Thursday, May 18, 2006

Isolated Incidents

Reuters Alertnet reported the following act of violence in Iraq yesterday:
MOSUL - Two policemen killed in drive-by shooting in northern town of Mosul, police said. Gunmen also killed two students in drive-by shooting, they said.

BAGHDAD - A roadside bomb targeted a police patrol in Baghdad's western Mansour district, wounding four policemen and two civilians.

BAGHDAD - The government of autonomous Kurdistan region accused Turkish forces of shelling an area inside mountainous northern Iraq on Wednesday. Khaled Salih, a senior official of the Kurdish regional government in Arbil, said by telephone that no one was hurt when three shells slammed near the town of Kani Masi. A Turkish government official denied the accusation, saying it was "total fabrication."

NEAR KIRKUK - Police found the body of a woman who was shot dead near the northern oil city of Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

KIRKUK - One Iraqi soldier was killed and four wounded when a roadside bomb struck their convoy in Kirkuk, police said.

KIRKUK - Gunmen kidnapped a man in Kirkuk, police said.

BAGHDAD - The body of Muhib Abdul-Razzak, a general director in the Finance Ministry, was found in the morgue after he was kidnapped earlier in the week, police and ministry officials said.

NEAR QAIM - Police found the body of a man, handcuffed, blindfolded, tortured and shot dead near the Syrian border, police said.

KERBALA - Gunmen kidnapped a tribal leader after storming into his house in the sacred city of Kerbala, 110 km southeast of Baghdad, police said.

BAGHDAD - Eight bodies were found with gun shot wounds in different parts of Baghdad, police said.

BAQUBA - A bombing and shooting attack killed four people and wounded 11 in the religiously mixed city of Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) northeast of Baghdad, police said. It started when gunmen shot a bakery owner. A roadside bomb exploded when police and others rushed to the scene, killing two policemen and a civilian. Five policemen and six civilians were wounded.

BAGHDAD - Four civilians were killed when two roadside bombs went off in quick succession in central Baghdad, police said.

BAGHDAD - A Sudanese driver for an Arab diplomat in Baghdad has died after being shot as he tried to stop gunmen kidnapping the envoy, police said. Diplomat Naji al-Noaimi of the United Arab Emirates was still missing after being snatched following a short drive from the embassy to visit a colleague on Tuesday evening.

BAGHDAD - Two policemen were wounded when a roadside bomb went off close to their patrol near al-Kindi hospital in eastern Baghdad, police said.

BAGHDAD - Also in eastern Baghdad, two policemen were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near a police check point in eastern Baghdad, police said.

BAGHDAD - Four people were wounded when a roadside bomb went off in eastern Baghdad, police said.
But I'm sure you've already heard all about it. In fact, you're probably fed up with the mainstream media's endless repetitions of these isolated incidents. Er...

Sorry to harp on but I do believe it's important to continue to challenge this myth which some seem so keen to perpetuate. Most of the violence happening in Iraq today goes essentially unreported by the mainstream media. That's not an opinion. That's a fact.

It's clear that some people are unable to face facts when it comes to Iraq.

Yesterday, Blair said:
[I]t is important to recognise that in Iraq and Afghanistan we are fighting a battle against the same forces of terrorism that want to disrupt our way of life here and to kill people.
Iraq, the Prime Minister seems to have forgotten, was a war of choice. His choice.

In August 2002, when the Iraqi government heard rumours that al Qaida operatives might be in Iraq, they ordered the security services to try to track them down (second doc.). In the mid-Nineties Saddam had expressed some interest in co-operating with al Qaida. By 2002, mutual distrust had made any such link impossible. Blair's attempt to link the terrorist threat with his decision to participate in the invasion of Iraq is utterly baseless.

Blair also stressed yesterday that British troops will "stay until the Iraqi forces are capable of engaging with their own security themselves". The realities of what's actually happening in Iraq appear to be genuinely lost on him.

Here are a couple of article's Blair would do well to read.

Le Monde diplomatique: Iraq’s resistance evolves
Iraq is simultaneously descending into both a civil war and a war of resistance against foreign occupation. The United States has been hoping to exploit the divide between Iraqi patriots and global jihadists, but the Sunni opposition is growing more structured and unified as it adapts to changing conditions, and may transcend those divisions.
The Business: The British lose Basra
TAKING Basra was unexpectedly easy for the British army during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The 7th Armoured Brigade spent a fortnight on the outskirts of Iraq’s second city before it entered, fearing street fighting and civilian casualties. Instead the fabled Desert Rats were greeted by an excited crowd, some handing flowers to infantrymen who were happy to put them in the barrel of their guns. It is hard to think of a starker contrast with the murderous hostility which the British military faces in the city today.
He might also like to read about the latest political developments in Iraq. He won't though. As long as he can say that he's supporting the "first-ever democratically elected Iraqi Government" he doesn't actually give a flying fuck about the lives of ordinary Iraqis. If he did, he'd recognise how badly things have gone and attempt to do something about it.

But he can't do that. For Blair, Iraq, like everything else, is considered exclusively through the prism of domestic politics and his own survival. An admission of the realities would undermine his position so it's simply not an option. The idea that the failures of his policy are actually a very good reason for him to step down and allow someone else to try to sort out the mess he's made is also a non-starter.

And yet, Blair's supporters, and the man himself, seem to have no problem squaring his behaviour with his stated aim of doing what's best for the people of Iraq. Tragedy doesn't even begin to describe it.

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Robert said...

I should point out that the examples of violence you give all seem to be directed at Iraqis (and one diplomat), rather than occupying soldiers. I don't doubt your analysis, Garry, but is so happens this particular random sample seems to point to a form of terrorism, catalysing a civl war, rather than acts of resistance.

A minor quibble given the scale of the atrocities, and one that doesn't change the fact that it has been caused by an illegitimate invasion...

KeirHardiesCap said...

The American blogs think that a civil war is being deliberately fomented by the occupying forces, in the best tradition of: if they're killing each other they ain't killing us. Iraq will be much more easily controlled in the future if it is turned into a series of small failing states all fighting each other.

CuriousHamster said...

KHC, I've read that quite a bit. It alos seems that lots of Iraqis believe that the coalition are deliberately destabilising the country. I can't say I'm convinced that the US government are deliberately provoking a civil war. Bush and Blair both say they want a unified Iraq. Anything else will be an undeniable failure for them.

That's not to say that there might not have been US involvement in the Shiite death squads. According to Newsweek, the "Salvador Option" was being seriously considered at the start of 2005. The timeline fits with the growth of rumours of these death squads during last year. Hard to know how much to read into that though.

CuriousHamster said...

Robert, I agree that there are distinct sorts of violence going on. Some of these attacks are very likely to be terrorist acts designed to provoke civil war as you say.

Some of them will also have been conducted by the "resistance". Many of them believe that Iraqis who cooperate with the coalition are traitors and fair game. They're also a lot easier to kill than coalition troops. Many of the attacks on Iraqi policemen are actually attacks on the coalition by proxy.

There's all sorts of violenec going on alright. Lots more than the MSM ever bother to report.

It still astonishes me that Blair agreed to the invasion without bothering to plan for what would happen next. And that he's not resigned over that alone.

Anonymous said...

Many of the attacks on Iraqi policemen are actually attacks on the coalition by proxy.

And similarly, many of the attacks on the coalition are actually attacks on the Iraqi people by proxy. In fact some of the attacks by proxy on the iraqi policemen are actually coalition by-proxy-attacks on the iraqi people by proxy. Etc.

CuriousHamster said...

Anonymous, that's a splendidly confusing post. Er...

Do you mean that there's all sorts of violence going on in all sorts of directions? If so, then I agree.