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This anniversary is both tragic and infamous. It marks the beginning of a war of aggression based upon lies. Launched in the name of "liberating" the Iraqi people, it has inflicted a catastrophe of world historic proportions upon their country and constitutes the greatest crime against humanity of the 21st century. March 2009.
On 1 May 2003, 20 days after Baghdad was taken in an offensive by the allied troops of the United States and Great Britain, with the support of the Spanish Government headed by José María Aznar, US President George W Bush proclaimed the “end to hostilities” in Iraqi territory. However, the truth was that the conflict in Iraq was far from over.
The humanitarian crisis was growing daily, the shortages suffered by the population were ever greater, and the civilian victims of the war that had begun on 23 March numbered almost 10,000 (although the count was inexact due to the chaos affecting health services). What was even more serious was that the level of insecurity did not diminish after the conflict officially came to an end. In a country where the authorities had either vanished or been captured by the occupying forces, chaos and uncertainty was growing daily.
After President Bush’s announcement, the debate broadened to encompass various issues: where were the weapons of mass destruction, the elimination of which had provided Bush and his principal ally, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, with the justification for the war; what role would the United Nations play in the reconstruction of Iraq, after the international body had seen its attempts to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict steamrollered; who would rule the country; and, above all, what would the Middle East situation look like in the context of the war on terror launched following the events of 11 September 2001.
The weapons of mass destruction never appeared, but Bush and Blair did not repent of their actions because they felt it was their duty to “free Iraq from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein”, whom they finally captured on the outskirts of Tikrit, where he had been born, on 13 December 2003. Meanwhile, from 23-24 October Madrid hosted the International Donors’ Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq, which it was estimated was going to cost some 100,000 million dollars. However, in spite of the destruction caused by the invasion, it was not repairing and reconstructing the country’s infrastructure that was costing the most in Iraq, but maintaining the US forces there. Washington is paying 51,000 million dollars a year for the upkeep of its 140,000 troops.
During the year following the declaration of the end of the war, twice as many US soldiers had died in Iraq as died during the “official” war period. Moreover, it is clear that the world is not a safer place without Saddam Hussein in power, and the people have began to make their goverments pay the price for using facile arguments to justify going to war. In Spain, the shock of the attacks committed on 11 March 2004 in Madrid, in reprisal for the Government’s support for Bush and Blair’s war, led the electorate withdrew its support from Aznar, in favour of the opposition Socialist Party; as soon as he had taken office, President elect José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero ordered the Spanish troops out of Iraq.
But there was more to come. On 28 April 2004, CBS TV published the first in a series of photos showing US soldiers committing all kinds of abuses against Iraqi prisoners. Following this, the US and British media began to show the public the abuses that were committed in Iraqi prisons run by the occupying forces, mainly in Abu Ghraib prison, which has been notorious since the time of Saddam Hussein. The ensuing scandal – the ultimate consequences of which cannot yet be foreseen – forced not only the Pentagon, but also Bush and Blair to express their ignorance and to apologise, while enquiries were launched to identify those responsible.
In spite of the fact that both the US and British authorities insisted that this was not how the majority of their troops generally behaved, the testimonies and documentary evidence that began to surface showed that these were in fact “systematic practices” that violated the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War. On 8 May, hours after Tony Blair’s public apology, the British Government acknowledged that in February it had been sent a report by the International Committee of the Red Cross documenting alleged torture of Iraqi prisoners by British and US soldiers.
The selection of links, reports and articles below aim to serve to complement the news reports available from different sources, with a special emphasis on independent information from civil society organizations and alternative media.
In archaeological circles, Iraq is known as "the cradle of civilization," with a record of culture going back more than 7,000 years. The distruction of Irak art and manuscripts is the worst world cultural dissaster of the past 500 years. July 2005.
For decades the people of Iraq have suffered appalling human rights abuses and the devastating consequences of war and economic sanctions. For decades Amnesty International’s members and supporters have campaigned tirelessly for the rights and dignity of Iraq’s people.
Following the war in Iraq, it must now be a matter of safeguarding the integrity of the 'old' international law and the United Nations and preventing both being transformed into instruments of the USA's striving for hegemony.
This is a link to the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. The convention is being breached by excessive destruction of historical artifacts in Iraq.
Debates rage over post-war Iraq, both inside the Bush administration and between Washington and other governments. Will Washington rule Iraq directly through a military occupation government or will a UN-sponsored authority take over sooner or later? If the UN is involved, will it be subordinate to US priorities or relatively independent? Will US companies seize the oil and reconstruction contracts? How strong will Iraqi opposition to the occupation be? This section looks at these and other aspects of Iraq in the aftermath of the US-UK war.
This march marks six years since Washington launched its "shock and awe" campaign against Iraq, raining bombs and missiles on Baghdad. Despite the massive opposition of the American people to this war and the change from the Bush to the Obama administration, the US war in Iraq continues, with no end in sight. March 2009.
The similarities between Iraq and Darfur are remarkable. The estimate of the number of civilians killed over the past three years is roughly similar. The killers are mostly paramilitaries, closely linked to the official military, which is said to be their main source of arms. The victims too are by and large identified as members of groups, rather than targeted as individuals. But the violence in the two places is named differently. In Iraq, it is said to be a cycle of insurgency and counter-insurgency; in Darfur, it is called genocide. Why the difference? Who does the naming? Who is being named? What difference does it make? March 2007.
The humanitarian situation is steadily worsening and it is affecting, directly or indirectly, all Iraqis. Protecting Iraq’s civilian population must be a priority, and the ICRC urgently calls for better respect for international humanitarian law. It appeals to all those with military or political influence on the ground to act now to ensure that the lives of ordinary Iraqis are spared and protected. This is an obligation under international humanitarian law for both States and non-State actors. April 2007.
A new study, by terrorism experts Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank, uses data from the RAND Corporation to produce the first public report that measures the "Iraq effect" on jihadist terrorism. It documents that since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, incidents of jihadist violence in the world have increased by 607 percent, and the number of people killed in those attacks has risen by 237 percent. February 2007.
Despite the breathless hype, the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group (ISG) report did not include any dramatic new ideas for ending the war in Iraq. In fact, it did not include a call to end the war at all. Rather, the report's recommendations focus on transforming the U.S. occupation of Iraq into a long-term, sustainable, off-the-front-page occupation with a lower rate of U.S. casualties. Despite its title, it does not provide "A New Approach: A Way Forward." December 2006.
This report warns that Iraq will “slide toward chaos” unless the US changes course and seeks more diplomatic and political solutions to providing security and stability in Iraq. The 160-page document, known as the Baker/Hamilton report, advises that the US involve Iraq’s neighbors in brokering a peaceful resolution, but criticizes regional countries for “not doing enough to help Iraq achieve stability.” The report does little to indicate that the US military presence in Iraq will decrease. While it does recommend a drawing down of some combat troops, the Study Group recommends that the Iraq government meet certain conditions before any troops withdraw, and refuses to set specific timeframes for departure. December 2006 (pdf version).
Amid widespread sectarian violence in Iraq, Palestinian refugees in Iraq face particularly grave security threats, including targeted killings by mostly Shi`a militant groups and harassment by the Iraqi government, Human Rights Watch said in this report. September 2006.
The United States is focused on securing its power globally, through both military and market interventions. Its 'war for freedom' or 'war on terrorism' is at one with its expansionary goals for the market: open invasion in some places, and open markets everywhere.
Armed to the teeth and controlled by no-one, private security firms are on a rampage in Iraq. Mercenaries who have been involved with atrocities in Sierra Leon, Chile, Papua New Guinea and South Africa protect VIPs and installations. Now, the US government has awarded a UK firm, Aegis, with a generous contract to coordinate them all into one big army. June 2004.
Regime-changing war in Iraq was supposed to usher in democracy, prosperity and Middle East peace -- remember? Well over a year into the troubled US-dominated occupation of the country, George W. Bush has finally admitted to "miscalculation of what the conditions would be." "The Iraq Impasse," the fall 2004 issue of Middle East Report, analyzes the multiple miscalculations of Bush's war in detail. September 2004.
The US drive towards empire faces new and serious challenges, the most important being the widening military confrontation now facing US troops in cities across Iraq. But there is a further challenge internationally. The "second super-power" is on the rise, and it now has broadened to include a new assortment of governments prepared to defy US pressures, inter-governmental organizations and groups, and new developments may point to a potential to reclaim the United Nations itself as part of the global resistance to US war.
The Independent chronicles the rhetoric used by the US and UK governments from the lead up to the Iraq conflict to the present day. Of note are the transformations in statements regarding the justifications for the war, from WMD to the liberation of the Iraqi people.
The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) needs to rethink its strategy for a new Iraqi security structure. Facing insurgency and many political pressures, the temptation to respond to today’s requirements with expedient moves is strong. But eventually the CPA will depart, leaving Iraq to deal with the consequences.
The last six months in Baghdad have been too long, an age. For a nation that has been patient for decades and has undergone three wars, 13 years of sanctions, political repression, and continual outside threats, 6 months have been too long to wait for relief, to wait for positive changes.
Questions over the evidence behind the US and UK governments' dossiers listing the reasons for the Iraq war find a resonance around the world - including in the Middle East. The following article gauges the reactions of ordinary Syrians and Lebanese who fear evidence matters little when powerful nations decide to go to war.
The World Tribunal on Iraq sitting in session at Cooper Union in New York City on May 8th 2004 and having heard the testimony and evidence presented and having carefully weighed that evidence has reached a series of conclusions. From its conception to its prosecution and the current occupation, fact, law and logic have been turned on their heads and fabricated to rationalize and justify what can only be considered, by all international standards, an unjust war of aggression (pdf version).
"The attack on Iraq is an attack on justice, on liberty, on our safety, on our future, on us all" declared the World Tribunal on Iraq, a 'peoples' court' set up by academics, human rights campaigners and non-governmental organisations to take an independent look at the Iraq record of the United States and other occupying powers such as Britain. The tribunal was inspired by the Russel Tribunal of the Vietnam war days. Istanbul, June 2005.
The execution of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein serves not justice, but the political purposes of the Bush administration and its Iraqi stooges. The manner in which the execution was carried out (hurriedly, secretively, in the dark of night, in a mockery of any semblance of legal process) only underscores the lawless and reactionary character of the entire American enterprise in Iraq. January 2007.
The Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal (SICT) imposed the death sentence on Saddam Hussein and two of his seven co-accused on Sunday, 6 November, after a trial that was deeply flawed and unfair. The former Iraqi dictator was sentenced in connection with the killing of 148 people from al-Dujail village after an attempt to assassinate him there in 1982. November 2006.
Saddam Hussein should be tried by the International Court of Justice at The Hague. That court has a record of meting out justice to people accused of genocide and other gross violations of human rights.
The Bush administration calculates that a tribunal of Iraqis selected by its hand-picked Governing Council will be less likely to reveal embarrassing aspects of Washington's past support for Saddam Hussein, more likely to impose the death penalty despite broad international condemnation, and, most important, less likely to enhance even indirectly the legitimacy of the detested International Criminal Court.
The insistence of the American administration on initiating exclusively a war on Iraq without the UN's approval could lead to the collapse of the international order and consequently the entire world system. An in-depth analysis of the crisis, by Ziad Abdel Samad, Executive Director of the Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND).
Despite the appearance of financial muscle and economic strength, both the USA and the UK rely on other countries to finance their growing deficits and foreign wars. A special report based on articles from Third World Network Features analyzes this, as well as the terrible legacy of US weapons of mass destruction in Vietnam, and the growing instability in the Middle East resulting from the current war on Iraq.
Cultures, specially America's, which is in effect an immigrant culture, overlap with others. One of the perhaps unintended consequences of globalization is the appearance of transnational communities of global interests, as in the human rights movement, the women's movement, the anti-war movement and so on. America is not at all insulated from any of this, but one has to excavate beyond the intimidatingly unified surface to see what lies beneath. There is hope and encouragement to be gained from that view. By Edward Said
In 2003, the stated justification for the U.S.-Britain illegal act of aggression against the Iraqi people was Iraq’s (nonexistent) weapons of mass destruction, “democracy” and the “liberation” of the Iraqi people. But these were simply pretexts to manipulate world public opinion and justify unprovoked aggression. The real motives had much to do with the destruction of Iraq as an independent nation and control over Iraq’s oil resources. July 2008.
US President George W. Bush and seven of his administration's top officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, made at least 935 false statements in the two years following September 11, 2001, about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Nearly five years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, an exhaustive examination of the record shows that the statements were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses. January 2008.
In an interview with journalist Andrew Cockburn, former UN official Rolf Ekeus revealed that in 1997, the US acted to prevent UN officials from certifying that Iraq had complied with UN resolutions demanding that it destroy its biological, chemical and nuclear weapons and infrastructure. October 2007.
At the beginning of July, 23 out of the 37 members of the Iraqi cabinet voted to approve a draft oil law, sending it to parliament for approval. The minister of planning announced that he would resign if the bill passes, while a member of the parliament's energy sub-committee didn't wait and resigned immediately. Many other MPs expressed misgivings but, dependent on massive US military support, a government that barely governs the few square miles of the Baghdad 'green zone' plans to tie up Iraq's most valuable national resources in contracts that run for decades. August 2007.
In this timeline, Mother Jones assembled the history of the Iraq War to create a resource that will help resolve open questions of the Bush era. What did American leaders know and when did they know it? And, perhaps just as important, what red flags did the US miss, and how could they have missed them? This is the second installment of the timeline, with a focus on how the war was lost in the first 100 days.
The Iraq War was lost even before it was begun. The reason is that it was founded on lies, it was begun in delusion, and it has been prosecuted with incompetence. As a result, it has metastasized vastly beyond the scope for which it was ever conceived, even as the means to fight it have shrunk dramatically. The result is a “perfect storm” that makes it impossible for the U.S. to win. The loss to U.S. power in the world will be incalculable, far greater than was the damage occasioned by the U.S. defeat in Vietnam. November 2006.
The USA project, supported by its allied subordinates from Europe and by Israel, consists in establishing its military control all over the world. The "Middle East" has been chosen as the "first impact" target for various reasons. To the countries in the front line (Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Iran) the aggression brings about a situation of destruction (the first three countries) or menace (Iran). August 2006.
The U.S. plan for "promoting democracy" in Iraq is an integral component of its overall interventionist project in the Middle East. U.S. rulers are deeply divided over the invasion and occupation of Iraq and they face an expanding foreign policy crisis. Nonetheless, there is consensus among them, and among transnational elites more generally, on political intervention under the rubric of "democracy promotion." Such political intervention is not just a Republican, much less a Bush regime policy, and as such it plays a key legitimating function.
From 1998 to 2003, under the direction of Dick Cheney, a small group created a secret apparatus to organize the manipulation about the Iraqi “weapons of mass destruction”. Its members infiltrated the specialized centers of the State Department, the National Security Council and the Pentagon and, progressively, started to take control. The group creates fictitious information and recruits false witnesses who are presented in media outlets. An investigation carried out by Red Voltaire reveals the details of this manipulation of the state apparatus and names the ones responsible. February 2004.
A new war of words is raging in the United Kingdom over whether the British parliament and military were misled into going to war in Iraq. It appears the Attorney-General himself had thought the war would be illegal but changed his mind just a few days before the war. Was he pressured to do so? April 2005.
An official US report by the Iraq Survey Group, saying Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction when US-led forces invaded the country, has intensified the debate about justification for the war. October 2004 (pdf version).
A new study from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace details what the US and international intelligence communities knew about Iraq's weapons programmes before the war and outlines policy reforms to improve threat assessments, deter transfer of WMD to terrorists, strengthen the UN weapons inspection process, and avoid politicization of the intelligence process. The report distills a massive amount of data into side-by-side comparisons of pre-war intelligence, the official presentation of that intelligence, and what is now known about Iraq's programmes.
Iraq under Saddam Hussein did not pose a threat to the United States but it did to Israel, which is one reason why Washington invaded the Arab country, according to a speech made by a member of a top-level White House intelligence group.
From the enormous bait-and-switch operation that, within hours after the collapse of the World Trade Center, tried to link Al Qaeda with Saddam Hussein, to the clumsy attempts by the U.S. military to pacify, reconstruct and democratize a complex Muslim nation on the other side of the world, AlterNet's new book – jointly published by Seven Stories Press and Akashic Books – razes the house of cards upon which our foreign policy has been built since 9/11. The excerpt presented here, taken from pages 47-52, attempts to provide readers with an overview of Saddam Hussein's real and imagined relationships with terrorists.
The Security Council is the United Nations' most powerful body, which holds "primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security". Five powerful countries sit as "permanent members" on the Council, along with ten other member states, elected for two-year terms. The materials available here provide analysis and documents about the Council and the heated on-going debate about Council reform, as well as information about the NGO Working Group on the Security Council.
On April 28, 2008 the Security Council will discuss Iraq and receive a report from the US on the Multinational Force (MNF). In anticipation of this debate, Global Policy Forum and International Federation for Human Rights call for greater attention to the extrajudicial and arbitrary detention of large numbers of Iraqis held by the MNF, including some 20,000 held in a vast prison camp in the southern desert. April 2008 (pdf version).
This list does not pretend to be definitive or absolutely complete. Nor does it seek to explain or interpret the interventions. Information and interpretation on selected interventions will be later included as links. Note that US operations in World Wars I and II have been excluded.
This web site has a comprehensive list of pacifist organizations. War Resisters' International exists to promote nonviolent action against the causes of war, and to support and connect people around the world who refuse to take part in war or the preparation of war.
Wanting to honour the death of her son (a soldier who was killed when he was sent to fight in Iraq) by questioning those responsible – in this case the President of the USA, Cindy Sheehan set up Camp Casey outside George W Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas. Symbolically, that was the town where the war in Iraq had begun. August 2005.
Supporting the Iraqi people’s struggle to create the sovereign space to create a national government of their choice continues to be one of the two overriding priorities of the global anti-war movement. The other is ending the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the trampling of the Palestinian people’s rights. At a moment marked by the conjunction of a resurgent Right in the US and a continuing crisis of empire globally, what will it take to advance this goal? November 2004.
Momentum is building around the world for the Global Day of Action against War and Occupation on Saturday, March 20, the one-year anniversary of the U.S. bombing and invasion of Iraq. Nearly 400 peace marches will occur around the world, calling for an end to the occupation of Iraq and Bush's militaristic foreign policies, and highlight the linkages between the occupations of Iraq and Palestine.
Shoes are a weapon of the masses. The fact is that most do not have the means to defend against their foreign invaders equipped with superior American-made weaponry. Shoes, like stones and most other projectiles used by people under occupation are not about defeating or causing physical damage to the enemy. It is a symbolic act, and one filled with anger, like all of us at one point have thrown something during a fit. It is a clear and simple message from the people to the occupiers that they are not welcome. And it is a message that the occupiers and its media so arrogantly refuse to admit. December 2008.
The US spends billions of dollars not only to build but also to upgrade its bases in Iraq, including adding fast food franchises and cinemas to the premises. According to the article, these US military bases will outlast the Bush administration and they will function as a key garrison in the Middle East for generations to come. Still, the media has left the story of these permanent bases widely untold and a staggering percentage of US citizens remain oblivious to what their tax dollars pay for in an occupied Iraq. June 2008.
Five years of illegal and murderous Occupation, the Iraqi people continue to endure an unimaginable suffering under the highest form of tyrannical dictatorships. Credible surveys estimated at least 1.3 million innocent Iraqis (the majority of them women and children) have been brutally murdered in cold blood, making the Iraq's Genocide the biggest single mass murder of modern time. Almost every Iraqi family has lost at least one close relative. The mayhem is continuing in an endless genocide waged by the world's largest and most offensive military machine, almost entirely against defenceless population. March 2008.
On Sunday 16 September 2007, at least 28 innocent Iraqi civilians, including women and children, were murdered by Blackwater mercenary army. The cold-blooded massacre was an unprovoked violence designed to terrorise and strike fear among the Iraqi population living under murderous Occupation. October 2007.
"The people's report" is a response by the Institute for Policy Studies to General Petraeus's claims of significant progress in Iraq. It assesses what's wrong with the Petraeus report as well as looks at the costs of war to Iraq and to the U.S. September 2007 (pdf version).
Who is the US fighting in Iraq? Four years and counting into the insurgency, there is no clear answer. The missing piece of the puzzle, political scientists Christopher Parker and Pete W. Moore argue, is the extensive gray economy that fattened regime insiders and also helped to feed ordinary Iraqis from Saddam Hussein's dismantling of the state sector in the 1980s through the calamity of UN sanctions from 1990-2003. All these informal ways of getting rich -- or just earning a living -- did not simply disappear when US viceroy L. Paul Bremer declared Iraq "open for business." Complex and deeply rooted war economies are a consistent feature of civil wars -- a fact that bodes ill for the prospects of peace in Iraq. June 2007.
The occupation of Iraq, still illegal and immoral by any sense of human understanding, has now run into its fourth bloody and horrific year, becoming a quagmire for America and a vast killing field for Iraqis. Indeed, for Iraqis, America’s invasion and subsequent occupation has been and will continue to be one massive war crime, an onslaught of criminality against humanity not seen since World War Two. May 2007.
The anticipated veto of the Iraq war funding bill demonstrates the extent of White House extremism. Bush is not rejecting a "bring all the troops home and end the war" bill but rather rejecting a compromise bill that would provide $100 billion to continue the war, would set only a "goal" of removing some troops by March 2008, would allow 60-80,000 troops to remain indefinitely, would not restrict a U.S. attack on Iran, would allow the 100,000+ U.S.-paid mercenaries in Iraq to continue with only insignificant restrictions, would require Iraq to accept a new oil bill, and would allow Bush to ignore suggested requirements for adequate training, equipping and rest of U.S. troops. May 2007.
This report considers the conflict in detail, with special emphasis on the US Coalition’s responsibilities under international law. It also considers political and economic issues in Iraq and argues for urgent change, including a speedy withdrawal of Coalition forces. January 2007.
Now that Halliburton is gone, what do we tell the Iraqis, who had been promised that Halliburton would fix their oil fields so that they could earn a living? Army estimates suggest that Halliburton did such a poor job that the resulting mess will cost Iraq $8 billion a year in lost production. To the credit of the military, Halliburton 's role in the Restore Iraqi Oil project in the northern part of Iraq , was canceled also, but only after the Iraqi people paid billions for the botched job. July 2006.
On May 1, 2003, President Bush landed aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln and declared an “end to major combat operations in Iraq” and “one victory” in the war on terrorism. One year ago Iraq was a detour from the war on terrorism. Today, thanks to a U.S. occupation that has not gone well and is increasingly viewed in parallel with Israel’s occupation of Palestine, Iraq has become a major battleground in the war on terrorism. Far from a “victory”, Iraq represents a major setback (pdf version).
The Bush administration has declared that on June 30, 2004 the United States will “transfer sovereignty” to Iraq. Americans are being told that this is a great victory for democracy. And yet, after 15 months of war and occupation in Iraq, and even with public support for the war plummeting, there is still little understanding in the United States about the real costs of the war (pdf version).
A Failed 'Transition' is the most comprehensive accounting of the mounting costs of the Iraq war on the United States, Iraq, and the world. Among its major findings are stark figures about the escalation of costs in these most recent three months of "transition" to Iraqi rule, a period that the Bush administration claimed would be characterized by falling human and economic costs. October 2004.
After three years of war in Iraq, a majority of both Iraqi and US citizens disapprove of the occupation and favor a timetable for withdrawal. Nonetheless, the anti-war movement has lost some of its luster and faces a "massive propaganda campaign" in support of the war. In this article, Anthony Arnove of ZNet confronts the idea that the US must "stay the course," arguing that the anti-war movement must remain strong in demanding an immediate withdrawal. The US had no right to invade Iraq to begin with, Arnove argues, and has since failed to "bring" democracy or prevent civil war in Iraq. March 2006.
The sectarian violence which has swept across Iraq following last month's terrorist bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samara is yet another example of the tragic consequences of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. Until the 2003 U.S. invasion and occupation, Iraq had maintained a longstanding history of secularism and a strong national identity among its Arab population despite its sectarian differences. March 2006.
Accounting of the mounting costs and consequences of the Iraq War on the United States, Iraq, and the world. Among its major findings are stark figures that quantify the continuing of costs since the Iraqi elections, a period that the Bush administration claimed would be characterized by a reduction in the human and economic costs. August 31, 2005.
Custer Battles, a private security company, is a case study in what went wrong in the early days of the U.S. effort to rebuild Iraq, not least the haphazard and often ineffective U.S. oversight of the projects. Today, Custer Battles faces a criminal investigation, lawsuits by former employees and a federal order suspending them from new government business because of allegations of fraud. March 2005.
Human Rights Watch repeatedly gave U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq detailed information about massive stockpiles of unsecured explosives and munitions located throughout the country, but coalition forces took little or no action to secure the stockpiles. In May 2003, Human Rights Watch provided U.S. and British forces with specific data, including precise GPS coordinates, on unsecured weapons stockpiles around Baghdad and in Basra. October 2004.
The new US-UK draft resolution endorses Iraq's interim government as "sovereign" and credentials the US-dominated occupation forces as a UN-mandated "multinational force." It is designed to provide international legitimacy for the continuation of the US occupation and control of Iraq, while stating that "the occupation will end" by June 30, 2004.
The appointment of Iyad Allawi as Iraq's interim Prime Minister was being seen as an American-backed coup which wrong-footed Lakhdar Brahimi, the United Nations envoy supposed to be putting together the interim government which will wield "sovereignty" after 30 June. The more that is learned, however, about the sudden emergence of Mr Allawi, a man close to the CIA and MI6, the more it appears the appointment of the new government has been hijacked by the ambitious politicians of the Iraqi Governing Council - the very body it was meant to replace. This article was originally published in The Independent.
Recent global events have been dominated by the dramatic events in Iraq. The Iraqi resistance has been taken to a new level. The occupying forces face a range of problems, with more casualties, the impending withdrawal of troops by coalition countries and resignations in the governing council. As the situation deteriorates for the occupiers, many questions have emerged. By Martin Khor, April 2004.
"Why are we surprised at their racism, their brutality, their sheer callousness towards Arabs?", writes Robert Fisk. "Those American soldiers in Saddam's old prison at Abu Ghraib, those young British squaddies in Basra came -as soldiers often come- from towns and cities where race hatred has a home: Tennessee and Lancashire."
When in 1970 'Life' magazine published photos taken by Senator Tom Harkin, then a lowly congressional aide, of the infamous ''tiger cages'' in which suspected Viet Cong men, women and even children were kept secretly -- and crippled -- by the U.S.-run South Vietnamese prison system, it was another nail in the coffin of a conflict on which most of the U.S. public had already soured.
The overwhelming majority of Iraqis in Iraq and outside Iraq wants U.S. troops and mercenaries to leave their country. However, the U.S. refused to abide by international law and respects the Iraqi people rights to self-determination. The stated justification for the ongoing Occupation is that a withdrawal of U.S. troops and mercenaries would result in increased violence. Evidence shows that the Occupation is the source of violence and terror against the Iraqi people. June 2008.
A third assessment of post-invasion violent deaths in Iraq was published on 9 January 2008 by the New England Journal of Medicine, a prestigious platform for medical research and scientific debates edited in Boston, Massachusetts. The lead article in the journal - "Violence-Related Mortality in Iraq from 2002 to 2006" - reports the results of an inquiry by the Iraq Family Health Survey Study Group (IFHS), involving collaboration between national and regional ministers in Iraq and the World Health Organisation (WHO). It finds that 151,000 (between 104,000 and 220,000) people died from violence in Iraq between March 2003 and June 2006. When such a politically sensitive figure is published, it is critical to turn statistics into words and explain what the new evidence tells, what it does not, and how far it confirms or invalidates the previous ones. January 2008.
In February 2007, UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres declared the exodus of Iraqis the biggest population shift in the Middle East since the displacement of Palestinians following the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. If the trend continues, the International Organization for Migration said in the same month, the unrelenting violence in Iraq could force an additional one million Iraqis to flee before the year is out. Most of the Iraqi refugees have settled in Jordan and Syria, but there are sizable communities in other neighboring states. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and local NGOs, the number of Iraqis in Jordan and Syria is over two million, and it is estimated that about 40,000 live in Lebanon, 100,000 in Egypt, 54,000 in Iran and 10,000 in Turkey. September 2007.
The U.S. occupation of Iraq is generating one of the largest refugees crises in decades. Reports from Refugees International, Human Rights Watch and the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) document in terrifying detail the desperate plight of Iraqis forced to flee their homes. Close to 2 million Iraqis have already fled the country, and the rate of the exodus, currently at as many as 100,000 a month, shows every sign of increasing. February 2007.
violence has reached alarming levels in Iraq, with terrorist attacks, roadside bombs and drive-by shootings eroding civilians' rights to life and personal integrity. Furthermore, growing unemployment, poverty and a lack of access to basic services have undermined socio-economic rights in Iraq. UNAMI urges the Iraqi government, the multinational forces and the international community to increase their efforts in reasserting the authority of the Iraqi administration and to promote the rule of law. November 2006 (pdf version).
As many as 654,965 more Iraqis may have died since hostilities began in Iraq in March 2003 than would have been expected under pre-war conditions, according to a survey conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Al Mustansiriya University in Baghdad. The deaths from all causes—violent and non-violent—are over and above the estimated 143,000 deaths per year that occurred from all causes prior to the March 2003 invasion. October 2006 (pdf version).
This UNAMI report describes the lack of centralized and authorized control over the use of force in Iraq, which allows militias and death squads to operate unrestricted. UNAMI states that the growing perception of impunity for current and past crimes further erodes the rule of law, hindering the Iraqi government's efforts to maintain order. In addition, reports of torture in official detention centers remain widespread. The report also expresses concern about the rising number of "honor crimes" against women, attacks on lawyers and judges, and the suppression of information through the killing of journalists. September 2006 (pdf version).
US-led occupation forces have committed numerous atrocities in Iraq since the invasion of 2003. Haditha, Hamandiya, Sadr City, Samarra and Ishaqi have become synonymous with murder, rape and the multiple killing of civilians. August 2006.
Like women everywhere, Iraqi women have always been vulnerable to rape. But since the American invasion of their country, the reported incidence of sexual terrorism has accelerated markedly. -- and this despite the fact that few Iraqi women are willing to report rapes either to Iraqi officials or to occupation forces, fearing to bring dishonor upon their families. In rural areas, female rape victims may also be vulnerable to "honor killings" in which male relatives murder them in order to restore the family's honor. "For women in Iraq," Amnesty International concluded in a 2005 report, "the stigma frequently attached to the victims instead of the perpetrators of sexual crimes makes reporting such abuses especially daunting." August 2006.
As women around the U.S. and other countries celebrate Mother's Day on the 14th of May, Iraqi women have little to celebrate. Iraqi women, whose daily lives have been reduced to the sheer struggle for survival, face missiles and random shootings by the U.S. and British forces, terrorist suicide bombs, and criminal mafia-type gangs who regularly kidnap Iraqi men, women and children. May 2006 (pdf version).
This briefing paper presents findings of the Detainee Abuse and Accountability Project, a joint project of New York University’s Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, Human Rights Watch and Human Rights First. The project is the first comprehensive accounting of credible allegations of torture and abuse in U.S. custody in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo. April 2006.
The piece that follows is an excerpt from Chomsky's new book, Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy, which is officially published on this very day. It is Chomsky at his best, a superb tour (de force) of a world in which the Bush administration has regularly asserted its right to launch "preventive" military interventions against "failed" and "rogue" states, while increasingly taking on the characteristics of those failed and rogue states itself. April 2006.
The deaths of detainees in U.S. custody have been shrouded in secrecy for years. To shine a light on the U.S. government’s handling of the nearly 100 detainee deaths since 2002, Human Rights First has been independently researching these cases, finding deeply flawed investigations, command failure, and an alarming lack of accountability. February 2006 (pdf version).
Complete text of Article 15-6 Investigation of the 800th Military Police Brigade by Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba. The report was prepared by Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba on alleged abuse of prisoners by members of the 800th Military Police Brigade at the Abu Ghraib Prison in Baghdad.
More than a year after the occupation of Iraq, civilians are still being killed unlawfully every day by Coalition Forces, armed groups and individuals. In recent weeks hundreds of civilians have been killed as clashes between Coalition Forces and armed groups and individuals opposed to the occupation have intensified. In several cases documented by Amnesty International, UK soldiers opened fire and killed Iraqi civilians in circumstances where there was apparently no imminent threat of death or serious injury to themselves or others (pdf version).
On April 30, 2004, George W. Bush said, “A year ago I [gave a] speech…saying we had achieved an important objective, accomplished a mission, which was the removal of Saddam Hussein. As a result, there are no longer torture chambers or mass graves or rape rooms in Iraq.” Even as Bush spoke those words, he and millions of newspaper readers and television viewers across the world were aware that torture chambers, rape and sexual abuse of detainees in Iraq are not a thing of the past.
Since late April 2004, when the first photographs appeared of U.S. military personnel humiliating, torturing, and otherwise mistreating detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, the United States government has repeatedly sought to portray the abuse as an isolated incident, the work of a few “bad apples” acting without orders. In fact, the only exceptional aspect of the abuse at Abu Ghraib may have been that it was photographed.
The struggle against torture and ill-treatment by agents of the state requires absolute commitment and constant vigilance. It requires stringent adherence to safeguards. It demands a policy of zero tolerance. The US government has manifestly failed in this regard. At best, it set the conditions for torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment by lowering safeguards and failing to respond adequately to allegations of abuse raised by Amnesty International and others from early in the "war on terror". At worst, it has authorized interrogation techniques which flouted the country’s international obligation to reject torture and ill-treatment under any circumstances and at all times. October 2004.
The United States should name a special prosecutor to investigate the culpability of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and ex-CIA Director George Tenet in cases of detainee torture and abuse, Human Rights Watch said in releasing a new report. "Getting Away with Torture? Command Responsibility for the U.S. Abuse of Detainees", is issued on the eve of the first anniversary of the publication of the Abu Ghraib photos (April 28). Human Rights Watch said that there was now overwhelming evidence that U.S. mistreatment and torture of Muslim prisoners took place not merely at Abu Ghraib but at facilities throughout Afghanistan and Iraq as well as at Guantánamo and at “secret locations” around the world, in violation of the Geneva Conventions and the laws against torture. April 2005.
It is historically rare for an occupier to show as little concern for the welfare of the local population as the United States has shown in Iraq, where the basic living conditions have now been so bad for so long that the impact can almost appear to be intentional. To take just one example, basic supplies of electricity and essential goods are still erratic in most of the country, two years after the invasion. Across the major cities, and in most parts of Baghdad, sewerage and sanitation systems are in a mess, and the vast majority of people have access to only contaminated drinking water. By contrast, after the 1991 Gulf war left much of Baghdad in a shambles, Saddam Hussein’s government had restored electricity and kerosene supplies in two months, despite sanctions. May 2005.
Nearly three years after United States (US) and allied forces invaded Iraq and toppled the government of Saddam Hussain, the human rights situation in the country remains dire. The deployment of US-led forces in Iraq and the armed response that engendered has resulted in thousands of deaths of civilians and widespread abuses amid the ongoing conflict. March 2006.
Recent media reports on the mounting evidence of wholesale corruption in US reconstruction efforts in Iraq are symptomatic of the criminal nature of Washington's war and occupation from their inception nearly six years ago. These crimes are continuing under the Obama administration, with no end in sight. Citing unnamed senior government officials and court documents, the New York Times reported that federal investigators have turned their sights on two senior US military officers who were in charge of contracting out reconstruction projects in Iraq in the aftermath of the March 2003 invasion. February 2009.
Between revenue from oil exports and foreign aid, over $100 billion has been pledged to Iraq's "relief and reconstruction" in the last four years. Yet there is precious little to show for it. About half of this amount is Iraq's own money. The United States has allocated a total of $38.28 billion in aid as of the end of 2006, but only $12 billion has been spent on civilian reconstruction with most it going to the Iraqi army and police. Other donors have pledged just over $15 billion, but most of this has not been delivered because of the chaos and violence in the country. March 2007.
Almost four years after the toppling of Saddam Hussein, Iraq's healthcare system is still a shambles. While most hospitals lack basic supplies, dozens of incomplete clinics and warehoused high-technology equipment remain as a testament to the failed U.S. experiment to reconstruct of Iraq. January 2007.
The Iraq Study Group Report offers a few important recommendations that will help address problems with the U.S. reconstruction debacle in Iraq. However, the Report thoroughly misses the mark on identifying the sources of failure—U.S. corporations and the Bush administration, and therefore the best way to solve the situation, which is to end the U.S. corporate invasion of Iraq. December 2006.
This publication addresses some of the key issues and challenges that accompany post war and post disaster reconstruction programmes. The collection of articles in this publication range from analysing the economic and political restructuring of occupied Iraq, the links between war and disaster profiteering in Hurricane Katrina, the Asian Tsunami, Iraq, Afghanistan and Haiti, and investment agreements in Central Asia, and show some of the common elements among post war and disaster reconstruction programmes. January 2006 (pdf version.)
The history of American war profiteering is rife with egregious examples of incompetence, fraud, tax evasion, embezzlement, bribery and misconduct. As war historian Stuart Brandes has suggested, each new war is infected with new forms of war profiteering. Iraq is no exception. From criminal mismanagement of Iraq's oil revenues to armed private security contractors operating with virtual impunity, this war has created opportunities for an appalling amount of corruption. What follows is a list of some of the worst Iraq war profiteers who have bilked American taxpayers and undermined the military's mission. September 2006.
This report analyses the role of UK corporations in post-Saddam Iraq. To date, we have uncovered evidence for about £1.1bn worth of contracts, from the US and UK reconstruction budget, and from the Iraqi ministries.
This article emphasizes the disastrous social conditions that exist for the Iraqi people after decades of war and nearly three years of US occupation are being dramatically worsened as a result of International Monetary Fund (IMF) dictated economic restructuring. February, 2006
As different groups vie for power in the new Iraq government, many women's groups are concerned that if more conservative groups have their way, women's rights could be severely curtailed. The US backed hardline Shia government is lobbying for a strictly Islamic Constitution, and there are proposals to end the parliamentary quota system and to impose a strict form of Sharia law that would diminish women's rights and opportunities. August 2005.
Although the United Kingdom - United States coalition, as occupying power, had absolutely no right over Iraq and its resources, the coalition has privatized the bulk of this sovereign country’s economy then handed it over to foreign corporations in the name of reconstruction. June 2005.
Women and girls in Iraq live in fear of violence as the conflict intensifies and insecurity spirals. Tens of thousands of civilians are reported to have been killed or injured in military operations or attacks by armed groups since the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. The lawlessness and increased killings, abductions and rapes that followed the overthrow of the government of Saddam Hussain have restricted women’s freedom of movement and their ability to go to school or to work. Women face discriminatory laws and practices that deny them equal justice or protection from violence in the family and community. A backlash from conservative social and political forces threatens to stifle their attempts to gain new freedoms. The general lack of security has forced many women out of public life, and constitutes a major obstacle to the advancement of women’s rights. February 2005.
Many Iraqi women are advocating for a secular constitution based on gender equality and a 30% quota for women's participation in all political and public institutions. But faced with the loyal supporters of the extremist Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, the United States has been ceding Iraqi women's political participation in an effort to mollify such strident minorities. October 2004.
Iraq desperately needs an economic recovery strategy to escape its vicious circle of hardship, discontent and violence. The economy suffers not only from a crushing legacy of Baathist misrule, war, and sanctions, but also from the ill-prepared, misdirected performance of the Coalition Provisional Authority. The occupation forces came mostly unprepared. What strategy they did have involved little Iraqi input, was shaped by ideology, and was repeatedly made subject to Washington's shifting deadlines, not local needs. The Interim Government, in partnership with the international community, must devise ways to produce immediate material improvement and set the stage for longer-term rebuilding. Until living conditions improve, nascent Iraqi institutions will continue to lose credibility and the insurgency to gain momentum.
Naomi Klein examines how the Occupation Authorities mismanaged Iraq's reconstruction. Klein argues that Iraq's reconstruction "was seen not by Iraqis as a recovery from war," but as an "extension of the occupation." Iraqis lost desperately needed jobs to foreign contractors and suppliers, resulting in the reconstruction itself becoming a target of the resistance. (The Nation)
After the transfer of 'sovereignty' in Iraq, among those staying behind - aside from 160,000 coalition troops - is a battalion of private contractors attempting to construct economic and political structures most conducive to US and transnational corporate interests even after direct occupation ends. Their mission is crucial for the "exit plan": these contractors are trying to make sure that that the US still gets what it went to war for before it recedes from the scene. Working silently in the background, their impact on Iraq's future may be more significant than that of the more controversial reconstruction contractors such as Bechtel or Halliburton.
Halliburton, the largest oil-and-gas services company in the world, is also one of the most controversial companies in the United States. The company has been the number one financial beneficiary of the war against Iraq, raking in some $18 billion in contracts to rebuild the country's oil industry and service the U.S. troops in Iraq. It has also been accused of more fraud, waste, and corruption than any other Iraq contractor. This report details Halliburton's track record (pdf version).
The history of post-Saddam Iraq is one of successive, short-lived attempts by the U.S. to mould a political reality to its liking. With each false start and failed plan, realistic options for a successful and stable political transition have become narrower and less attractive. Getting it right this time is urgent and vital. There may not be many, or any, opportunities left.
The signing of the interim Iraqi "constitution" by the Governing Council represents a significant step in U.S. efforts to legitimize its invasion and occupation of Iraq. By achieving the codification in a U.S.-supervised process of an ostensibly "Iraqi" legal document, the U.S. as occupying power is hoping that its planned June 30th "transfer of power" will be accepted globally as the "restoration of sovereignty to Iraq." In fact, that "transfer of power" will not end the U.S. occupation, will not lead to the withdrawal of U.S. troops, and will not result in any real sovereignty for Iraq. The constitution itself implies recognition of its impotence, as it recognizes that all "laws, regulations, orders, and directives" issued by the U.S. occupation authorities will remain in force.
Despite new offers for broader participation in Iraq's reconstruction bonanza, the United States-convened donors' conference on Iraq ended in stifled disappointment, with only US$13 billion raised - a far cry from the $36 billion target. To dampen expectations further, up to two-thirds of the total pledges will take the form of loans, not grants. And, if the Afghanistan fundraising experience is any indication, many of the pledges could still end up being just more broken multi-million-dollar promises.
At the Madrid Conference in October 2003, enormous sums of money were pledged by the international community for the ‘reconstruction’ of Iraq. Among the imaginary but awesome sums required for the ‘rehabilitation’ of Iraq lies the most inescapable element of Western ideology: namely, a fanatical belief in the profane redemptive power of money, and its mystic ability to wash away all traces of hatred, sin and blood.
Iraq is presently at a critical juncture facing an uncertain future. Self-governance, security, reconstruction and the conduct and role of occupation forces are perhaps the most immediate concerns. However, Iraq is confronted with much broader challenges: how to overcome the legacy of gross and systematic violations of human rights committed by the Ba’ath Party regime and how to build a society based on the rule of law and respect for human dignity. This Discussion Paper was researched and written by Lutz Oette, Project Coordinator of REDRESS’ Audit Project (pdf version).
The individual Iraqis who came out to vote clearly were very brave and eager to reclaim control of their country. They were voting for their hopes, for secure streets so children can go to school, for electricity and clean water, for jobs, and mostly for an end to the U.S. occupation. The elections, however, are unlikely to achieve any of those goals; the violence is likely to continue, perhaps even increase. February 2005.
In recent weeks the United Nations has come under assault from various US Senators as well as members of the US State Department, concerning the issue of Iraq and disarmament. The UN has been accused of being a "debating society" by US president George Bush, and has been ostracized as being irrelevant unless it specifically carries out one function, and one function alone: authorizing an invasion of Iraq. By Firas Al-Atraqchi.
It is hard to see how the UN can be effective with Iraqi political groups engaged in what increasingly seems like a zero-sum game for supremacy - a game in which, for the first time since Mr Hussein's fall, the partition of Iraq looms as a real possibility. August 2004.
Inaugurating the 2003 session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 23, 2003 Secretary-General Kofi Annan sounded the alarm about the UN's future in the face of US unilateralism. The world has "come to a fork in the road...a moment no less decisive than 1945 itself, when the United Nations was founded," Annan declared.
The recent US Congress non-binding amendment calling for partitioning Iraq into three federals divided along ethnic and sectarian lines, created a public and official turmoil in Iraq, refusing any appalling impose on Iraq's domestic affairs, sovereignty and unity. The principle of partitioning Iraq as it states in the call context will not lead to stability and security, nor will it solve the military crisis of the occupying force, on the contrary it will lead to more violence and sectarian violence. Statement concerning the US Congress on Partition Iraq, issued by more than 100 Iraqi NGO's. October 2007.
Since the March 2003 invasion, the US/UK occupation of Iraq has utterly failed to bring peace, prosperity and democracy, as originally advertised. This major report assesses conditions in the country and especially the responsibility of the US-led Coalition for violations of international law. Written and produced by Global Policy Forum and co-published by thirty NGOs. June 2007.
In a joint statement, trade union leaders rejected plans to "hand control" over Iraq's oil production to foreign companies "whose aim is to make big profits at the expense of the Iraqi people, and to rob the national wealth, according to long-term, unfair contracts, that undermine the sovereignty of the state and the dignity of the Iraqi people." The US has repeatedly been calling for a law to encourage foreign investment in Iraq's oil. January 2007.
Resolution 1637 requires the Security Council to review the mandate of the Multinational Force (MNF) in Iraq no later than 15 June 2006. A group of international NGOs urge the Council to assume its responsibility, to thoroughly discuss these matters in light of international law, to consult with the international community, and to substantially reconsider, revise or terminate the mandate it has given to the MNF. May 2006.
The Arab region is passing through a highly challenging phase on various levels, political, economic, and social. In addition to the implications of the Palestinian-Israeli and the Iraqi conflicts, Arab countries are struggling to face the economic challenges resulting from stagnation in their economies, inadequateness of national policies, and a mounting need to follow the high pace of economic transformation in the global system, especially with the increasing dynamics of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and other regional and bilateral agreements in Region. June 25, 2004 (pdf version).
After refusing to provide legitimacy to a US-led war on Iraq last week, the 15-member UN Security Council may be heading for a new stand-off, this time over humanitarian assistance to displaced Iraqis and the creation of a post-war US military authority in Baghdad.
During the first half of 2008, trends of decreased violence and a declining rate of displacement continued throughout the country. Yet the deteriorating conditions facing the 2.8 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), as well as the limited returnee population, remain one of the most serious humanitarian crises in the world. In addition, over two million Iraqis are refugees, mostly in neighboring Syria and Jordan, resulting in a total of 5 million internally and externally displaced. August 2008 (pdf).
This new report by Refugees International describes a vacuum of humanitarian assistance created by the failure of the Iraqi government and the international community to administer aid to civilians. During a mission inside Iraq, researchers for Refugees International found that Iraqi militias are creating a Hezbollah-like dynamic by becoming major humanitarian providers of food, clothing, oil and other basic resources. As a result, militias are recruiting civilians, including displaced Iraqis, at a rapid pace. April 2008 (pdf version).
Iraqis are now the third largest displaced population in the world, after Palestinians and Sudanese. Their number will likely continue to grow as violence in Iraq shows no signs of diminishing. Estimates identify 2.4 million refugees, with Syria and Jordan, two countries with sizeable Palestinian populations as well, hosting the vast majority. Lebanon, Egypt, Iran, and Turkey have also received significant flows of Iraqi refugees. In host countries, school systems, medical services, water supplies, sanitation infrastructure, and housing stock are now stretched to the limit. Despite the increased international awareness of the Iraqi displacement crisis, adequate resources to address the true scope of refugees' needs have yet to materialize. August 2007.
This report by The Feinstein International Center assesses the humanitarian efforts in Iraq. According to the report, the humanitarian response has been slow and insufficient, due in part to concerns about the security of humanitarian workers. The study found Iraqis were responsive to humanitarian assistance, but many perceived the UN and NGOs as part of Coalition forces and were suspicious of aid workers as “spies.” The report recommends aid agencies distance themselves from MNF forces and ensure neutrality in order to gain the support of Iraqis. This is particularly important for the UN, if it is to overcome its “failure…to live up to its mandated humanitarian assistance and protection responsibilities in Iraq.” June 2007 (pdf version).
Armed violence is the greatest threat facing Iraqis, but the population is also experiencing another kind of crisis of an alarming scale and severity. Eight million people are in urgent need of emergency aid; that figure includes over two million who are displaced within the country, and more than two million refugees. Many more are living in poverty, without basic services, and increasingly threatened by disease and malnutrition. Despite the constraints imposed by violence, the government of Iraq, the United Nations, and international donors can do more to deliver humanitarian assistance to reduce unnecessary suffering. If people’s basic needs are left unattended, this will only serve to further destabilize the country. July 2007.
According to the October 2003 joint assessment of the UN and the World Bank, at least 60 percent of Iraqi civilians, or 15.8 million people, "completely depend" on the monthly basket of such items as flour, tea, cooking oil and soap distributed under the rationing system.