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November 29, 2005

Death Squads Acknowledged

I originally became aware of death squads in Iraq on June 15, 2005 when I blogged about a WaPo article re Kurdish retribution killings of Arabs and Turkmens.

It turns out that all ethnicities in Iraq have death squads, and the US military and Iraqi government are finally acknowledging them.

Al Mahdi militia, founded by anti-American cleric Muqtada Sadr, has infiltrated the Iraqi police force. Many are part of the "Punishment Committee" within the police and Sunni Arab Muslims are the victims of their ethnic violence agains.

The Badr militia, a Shiite militia with ties to Iran, is prevalent in the Maghawir (Fearless Warrior) special commando brigades of the Interior Ministry, torturing and murdering people with impunity because Interior Minister Bayan Jabr is tied to the militia.

Briefly mentioned in the LAT article on the subject, Sunni insurgents have also been attacking Shiites. There are secular Baathist supporters of Hussein, along with Ansar al Sunna and Al Qaeda. Sunnis are a minority of the Iraqi population and received preferential treatment during Hussein's rule, which is part of the reason for the ethnic violence imposed on them by the Shiites. The fact that most Al Qaeda members are Sunni must be part of the reason the USG aligned itself with Shiite goons.

I do not think one ethnic group can be blamed for the current violence in Iraq. Clearly, Shiite militias have the backing of the Iraqi government which makes them more powerful and more deadly right now. But without international support for true peace-building and reconciliation in Iraq, there is no way to stop this sectarian violence. I pray that instead of American hubris and occupation, the USG recognizes the need for a UN peacekeeping mission that works on all levels, including diplomatic and grassroots to quell the ethnic conflict that is causing this violence. Of course, my prayers are pipe dreams in the current political climate. Nevertheless, I must dream.

More info:
"Killings Linked to Shiite Squads in Iraqi Police Force: With loyalties to banned paramilitary groups, the fighters have kidnapped, tortured and slain Sunnis, officials and witnesses say." by Solomon Moore in the LAT

"Abuse of prisoners in Iraq widespread, officials say," by Leila Fadel, Knight Ridder Newspapers

"Sunni Politicians Killed; 4 Abductions Confirmed," by Jonathan Finer and Naseer Nouri in WaPo

Posted by cj at November 29, 2005 7:52 AM


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