US ethnic cleansing in Iraq


Richard Moore


This article provides a good example of how to decode Matrix
propaganda. The trick is to make use of background
information that is omitted from the material. In this case,
the relevant background material (available in previous
newslog postings) in this case includes:

     * The militias are armed and supported by occupation forces.

     * US and British intelligence units have been carrying out
     fake sectarian bombings.

     * The modus operandi of modern US imperialism (as we saw
     in Yugoslavia) includes ethnic cleansing and
     balkanization as a primary control mechanism.

     * Al Qaeda, to the extent it exists at all, is an asset of
     the CIA.

With this kind of information in mind, the meaning of the
following article shifts considerably. What it is really
saying is, "Our ethnic cleansing / balkanization policy is
beginning to bear fruit".



April 2, 2006

Civilians in Iraq Flee Mixed Areas as Killings Rise

BAGHDAD, Iraq, April 1 - The war in Iraq has entered a
bloodier phase, with American casualties steadily declining
over the past five months while the killings of Iraqi
civilians have risen tremendously in sectarian violence,
spurring tens of thousands of Iraqis to flee from mixed
Shiite-Sunni areas.

The new pattern, detailed in casualty and migration
statistics and in interviews with American commanders and
Iraqi officials, has led to further separation of Shiite and
Sunni Arabs, moving the country toward a de facto
partitioning along sectarian and ethnic lines - an outcome
that the Bush administration has doggedly worked to avoid
over the past three years.

The nature of the Iraq war has been changing since at least
late autumn, when political friction between Sunni Arabs and
the majority Shiites rose even as American troops began to
carry out a long-term plan to decrease their street
presence. But the killing accelerated most sharply after the
bombing on Feb. 22 of a revered Shiite shrine, which
unleashed a wave of sectarian bloodletting.

About 900 Iraqi civilians were killed in March, up from
about 700 the month before, according to the Iraq Coalition
Casualty Count, an independent organization that tracks
deaths. Meanwhile, at least 29 American troops were killed
in March, the second-lowest monthly total since the war

The White House says that little violence occurs in most of
Iraq's 18 provinces. But those four or five provinces where
most of the killings and migrations take place are Iraq's
major population and economic centers, generally mixed
regions that include the capital, Baghdad, and contain much
of the nation's infrastructure - crucial factors in Iraq's
prospects for stability.

The Iraqi public's reaction to the violence has been
substantial. Since the shrine bombing, 30,000 to 36,000
Iraqis have fled their homes because of sectarian violence
or fear of reprisals, say officials at the International
Organization for Migration in Geneva. The Iraqi Ministry of
Displacement and Migration estimated at least 5,500 families
had moved, with the biggest group, 1,250 families, settling
in the Shiite holy city of Najaf after leaving Baghdad and
Sunni-dominated towns in central Iraq.

The families are living with relatives or in abandoned
buildings, and a crisis of food and water shortages is
starting to build, officials say.

"We lived in Latifiya for 30 years," said Abu Hussein
al-Ramahi, a Shiite farmer with a family of seven, referring
to a village south of Baghdad that is a stronghold of the
Sunni Arab insurgency. "But a month ago, two armed people
with masks on their faces said if I stayed in this area, my
family and I would no longer remain alive. They shot bullets
near my feet. I went back home immediately and we left the
area early next morning for Najaf."

Mr. Ramahi's family and other migrants are now squatting in
a derelict hotel in the holy city.

"It's almost a creeping polarization of Iraq along ethnic
and sectarian lines," said Anthony H. Cordesman, a military
specialist at the Center for Strategic and International
Studies in Washington.

In the chaos, he said, "we see a slow, steady loss of
confidence, a growing process of distrust which you see day
by day as people at the political level bicker. Everything
has become sectarian and ethnic."

The shifting violence and new migration patterns are fueling
discussion about whether Iraq is devolving into civil war.
Although that determination may be impossible to make in the
short term, the debate itself could increase the pressure
President Bush is facing at home to draw down the force of
133,000 American troops here. Even if American deaths keep
falling, polls show the American public has little appetite
for engagement in an Iraqi civil war.

Commanders in Iraq say the insurgent groups in the country,
particularly Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, have shifted the focus
of their attacks in an effort to foment civil war and
undermine negotiations to form a four-year government. "What
we are seeing him do now is shift his target from the
coalition forces to Iraqi civilians and Iraqi security
forces," said Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, a senior spokesman for
the American command. "The enemy is trying to stop the
formation of this national unity government; he's trying to
inflame sectarian violence."

Dozens of bodies, garroted or executed with gunshots to the
head, are turning up almost daily in Baghdad alone. The
gruesome work is usually attributed to death squads or
Shiite militias, some in Iraqi police or army uniforms.
Meanwhile, powerful bombings, a favorite tactic of the Sunni
Arab-led insurgency, continue to devastate civilian areas
and Iraqi bases or recruitment centers.

The number of kidnappings of Iraqis is surging because of an
explosion of criminal gangs working for their own gain or
with armed political groups. Scores of civilians are
abducted every week, usually for ransoms of $20,000 to
$30,000. In recent weeks, masked men have stormed offices in
Baghdad and hauled away all the workers.

At the same time, American commanders have decreased the
number of their patrols and have tried to push the Iraqi
security forces into a more visible role.

That shift, along with improved armor and bomb detection,
may partly explain the drop in deaths. Last October, 96
American troops died. That number has decreased every month
since, but fell most sharply between February and March - to
29 in March from 55 in February.

Iraqi civilian deaths generally increased in the same
period, from 465 in October, according to the Iraq Coalition
Casualty Count, which tallies deaths from a range of news
reports, a method believed to give rough though excessively
low estimates.

The broad trend is also supported by statistics on the
number of attacks. A senior Pentagon official said that
attacks on Americans, Iraqi forces and Iraqi civilians
remained around 600 per week since last September but that
the focus of the attacks had changed. In September, 82
percent of attacks were against American-led forces and 18
percent against Iraqis; in February, 65 percent were against
the foreigners and 35 percent against Iraqis.

Top American officials are concerned that despite the
growing number of trained and equipped Iraqi security forces
being fielded, and the large number of insurgents killed or
captured in the past six months, the number of overall
attacks has not declined, the Defense Department official

"It should be worrisome to us that it's still at the same
level," said the official, who was not authorized to speak
publicly on the trend. "With the number of operations that
are occurring and the number of people we are detaining
growing, and truly with the number of tactical successes
that we're having, you would expect to see a reduction in
the trend."

American officials say the solution to the sectarian
bloodshed lies in the Iraqis' quickly forming a national
unity government, with representatives of all major groups
checking one another through compromise.

But with each political milestone - the transfer of
sovereignty in 2004, two sets of elections in 2005, the
referendum on the constitution - the Americans have asserted
that the country would stabilize. Instead, the violence has
continued unabated, sometimes changing in nature, as it is
doing now, but never declining. And as the resulting
migration continues, Iraq's political groups could have even
less incentive to compromise with one another, as they
separate into their enclaves.

Many Iraqis say they are fleeing out of fear of increasingly
partisan Iraqi security forces.

The police and commando forces are infested with militia
recruits, mostly from Shiite political parties, and are
accused by Sunni Arabs of carrying out sectarian executions.
One Sunni-run TV network warned viewers last week not to
allow Iraqi policemen or soldiers into their homes unless
the forces were accompanied by American troops.

"The militias are in charge now," said Aliyah al-Bakr, 42, a
Sunni Arab schoolteacher who had two male relatives abducted
and executed by black-clad gunmen in Baghdad on Feb. 22.
"I'm more afraid of Iraqi militias than of the Americans.
But the American presence is still the cornerstone of all
the problems."

Some of the migration is happening within Baghdad, with
families moving from one block to the next, from
neighborhood to neighborhood, increasingly segregating the

Others are fleeing across wide swaths of desert. At least
761 families have settled in Baghdad after moving from Anbar
Province and other Sunni-dominated areas to the west,
according to Iraqi government statistics. The same is
happening on the Sunni Arab end - there are reports of 50
families moving from Baghdad to the Sunni city of Falluja.

Aid groups have been handing out mattresses, blankets,
cooking sets and other gear to families throughout central
and southern Iraq.

Jemini Pandya, a spokeswoman for the International
Organization for Migration, says it is a short-term response
to what could be a more lasting issue. "We've been doing
emergency work," she said. "The situation for those
displaced won't be resolved anytime soon."

Eric Schmitt contributed reporting from Washington for this
article, Khalid W. Hassan from Baghdad, and an Iraqi
employee of The New York Times from Najaf.

Copyright 2006The New York Times Company


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