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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 success delusion

by Lily Hamourtziadou

2 Mar 2008

‘Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki gazed out at a sea of chanting Shiite pilgrims Thursday and offered a brash appraisal of his administration’s 21-month tenure. “We promised we would bring national reconciliation to the sons of Iraq, and we have succeeded!” Maliki thundered to hundreds of thousands of Shiites gathered at the golden-domed Imam Hussein Shrine in Karbala. “Iraqis are once again loving brothers!”

Perhaps this was a successful week then, when 149 civilians were reported dead. Or maybe February was a good month: national reconciliation was perhaps evident during a month when nearly 1,000 civilians died in violence, 47 of them children, as many as 62 killed by US forces.

Oh yes, and Iraq was invaded by Turkey too. An ‘incursion,’ they called it. Aimed at destroying PKK targets, with the blessings of the chief invader and occupier. Not that the US is not concerned about this development; Defence Secretary Robert Gates voiced the ‘principal concerns’ of the Bush administration last week: that the Turkish offensive could be prolonged, bloody and – ultimately – ineffective. Like the American offensive then. Luckily, it was not as prolonged, as it turned out, as Turkish forces withdrew after a week, and after having killed over 230 people (or ‘PKK targets’).

As for the Iraqi government, it has condemned the Turkish offensive as a ‘violation of Iraqi sovereignty.’ A condition also known as ‘the sovereignty delusion.’

Perhaps the most depressing (though not in the least surprising) piece of news this week came from a human rights organisation, as reported by the National Iraqi News Agency (NINA), that in the Babil province an increasing number of children are implicated in legal violations.

According to NINA’s report, recent years have witnessed a surge in acts of violence committed against or by children under 18 in Iraq. The survey also suggested that at least one case involved the participation in or planning of terrorist acts. Human rights advocate Hayder Al-Mutairi said:

“Children, who have undergone a bitter experience, cannot find an authority to deal properly with the consequences of that experience, as our hospitals lack proper psychological therapy that helps children to overstep those consequences, and lack the specialized staff in the concerned medical institutions.”

Another success then.

President Bush this week did not criticise Iraqis for inviting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran. He did, however, send a clear message to Iran. ‘And the message needs to be, quit sending in sophisticated equipment that’s killing our citizens.’

As if Iran was smuggling weapons and bombs into the US to kill Americans. As though his own country had not been occupying Iraq for nearly 5 years now.

Another delusion? I think not. Rather an assumption that we are delusional. Or just plain stupid.