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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Making enemies

Baghdad-based Patrick Cockburn writes in the UK Independent that US troops are continuing to kill Iraqis with impunity, unlikely to be prosecuted or even investigated:

"We should end the immunity of US soldiers here," says Dr Mahmoud Othman, a veteran Kurdish politician who argues that the failure to prosecute American soldiers who have killed civilians is one of the reasons why the occupation became so unpopular so fast. He admits, however, that this is extremely unlikely to happen given the US attitude to any sanctions against its own forces."

Furthermore, the recent upsurge in insurgent violence can be explained in a variety of reasons, including:

"It was obvious to many American officers from an early stage in the conflict that the Pentagon's claim that it did not count civilian casualties was seen by many Iraqis as proof that the US did not care about how many of them were killed. The failure to take Iraqi civilian dead into account was particularly foolish in a culture where relatives of the slain are obligated by custom to seek revenge."


Robert Fisk reveals in the Independent on Sunday that the 2002 Tony Blair "dossier" on WMD, translated into Arabic, contained numerous changes and deletions and differences to the English version.

"Translation carried out for The Independent on Sunday reveals for the first time that several references to UN sanctions were cut from the Arabic text. On one page, the words "biological agents" were changed to read "nuclear agents". Arab journalists who reported on the dossier culled their information from the Arabic version - unaware that it was not the same as the English one.

"While there is evidence of sloppiness in the translation - a 2001 Joint Intelligence Committee assessment of Iraqi nuclear ambitions is rendered as 2002 - many of the changes were clearly deliberate, apparently in an attempt to make the dossier more acceptable as well as more convincing to an Arab audience. At the time, the US and Britain were trying to convince Arab Gulf states that Saddam Hussein still represented a major threat to them - in the hope of seeking their support for the 2003 invasion - while the Arab world was enraged at the disastrous effects UN sanctions had on child mortality in Iraq."


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