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The Week in Iraq is a weekly assessment of significant incidents and trends in Iraqi civilian casualties by IBC's news collector and Recent Events editor Lily Hamourtziadou.

The analyses and opinions presented in these commentaries are personal to the author.

Recent weeks

Healing the wounds of the past
  18 Jan 2009

Happy New Year
  11 Jan 2009

The sad numbers
  31 Dec 2008

  21 Dec 2008

The farewell kiss
  14 Dec 2008

Regrets –he’s had a few…
  7 Dec 2008


The Week in Iraq

The ‘good,’ the ‘bad,’ and the truly ugly.

by Lily Hamourtziadou

10 Feb 2008

The ‘good’

BAYRK, Iraq – Making a positive impact on the lives of Iraqis, no matter how small, is a big part of current operations by Coalition Forces in the Fahama region.
Soldiers with the 1st Platoon, Company D, 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad, made an impact Feb. 2 by bringing presents to school children in Bayrk, a rural village in Fahama.
Upon arriving at the school, the soldiers passed out backpacks, pencils and stuffed animals to the eager children who swarmed around them.
It was not the first time soldiers in the platoon handed out treats to the children. These soldiers make an effort to bring toys and other school supplies when they go on missions in case children are present.
“We try to bring out snacks and toys and sometimes pens,” Romans said. “We’re in an area where the kids don’t have access to the things they need. I think they truly appreciate it.”
Original story

The ‘bad’

Suhaila 39, an Iraqi woman, the mother of a four-month-old daughter called “Zahra”, decided to sell her because she could not feed her. She displayed her in a vegetable market in Baghdad. With a starting price of $500, she finally managed to sell her for $1,000
Original story

The ugly

*A video has been found, showing children being trained to kill and kidnap. The boys, estimated to be as young as nine, wore suicide vests and balaclava masks, as they held guns to the heads of mock kidnap victims.

*According to an Iraqi MP who preferred to remain anonymous, during highly confidential negotiations representatives from American oil companies offered $5 million to each MP who voted in favour of the Oil and Gas law (Mosul Observer, 1 February).

*John McCain has expressed his regret over the withdrawal of British armed forces from combat in southern Iraq. His own formula for Iraq is ‘victory.’ He recently stated that US troops could be in Iraq for 100 years.

*Nearly 300 civilian are killed this week, 6 of them by US forces; at least 14 were children. On February 5th US soldiers, acting on a tip, enter a tiny house in the village of Dour and open fire on a sleeping family killing 4 of them: Ali Hamad, a farmer, his wife Naema Ali, their 19-year-old son and their 11-year-old daughter.

Bad masking as good, and good appearing bad …’Good’ soldiers handing out gifts to children whose parents they have killed, whose country they have ruined, while a ‘bad’ mother sells her child at the local market, to the highest bidder…

Who loves the children in question –the soldier or the mother? Who is the good and who is the bad in today’s Iraq? It has never seemed more unclear.

And the ugliness continues. The daily killings, the blood of innocents staining the streets of Baghdad, Mosul, Falluja, Baquba; the loss of all innocence as Iraqi children learn to kill, to violate, to cope with a life without boundaries, without ideals, without security, without hope; the shameless pursuit of wealth and power; the ruthless pursuit of ‘victory’, whatever that could now mean.

It may simply mean the triumph of the mighty over the weak.