[Imc-beirut] Iraq Dispatches: Meanwhile, in Iraq...

iraq_dispatches at dahrjamailiraq.com iraq_dispatches at dahrjamailiraq.com
Thu Sep 15 12:36:00 PDT 2005

** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches **
** http://dahrjamailiraq.com **

September 15, 2005

For the last several days at least 6,000 US soldiers along with
approximately 4,000 Iraqi soldiers (Read-members of the Kurdish
Peshmerga and Shia Badr Army) were laying siege to the city of Tal-Afar,
near Mosul in northern Iraq. It is estimated that 90% of the residents
have left their homes because of the violence and destruction of the
siege, as well as to avoid home raids and snipers.

The Fallujah model is being applied yet again, albeit on a smaller
scale. I haven’t received any reports yet of biometrics being used
(retina scans, finger printing, bar coding of human beings) like in
Fallujah, but there are other striking similarities to the tactics used
in November.

While the US military claims to have killed roughly 200 “terrorists” in
the operation, reports from the ground state that most of the fighters
inside the city had long since left to avoid direct confrontation with
the overwhelming military force (a basic tenet of guerrilla warfare).

Again like Fallujah, most of the families who fled are staying in
refugee camps outside the city in tents amidst horrible conditions in
the inferno-like heat of the Iraqi summer.

The LA Times reported that Ezzedin Dowla, a Turkmen leader in the area
said, “Families are homeless and the government has not provided any
shelter, food or drink for them.” Nor has the US military.

The targets of this military operation are the Sunni Turkmen who are
politically on the side of the Sunni Arabs. Most Sunnis will be voting
against the constitution during the coming vote of October, 15th.

The Cheney Administration is desperate for something it can spin as
“good news” from Iraq; thus, it most certainly behooves them to have the
referendum on the constitution to boast about. But in order to do so,
the voting ability and power of the Sunni (and Sunni Turkmen) must be
severely compromised, as well as punishment meted out for rightfully
assuming what will be a Sunni no-vote on the constitution.

Both the Cheney Administration and its current puppet-government in Iraq
benefit from destroying the voting (and living) ability of the majority
of people in the “Sunni triangle,” so we have the operation in Tal-Afar,
most likely to be followed by similar operations in Al-Qa’im, Haditha,
Samarra, and possibly more.

In Tal-Afar, the propaganda spewed by the US military (and Iraqi
“government”) was that the operation was to fight terrorists coming into
Iraq via Syria. If that were true, why did the US military remove troops
from the border with Syria who were supposed to be preventing
infiltration by foreign fighters? Instead of guarding the border, as
they should, they engaged in the operation against Iraqi Sunni Turkmen.
Working in unison, the US military launched the heavy-handed attack with
the “authorization” of Prime Minister Ibrahm Jaafari, the leader of the
Shia Dawa Party. Jaafari even went so far as to venture to Tal-Afar on
Tuesday to visit troops and have his photograph taken.

“Authorization” was given by the Iraqi government for the attack on
Tal-Afar, just as “authorization” was given by then interim Prime
Minister Iyad Allawi for the November, 2004 massacre in Fallujah.
“Authorization,” when the US military would never, ever allow any
foreign power jurisdiction over American forces, least of all a puppet

Correspondents with Azzaman media in Tal-Afar miraculously made it into
the city and reported that residents are disputing reports that US and
Iraqi soldiers have killed scores of “insurgents.” Like Fallujah, these
residents of Tal-Afar are reporting that most of the people killed were
civilians who had no place to go so they chose to stay in their homes.
People also stayed because they feared persecution at the hands of the
Peshmerga and Badr Army.

I recently interviewed an Iraqi man from that area at the Peoples’ UN
conference in Perugia, Italy. He told me, “Most people in Mosul and
Tal-Afar would rather be detained by the Americans now, because they
know if Iraqi soldiers or Iraqi police detain them they will be tortured
severely, and possibly killed. This gives you an idea of how bad it is
with these Iraqi soldiers, even in the shadow of what the Americans are
still doing in Abu Ghraib.”

As for “foreign fighters,” one of the Azzaman correspondents quoted a
resident of Tal-Afar as saying, “We used to hear (from news reports) of
the presence of some Arab (foreign) fighters in the city, but we have
seen none of them.”

Life in Iraq remains a living hell. Blood flowed in the streets of
Khadamiya yesterday as a horrendous car bomb killed 112 people in the
predominantly Shia neighborhood. And once again, calls of solidarity
were made from the nearby Sunni neighborhood of Adhamiya and residents
emerged from their homes to help their brothers and sisters across the
river, just as they did after the panic and chaos which recently took
the lives of nearly 1,000 Shia.

The horrendous totals from yesterday were 160 dead, 570 wounded Iraqis
as the result of the string of attacks and at least a dozen car bombs.
The blowback from the Jafaari “authorized” state-sponsored terrorism in
Tal-Afar took little time to materialize in the capital city.

If Jafaari was more honest with his press appearances, along with his
photo-op in Tal-Afar he should have had his photo taken amidst the
charred, smoking body parts strewn about the streets of Khadamiya, which
was a result (albeit just as horrific) of his Tal-Afar “authorization.”

On that note, Jalal Talabani, Iraq’s puppet president, was in a press
conference in Washington D.C. with Mr. Bush just hours before the
blowback began.

Meanwhile, one of my friends in Baghdad writes me, “Dear Dahr, how are
you dear pal? I am very sorry for what happened after Hurricane Katrina.
It is a real tragedy. I hope none of your friends or family was
affected. It is a tragedy which makes one speechless.”

This when he goes to work each day hoping to make it home alive to see
his wife and newborn daughter.

And another of my friends in Baghdad wrote me recently, “I’m so sorry
that I didn’t email you the previous days…the situation in Tal-Afar has
become so much worse for the people. It is terrible what is going on
there and nobody can say anything because as usual the military
operation is still going on and they are trying to keep all the media
out. They have also started another operation in another area of
Al-Anbar province and they will soon start one in Samarra.”

My interpreter when I’m in Iraq, Abu Talat, has been willing to take the
risk of working with me there. To give you an idea of the lengths he’s
willing to go to, he gave me the green light to come to Iraq last
November, just before the massacre in Fallujah began. It is safe to say
times were quite tense then, with kidnappings and beheadings having long
since become the norm.

“The Minister of Defense is threatening not only Fallujah but all of the
Ramadi Governorate, I can tell you very surely about that,” he wrote in
a recent email to me and a colleague who was hoping to enter Iraq to
work as a reporter. (Today, US warplanes began dropping bombs inside the
city of Ramadi.)

“No one can support you working here. We are having a very critical
situation. For this reason, I think that coming to Iraq in this critical
time is not accepted. I was very, very welcoming to any of your friends,
Dahr, but not in this time. Sorry, but for your own safety. Take good
care of yourself.”

Today at least 30 more Iraqis have died in violence across their
occupied country and it will only continue to worsen.

More writing, photos and commentary at http://dahrjamailiraq.com

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