OSC: Collective Punishment in Baghdad

The USG Open Source Center translates an article from the Arabic online press complaining about Iraqi government collective punishment of Baghdad city quarters that witness poor security.

US, Iraqi Forces Accused of Dividing Baghdad Neighborhoods on ‘Sectarian’ Basis
Report by Kalshan al-Bayyati “Residents of Baghdad: ‘The Government Imposes Collective Punishment on us”
Al-Arab Online
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Document Type: OSC Translated Text

Baghdad Residents Gathering has condemned the collective punishment that has been imposed by the Iraqi forces on a number of neighborhoods in Baghdad that witness security turmoil. The punishments include limiting the movements of the citizens, imposing curfews for long hours, in addition to building walls and fences around neighborhoods and isolating them from each other.

The gathering stated in a statement it released that “in a new development of the methods of the wanton occupation and its agent government, the forces called the (Iraqi) army and the police backed by the occupying troops impose collective punishments on the residents of the Baghdadi neighborhoods and on the rest of the Iraqi areas. These punishments include isolating those neighborhoods, limiting the movement of citizens after those neighborhoods turned into detention centers. This happened through constructing sectarian segregation walls that caused a lot of hardship especially, for children, elderly people, and women who stand in queues under the stifling sun heat, noting the presence of many sick people among them.
The application of this method comes after the targeting of their beasts (troops) by the national resistance and that is exactly what happened recently in Al-Amiriyah and Al-Saydiyah neighborhoods in Baghdad, in a way that is similar to what happened before in Al-Fallujah and Samaraa.”

The statement says also that “as we in Baghdad Residents Gathering condemn the application of these inhuman methods by the occupying forces and their agents, we call on all international and popular organizations in the Arab world to raise their voices to demand a stop to those practices which are considered as a continuation of the massive killing operations that commenced against the Iraqi people by the occupation and as an outcome of it.

The Gathering urges the residents of Baghdad and the rest of the governorates to show more patience and resistance, pointing out that these punishments are conducted against them as a response to their embrace of the national resistance and the support they extend to it.

The US Army announced last Saturday that “it chose in coordination with the Iraqi military commands a number of areas that are experiencing an escalation of violence in order to protect them from terrorists and not to divide the city (Baghdad) on a sectarian basis” adding that “a number of areas will be subjected to the same method.”

(Description of Source: Doha Al-Arab Online in Arabic — Website of independent newspaper, focuses on pan-Arab affairs; http://www.alarab.com.qa/)

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