Highlights

 
Quotable
War is in fact the true nurse of executive aggrandizement
James Madison
Original Blog US Casualties Contact Donate

 
September 28, 2006

In Iraq, Strife Follows US Military Wherever It Goes


by Jim Lobe

With Salam Talib

Few in Iraq have experienced sectarian violence more than residents of Samarra, an ancient, mid-sized city on the Tigris River northwest of Baghdad. For centuries, the areas Sunni majority had lived at peace with its Shi'ite minority – but in February, someone blew up a major Shi'ite shrine in the city, sparking sectarian killing across the country that continues to this day.

Now, Samarra is being hit with a second round of violence – two tribes, both of them Sunni, are battling each other over who will control an important area just west of city.

"It started when a car bomb went off in one the al-Bubaz family's homes," explains Sheik Ahmed Yahir al-Samarrai. "They accused the al-Bubadri tribe of doing it. Then people started killing each other."

Observers say the trouble actually started before that – when the al-Bubaz tribe began to cooperate with the U.S. military a year ago. After the head of the tribe was killed, tribal leaders started to fight the movement of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and began taking money to guard a power plant.

"The Americans asked the al-Bubaz family to cooperate with them by providing security," says lawyer Nezar al-Samarrai. "The other tribes felt offended with the fact that this tribe was cooperating with the Americans."

Like many Iraqis, Nezar al-Samarrai believes the U.S. military upset tribal relations on purpose to make the situation unstable.

"They can stay in the city as long as there's instability here, and they want to stay here forever," he says.

According to the United States' Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity has paid tens of millions of dollars to tribes to protect the country's electric grid.

The GAO's Joseph Christof tells me while he hasn't heard of tribal warfare in Samarra, he has heard about a host of other problems. He summarizes the findings of a report released in April this year:

"The Iraqi Ministry of Electricity was providing the subcontracts with the tribes to protect the transmission lines and oftentimes they wouldn't necessarily protect the transmission lines. They would allow insurgents or other groups to come in and destroy the transmission lines, and they would in turn try to enact fees or tariffs to the reconstruction lines that they were supposed to be protecting."

Meanwhile, the body count continued to rise in Iraq. In Baquba, northeast of the capital, a U.S. raid and air strike killed eight people, including seven members of one family, Wednesday. Inside Baghdad itself, a car bomb exploded near a busy market in the mostly Shi'ite district of Bayaa, killing five people and wounding eight others. Gunmen in Baghdad also shot and killed the sister of a Shi'ite member of parliament. In Kirkuk in northern Iraq, at least 10 people were wounded when a car bomb exploded near the headquarters of the Turkmen Front Party.

For Sheik Ahmed Yahir al-Samarrai, three years of U.S. occupation have left him and his neighbors feeling trapped in their homes.

"There's nothing good in this country," he says. "Every day is worse than the day before. The only place that I can go to is the area around my house. I can only shop in my own area. The killings are based on the address of your identification card and your name."


comments on this article?
 
 
Archives

  • US Jews Open to Palestinian Unity Govt
    3/26/2009

  • Bipartisan Experts Urge 'Partnership' With Russia
    3/17/2009

  • Obama Administration Insists It's Neutral in Salvador Poll
    3/14/2009

  • NGOs Hail Congressional Moves to Ease Embargo
    3/12/2009

  • Call to 'Resist and Deter' Nuclear Iran Gains Key Support
    3/7/2009

  • Washington Ends Diplomatic Embargo of Syria
    3/4/2009

  • Diplomatic, Aid Spending Set to Rise Under Obama Budget
    2/28/2009

  • Many Muslims Reject Terror Tactics, Back Some Goals
    2/26/2009

  • Lugar Report Calls for New Cuba Policy
    2/24/2009

  • U.S.-Israel Storm Clouds Ahead?
    2/20/2009

  • Calls Mount for Obama to Appoint 'Truth Commission'
    2/20/2009

  • Washington's Praise of Venezuelan Vote Suggests Détente
    2/19/2009

  • Rightward Shift in Israeli Polls Creates New Headaches
    2/13/2009

  • US Advised to Back Somalia Reconciliation Efforts
    2/12/2009

  • Hawks Urge Boosting Military Spending
    2/5/2009

  • More Troops, More Worries,
    Less Consensus on Afghanistan
    2/4/2009

  • Report: Most Citizens Kept in Dark on Govt Spending
    2/2/2009

  • Obama Raises Hopes of
    Mideast Experts
    1/28/2009

  • Obama Picks Israel-Arab, Afghanistan-Pakistan Negotiators
    1/23/2009

  • Rights Groups Applaud Move to Halt Gitmo Trials
    1/22/2009

  • Obama Offers Internationalist Vision
    1/21/2009

  • Around the World, High Hopes for Obama
    1/20/2009

  • Liberals, Realists Set to Clash in Obama Administration
    1/19/2009

  • Obama Urged to Take Bold Steps Toward Cuba Normalization
    1/15/2009

  • Clinton Stresses 'Cooperative Engagement,' 'Smart Power'
    1/14/2009

  • Bush Foreign Policy Legacy Widely Seen as Disastrous
    1/14/2009

  • Networks' Int'l News Coverage at Record Low in 2008
    1/6/2009

  • Amnesty Calls on Rice to Drop 'Lopsided' Gaza Stance
    1/3/2009

  • Israeli Attack May Complicate Obama's Plans
    12/30/2008

  • Report: Recognizing Hamas Could Help Peace
    12/19/2008

  • Business Groups Support Dismantling Cuba Embargo
    12/8/2008

  • Mumbai Massacre Seen as Major Blow to Regional Strategy
    12/5/2008

  • Obama Urged to Quickly Engage Iran, Syria
    12/3/2008

  • Diplomacy, Multilateralism Stressed by Obama Team
    12/2/2008

  • Obama Foreign Policy: Realists to Reign?
    11/28/2008

  • Hemispheric Group Calls for Major Changes in Americas Policy
    11/25/2008

  • Greybeards Urge Overhaul of Global Governance
    11/21/2008

  • Intelligence Analysts See Multi-Polar, Risky World By 2025
    11/21/2008

  • Obama Urged to Strengthen Ties with UN
    11/20/2008

  • Obama-Tied Think-Tank Calls for Pakistan Shift
    11/18/2008

  • Obama Advised to Forgo More Threats to Iran
    11/17/2008

  • First, Close Gitmo,
    Say Rights Groups
    11/11/2008

  • Obama's Foreign Policy:
    No Sharp Break From Bush
    11/11/2008

  • Coca Cultivation Up Despite Six Years of Plan Colombia
    11/7/2008

  • Obama to Seek Global Re-engagement, But How Much?
    11/6/2008

  • Two, Three, Many Grand Bargains?
    11/3/2008

  • Moving Towards a 'Grand Bargain' in Afghanistan
    10/19/2008

  • Top Ex-Diplomats Slam 'Militarization' of Foreign Policy
    10/16/2008

  • Bush Set to Go With a Whimper, Not a Bang
    10/15/2008

  • Pakistan 'Greatest Single Challenge' to Next President
    10/8/2008

  • Senate Passes Nuke Deal Over Escalation Fears
    10/3/2008

  • Brief Talks With Syria Spur Speculation
    10/1/2008

  • Iran Resolution Shelved in Rare Defeat for AIPAC
    9/27/2008

  • Bipartisan Group Urges Deeper Diplomacy with Muslim World
    9/25/2008

  • White House Still Cautious on Georgia
    9/6/2008

  • US' Somalia Policy Likely to Bring Blowback
    9/4/2008

  • Iran Could Reap Benefits of U.S.-Russian Tensions
    8/28/2008

  • A Really Bad Couple of Weeks for Pax Americana
    8/24/2008

  • Success of Attack on Iran's Nuclear Program Doubtful
    8/9/2008

  • US Gets No Traction in the Middle East
    8/5/2008

  • Gates Strategy Stresses Unconventional Warfare
    8/1/2008

  • Air Force Think Tank Advises Against Iran Attack
    7/31/2008

  • Pakistani PM May Be Pincushion for U.S. Frustration
    7/26/2008

  • Realists Urge Bush to Drop Iran Precondition
    7/23/2008

  • McCain Knee-Capped by Maliki
    7/22/2008

  • Jim Lobe, works as Inter Press Service's correspondent in the Washington, D.C., bureau. He has followed the ups and downs of neo-conservatives since well before their rise in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

    Reproduction of material from any original Antiwar.com pages
    without written permission is strictly prohibited.
    Copyright 2003 Antiwar.com