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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-18-07 05:41 PM
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25. Is Iraq Headed for Genocide?

Is Iraq Headed for Genocide?


President George W. Bush has continued to reject assertions that Iraq is in the midst of a civil war. But in the wake of his meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Amman, Jordan, to discuss the country's continuing sectarian violence, some human rights experts are worrying about a different, worse fate for Iraq: genocide.

Juan Mendez, Kofi Annan's special advisor on the prevention of genocide, told TIME that the targeting of minorities based solely on religion in Iraq, the extent of the violence there, the lack of central control, and the fact that Iraq has already experienced genocide, "constitute warning signs that we take very seriously." He stressed that those warning signs can be present in conflicts and never rise to the level of genocide, but that his office is watching the situation closely. If the situation in Iraq did deteriorate, Mendez said, "I would not hesitate to request armed troops to protect people" but, he added, it would have to be in a "different configuration" than what is there now.

Gregory Stanton, a professor of human rights at Virginia's University of Mary Washington, sees in Iraq the same troubling signs of preparation and execution of genocidal aims that he saw in the 1990s in Rwanda when he worked at the State Department. Sunni and Shiite militias are "trying to polarize the country, they're systematically trying to assassinate moderates, and they're trying to divide the population into homogenous religious sectors," Stanton says. All of those undertakings, he says, are "characteristics of genocide," and his organization, Genocide Watch, is preparing to declare the country in a "genocide emergency."

Though the term conjures up thoughts of enormous numbers of civilian dead, the quantity of victims is not the warning sign experts look for when considering the danger of genocide. Samantha Power, a professor at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, says with Shi'ite and Sunni sub-groups already identifying and killing victims solely on the basis of their religious identity, "genocidal intent" is already present in Iraq. "When you drive up to a checkpoint and you're stopped and somebody pulls out your ID and determines whether you're a Sunni or a Shiite and takes you away and kills you because of that, there is a genocidal mentality afoot." The question, Power says, is how broadly that mentality will spread. Iraq has already seen one genocide in recent decades: Saddam Hussein stands accused of attempting to exterminate Kurds, the third largest group in the country.

While Power and Stanton both see a mounting danger of widespread genocide in Iraq, there is certainly not consensus on the threat. Other human rights organizations, like the Committee on Conscience at the U.S. Holocaust Museum and the International Crisis Group, do not see the conditions for genocide developing. Human Rights Watch, which is particularly restrictive in what it calls genocide, says it believes Iraq is not headed in that direction. Joost Hiltermann, who covers Iraq for the International Crisis Group, says that the biggest impediment to full-blown genocide is the fact that there are divisions between Shi'ite factions, which prevent them from uniting in a nationwide persecution of Sunnis.

Much of the debate over the possibility of widespread genocide in Iraq stems from differing interpretations of the 1948 United Nations convention on genocide. There, genocide is defined rather broadly as killing, seriously harming, restricting birth or attempting to destroy in whole or in part, "a national, ethnical, racial or religious group." Says University of Mary Washington's Stanton, "Anyone who says that's not happening in Iraq is burying their head in the sand." But others say the number of people in Iraq operating with the intention of eradicating people solely on the basis of their membership in a ethnic or religious group is too small to constitute genocidal intent.


Iraq: A New Age Of Genocide?

Bill Weinberg
May 15, 2007

Bill Weinberg, editor of the online journal . This piece originally appeared in New America Media.

Amid daily media body counts and analyses of whether the surge is working, there is an even more horrific reality in Iraq, almost universally overlooked. The latest annual report by the London-based Minority Rights Group International, released earlier this year, places Iraq second as the country where minorities are most under threatafter Somalia. Sudan is third. More people may be dying in Darfur than Iraq, but Iraq's multiple micro-ethnicitiesTurcomans, Assyrians, Mandeans, Yazidisplace it at the top of the list.

While the mutual slaughter of Shiite and Sunni makes world headlines, Iraq is home to numerous smaller faiths and peoplesnow faced with actual extinction. Turcomans are the Turkic people of northern Iraq, caught in the middle of the Arab-Kurdish struggle over Kirkuk and its critical oilfields. Assyrian and Chaldean Christians, now targeted for attack, trace their origins in Mesopotamia to before the arrival of the Arabs in the seventh century. So do the Mandeans, followers of the worlds last surviving indigenous Gnostic faithnow also facing a campaign of threats, violence and kidnapping. The situation has recently escalated to outright massacre.

In late April, a grim story appeared on the wire services about another such small ethnic group in northern Iraq. Twenty-three textile factory workers from the Yazidi community were taken from a mini-bus in Mosul by unknown gunmen, placed against a wall and shot down execution-style. Three who survived were critically injured.

Yazidis, although linguistic Kurds, are followers of a pre-Islamic faith which holds that earth is ruled by a fallen angel. For this, they have been assailed by their Muslim neighbors as "devil-worshippers" and are often subject to persecution.


Genocide Watch

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  -History Repeating Itself: Kerry-Brokered Cambodia Tribunal Set To Begin ProSense  May-16-07 09:56 PM   #0 
  - That is an amazing amount of research  TayTay   May-16-07 10:00 PM   #1 
  - Wow, great post, it is so well researched. n/t  wisteria   May-16-07 10:24 PM   #2 
  - Kick!  ProSense   May-16-07 11:33 PM   #3 
  - Kerry will do great there. Just stay off the streets of PP until after n/t  upi402   May-16-07 11:40 PM   #4 
  - Lest we forget, Reagan/Bush/Thatcher armed and trained the Khmer Rouge  Greeby   May-17-07 12:04 AM   #5 
  - Let's hope that that will come out in the Tribunal  karynnj   May-17-07 07:01 AM   #6 
  - This is exactly why the books on BushInc's decades of crimes need to be opened.  blm   May-17-07 09:40 AM   #11 
     - But they grabbed them all and stashed them  Karenina   May-17-07 04:47 PM   #15 
  - Thankfully, there are some of us interested in preserving REAL HISTORY for future  blm   May-17-07 09:06 AM   #8 
  - Kick -this needs to be seen  karynnj   May-17-07 07:44 AM   #7 
  - Thanks! It really boggles the mind  ProSense   May-17-07 12:31 PM   #13 
     - Eerily familiar:  ProSense   May-22-07 09:58 PM   #51 
  - K&R  dicksteele   May-17-07 09:10 AM   #9 
  - K & R. This is a fantastic history lesson, Prosense.  beachmom   May-17-07 09:30 AM   #10 
  - Wait, isn't John Kerry that guy  MH1   May-17-07 11:59 AM   #12 
  - Not to mention it makes joe Klein even more of an ass for  karynnj   May-18-07 08:54 PM   #27 
     - Klein never "got' John Kerry because he's too superficial himself to 'get' honest  blm   May-27-07 11:47 AM   #66 
  - Nixon's defense secretary comments on Iraq  ProSense   May-17-07 04:09 PM   #14 
  - Kick! n/t  ProSense   May-18-07 08:08 AM   #18 
  - Excellent, ProSense!  Island Blue   May-17-07 07:28 PM   #16 
  - Thanks! n/t  ProSense   May-17-07 09:33 PM   #17 
  - Journalist killed in action  ProSense   May-18-07 08:28 AM   #19 
  - Remember Sean Flynn & Dana Stone  OzarkDem   May-24-07 08:15 AM   #56 
  - Thanks for the link! Interesting article,  ProSense   May-24-07 09:05 AM   #57 
  - Three more journalists killed in Iraq in record toll  ProSense   May-30-07 10:14 AM   #69 
  - "Triangle Of Death" Is A U.S. Nightmare  ProSense   May-18-07 04:00 PM   #20 
  - TRULY superb post! ...and I see it got picked up by Kerry's blog, too.  mloutre   May-18-07 04:12 PM   #21 
  - Yay, ProSense! n/t  Democrafty   May-18-07 04:22 PM   #23 
  - Wow! Thanks for the links and for  ProSense   May-18-07 04:55 PM   #24 
  - Yay!  karynnj   May-18-07 09:04 PM   #28 
     - Just came across this.  ProSense   May-20-07 07:51 PM   #42 
  - K&R  politicasista   May-18-07 04:18 PM   #22 
  - Is Iraq Headed for Genocide?  ProSense   May-18-07 05:41 PM   #25 
  - Kick! n/t  ProSense   May-18-07 08:44 PM   #26 
  - morning kick ... because this post deserves it ... n/t  mloutre   May-19-07 06:41 AM   #29 
  - Tragic, dangerous signs in Iraq  ProSense   May-19-07 10:51 AM   #30 
  - It Was Not An Ambush  ProSense   May-19-07 11:10 AM   #31 
  - I hope you will put this in the Research Forum  WesDem   May-19-07 11:25 AM   #32 
  - Thanks. Good idea. n/t  ProSense   May-19-07 04:14 PM   #34 
  - And this guy is getting slammed daily by a few Hillary supporters in GD:P  Forkboy   May-19-07 12:50 PM   #33 
  - It's the difference between a lawmaker who uncovered IranContra, BCCI and CIA drugrunning  blm   May-19-07 04:19 PM   #35 
  - ridiculous, huh?!!!  ray of light   Jun-04-07 10:03 AM   #76 
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  - On Memorial Day, Cambodians call for swift Khmer Rouge trials  ProSense   May-20-07 10:39 AM   #38 
  - fresh kick for updated content ... n/t  mloutre   May-20-07 02:46 PM   #39 
  - Yup -- and Rolling Stone magazine had that pegged two years ago this month, too.  mloutre   May-20-07 04:49 PM   #40 
     - Thanks for the link. n/t  ProSense   May-20-07 10:33 PM   #43 
  - Excellent work, ProSense  globalvillage   May-19-07 10:33 PM   #37 
  - "Iraq Isn't Like Vietnam -- Except When It Is"  ProSense   May-20-07 06:25 PM   #41 
  - Beyond Saber Rattling  ProSense   May-21-07 08:58 AM   #44 
  - Kick! n/t  ProSense   May-21-07 08:02 PM   #46 
  - McCain's Vietnam lesson  ProSense   May-21-07 12:15 PM   #45 
  - Kick! n/t  ProSense   May-22-07 07:21 AM   #47 
  - Thinking Past Plan B in Iraq  ProSense   May-22-07 11:00 AM   #48 
  - Kick! n/t  ProSense   May-22-07 01:18 PM   #49 
  - LONG STRUGGLE AHEAD (the unbelievable)  ProSense   May-22-07 05:42 PM   #50 
  - New look at Nixon-Kissinger decisions draws parallels to today's events  ProSense   May-23-07 12:49 PM   #52 
  - Bush makes a Vietnam-Iraq comparison  ProSense   May-23-07 03:12 PM   #53 
  - Kick! n/t  ProSense   May-23-07 09:02 PM   #54 
  - Former House member says, Cut off the money to the war  ProSense   May-24-07 07:18 AM   #55 
  - Kick! n/t  ProSense   May-24-07 11:54 PM   #60 
  - Kick! n/t  ProSense   May-25-07 09:20 AM   #61 
  - The Other Vietnam Syndrome (April 2003)  ProSense   May-24-07 10:28 AM   #58 
  - The Iraq War Is An Absolute Replay Of Vietnam  ProSense   May-24-07 07:35 PM   #59 
  - good research1  bambino   May-25-07 09:22 AM   #62 
  - Intelligence horror stories  ProSense   May-25-07 11:43 PM   #63 
  - Kick for Patrick Lang's job interview with Doug Feith. n/t  ProSense   May-26-07 02:25 PM   #64 
  - "Kissinger's record is filled with achievement and tragedy..."  ProSense   May-27-07 11:41 AM   #65 
  - "So many died because of ego and deceit... "  ProSense   May-27-07 12:20 PM   #67 
  - Spread the Word: Iraq-Nam  ProSense   May-30-07 09:32 AM   #68 
  - Nixon Republican Wanted (Peace with Honor ad)  ProSense   May-31-07 10:47 AM   #70 
  - The lessons of Vietnam By Henry A. Kissinger  ProSense   May-31-07 07:20 PM   #71 
  - Timeline  ProSense   Jun-01-07 10:51 AM   #72 
  - "a chilling 1964 phone conversation between President Lyndon B. Johnson and one of his top aides"  ProSense   Jun-02-07 10:05 PM   #73 
  - William F. Buckley: HONOR, DUTY, COUNTRY?  ProSense   Jun-02-07 10:19 PM   #74 
  - "Do they really want to turn into Pol Pot's Cambodia?"  ProSense   Jun-04-07 10:02 AM   #75 
  - Iraq isn't Vietnam because a U.S. pullout "would embolden and empower al-Qaeda"  ProSense   Jun-05-07 06:07 PM   #77 
  - Defeats Killing Fields  ProSense   Jun-07-07 12:07 PM   #78 
  - Nixon 'wrecked early peace in Vietnam'  ProSense   Jun-07-07 06:30 PM   #79 
  - Wow, great thread, ProSense! This story so belongs here!  pink-o   Jun-07-07 07:03 PM   #80 
     - Exactly, the MSM is the biggest factor. Thanks for the insights, and  ProSense   Jun-07-07 07:18 PM   #81 
     - Except THIS time the GOP machine made sure to gain control of most newsmedia FIRST  blm   Jun-07-07 07:21 PM   #82 
  - Kick! n/t  ProSense   Jun-10-07 01:00 PM   #83 

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