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Getting Better All the Time?

162740b0-fd6f-4a83-b6e0-996e70aee5dc.jpgWith all the talk of improvement in Iraq I thought it would be useful to take a quick tour of some news sites to see all that good news.

One of my first stops is always the independent Aswat Al Iraq and just a scan of the latest headlines suggests the improvements don’t look so encouraging if you are an Iraqi who does not live in the Green Zone.

Then I turned to Al Zaman and learned that today Prime Minister Maliki announced his decision to add 18,000 militia members to the army and police security forces including members of the Badr Brigade known for their participation in death squads and accusations they are:

engaging in ‘death march’ campaigns against Iraqis whom they deem to be immoral; i.e. unchaste women, shopkeepers that sell alcohol or western consumer goods or people believed to be engaging in homosexuality or cross-dressing.

And then I read Al Zaman’s interview with the Deputy Director of the Red Crescent in Iraq who reports a “Surge in number of internally displaced Iraqis:”

The number of Iraqis kicked out of their homes has surged 16 percent in October despite claims by the government that it has declined. The Red Crescent, Iraq’s Red Cross equivalent, said at least 100,000 more Iraqis were forced to leave their homes in October.

“The number of internally displaced people in the country has surged to 2.3 million from 2.2 million,” said Amal al-Karbouli, Red Crescent’s deputy head.

Massive numbers of Iraqis are on the move inside the country in search for safety. The numbers are expected to hike as neighboring countries have shut their borders on the face of fleeing Iraqis.

U.S. occupation troops with the assistance of Iraqi forces have launched yet another military campaign north of Baghdad to quell resistance in four major cities.

The fleeing Iraqis blame ongoing U.S. military activities in which heavy weapons including tanks, warplanes and helicopter gun ships are deployed as well as sectarian killings and coercion for most of their suffering.

Add in the frightening news of the continued spread of cholera across Iraq. While the Iraqi government claims improvement– the WHO is reporting an alarming increase in Baghdad and notes “However, preparedness, surveillance and response to reported cases are not up to the expected standard in Baghdad.” (GorillasGuides is updating the cholera crisis every few days – click “cholera” under categories for their reporting and analysis.)

Improvement? I don’t think so. As we discussed this afternoon in our Book Salon with Dahr Jamail (and if you missed it, please go and take a look – and read his book, Beyond the Green Zone!), the version of “reality” reported in our media is remarkably unlike the actual reality of Iraq. With Congress talking about more funding and Bush touting ‘improvements” we need to be more vigilant and outspoken than ever.

Update: Claire in the Book Salon comments suggested that we make sure to add our reviews to the Amazon page for Dahr’s book, Beyond the Green Zone. That’s one small way we can support his work … so I hope folks will take a moment to do just that.

Photo: These children are members of the Abdul-Hussein al-Tamimi family. The GorillasGuides team was kind enough to share this photo with us – and Du provided the following info from the Arabic information at Guides where you can see more photos of the children:

There are 48 of them ranging in age from under 3 months to 18 years old. They’re from a village close to Khan Bani Saad – a very hot zone. On 24-6-2005 a death squad attacked their village which was an agricultural cooperative about 300 acres and 16 houses and killed seven from this family [these are 7 of the children’s parents]:

  • Rahim Hussein Abdul-Hussein al-Tamimi,
  • Bashir Hussein Abdul-Hussein al-Tamimi
  • Ahmed Abdel Hamid al-Tamimi,
  • Ahmad Saad Abdel-Hussein al-Tamimi,
  • Mohammed Ahmed Abdul-Hussein al-Tamimi,
  • Abdul Hussein Ahmed Abdul-Hussein al-Tamimi
  • Ali Abdel – Hussein Ahmed al-Tamimi

They slit their throats and dumped their bodies. Some of the boys you see in the photo had to go out and recover the bodies. The families were forced to flee and were taken in by relatives. They and their relatives have been attacked again since. Constant mortar attacks, shooting and arson, forced them out again . They moved to close to Balad Ruz, they were forced to move again and they’re currently living close to where they started out.

Nobody has done a damn thing for them …

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Siun is a proud Old Town resident who shares her home with two cats and a Great Pyrenees. She’s worked in media relations and on the net since before the www, led the development of a corporate responsibility news service, and knows what a mult box is thanks to Nico. When not swimming in the Lake, she leads a team working on sustainability tools.

Email: media dot firedoglake at gmail dot com