Monday, March 06, 2006


While waiting for the civil war ...

The Sunday Times account by Hala Jaber of the arrest-abduction and murder of two Sunni government employees is too horrible in its details for a Monday morning. The headline gives the flavor: ‘Driller killers’ spread a new horror in Iraq. Torture by power tool: an idea with deep roots in Texas. But there are features to this new Reign of Terror from which we shouldn't avert our eyes.

There was no sign of danger as Mohammed Sammarai arrived at his brother Mustafa’s home for lunch last week, no hint that this would be their last meal together.

It was not until after they had been joined by their old friend Ali Ahmad that they heard a commotion outside and realised something was wrong....

First two police vehicles pulled up outside their house in the Hay al-Jihad district of Baghdad’s sprawling southern suburbs. Then came a convoy of up to 10 black BMWs and Opels — the favoured cars of the Shi’ite militias. Suddenly masked men brandishing Kalashnikov automatic rifles were storming inside.

Ahmad was arrested. Mustafa protested. Mohammed fled upstairs....

“Who are you?” the family demanded to know.

“We are from the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq,” one of the men is said to have shouted.

To their horror, the captives found themselves in Sadr City, a Shi’ite stronghold in Baghdad. “A crowd gathered to watch what was going on,” Ahmad said.

“The armed men told them we were terrorists and the crowd began to curse us.”

The Sunni brothers and their friend were bundled back into the car boots and driven off again. The next person they saw was an imam, but he was not there to save them.

I saw an imam peer into the boot with a policeman,” Ahmad said. According to his account, the imam condemned Mustafa and Mohammed with the chilling words: “Kill any identified suspect immediately.”

Ahmad was freed on the imam’s orders, apparently because he had merely been a guest of the brothers and had not been suitably identified.

“I walked home barefoot in a terrible state,” he said. “I could not call any official to report this. How could I when they were involved?” Two days later he found his friends’ bodies in the city’s Teb al-Adli mortuary.

Their widows have now moved in with relatives and Mustafa’s empty home has already been vandalised.

John Pace, the outgoing head of the UN human rights office in Baghdad, said the vast majority of the bodies arriving at the mortuary showed signs of summary execution and many had their hands tied behind their backs. “Some showed evidence of torture, with arms and leg joints broken by electric drills,” said Pace, a Maltese official.

He claimed that militias were integrated with the police and were wearing police uniforms. One in particular was singled out: the Badr organisation that used to be the armed wing of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), the political party mentioned by one of the men in the Sammarais’ home.

“The Badr brigade are in the police and are mainly the ones doing the killing,” Pace was quoted as saying. “They’re the most notorious.”

According to Pace, the cases of torture and extrajudicial executions now exceed those under Saddam’s rule.

“Under Saddam, if you agreed to forgo your basic right to freedom of expression and thought, you were physically more or less okay,” he said. “Now you have a primitive, chaotic situation where anybody can do anything they want to anyone.”

The Iraqi government and U.S. and British military insist there is no civil war going on. Assuming they're right, would someone ask how long they expect events such as this to continue before the civil war begins?

Post a Comment

<< Simply Appalling Home

Atom feed

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by
Blogarama - The Blog Directory

Blog Search Engine

Blog Top Sites

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?