Iraq : dark realities of an illegal occupation


Richard Moore


Also see below:  
US Troops 'Starve Iraqi Citizens' * 

 Iraq Has Descended into Anarchy, Says Fisk 
By Nigel Morris 
The Independent UK 

Thursday 13 October 2005 

Most of Iraq is in a state of anarchy, with insurgents
controlling parts of Baghdad just half a mile from the
so-called Green Zone, an Independent debate was told last

Robert Fisk, Middle East correspondent for The Independent,
whose new book The Great War for Civilisation: the Conquest
of the Middle East has just been published by 4th Estate,
painted a picture of deepening chaos and misery in Iraq
more than two years after Saddam Hussein was toppled.

He said that the "constant, intensive involvement" in the
Middle East by the West was a recurring pattern over
centuries and was the reason why "so many Muslims in the
Middle East hate us". He added: " We can close doors on
history. They can't."

Fisk doubted the sincerity of Western leaders' commitment to
bringing democracy to Iraq and said a lasting settlement in
the country was impossible while foreign troops remained.
"In the Middle East, they would like some of our democracy, 
they would like a couple of boxes off the supermarket shelves
of human rights as well. But I think they would also like
freedom from us."

Recalling the sight of an immense US convoy rolling into the
country's capital, he said: "A superpower has a visceral
need to project military power. We can go to Baghdad, so we
will go to Baghdad."

He told the debate in London: "The Americans must leave Iraq
and they will leave Iraq, but they can't leave Iraq and
that is the equation that turns sand to blood. At some
point, they will have to talk to the insurgents.

"But I don't know how, because those people who might be
negotiators  the United Nations, the Red Cross their
headquarters have been blown up. The reality now in Iraq is
the project is finished. Most of Iraq, except Kurdistan, is
in a state of anarchy."

He said that the portrayal of Iraq by Western leaders  of
efforts to introduce democracy, including Saturday's
national vote on the country's proposed constitution  was
"unreal" to most of its citizens. In Baghdad, children and 
women were kept at home to prevent them from being kidnapped
for money or sold into slavery. They faced a desperate
struggle to find the money to keep generators running to
provide themselves with electricity. "They aren't sitting in  
 their front rooms discussing the referendum on the

With insurgents half a mile from Baghdad's Green Zone, Fisk
said the danger to reporters from a brutal insurgency that
did not respect journalists was increasing. "Every time I
go to Baghdad it's worse, every time I ask myself how we 
can keep going. Because the real question is  is the story
worth the risk?"

He attacked television reporters for flinching from depicting
the everyday bloodshed on the streets of Iraq. "You can go
and see Saving Private Ryan or Kingdom of Heaven, people
have their heads cut off. When it comes to real heads being
cut off, you can't. I think television connives with
governments at war." He added: "Newspapers can tell you as
closely as they can what these horrors are like."

Asked if the "anger and passion" he felt over the events he
witnessed had affected his objectivity, he said: "When you
are at the scene of a massacre, you are entitled to feel
immense anger and I do."

He rejected suggestions that graphic pictures of the dead in
newspapers took away their dignity. He said: "My view is
the people who are dead would want us to record what
happened to them."


 US Troops 'Starve Iraqi Citizens' 

Saturday 15 October 2005 

A senior United Nations official has accused US-led coalition
troops of depriving Iraqi civilians of food and water in
breach of humanitarian law.

Human rights investigator Jean Ziegler said they had driven
people out of insurgent strongholds that were about to be
attacked by cutting supplies.

Mr Ziegler, a Swiss-born sociologist, said such tactics were
in breach of international law.

A US military spokesman in Baghdad denied the allegations.

"A drama is taking place in total silence in Iraq, where the
coalition's occupying forces are using hunger and deprivation
of water as a weapon of war against the civilian population,"
Mr Ziegler told a press conference in Geneva.

He said coalition forces were using "starvation of civilians
as a method of warfare."

"This is a flagrant violation of international law," he added.

'False Allegations'

Mr Ziegler said he understood the "military rationale" when
confronting insurgents who do not respect "any law of war".

But he insisted that civilians who could not leave besieged
cities and towns for whatever reason should not suffer as a
result of this strategy.

Lieutenant Colonel Steve Boylan, a US military spokesman,
later rejected the accusations.

"Any allegations of us withholding basic needs from the Iraqi
people are false," he said.

Even though some supplies had been delayed during fighting, he
argued that "all precautions" were being taken to take care of

"It does not do relief supplies any good if you have them
going into a firefight," he said.

The Geneva Conventions forbid depriving civilians of food and

Cutting off food supply lines and destroying food stocks is
also forbidden.

Mr Ziegler, who opposed the US-led invasion of Iraq, said he
would urge the UN General Assembly to condemn this practice
when he presented his yearly report on 27 October.


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