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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


by Lily Hamourtziadou

23 Nov 2008

‘Coalition forces killed two terrorists’ reads the headline (MNF–Iraq, 18 November).

‘The target of the operation in Sinjar, about 85 km southwest of Mosul,’ the report continues, ‘was an AQI member with alleged involvement in logistical and foreign terrorist facilitation operations. When forces approached the vehicle occupied by the targeted terrorist, the driver initially complies with instructions. However, as the assault force moved closer to the vehicle, the driver reached for a weapon. The assault force then engaged the armed terrorist and his associate, which resulted in the death of all five occupants in the vehicle.’

Five occupants? Who were the other three? ‘One woman and two children inside the vehicle were killed as well.’

They were among the 62 civilians killed this week in Iraq.

Thousands of Shiites demonstrated in Baghdad against the agreement that would extent US military presence in their country for at least another 3 years, or, as they call it, ‘the pact of subservience and shame’ (Washington Post, 21 November). ‘America out!’ they shouted, burning an effigy of President Bush. ‘No, no to the agreement of humiliation,’ they chanted.


For once, Shiites and Sunnis are in agreement, as the Shiite slogans are echoed by Sunni figure Dr Muthanna Harith al-Dari, media and culture officer in the Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq, when he says ‘through this agreement the government legitimised the occupation’s existence and… it absolves occupation forces of responsibility for any of the repercussions of their occupation of Iraq.’ This deal requires, he says, a ‘humiliating submission’ through an ‘agreement of subservience’ (Al-Jazeera TV, 19 November).

To those who oppose it, the proposed agreement is a source of humiliation, of subservience, of legitimation of an enemy force, of shame. They are as willing to sign an agreement with a force that has invaded their country and has killed thousands of civilians, as they would be to sign a deal with those who blow up their citizens in the streets of Iraq. They have both brought death and shame to Iraqis. They are not the best parties to sign agreements with.

The agreement with the occupier shames the Iraqis. While the continuing daily killings, by Arab or American, shame us all. Human life has never seemed cheaper.