Possible War Crimes in Fallujah
As Media Mouse first reported earlier this week, the United States has likely committed numerous war crimes in Fallujah. Among those raising concerns have been Amnesty International and Francis A. Boyle, an expert on war crimes, with both pointing to the wholesale destruction of Fallujah as proof of their claims. Rahul Mahajan of Empire Notes has gone through and detailed specific violations of the Geneva Convention in Fallujah among them denying noncombatant men the right to leave the battle area, the indiscriminate targeting of people by United States snipers, targeting hospitals, and flattening entire buildings housing one or two “insurgents.” Red Cross officials have estimated that 800 civilians may have been killed in Fallujah while the US and Iraqi governments have finally admitted to humanitarian crisis and pledged to restore health services and rebuild damaged homes. In many cases, civilians are targeted under the notion of “collective punishment” where all Iraqis are viewed as potential resistance fighters.
Of course, the cynical among us might be inclined to point out that it is nearly impossible to have a war without war crimes, at least as far as the United States is concerned.
Accounts from Inside Fallujah
While the assault on Fallujah had been explained by the US military as necessary to “break” the resistance movements in Iraq, there is little indication that it has worked with a surge in attacks throughout Iraq over the past week. Moreover, the alleged “foreign elements” controlling the resistance in Fallujah have failed to turn up with only 5% of captured fighters being from outside Iraq. Instead of “pacifying insurgents,” the assault on Fallujah has outraged many both within Iraq and in the Middle East. Incidents such as the shooting of a wounded, unarmed insurgent by US forces have fostered greater hatred of the occupation and the US occupying forces.
Unfortunately, we hear little from the people who are experiencing the brunt of the United States military assault on Fallujah as there are few reporters in Fallujah and even less willing to report anything differing from the official military position. We have come across one compilation of Iraqi voices discussing the recent US attack in addition to a report by two British journalists in the aftermath of the Fallujah assault.
Humanitarian Margaret Hassan Executed
Humanitarian Margaret Hassan is being assumed dead by her family after a tape apparently showing her execution was sent to Al-Jazeera. Hassan, an Irish citizen by birth, lived in Iraq for thirty years where she was director of CARE international, providing aid to the Iraqi people. She was married to an Iraqi citizen and eventually became an Iraqi citizenship herself. She was an outspoken critic of the U.N. sanctions against Iraq as well as the 2003 invasion and occupation.
Her death at the hands of unknown “militants,” leaves many unanswered questions. Hassan was a well known and respected humanitarian, and was a sharp critic of the U.S. war and occupation of Iraq. While the U.S. and British governments will be quick to use the killing of Hassan as an example of the brutality of the Iraqi resistance, Hassan�s killing seems somewhat inconsistent with the high profile kidnappings and executions carried out over the last several months. The combined resistance groups of Fallujah demanded her release, as did Au Musab al-Zarqawi, the al-Qaeda man whom was responsible for other kidnappings and executions. Hassan was the first female hostage to be killed, other female hostages, such as the two Italian human rights workers taken hostage in September were released after the kidnappers recognized their innocence. The video of Hassan’s execution, as noted by Robert Fisk, included “none of the usual Islamic banners. There were none of the usual armed and hooded men. There were no Qur’anic recitations.”
Given the current state of lawlessness and chaos in Iraq, it might never be known who exactly killed Margaret Hassan. What is known is that a woman who dedicated her life to helping others, who survived thirty years of living and working under the brutal regime of Saddam Hussein, was killed as the result of the chaotic situation created by the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq.
47 Iraqi Political Parties to Boycott Elections
Al Jazeera is reporting that 47 Iraqi political parties have announced they will boycott January’s elections. Most of the parties are Sunni, including the influential Association of Muslim Scholars. The group also includes 8 Shiite parties, one Christian party, one communist party and the Iraqi Turkmen Front. The announcement was made as a response to the “massacre of the people of Falluja and the collective punishment with wanton destruction meted out by the US,” said AMS member Ahmad Abd al-Ghafur al-Samarrai.