Freedom! 19,000 Iraqi Civilians Killed in Less Than Two Years

…that works out to about 28 dead every day.

It is also an estimate, given that many areas of the country are not readily accessible, and because the death toll from the siege of Ramadi is not accounted for in the figures. More than 3.2 million Iraqis are internally displaced and/or homeless.

Iraq is now an ungoverned, failed state, a killing field on the scale of genocide.

At least 18,802 civilians were killed and 36,245 wounded in Iraq over the last 22 months, according to the UN’s Report on the Protection of Civilians in the Armed Conflict in Iraq. Another 3,206,736 Iraqis are internally displaced, including more than one million children. The study emphasizes that these are conservative estimates. The UN also is careful to note that the number of civilians killed by secondary effects of the violence, such as lack of access to food, water or medical care, is unknown. In many areas of Iraq schools are closed and basic infrastructure is not functioning.

All that is in addition to the more than one million people already killed during the American occupation period.

These horrors are directly caused by the 2003 US invasion of Iraq and subsequent occupation. In addition to unleashing near-total chaos in the nation, the US invasion led directly to the rise of Islamic State, which found the consuming violence fertile soil for growth. ISIS went on to see a new role to emerge, protector of the Sunni population, which was being slaughtered and impoverished by the Shiite majority empowered by the Americans and Iran.

“Armed violence continues to take an obscene toll on Iraqi civilians and their communities,” remarked the UN high commissioner for human rights. “The so-called ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’ continues to commit systematic and widespread violence and abuses of international human rights law and humanitarian law. These acts may, in some instances, amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and possibly genocide.”

ISIS is targeting non-Sunni ethnic and religious communities, “systematically persecuting” them, subjecting them to violent repression and crimes, the UN notes. Women and children are particularly affected by these atrocities. Women face extreme sexual violence and even sexual slavery. Children are being forcibly recruited as fighters.

In addition to ISIS violence, the UN notes that civilians have been killed and kidnapped, and that civilian infrastructure has been destroyed by pro-government forces, militias and tribal fighters. Moreover, civilians are being killed by US airstrikes.

Adding to the depth of horror in Iraq, many Iraqi refugees have sought asylum in the West, but have been largely unwelcome. In a time of heightened Islamophobia, some European countries and many right-wing American politicians — including more than half of the U.S. governors — have made it clear they do not want to accept Muslim refugees.

Peter Van Buren blew the whistle on State Department waste and mismanagement during Iraqi reconstruction in his first book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People. His latest book is Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99 Percent. Reprinted from the his blog with permission.

One thought on “Freedom! 19,000 Iraqi Civilians Killed in Less Than Two Years”

  1. The claim that the Islamic State (IS) is practicing genocide is disputed.

    The Yazidis attempted to flee from the IS but they were trapped in the mountains with no food or water. However, the blame of their deaths have been attributed to the IS, even though the IS fighters said that they respect Yazidi civilians in an interview. Iraqi journalists have later Tweeted that the Yazidis were still alive but successfully escaped from the mountains:

    Good news: almost certain there was no massacre in Hatimiya. The Iraqi minister disseminated a false report. Will have more updates soon.

    But on Wednesday, an “emir” of #IS came to Hatimiya & Kucho, delivering a
    convert-to-Islam ultimatum. He told the villages: “We’re not after your $ or women; we just want to inform you that you’re now part of the Islamic State and anyone in it must be Muslim.” […] Hatimiya decided to flee anyway, did so on Sat night. All the families made it to the mountain alive, luckily not encountering jihadists. The village of Hatimiya is now empty, but because of the communal escape—not because of a massacre.

    In addition, there was a separate incident where a Yazidi woman was killed by her own Yazadi people for marrying a Sunni Muslim Boy. When the IS
    captured the city called “Bashiqa”, an IS representative on Twitter
    twitted that the city was renamed to Dua in honor of the Yadzi who was
    murdered. (“Dua” means “prayers”.)

    The claims about the IS genocide against Christians were grossly exaggerated. The IS warned to Christians that they could either convert to Islam, pay a tax known as the jizya (which demands $750 per year), leave, or die. Furthermore, the jizya is only imposed on military-aged males. Women, children, elders and the poor are exempted from the jizya. Men who joined the IS army are exempted as well.

    This video of an IS judge also confirms that Christians are entitled to live
    safely if they pay the jizya. See this video. (Time is at 30:00.)

    However, the myth that the IS murders Christian civilians persists. This
    has partly to do with the notion that many Christians are gone in many of the Iraqi cities. They are gone not because they are killed but because they have fled. This has confused many people (including a prominent Christian religious figure in Iraq) into believing that the Christians in his city were massacred.

    Isn’t enough evidence that the IS kills other religious minorities. The IS is allied with the Sufi and pro-Saddam secularist militias.

    The IS actually saved the lives of some Indian nurses. They warned the Indian nurses that a hospital is about to be bombed and they have provided protection, food and shelter for the nurses until they safely migrated to India:

    What about the Shiites?

    A famous video which was broadcasted on all major media outlets to show the ‘brutality’ of Islamic State’s policy on civilians. It is purported to show that IS were killing Shia civilians on highway drive by shooting. (Source: Al Furqan Media – Clanging of the Swords) If one were to watch the whole documentary of the Islamic State which the clip was taken from, they would know that those who were being targeted were Iraqi Gov’t members who took part in oppressing the Sunnis of Iraq. They were selective targets from a list the IS had obtained. The people targeted were known criminals of the Iraqi government. Then there is another clip (Source: Al Furqan Media- Cutting Assads Supply Line) which shows a transport truck being pulled over on a highway by the Islamic State. The Allawite men are being questioned. Some of the questions are of religious nature. Then they are shown being executed. Once again, if one watched the whole documentary, they would have seen what the members of the Islamic State found out from the documents obtained of the truck drivers. They were on route to transporting military gear for Assads army. Does this make them khawarij? If they applied their state law to these people whom they charged with a crime, why don’t they have a right to administer justice on their terms, especially if they’re applying the Shar’ee rules?

    Many of the civilians that were killed were prominent leaders of the former administration, alleged spies against the IS, people who were fleeing from the IS (it’s illegal to flee from the IS), civilians who are killed accidentally during mutual warfare, and people who died from IS-perpetrated terrorist attacks abroad.

    Before the U.S. begun airstrikes against the Islamic State, there was a report of the IS forcing female genital mutilation on women. This has caused widespread hysteria. But later the reports about female genital mutilation turned out to be false.

    No, ISIS Isn’t Ordering Female Genital Mutilation In Iraq

    Reports of ISIS female genital mutilation reportedly false

    Isis denies ordering that all girls in Mosul undergo FGM

    Just yesterday, there was a report about women and children in one of the IS’s graveyards.

    The deaths of the women and children could be from the Islamic State. But the deaths of the women and children could also be from U.S. airstrikes. We don’t know their cause yet. If indeed the deaths were later to be found to be caused by the Islamic State, it still does not make the U.S. innocent because almost certainly the U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State kills women and children too, and it is the U.S. which has created and expanded the Islamic State.

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