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Iraqi Govt to UN: Don’t Extend Mandate for Bush’s Occupation By Joshua Holland & Raed Jarrar

Dandelion Salad

By Joshua Holland and Raed Jarrar
11/09/07 “

The United Nations Security Council, with support from the British and American delegations, is poised to cut the Iraqi parliament out of one of the most significant decisions the young government will make: when foreign troops will depart. It’s an ugly and unconstitutional move, designed solely to avoid asking an Iraqi legislature for a blank check for an endless military occupation that it’s in no mood to give, and it will make a mockery of Iraq’s nascent democracy (which needs all the legitimacy it can get).While the Bush administration frequently invokes sunny visions of spreading democracy and “freedom” around the world, the fact remains that democracy is incompatible with its goals in Iraq. The fact remains that the biggest headache supporters of the occupation of Iraq have to deal with is the fact of the occupation itself. As far back as the middle of 2004, more than nine out of 10 Iraqis said the U.S.-led forces were “occupiers,” and only 2 percent called them “liberators.” Things have only gone downhill since then, and any government that represents the will of the Iraqi people would have no choice but to demand a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops. This fact poses an enormous problem, as the great triumph of the Bush administration and its supporters has been in their ability to convince a much of the Americans population that Iraqi interests and Washington’s interests are in harmony, even when they’re diametrically opposed.

Crucial to this fiction is a U.N. mandate that confers legal cover on the so-called “multinational” forces in Iraq. The mandate is now coming up for renewal, and a majority of Iraqi legislators oppose its renewal unless conditions are placed on it, conditions that may include a demand for a timetable for the departure of American troops.

The process of renewing the mandate is highlighting the political rift that’s divided the country and fueled most of the violence that’s plagued the new state. That’s the rift between nationalists — those Iraqis who, like most of their countrymen, oppose the presence of foreign troops on the ground, the wholesale privatization of Iraq’s natural resources and the division of their country into ethnic and sectarian fiefdoms, and Iraqi separatists who at least tolerate the occupation — if not support it — and favor a loose sectarian/ethnic-based federation of semiautonomous states held together by a minimal central government in Baghdad.

In the United States, the commercial media has largely ignored this story, focusing almost exclusively on sectarian violence and doing a poor job giving their readers and viewers a sense of what’s driving Iraq’s political crisis. An understanding of the tensions between nationalists and separatists is necessary to appreciate the import of the parliament being cut out of the legislative process and the degree to which doing so hurts the prospect of real political reconciliation among Iraq’s many political factions. (We’ve discussed this dynamic in greater detail in an earlier article.)

The key ingredient to understand is this: The Iraqi executive branch — the cabinet and the presidency — are completely controlled by separatists (including Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds and secular politicians). But the parliament is controlled by nationalists — nationalists from every major ethnic and sectarian group in the country — who enjoy a small but crucially important majority in the only elected body in the Iraqi government.

In 2006, Maliki’s office requested the renewal of the U.N. mandate without consulting the legislature, a process that many lawmakers maintained was a violation of Iraqi law. The problem was that Maliki didn’t have the authority to make the request under the Iraqi constitution. Article 58, Section 4 says that the Council of Representatives (the parliament) has to ratify “international treaties and agreements” negotiated by the Council of Ministers (the cabinet). Specifically, it reads: “A law shall regulate the ratification of international treaties and agreements by a two-thirds majority of the members of the Council of Representatives.”

Prime Minister Maliki had claimed that the constitution didn’t refer to the U.N. mandate. A senior Iraqi lawmaker, speaking on condition of anonymity, said of the assertion: “If we are asked to approve a trade agreement concerning olive oil, should we not have the right to pass on an agreement concerning the stationing of foreign military forces in our national soil?”

In June, we reported that the parliament had passed a binding resolution that would force Maliki to go to the parliament and give Iraqi lawmakers an opportunity to block the extension of the mandate. It was signed by the majority of the 275-seat legislature, then sent to the president. According to the Iraqi constitution, the president has 15 days to veto it by sending it back to the parliament; otherwise it automatically becomes a ratified law. The 15 days passed without a veto, so, according to the terms of the constitution, the Iraqi parliament’s resolution became a law in mid-June 2007.

Something happened, however, between the passage of that law and the latest report by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon. According to Moon’s latest report to the Security Council (PDF), dated Oct. 15, the law that had been passed by the duly elected legislature of Iraq became nothing more than a “nonbinding resolution”:

The Council of Representatives passed a nonbinding resolution on 5 June obligating the cabinet to request parliament’s approval on future extensions of the mandate governing the multinational force in Iraq and to include a timetable for the departure of the force from Iraq.

One might have believed that the disconnect was a simple mistake, if not for the fact that members of the Iraqi parliament, still fuming over being cut out of the process the year before, sent a letter to the U.N.’s special envoy for Iraq back in April clarifying the situation in very clear terms. According to an English translation provide by the Global Policy Forum, it says: “The Iraqi Cabinet has unilaterally requested a renewal of the U.N. mandate keeping the occupation troops (MNF) in Iraq” despite the fact that “such a request issued by the Iraqi cabinet without the Iraqi parliament’s approval is unconstitutional.” It continues: “The Iraqi parliament, as the elected representatives of the Iraqi people, has the exclusive right to approve and ratify international treaties and agreements, including those signed with the United Nations Security Council.”

According to sources within the Iraqi delegation to the United Nations, the letter, signed by 144 MPs –more than half of Iraq’s legislators — was received in good order by the special envoy, Ashraf Qazi, but never distributed to the Security Council members, as is required under the U.N. resolution that governs the mandate. The parliament, and indeed the majority of the Iraqi population, had been cleanly excised from the legislative process.

The important thing to understand is that the run-around goes beyond the issue of the mandate itself. Iraq is not in the midst of an incomprehensible religious war over some obscure theological differences between Sunni and Shiite Muslims but is deeply and profoundly divided over fundamental questions about the future of the country. In cutting the nationalist majority in the parliament out of the process of governing, the Maliki administration, Bush administration and, apparently, the U.N. secretary-general are making political reconciliation much more difficult. History has offered the lesson time and time again: Deny people the right to participate in deciding their own destiny in a peaceful political process, and they’ll try to do so with guns and bombs. The United Nations, like the administration and its supporters, and like Sen. Joe Biden and those who favor his plan for partitioning the country, is taking sides in a political battle that should be exclusively for Iraqis to decide.

If there were some similarities between the current Iraqi-Iraqi conflict and the U.S. civil war it is in having one side that wants to keep the country united, and another side planning to secede. All of the foreign forces that are intervening in Iraq’s affairs — whether led by the United States, Iran or Al-Qaeda – are on the side of a minority of Iraqis who want to secede against the majority’s will.

This U.N. mandate issue is not occurring in a vacuum. When it comes to the nascent Iraqi government, supporters of the occupation have long had their cake and eaten it too. On the one hand, they deny that the U.S.-led military force is an occupying army at all, maintaining that all those foreign troops are there at the “request” of the Iraqi government. That’s an important legal nicety — occupying forces have a host of responsibilities under international law and acknowledging the reality of the occupation would result in more legal responsibilities for the administration to ignore. At the same time, when the only people who all those purple-fingered Iraqi voters actually elected to office try to attach some conditions to the U.N. mandate, demand a timetable for withdrawal or come out against privatizing Iraq’s natural resources, and then somehow magically disappear, their hopes and aspirations are discarded as if they never existed.

It’s time to force the issue: The Iraqi parliament, the only body elected by the Iraqi people, wants some say over the continuing presence of foreign troops on its soil, and a majority of its lawmakers, like a majority of both Americans and Iraqis, wants a timetable for ending the occupation.

Joshua Holland is an AlterNet staff writer. Raed Jarrar is Iraq consultant to the American Friends Service Committee. He blogs at Raed in the Middle.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Pakistan: State of Emergency + Pakistan at the Crossroads (videos)

Dandelion Salad


Asia Society special Pakistan town hall featuring call-in’s from Pakistan including Asma Jahangir under house arrest, leading journalists and an attorney. With South Asia and Pakistan experts they discuss the US role in Pakistan, Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto, and what comes next for Pakistan.

Added: November 09, 2007

Global Pulse: Pakistan at the Crossroads


For more episodes and other Link TV programs:http://www.linktv.org/originals eries
General Musharraf is battling Pakistan’s legal establishment while allowing a dangerous insurgency to take root.He has promised, under U.S. pressure, to
hold elections in February, but with a struggling political structure and a surging home-grown Taliban in the Northwest, that may be too late.

SOURCES: Al Alam, Iran; South Asia Newsline, India;
Al Jazeera English, Qatar; BBC News, U.K.; NBC News, U.S.

Pakistan civil society reacts


More at http://therealnews.com
Students and lawyers spearhead protests against state of emergency in Pakistan

Thursday November 8th, 2007

Lawyers boycotted district and session’s court and staged protest rallies against the imposition of emergency and removal of superior court judges and chanted anti-government and anti-Musharraf slogans.

Dawn, November 8, 2007

Hundreds of lawyers took to the streets of Islamabad on the fourth consecutive day of the state of emergency to protest against Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf. Observed by the cameras of the international press the police kept a low profile, but behind the scenes thousands of lawyers, journalists, activists and citizens have been arrested or placed under house arrest all over the country. Radio Netherlands, November 7, 2007

As part of The Real News Beta, we will be experimenting with different news formats. This is a sample of a “raw” news feed, giving the viewer time to watch and hear important stories. Please let us know what you think.

Added: November 09, 2007

Earth Threatened by Meteors? Congressional Science Hearing (long video)

Dandelion Salad


Run time: 02:36:23

11.08.07 House Science Committee hearing (less)
Added: November 09, 2007

Torturers: The Next Generation By Ted Rall

Dandelion Salad

By Ted Rall
11/09/07 “ICH

Psycho politicians pledge to continue Bush’s crimes

NEW YORK—George W. Bush has shoved American politics into the dark realm of the lunatic right, zipping past Joe McCarthy into territory previously covered by historical accounts of Germany in the 1940s.

We’ve lost our right to see an attorney, to confront our accusers, even to get a fair trial. Government agents have kidnapped thousands of people, many of whom have never been heard from again. Bush even signed an edict claiming the right to assassinate anyone, including you and me, based solely on his whims. Torture, the ultimate sign that civilized society has been replaced by a police state, was repeatedly authorized by government officials who smirked the few times reporters had the temerity to ask them about it.

The 2000, 2004 and 2008 presidential elections have been and will prove to be decisive moments in American history. In each case, the American people were offered a stark choice between a future of freedom and one under tyranny.

In 2000, the American people chose dictatorship, watching passively as a rogue Supreme Court violated the Constitution and handed Bush the keys to the White House. We had a chance to restore the vision of the original Framers in 2004. Instead, we sat on our asses while Bush stole yet another election. The 2008 race could mark our last chance to get back the system of government we enjoyed before the Dec. 20, 2000, coup.

We must elect—by an overwhelming, theft-proof majority—a candidate who promises to renounce Bush and all his works. A reform-minded president’s first act should be to sign a law that reads as follows: “The federal government of the United States having been illegitimate and illegal since January 20, 2001, all laws, regulations, executive orders, and acts of commission or omission enacted between that infamous day and 12 noon Eastern Standard Time on Jan. 20, 2009, are hereby declared invalid and without effect.” Guantanamo, secret prisons, extraordinary rendition, spying on Americans’ phone calls and e-mails, and “legal” torture would be erased. Our troops should immediately pull out of Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and Somalia; we should apologize to our victims and offer to compensate them and their survivors. Bush should never appear on any list of American presidents. When he dies, his carcass shouldn’t receive a state funeral. It ought to be thrown in the trash.

Unfortunately, no one like that is running for president. To the contrary, most of the major presidential candidates want to accelerate America’s slide into outright moral bankruptcy. Inspired by what good people find appalling, America’s Mayor has turned into America’s Maniac. Torture, says Rudy Giuliani, is smart. He endorses the medieval practice of waterboarding, revived in CIA torture chambers after 9/11, in which a person is strapped to a board, tipped back and forced to inhale water to induce the sensation of drowning.

“It depends on how it’s done,” Giuliani said when asked about waterboarding and whether it is torture. “It depends on the circumstances. It depends on who does it.” Giuliani used to be a federal prosecutor. Would he have used similar logic in the prosecution of an accused torturer?

The mayor-turned-monster even used a campaign stop in Iowa to mock the victims of sleep deprivation, long acknowledged by international law as one of the severest forms of torture. “They talk about sleep deprivation,” he said. “I mean, on that theory, I’m getting tortured running for president of the United States. That’s plain silly. That’s silly.”

Waterboarding causes pain, brain damage and broken bones (from the restraints used on struggling victims), and death. Survivors are psychologically scarred. “Some victims were still traumatized years later,” Dr. Allen Keller, director of the Bellevue/New York University Program for Survivors of Torture, told The New Yorker. “One patient couldn’t take showers, and panicked when it rained.”

Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin described the sleep deprivation he suffered as a captive of the Soviet KGB: “In the head of the interrogated prisoner, a haze begins to form. His spirit is wearied to death, his legs are unsteady, and he has one sole desire: to sleep … Anyone who has experienced this desire knows that not even hunger and thirst are comparable with it.”

Giuliani isn’t the only wanna-be Torturer-in-Chief. Congressman Tom Tancredo, a Colorado Republican, offered this Lincolnesque rhetorical gem at one of the debates: “What do we do in the response to a nuclear—or the fact that a nuclear device or some bombs have gone off in the United States? We know that there are—we have captured people who have information that could lead us to the next one that’s going to go off and it’s the big one … I would do—certainly, waterboard—I don’t believe that that is, quote, ‘torture.’”

In an appearance on Fox News’ Hannity and Colmes, Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said the United States does and should torture: “We have received good solid information from [torture], and have saved American lives because of it.”

Duncan Hunter made fun of the concentration camp at Guantanamo: “You got guys like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed [a detainee victim of U.S. waterboarding], “who said that he planned the attack on 9/11. You got Osama bin Laden’s bodyguards. Those guys get taxpayer-paid-for prayer rugs. They have prayer five times a day. They’ve all gained weight. The last time I looked at the menu, they had honey-glazed chicken and rice pilaf on Friday. That’s how we treat the terrorists. They’ve got health care that’s better than most HMOs … They live in a place called Guantanamo, where not one person has ever been murdered.”

Three inmates have been found dead at Gitmo. (The military claimed they were suicides.) As of August 2003, at least 29 POWs had attempted suicide. Scores of hunger strikers are being force-fed. Fred Thompson says he won’t authorize waterboarding “as a matter of course” but likes to keep his options open. Mitt Romney punts questions about waterboarding: “I don’t think as a presidential candidate it is appropriate for me to weigh in on specific forms of interrogation that our CIA would employ. In circumstances of extreme threat to the nation, where we employ what is known as enhanced interrogation techniques, we don’t describe those techniques.”

At a Democratic debate in New Hampshire, Barack Obama refused to rule out torture. “Now, I will do whatever it takes to keep America safe. And there are going to be all sorts of hypotheticals [presumably, Tancredo's hoary "ticking time bomb" fantasy] and emergency situations, and I will make that judgment at that time.” Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden said they agree with Obama. Democrats Bill Richardson, John Edwards and Chris Dodd have offered unequivocal stances against torture. On the Republican side, only John McCain and Ron Paul have done so. Even McCain, himself a victim of torture in Vietnam, refuses to rule out voting to confirm Bush’s attorney general nominee, Michael Mukasey. “If it amounts to torture,” Mukasey said of waterboarding, “then it is not constitutional.”


Ted Rall is the author of the new book Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia the New Middle East?, an in-depth prose and graphic novel analysis of America’s next big foreign policy challenge. Visit his website www.tedrall.com
FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Randi Rhodes Interviews Rep. Steve Cohen + Young Turks Radio Discuss Kucinich’s Resolution to Impeach Cheney

Dandelion Salad

Randi Rhodes Interviews Rep. Steve Cohen, Judiciary Committee Member, on Impeachment

Submitted by davidswanson on Fri, 2007-11-09 19:20.
After Downing Street

By Sharona

November 9th Randi Rhodes interviewed Rep. Steve Cohen to discuss the Kucinich Privileged Resolution to impeach Cheney. Rep Steve Cohen (TN) is a member of the House Judiciary Committee and one of the co-sponsors of HRes333 – Impeach Cheney resolution.

Discussion included Pelosi, Conyers and action to get this happening.

Randi asked Rep Cohen if Pelosi is holding Conyers chairmanship over his head to get him NOT to bring impeachment to the HJC.

BTW, this weekend Randi will be in Detroit for political events with John Conyers – stay tuned.

[Note also: Conyers will introduce Cindy Sheehan, whom he had arrested in his office in July for asking him to impeach. - ds]

Audio here.


Young Turks Radio Discuss Kucinich’s Resolution to Impeach Cheney

Submitted by cactuspat on Fri, 2007-11-09 17:59.
After Downing Street

Young Turks radio discuss Kucinich’s Resolution to impeach Cheney and the merits of the Democrats growing balls or at least fractional testicles…

Kucinich Offers Bill to Impeach Cheney

Watch the entire show at http://www.theyoungturks.com. Kucinich pushes for impeachment of the vice president.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


Suddenly, Impeachment Hearings Are Looking Like a Strong Possibility By Dave Lindorff

US congressman says impeach Cheney (video; Kucinich)

Bruce Fein on Impeachment (video link)

Dennis Kucinich


Dennis Kucinich: 2008 Defense Authorization Bill authorizes use of US military for domestic purposes

Dandelion Salad

Submitted by davidswanson on Fri, 2007-11-09
After Downing Street

By seafan
Democratic Underground

Representative Dennis Kucinich reported this during an interview with WINZ Miami radio station this morning. He is reading through this bill and for the first time last evening, noticed this language that has been inserted into the 2008 Defense Authorization Bill.

He said that this language jumped off the page at him and that he was very concerned that people learn about this provision that would authorize domestic operations for the US military.

This is a PDF file. I have typed out the pertinent section.

HR 1585

Section 1615, page 672 (of 794)



(a) DETERMINATION OF REQUIREMENTS—- The Secretary of Defense shall determine the military-unique capabilities needed to be provided by the Department of Defense to support civil authorities in an incident of national significance or a catastrophic incident.


(1) PLAN—-The Secretary of Defense shall develop and implement a plan, in coordination with the Secretaries of the military departments and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for providing the funds and resources necessary to develop and maintain the following:

(A) The military-unique capabilities determined under subsection (a).

(B) Any additional capabilities determined by the Secretary to be necessary to support the use of the active components and the reserve components of the armed forces for homeland defense missions, domestic emergency responses, and providing military support to civil authorities.

(2) TERM OF PLAN—- The plan required under paragraph (1) shall cover at least five years.

Please call/write your members of Congress to alert them to this language and its implications.

Thank you, Representative Kucinich, for your dedication to the people of this country.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Rep Kucinich warns: We’re Losing Our Democracy America! (video)

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Effort to Impeach Vice Pres Cheney Still Alive (link)

A War Crime In Motion – Kucinich Warns Of Bunker Buster Attempt On Iranian Nuclear Research Labs


Iraq: Fewer Deaths Bring No Reassurance by Ali al-Fadhily

Dandelion Salad

by Ali al-Fadhily

Global Research, November 9, 2007

Inter Press Service

BAGHDAD, Nov 9 (IPS) – Despite claims by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Bush administration officials that violence in Iraq is decreasing, residents in the capital tell a different story.

Attacks by Iraqi resistance groups against the U.S. military continue in Baghdad and Iraq’s al-Anbar province, despite U.S. military support for certain Sunni militias in the areas.

According to the U.S. Department of Defence, 18 U.S. soldiers were killed in Baghdad and al-Anbar in October. In all 39 U.S. soldiers were reported killed in Iraq for the month, making it the lowest monthly total since March 2006.

Despite the relatively low October numbers, 2007 is on pace to be the deadliest year on record for U.S. troops since the invasion of March 2003. At least 847 U.S. military personnel have been reported killed this year in Iraq, making it the second highest toll yet.

The deadliest year was 2004, when 849 U.S. military members were killed.

But many Iraqis say that violence elsewhere continues unreported – and that where there is calm, it is hardly for reassuring reasons.

“Sectarian killings are less because all the Sunnis have been evicted from mixed areas in Baghdad,” Salman Hameed, a teacher who was evicted from the al-Hurriya area west of Baghdad eight months ago told IPS. “All my relatives and Sunni neighbours who survived the killing campaign led by the militias under the eyes of American and Iraqi forces have fled either to Syria or to other Sunni cities.”

On Nov. 5 Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki declared victory during a rare walkabout in Baghdad as night fell. “We have achieved victory against terrorist groups and militias,” Maliki told reporters. “Things will not return to the way they were.”

Many Iraqis feel that the reason for the relative calm is that many people have either fled, or been killed.

“There is no one left for them to kill,” 55-year-old retired teacher Nathum Taha told IPS in Baghdad. “The Americans continue to use Arab Shia Iraqi militias to kill Sunnis, but most people have left by now.”

Others blamed the media for lack of adequate reportage.

“Attacks against U.S. forces are not much less than they were last month, but media coverage has almost disappeared,” Muhammad Younis from Mosul, in Baghdad on a business trip, told IPS. “The resistance is moving fast and changing locations in order to avoid intelligence provided by collaborators. Most Iraqis hate the Americans more than ever after the death and destruction caused by their occupation.”

There was a reported five-fold increase in the number of bombs dropped on Iraq during the first six months of 2007 compared to the same period in 2006. Over 30 tonnes of these were cluster weapons, which take a particularly heavy toll on civilians.

“American air raids are increasing in a way that shows a total failure on the ground,” a retired general of the dissolved Iraqi army told IPS. “A whole family was killed near Madayin, southeast Baghdad on Saturday (Nov. 3) just after the tragic bombing of houses south of Tikrit (about 100 km north of Baghdad) where more than 10 civilians were killed.”

On Nov. 4, Iraqi army personnel backed by U.S. soldiers detained 12 people during a raid on the Sunni Abu Hanifa mosque in the Adhamiyah district of northern Baghad.

“Those American and government forces could not face the resistance fighters, so they arrest innocent people,” Aziz Thafir, a lawyer who witnessed the arrests, told IPS. “They started their raid with nasty sectarian words against Sunnis, and then arrested every one who was around in the mosque.”

Sectarian violence, which many Iraqis believe to be backed by the U.S., continues at many places where there are still mixed communities left.

In Duluiya, 150 km north of Baghdad, a U.S. army unit raided a house last week and killed a young man inside. Witnesses who arrived in Baghdad from the Sunni town complained that the media is not covering either the resistance activity there or the regular “crimes” committed by U.S. and Iraqi government forces against innocent civilians.

“They are more vicious than they were before,” 44-year-old Abu Ahmed told IPS in the capital. “This is a religious war against Sunnis, who would not accept the occupation and division of the country.”

Ali al-Fadhily is IPS correspondent in Baghdad;  he works in close collaboration with Dahr Jamail, IPS U.S.-based specialist writer on Iraq who travels extensively in the region.

Global Research Articles by Ali al-Fadhily
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© Copyright Ali al-Fadhily, Inter Press Service, 2007
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7297