Saturday, January 29, 2005

Still The Most Prolific Terrorists

As I noted last year, Knight Ridder agency digged up (puppet) Iraqi Health Ministry figures on civilian casualties that showed the occupiers far outdoing terrorists and careless resistance fighters:

...The ministry began separating attacks by multinational and police forces and insurgents June 10.
From that date until Sept. 10, 1,295 Iraqis were killed in clashes with multinational forces and police versus 516 killed in terrorist operations, the ministry said...

Now BBC's Panorama programme has an update - and the information it got hold of is apparently so hot they were forced to take down their article from the internet, so below I quote a secondary source. Apparently, despite the upsurge of terror attacks against civilians, the occupiers and their local auxiliaries still far outdo them (and remember, these are far from complete figures of a puppet government, think of Fallujah):

The data covers the period 1 July 2004 to 1 January 2005....
...2,041 civilians were killed by the coalition and Iraqi security forces. A further 8,542 were wounded by them.
Insurgent attacks claimed 1,233 lives, and wounded 4,115 people, during the same period.

UPDATE 30/01: BBC has now put up a modified article, after the puppet government beat out a modified interpretation of the data with them - they insist the first figure is of civilians and 'terrorists' killed by all sides in operations of the Coalition and its auxiliaries...

Yes, I do think this is more important news than the so-called elections. Here is my list of points about why these are sham elections (and meaningless):

  1. The framework of the elections was heavily shaped by then US viceroy Bremer and the then puppet quasi-government, the US-picked Interim Governing Council (IGC).
  2. In several polls, most Iraqis expressed great disdain for parties, they could better judge single persons. Yet Iraqis will have to vote for party lists, with most names on it held secret until the elections!...
  3. Why now? Bad security is not seen now as a problem that prevents viable elections, yet much less bad security was cited as reason for rejecting Ayatollah Sistani's demand in late 2002 for holding apparently similar elections exactly one year ago (as noted here). Maybe what we have now is not that similar?
  4. Indeed in practice the contestants with any chance are the US-approved parties in the former IGC.
  5. Just to make clear that deference to the US is the one and only basis for determining which party is 'legal', once the deputy head of the National Assembly rersigned in protest of the Fallujah extermination camp, US forces arrested him (despite immunity) and party members.
  6. Sistani, the fundie Iranian-born Shi'a top clergyman portrayed as a 'moderate' (just because he wants to pull the strings from the background rather than hold official titles...), does as much for a civil war as Zarkawi[*], eliminated most of the choice for Iraq's Shi'a by forging a unified list with pre-set quotas for various Shi'a groups, including SCIRI, Daawa and Chalabi's INC. Of these, Daawa is the most popular, yet closest-to-Sistani SCIRI, not that popular in Iraq because of its close relations with Iran, got just as many. But the real crude trick to increase SCIRI's quota is that SCIRI's militia, the much reviled Badr Corps[+], features on the unified list as a separate party!
  7. Sunni Arabs won't vote. Not only because of violence, nor just because of seeing the sham election for what it is: also because in large areas, the US & Allawi didn't even bother with organising registration.
  8. Exiles will vote. Now let's leave aside my general disdain for letting voters vote who won't live with the consequences. This is obviously meant to further weaken the Sunnis. Another intent may have been to ensure a higher turnout that can be brandished in propaganda -however, most exiles also see the sham elections for what they are, and until lately only 10% registered - that's why their voting & registration was extended (and still didn't reach 25% [UPDATE 30/01]).
  9. So what Iraqis will get is probably something composed of Sistani's up-SCIRI-ed list, the US-friendly branch of Communists, Allawi's quislings, and the unified Kurd warlord's list. But what will this be? Not a new government or its chooser, nor a passer of laws: it is supposed to be the body drawing up a constitution, before the real parliamentary and presidential elections. That is: just a body to make a further step in rigging 'democracy', not even the final stage in rigging. (Here is a parallel to the sham elections in Afghanistan.)
  10. There won't be any international observers - a step further down even from the abysmal level of the Afghan sham elections (which OSCE shamefully declared more or less fair, while they only had a few observers in Kabul). (This is my main reason to even include Allawi's group in the previous point...)
  11. Finally, to people who think like Johann Hari (see second comment to his own op-ed), that is, that the hopes of the majority of Iraqis trump all reasonable argument, no they don't. Iraqis can have unfortunately unjustified hopes, and Iraqis can lose their illusions. (Just as it happened in the very issue Hari holds up for self-justification: when polls showed the majority of even the Shi'a turning against the Coalition.)

[*] Or, more likely, a more powerful but propaganda-ignored (and hence media-ignored) Sunni fundamentalist group, the currently Mosul-based Kurdish Ansar-e-Islam.

[+] The Badr Corps fought alongside Iran in the Iraq-Iran war, something even most Shi'a resented them for (especially the Sadrists). After the US toppling of Saddam, it started a series of assassinations (mostly against former Baathists, including top scientists and academics) with the US looking away [Scott Ritter remembers this], and enforced stricter Islamism in cities it controlled - including Najaf, a fact largely forgotten by the media when it mindlessly repeated US/Allawi propaganda based on similar dark-age practices by Sadrists. I also direct readers to this and this older post of mine.


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