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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

Helping Iraq

by Lily Hamourtziadou

13 Apr 2008

‘Iraq’s financial free ride may end’ reads the headline (Anne Flaherty, Associated Press, 15 April).

Indeed, the free ride ‘may be over’ very soon: ‘I think the American people are growing weary not only of the war, but they are looking at why Baghdad can’t pay more of these costs,’ states Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska. In the future, Iraq will be receiving ‘loans’ rather than ‘grants’ and ultimately, declares George W Bush, ‘we expect Iraq to shoulder the full burden’ of their costs.

That’s right –those ungrateful Iraqis have been having it too easy lately. Surely they cannot expect their good fortune to last for ever, especially now that they have everything. Democracy, peace, happiness, wealth, prosperity. Gifts given selflessly by their various benefactors.

But wait, we are too generous to give up now. A little bit more help perhaps from the oil companies: ‘Oil giants Chevron Corp. and Total have confirmed that they are in discussions with the Iraqi Oil Ministry to increase production in an important oil field in southern Iraq’ (Sinan Salaheddin, Associated Press, 12 April). According to Chevron spokesman, ‘Chevron is interested in helping the Iraq government’s objectives to develop its oil and gas industry.’ Of course, it is all about helping. They all want to help Iraq. Exxon Mobil also wants to help, as does Royal Dutch Shell.

The militia are also helping, in their own way.

‘Iraqi militias win recruits with aid,’ reminds us another report by Anne Flaherty (14 April). They have always done so and are still at work, in the new free and democratic Iraq: ‘Sectarian militias are increasing their profile in Iraq and recruiting members by providing much-needed assistance to families displaced by the war, according to the Washington-based advocacy group Refugees International.’ The Iraqi government’s inability to provide for its citizens has enabled Sunni and Shia militias to step in and provide food, oil, electricity, clothing and money. And ‘jobs’ for a lot of them, as members of the armed groups in question.

So many are helping Iraq. Iran, our armies, our governments, their government, their militia groups, the various oil companies… there is no shortage of help for those lucky Iraqis who have had to endure another week of clashes, another week of bombings and shootings that caused the deaths of 260 civilians, 20 of them children, 31 of them killed by our soldiers. All accomplished with our ‘help’ and theirs.

There is a suggestion: perhaps we would all be helping them more if we stopped killing them, and if we stopped killing their children.