Posts tagged Iraq
In Baghdad, a Muslim woman (in black hair covering and holding a copy of the Quran) stands in solidarity with a Christian woman (in white hair covering and holding a copy of the Bible), to show solidarity with the dwindling number of Iraqi Christians and their right to live freely and peacefully side-by-side with their Muslim sisters and brothers.
The Great Mosque of Samarra is a 9th century mosque which is located in the Iraqi city of Samarra. The mosque was commissioned in 848 and completed in 851 by the Abbasid caliph Al-Mutawakkil who reigned (in Samarra) from 847 until 861.
The Great Mosque of Samarra was at one time the largest mosque in the world; its minaret, the Malwiya Tower, is a vast spiralling cone (snail shaped) 52 meters high and 33 meters wide with a spiral ramp.
The mosque had 17 aisles, and its walls were panelled with mosaics of dark blue glass. It was part of an extension of Samarra eastwards.
Wikileaks has done it again this time with 390,000-400,000 leaked documents.
Take your pick:
“ In the first fourteen months, down to the “hand-over of sovereignty” and the end of the CPA (“children playing adults,” as the U.S. military contemptuously called the young and inexperienced American staff, most of them chosen by patronage) in June 2004, only $300 million of the U.S. government’s money was actually disbursed, but all of the Iraqi money was spent — althought “spent” is perhaps the wrong word, as it implies an exhange of money for goods or services. Some $12 billion of the Iraqi money was flown from New York to Baghdad in cash — 363 tonnes of one-hundred-dollar bills — and handed out to Iraqi contractors (kickbacks galore), to American contractors with good connections in the Bush administration on inflated cost-plus contracts, and to “government ministries” in Baghdad that barely existed except on paper.”
Some $800 million was handed over to the U.S. military commanders for discretionary spending without being counted or even weighed. Another $1.4 billion was flown from Baghdad to the Kurdish regional government in Irbil, and has not been seen since. The $8.8 billion that passed through the new government ministries in Baghdad during the reign of the CPA has never been accounted for, and there is little prospect of finding out where it went. The Defence Ministry’s $1.3 billion procurement budget for 2005 vanished completely, together with the defence minister and the procurement chief: “It is possibly one of the biggest thefts in history,” said Ali Allawi, finance minister at the time. The CPA itself kept one fund of nearly $600 million in cash for which there is simply no paper-work, and in the final month before it left Iraq, it managed to get rid of the last $5 billion of Iraq’s money, most of it in contracts let without tender to American corporations with contacts in the White House. Auditors were not appointed until April 2004, and were not allowed to see the CPA’s accounts, such as they were, until it had disbanded and gone home. It is likely that more money was stolen in the first year of the occupation of Iraq than Mobutu Sese Seko managed to steal in thirty-two years of looting the Congo.
Gwynne Dyer, The Mess They Made: The Middle East After Iraq [pg. 18-19]
Under Security Council Resolution 1483, passed on May 22nd, 2003, the United Nations transferred some $23 billion of Iraqi money derived from frozen Iraqi bank accounts, seized Iraqi assets, and Iraqi oil sales into a “Development Fund for Iraq” and put it in the hands of the CPA.
Again, one more time for emphasis: “It is likely that more money was stolen in the first year of the occupation of Iraq than Mobutu Sese Seko managed to steal in thirty-two years of looting the Congo.”
The American occupation of Iraq: a robbery like no other.
“ The incident that haunts him most took place early in April, near an Iraqi military compound five miles from Baghdad’s airport. “There were approximately 10 demonstrators near a tank,” he said. “We heard a shot in the distance and we started shooting at them. They all died except for one. We left the bodies there.”
“We noticed that there were some RPGs [rocket-propelled grenades] about 200 metres away from them - they might have come from the military compound. The demonstrators had the ability to fire at us or at the tank, but they didn’t. The survivor was hiding behind a column about 150 metres away from us. I pointed at him and waved my weapon to tell him to get away. Half of his foot had been cut off. He went away dragging his foot. We were all laughing and cheering.
“Then an 18-wheeler [truck] came speeding around. We shot at it. One of the guys jumped out. He was on fire. The driver was dead. Then a Toyota Corolla came. We killed the driver, the other guy came out with his hands up. We shot him too.
“A gunny from Lima Company came running and said to us: ‘Hey, you just shot that guy, but he had his hands up.’ My unit, my commander and me were relieved of our command for the rest of the day. Not more than five minutes later, the Lima Company took up our position and shot a car with one woman and two children. They all died.”
The next day the platoon guarded a checkpoint at Baghdad Stadium. “A red Kia Spectra sped toward us at about 45mph. We fired a warning volley above it but the car kept coming. Then we aimed at the car and fired with full force. The Kia came to a stop right in front of me, three of the four men shot dead, the fourth wounded and covered in blood. We called the medics, but he died before they arrived. That day we killed three more civilians in the same circumstances. I talked to my captain afterwards and told him: ‘It’s a bad day.’ He said: ‘No, it’s a good day.’
Today in History: On October 3, 1932, Iraq gains independence from Great Britain when they join the League of Nations. Iraq had been under the Ottoman Empire until its demise in World War I. Great Britain then took over the nation after the war. The new nation became a constitutional monarchy under the the leadership of King Faisal I.
it’s hard not to cringe at the word “independence” and the contexts it’s used in with reference to imperial powers. Iraq will only experience true independence once the troops and coalition forces leave the region and the people are left to their own devices. Be it Ottoman rule, British domination, or American hegemony, Iraq and Iraqis have been in chains. Once all the foreign powers have left will they be free to liberate themselves; its only a tragedy that it, and neighboring regions, have to have been smashed to pieces for it to occur at all.