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June 8, 2005

Who Cares About Iraqis?

by Dahr Jamail

Suicide bombers unleashed another day of hell across Iraq today, killing at least 18 and wounding over 67.

Four of them struck Iraqi security forces, along with U.S. military convoys around Baghdad. Despite the huge, U.S.-backed Iraqi security operation throughout the capital city, attacks there continue unabated.

The small city of Rawa (near al-Qa'im) was bombed again by the U.S. military Sunday night. The military admitted to the bombing, but claimed there were no civilian casualties. Today on al-Jazeera, the satellite channel flashed footage of flattened civilian homes, as well as people in the city claiming that seven civilians were killed in the bombings.

In Hawija (near Kirkuk), three suicide car bombers struck Iraqi security checkpoints today, killing several Iraqis. Meanwhile in Tal Afar (near Mosul), fierce clashes erupted between the Iraqi resistance and American soldiers. These are ongoing as I type this.

It continues to be clear that the plans of the Bush administration in Iraq either do not include the protection of Iraqis, they don't care, or both.

I received an e-mail from someone today along these lines which I found interesting:

"I operated out of Camp Anaconda, near Balad. What almost everyone, both in uniform and those as contractors, agreed on [was] the objective of the Bush administration's long term [plan] is focused primarily on oil. Hearts and minds are secondary, far behind the issue of petroleum products, as the U.S. continues to compete for resources around the world. I hope more media conversation is forthcoming on this issue."

Also along these lines, an Iraqi friend of mine who is a doctor in Baghdad told me that when he was in Ramadi yesterday, U.S. soldiers attacked the Anbar Medical School while students were taking their exams. As he said,

"They [U.S. soldiers] smashed the front gates of the school in a barbaric way using Humvees … and terrorized the female students while arresting two students while they were working on their exams. They then laid siege to the homes of the dean of the university, along with homes of lecturers, even though their families were inside."

My friend also reported that after he recently visited Haditha (remember "Operation Open Market"?) he found that a large number of civilians had been detained.

"They even detained a friend of mine and his father because they found papers in their home about an upcoming demonstration," he told me.

Recently, the U.S.-backed Iraqi "government" announced it had detained nearly 900 "suspected militants." A "suspected militant" in Iraq looks more and more like anyone in the wrong place at the wrong time when Iraqi or U.S. forces conduct an operation.

Of course, the looting of homes during raids continues along with the detentions of innocent Iraqis. So much so that as a result of the huge "security" operation in Baghdad, Laith Kuba, a spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, found it necessary to make the following statement:

"Some people complained there are cases where soldiers took advantage and helped themselves to cash and other items. One doesn't rule it out. The complaints I heard from people were the aggressiveness of some of these forces as they do things. Some people have half-hinted that they have copied some of the mannerisms of other foreign troops. I think that is a valid criticism in some cases."

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    Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, Dahr Jamail writes about the effects of the US occupation on the people of Iraq, since the mainstream media in the US has in large part, he believes, failed to do so.

    Dahr has spent a total of 5 months in occupied Iraq, and plans on returning in October to continue reporting on the occupation. One of only a few independent reporters in Iraq, Dahr will be using the DahrJamailIraq.com website and mailing list to disseminate his dispatches and will continue as special correspondent for Flashpoints Radio.

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