Bush Administration War Crimes in Iraq
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Bush Administration War Crimes in Iraq
"A Society of Sheep must in time beget a Government of Wolves" -- Bertrand de Jouvenal
The War Crimes Roundtable consists of the following Iraq
and International Law scholars: Francis A. Boyle, Michael Mandel, Liz Holtzman, H. Victor Conde, and author Mark Levine.
NB: The following is non-copyrighted and edited material with supplementary contributions relating to discussions on the potential culpability re war crimes committed by the Bush administration
The specific legal definition of a war crime is most simply a criminal act in violation of the international Law of War. Conceptually, a war crime is derived from the limitation on the use of force by states and other parties to preserve a certain amount of humanity in armed conflict. For example, the Law of Armed Conflict is an attempt to preserve balance between the needs of military leaders to effectively carry out their military operations, what is called "military necessity" on the one hand, and the horrors of war and protection of humanity. War crimes are thus violations of the principle of humanity, including inflicting unnecessary suffering and harm, and interfering with normal functioning of a society during a military occupation, all of which are not accepted as legitimate actions by a combatant or a belligerent occupier. What we're talking about here also involves the principle of reciprocity: We want our civilians and soldiers who are captured to be treated in a humane manner. Thus, it's in our interest to do the same to captured enemy combatants and civilians, as we have increasingly seen more civilians than soldiers taken. Moreover, history has proven that when a state's military acts within the confines of international law, it makes for a more efficient military force - you waste fewer resources than when it gets chaotic, excessively harmful savage and brutal. Subsequently, you leave a less destructive aftermath, making it easier for the countries or groups involved to return more quickly to normal lives. Commission of war crimes is important because such acts cause more death, more destruction, more suffering, and more waste of resources, seldom with any significant military benefit.
In my own research on war crimes committed by US forces in Iraq, I counted at least two-dozen classes of offenses systematically committed by the Occupation administration and US or US-allied military forces in the invasion and subsequent period of CPA (Coalition Provisional Authority
) rule. This includes violations of articles and 17, 18, 33, and 147 of the Geneva Convention
covering the killing, hostage-taking and torturing of civilians. Subsequent to these acts the so-called insurgency
has become more aggressive brutal in all types of hostilities, including incidents that the United States would simply brush off as "collateral damage".
1. The President and senior administration and/or government officials could be subject to the death penalty for war crimes committed by US personnel in Iraq assuming that they directed or authorized murder, torture or inhuman treatment of prisoners or, if they permitted such conduct to continue after they became aware of the abuse. The statute applies to "any US national" and there is no other limitation with regard prosecution. But getting these ‘high officials’ prosecuted would be no easy matter, even if their conduct fell well within the ambit of the statute.
Under the War Crimes Act of 1996 there are two sets of questions to determine potential criminal liability of high government officials, including the President: 1. What did they specifically order or authorize regarding interrogations of Iraqi prisoners and 2. Assuming they did not order or authorize murder, torture or inhuman treatment, what actions did they undertake once they knew of murder, torture and inhuman treatment; under international law, once a government official is aware of profound abuses of human rights, then that official has every duty to effectively act to stop them.
The Bush Administration has failed to release any information about the President's (and other high officials) orders with regard to the interrogation of Iraqi prisoners. Questions concerning what Bush
knew about the abuse of prisoners in Abu Ghraib
, when did he know it, and what did he do to stop it have never been addressed in any public forum. We know for example that Colin Powell
advised the President on International Red Cross
complaints re prisoner abuse, and the questions arise: when did that briefing occur? What was the President told about the Red Cross complaints and what did he do in response? This information must be disclosed by President Bush since the Fourth Geneva Convention directly addresses the matter of Red Cross access to prisoners and verification by the Red Cross that prisoners are treated humanely. 
But the most important issue is, legally and morally, who initiated the unlawful invasion of Iraq
and why. We think we know the answers, but the reasons must be formally documented and entered into testimony by witnesses such as George Bush
. Bush is certainly a key witness for deposition and if the Special Prosecutor rule had not lapsed after the excesses of Kenneth Starr
then we might have a chance at prosecuting George Bush and others, or at least submit Bush to a discovery process as a witness to these crimes.
So we return to the fact that the invasion of Iraq was a "crime against peace", which is the number one count and criteria in the Nuremberg Charter for indictment of the Nazi war criminals:
..'planning, preparation, initiation [and] waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties' - international treaties just like the Charter of the United Nations. It's what the Nuremberg Tribunal called "the supreme international crime." The President was made aware of this by a great number of international lawyers around the world before the invasion, and even if he claimed ignorance, I'm sure he's heard that ignorance of the law is no excuse. Bush and his administration and the US commanders involved are all guilty of this supreme crime. Since the war was unlawful, the many thousands of deaths predictably resulting from it are also crimes, murder in fact, for which Bush and his officials and commanders are certainly guilty in flagrante.
The Bush administration charges that the Iraq War
was authorized by the US Congress, but the military action in Iraq is still illegal under international law. So what does that really mean? Right now there is no institution capable of punishing this supreme crime, a state of affairs that the Bush regime
continues to exploit. Even the International Criminal Court
(of which the United States opted out) left out the supreme crime against peace of waging an aggressive so-called ‘pre-emptive’ war
without qualification. So how do we enforce the law with regard to Bush, Wolfowitz
and the other perpetrators of these Iraqi war crimes?
When Belgium tried to prosecute Ariel Sharon
as a war criminal, and then Tommy Franks
and Rumsfeld and then Bush himself, the US government forced Belgium to repeal its 'universal jurisdiction' law -- and in fact Belgium’s law was repealed and replaced by a watered-down version. When Spain tried to apply its law of universal jurisdiction against Pinochet
, the UK ignored its extradition treaties and sent him home to a safe retirement.
The United States already has a statute on the books relevant to US criminal acts in repeated abuse of Iraqi prisoners in violation of the Geneva Conventions
; the question is, how can that statute be made to work, particularly in light of inhuman treatment of so many Iraqi prisoners in US custody - in some cases resulting in death.
Legal scholars and experts in International Criminal Law are presently researching the idea of a legal brief that sets forth the potential for criminal/legal liability on the part of top Bush Administration officials including President Bush himself. Such a brief will define the need for an independent, non-Justice Department
-led investigation which will educate the press, the public, and Congress to the point where enough pressure builds for serious investigations to begin. Members of Congress, for example, could call on disclosure of information about the President’s knowledge and authorization of illegal Iraqi interrogations. For example, when was Bush informed about the Iraqi prisoner abuses, and what did he do to stop the abuse, and did he ever authorize the torture of prisoners.
Congress could also call upon the appointment of a Special Prosecutor to investigate the President. Under such auspices key members of the Bush administration will be questioned about non-disclosure on Bush’s authorization of illegal Iraqi interrogations; likewise the Attorney Generally will be formally questioned about the appointment of a Special Prosecutor and the official's own statements concerning Weapons of Mass Destruction
in Iraq in tandem with questions concerning prisoner abuse in Iraq and other oustanding questions relating to International Criminal law.
2. According to US Army Field Manual 27-10 the chain of command itself determines accountability for war crimes, with the highest participating officer to be held most accountable. Specifically, paragraph 501 in the manual states that commanders who order criminal abuse (or who knew about such criminal abuse and then consequently failed to stop or report it) are then guilty of war crimes. If you look at the public record it is clear that Gens. Sanchez
ordered war crimes and both should be relieved of their command immediately: abuse of prisoners is in violation of the Geneva Conventions.
As for General Abizaid
, the overall commander of US forces in Southwest Asia, he admitted in his Senate hearings that he should have known about the war crimes being committed at Abu Ghraib, so he has incriminated himself under the rules of the US Army Field Manual 27-10. In addition, Abizaid's superiors Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz certainly knew about the abuses at Abu Ghraib. So, by any reading of the public record (including the Taguba
and Red Cross reports) it can be shown that this group of high officials either knew about the crimes at Abu Ghraib or should have known about them.
If you read the ICRC
report (which has never been contradicted) at the Mejia court-martial proceedings, the widespread and systematic nature of these abuses rise to the level of crimes versus humanity, escalating throughout the chain of command. Culpability also extends to Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence General William G. Boykin
and Defense Undersecretary Stephen Cambone
, who reports directly to Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith. And through this line it appears that Rumsfeld is ultimately culpable, because he witnessed the abuses at Abu Ghraib in the fall of 2003. Hersch
's New Yorker article on Abu Ghraib claims with substantiation that Rumsfeld was totally aware of the abuse and he even signed off on the use of torture techniques. Rumsfeld was given a tour by Brig. General Janet Karpinski
, who was supposed to be in charge of the prison (even though she said nothing when she was prohibited access to certain parts of the prison) and so Karpinski is accountable.
It is important to understand that the Geneva Conventions, the Hague Regulations of 1907, and the U.S. Army Field Manual all mandate that a criminal investigation must be opened with regard to ongoing prisoner abuses.  President Bush, as Commander in Chief, is equally accountable under Field Manual 27-10 precisely because of his position. If you read White House Counsel's (Alberto Gonzales
) memo on prisoner abuse and interrogation in Afghanistan
, he specifically exempts the US from the Geneva Conventions for Guantanamo
and Afghanistan, so it is clear that the President was - and is - aware of this exposure. Gonzales was apparently concerned about Bush's future exposure when held accountable for Iraqi prisoner abuse under the terms of military law.
The potential commission of war crimes in Iraq calls for due diligence and a criminal investigation of the President and high officials. An impeachment venue
is not appropriate since impeachment involves a political process and Bush's alleged war crimes have not been perpetrated in isolation; ultimately George W Bush's crimes are collective crimes versus humanity involving at least as many Defendants as appeared at the Nuremburg trials. The Iraq fiasco and mistreatment of prisoners certainly qualify as "high crimes" in which President Bush and/or his staff may be implicated, the only doubt concerns the manner in which President Bush and his co-conspirators might be investigated, indicted and tried for their crimes versus humanity as the alleged proponents of an unlawful and brutal war resulting in war crimes. If proven, President Bush could only perpetrate his crimes with the assistance of others, while he aided and abetted others in a collective conspiracy to commit crimes versus humanity. So once again we must consider that Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith and others bear an equal brunt in the stakes for accountability.
3. The US did not exempt itself from the Geneva Conventions with regard to the Iraq war and there is no question that US activities in Iraq are governed by the Geneva Conventions. Once the Geneva Conventions apply, so does the War Crimes Act of 1996  which is a US criminal statute and not an international statute. Like bank robbery, murder on federal property and many other crimes listed in Title 18 of the federal statutes, committing a war crime is a federal crime which may be prosecuted in US federal courts. This point is clear, from the language of the War Crimes Act itself, and from White House Counsel Gonzales' January 2002 memo to President Bush - that memo was premised on the idea that so long as the Geneva Conventions applied to conduct in any country, then the War Crimes Act also applied. Opting out of the Geneva Conventions, Gonzales thought, might allow top US officials to argue that the War Crimes Act didn't apply, and allow them to escape prosecution. (The validity of the "opt out" gimmick has yet to be tested.)
Under the terms of the War Crimes Act of 1996, any US national who engages in war crimes is subject to imprisonment, and if death results, subject to the death penalty. A war crime is defined in the statute as a "grave breach" of the Geneva Conventions, which in turn means "murder, torture or inhuman treatment" of prisoners or detainees. Thus, theoretically at least, everyone up the chain of command, including the President, could be liable under the War Crimes Act for ordering or engaging in murder, torture or the inhuman treatment of prisoners in Iraq. Because there is no statute of limitations in death penalty cases, prosecutions of those who authorized or engaged in murder or authorized or engaged in torture or inhuman treatment of Iraqi prisoners that resulted in death could be commenced at any time in the future.
The question remains as to how an executive Special Prosecutor may actually be appointed to begin his or her investigations of President Bush with immediate effect. Since the United States government is now a quasi-Corporate entity itself and since mega-Corporations control the media and not the people, it is unlikely that calls for a Special Prosecutor and/or Bush's indictment [if applicable] will originate with the media; certainly as a political act in a Congress controlled by Republicans
the odds that Congress may appoint a Special Prosecutor become very slim. Another idea is to convene an international war crimes tribunal, however it is unlikely that any foreign nation[s] would undertake a perceived political action with potentially negative long-term political effects since Bush is now a lame duck/temporary executive.
It is possible that a US-based war crimes tribunal could be undertaken within the context of the judicial branch review with military participation in a venue most similar to courts-martial. This is a precedent-setting case and a theoretical situation where such legal action would require precedent-setting actions in a spectrum spanning legal scholars [and experts in international law] to the Supreme Court
and the military courts-martial for all participants from the President on down. In other words, such action would take place behind closed doors in a sealed Grand Jury type of venue. The possibility of such action depends upon applicability of the War Crimes Act of 1996. 
The American people must be informed that there is a War Crimes Act that applies to the President and his top officials with respect to prisoner abuse in Iraq, and the American people must determine that everyone who violated the War Crimes Act and other laws with regard to Iraqi abuses must be held accountable and punished if convicted. The principle that no one is above the law, including the President (and especially the President) was established with the Watergate conspiracy. If there is a serious investigation of wrongdoing with respect to Iraqi abuses it will have a limiting effect on the willingness of future administrations to engage in the kinds of abuses that the Bush administration has already, apparently, perpetrated.
The Iraq war is illegal, and the US Congress did not have the right under international law to authorize a preemptive, aggressive war without any justification. All citizens should read, inter alia, the preamble and Articles 2.4, and 51 of the UN
Charter. The preamble states that:
“We the Peoples of the United Nations
, Determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person,..., and to establish conditions under which justice and respect for obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, ..., and for these ends to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbors, and to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and to ensure by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest...Have resolved to combine our efforts to accomplish these aims,....” Article 2.4 of the Charter states that “All [UN] members shall refrain in their international relations from the treat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.” Article 51 of the Charter says that “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defense shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.”
The idea to indict Bush, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Feith and others for their war crimes may seem fantastic now, but in 1985 who could have known that the corrupt Soviet leadership would be out of business merely six years later? We must begin our preparations and groundwork to bring President Bush and his cohorts to justice by a jury of their peers in a legal venue that does not rely upon the impeachment of one individual in this collective matter, and we must begin the preparations now.
 War Crimes Roundtable:
Mark Levine: Professor, Dept. of History, UC Irvine, author of Why They Don’t Hate Us: Lifting the Veil on the ‘Axis of Evil’.
Francis A. Boyle: Professor of Law, University of Illinois, is author of Foundations of World Order, Duke University Press, The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence, and Palestine, Palestinians and International Law.
Michael Mandel: professor of law at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, specializes in international criminal law.
Liz Holtzman House of Representatives, D-NY.
H. Victor Condé teaches International Human Rights Law at Trinity International University in California and at the International Institute of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.
 From the 4th Geneva Convention:
(1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.
To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:
(a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
(b) taking of hostages;
(c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment;
(d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.
Article 6 of the Fourth Geneva Convention:
In the case of occupied territory, the application of the present Convention shall cease one year after the general close of military operations; however, the Occupying Power shall be bound, for the duration of the occupation, to the extent that such Power exercises the functions of government in such territory, by the provisions of the following Articles of the present Convention: 1 to 12, 27, 29 to 34, 47, 49, 51, 52, 53, 59, 61 to 77, 143.
 Article 11 of the Fourth Geneva Conventions:
If protection cannot be arranged accordingly, the Detaining Power shall request or shall accept, subject to the provisions of this Article, the offer of the services of a humanitarian organization, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, to assume the humanitarian functions performed by Protecting Powers under the present Convention.
 War Crimes of 1996
, US House of Representatives Legislation.
Related SourceWatch ResourcesAbu Ghraib: AccountabilityAbu Ghraib: Interrogation Methods and Legal IssuesAbu Ghraib: The Rumsfeld FactorAbu Ghraib: What Did 'They' Know and 'When' Did They Know It?Afghanistan detainee abuse scandalIraqi detainee abuse scandalLegal Arguments for Avoiding the Jurisdiction of the Geneva ConventionsOffice of Military CommissionsPresident's Military Order of November 13, 2001, Detention, Treatment, and Trial of Certain Non-Citizens in the War Against Terrorism
Related External Links
Greg Moses, "A Cell in Huntsville, Texas. Bush Teaches Intelligent Design in Prison,"
CounterPunch, August 4, 2005.
Paul Craig Roberts, "Bush Turns His Terror War on the Homeland. Retroactive Laws Invoked to Protect Administration Officials from War Crimes Prosecution,"
CounterPunch, August 29, 2006.
Marjorie Cohn, "Donald Rumsfeld: The War Crimes Case,"
The Jurist, November 9, 2006. re former Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
Adam Zagorin, "Exclusive: Charges Sought Against Rumsfeld Over Prison Abuse. A lawsuit in Germany will seek a criminal prosecution of the outgoing Defense Secretary and other U.S. officials for their alleged role in abuses at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo,"
TIME Magazine, November 10, 2006."Rumsfeld, others sued for 'war crimes',"
UPI, November 14, 2006.
Patrick Cockburn, "The Waco of Iraq? US 'Victory' Against Cult Leader was a Massacre,"
CounterPunch, January 31, 2007."Media uncritically reported Bush's statement touting Iraqi success in Najaf," Media Matters for America
, January 31, 2007."Doubts over battle with messianic cult,"
UPI, January 31, 2007.
Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily, "Government Lies Over Najaf 'Cult' Battle Exposed,"
Inter Press Service (AlterNet), February 2, 2007.
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Labels: Bush adminstration crimes in Iraq
Deterioration of Iraqi Women's Rights and Living Conditions Under Occupation
By Souad N. Al-AzzawiGlobal Research
, January 13, 2008brusselstribunal.org/
For centuries, Iraqi women struggled for their human rights. It wasn't until the 1960's that some improvements in constitutional women's rights were implemented. During the seventies and eighties, women's rights improved significantly, providing better educational opportunities, political involvement, equal job opportunities, health care and development of laws and regulations to ensure a better life for Iraqi women and girls.
Deterioration of women's rights in Iraq began during the US-UN comprehensive economical sanctions imposed on Iraqi during the nineties. In 2003, the invasion of Iraq by the USA and its allies resulted in the descent of the rights of women just like other elements in Iraqi society, infrastructure and the general quality of life.
To define the extent of the USA occupation impact on women's rights and living conditions, a survey composed of 21 questions was distributed in two major cities:
Inside Baghdad, Iraq in the Karada District, and
Kudsiya area in Damascus, Syria where more than 200,000 Iraqi refugees live.
The 150 women who answered the survey were a part of 150 families or households composed of a total of 502 Iraqis.
Statistical analysis of the questions of the survey indicated dangerous trends in the security status that drove Iraqi women out of their jobs, where 85% of the studied women are unemployed (taking into consideration that the large majority of this percentage have a formal education). The study also indicated that 36% of the studied families lived with no income or a very low income of $100/month or less which has lead to women and children doing menial labor or begging. Also, it was found that 87 families have a victim of either occupation forces or sectarian violence. The mortality rate among this targeted displaced population is 193 per 1000. this high mortality rate is an indication of genocide existing amongst the migrated and displaced population. Missing family members rate at 12.7, and it is also estimated that 20% of the students of the studied women's families are having difficulties and failing schools. A percentage of other students quit school altogether.
The occupation is totally responsible for the deterioration and destruction of women's lives and rights in Iraq. Iraqi women under occupation need the help of their sisters in international women's organizations abroad to help protect them and protect their rights. They also have the right to resist the occupier in every way available to reclaim their lost lives and ensure a better life for themselves and their families.
Prior to 1920, Iraqi women’s rights were not truly recognized under the Ottoman Empire rule. Iraq was occupied for four centuries under this rule which saw virtually no advancement of rights for women. The situation did not improve much under the tribal, religious ruling during the British occupation and colonial period of 1920-1958.
In 1958, Iraq became a Republic and for the first time ever, women’s rights began to improve, when the government of General Abdul-Kareem Kasim supported by the Iraqi Communist Party amended Personal Status Law to grant equal inheritance and divorce rights. This Personal Status Law also relegated divorce, inheritance and marriage to civil, instead of religious, courts, andprovided for child support.
After that, Iraqi women and girls began enjoying relatively more rights than many of their counterparts in the Middle East .
The primary underpinning of women’s equality is contained in the Iraqi provisional constitution, which was drafted by the Ba’ath party in 1970 .
Article 19 declares all citizens equal before the law regardless of sex, blood, language, social origin, or religion .
Enrolment of women and girls in rural areas in literacy centers under the illiteracy eradication legislation of 1979 transferred women in Iraq into a new level of education, labor, and employment. With other employment laws, the opportunities in the civil service sector, maternity benefits, and stringent laws against harassment in the work place allowed Iraqi women larger involvement in building their careers .
Women attained the right to vote and run for office in 1980. In 1986 Iraq became one of the first countries to ratify the Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
During the 1990’s, the (US-UN) sanctions imposed on Iraq had a great impact on women and children in Iraq. The financial crippling of families resulted in an increase of female illiteracy as many families could not afford to send their children to school.
To compare through numbers, according to (UNESCO) by the year of 1987, approximately 75 percent of Iraqi women were literate, but by end of 2000, the percentage of literate women dropped to less than 25 percent .
The criminal comprehensive economic sanctions imposed on Iraq not only prepared the situation in Iraq for the American aggressor to occupy the country and take over the oil reserves, but it also put a halt to the significant advancement in women rights and the improved living conditions they had struggled hundreds of years to earn.
By the end of the nineties, the economic constraints pushed women to leave their jobs and return to their traditional role in the home. The tremendous pressure and burden the Iraqi women have gone through since the illegal sanctions is indescribable, where she has had to feed the children with no food, take care of ill family members with no medicine, and bury her loved ones as an advanced sacrifice to the US invasion of Iraq.
Iraqi women proved to be reliable, enthusiastic and hard workers when given the chance to have a proper education and human rights.
By the end of the year 2000, many Iraqi women who worked as scientists, engineers, medical doctors, artists, poets, journalists, and educators proved that they not only can be equal to their counterparts, but more responsible to their historic challenge as an important integral half of society.
Iraqi Women Under Occupation:
Like other parts of society, Iraqi women lives, rights, and living environment was drastically changed by the military operations during the invasion of Iraq in March-April 2003.
Tens of thousands of Iraqi women, children, and men were killed, injured and families were shattered as a result of using conventional and internationally banned weapons like White Phosphorous, Napalm, Depleted Uranium, Cluster Bombs, chemical agents and gasses    . About 100,000 deaths were estimated as a result of occupation military operations for the period from March 2003 and August 2004 .
Due to the continuing existence of US-led occupation forces and the intentional collapse of security, the economy, and civil services, women’s lives have become worse than ever. One reason of many is the new amendments made under the occupation government to the constitution and personal status laws. The majority of occupation assigned political parties are composed of religious clerics and fundamentalists who have their own sectarian explanations and interpretations of Islamic Sharia. These interpretations are often conflicting or contradictory from one faction to another. The new USA-written Iraqi constitution includes laws and regulations that leave much room for conjecture and interpretation by clerics and religious figures. This has resulted and will continue to result in a sure and swift deterioration of women’s rights as most of the old laws protecting women are now arguable under this more ‘flexible’ constitution. The occupation is responsible of the deterioration in women rights and living environment through the following:
Contrary to Geneva Conventions, Iraqi women are arrested, detained, abused and made to collaborate with the occupation forces and to inform against resistance. 
There has been an increase of sexual assaults, torture and violations of women’s right by US forces in Iraq. 
The majority of women lost their jobs. Seventy percent of the previously working Iraqi women today are unemployed for different reasons. Before the invasion, women formed more than 40 percent of total workers in the public sector. 
The dismantling of Iraqi security forces and police led to an increase in violence and crimes against women. Women are no longer leaving their homes unaccompanied by the relatives.
Women suffered from great loss of their loved ones through the unjustified killing of Iraqis by the “self-immune” from prosecution US soldiers. The total number of deaths in Iraq since the start of the invasion in 2003 is estimated to be 1,127,552  due to different causes. The majority of these deaths are due to the troops use of excessive force and violence and the intentional creation of a sectarian civil war by the occupier to control the country.
Iraqi women are losing basic rights under the new constitution where women’s rights are implemented only if they don’t contradict the Shariaa, which is interpreted differently by each sect .
The Struggle of Iraqi Women Under the Occupation: Numbers and Statistics
To investigate the effects of the occupation and its related political, economical, educational and social consequences, a survey through the questionnaire shown in Appendix  was conducted. The selected population of the survey was divided into two categories:
Iraqi women within families in the largely refugee area of Kudsiya in on the outskirts of Damascus, Syria. This population is largely comprised of Iraqis who were under high threat for various reasons.
Iraqi women within families in Karada District on the Rasafa side of Baghdad, Iraq. This area is considered a relatively stable, safe area.
The author and her assistants carried out the questionnaires and randomly distributed them to women within the families in these areas, and asked them to fill it out, and finally collected them for analysis. Due to the great fear of the women, the study team collected only 70 questionnaires from the women or families in Karada area in Iraq, and 80 questionnaires from the women in the Kudsiya area in Syria. In other words, the survey included 150 Iraqi families. Statistical analysis of the survey was split into the following categories:
Reasons for Current Unemployment
Family Provider (Guardian)
Monthly Income of the Family
Family Members Killed During Violence or Conflict
Circumstances of Family Member Deaths
Missing Family Members
Existing Chronic Illnesses Needing Treatment
Existence of Chronic Illness Amongst the Women
Displaced Families – Causes of Displacement
Education and School Attendance Status of Students in the Families
Methods of Conducting the Survey:
The survey is population _based to prove what has been published regarding the deterioration in living conditions and women's rights under occupation in Iraq since 2003.
The technique used to analyze the results of the survey was descriptive analysis of the information or descriptive statistics. The data was collected, summarized and percentiles were drawn up based on this and compared to certain previously published statistics. Finally, for the results regarding the larger population of the threatened and migrated populace, inferential statistical analysis was used whereby conclusions were drawn regarding the larger population according to the smaller one surveyed.
A survey of 150 households randomly selected within two major population clusters. The first population cluster is in the Kudsiya area, a suburb of Damascus, Syria where about 200 000 Iraqi refugees live.
The second cluster is in Karada District, within the Rasafa side of Baghdad, Iraq.
Between the period of August to October of 2007, a population based two cluster survey was conducted to define aspects of the deterioration of Iraqi women's living conditions and rights under the USA occupation of Iraq.
A questionnaire that covers different life aspects of a woman within any Iraqi family were put together (in the Arabic language) including the following:
- Marital status, educational level, age distribution, employment status, reasons for current unemployment, monthly income of family, family members killed during violence or conflict, missing family members, existing chronic illnesses needing treatment, existing chronic illnesses amongst women, displaced families( causes of displacement), family education and school attendance status.
The questionnaire was then distributed in the selected areas by two teams. Each team consisted of a PhD, MS, and a B.Sc. holders who work, or used to work with the author in Baghdad University. The assistants refused to publish their names from fear of getting killed or kidnapped by the Militias.
Members of the two teams personally distributed about 300 questionnaires randomly within each area code of the geographical extent of these areas.
What made it easier for them is the fact that they are residents of these areas. They answered the questions of the household women whenever it is needed and checked related document.
The team collected only 80 answered questionnaires from Kudsiya area and 70 from the Karada area although the residents were assured that their names and addresses would remain anonymous.
The Selection Criteria of the Areas:
The selection criteria of these two areas are based on the following:
1-A well known fact that Kudsya Area in Syria is an Iraqi refugee-like area for those families who escaped killing, kidnapping, death threats, and forced displacement. Thus this cluster is considered as a bias one in terms of exposure to violence. Distribution of questionnaire among this cluster was random.
2- The Karada area in Baghdad is considered relatively secure. It consists of a majority of Shia Muslims with minority Christians and Sunni Muslims. Covering such an area within the survey would give balanced results that might comprehend major aspects related to the subject.
Analysis and simple straight forward statistical representation were all done by the author.
Results of Statistical Analysis.
The marital status of the women in the studied population is presented in Table 1:
Table (1) : Marital Status of Iraqi Women in the Studied Population
Status of the Women
The above graphical representation of Table (1) gives a very clear idea regarding the high increase in the number of widows amongst the women answering the questionnaire. Causes of this sharp increase in widowed women are due to the excessive killing by occupation forces and occupation created sectarian violence as we will show later on.
Table (2) : The Level of Education of Women in the Studied Population
As we can see from Table (2), women with higher education degrees represent 47% of the studied population. If we combine this number with high school diploma holders, the percentage rises to 70.6% which proves the great potential of educated women within the studied population, most of whom were driven out of work due to the previously mentioned reasons.
C- Age Distribution Amongst the Studied Population:
Table (3) : Age Distribution Amongst the Women of the Studied Population
As can be seen, the age distribution is normal, with a domination of the ‘employment ages’, 30 – 60, which represents 73.32 % of the studied population of women.
D- Employment Status of Women in the Studied Population
Table (4) : Employment Status of Women in the Studied Population
This data shows that out of 106 women eligible for employment within the studied population; only 14 of them are currently working. This proves that less than 15 percent are employed and about 85 percent are unemployed.
E- Major Reasons of Current Unemployment:
Table (5) : Reasons Behind Current Unemployment of Women in the Studied Population
It can be noticed that a major reason of women leaving the work force among the studied population is a lack of security due to sectarian violence, occupation forces, and criminal militias.
F- Family Provider (Guardian) Amongst the Studied Population:
Table (6) : Family Provider of the Families of the Studied Population
As can be seen, there is an obvious retreat of women providing, or helping to provide, for the family even though the family standard of living is within the low-income to poverty level, as we will see from next category.
From the survey, it was also seen through the survey that only 73.3 % of the family providers live with the family, but 26.7 % don’t live within the family for security reasons. This represents an extra burden on women in handling the family necessities where there are no services available and there is a collapsed economy and lack of security to deal with.
G- Monthly Income of the Families of the Studied Population
Table (7) : Monthly Income of the Families in the Studied Population
We notice from Table (7), that 54 families live with no income or virtually no income with an income of less than $100. This income level comprises 36% of the studied population. In studying the table with some depth, it will be noted that 70% of the Iraqi population currently lives below the poverty level in one of the richest oil countries in the world .
Again, Iraqi women are suffering to feed and take care of the family members under these harsh financial conditions. Children in these conditions leave schools to support the family or women are made to beg for charity or do menial labour or other low paying jobs. An increasing number of Iraqi women abroad and inside Iraq are being coerced or forced into prostitution or even slave labour in order to support children or family.
H- Family Members Killed During Violence or Conflict
Out of the 150 studied families, 87 of them have family members who were killed with a total number of (97) killed family members out of 503 total persons of the studied population (comprised of 150 households). This represents a morality rate of 19.3 %, or 193 per thousand. This high mortality rate is understandable among highly affected bias population of the refugees who ran away as a result of being targeted by the occupation forces or sectarian militias. When asked about how many family members were killed, the results showed:
Table (8) : The Number of Family Members Killed Within the Families of the Studied Population
* This question was asked regarding first degree family members only- not extended family.
If we consider the estimated mortality rate a representative one for the two million internally displaced Iraqis, and the 2.5 million refugees abroad, the total number of deaths amongst these highly affected by occupation and sectarian violence categories is 868,500 deaths. This number looks reasonable compared to what Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health estimated: a mortality rate of 654,956 up until July 2006 . If we consider that the period from July of 2006 to July of 2007 was the bloodiest of the occupation years, the estimated total number of deaths through this study is reasonable compared to other estimated numbers for the whole country’s population. This number is estimated at 1,127,552 . This drastic increase of mortalities is due to violence which can be considered a trend of the existing ‘Genocide’ in Iraqi comparing only to other Genocide rates in history.
I- Circumstances of Family Member Deaths :
Table (9) : Circumstances of Family Member Deaths Amongst the Studied Population
As we can see, the highest percentage of deaths by killing is by the sectarian militias, followed by occupation forces excessive use of violence.
J- Missing Victims:
The total number of missing members within the families of the studied population are 66 victims. When asked about the circumstances of their disappearance, the following was shown:
Table (10) : Circumstances of the Disappearance of the Missing Family Members
Table 10 shows that the majority of missing people cases are due to undefined reasons where young men leave the house for schools, colleges, work, etc. and never return, such a terrible way to lose a loved one.
Again, missing victims represent 13.12 % of the studied population. Missing husbands, brothers, sisters and children are a source of real trauma to the women in the family.
K - Existing Chronic Illnesses that Need Special Continuous Treatment
Table (11) : Chronic Illnesses Within the Families of the Studied Population
Chronic illnesses within the women’s families are an additional burden and a source of constant stress considering the inadequate health care system or lack of financial support for Iraqis inside Iraq and abroad.
L - Existence of Chronic Illnesses Amongst the Women in the Studied Population
Table (12) : Type of Disease Some Women in the Studied Population are Suffering from
A continuous change of the living environment, losing family members and harsh living conditions all contribute to extra stress on the women in the family. This has resulted in many psychological disorders such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), attention deficit disorder (ADD), etc.
M - Displaced Families – Causes of Displacement
Table (13) : Primary Causes of Displacement of the Families in the Studied Population
The 80 displaced families in the Kudsiya area in Syria are amongst thousands of other similar families currently in Syria, Jordan and other countries. Most of them live without financial support, insignificant health care that cannot cover long term disease and disabilities. Wives, mothers, sisters and daughters are sacrificing their education, social life and careers for the basic survival of their families. Thanks to George Bush and the American occupation of Iraq, the condition of Iraqi women inside the country and abroad is worse than it has ever been in the history of Iraq.
N - Family Education and School Attendance Status Indicators:
The total number of family members involved in the studied population is 502.
Males : 248 Females : 254
Number of students amongst them: 318 (172 males and 146 females)
Total number of failing students among the above number is 64:
Male : 40 (which represents 23.2 % of the total male students in the studied population).
Female : 24 (which represents 16.4 % of total female students in the studied population).
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 labor jobs.
Table (14) : Major Causes of Student Failure in Schools Amongst the Families of the Studied Population
Table (14) shows that a major factor or cause of students failing school is the emotional damage of having close family members killed and the inability to concentrate due to the violence the children and teenagers are subjected to constantly.
Number of dropouts from school
Students amongst the studied population are 160: 94 Males, and 66 Females.
Table (15) : Causes of Dropping Out of School Amongst the Students in the Studied Population
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 neighboring countries while the former prefer keeping them out of school for their own safety.
Statistical analysis of the collected data from a population of 150 families composed of 502 members indicated the following:
Major causes of displacement amongst the studied displaced population include personal threats, lack of security and forced displacement through militias or occupation forces.
The unemployment rate is 85% amongst women in the studied population.
47% of the women in the study hold some form of higher education degrees including Ph.D.s. When this number is added to high school graduates, the percentage rises to 70.6%.
The biggest reasons of unemployment are a lack of security and sectarian violence in the country.
With all the degrees and work experience, only 20% of the families rely on the mother providing an income for the family.
About 36% of the families have with no income or an income of less than $100/month. Women and children are made to beg or do menial labor or even work as prostitutes to feed their families.
Out of the 150 studied families, 87 of them have family members who were killed. There is a high mortality rate of 193 per 1000, indicating the existence of genocide amongst the migrated or displaced population. The studied population is a bias group targeted by the occupation forces and sectarian militias. The total number of deaths amongst the 4.5 million internally displaced or force migrated people both inside and outside the country is estimated to be 868,500.
The highest percentage of killings occur due to sectarian militias, followed by occupation forces excessive use of violence.
The 66 missing members of the studied families represent 12.69% of the members of the studied population, most of who left home for schools, colleges, work, etc. and never came back. Others were captured by guards and security forces and there is no information regarding their current whereabouts.
The burden of ill family members with long-term illnesses lies directly on the women's shoulders, since the healthcare system in Iraq has been non-existent since the beginning of the invasion.
About a third of the studied women in the group have developed some form of psychological or other stress related illness.
20% of the students in the studied families are 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 are 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.
The major conclusion is that the USA occupation of Iraq has intentionally created a catastrophic collapse in the social interrelated structure, infrastructure services, education and healthcare system, and security. All of which have a direct detrimental impact on women's living conditions and women's rights in Iraq. The occupation of Iraq has taken women back to the dark ages. By ending the occupation, Iraqi women have a better chance to earn back what they previously accomplished.
Human Rights Watch, “Background on Women’s Status in Iraq Prior to the Fall of the Saddam Hussein Government”, Nov. 2003
Sarah, M. “What Kind of Incendiary Bomb Was Used Against People in Iraq”, Global Research, Ca. , Nov. 14, 2005
Flounders, S. “Iraqi Depleted Uranium Nightmare” , Portland Independent Media center, Aug. 2003
“War in Iraq Forces : Weapons “ , http://cnn.com/specials/2003/iraq/weapons/index.html
Peterson, S. “Remains of Toxic Bullets Litter Iraq”, May 18, 2003, Christian Science Monitor
Douglas, I. “Notes on Genocide in Iraq”, http://www.brusselstribunal.org/pdf/NotesOnGenocideInIraq.pdf
Hassan Ghali, “Iraqi Women Under Occupation” , http://brusselstribunal.org/
Dahr Jamail, “The Desperate Plight of Iraqi Women Under US Occupation”, The Easter Republic, Volume 6, Number 4, 2004
Marjorie P. Lasky “Iraqi Women Under Siege” , Code Pink, Women for Peace, Global Exchange, 2005
“Total Number of Iraqi Slaughters”, http://www.justforeignpolicy/Iraq/iraqdeaths.html
Khalif Deen, “Women May Lose Basic Rights Under New Constitution”, Inter Press Service, July 22, 2005
Damien Cave, “Oxfam Report Growing Humanitarian Crisis in Iraq”, The New York Times, July 31, 2007
Gilbert Burnham, Riyadh Lafta, Shannon Doacy, and Les Roberts, “Mortality After the 2003 Invasion of Iraq: A Cross-Sectional Cluster Sample Survey” Lancet, Oct. 14, 2006
This questionnaire is for research purposes. Please answer all questions honestly and clearly. Thank you.
1 - Sex : Male □ , Female □
2 - Marital Status : Single □ , Married □ , Divorced □, Widowed □
3 - Age :
4 - Educational Level : Illiterate □ , Read/Write only □ , Primary School □ , Junior High School □ , High School □ , Diploma □ , B.Sc. □ , M.Sc. □ , Ph.D. □
5 - Employment Status : Employed □ , Retired □ , Housewife □ , Unemployed □ for the following reasons : Lack of security □ , Dismantling of public sector institutions □ , Debaathification □ , Other □ Explain:
6 - Family Provider : Father □ , Mother □ , Son □ , Daughter □ , Relatives □ , None □
7 – Is the Provider living with the family ? Yes □ , No □ . If ‘no’ are they currently inside Iraq □ , or abroad □ ?
8 – Number of family members : Male , Female
9 – Source of Family Income : Salary (daily, weekly, monthly) □ , Retirement □ , Charitable aid □ , Other □ :
10 – Family Income Level : Under $100 □ , $200 - $300 □ , $400 - $500 □ , $600 - $700 □ , $800 - $900 □ , $1000 and above □
11 – Number of children currently at an age of studying : Male , Female
12 – Number of failing students : Male , Female For the following reasons: Missed attendance □ , Poor teaching techniques □ , Lack of concentration due to poor security □ , Difference of curriculum for migrating or displaced family □ , Other □ Explain :
13 – Number of student dropouts in the family : Male , Female For the following reasons: Security □ , Financial □ , Health □ , Migration □ , Forced displacement □ , Change of curriculum □ , Other □ Explain:
14 – Were any of your family members killed ? : Yes □ , No □ . If ‘yes’, was it because of : Explosions □ , Random killing by occupation forces □ , Random killing by governmental forces □ , Random killing by militias □ , Killing due to a lack of security □ , Other reasons □ Explain :
15 – Are any of your family members missing ? : Yes □ , No □ . If ‘yes’ , was it: Sectarian abduction or lack of security □ , Forced detention by occupation or governmental forces □ , Went out and never returned □
16 – Were any women in the family detained in place of wanted family members? : Yes □ , No □ . If yes, was she detained by US forces □ , Governmental forces □ , Militias □
17 – Are there any critical health conditions in the family that need special treatment ? : Yes □ , No □ . If ‘yes’, who is the sick member : Mother □ , Father □ , One of the children □
18 – Is the nature of the illness/ condition : Cancerous □ , Congenital malformations □ , Amputation of limbs □ , Chronic illnesses (heart disease, high blood pressure, asthma) □ , Psychological disorders □ , Other □ , Explain:
19 – Date of discovery of illness: Before the occupation or after ?
20 – Is there a party helping with the cost of treatment? Yes □ , No □ If ‘yes’ , please specify the party :
21 – Did you leave Iraq due to : Forced displacement □ , No security □ , Personal threat □ , Other □ , Explain :
Souad N. Al-Azzawi is Associate Professor in Environmental Engineering and Member BRussells, Tribunal, Baghdad, Iraq
PDF file: http://www.brusselstribunal.org/pdf/WomenUnderOccupation.pdf
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Labels: Deterioration of Iraqi Women's Rights and Living Conditions Under Occupation
Interview in Madrid with
, spokesman of the patriotic and nationalist Iraqi Resistance
“The Iraqi Resistance is the legitimate and sole representative of Iraq”
CEOSI, Madrid, 8 October 2007
10 December 2007
Translated from Spanish for IraqSolidaridad by Sabah Assir, revised by Ian Douglas
“The Iraqi Resistance has no relation with Al-Qaeda, which has its own vision, strategy, purposes and resources. One part of the assassinations that are now taking place in Iraq are executed by Al-Qaeda and another part by the militias and death squads linked to the political parties [invested in the US-imposed political process and] related to the occupation, but which also count on the assistance of Iran through its intervention in Iraq. […] The objective of the Iraqi Resistance is to achieve a total liberation. When the occupiers leave Iraq we will establish a national democratic, multiparty system, based on free elections; a regime in which all Iraqis that believe in collective rights will participate.”
Abu Muhammad’s meeting in Madrid with CEOSI members on 12 October Between 7 and 16 October 2007, Abu Muhammad, spokesman for the popular Iraqi nationalist resistance, visited Madrid on the invitation of the Spanish Campaign Against the Occupation and for the Sovereignty of Iraq (CEOSI).
The interview below was performed by CEOSI during that week. From the end of 2006, Abu Muhammad has made regular appearances in the Arab media, and also at selected moments in the US and British media, as the spokesman both for the Arab Socialist Baath Party and the Nationalist and Islamic Patriotic Front of Iraq — a platform of anti-occupation organisations which includes diverse communist currents and the Iraqi Patriotic Alliance (IPA) led by Abdel Jabar Al-Kubaysi, who has visited Spain on several occasions, along with other friends in struggle from the IPA.Following its constitution in October (see below), Abu Muhammad is also spokesman for the coalition of armed groups, the High Command of Combat and Liberation of Iraq.
For the first time since the April 2003, Abu Muhammad has emerged as a publicly accredited reference of a new Iraqi Baathism, committed with other currents of the civil, political and military resistance to the liberation of Iraq from occupation and to the democratic, unified, social reconstruction of Iraq on a basis that is neither sectarian nor confessional.Abu Muhammad represents the internal renewal of the Iraqi Baath Party, conveying a Baathism explicitly committed to plurality and dialogue with all internal factions that reject the US-led occupation, all of which are called upon to participate in the democratic reconstruction of Iraq’s institutions, outside the schemes of the occupiers and regional regimes that pursue the social rupture and territorial fragmentation of Iraq. “The one-party [system] is now in the past in our culture; now we are part of the Iraqi patriotic movement. […] Alter its liberation, the Iraqi State will be a national, democratic and pluralist state, guaranteeing human rights and freedoms,” Abu Muhammad concluded in an interview with Al-Jazeera on 18 March 2007.
Abu Muhammad meanwhile vindicates the maintenance of the Iraqi state’s tradition of public and social management of Iraq’s national resources, concretely before the foreseen privatisation of Iraqi oil and key material riches.
Facing Iraq’s US-promoted sectarian forces, Abu Muhammad represents the nationalist and patriotic Iraqi Resistance, in his characterization, secular and non-sectarian, spelling out its clear condemnation of the actions of Al-Qaeda in Iraq — “Another product of the occupation,” he declares — both in their methods of indiscriminate terrorism against civilians and select confessional communities, and for their extreme and reactionary position on social issues, culminating in the proclamation of the Islamic State of Iraq, ethnic cleansing and aggression against the Sunni community, answered on the territory of Iraq by Iraqi armed resistance groups.
Abu Muhammad’s visit to Spain came at a time of intense interest: the effective collapse of the occupation regime, escalating confrontation between the Iraqi Resistance and Al-Qaeda in Iraq, and initiatives aimed at unifying the Iraqi Resistance. Since the end of summer 2007, armed Islamist groups not linked to Al-Qaeda and nationalists have coordinated on several fronts, a step that anticipates the formation of a single military command to lead an advanced struggle against the forces of occupation and their collaborators.
In its statement of 30 September 2007 , the Iraqi Baath Party called for the unification of resistant groups along non-confessional, anti-sectarian lines, as well as condemning the indiscriminate attacks of Al Qaeda in Iraq, and on Tuesday 2 October, Al-Basrah.net reported the unification of 22 groups of the nationalist current in Iraq (including in the Kurdish areas and southern Iraq), named the High Command of Combat and Liberation of Iraq.Abu Muhammad represents a key sector in the fight to end the occupation and for the survival of a unified Iraq for all its men, women and children.
In this regard, and taking advantage of his visit to Spain, CEOSI has sought to support a dialogue that is inevitable — and that patriotic Iraqis attempt recurrently to establish — in any process of ending the suffering of the Iraqi people, the ultimate destruction of their country, and in grounding the reconstruction of a sovereign and democratic Iraq. His visit proved a unique opportunity to establish direct dialogue with a partner who is an accredited interlocutor of the Iraqi Resistance, non-sectarian, patriotic and democratic. His relation to the interior of Iraq is direct, and for that, he is the highest-level interlocutor CEOSI has welcomed and invited to Spain.
In Madrid, Abu Muhammad held meetings with institutional and political groups in parliament. It was his first visit to Europe, a gesture of appreciation for the Spanish government’s decision to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq in 2004 and encouraging of the role of Spain in resolving the crisis of occupation of his country. During his stay in Madrid, Abu Muhammad held a briefing assembly with CEOSI on 12 October and bilateral meetings with delegates from US and European organizations.
Also, Abu Muhammad gave interviews to selected media outlets: La Vanguardia, Cadena SER, Channel Four / CNN+, the Latin American channel Telesur and Diagonal, in addition to the British newspaper The Guardian. [CEOSI] CEOSI(Q): You are the spokesman both for the Arab Socialist Baath Party and the Nationalist and Islamic Patriotic Front and its newly established unified military command. What has changed in the Baath Party following the invasion of Iraq and the extrajudicial execution of President Saddam Hussein?
Abu Muhammad (A): The Iraqi Baath Party was created more than 60 years ago. It is a patriotic party, nationalist and socialist; a party that seeks to build an independent, developed and civilized state that enjoys the best international relations without exception.
The Baath is a patriotic party that believes in political work and freedoms, as confirmed by its founding ideology, its status and mode of operation. But the difficult circumstances, the serious challenges and wars to which Iraq was subject over the past 35 years, made the orientation of the regime centralist, making it hard at times to control the situation.After the invasion of Iraq, the Baath Party went from being a ruling party to a party in resistance.
Thanks to its great experience, and its militant, military and civilian experts, which were incorporated into all factions of the patriotic resistance, both Islamic and nationalist, it began by directing some of the emerging resistance organizations, and guiding others, as well as coordinating with other groups. Thus, the role of the Baath in the resistance proved to be crucial.
The most important changes in the Baath have to do with its politics, not its ideology, which is comprehensive and mature.
The Baath is considered an integral part of the Iraqi national movement, part of the popular political movement in the country and an essential part of the Iraqi Resistance. The idea of a single party and singular leadership — of a centralist regime — has disappeared from the thinking of the party and its current policy. Therefore, the Baath looks to the future of the Iraqi state — after the departure of the occupiers — as a pluralistic and democratic state that respects human rights and freedoms; a secular and civic state that has the best relations with every country in the world, including the United States were its government to recognize the rights of Iraq as [expressed] in the programme for liberation and independence [of the Iraqi resistance] .As Baathists, our efforts in the past two or three years have been oriented, on the ground, towards convergence in policy with other currents involved in the struggle against the occupation.Q: What type of relation is there between the Baath Party and other currents of the resistance?
A: The Baath Party forms part of the National and Islamic Patriotic Front, which is a political structure that was created in the autumn of 2005 . Recently, a new military front was born, the High Command of Combat and Liberation of Iraq, lead by resistance companion Izzat Ibrahim Ad-Duri
, which includes 22 patriotic, nationalist and moderate (not Salafists) and Baathist groups . It is proper to say that the majority of the members of this front are Baathist; it includes forces from different independent tendencies; nationalists or patriotic Islamists that believe in the liberation of Iraq and the unity of Iraq .Clearly, we are in a process of convergence of the civil, political and military resistance against the occupation and the political process imposed by the occupiers, and we hope to take new steps in the coming months. A call for a meeting (in Syria) in July had to be cancelled for reason of the international situation.Q: Does the Iraqi Resistance include factions of Al-Qaeda? Do you consider Al-Qaeda in Iraq as a resistance organization?
A: No, absolutely not. Al-Qaeda is totally separate from the Baath Party and from the patriotic Iraqi Resistance in all its formations. Al-Qaeda did not exist in Iraq before the occupation, which means, that the occupation is responsible for the emergence of the organization, Al-Qaeda in Iraq. For a fact we can say that Al-Qaeda is a creation of the United States. The Iraqi Resistance has no relation with Al-Qaeda, which has its own vision, strategy, purposes and resources. It has perpetrated international attacks — Spanish society also was struck hard by the terrorist operations perpetrated by Al-Qaeda or its allies and partisans [in Madrid, 11 March 2004]. One part of the assassinations that are now taking place in Iraq are executed by Al-Qaeda and another part by the militias and death squads linked to the political parties [invested in the US-imposed political process and] related to the occupation, but which also count on the assistance of Iran through its intervention in Iraq.Therefore, there is a difference between the operations of Al-Qaeda and the national popular Iraqi Resistance, whose objective is to protect the Iraqis and give them back their dignity and independence, and restore the sovereignty of their country. The objective of the Iraqi Resistance is to achieve a total liberation. The liberation that the Baath Party and all the patriotic forces of the resistance defend is liberation from the yoke of occupation, which implies the liberation of all Iraq from all the negative consequences of the occupation. We don’t fight the Americans for being Americans, like Al-Qaeda does, but because we reject their presence in our country. When the occupiers leave Iraq we will establish a national democratic, multiparty system, based on free elections; a regime in which all Iraqis that believe in collective rights will participate. And we will have normal and positive relations with all countries of the world, including the US.Q: According to some media and US military commanders in Iraq, tribal leaders are fighting against Al-Qaeda in cooperation with the Americans. Do you agree with this approach?
A: First of all, when tribes fight against this terrorist organization, they do not do it for the sake of the Americans, or to defend them, but because the Iraqis reject [religious and social] extremism and terrorism . These tribes are fighting against Al-Qaeda because they believe in patriotic thought, nationalist and humanist, and in [civil] tolerance.We believe Al-Qaeda is a result of the occupation, alien to the nature of Iraqi society, which is tolerant and open. If the United States and its allies get out of Iraq, Al-Qaeda will disappear from Iraq. The occupation is responsible for the emergence of Al-Qaeda in our country. The American occupation, in order to justify its long-term presence in Iraq, is trying to influence some people and say that the root of the problem is Al-Qaeda. In fact, the origin of the problem is not Al-Qaeda (and I am not defending it, because we are against this terrorist organization), but rather the occupation itself: if the occupation leaves, the terrorist operations of Al-Qaeda will end, and if they continue, the nationalist forces will expel Al-Qaeda from the country.Q: Do you consider the current of Moqtada Al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army a resistance force?
A: Like Al-Qaeda, categorically not. Despite initial positions of collaboration with the resistance (including the participation of resistance brigades in the fighting in Najaf [against the Americans in 2005]), the current of Moqtada Al-Sadr became involved, for their own interests, in the political process sponsored by the occupiers, and the Mahdi Army militia implicated in death squads and the escalation of sectarian [violence]. (They are responsible, for example, for the deaths of 5,000 Baathists in southern Iraq, among other crimes).Al-Sadr is a young religious man who inherited national prestige from his father, but who has no political coherence. He is a useful tool for Iran in Iraq.The role of IranQ: Is there a civil war between the Sunnis and the Shias?
A: Iraq is not in a state of civil war at the social level, but a political confrontation at various levels and among certain players in their attempt to dominate our country . This conflict is expressed as sectarian fighting between Al-Qaeda and [Shia] militias, but equally there are confrontations between Shia groups [for control of the south of the country], or between Sunni groups involved in or opposed to the political process.Q: What is the role of Iran in this scene?
A: The Iranian role in Iraq is negative. Iran has taken advantage of the circumstances existing in our country and the fact that Iraqis were involved in their struggle against the occupation to try, through allied [Iraqi] parties (some with Iranian leaders), to intervene in the affairs of Iraq.[From the beginning of the invasion] Iran has intervened abusively in Iraq through security and intelligence activities, providing arms [to the militias of sectarian Shias], through death squads or [directly] through Iranians associated with the militias of the Shia parties, such as Al-Dawa Party [of Prime Minister Al-Maliki], the Badr Brigades [of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq — SCIRI] or the Mahdi Army [of Moqtada Al-Sadr], among others. Iran has succeeded in creating an area of influence [in the centre and south of the country ] because one of its goals is to have an area under its power in Iraq and throughout the Arab region, mainly in the Gulf countries.Moreover, Iran has benefited from the American presence to put pressure on Washington to get returns on its political and military nuclear programme . But this second objective is not more important than the first one mentioned, to create a zone of influence in Iraq. The two converge.Q: How is Iran benefiting from the sectarian crisis of Iraq?
A: Iran would benefit greatly from a sectarian schism [in Iraq between Shias and Sunnis]. This is why it encouraged the Shia sectarian parties, militarily and economically, to create and develop militias and death squads. It has channelled millions of dollars and arms for that purpose. These parties and militias went in to kill Iraqis of the other confession: if your identity indicates that you are from another branch of Islam you will be murdered, by the mere fact of being from another confession they would imprison many individuals and after two or three days they would be killed brutally, their bodies thrown into the street.Moreover, [the intelligence service of] Iran supports Al-Qaeda in Iraq, which perpetrates indiscriminate attacks in the streets, in markets and schools … also killing thousands of innocent Iraqis [Shias and other faiths] to stoke sectarian strife and thus say that the Sunnis kill the Shias, and vice versa.The main strategic objective of Iran is political; it is neither popular nor social — it is to create a chasm between the Sunnis and Shias, to divide Iraq. Iran seeks to control the region that extends from the centre-south of Iraq, and enters to manipulate the country thanks to its partners. This coincides with the recent proposal of the United States Congress to divide our country.The proposal of the resistanceQ: What are the demands of the resistance? Are you ready to negotiate with the United States?
A: We have reiterated that if the United States wants to negotiate with the Iraqi Resistance it must first recognize the rights of Iraq. These rights are not the rights of the Baath Party or of certain people; they are the rights of Iraq and its future generations. The US must recognize that the Iraqi national resistance, with all its formations, both armed and political, is the sole and legitimate representative of the Iraqi people. Taking into account that in Iraq there is now a political process [established by the occupiers], I would say that those who are involved in the current occupation regime still have a chance [to abandon it] and must incorporate themselves into the resistant political forces that reject the occupation; they must stop the political process and become part of this resistance to be a legitimate representative of the Iraqi people. The fact that the Iraqi Resistance is the legitimate representative of Iraq, and not the Iraqi parties associated with the occupiers, is confirmed by the latest opinion poll conducted throughout Iraq by CNN and the USA Today magazine. The survey shows that eight out of 10 Iraqis support the Iraqi Resistance, i.e. that 80 per cent of Iraqis support the [armed] struggle against occupation . It is proof that the Iraqi Resistance is the sole and legitimate representative of Iraq.The second condition [to opening negotiations with the United States] in its complete and unconditional withdrawal from Iraq, as stipulated by international law: the invaders must withdraw from the area they occupy. The third condition: the annulment of all laws enacted under occupation, such as the DeBaathification law, the dissolution of the Iraqi army and the former security forces, or the hydrocarbon law , as well as laws that deal with the country’s economic situation under American domination, and so on. In short, the entire political process established under occupation must be annulled because it is illegal, as well as the international provisions that sought to justify it.Our fourth condition has to do with compensations and reparations for Iraqis who died as a result of the wars, invasion and the embargo [imposed on Iraq between 1990 and 2003] grounded in false allegations and lies that the Americans themselves have acknowledged.
The Americans must pay compensation for the 1,500,000 Iraqis that died as a result of the embargo and the 1,000,000 Iraqis that have died since the start of the occupation . We’re talking about 2,500,000 Iraqis killed, not counting the number of injured and handicapped, and the physical destruction caused.Finally, the United States must release all prisoners  and put an end to all assaults, arrests and persecution of innocent Iraqis, and the rape and violation of women and children.If the Americans accept these rights, then we are ready to have a dialogue with them — not to discuss [these rights] but to implement them, without making concessions. If the Americans do not recognize these rights, I reiterate to the international community in general and to American society in particular that the Iraqi Resistance will continue fighting, generation after generation, whatever the sacrifices, to totally liberate Iraq from the occupation and its collaborators, sectarianism and terrorism.Q: Recently, you have denied what former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said; that there are contacts between the US and the resistance you represent.
A: Yes, it is untrue. We are aware of attempts by the Americans to open channels of communication with the Iraqi Resistance, but there has been no dialogue whatsoever. There won’t be any, as I said, until US recognizes the legitimate rights of Iraq that I have just enumerated.The example of BasraQ: Can Basra be an example? After the partial withdrawal of British troops, pro-Iranian militia and the security forces of the present government fight for control of the city.
A: In principal we do not believe in partial solutions or in the partial withdrawal [of occupation troops from Iraq]: absolutely not accepted. Neither do we accept a partial solution, nor the presence of military bases in Iraq . We want the invaders, the Americans, the British and their allies, as well as all the elements associated with them, to announce their complete and unconditional withdrawal from Iraq.But as a first step, if the Americans or the British think to withdraw from Iraqi cities [to their barracks], to end punitive operations on the Iraqi population — the massacres and the daily tension — and in order not to hinder their normal lives, it can be positive. However, after this confidence-building measure, they should withdraw unconditionally from across all of Iraq, and in the shortest possible time. This is possible if the Americans recognize the rights of Iraqis mentioned earlier and sit at the negotiating table with the Iraqi Resistance in order to develop a timetable accepted by all for their withdrawal from the country.In addition, the manoeuvres — the withdrawal of forces here to deploy them there — are hindrance tactics that we reject and that are not going to stop the growing operations of the Iraqi Resistance.Occupiers and mercenariesQ: What is the role of mercenaries in Iraq?
A: When American army commanders assert that the number of its forces [in Iraq] is 160,000 soldiers, they are telling the world and the societies of America and Europe one of their biggest lies.The number of mercenaries operating within the private security company framework and fighting alongside American forces, killing Iraqis without any possibility of prosecution, is estimated at more than 180,000, of whom up to 60,000 could be foreigners and the rest Iraqis hired [by these companies] . As reported, [foreign mercenaries] gain a lot of money — sometimes their salaries exceed $30,000 dollars a month, a salary that exceeds that of the American secretary of defense. Mercenaries have committed crimes against the people; they have killed innocent Iraqis just because they suspect that there are fighters hiding in some area. They deploy their aircraft, armoured vehicles and heavy weapons. Proof of that is what happened in Nusur Square in Baghdad [in the neighbourhood of Al-Mansur, September 2007], in which 24 Iraqis were killed just because they were on the street when convoy of [Blackwater] mercenaries passed by. According to diverse sources, mercenaries from all over the world are fighting with the United States Army and Marines. A good part of the participants in the second battle of Fallujah [November 2005] were mercenaries.Q: How many operations does the resistance carry out daily?
A: According to American commanders — who acknowledged this themselves two weeks ago — the resistance carries out around 177 daily operations. In reality, the figure is much higher: together, the various resistance formations accomplish about 300 military operations daily against the American forces, and their international and domestic allies. The attacks that target civilians are perpetrated by the occupation, mercenaries, by Al-Qaeda and by the militias and death squads supported by the United States and Iran.Q: Does the resistance help American soldiers that want to abandon their posts?
A: American soldiers serving in Iraq suffer from grave deception; we are convinced of that. Bush has humiliated the United States in Iraq, has humiliated the people and the American army. Bush has damaged the image of the American people in the world, in the Arab region, and in Iraq. Indeed, many American soldiers are trying to flee the country and it is true that members of the Iraqi Resistance facilitate their flight .We appeal to all American soldiers to flee Iraq before it is too late; that will save their lives, because the Iraqi Resistance is not going to stop until it expels the last of them from Iraqi territory.Q: Where do these soldiers go?
A: Normally they flee through the north [of Iraq] through Turkey to Europe. And many of the soldiers on leave in the US are trying not to go back to Iraq despite the incentives, threats and pressure exerted on them. Therefore, President Bush and the previous and current secretary of defense decided that American military units that complete their missions in Iraq should remain in the country, fearing that their members do not come back.The dangers of civil warQ: In the event that American troops withdraw from Iraq, would there be a civil war in the country?
A: Can there be any further worsening of the situation in Iraq from what is happening now in the country with the presence of the Americans? As I said, there are 160,000 American soldiers and at least 180,000 mercenaries; in total 340,000 troops. The overall number of the so-called Iraqi army and police, according to the occupiers, reaches to half a million, raising the figure to 840,000 soldiers in total. In addition, we have the allied forces, including the British. Therefore, there are in Iraq more than one million armed men, but the security situation is deteriorating.The killing continues and the violence increases. The reason is the presence of the Americans, mercenaries, militias and policemen who formed [mafia-like] bands and death squads who murder Iraqis in prisons so ruthlessly, through beheadings, for example, among other methods. This did not happen in the darkest days of Iraq. The occupation of Iraq is what has caused this chaos, sectarian strife, and terrorism. And, in spite of this, [the Americans] are still saying they have come to Iraq to bring security. The Americans are responsible for the deterioration of the illegitimate [security] forces [they] built on a sectarian basis. We are confident that following the departure of Americans from Iraq many of the structures they established will be defeated and destroyed, if they do not collapse before then.The national Iraqi Resistance, with all its factions and its members, is on the increase and has the potential and means to control Iraq and the security situation in short order after the occupation.Q: Why did you choose Spain as your first destination in Europe and outside the Middle East?
A: I visited Madrid by invitation of the brothers and sisters of the Spanish Campaign Against Occupation and for the Sovereignty of Iraq, which prior to the occupation — during the period of [UN Security Council imposed] sanctions — continued solidarity activities with Iraq in the framework of the international campaign of denunciation of the embargo. After that, this campaign continues to struggle against the occupation and supports the Iraqi people. Therefore, I came here to meet with activists and Spanish friends, and others of other countries, in order to clarify our vision on how we will free ourselves from the occupation, and how to help the Iraqi people from a political and human perspective.Moreover, this invitation is not alien to the majority position of Spanish society and its humane stance against the war and the occupation. My visit to Spain is an appreciation for the Spanish decision [in 2004] to withdraw its forces from Iraq, a courageous decision taken by the government and endorsed by parliament and society. This is a matter of gratitude for the Iraqi people, because this measure indicates that the country as a whole, its society and its institutions, concluded that the occupation was a mistake and a crime, and that the war launched against Iraq had no basis and was illegitimate; an invasion whose sole aim was to destroy this important country, both regionally and internationally.We hope that Spain plays a renewed role in supporting the Iraqi people in their effort to liberate themselves from the occupation and escape the destruction it brings. Notes of IraqSolidarity: 1. See: “With the US congress insisting to divide Iraq, there is no more room today for discussion or debate; the decisive hour has come and every one should choose his real trench […] US and Iranian insistence on fuelling and heightening sectarian (fitna) ill feeling in Iraq and the systematic destruction of every normal human life in our homeland were interconnected steps designed to pave the way for the right environment to divide Iraq
[…] Therefore, the time for talk is over! What is requested from all Iraqi Resistance factions and all Iraqi patriotic forces should be the following:i- The immediate unity of all Resistance factions. The non-existence of unity of all the Iraqi Resistance factions, and relying on ideological understanding, is a dangerous lacuna
[…] The US exploited this breach in Al-Anbar to strike all the Resistance factions under the pretext of fighting Al-Qaeda. In the past, every one, including those who spread the Islamic faith, used to strike deals with non-Muslims to accelerate victory. In modern times, peoples got rid of colonialism through a global alliance that included all anti-colonialists forces, be they clerics or atheists, as happened in Vietnam. So will those who use now infidelity and faith as criteria to divide the Resistance and the Iraqi patriotic movement ever comprehend that this is exactly what serves the Occupation and helps it stay, instead of forcing it to withdraw? Our Party, therefore, sincerely calls upon all the combating organizations to set aside their divisions and to hold onto a real unity of all combatants and transform the groups newly formed into a global combating unity that includes all factions without exception. This is the most important step to achieving victory, and to foil and wreck the US Occupation and Iran's tactics to divide the Resistance.
ii- Get rid of any ideological rows between Resistance factions for the time being, for any disagreement now can turn into real ill feeling (fitna)! That is why all should avoid mutual suspicion or criticizing each other.
iii- The Iraqi patriotic forces that back the Resistance should unite too in a global front that includes everybody. Indeed! Any delay is a sign of lack of awareness regarding what is going on in Iraq and on how to confront dangers.”Original source: Baath Party Statement: Let's foil, with the unity of the armed Resistance, the conspiracy to divide Iraq (English).
2. See The Political Program of the Baath and its National Resistance: (The Program of Liberation and Independence). The Baath reaffirms its commitment to a democratic and unified Iraq through resistance. See also Rabie El-Hashim: The Baathists recover their strength and provide a common agenda to the National Resistance (Spanish).
3. See IraqSolidaridad: Creation of the Nationalist and Islamic Patriotic Front in Iraq: the armed resistance is coordinated under the direction of the Supreme Military Council of the ‘Mujahidins’ (Spanish).
4. See in Rebellion: “Communiqué of the National Liberation Front of Iraq: 22 groups of the Iraqi Resistance meet in Baghdad.”
5. Six Islamist armed groups, also opposed to Al-Qaeda, announced on 11 October 2007 the formation of their own military front, which includes the Islamic Army in Iraq, the Army of Mujahidins, Ansar Al-Sunna, the Army of Al-Fatihin, the Islamic Front for the Iraqi Resistance (Jami) and the Iraqi Hamas. The Brigades of the Revolution of 1920 are outside after several internal divisions caused by the involvement of some of its units in operations against Al-Qaeda in coordination with US troops, for example in Diyala. In its communiqué of 14 points, the new Islamist alliance pledges to continue the armed struggle against the occupiers. Its formation was anticipated by an appeal from the Association of Muslim Scholars — the highest Sunni religious institution — for the unification of armed groups, leaving aside their differences on the future political system (whether the state is of an Islamic character or not) of Iraq.
6. See IraqSolidaridad: Ali Al-Fadhily: The Pentagon failed in its attempt to take advantage of growing popular opposition to the actions of Al-Qaeda. The Salvation Council of Al-Anbar, sponsored by USA, has been dissolved (Spanish).
7. “... Why are so many massacres perpetrated in an organized manner in Baghdad? The answer is that the sectarian Badr Brigade militia [of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, led by Abdel Aziz Al-Hakim], the Mahdi Army [of Moqtada Al-Sadr] and the Al-Dawa Party [of Nouri Al-Malaki] — all these formations are supported by Iran (in some areas organized directly by Iranians) — want to control Baghdad because they know that the Americans are losing the battle against the Resistance, and therefore, if they control Baghdad they can control the entire country. The sectarian militias believe that their crimes could lead to Iraqi patriots leaving the city. Although it is the occupation itself that is responsible for what happens in Iraq, Iran also provides tremendous support to these militias. Fortunately, the Iraqi Resistance has been able to thwart its project with the help of the popular support. Therefore, I assure you that the civil and sectarian war, that the US and Iran plan to camouflage their impotence in Iraq, will not take place due to the national and social cohesion of our people “ Interview in Al-Wahda, 11 December 2006, reproduced in Hicham Awda: Interview with Abu Mohammed, spokesman for the Baath Party. Baathists confirm the closure of contacts with the United States and its commitment to a democratic Iraq (Spanish).
8. See IraqSolidaridad: Ghaith Abdul-Ahad: British troops are inhibited in the Basra by Shia sectarian militia. “Welcome to Tehran”: Iran takes control of Basra (Spanish).
9. See IraqSolidaridad: The US and Iran have set up a bilateral committee on security in Iraq. Carlos Varea: The Bush administration assumed that their stay in Iraq depends on the attitude of Tehran. The US and Iran start talks on Iraq in Baghdad (Spanish).
10. See IraqSolidaridad: Global Policy Forum (X): Iraqi society believes that the United States is deliberately provoking civil war to remain in the country. Iraqi public opinion and the economic cost of the occupation (Spanish).
11. See IraqSolidaridad: James Cogan: Al-Maliki under strong pressure from the US and with a serious internal crisis. The Iraqi government adopts a new draft of the oil law (Spanish).
12. An estimated 650,000 Iraqis were killed until 2006, according to the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore (Maryland, USA) and the Faculty of Medicine, Al-Mustansiriya University Baghdad, see IraqSolidaridad: Information note of CEOSI: 650,000 Iraqis died as a result of the occupation, 2.5 per cent of the population. A new report from the Johns Hopkins University and Al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad (Spanish).
13. More than 40,000 detainees, according to the latest official figure recognized by the occupiers and the Iraqi government. See IraqSolidaridad Report: ‘Global Policy Forum’ (III): The occupiers have kept thousands of Iraqi detainees in clandestine prisons. Arrests and prisons: absolute defenceless prisoners (Spanish).
14. See IraqSolidaridad Report: ‘Global Policy Forum’ (I): At the beginning of 2007 there were in Iraq 55 major American facilities. US bases in Iraq and the new embassy in Baghdad (Spanish).
15. Integrating these forces in the so-called Facilities Protection Service or Provision of Security Forces, approved at the time by Paul Bremer, see IraqSolidaridad: 146,000 Iraqis make up private armies without any control (Spanish) and Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadily: Facilities Protection Force hosts death squads. 70 per cent of the Iraqi police forces are infiltrated by sectarian militias and mafias (English).
16. See IraqSolidaridad: Tim McGirk: Massacre in Haditha. On 19 November 2006 US marines assassinated 15 civilians in Haditha, and related news of occupation troops in Iraq (Spanish).Spanish Campaign Against the Occupation and for the Sovereignty of Iraq (CEOSI)iraqsolidaridad.orgalbasrah
Labels: Interview with Abu Mohammed