘s, where Suad Khairi, in her 1982 essay explained that “under tribal laws women could be murdered and the murderer escape punishment”, with British colonialism seeing women as “deficient human beings”. Under the atmosphere of colonial repression, where “women suffered from the consequences of backwardness and dependency which the “colonialists strove to maintain”, Iraq’s women rallied to the cry of their nation and took an active lead in resisting the presence of foreign troops, by taking part in military campaigns and actively protesting for the release of Prisoners of War.
As early as the 1920’s, Iraqi women also took a leading role in resisting the ill treatment that was being forced upon them in the home, by mounting a direct challenge to the forced wearing of the veil and resisting the status quo by demanding a woman’s right to education. A story is often told, of a female Iraqi freedom fighter whose brother had been taken by the British authorities and confronting his captors, threw the veil into the air, and with her long hair flying loose, declared to the occupying power that she too, would fight for the freedom of Iraq. The traditions of resisting colonialism made history inside of the Middle East, when the revolution of 1958, finally saw the end of the British puppet regime of Nouri Saad and the birth of the new Iraqi republic, led by General Abdul Karrim Qassim.
Iraqi women started to write their own history when Naziha Dulaimi, the first-ever female cabinet minister was elected to a government post. Whilst progress continued to be made inside of Iraq, from 1958 Iraqi women saw many revolutionary changes in both the laws and their social standing, including the introduction of the personal status law, which allowed a women an equal share in property if ever she divorced. Women also saw advancements in career prospects, as a result of the nationalisation of the oil industry, which according to UNESCO “Iraq was one of the only countries in the world where, even if you were born in absolute poverty, with illiterate parents you could come out of the education system either a brain surgeon, archaeologist or whatever you wished to become."
Throughout the 1980’s, when women lost male relatives during the eight year war with Iran, female dependents were given recognition by the state, where even the Iraqi opposition welcomed provisions such as debt cancellation, land, secure homes, widows pensions and other necessities which were given to prevent women from falling into the poverty trap but such measures, also allowed Iraqi women to maintain their own independence as bread winners for the family. During the Iraq/Iran war, women also took a great leap forward, where similar to the British land girls in World War Two, Iraqi women took over the professional roles in society as a result of men being in the front line of combat. In effect women became the doctors, the architects, teachers, the engineers; infact they became the engineers and architects of Iraqi society itself.
The war against Iraqi women, did not start under the occupation of 2003 but infact began after the first Gulf War and through out the 1990's, until the Coalition forces of George Bush, Tony Blair and Ahmed Chalabi decided to invade, under the pretexts of liberating Iraq. The start of the Gendercide against Iraqi women, was demonstrated through the mass murder of over one million children, who lost their lives as a result of the UN imposed Sanctions, which also left Iraq unable to purchase basic items including tampons, pencils and medications such as Asthma inhalers. According to the UN, preventing items like pencils from entering Iraq was because the graphite was categorised as “Duel Use”, therefore it could allegedly be used in constructing Saddam’s “weapons of mass destruction“.
Sarah Flounders, author of De-Linking Sanctions stated in 1997, that other items denied to the Iraqi people included; “batteries, X-ray machines, ambulances because they could be used in battle and enriched baby powdered milk,” which supposedly could be used in germ warfare. As Flounders also stated “many of the children killed by Sanctions died from diseases carried by impure drinking water", when before the first Gulf War, the vast majority of Iraqi people did have access to potable drinking water but “good drinking water needs pipes, pumps, filtration and chlorine. But Washington defines chlorine as a “Duel-Use” item, as it does the pipes that would be used to carry water.”
A study conducted by Harvard, discovered that after the Gulf War there had been a “fourfold increase in child mortality and a high incidence of health problems among women, including psychosomatic conditions such as sleeplessness and mental disorders.” In the early 1990’s Dr. Suha Omar also described how there was a dramatic increase in domestic violence, with “traumatised conscripts” returning to Iraq, who “would take out their distress and anger on wives, daughters, mothers and sisters.” In other words, “Women had to pick up the pieces” because the men were either mentally or physically damaged by the war, with the situation being exacerbated by the “drastically worsened economic situation, as victims of the pauperisation of Iraqi society.”
Andy Kershaw of the Independent described in the 2001 article A Chamber of Horrors, how a woman’s reproductive system had also become a victim of gendercide, where through the use of Depleted Uranium in the 1991 Gulf War, Iraqi women were giving birth to "congenital anomalies", where even at the authors own admission “were head-spinningly grotesque”. Through the use of Depleted Uranium, which has recently hit the headlines again in Britain, in 2001 the Basra Maternity and Children's Hospital showed the Independent how Iraqi children were being born, “with only half a head and nothing above the eyes“…“Then there was a head with legs, babies without genitalia, a little girl born with her brain outside her skull and the whatever-it-was whose eyes were below the level of its nose.”
Even though in 1997, a UN weapons inspector declared “Iraq had been disarmed” in 1919, Woodrow Wilson described how effective “sanctions” could be, with the process being a “peaceful, quiet and lethal remedy”, which “doesn’t take a single human life outside of the country exposed to the boycott, but instead subjects that country to a pressure that, in my view, no modern country can with stand.” When Madeline Albright, then US secretary of state to Bill Clinton was asked on US television in 1996, wherever she believed the deaths of 6,000 Iraqi children per month, was an effective way to “contain” Saddam Hussain, her response was the same as those, who now see death, destruction and the full scale terror of Iraqi women, as being “a price worth paying“.
Also read Women’s rights are still the issue! by Hussein Al-alak which was published by Uruknet on November 13th 2009.