Sunday, April 05, 2015

Editorial: How was it ever a surprise?

Honestly, who was really surprised?

Iraqi Spring MC Tweeted about the militia looting Tikrit last week and supplied a photo.

: تكرار حالات السلب والنهب التي تنتهجها القوات الحكومية والميليشيات التابعة لها عند دخولها مناطق النزاع.
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Days later, the media began to grasp the looting that was taking place.

By Saturday,  Lydia Willgress (Daily Mail) was noting, "Shia paramilitary fighters looting and setting fire to buildings in Tikrit are 'out of control', an official said.  Ahmed al-Karim, head of the Salahuddin provincial council, said the fighters had burnt 'hundreds of houses' in the last two days." 

 And Middle East Monitor reported:

Earlier, the Iraqi governor of Saladin left his own province in disgust over the looting spree being carried out allegedly by the Shia militia.
Ahmed Abdel-Jabbar al-Karim, chief of Saladin's provincial council, told the Anadolu Agency late Friday that he along with Governor Raed al-Jabouri left the province in protest against al-Hashid al-Shaabi's alleged looting and burning spree in Tikrit.
Al-Karim had also blamed the central Iraqi government of not doing enough to stop the militia's illegal actions. "Governor Raed al-Jabouri told Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi about the violations and left the province when no stopped the militia from robbing and burning shops in Tikrit," he said.

According to al-Karim, the Shia militia also clashed with him and al-Jabouri when they tried to stop their rampage in central Tikrit. The militia men allegedly used abusive words, laced with sectarian references, with the senior Iraqi officials, which then quickly turned into a physical clash that left several body guards injured.

These acts were not surprising.

Kenneth Roth and Human Rights Watch warned against them ahead of time.

The editorial board of The New York Times also voiced concern.

Warning bells were going off.

Such as last Monday when United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited Baghdad.

urges Iraq 2 do all it can to ensure protection of civilians & humanitarian access in conflict zones.

Ned Parker and John Stonestreet (Reuters) quoted the Secretary-General, "I am... concerned by allegations of summary killings, abductions and destruction of property perpetrated by forces and militias fighting alongside Iraqi armed forces,"  Ned Parker and Crispian Balmer (Reuters) offer a longer report here.  Rod Nordland covers Ban Ki-moon's remarks for the New York Times here.  RTT covers it here.

Again, what happened was not a surprise.

And maybe if what poses as a peace movement in the US had bothered to shine a spotlight on Iraq, the American people might have been aware of what was expected.

As it is, most Americans don't even know what took place.

Thanks, CodeStink.  Thanks for nothing.

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