Truth about Sunni Genocide in Iraq
Evil thrives in darkness! When a country has been a war-zone for 14 years, when there is no possibility of a civil governance, when infrastructure barely exists anymore, and when the only media that can inform the outside world is the media that belongs to the occupiers – then in this dark, bloody place, evil has the chance to thrive consummately.
Before his demise, Saddam Hussein had fought a decade long war (1980-90) with the Iranians on the apprehension that the Ayatollah Revolution was ready to enter Iraq’s territory. At that time such an apprehension was considered obsessive, and Saddam was seen as the oppressor in this war, as he had started the war by attacking Iran first, in a bid to occupy Iran’s oil-rich Khuzestan province. Yet the prelude to this attack was the fact that the Ayatollah had been calling for Saddam’s overthrow and instigating an Islamic Revolution in Iraq not well known to the outer world. The war ended in stalemate, but the question remained – was Saddam’s fears over the Khamenei true or baseless?
And today the question has transformed from Iran’s possible desire of conjoining the Shias of Iraq with those of Iran, creating a force that would coerce political change in Iraq – to an intention of converting Iraq into the second Shia country of the world by massive demographic changes amounting to genocide.
At the end of the Iran-Iraq war, the US, who had been Iraq’s partners of war, turned bitterly against Saddam, accusing him of possessing WMDs, which they themselves had provided him a decade earlier to use in the war – they called him a murderer of his own people. In the next decade following the war, US crippled the country through excruciating sanctions and air raids from their bases in the Gulf.
After Saddam Hussein’s capture in 2003 -in May, Paul Bremer was made head of the Coalition. In the first week of his office, he banned the Ba’athist Party, dissolved the Army, the Navy, the Ministry of Defense, and the Iraqi Intelligence Service. All this accounted for half a million educated/unemployed Arab Sunnis.
The parliament in Baghdad was flooded with Shia representatives and Nouri al Maliki was flown in from Damascus to head the Supreme National De-Baathification Commission of the Iraqi Interim Government. Maliki was also the head of the same Khomeini-backed Shia ‘Islamic Dawa Party’ that Saddam had outlawed in the wake of Shia uprisings against the state and because of whose activities Saddam feared the Revolution could soon penetrate into his land. Under the joint strategy of the US Forces and the Commission, mass imprisonments of Sunnis in all provinces was initiated for the purpose of terrorizing the Sunni population.
At the same time al-Qaida element were introduced in predominantly Sunni areas of Iraq. Al-Qaida had no previous presence in Iraq, the US Senate Report in 2006 said there was no evidence of formal links between Iraqi ex-leader Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda leaders prior to the 2003 war. The Report said ‘Saddam Hussein was distrustful of al-Qaeda and viewed Islamic extremists as a threat to his regime, refusing all requests from al-Qaeda to provide material or operational support’. But Bush and Rumsfeld were constantly trying to associate Al-Qaida with Saddam; in 2002, Bush and Rumsfeld were making speeches saying ‘You can’t distinguish between Al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror’ (Bush) and ‘link between Iraq and Al Qaeda is accurate and not debatable’ (Rumsfeld). By 2003 Al-Qaida had become an organized force with presence in several Muslim countries, all it needed was some access, funds and arms to launch inside Iraq.
After Saddam, the US ensured mass incapacitation of the Sunni populations of Iraq in a strategic way. Nighttime raids and dragnet sweeps terrorized the population against the Occupying Forces; tactics like home invasions and sweeps through neighborhoods, breaking down doors, detention of family members and lethal assaults on neighborhoods with artillery and helicopter gunships were used to help mass imprisonment. Tens of thousands of Sunnis were filled in the US-operated detention centers like Camp Bucca and Abu Ghraib prisons as suspected insurgents and terrorists.These prisoners were then subjected to cruel punishments in absence of any proofs or trials. Torture and abuse was extensively used in these camps, some of which went photographically viral on internet. When the photographs came out, the US tried to put the blame on ‘negligence on part of some officers’ – but that was not the truth of the matter.
The truth is that the US government and the Pentagon had ensured for this to happen. In 2002, Bush had signed a statement, saying “none of the provisions of Geneva apply to our conflict with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan or elsewhere throughout the world”. This was a prelude set to make way for torture in Iraq and Afghansitan. Guantanamo Bay in Cuba was used as the prime laboratory for testing the limits of torture and human reactiveness to them. In Nov. 2002, Jim Haynes of the DoD, with consent of Paul Wolfowitz, Doug Feithand General Meyers, sent Rumsfeld an interesting memo recommending that he approve all but three of the 18 techniques in the Guantanamo request – which Rumsfeld approved increasing them to 24.
According to the Taguba Report, Rumsfeld had designated himself to oversee development of these techniques and their implementation at Guantanamo, where General Miller reported to him. Miller was in charge of developing “Gitmoizing” for the use of enhanced interrogation/torture in Iraq. In fact the Report proves that high ranking official in the US administration are linked in this ‘organized crime’ against other nations of the world.
It should be brought to mention here that, in the knowing of the American public, these torture techniques had been developed against habitual offender or psychic criminals who are an ‘unrelenting enemy, who can be neither treated nor deterred’. And if you are applying the same excessive techniques upon unprosecuted suspects from an already angry and marginalized people, en masse, what will be the person coming out of this process and what will be that mass converted into…
More so, these prisons were not only producers of traumatized, misfit and vengeful individuals that would definitely become part of any insurgency against the occupiers now, but what is perplexing is the fact that both Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, leader of ISIS, and Ayman Al-Zawahiri, leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), were incarcerated at Camp Bucca – meaning that techniques were being used that could convert individuals into mass-murderers or terrorist-leaders
So! the US deliberately tried to turn the Sunni population of Iraq into a terrorized lot finding refuge only in rebellion. But was that all? Was that the end of Bush’s revenge on Saddam, his proclaimed ‘torturer, murderer’ and ‘disgusting tyrant’ or was Bush’s revenge to overarch the more than 14 million Sunni population of Iraq?
In the first sweep of the war, Baghdad was ethnically cleansed. Apart from Abu Ghraib, the Iraq Ministry of Defense operated 17 detention facilities in Baghdad. The Sunnis neighborhoods of Baghdad were routinely bombed, they lost their lives and properties and many flee the city. This created a demographic change that aided change in political power in the high offices in Baghdad.
In 2004, 15,000 American forces, backed by newly trained Iraqi forces, including Shia militias (Badr and Hezbollah Brigades that fought alongside Iran against Saddam’s forces during the Iran-Iraq war),moved on Fallujah to liberate it of around 4000 rebels. The American commanders said that it is likely to be a brutal, block-by-block battle to retake control and to capture, kill or disperse an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 insurgent fighters. Indeed it was a brutal mission – Iraqi Forces set new examples of torturing civilians, along with terror suspects. But the US airstrikes were a show of unmatched barbarism! Along with civilian neighborhoods, hospitals, media centers & mosques were favorite targets of the US Air Force. US Apache helicopters bombed buildings in the Dawasa neighborhood, killing 130 civilians. In another episode, 230 civilians have been killed overnight in US strikes in a single neighborhood. Moreover US Forces used chemical weapons like white phosphorus and napalm on civilians – massacring 50,000 to100,000 people in Fallujah.
In spite of all such aggressions in the name of fighting insurgents, it seemed that the insurgent were more successful in occupying land in Iraq than the US biggest military machine of the world. Suicide bombing had become a daily affair in Iraqi lives. Only in 2005, 478 bombings were recorded. And by the time the US decided to leave in 2011, ISIL was entrenched in major cities of Fallujah, Al Qaim, Ramadi, Tikrit and Mosul. And in 2014, the insurgency escalated into a civil war which continues to this day.
The ISIL’s posing as an enemy entrenched amidst civilian population, gave the Iraqi Forces a fake legitimacy for attacking Sunni neighborhoods and townships. But ISIL was not the only rebel group, there were several Sunni groups, like the GMCIR (Ba’athist), the Islamic Army of Iraq, the Awakening Councils and others that may or may not have alliance with ISIL. Most groups had stood up only to defend and rid their country from the inhumane occupiers that had torn to threads the fabrics of their society and economy.
On the other hand many Shiite militias had also emerged. But unlike the Sunni militias that were taken as the enemy or a part of it, the Shiite militias going through a process of state legitimization, becoming a part of Iraq’s security forces. These militias, united in the Popular Mobilization Forces, are estimated to be 100,000 to 120,000 militiamen. The paradox however is that ‘are PMF militias working with US Forces to eradicate ISIL or are they working with Iran to eradicate both the Sunnis and the US from Iraq?’
Since 9/11, Iran had taken quite some lessons from the War on Terror, perhaps rightly comprehending that it is a war ‘of’ terror rather than ‘on’ terror, and that what the US and its Allies are doing is all about organizing terrorist against one’s enemies in the home-grounds of the enemy. So Iran has since created the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps that has been recruiting Shia youth from Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Pakistan, to fight against US supported rebels in Iraq and Syria. The Quds Force, commanded by Gen. Solemani, is IRGC’s secret branch responsible for external operations and training/arming terrorist groups and sectarian militias across the Middle East.
Gen. Solemani and other al Quds officials have reportedly been all around Iraq and Syria directing Shia militias, under both IRGC and PMF, to the point that the US now sees the Iranian forces and the militia backed by them as a threat to their own presence and control over Iraq. For this reason the US has designated both Soleimani and Abu Mahdi Muhandis (commander of PMF) as terrorists. But the question is, if the US was so wary of Iran, why did it arrange for Baghdad to be run by the Shias in the first place? At least one part of the answer to this question would be that the US wanted a genocide in Iraq, a genocide of the Sunnis, in which the Shias and Iran would be a good help.
The truth is that the 5,500 US military personnel presently in Iraq are stranded is small pockets, not having much to do with the overall situation in Iraq. While the Iranians get to have all they want in the military and foreign affairs of Iraq.
Today Iraq is becoming a quagmire, for both the US and Iran. For the US, because they miscalculated in making under-the-table deals with their bitter rival, the Iranians, in entrusting them unbound influence in Baghdad. And the Iranians have left no leaf unturned to see that the US gains nothing from their billions of dollars wars in both Iraq and Syria. The Iranians however face the quandary at the hands of some moderate Shias of Iraq, who see the sectarian strife and relentless killings of the Sunnis as an excessive-undesirable. Muqtada al Sadr is one such Shia cleric with large following in Iraq, who is coming close to Saudi Arabia and UAE in a bid to bring back the possibility of a non-violent, democratic co-existent Iraq back from the pre-US Invasion times.
But if such moderate elements like Sadr do not succeed, the Sunnis of Iraq may face a continuing genocide and may have no choice but to take up arms for every day survival. All thanks to the US for bringing the gifts of democracy and freedom to the people of Iraq.
Author is a geopolitical analyst, tweets at @aneelashahzad.
Disclaimer: Views expressed are exclusively personal and do not necessarily reflect the position or editorial policy of Oracle Opinions.