November 23, 2006

Ethnic Cleansing in Iraq

I missed this on television but it is something that all of us needs to see: the cleansing of Sunni people by Shia forces like the Badr Brigade in a 'vicious sectarian' war in Baghdad with the aid of Police. I'd warn everyone that these reports include gruesome and horrifying footage- this is not for the sensitive to watch. Allegations of rape and torture have been made against the Iraqi police as well as allegations of attempted intimidation of the MP investigating. This looks like a terrible deriliction of duty by the Iraqi authorities. The reports if correct show that Iraq is slowly descending not merely into civil war but into civil war accompanied by massive ethnic cleansing at the same time. Even a former human rights minister in Iraq substantiates some of the allegations including the rape of one woman three times in the same building by the police. The UN as well has heard reports of links between the police and the militias.

One of the more interesting sidelights to the documentary is the revelation of how journalists in Iraq, very sensibly, behave. The correspendent in Damien Day terms describes how brave she is for journeying 500 metres out of the green zone- if that's true, it presumably reveals how little journalists go out of the green zone and then how vulnerable they are (the correspendent is told she can stay 10 minutes outside but no longer before it becomes certain she will be a kidnap risk)- one wonders therefore how much news we are actually getting out of Iraq despite the brave efforts of correspendents there. The reality may be worse than we all know.

Incidentally the Yorkshire Ranter has a good post on the geography of the cleansing- a Shia Sarajevo Strategy it seems. Worth reading to gain another dimension to the analysis.