Saturday, January 02, 2016

Iraq's Longstanding Nightmare

Iraq’s Longstanding Nightmare

by Stephen Lendman

Washington bears full responsibility for the Middle East’s longstanding nightmare, partnered with rogue Israeli, NATO and Arab regimes. Call it the curse of oil - Iraq Exhibit A.

From America’s orchestrated Iran/Iraq war to Operation Desert Storm, to years of genocidal sanctions, to Operation Iraqi Freedom, to ongoing out-of-control raging violence and chaos, its imperial madness destroyed the cradle of civilization, replacing it with endless dystopian harshness - one of history’s greatest crimes, accountability nowhere in sight.

Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II and Obama committed high crimes against peace. Millions of Iraqis suffered and died from September 1980 to the present. 

Millions today endure unspeakable misery - living in an endless war zone, security and stability entirely absent. The curse of US created and supported ISIS haunts them.

Residents fleeing war-torn Ramadi recounted their ordeal under ISIS control. Many families risked death to escape starvation, misery and use as human shields.

Iraq forces detained freed men, suspicious of ISIS terrorists among them. Pockets of the city remain in their control. Hundreds of their fighters haven’t quit, including in central areas.

Streets and buildings are booby-trapped. Unexploded ordnance is everywhere. Water, power and other infrastructure essentials are destroyed, badly damaged or inoperable, according the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

It’s unclear how long it’ll take for residents to feel safe to return. Anbar’s provincial council head Sabah Karhot said as much as 80% of Ramadi was destroyed.

The area has been continuously at war for over two years, ISIS fighters capturing the city last May. Iraqi forces retook most of it this week, including the compound housing the provincial government.

Hundreds managing to escape fighting are sheltered in an Anbar displaced persons camp under miserable conditions. Umm Mustafa and her family believed they wouldn’t survive.

They nearly starved to death in Ramadi. ISIS used them as human shields. Hundreds of other Iraqis endured a similar ordeal.

“There were no doctors, no food, no water,” said Umm. “It was real misery how we lived, but we couldn’t open our mouths or we would be killed.”

They were threatened with death if attempts to escape were made. They were used as human shields against Iraqi forces.

“They were doing this on purpose, and they were telling us that as long as you’re close to us, nobody will hurt us,” Umm explained.

“When they gathered us in one place, they said: ‘You represent protection for us. Without you, we will be attacked and killed.’ “

Another resident said they were told to go with ISIS fighters or they’d blow up their houses with them inside.

Facing certain death from starvation or violence, Umm and her husband decided to act - carefully moving through Ramadi’s rubble, seeking minimal shelter wherever possible, telling ISIS patrols when detected they were looking for food.

When they spotted the Iraqi flag atop a visible building, they made run for safety, miraculously managing to survive - somehow avoiding ISIS live fire trying to stop them.

At one point, they were in no-man’s land between two opposing forces. They heard Iraqi soldiers over a loudspeaker urging them to keep fleeing.

They decided risking death was better than living under ISIS. Somehow they made it to safety - with no assurance of what’s to come.

Endless violence and chaos continues. Front lines keep shifting. Residents under ISIS control were brutalized prisoners, death haunting them every day from war, starvation and overall deprivation.

Washington bears full responsibility. It created and continues supporting the ISIS monster - ravaged countries, mass slaughter, vast destruction and appalling human misery the price it inflicts to advance its imperium. 

No greater pure evil exists on planet earth - a menace threatening humanity everywhere.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

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