[Marxism] Abuse worse now than under Saddam
lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Nov 27 07:12:03 MST 2005
Abuse worse than under Saddam, says Iraqi leader
Allawi in damning indictment of new regime
Bush prepares way for US troop pull-out
Peter Beaumont, foreign affairs editor
Sunday November 27, 2005
Human rights abuses in Iraq are now as bad as they were under Saddam
Hussein and are even in danger of eclipsing his record, according to the
country's first Prime Minister after the fall of Saddam's regime.
'People are doing the same as [in] Saddam's time and worse,' Ayad Allawi
told The Observer. 'It is an appropriate comparison. People are remembering
the days of Saddam. These were the precise reasons that we fought Saddam
and now we are seeing the same things.'
In a damning and wide-ranging indictment of Iraq's escalating human rights
catastrophe, Allawi accused fellow Shias in the government of being
responsible for death squads and secret torture centres. The brutality of
elements in the new security forces rivals that of Saddam's secret police,
Allawi, who was a strong ally of the US-led coalition forces and was prime
minister until this April, made his remarks as further hints emerged
yesterday that President George Bush is planning to withdraw up to 40,000
US troops from the country next year, when Iraqi forces will be capable of
Allawi's bleak assessment is likely to undermine any attempt to suggest
that conditions in Iraq are markedly improving.
'We are hearing about secret police, secret bunkers where people are being
interrogated,' he added. 'A lot of Iraqis are being tortured or killed in
the course of interrogations. We are even witnessing Sharia courts based on
Islamic law that are trying people and executing them.'
He said that immediate action was needed to dismantle militias that
continue to operate with impunity. If nothing is done, 'the disease
infecting [the Ministry of the Interior] will become contagious and spread
to all ministries and structures of Iraq's government', he said.
In a chilling warning to the West over the danger of leaving behind a
disintegrating Iraq, Allawi added: 'Iraq is the centrepiece of this region.
If things go wrong, neither Europe nor the US will be safe.'
His uncompromising comments came on the eve of Saddam's latest court
appearance on charges of crimes against humanity. They seem certain to fuel
the growing sense of crisis over Iraq, both in the country itself and in
the US, where political support for the occupation continues to plummet.
Allawi was selected to serve as prime minister of the first interim
government, before last January's first national elections. Admired in both
Downing Street and the White House as a non-sectarian politician committed
to strong centralised government representing all Iraqis, Allawi's
supporters struggled in last January's elections, where they were eclipsed
by Shia religious parties, some of which have been implicated in the violence.
Recently, however, his reputation has enjoyed a resurgence as he has tried
to build alliances with Sunni political groups ahead of next month's
His comments come as a blow to those hoping that Iraq was moving towards
normalisation under the new government. In a speech on Wednesday, Bush is
expected to hail the improved readiness of Iraqi troops, which he has
identified as the key condition for withdrawing US forces.
But the proximity of the latest round of elections appears to have only
intensified political murders and intimidations, including members of
Allawi's own list, who have been killed and attacked by political rivals.
Despite denials of wrongdoing by the Ministry of the Interior, which has
been implicated in much of the abuse, a series of damaging disclosures,
including the discovery of a secret detention centre run by the ministry,
has heaped embarrassment on the Iraqi government and its foreign supporters.
The intervention by one of Iraq's most prominent political figures promises
to turn human rights abuses into a key election issue.
Allawi's scathing assessment of the collapse of human rights in Iraq under
the country's first democratically elected government came amid an angry
denunciation of the involvement of the Iraq government's institutions in
widespread disappearances, torture and assassinations.
He added that he now had so little faith in the rule of law that he had
instructed his own bodyguards to fire on any police car that attempted to
approach his headquarters without prior notice, following the implication
of police units in many of the abuses.
Allawi saved his strongest condemnation for the Ministry of the Interior,
whose personnel have been accused of being behind much of the abuse: 'The
Ministry of the Interior is at the heart of the matter. I am not blaming
the minister [Bayan Jabr] himself, but the rank and file are behind the
secret dungeons and some of the executions that are taking place.'
Responding to the former prime minister's comments, Sir Menzies Campbell,
the Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesman, said: 'It is inconceivable in the
higher reaches of the command of the multinational forces that there was
not an awareness of what is being done by some Iraqis to their own countrymen.
'The assertions by Mr Allawi simply underline the catastrophic failure to
have a proper strategy in place for the post-war period in Iraq.'
More information about the Marxism