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الخميس، 27 فبراير، 2014

UN worried to death about Iraq

UN worried to death about Iraq
by Haifa Zangana on 23-02-2014
BRussells Tribunal
'The Iraqi regime does not exhibit any worry about the UN's concern. It is a regime that does not take into account the need to plan long-term for a country that could be a secure home for its entire people', writes Haifa Zangana

"Words alone are not enough if we are truly to aim for a world in which all human beings are equal, regardless of gender, religion and ethnicity"

The United Nations has been worried about Iraq for decades. This is evident through the various reports that have been issued from its various organisations and agencies, ranging from UNESCO to UNICEF and the UN Human Rights Council to UNAMI (United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq). The fact that the UN is concerned is cause for concern in itself because most of what has happened in Iraq was because of the UN's own policy towards the country and the decisions that it made against the people in favour of one superpower. Its policies reduced all superpowers, even if only for a brief time, to one superpower; the United States.
For example, in the 1990s, the UN became extremely concerned for Iraq's wellbeing after it was hit with an unjust blockade, quite overlooking the fact that it was the UN itself which was responsible for drafting the resolution for the blockade in favour of implementing American and British policies.
Iraq has been a chronic concern for the UN since the US-led invasion in 2003, but how can we forget that the UN had witnessed the biggest lie and conspiracy against Iraq when the mastermind behind the invasion, US Secretary of State Colin Powell, presented a film "proving" that Iraq was home to weapons of mass destruction that could destroy the entire world?
The founding of UNAMI came soon after the invasion as a measure to control increasing anxiety, but Iraq remained under military occupation until 2011 and despite the changing faces of numerous UN envoys, the anxiety was never contained. Indeed, anxiety over Iraq continued to grow, particularly over human rights concerns. The politicised and corrupt judiciary has sentenced many people to death based on testimony from anonymous informants; the UN Human Rights Commission now deems the situation in Iraq to be inhumane. The Secretary-General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon, expressed his concern over the situation in Iraq in front of government officials and Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki during a visit to Iraq last month. Mr Ban did not find any reason to reduce his anxiety.
If Ban Ki-moon has allotted some of his time to express his concern for Syria, he should remember that UN organisations like UNAMI are forced to address concerns in Iraq alone. UNAMI's latest source of humanitarian and political concerns is the city of Fallujah, which was at the forefront of testing the resolve of the US-led occupation. All political parties in Iraq have been called to address the causes of violence by partaking in dialogue and political initiatives. The prime minister of the sectarian government in Baghdad has rejected this call, saying that there can be "no negotiation with terrorists"; at a stroke he has labelled all of the residents of Iraq's largest province as "terrorists" in order to justify his neo-fascist policy of collective punishment. The UN's invitation to Al-Maliki's government to partake in dialogue is based on a common policy for dialogue with the most intractable of enemies. Nour Al-Maliki's former enemy and closest friend as of late, Bashar Al-Assad, is sitting down with people he considers to be terrorists. America is negotiating with the Taliban and its allies among the combatants in Afghanistan and Pakistan; it is also negotiating with Iran. The British sat down with Irish Republicans. That's just the tip of the iceberg. So why doesn't Al-Maliki negotiate with the people of Anbar Province? Why has he refused to listen to the demands of peaceful protestors for more than a year?
The humanitarian situation in Fallujah is dire. The Iraqi army recently bombed the Fallujah General Hospital killing most of its employees and leading to the evacuation of patients and the closure of the hospital's departments. Furthermore, random shelling in Anbar has led to a number of casualties and has displaced more than 300,000 people over a six week period.
The UN continues to make appeals to provide humanitarian aid to the city, as the situation of displaced individuals grows more and more unstable due to shortages of food and water in addition to poor sanitation and lack of access to health care. It is a well-known fact that the regime has bombed several bridges in an effort to prevent supplies from reaching the people and has also surrounded the entrances of the city with thousand of troops who prevent men from entering or leaving. The regime's barbaric policies imitate those of the occupation while the UN tries to ease its conscience by issuing condemnations and reports.
For decades Iraq, like Palestine and many other countries, has suffered from the UN's double standards concerning issues such as human rights, equality and justice. There are few who still believe in these deceptive misleading humanitarian ambitions.
When I asked a friend of mine if I could participate in a conference on human rights in Iraq, he turned and asked in a desperate voice, "Will this even do any good or will it be just another conference in which people babble about Iraq?" I answered him by emphasising how important it is to inform the world about the crimes against the people, because we are still coming to terms with what is happening in Syria, so the issue of human rights is high on the agenda. In spite of my answer, though, I agree with him that the reality of the situation is frustrating.
Universal human rights remain meaningless if there is no accountability. This is clearly evident in the mass violations of human rights in many countries, like Iraq, in which the people have to fight for the ability to survive while regimes and repressive authorities are left with the freedom to practice large-scale terrorism and torture.
The Iraqi regime does not exhibit any worry about the UN's concern. It is a regime that does not take into account the need to plan long-term for a country that could be a secure home for its entire people. It is a sectarian regime that survives by using genocide against its own people while accusing them of being terrorists when, in reality, it is the government which authorises terrorism against the masses and destroys any hope of a democracy.
It is at once ironic and amusing that the actions of Iraq's political factions have caused the UN such concern. What should be emphasised are not calls for violence or terrorism, but if the UN (and the self-declared democratic parties in Iraq, which are now yet another thing to worry about) is truly concerned about human rights violations in Iraq and other countries, it will need to do more to gain credibility than merely expressing its concerns. Words alone are not enough if we are truly to aim for a world in which all human beings are equal, regardless of gender, religion and ethnicity.
This is a translation of the Arabic text published by Al Quds Al Arabi newspaper on 17 February, 2014

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