maandag 3 juli 2006
Counter Punch bericht: 'Iraq is Disintegrating.
By PATRICK COCKBURN
Khanaqin, North-East Iraq - Across central Iraq, there is an exodus of people fleeing for their lives as sectarian assassins and death squads hunt them down. At ground level, Iraq is disintegrating as ethnic cleansing takes hold on a massive scale.The state of Iraq now resembles Bosnia at the height of the fighting in the 1990s when each community fled to places where its members were a majority and were able to defend themselves. "Be gone by evening prayers or we will kill you," warned one of four men who called at the house of Leila Mohammed, a pregnant mother of three children in the city of Baquba, in Diyala province north-east of Baghdad. He offered chocolate to one of her children to try to find out the names of the men in the family.Mrs Mohammed is a Kurd and a Shia in Baquba, which has a majority of Sunni Arabs. Her husband, Ahmed, who traded fruit in the local market, said: "They threatened the Kurds and the Shia and told them to get out. Later I went back to try to get our furniture but there was too much shooting and I was trapped in our house. I came away with nothing." He and his wife now live with nine other relatives in a three-room hovel in Khanaqin.The same pattern of intimidation, flight and death is being repeated in mixed provinces all over Iraq. By now Iraqis do not have to be reminded of the consequences of ignoring threats.In Baquba, with a population of 350,000, gunmen last week ordered people off a bus, separated the men from the women and shot dead 11 of them. Not far away police found the mutilated body of a kidnapped six-year-old boy for whom a ransom had already been paid.The sectarian warfare in Baghdad is sparsely reported but the provinces around the capital are now so dangerous for reporters that they seldom, if ever, go there, except as embeds with US troops. Two months ago in Mosul, I met an Iraqi army captain from Diyala who said Sunni and Shia were slaughtering each other in his home province. "Whoever is in a minority runs," he said. "If forces are more equal they fight it out."It was impossible to travel to Baquba, the capital of Diyala, from Baghdad without extreme danger of being killed on the road. But I thought that if I took the road from Kurdistan leading south, kept close to the Iranian border and stayed in Kurdish-controlled territory I could reach Khanaqin, a town of 75,000 people in eastern Diyala. If what the army captain said about the killings and mass flight was true then there were bound to be refugees who had reached there.' Lees verder: http://www.counterpunch.org/ Of: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article13139.htm