The destruction of Iraq’s education.


Dirk Adriaensens (Member of the BRussells Tribunal Executive Committee, June 2008)

Order a copy of CULTURAL CLEANSING IN IRAQ for £13.49 - click here.

"The Education system in Iraq, prior to 1991, was one of the best in the region; with over 100% Gross Enrolment Rate for primary schooling and high levels of literacy, both of men and women. The Higher Education, especially the scientific and technological institutions, were of an international standard, staffed by high quality personnel". (UNESCO Fact Sheet, March 28, 2003)[1].


Occupation and destruction of educational institutes 

As a result of U.S. ongoing Occupation of Iraq, today Iraq is more illiterate than it was five or a twenty-five years ago, because the U.S. Administration and U.S. forces occupying Iraq began to root and destroy every aspect of Iraq’s education.

Iraqi educational system was the target of U.S. military action, because education is the backbone of any society. Without an efficient education system, no society can function. Iraqi schools and universities were bombed and destroyed.


The director[2] of the United Nations University International Leadership Institute has published a report[3] on 27 April 2005 detailing that since the start of the war of 2003 some 84% of Iraq's higher education institutions have been burnt, looted or destroyed.

Like most higher education institutions across Iraq, Baghdad University escaped almost unscathed from the bombing. In the subsequent looting and burning, 20 of the capital's colleges were destroyed. No institution escaped: the faculty of education in Waziriyya was raided daily for two weeks; the veterinary college in Abu Ghraib lost all its equipment; two buildings in the faculty of fine arts stand smoke-blackened against the skyline. In every college, in every classroom, you could write "education" in the dust on the tables. [4]

Ongoing violence has destroyed school buildings and around a quarter of all Iraq’s primary schools need major rehabilitation. Since March 2003, more than 700 primary schools have been bombed, 200 have been burnt and over 3,000 looted.[5]

Between March 2003 and October 2008, 31,598 violent attacks against educational institutions were reported in Iraq, according to the Ministry of Education (MoE).508

Occupying schools.

it certainly is our policy to not establish military headquarters or other operations in protected areas under the Geneva Convention," said Lt. Col. Gary Keck, a spokesman for the Department of Defense in Washington, when a journalist asked why the US army occupied a girls’ and boys’ school of a town in northern Iraq.[6]


At a UN press briefings in Amman on 30 April 2003, the question was asked:”  Do you know  of any other schools that are still occupied & would you ask them of making a point to stay away from the schools, so they can be rehabilitated?”


Answer: S. Ingram: I am not aware of any other places that this situation holds. I remember the incident you referred to, there was a school in the north & some contacts were necessary to persuade the US troops there to leave the premises, which the subsequently did. I am not aware of any other places were schools are being occupied.[7]


A clever answer: “I’m not aware”. Because occupying schools is exactly what the US Army did (and still do) on a regular basis. I heard and read numerous stories of Iraqi protests after US Forces occupied schools and educational institutions.


The origins of armed resistance in Fallujah f.i. can be traced almost precisely to April 28, 2003, when U.S. troops, who had arrived in the city five days earlier, massacred 17 apparently unarmed protesters. The April 28 protest had demanded an end to Fallujah’s occupation and, more specifically, that U.S. troops vacate the al Qaid primary school, where classes had been scheduled to resume on April 29.[8]


And it is still continuing. On the 29th of February 2008, the Association of Muslim Scholars (AMSI) published a press release condemning the American occupation forces for the seizure of an Islamic Secondary School in Baghdad. [9]

On the 1st of May 2008, the Iraqi News Agency “Voices of Iraq”, reported that: “The U.S. military withdrew from a building of the education department in Sadr City in eastern Baghdad, which they used it as a barrack last month.”[10]

MNF-I, the Iraqi Army and Iraqi police units occupied more than 70 school buildings for military purposes in the Diyala governorate.520

The Hague IV Conventions[11] on Laws and Customs of War on Land, 1917, make explicit, in Article 56, that educational institutions are to be regarded as private property, and thus must not be pillaged or destroyed, that occupying forces in war are bound to protect such property and that proceedings should follow their intentional damage, seizure or destruction. Article 55 reinforces this duty relative to all public buildings and capital. Further, an occupying power is obliged, according to Articles 43 and 46, to protect life and take all steps in its power to reestablish and ensure “public order and safety”.


In addition, The Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict[12] (ratified by the Republic of Iraq in 1967) creates a clear obligation to protect museums, libraries and archives, and other sites of cultural property. Paragraph 1 of Article 4 notes: “The High Contracting Parties undertake to respect cultural property situated within their own territory as well as within the territory of other High Contracting Parties by refraining from any use of the property and its immediate surroundings or of the appliances in use for its protection for purposes which are likely to expose it to destruction or damage in the event of armed conflict; and by refraining from any act of hostility, directed against such property.”




The ruling that most directly impacted upon the universities, educational institutes and staff after the invasion is CPA Order Number 1: De-Baathification of Iraqi Society, issued on 16 May 2003. Section 2 reads:

Full members of the Baath Party holding ranks of…Regional Command Member,…Branch Member…Section Member,…and Group Member… are hereby removed from their positions and banned from future employment in the public sector.[13]


When Baghdad University and Iraq's other colleges re-opened in September 2003, around 2,000 senior staff had been told to stay at home, Dr Kubaisy, a former professor in Baghdad University's college of medicine, estimated. Although they were Ba'ath party members, none was connected to the former regime's security apparatus. "It's collective punishment. It's conviction without any charge," Dr Kubaisy said. "I'm becoming a bit paranoid but I think the Americans intend to force Iraqi brains to go abroad"[14]. Dr. Husam al-Rawi, a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects and a former head of the architecture department in Baghdad University stated: "Instead of targeting a thousand or a few hundred people, they targeted 80,000."[15]


Senior Journalist Robert Fisk about the consequences of the de-baathification on 14 July 2004:

“In the early weeks of his occupation proconsulship, Paul Bremer fired all senior academics who were members of the Baath party. "They went home and tried to leave the country," another Baghdad arts professor complained. "But those who stayed are now mostly too frightened to return because they have been named - and they fear for their lives."

Yesterday morning, I visited one arts department at the university to find it entirely empty of staff. Each teacher's room was closed with a large padlock.”[16]


The killing spree of Iraqi academics started in April 2003. The first wave of assassinations coincided with the invasion of the country.


Hit lists.


On the 11th of April 2003, a number of Iraqi scientists and university professors sent an SOS e-mail complaining American occupation forces were threatening their lives.[17]

The appeal message said that looting and robberies were being taken place under the watchful eye of the occupation soldiers.


The occupation soldiers, the e-mail added, were transporting mobs to the scientific institutions, such as Mosul University and different educational institutions, to destroy scientific research centers and confiscate all papers and documents to nip in the bud any Iraqi scientific renaissance.


The e-mail also noted that occupation forces had drawn up lists of the names, addresses and researches of the Iraqi scientists to assist them in their harassment tasks in light of the chaos and anarchy[18] that sit in after the toppling[19] of the Iraqi regime on April, 9. 


At an April 4 Pentagon media briefing, Army Major General Stanley McChrystal boasted that the contribution of special forces to the US operation had been “unprecedented.” Another senior official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said more than 10,000 special operations troops were involved in Iraq—the largest number for any US war since Vietnam.[20]


On the 18th of April 2003, & News Agencies reported that some 150 Israeli commandoes were inside Iraq on a mission to assassinate 500 Iraqi scientists, a retired French general told the French TV Channel 5 on Friday, April 18.

He asserted that Israel was seeking to liquidate 500 Iraqi armament scientists who were involved in the country’s biological, chemical and nuclear weapons, reported the Israeli Maariv newspaper which carried the news.[21]


In June 2006 it was discovered that a hit list was being circulated among Iraqi assassins, calling for the murder of 461 scientists, university officials, engineers, doctors and journalists in Iraq (see Hit list names hundreds of Iraqi scientists[22]).[23]


Scientists arrested or killed.


Dr. Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash was taken into custody by coalition forces on the 4th of May 2003. A U.S. Central Command news release issued after her capture described Ammash (Mrs. Anthrax) as: 
"a Ba’ath Party Regional Command member and weapons of mass destruction scientist. She was No. 53 on the U.S. Central Command ‘Iraqi Top 55’ list." 
But Andrew Dwinell, the co-publisher of South End Press, says United Nations weapons inspectors did not believe Ammash aided in the production of biological weapons or other weapons of mass 
destruction and that Ammash’s detainment was politically motivated[24]. "The U.S. government is trying to silence Dr. Ammash's outspoken criticism of the U.S. role in causing cancers and other 
illnesses in Iraq through its own use of biologically hazardous weapons such as radioactive deleted uranium."
Dr. Ammash, an environmental biologist and professor and dean at Baghdad University, received her Ph.D from the University of Missouri. She has earned international respect for her publications,
particularly her documentation of the rise in cancers among Iraqi children and war veterans since the Gulf War. In “Iraq Under Siege” she writes: "Iraqi death rates have increased significantly, 
with cancer representing a significant cause of mortality, especially in the south and among children[25]." Dr. Ammash's other publications include: "Impact of Gulf War Pollution in the Spread of 
Infectious Diseases in Iraq," (Soli Al-Mondo, Rome, 1999), and "Electromagnetic, Chemical, and Microbiological Pollution Resulting from War and Embargo, and Its Impact on the Environment and 
Health," (Journal of the [Iraqi] Academy of Science, 1997).
Dr. Ammash has not been charged with any crime; the US authorities have refused her legal access. Eventually they had to release her. Others were not so lucky: Dr. Mohammed Al azmirli was 
tortured to death in US custody after his arrest in April 2003.[26] 

It was reported on 26 February 2004 that a senior Iraqi scientist who had been involved in Iraq's nuclear program was found murdered in Baghdad, according to U.S. officials. It was the ninth assassination of Iraqi scientists in the previous four months, reported Geostrategy-Direct, the global intelligence news service[27]. The last killing was that of Iraqi aeronautical scientist Muhyi Hussein. The official comment of the US afterwards was a typical example of disinformation, given the fact that the Iraqi scientists already knew their lives were threatened by the US invaders: “Although the reason for the assassination campaign is unclear, U.S. officials believe the killings represent an effort to conceal the scope of Iraq's nuclear program.”

The LA Times reported on the 21st of January 2004: Gunned down only 12 hours after advocating direct elections on an Arab television talk show, Abdul Latif Mayah 
was the fourth professor from Baghdad's Mustansiriya University to be killed in the last eight months, his death the latest in a series of academic slayings in post-Hussein Iraq. 
"His assassination is part of a plan in this country, targeting any intellectual in this country, any free voice," said Salam Rais, one of Mayah's students. "He is the martyr of the free world."[28]


The New York Times reported On the 7th of February 2004 that hundreds of intellectuals and midlevel administrators had been assassinated since May 2003 in a widening campaign against Iraq's professional class, according to Iraqi officials.

"They are going after our brains," said Lt. Col. Jabbar Abu Natiha, head of the organized crime unit of the Baghdad police. "It is a big operation. Maybe even a movement."

American and Iraqi officials say there is no tally of all the professionals assassinated. But Lt. Akmad Mahmoud, of the Baghdad police, said there had been "hundreds" of professionals killed in Baghdad. Mr. Saadi, the Baghdad city council member who works closely with the police, estimated the number at from 500 to 1,000.[29]

The Independent-UK states on 7 Dec 2006 that “more than 470 academics have been killed. Buildings have been burnt and looted in what appears to be a random spree of violence aimed at Iraqi academia [30].”

The Iraqi minister of education has said that 296 members of education staff were killed in 2005 alone. According to the UN office for humanitarian affairs 180 teachers have been killed since 2006, up to 100 have been kidnapped and over 3,250 have fled the country[31] [32] . The BRussells Tribunal’s list of murdered Iraqi academics contains 372 names until 01 June 2008 [33].  


Brain drain.


On 6th April 2004, Al Jazeera reported: “Occupied Iraq is suffering a new brain drain as intellectuals flood out of the country to avoid unemployment and an organised killing campaign. In recent months assassinations have targeted engineers, pharmacologists, officers, and lawyers. More than 1000 leading Iraqi professionals and intellectuals have been assassinated since last April, among them such prominent figures as Dr Muhammad al-Rawi, the president of Baghdad University. The identity of the assailants remains a mystery and none have been caught.” Media reports suggest that more than 3000 Iraqi academics and high-profile professionals have left Iraq recently, not to mention the thousands of Iraqis who are travelling out of the country every day in search of work and safety.” [34]


On the 30th of April 2004, the Christian Science Monitor noted that Dr. Saad Jawad still speaks out. But like other university professors across Iraq, he is increasingly afraid that saying what he thinks - or saying anything political at all - could get him killed. "To tell the truth, at the time of Saddam Hussein, we used to speak to our students freely," says Jawad. "Ministers, for example, were criticized all the time. But now, a lot of people are not willing to say these kinds of things because of fear."

Over the past year, Baghdad's intelligentsia has seen a wave of killings: scientists, professors, and academics, executed in carefully planned assassinations, the article claims.

It's hard to estimate the toll, but US occupation authorities put the number of "intellectuals and professionals" assassinated at up to five a month, not counting another five to 10 monthly attempts.

By some counts, as many as 40 of Iraq's leading scientists and university professors have been killed since last April. The Iraqi police say 1,000 of the country's intellectuals may have been executed in the past year.[35]


Ripping open an envelope containing a small, hard object, Sadoun Dulame discovered the unwanted gift Iraq's academics have learned to dread.

"They sent me a bullet," he said, describing the letter he received last month. "They said in Arabic: 'You cost us just one bullet, no more, so shut your mouth'."

Death threats and assassinations are teaching Iraqi academics to watch what they say.

Some academics believe there is a deliberate attempt to scare academics away from Iraq in a "brain drain" that will undermine the country's institutions, although there is no clear consensus on who might be behind such a plan. "I believe there's a big campaign to intimidate and liquidate the intellectuals and well-educated people in the country," said an academic at the university in Mosul, a city in northern Iraq where five lecturers have been murdered.

"The interim government should take responsibility for stopping this bloody campaign," he said.

There are no figures for how many of Iraq's 17,000 lecturers have left since the fall of Saddam, but education officials say they fear the number may rise if intimidation continues.

The government estimates that at least 80 per cent of the killings of lecturers are for political reasons, but says the chances of tracking down the culprits are slim.

"So far we haven't even caught one of the killers," Higher Education Minister Tahir Bakka told Reuters. "That makes it hard to determine which group might be responsible.", the Jordan Times reported on 18 July 2004 [36]


According to Zuheir Al-Maliki, a judge at the Iraqi Central Criminal Court, only three recent cases of kidnapping had been investigated. One such incident involved members of the Iraqi National Congress (INC) chaired by Ahmed Chalabi. The recent raid on INC offices in Baghdad was partly in response to one doctor's claim that three INC members, Sabah Nuri, Aras Habid and Amer Mohamed, had been involved in his kidnapping.[37]


Fakhri Al Qaisi, assistant dean of the College of Dentistry, told Gulf News on 6 January 2006: "Professors in all medical departments are panic-stricken, while many others have fled to neighbouring and other countries."

"It is noted that most dentistry section professors have received letters of threat. The assassinations are linked to Israeli Mossad," Al Qaisi said.

He claimed that the Iraqi National Congress Party began abducting physicians and university professors after the US occupation, a time when assassinations increased dramatically and that the party was backed by the Mossad.

The questions being asked by common Iraqis in the street and by politicians are whether Mossad really exists in Iraq and, if so, where its operations centres are and which Iraqi parties are supporting it?

Omar Al Hajj, a professor at the University of Technology said: "Death squads accused of killing Iraqi professionals and scientists are the same forces that invaded Iraq, looted its museums and stole its banks."

"They are also the same parties, which abduct businessmen and foreigners for high ransoms."[38]


On Dec 2, 2007 hundreds of university students and professors took to the streets in Amara city protesting the abduction of a technical institute dean and urging the government to put an end to mounting attacks against Iraqi intellectuals.
"Today's demonstration denounces attacks against the Iraqi intelligentsia, which security forces remain unable to halt…," a professor from Missan University, Dr. Bassim al-Rubaie, told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).
"Supported by foreign bodies, organized gangs from all over Iraq are seeking to empty Iraqi universities and institutes of professors. Other gangs aim at financial gains from the release of hostages," al-Rubaie


Here’s a message from an Iraqi professor, who has been able to escape the Iraqi Armageddon:


I am a female Iraqi academic forced to leave Iraq on 2 August 2006. On 17 July 2006 I was kidnapped, tortured and threatened to be killed with my daughter if didn’t leave Iraq within few days. I have a PhD in (omitted) and was a member of staff at (omitted), University of Technology in Baghdad, Iraq.


I had no time to contact the Iraqi Academic Association to report the incident because I hid when received the threat until I fled Iraq.


Thank you for your effort to document the assassinations and threats to Iraqi academics. The real situation in Iraq is much worse than anything mentioned in the news or any report. Not all the incidents were documented in your website. Personally, I knew many academics at University of Technology were threatened and forced to flee Iraq after the occupation and for one reason or another they might not have the time to report the threats to the Iraqi Academic Association. Among them Head of Control and Systems Eng. Dept., Prof Dr Ali Althamir,  Spectrum specialist at Applied Sciences Dept., Dr Mohammad Radhi, a member of staff at Building and Construction Dept., Dr Ghanim Abdul Rahman and many others.


The universities, which are directly linked to Iraq's future, are on the verge of collapse [40].


The destruction of Iraq’s Middle Class


The Ministry of Displacement and Migration said that at least 30 per cent of the total numbers of professors, doctors, pharmacists and engineers in Iraq have fled to neighbouring countries like Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and United Arab States (UAE) but some have travelled to as far as the US, Canada, Australia and Britain. He noted that the numbers of academics fleeing the country or killed could be higher and the ministry has no latest figures [41].


Academics are not the only middle class people being killed: during the first 4 months of 2006, 311 teachers were killed, 182 pilots, 416 senior military officers, and 20.000 people were kidnapped.


Indisputably, the war in Iraq is the deadliest war for journalists in recorded history. According to the BRussells Tribunal tallies, the death toll of media professionals in the Iraq war stands at 318, since the invasion until June 2008.[42]


Killed Media Professionals of Iraqi Nationality



Journalist, reporter














(incl. staff employees, directors, producers ….)









Security guard




Technician (incl. soundman)


Killed Media Professionals of Iraqi Nationality







Non-Iraqi Media Professionals, killed in Iraq


Media Professionals of non-Iraqi Nationality who died in Iraq of non violent causes







Total Media professionals killed in the Iraq war:










Total Media professionals who died in the Iraq war:










Iraq war deadliest conflict in history for media professionals.




Iraqi media workers killed

Non Iraqi






































List updated: 4/06/2008












On the 20th of March 2008, Reporters Without Borders reported that hundreds of journalists were forced into exile since the start of US-led invasion.[43].


The International Medical Corps reports that populations of teachers in Baghdad have fallen by 80% and medical personnel seem to have left in disproportionate numbers [44].

Medical NGO “Medact” reported on 16 January 2008 that up to 75 percent of Iraq's doctors, pharmacists and nurses have left their jobs since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. More than half of those have emigrated.[45]


The Iraq Index, compiled by the Brookings Institution in Washington, released on 16 April 2007, estimated that up to 40 percent of Iraq's professionals had fled the country since 2003 [46].  They claim that 2,000 Iraqi physicians had been murdered under US occupation until april 2006.[47]

Hundreds of legal workers have left the country. At least 210 lawyers and judges killed since the US-led invasion in 2003, in addition to dozens injured in attacks against them.[48] 
Religious personalities, Christians, Yezidis and Muslims alike, are being killed in great numbers. Here is a list of assassinated Sunni Imams and Mosque workers.[49]

On Tuesday 14 November 2006 paramilitary gunmen in the uniforms of Iraqi National Police commandos raided a building belonging to the Ministry of Education in Baghdad’s Karrada district and arrested around 100 members of staff from two departments and around 50 visitors, according to lists compiled by the Minister of Education.


The raid took place in broad daylight, 1km from the Green Zone, in an area that contained several high-security compounds, including the department where passports are issued. According to a BBC correspondent the Karrada area, occupying an isthmus in the River Tigris, is ‘well protected with a heavy presence of Iraqi troops and several checkpoints’.

Several of the personnel were killed or tortured. Until now, the fate of many of these kidnapped persons remains unknown. 
Violence on the Campus.


The exodus of academics has dramatically lowered educational standards[50]. But the brain drain and assassination of academics are not the only reason for the collapse of the educational system.


On top of the killings of education personnel, educational institutions and students are targeted.


On 11 December 2006, a car bomb exploded in a car park of Al-Ma’amoon College in Al-Iskan district in Baghdad, killing one person and injuring four. One student was killed and another 6 injured in a roadside bomb explosion on the same morning in front of the Al-Mustansiriyah University [51].


On 16 January 2007, at least 65 students were killed[52] and 110 others injured in a double attack on targeting Al-Mustansiriyah University in Baghdad.


On 29 January 2007 an attack against a girls’ school in Baghdad left five students dead and more than 20 injured [53].


Mohammed Abdul-Aziz, a statistician at the Ministry of Education, told IRIN that at least 110 children had been killed and 95 injured since 2005 in attacks on schools[54]. These numbers do not include children killed or injured on their way to or from school.[55]

The intimidation campaign against educational institutes persists.

On 3 December 2007 unknown gunmen opened fire on a teacher in Ali al-Hadi preparatory school in al-Qebla region in western Basra, killing him on the spot in front of his students," "The dead man was a mathematics teacher in the school," the source told.[56]

On 31 January 2008 unknown gunmen kidnapped five university students in Mosul, Ninewa police said. The source noted “the students were getting back to their homes in al-Sharqat district, 80 km south of Mosul”[57].

On 6 April 2008 Gunmen kidnapped 42 university students near Iraq's northern city of Mosul. They were freed later that day.[58]


In 2008, kidnapping was a serious problem for university students, particularly on the roads leading to Kirkuk city. On 20 April, nine students and two drivers were kidnapped at a fake checkpoint near Baquba. On 12 May, six university students were kidnapped by armed men near Baquba. On 24 June, four students were kidnapped on their way to Mosul university by gunmen. In addition, on 26 June five students were wounded when the bodyguards of the Minister of Education fired on student protests in Sabe' Abkar.521


In May 2008, residents and government officials of Sadr City accused the Mahdi Army of closing down 86 schools and threatening teachers, staff and families of students.522


Insecurity threatens Iraq’s education


"Education in my area is collapsing," said on 05 October 2006 a teacher from a high school in Amariya who quit four months earlier. "Children can't get to school because of road blocks. The parents of others have simply withdrawn them from the school because of the fear of kidnapping.

"If children have to travel by car, we are much less likely to see them. When I left, we had 50% attendance. We see parents when they come in to ask for the children to have a 'vacation', and they admit they are too scared to let them come.

"Between September 8 and 28 two members of the staff were murdered. The staff was supposed to be 42. Now there are only 20."[59]


Violence since the U.S.-led invasion has driven thousands of students away, with enrollment off by more than half at some universities in 2006 alone, officials said[60]. Universities in other parts of the country are open, but have become deserted[61].


The situation of total absence of law and security has also led to a worsening situation because of threats from inside the classrooms. Hassan Khalid Hayderi, 54, is a professor of mathematics at Basra University, 550km south of the capital, Baghdad. He and his family are leaving Iraq because he has received death threats from students demanding easy exams and better marks. “The situation is even worse for women teachers. You barely find them giving lessons because most of them either have fled the country or have been forced to leave the colleges. Today, they are suffering without a job to support their kids. The government isn’t doing anything to protect us. In the southern areas especially you depend on [local] tribes to give you the minimum of protection but with violence increasing, even tribal leaders are becoming useless. " [62]


The violence against education institutions and teachers has also prompted a sharp decline in school attendance. According to recent statistics from the Ministry of Education, only about 30 percent of Iraq’s 3.5 million school-aged children are currently attending classes, compared to 75 percent in the previous school year [63].


According to a report released in 2006 by NGO Save the Children, 818,000 primary school-aged children, representing 22 percent of Iraq’s student population, were not attending school. [64]

A joint study by the Iraqi Ministry of Education and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) found that of those who do not attend school, 74 percent are female. Aid agencies estimate that thousands of Iraqi parents do not send their daughters to school for cultural reasons and because of the general insecurity in the

They add that schools and universities are likely to continue emptying throughout 2007 if there is no let up to current levels of violence and the displacement it causes.


In 1982, UNESCO awarded Iraq a prize for eradicating illiteracy[66]. At the time, Iraq had one of highest rates of literacy for women. In 2004, UNESCO estimated that the literacy rates for adults—after a year of American occupation and 12 years of UN-sponsored sanctions—stood at 74 percent. A UNESCO survey conducted in January 2007 estimated that only 37 percent of women in the countryside are now literate.


A December 2007 UNICEF report[67] concluded that:


- Many of the 220,000 displaced children of primary school age had their education interrupted.

- An estimated 760,000 children (17 per cent) did not go to primary schools in 2006.

- An average 25,000 children per month were displaced by violence or intimidation, with their families seeking shelter in other parts of Iraq.

- In 2007, approximately 75,000 children had resorted to living in camps or temporary shelters.

- Hundreds of children lost their lives or were injured by violence and many more had their main family wage-earner kidnapped or killed.

- Only 28 per cent of Iraq’s 17 year olds sat their final exams in summer, and only 40 per cent of those sitting exams achieved a passing grade (in south and central Iraq).


A comprehensive study on women’s and families’ living conditions, carried out by Dr. Souad Al Azzawi in August 2007[68], concluded that 20% of the students in the studied families were failing school. Major causes include emotional damage as a result of having one or more family members killed and an inability to focus.

50% of the students in the studied population were school dropouts. Major causes of quitting include a lack of security and forced displacement or migration. Male student dropouts are higher in number than females. 

She concludes:

“Inside Iraq, the higher number of failing male students is largely due to the fact that they are being targeted for kidnappings, imprisonment, raids, assassinations, etc. so they constantly have to move or go into hiding. In refugee areas, male students tend to miss school attendance in order to help support their families financially by taking on menial labour jobs.”

She continues: “ Male school dropouts make up 54.6 % of the total male students in the studied population. Female school dropouts are 45.2 % of the total female students in the studied population. Again, we notice that the percentage of male student dropouts is higher than female student dropouts because the males do not stay in their residential areas and keep away from militias and American troops and police. It is also noticed that the condition of children in forced displacement families inside of Iraq are worse off than the children of the families who migrated outside the country because the latter have their children register in school once again in neighbouring countries while the former prefer keeping them out of school for their own safety.”


Toilets and material


Damage to school buildings does not just mean classrooms and corridors, many schools are not able to open or have seen a huge drop-out rate because of poor sanitation facilities.

School toilets need to be clean, private and fully functional. Unclean or deteriorated facilities also affect children’s morale and their enthusiasm to attend school. UNICEF studies have shown that girls are less likely to continue going to school if there are no proper sanitation facilities.


Children who attend school have no choice but to use the poor facilities. Most school toilets do not have running water or drainage facilities. This leaves children more vulnerable to health disorders and infections.


As well as damage to school buildings, there is also a huge lack of resources and many schools do not have enough desks, chairs, books or blackboards.

Without furniture in the classroom or basic teaching aids, children find it hard to learn and follow what their teacher is saying.


According to UNICEF, primary school attendance rates have decreased to 60% because of the lack of essential teaching aids and poor sanitation facilities. [69]


A case study: Baghdad’s College of Dentistry.


The college of Dentistry - University of Baghdad was established in the year 1953.


It was a department of the Medical College. In 1958 it become a separate College belonging to the University of Baghdad. It was in this year that the first group of new dentists was graduated.


The College started with 4 dental chairs and it slowly became independent by relying on new Iraqi teaching staff. Now the college is composed of two buildings and contains about 400 dental units.


The Teaching Hospital of the College was founded in 1991, and the hospital possesses many laboratories clinics and new centers.


The college's staff includes 305 member of the teaching staff (30 professors, 51 assistant professors, 71 lecturers and 153 assistant lecturers), 106 technicians and dental assistants and 190 employees.


The higher studies of the College were established by the Diploma degree which was introduced in 1973, the M.Sc. degree was introduced in 1986, while the Ph.D. degree started in 1995.


The College also participates in teaching and training students enrolled in the Iraqi Board of Maxillofacial surgery.


The College runs continuing education courses in all the fields of dentistry.[70]


Iraq's healthcare system was once a showcase for the rest of the Middle East. Its dentists often studied in Britain or the US, and the country's dental schools boasted high standards.

But more than a decade of international sanctions, followed by years of war, have left healthcare in Iraq no better or even worse than that seen in developing countries.


Throughout the war, Baghdad University's College of Dentistry has continued to house students, with more than 50 currently pursuing their degree.[71]


Hassan Abd  - Ali Dawood AL-Rubai, Dean of the College of Dentistry at Baghdad University was assassinated while he was leaving the college with his wife, on 20th of December 2004.


Fakhri Al-Qaysi, Dentist in dentistry college, Baghdad was critically injured in an assassination attempt on 15 November 2005 and left the country.

Others followed.


On 24 April 2007, a bomb hidden in a student's locker exploded at the Dentistry College as students were preparing to attend classes, killing at least one student and wounding several others.[72]


Munther Murhej Radhi, dean of Baghdad University’s Dental College was murdered in his home on 23 January 2008.[73]  According to an article in the Washington Post about this case, more than 80 faculty members from the university had been killed since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. [74]

(Comment of the author of the article: “Iraqi government and police as well as U.S. troops have practically been doing nothing to stop the murderous campaign against these intellectuals.

Most of the killings are not investigated and university officials, refusing to be named, say they are not aware of any of the alleged killers being brought to justice.”[75])

On 02 Feb 2008 gunmen attacked a convoy of Abdul-Kareem al-Mohammedawi, deputy dean of Baghdad's dental college, killing two guards and wounding two others in the Zayouna district of eastern Baghdad.[76]


On Friday 8th Feb 2008 a spokesman for the Iraqi ministry of higher education said U.S. forces raided the Faculty of Dentistry, al-Mustansiriya University, in central Baghdad.

Taqi al-Musawi, the president of al-Mustansiriya University, confirmed the incident.

"The forces broke the faculty gates and destroyed its laboratories," he noted.

"They did not arrest the guards but seized their weapons," the president also said.

He strongly denounced the incident, pointing out the attack was the second of its kind in less than ten days.[77]


On Sunday the 17th of Feb. 2008 Iraqi "security" forces broke into the college of dentistry-Baghdad University. They arrested the former dean of the college Prof.Dr.Osama Al Mulla, Prof.Dr.Riyadh Uttman, and 3 college employees and took them all to unknown place. They've also beaten one student.[78]. Iraqi blogger Lubna commented on this incident: “There's a systematic plan to empty Iraq silently from it's brains. The game goes like this : THEY threaten the BRAIN. The BRAIN leaves Iraq. If the BRAIN refuses to leave, then THEY kill the BRAIN ! And so many BRAINS had to leave Iraq because of the threats they've received. So they had to choose between their lives and staying in their country. The cultural structure of our society is beings slowly disrupted day by day, and that -in my opinion- is the greatest loss of my Iraq.”


An eye-witness of the raid recalls: “The army took 2 doctors and 3 guards, they placed them in the Humvees and no one knows where they are now…I reached the college immediately after they took the doctors".
“I asked around and reached the true (or what people believe is the true) story. Sunday morning between 10 and 11am a patrol of Humvees for the Iraqi Army or the national guards parked at the gate of the dentistry college and soldiers wearing uniforms entered the college and arrested (or I'd better say Kidnapped) 2 doctors….Dr.Osama AlMola (orthodontist, the chief of orthodontic department and former temporary dean) and Dr.Ryiadh AlKaisy (a pathologist and the chief of the pathology department) with three other post graduate students (some say 3 of the college guards) and no one knows where did they take them, at the afternoon they headed to Dr.Fakhri Alfatlaoy's clinic (orthodontist and former dean's assistant for the students affairs) and kidnapped him from his clinic because he wasn't in the college at the time they raided the


An Iraqi citizen wrote to President Bush:


Dear President Bush

The war on Iraq and the Iraqi people has caused untold misery to millions of Iraqis, worse than Hitler inflicted on Europe and the Jews. All of this planned holocaust will paint your administration and other nations that supposed to be free and democratic and being much worst than any Nazi.


This morning, 2-17-2008, College of Dentistry, Baghdad University was raided by Military type persons in 8 Hummers and kidnapped 7 professors to destinations unknown, similarly as it was done about a year ago at the Ministry of Higher Education.


Your war and your Surge have failed and is failing if such atrocities are allowed to take place. YOU opened a Pandora Box and unleashed the worst nightmarish terror of death and destruction on a nation and its people, your name will be linked forever with this modern day Holocaust.


this to inform you and hope that you still have time to save your name and your country's regard in the whole world.




On 3 March 2008 Amnesty International made the following statement:[80]

Fear of torture or ill-treatment                                                             


IRAQ         Ussama al-Mulla (m)       ] 

                    Ryadh al-Qaysi (m)           ] professors at Baghdad University's Faculty

                    Fakhri ‘Abd Fatlawi (m) ] of Dentistry

                    Four other Baghdad University staff members (names unknown)


Ryadh al-Qaysi and Fakhri ‘Abd Fatlawi, professors at Baghdad University’s Faculty of Dentistry, and four other Baghdad University staff members who were arrested on 17 February, have been released. However, one professor, Ussama al-Mulla, remains in the custody of the Iraqi security forces and is at risk of torture and ill-treatment.


On 17 February, armed men wearing Iraqi security uniforms entered the Faculty of Dentistry. They went to the office of the Dean of the Faculty and threatened him at gunpoint, telling him they had arrest warrants for 10 university staff. The three professors were arrested, along with four other staff members. The staff members were originally taken to al-Salihiya police station in Baghdad. The whereabouts of Ussama al-Mulla are currently unconfirmed.


The arrest warrants were apparently issued by an official body, and related to the investigation into the murder of the previous Dean of the Dentistry Faculty.


At the time of the arrests, a number of students who protested against the arrests were detained in a room within the faculty and beaten by the same security forces before being released.



Torture and ill-treatment of detainees is widespread throughout police stations and detention centres under the control of the Iraqi security forces. Amnesty International has received numerous reports about detainees being tortured by Iraqi security forces. Former prisoners who were held in police stations and pre-trial detention facilities controlled by the Ministry of Interior have reported torture such as routine beatings with hosepipes, cables and other implements, prolonged suspension from the limbs in contorted and painful positions for extended periods, electric shocks, the breaking of limbs and being forced to sit on sharp objects.


RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in Arabic, English or your own language:

- welcoming the release of Ryadh al-Qaysi, Fakhri ‘Abd Fatlawi and four others;

- calling for assurances that Ussama al-Mulla is being treated humanely in detention and is not subject to torture or other ill-treatment;

- seeking clarification of the reasons for Ussama al-Mulla’s arrest and continuing detention, and asking if any charges have been brought against him;

- requesting assurances that he has access to his family, a lawyer of his own choosing and any necessary medical care;

- calling for his immediate release unless he is to be brought to trial promptly and fairly on recognizable criminal charges.


This case, which can be called exemplary for the rest of Iraq, shows that normal education under the occupation is impossible.


Actions to protect Iraqi Intellectuals.


The first organised attempt to create awareness about these murders, was made by the International Coalition of Academics Against Occupation who published an appeal on 25 July 2004[81]:


“Even after the 'transfer of authority' the U.S. Government remains in de facto military occupation of Iraq. The idea that the escalation of violence can be put to an end by the 'interim' government, 
while 140,000 U.S troops remain in control of major Iraqi cities like Mosul and Baghdad, is far from the reality on the ground.
Overlooked by the U.S. Press is the escalating assassination of Iraqi academics, intellectuals, and lecturers. More than 250 college professors since April 30, 2003, 
according to the Iraqi Union of University Lecturers, have been the targets of assassination.” 

From September 2004 onwards, press reports about these assassinations appeared on a regular basis. Many can be read at the BRussells Tribunal website.[82] 

The second attempt to ring the bell about the destruction of the Iraqi Higher education came from the BRussells Tribunal, who started a campaign in December 2005,[83] in cooperation with the Spanish Campaign Against the Occupation and for the Sovereignty of Iraq (CEOSI) [84].

They launched a petition which until now is signed by some 11.000 academics and intellectuals worldwide:  

“A little known aspect of the tragedy engulfing Iraq is the systematic liquidation of the country's academics.  Even according to conservative estimates, over 250 educators have been assassinated, and many hundreds more have disappeared.  With thousands fleeing the country in fear for their lives, not only is Iraq undergoing a major brain drain, the secular middle class - which has refused to be co-opted by the US occupation - is being decimated, with far-reaching consequences for the future of Iraq.

Already on July 14, 2004, veteran correspondent Robert Fisk reported from Iraq that: "University staff suspect that there is a campaign to strip Iraq of its academics, to complete the destruction of Iraq's cultural identity which began when the American army entered Baghdad."

The wave of assassinations appears non-partisan and non-sectarian, targeting women as well as men, and is countrywide.  It is indiscriminate of expertise: professors of geography, history and Arabic literature as well as science are among the dead.  Not one individual has been apprehended in connection with these assassinations.

According to the United Nations University, some 84 per cent of Iraq's institutions of higher education have already been burnt, looted or destroyed.  Iraq's educational system used to be among the best in the region; one of the country's most important assets was its well-educated people.

This situation is a mirror of the occupation as a whole: a catastrophe of staggering proportions unfolding in a climate of criminal disregard.  As an occupying power, and under international humanitarian law, final responsibility for protecting Iraqi citizens, including academics, lies with the United States. 

With this petition we want to break the silence.

1. We appeal to organisations which work to enforce or defend international humanitarian law to put these crimes on the agenda.  
2. We request that an independent international investigation be launched immediately to probe these extrajudicial killings.  This investigation should also examine the issue of responsibility to clearly identify who is accountable for this state of affairs. We appeal to the special rapporteur on summary executions at UNHCHR in

The response was overwhelming. Many renowned intellectuals, among them 4 Nobel Laureates vowed to help create awareness and try to stop the extermination of Iraq’s academics.[86] 

The BRussells Tribunal established a list of the assassinated[87] in order that mandated human rights authorities investigate the killings and find a way to protect Iraq’s academics and cultural wealth. Despite serious attempts to try to make Human Rights bodies investigate these killings and take actions, nothing has been done until now, no case has been seriously investigated in Iraq. 

Since the campaign started, the BRussells Tribunal received many mails in support of this action, and a lot of comments and useful information, from inside Iraq.  

An internationally renowned Iraqi professor wrote:

“Dear Friends,
While the world is celebrating Christmas and new year, three more Iraqi scientists were assassinated last few days.
Dr Nawfal Ahmad / Prof. of fine Art in Baghdad Univ.
Dr Mohsin Sulaiman Al-Ajeely/professor of Agriculture in Babel UNIV.
Dr Kadhim Mashhoot Awad / prof of soil chemistry in Basrah Univ. who has been found cut into pieces after taken by the police from his house. He was one of the finest scientists in his major, and worked as a Dean for the Agriculture college in the university. The other two were shot dead by a bunch of armed gunmen.

Best wishes.” 

Another Iraqi professor wrote: 

Merry Christmas and happy new year to all of you in the BRussells Tribunal. The appeal for action looks fine. You have done a great effort. I think it is very important to launch the appeal now where the real murderers of the academics of Iraq are pinpointed by the international community. In Iraq, everybody knows that the Badr Brigade, the armed militia's of Islamic Revolution in Iraq are among the assassins of the academics in Iraq. Those armed forces turned into national guards of the Interior Ministry, so they have a license to kill now!! The petition idea is very good, but the response from the Iraqi academics will not be so great since the real criminals are still free to kill any of us under the blessing of occupation. Killing the educators and the academics would make it easier for the illiterate religious fanatics to govern uneducated people, terrified for their lives. Finally, I just wanted to tell you that I left the PhD programme and I am working in a Private university to keep away from being killed too.

Since the petition started, hundreds of Iraqi academics from inside the country and / or recently in exile have signed the petition, despite the danger this could bring to them.   

Another professor wrote:  

“We, as University lectures, are going through exceptional conditions in which any one of us may get killed intentionally or otherwise. It became normal that we greet one another when we meet, we wish each other safety and thank God to be still alive. Messages of threats to kill became something very usual. I myself got threatened after being elected Head of the Department of (omitted for safety reasons) at the college and was consequently obliged to move to another college.
Below are some facts concerning Iraqi academics:
1. Murdering involves University and other academic institutes as well, teachers of different ages specializations, and political and religious beliefs.
2. Assassins are professional people, and we never heard till now that one murderer got arrested.
3. Murdering takes place everywhere: on the road, at work, and home as well.
4. Nobody has taken responsibility, and reasons have not been clarified.
5. Murdering is carried out by fire-shooting, some got killed with 3 and others 30 bullets.
6. The number of those killed in the university of Baghdad alone has exceeded 80 according to formal reports.
7. people are afraid to ask for details about those crimes.
8. Many of the killed are friends, one is Prof. Sabri Al-Bayati, a Prof. on Arts was killed on 13/6/2003 near the college. Another is Prof. Dr. Sabaah Mahmood Dean of the college Al-Mustansiriyah University who was killd near the college 2003. Prof. Dr. Abdullateef al Mayaahi was killed with more than 30 bullets. He occupied the post of Director of the centre of Arab studies in the Mustansiriyah University.
I suggest that you correspond with the presidents of Universities to get data and details of these killings from the presidents of the universities of Baghdad, Mustansiriyah, Basrah, Kufa, Mosul…….
9. Many famous professors, doctors have left Iraq to save their lives.
Best Regards and happy new year to you and your family.

We hope to have continuous communication.” 

An example of an assassination by US forces is f.i. Prof. Dr. Mohammed Munim al-Izmerly. (Read Suspicion Surrounds Death of Iraqi Scientist in U.S. Custody, 29 May 2004) .  He was an Iraqi chemistry professor, tortured and killed by the American Interrogation team, and died in American custody from a sudden hit to the back of his head caused by blunt trauma. It was uncertain exactly how he died, but someone had hit him from behind, possibly with a bar or a pistol. His battered corpse turned up at Baghdad's morgue and the cause of death was initially recorded as "brainstem compression". It was discovered that US doctors had made a 20cm incision in his skull. 

We received a mail about this particular case from a US citizen who wrote us:

I have found information for individual information on victims in two cases:
* al-Rawi - president of Baghdad University and Saddam Hussein's physician
* Prof. Dr. Mohammed Munim al-Izmerly - chemistry professor apparently involved in poisoning human subjects.

These two cases are not particularly strong in helping gain "sympathy" for the victims. While it is true that everyone has fundamental human rights, no matter how criminal his/her actions may have been, calling someone apparently involved in testing poisons on human subjects a "distinguished Iraqi chemistry professor" without any caveats is likely to make many people distrust the whole list.” 

We asked an Iraqi professor for more information about these 2 cases, and received the following answer: 

Good Day.

 The information about the two Iraqi Scientists are false allegations. Dr Mohamed Al-Rawi was a fine MD and head of the university of Baghdad. He worked, like other well known specialists in Ibin Sena hospital in the middle of the Presidential Palace Area (currently called the Green Zone). Some of his colleagues are still working in that Hospital.
Generally, they treat all the cabinet and Presidential Palace Staff and personnel and their families, who are still working in the green zone after the occupation. This hospital and others can call any specialist when they have no choices in their staff members, even from other Iraqi cities. The only well known doctor associated with Saddam Hussein name was Dr Alaa Bashir, who is still alive and kicking, but out of Iraq. So the whole idea is Brain Drain Iraq from its brilliant figures, so the Mollahs of Tehran would be able to rule it easily. The same thing is applicable on Dr Al-Izmeri. The occupation was desperate for one confession that Iraq’s program of WMD was still active, but with all the torture they couldn't get that out of him. His family in London accused the Pentagon officially of killing him during interrogation based on false allegations. I would like to remind our friend about the terrible accusation of Huda Ammash, of associating her with biological weapons which is totally untrue, and after holding her in detention for three years, they released her because everything they have accused her of, was all occupation propaganda.

Accept my best wishes.” 

First conclusion:  there seems to be a pattern of systematic liquidation of the Iraqi middle class that refuses to cooperate with the occupation. The shooting of peaceful academics is done by many different forces who share the same interest in further dismantling the Iraqi state.  

Other conclusion: the violence against the Iraqi academics is not a sectarian Sunni-Shia issue. Neither are Baathists the only victims. Every Iraqi who opposes the occupation and its puppet government is a possible target. 

Were the assassinated academics Baathists? They were educators. The term “de-Baathification” was a war slogan used by the US and its allies in a bid to destroy the Iraqi national state[88] — its administrative apparatus[89], public services[90], properties[91], archives[92], registries of public and private ownership[93], natural resources[94], revenues[95] and reserves[96] (leading Iraq to the brink of economic collapse[97] and abject poverty[98]) as well as its economic foundations[99], laws[100] and judicial system[101], museums[102], libraries[103], army and police[104], health[105] and education[106] systems, art[107], print media[108], radio[109] and television[110], etc. 

This destruction is not a consequence of war but rather a studied plan[111] prepared before the invasion. Strictly speaking, and according to definition under international law, this destruction is genocide[112]. 

The liquidation of Iraqi academics has nothing to do with them being Baathist or not. It follows from the imperial[113] character of the invasion of Iraq, and the attempt to render null and void[114] Iraqi sovereignty. The real division in Iraq[115] is between those who go along with this project and those who oppose it[116].

The US imperial project, based on privatization[117] and ruin[118], indeed outright looting[119], plunder[120] and confiscation[121], and in direct violation[122] of international law, has created the objective and political conditions for the rise of puppet government-controlled death squads[123] and US-drafted mercenary security contractors[124] that kill and terrorize Iraqi academics and others with impunity[125]. It is the biggest heist[126] in history, and it is backed with murderous force.  

One particular reaction was important, because it showed that the Iraqi academics indeed want to oppose this situation, but are obstructed by the Quisling-government from doing so.

“That’s great. OK I will give you some names. In fact the list is so big I will do a scan and send it to you as I wish we can do something about that, and I am ready to work with you on that, but please keep my name  secret for security reasons ..

Give me a couple of days. Then you’ll receive a list of more than 100 Iraqi professors who were murdered. As well as I have my own stories about that.

The head of our dept. was killed a month ago. I arranged for a rally in the university and I invited all the media. I wrote a press release, I tried to make it official, I mean not only among the students. And you know what? Many important people in the university and the government told me we should not show the weakness of our government. I became very disappointed. I didn’t know how to work on that and if no one helps you it will be useless ...

I hope we can raise our voice this time.”  

That’s why solidarity campaigns are very important: create awareness about the atrocities that are taking place, support the academic community in Iraq in their efforts to raise their voice against the killings of their educators, and safeguard them from further decimation.  

  • Dr. Khalid al-Naid

Easter 2007: the following message arrived in the BRussells Tribunal mailbox, sent by Dr. Saad Jawad, professor of political science at Baghdad University,  head of Iraq's University Professors Association, and member of our Advisory Committee. 

This is in memory of the brutal assassination of Dr. Khalid al-Naid, Dean Assistant, Medical College, al-Nahrain University

With great sadness and sorrow and on behalf of Khalid's family, I’m writing to inform you of his murder by militias on Thursday 29th March 2007, twelve hours after he arrived from Australia.
He arrived in Baghdad on the evening of Wednesday 28th and could not go to see his wife and newly born son Tariq who was born when he was with you in Australia.
The next day he went to the Nahrain Medical school to report his return and do some paper work. His wife and newborn son were supposed to come from their grandfather’s house across sectarian city divides to see him.

He only stayed in the Medical School for 3 hrs and left with a colleague. He was picked at the gate and taken by the Militia which controls the area of the Medical School. His body was dumped few kilometres away with five bullets in his head and neck.

I am his cousin and Godfather. His wife’s son and the rest of the family would like the world to know how cruel and lawless Iraq has become. Scientist are a prime target and Khalid was threatened with death a year or so ago but he always said: “I have harmed no one, and never believed the cruelty of a civil war.”

His marriage was a mixed one and his priorities in life revolved around his scientific work.

Khalid's father, the late Prof Hamdi was the Dean of Baghdad Medical School and my Mentor. We would like to have any additional information from you relating to his latest work as we plan to write to scientific and other news organisations on the realities in today's Iraq. It is entirely up to yourselves if you feel you would like to report this murder to the Scientific press in Australia.

May god bless Khalid and give his wife Manal and his son Tariq the strength to carry on .


Another horrendous murder, another Iraqi intellectual’s life wasted.


  • Prof Dr Majid Naser Husien al-Ma'amoori


I am sorry to bother you again. I know it is sad news but I have no other choice because you are the only organization to document the assassinations of Iraqi academics.

Prof Dr Majid Naser Husien al-Ma'amoori was killed just outside Veterinary College, Baghdad University on 17 Feb 2007.

Kind regards

Dr. Ali


  • Professor Dr Tala Al-Jalili and Professor Jaffer Hasan Sadiq


On April 16 2007 Dr. Ismail Kaidar Jalili[127], Chair and Secretary General of National Association of British Arabs (NABA)[128] wrote the following message:

 We’d like to report the assassination of 2 academics in Mosul today Monday 16th April 2007
The assassination of Professor Dr Tala Al-Jalili, Dean of Faculty of Political Sciences in Mosul University this morning Monday 16th April 2007 in front of his faculty at AL-Majmou'a Al-Thaqafiya, east (left) bank of Mosul.
The assassination of Jaffer Hasan Sadiq, Professor at the Department of History, Faculty of Humanities, Mosul University in front of his house in Al-Kafaa'at district, north east of Mosul City. 

The number of assassinations has not decreased since the BRussells Tribunal started its campaign.. To the contrary. Since the beginning of 2006 more than 100 academics have been assassinated, according to our sources.  And as the cases above show: an end of the killings is not in sight. 


The Occupation is responsible

Iraqi professors direct most of their ire towards the failed U.S. occupation. Dr. Bakaa, who was also president of Iraq’s second largest university, Al Mustansiriyah University, from 2003 to 2004, says he had received almost no additional funding for academic life since the occupation. Buildings destroyed during the first Gulf War were rebuilt in two months under Saddam’s regime, yet the Americans have repaired nothing, he said. When professors are threatened or killed, there is never any investigation.


“Iraqi professors are being killed by everyone, and nobody has told us if any killers have been caught. Nothing has been done,” Dr. Saad Jawad says. “One U.S. soldier was kidnapped and Baghdad is on full alert, but the killing of an Iraqi professor? Nothing happens.”[130]


The incident on Tuesday 14 November, when paramilitary gunmen in the uniforms of Iraqi National Police commandos raided a building belonging to the Ministry of Education in Baghdad’s Karrada district and arrested around 100 members of staff from two departments and around 50 visitors, in broad daylight, 1km from the Green Zone, exposed the extent of the danger facing educators, and particularly those in higher education. An unknown number of those arrested was later found killed, and again, there was no investigation.[131]. Again, there was ample evidence of involvement of Iraqi official bodies, creating chaos and mayhem instead of establishing security. It is equally clear that US authorities in Iraq have no interest in carrying out an investigation or restraining the killers.


Witness 1:


A Testimony Of An Iraqi Academic[132] 

Baghdad / November 2006 

Yesterday there was very heavy rain in Baghdad. Our college and many regions in Baghdad (specially the poor and deprived) were covered with water (almost sank). I had to walk through lakes of muddy water, just to get out of the college and return home. This is not new, since the gulf war of 1991 when drainage systems were damaged and left without repairing till now. Let us imagine this depressive scene: "Hundreds of professors, instructors and students walk silently through dirty waters, under gray cloudy rainy sky, just because they are Iraqis, and they have to lose their dignity everyday in various ways, as a cheap price in benefit of globalization plans".  

However, I still believe strongly in what "Hemingway" said in The old Man and the Sea : "Man could be destroyed, but never defeated". 

I lived all my life (in Iraq) with terror and tyranny, so I think nobody can document this truth, except those who lived it. What happened inside us is much more than estimation and imagination. We (Iraqis) are accustomed to be victims and hostages for no obvious reason. We are survivors everyday. We have developed a very dialectical truth: "Although they (Fascists & Americans) succeeded in destroying everything vivid inside us, nothing vivid actually has been destroyed. We lost the pleasure of life forever, but we still keep and maintain many high meanings of life". 

I am typing now with the help of a small noisy smoky electricity generator, with fading light. There is no electricity in Baghdad for 18 – 20 hours a day. I feel very deprived and persecuted, but I shall never give up!

Let us start from the beginning: 

*       *       * 

In the moment of dramatic collapse of Baath regime at April 2003, a promising civil progressive movement begun to develop, aiming at restoring liberty, justice and civil rights, especially inside universities and other cultural institutions. But the Americans started immediately, continuously till now, to block that rational stream, by adopting the following policy:

1)      Encouraging leaders of religious groups and parties (from different sects) to be influential politicians, regardless of their ignorance, selfishness and closed minds; in parallel with dismissing secular trends (liberals, socialists, technocrats ...).

2)      Fabricating terrorism inside Iraq (religious terrorism has no roots in our enlightened Iraqi society, even among religious groups). The Americans gave green light to the governments of Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia to export thousands of brainwashed "terrorists" who do not have any idea about social and intellectual fabric of the Iraqi society.

3)      Doing nothing to stop (if not involving in) the planned assassinations of brilliant doctors and academics.

4)      Fabricating continuous crises of severe shortages in electricity power, water supply, and fuel. 

This subtle strategy, simultaneously with "democratic" slogans, has succeeded in: 

1)           Dividing the Iraqi Identity into several weak conflicted sub identities (sectarianism & ethnocentrism).

2)          Absence of collective humanistic rationalistic voice, which is substituted by pre-state, primitive emotions.

3)          Keeping the people busy with their physiological and security needs (No time to think or protest).

4)          Transforming social energy that should be directed to restore fairness, liberty, and human dignity, into motives of violence and aggression towards imaginary enemies. 

So, the final result is very familiar (nothing new beneath the sun) : It is again the old story of  how capitalism exploits, humiliates man, and sucks bloods of people, just to accumulate new mythical wealth. Americans are very pragmatic, heartless and faithful to this principle. But the problem is: "Why this deceived world (except conscious elite) does not want to wake up?!" 

*       *       * 

Iraq as a nation is not "artificial invention" of the Brits. Iraq is one of the oldest societies in history. When the Brits occupied the country, they (implicitly) helped the Iraqi people to restore their social identity after long centuries of the Turkish tyranny, and gradually accomplished independence as an unified country of multiple races, religions and sects, as many nations in the world. There is a very strong feeling of the Iraqi identity among our people (obvious patriotism). We have common social memory, folklore, arts, songs, architecture, and political movements. Most of Iraqi families and tribes consist of several races and sects.

In every residence area in Baghdad, you can find mosques besides churches. It is very usual that a man from "Shiite" sect marries a woman from "Sunni" sect, and vice versa. Also, there are some cases of marriage between Muslims and Christians. This tolerance was spread widely even among religious people.  

The tragedy and crises of Iraqi identity began with American occupation 2003 as mentioned, specifically when the American authority imposed an Iraqi  Governing Council established according to various races, religions and sects, not according to participation of political, cultural, and civil progressive rational movements. 

The Americans insisted on starting this dangerous tradition which was unfamiliar in our modern political history. Our people are very conscious victims, completely aware of this dirty game (Blood for Petrol), but they are powerless in front of the American stormy strategy. 

The majority of our people are peaceful, cultured, motivated to adopt normal secular values. They like and are proud of their desirable main identity: the "Iraqi identity". 

In spite of the complete crime committed in Iraq, I still feel optimistic, and many others do so. I do believe that our social fabric will resist this conspiracy for a long time, and never surrender easily. We are a civil and cultured unified community, not tribes in the desert! 

I agree there is a serious danger that the Iraqi people may incorporate this sort of ethnic/religious mindset into their way of thinking. But, in the same time, there is an obvious intentional collective resistance against this sort of thinking. I do feel (as an instructor in university) that students (regardless of their origins) become more insistent on the word "Iraqi" through discussions and conversations. Further, they tend to avoid other ethnic or religious terms, or underestimate them. Nobody can imagine our conditions in university: studying and doing the exams, with explosions around us. Yet, my students surprised me every time by their clever scientific answers, as if they were living in normal and ideal conditions. Their answers reinforce my belief of the Iraqi immortal spirit.  

*       *       * 

Our conditions in Baghdad become more and more dangerous day after day. The clashes are everywhere, even in the streets surrounding our college. To put you in the picture, imagine this: We are in  Bab Al-Moadham University Compound (Central Baghdad where the old Campus of Baghdad University is), completely and daily  surrounded by fire belts of bombs, car bombs, almost daily clashes in light weapons among different groups and squads. For example: in the sectarian fighting in Al-Fadhil area (close to the Compound), during the last 3 months, the Iraqi security forces and the Americans were raiding the area, turned Bab Al-Moadham into a real battle field. Unknown numbers of civilians and students were killed, gun bullet fires pierce through the walls and windows glass of our offices many times. We had to hide always when we enter or leave the college, or we have to conceal our selves temporarily, or run away through back doors, to evade the clashes that often reach the college gate. The way from home to college, and vice versa, is an absolute adventure, where each one of us faces his destiny alone, in a daily infinite philosophical test of the meaning of a ripped off life, and an absurd death. 

Many of our academic colleagues have been killed or threatened, often by unknown hands. Others are insulted or frightened by prejudiced Islamic students. Two months ago, some armed strangers hysterically raided the campus, from Bab Al-Moadhem gate, which was not the first time, supported by the university guards!! They roamed the college corridors and rooms, shouting, calling the names of some professors from a list they were holding in their hands, threatening them of death if they show up in the college. This aggression was the worst in the College of Languages, which was closed for 2 weeks after. Many administrative officials resigned after they got open threats. May be these activities are not categorized as assassinations, but they give a summary image of the gravity of the physical threat, the humiliation, and the mind liquidation to which the Iraqi university professor is exposed nowadays. But we still struggle quietly and patiently to maintain what could be maintained of the academic & secular values inside the university. 

The campaign of assassinations against the Iraqi minds, takes many different shapes beside the physical assassination: the scientific blockade imposed on our almost closed university libraries, the religious groups' control of the decision making bodies in the universities, terrorizing the professors by the oral and written threats, forcing them into silence, isolation and immigration, in addition to the horrible corruption. For example, during the last 3 years, the Ministry of Higher Education announced tens of PhDs scholarships in different Arabic and Western universities, I could not get any of them, in spite of the fact that I am the first (got the highest degrees) in the college, in my BA and MA degrees (I got excellent in both degrees, which, according to the Iraqi educational system means that I got more than 90 on a 100 scale). As an instructor, I am considered one of the distinguished. Those scholarships often went to others who have nothing to do with the academic milieu, and have no academic achievements whatsoever. 

 *       *       * 

The Iraqi civil people still struggle to maintain their collective identity, where the militias and stupid politicians still fabricate this unnecessary violence. This is a very rare historical moment that the community is psychologically unified, while it is led compulsorily by irrational political factors to crumble. 

The Iraqi people are peaceful, homogeneous, and open minded (in general). So, what happens now is a temporary offense resulting from severs US occupation. Perhaps it will take an unknown period of time, perhaps we will be victims of this madness, but eventually our social fabric shall prove its hardness! This is not a wishful thinking; it is prediction from a social researcher. 

In moments like this, I fell freer (internally) because I become more certain of how our rational, secular and humanistic values, which we have adopted since our early intellectual beginnings, are quite true and brilliant!

Witness 2:


University Professors in Iraq and Death Anxiety[133]

 (Prof. Faris K. O. Nadhmi)

Professor of Psychology.

(Baghdad Oct 2006) 


Spinoza "1632-1677" wrote in hopeful insight: "A free man scarcely thinks of death, because his wisdom is to contemplate life, not death

But what if death thinks of the free man non-stop, follows him in the cities streets, lurks in the ally to his home, comes out even in his sleep and deepest apprehensions, while he is keeping to his room , thinking of any meaning of life?! What if a whole nation waits in a queue with an invisible end, but with a guillotine at the beginning, going up and down with the time pendulum? 

Is it a universal irony or psycho-historic that the "death anxiety" is connected with "eternity anxiety" for the Iraqis, and with the tragic search for a coherent explanation of the existence-annihilation absurdum? When Gilgamesh found out he is two thirds god and one third human destined to die, like his friend Enkido

He sadly said:

Death frightened me, so I wandered aimlessly about,

If I die, would not my destiny be like Enkido's,

To Otonabishtim, I took the way, and hurried

To ask about the life-death enigma! 


Death Psychology 


Apart from death essence, its religious or philosophical root, whether it is annihilation or a face of another life, modern psychology dealt with death as "total stopping of consciousness or feeling, the brain stops its work as a maestro of all lower sense and movement, and upper mind functions" , studying clinically and on the ground, the responses of those who lost a supporter or a loved one...responses that can be sadness and mourning , or depression and suicide, explaining the movement and feelings phenomenon  which accompany these responses, its effect on psychological , body, and professional health, their  negative attitudes to death, what in general we call "death anxiety" which Dickstein defined as "conscious contemplation in the reality of death,  and the negative estimation of this reality"

Some psychiatrists went further. Milan Klein found that the fear of death is the origin of all anxieties, the root of all human aggressive behaviours. Freud (1856- 1939) wrote on death and war :"we can not really imagine our death, and if we do, we do it as living audience, that is why psychology analysis school confirms that deep inside man has an unconscious feeling and belief in eternity".

Death anxiety has three dimensions: fear of dying, fear of what happens after death, fear of the life stopping. On the other hand, four aspects of death could be distinguished: fear of death of the ego, dying of the ego, others death, others dying. Accordingly, four independent factors were generated: fear of the unknown, suffering, loneliness, and personal vanishing. 


Death Anxiety in Iraq  

 These four aspects and factors of the psychology of death anxiety, became now the most impressing phenomenon in the Iraqi reality, in deed we can say that most daily life details were diverted and deformed in their biological, social, and psychological contents to suit the idea of death inevitability, and its overwhelming dominion. The Iraqi individual, no matter what his class or affiliation is, realizes that the highest or most precious goal of life becomes just "to survive", "not to die", instead of "to live", with full realization that death means assassinations, explosions, and rains of lost bullets. 

The educated and the technocrat are among the first who look for "not to die". It is extremely difficult to get precise numbers, but events and studies indicate that medical doctors and academics are especially targeted. In a report for Human Rights Watch in November 2005, some academics explained that it is a way of eliminating the educated elite in Iraq. One of the Iraqi universities vice president said "the victims are among different scientific interests, political directions, and religious sects, the only thing common among them is their distinguished scientific achievement. I think this is a plan to evacuate Iraq of its scientific backbone".   

According to the Iraqi Ministry of Health, between April-2003 to June 2006, 720 medical doctors and health professional were killed. Other unofficial estimations said that 2000 Iraqi doctors emigrated from the country running away from killing and kidnapping. 

According to another previous study by the Iraqi Ministry of Health, up to April 2005, 160-300 Iraqi medical doctors were kidnapped by armed groups which killed 25. Until that date, 1000 doctors left the country, an average of 30 monthly.

In a statement of "the Voices of Iraq" news agency, the head of the University Teachers Associations in Iraq, said that up to summer 2006, 172 university teacher were killed, But if we add the numbers of lecturers and the consultatives, it would exceed 300. This number does not include the medical doctors, engineers, religious teachers with higher degrees in religious studies. 

Dr. Ismael Al-Jalili, a consultative doctor, indicated in a study presented in the International Conference about the assassination of the Iraq Academics, held in Madrid in April 2006, statistics show that 80% of the assassinations targeted people working in the universities, and that half of them are either professors or professor assistants, that half of the assassinations happened in Baghdad university, third of them were in Basra, then Mosul and Al-Mostansiriya University. The study mentioned that 62% of the assassinations were PhDs.

One third of them are specialized in natural sciences and medicine, 17% are practicing doctors, and three quarters of those who were exposed to attempted assassination were actually killed. This "systematic" killing, confirms Dr. Jalili's belief that these assassinations and kidnapping are similar to the Salvador death squads, which was in fact, series of assassinations supervised by the American CIA in many Latin American countries. 

Without going into analyzing the political and security dimensions, these data and statistics present a primary indicator of the destructive psychological impacts that anxiety puts on university professors because of kidnapping and killings. Studies done in relatively stable eastern and western societies, show that death anxiety is in direct proportion with depression, unsociability, over sensitivity, tension, obsessions, phobias; but it is in contrary proportion with  self confidence, social skills, extroversion, endurance, self respect, self accomplishment, positive attitude to ones' self, strong ego, sense of the aim of life. 

Other studies show that the more intelligent a person is, the less he is frightened of death, that the middle class are more afraid of dying pains, that the more educated a person is the less he is afraid of death, and that women are more afraid of death than men. There is no agreement on the relation between death anxiety and age or religion. 

As a pioneer contribution in investigating the psychological paths that death anxiety would take within the Iraqi educated personality, we put a 15 point scale, to be answered in 5 different answers each, ranging between " totally agree" and "totally disagree", applied to Baghdad and Mustansiriya university professors, who have MA, MSC, and PhD, of different ages and scientific degrees (professor, assistant professor, teacher and assistant teacher), the results were as follows:  

*All professors suffer death anxiety

*Afraid of painful death (91%)

*Thinking of death of loved ones (81%)

*Afraid of body deterioration that accompany slow death (72%)

*Worried about dying very painfully (69%)

* Feeling that death is every where (66%)

*Terrified of seeing a dead body (66%)

*Obsession of getting killed any minute (66%)

*Thinking of my personal death (53%)

* Prefer not to attend a dying friend (53%)

*Would avoid death no matter whatever it takes (50%)

* Think of death directly before going to bed (47%)

*Death is better than a painful life (38%)

*Feel closer to death than to life (31%)

*Extremely afraid to die (31%)

*Terrified by the idea of decomposition after death (28%)  


*Death anxiety is spread among this sample of Iraqi university professors, regardless of age and scientific degree which signifies that its effect is widely spread. Women, though, were more worried about dearth than men, a result   consistent with the psychological literature mentioned above which says that women feel less secure; hence her death anxiety is higher. Gender rules, too, demand that men should be "brave" and do not show fear or anxiety in this sense. In addition to that, women's death anxiety is related to themselves personally and to their husbands, too. 

*The fear of dying painfully is high among the sample individuals, then loved ones death, signifying psychological agony and tense feeling of threat that a professor has on his way from home to class. 

*More than two thirds of the sample have anxiety of painful death and of seeing a dead body, in addition to compulsive thoughts that death is surrounding them and that they are exposed to death any minute. This signifies that obsessive and oppressive elements are pervading the university professors' thinking. 

*Quarter-half of the sample's thoughts were centred on avoiding death, thinking of it, fearing it, and how close to it… signifying a relative carelessness about the conventional concept of death  if mentioned with out the idea of pain and threat of killing. 

*      *      *

The essential task of the academic personality is to create life in its highest aims, beginning with lectures, scientific research, whether theoretical or inside laboratories or fields, and to accumulate the eternal truths in the human mind library. Is it possible for such a creator of life to coexist with deep and objective anxiety of assassination and death pain?? 

The Iraqi situation every day now proves that death anxiety does not prevent the Iraqi universities academics of their deep civilized awareness that desperately defending life culture is the only effective way to pull out death's treacherous fangs, and to rehabilitate the concept of "eternity" as an alternative to all cultures of annihilation and elimination.  

Who is eliminating Iraq’s middle class?


Nor the Iraqi puppet government, nor the Iraqi police, nor the US occupation forces can guarantee security, education, healthcare, electricity or any other basic needs. To the contrary: there are plenty of indications that the US and UK can be held responsible for many of the “terrorist” activities, and involvement in death squads activities. After all, these killings are comparable to other counter-insurgency operations the US was involved in for the past 50 years.


A. Militias.


Long before the invasion, the US and its allies were involved in the training and arming of tens of thousands of militias and anti-Iraq collaborators. The most conspicuous of these militia groups are:


1. The Iraqi National Congress (INC) led by Ahmed Chalabi.


2. The Iraqi National Accord (INA) led by Iyad Allawi, the U.S./Britain most preferred ‘strongman’.


Both groups constitute of Iraqi expatriates (including ex-Ba’athists), trained and armed by the U.S. and Britain.


3. The Badr Brigade, the armed wing of the Da’awa/SCIRI religious 'parties' led by Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, Ibrahim al-Jaafari and Nuri al-Maliki. This group constitutes of thousands of Iraqi expatriates and illegal Iranian immigrants expelled from Iraq in the 1980’s. The group is trained and heavily armed by Iran and the U.S.


4. The Kurdish militia (the Peshmerga) led by warlords were trained and armed by the U.S. and Israel.[134]


5. The Sadr movement (known as the Mehdi Army), led by Muqtada al-Sadr. The movement has been accused of many crimes and sectarian killings since the Sadr movement entered the political process.


Since the invasion, each militia group has mutated into several groups of death squads and criminal gangs such as the Wolf Brigade, the Karar Brigade, the Falcon Brigade, the Amarah Brigade, the Muthana Brigade, the Defenders of Kadhimiyah, and the special police commandos. They are armed and financed by the U.S. and its allies, and fully integrated into the Occupation. Each group is carefully used by the occupying forces for terrorising the Iraqi civilian population in a campaign designed to erode the civilian population’s support for the Iraqi Resistance against the Occupation. U.S. military sources have openly admitted that the population, where support for the Resistance is high, “is paying no price for the support it is giving to the [Resistance] … We have to change that equation”, (Newsweek, 14 January 2004). In other words, Iraqis civilians are deliberately targeted for rejecting the Occupation. [135]

These militia’s also operate often alongside the US forces against the Iraqi resistance. But they’re not the only ones involved in the killings of Iraq’s academics. 

B. Mossad. 

According to Osama Abed Al-Majeed, the president of the Department for Research and Development at the Iraqi Ministry for Higher Education, it is the Israeli secret service, Mossad who perpetuates the violence against Iraqi scientists. The Palestine Information Center published a report in June 2005 and claimed that Mossad, in cooperation with U.S. military forces, was responsible for the assassination of 530 Iraqi scientists and professors in the seven months prior to the report’s publication.


C. British terrorists in Iraq.


An article in the Sunday Telegraph[136] points towards clear evidence British special forces are recruiting, training terrorists to heighten ethnic tensions. An elite SAS wing with bloody past in Northern Ireland operates with immunity and provides advanced explosives [137]. Some attacks are being blamed on Iranians, Sunni insurgents or shadowy terrorist cells such as "Al Qaeda” [138] . It is led by Lt. Col. Gordon Kerr, heading the Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR), a large counter-terrorism force made up of unnamed "existing assets" from the glory days in Northern Ireland and elsewhere[139].  And America's covert soldiers are right there with them, working side-by-side with their British comrades in the aptly named "Task Force Black," the UK's Sunday Telegraph reports.[140]


This confirms what many have speculated for a long time, that Britain and the US are deeply involved in bombings and attacks inside Iraq.

D. Facilities Protection Services (FPS).


There is also the claim of  Iraq's[141] interior minister Jawad al-Bolani, speaking to a small group of reporters in Baghdad on October 12 2006, who blamed the Facilities Protection Service, or FPS, a massive but unregulated government guard force whose numbers he put at about 150,000.[142] "Whenever we capture someone, we rarely find anyone is an employee of the government ministries," Bolani said. “When they are, they've turned out to be mostly from the FPS, with very few individual, actual incidents involving anyone from the Ministry of Interior or Ministry of Defense."[143]  


Private US and UK security firms are closely allied to Mr. Bremer’s ‘Facilities Protection Service’ programme in Iraq. Newsweek[144] (24.04.06) suggested 146,000 belong to this ‘security’ force. And recent figures put the number at 200.000. The former Interior Minister, Bayan Jabr, associated the FPS with the endemic ‘death squads’ operating inside the police forces, which are hastening the disintegration of Iraq [145]. So definitely these mercenaries are involved in covert operations.


E. Special police commandos.


According to Greg Jaffe of the Wall Street Journal, the “special police commandos” are being used throughout Iraq and have been conducting criminal assassinations known as the “Salvador option” with the full knowledge of U.S. forces.  At the end of 2003, when it became clear that the US would face tough resistance against their occupation, part of a secret $3 billion in funds—tucked away in the $87 billion Iraq appropriation that Congress approved in early November 2003—went toward the creation of a paramilitary unit manned by militiamen associated with former Iraqi exile groups. Experts said in 2003 already that this could lead to a wave of extrajudicial killings, not only of armed rebels but of nationalists, other opponents of the U.S. occupation and thousands of civilian Baathists—up to 120,000 of the estimated 2.5 million former Baath Party members in Iraq. According to an article published in New York Times Magazine in September 2004, Counsellor to the US Ambassador for Iraqi Security Forces James Steele was assigned to work with a new elite Iraqi counter-insurgency unit known as the Special Police Commandos, formed under the operational control of Iraq’s Interior Ministry.


From 1984 to 1986 then Col. Steele had led the US Military Advisory Group in El Salvador, where he was responsible for developing special operating forces at brigade level during the height of the conflict (…) The Police Commandos are in large part the brainchild of another US counter-insurgency veteran, Steven Casteel, a former top DEA man who has been acting as the senior advisor in the Ministry of the Interior. Casteel was involved in the hunt for Colombia’s notorious cocaine baron Pablo Escobar, during which the DEA collaborated with a paramilitary organization known as Los Pepes, which later transformed itself into the AUC, an umbrella organization covering all of Colombia’s paramilitary death squads. [146]


Negroponte has certainly learned his job well in El Salvador, before he was appointed ambassador to Iraq. He transferred his methods of systematic liquidations, employed in the dirty wars in  Middle and Latin America during the 70’s and 80’s, to Iraq.  Many Latin American mercenaries who belonged to dead squads in Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador etc.. were recruited by private companies and are now operating inside Iraq.


On April 30 2006, the  Organisation for Follow-up and Monitoring wrote[147]: “After exact counting and documenting, the Iraqi Organisation for Follow-up and Monitoring has confirmed that 92 % of the 3498 bodies found in different regions of Iraq have been arrested by officials of the Ministry of Interior.  Nothing was known about the arrestees’ fate until their riddled bodies were found with marks of horrible torture.  It’s regrettable and shameful that these crimes are being suppressed and that several states receive government officials, who fail to investigate these crimes.”


F. The occupation forces.


The British medical journal The Lancet reported on 11 October 2006 that the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq has led to the deaths of between 426,000 and 794,000 Iraqis.  “While recision about such figures is difficult, we can be confident that the excess deaths were above 390,000, and may in fact be as high as 940,000. The vast majority (92 per cent) of the excess deaths were due to direct violence. (…)”  31 percent of those killed were actually slain by U.S. and "coalition" forces[148].


Iraqis in the volatile al-Anbar province west of Baghdad are reporting regular killings carried out by U.S. forces that many believe are part of a 'genocidal' strategy[149].


Harassment from U.S. forces is a greater threat to the work of the Iraqi Red Crescent than insurgent attacks, a senior official of the Red Cross-linked humanitarian organization said[150].


So the occupation forces certainly aren’t in Iraq to protect the Iraqi people. Much to the contrary.


G. Criminal gangs.


The last group in this list are the ordinary criminal gangs, who do f.i. kidnappings for ransom money. They play a marginal, but instrumental role in the current instability in Iraq. Because none of the crimes committed are investigated, the victims have the impression that law and order are non-existent in the “new Iraq”. So most of them flee the country with their families.  I mention ordinary criminality at the end of this list because ordinary criminals – and there are a lot of them in Iraq -  are the only group that is (at first sight) not structurally linked to the occupation and its stooges. But these bandits can do their crimes with impunity, under the eyes of 750.000 security forces, without fear of being caught or prosecuted. This feeds the suspicion among the Iraqis that the occupier at least tolerates these crimes in order to create as much chaos as possible, for the sole purpose to defeat the resistance.




All these actors help to destroy the Republic of Iraq, kill and expel its people, annihilate its middle class, all this with the active (or tacid) support of the US occupation authorities, in a campaign of counter-insurgency that resembles the many “dirty wars” of the US during the past 50 years.


So instead of bringing stability to Iraq, the US occupation is doing everything it possibly can to create chaos and terror, to incite civil war and sectarian strife, in order to defeat the National Popular Resistance and to break the aspirations of the Iraqi people to live in a sovereign state and decide its own future.


Consequently the only possible road to a solution is the total and immediate withdrawal of all foreign troops from Iraqi soil. US forces must negotiate an immediate withdrawal with the Iraqi resistance[151]. The peace movement has to understand that these demands are crucial to achieve a peaceful solution[152].


[145]The jumping off point for this research was E. Knickmeyer's Washington Post story Iraq Nears Consolidation of Paramilitary Unit (11.05.06) and Iraq Begins to Rein In Paramilitary Force (14.05.06)