The model is a city enclosed by a security wall

U.S. President Bush seeks to spread optimism about Iraq, while Iraqi police report U.S. soldiers had killed 11 people "executed"

Wars have always been unjust. Civilians are the main victims of fighting and civil wars, especially in "asymmetric" conflicts such as the current one in Iraq, which three years after the "regime change" seems to be drifting more and more into chaos in some regions and cities. For Iraqis, at least, it is not true that the world has become safer after the fall of Hussein, quite the opposite. The Iraqi people are caught between all fronts and become victims of the occupying power, which actually wants to bring freedom, democracy and human rights. Even the "success story" that U.S. President Bush told yesterday in a speech about the once again liberated city of Tal Afar, which is surrounded by a security wall, has its dark sides.

model is a city enclosed by a security wall

American-Iraqi encounters do not always proceed as peacefully as they do here in Baghdad. Photo: Pentagon

The fact that also with the American soldiers bad things can happen like the torture of prisoners, one admits in the White House. But this is not intentional, as in the case of the "bad guys" who are being fought, nor is it the result of decisions taken at the highest level, but is merely the work of misguided individuals, whereby a constitutional state such as the U.S. is distinguished by the fact that the deeds have been cleared up and the culprits brought to justice. The investigation into many incidents, however, mostly came to naught, having come under the authority of the Pentagon itself, which has no interest in undermining the "morale" of its own troops by punishing them.

A case from November 2005 has just come to light, in which U.S. Marines are said to have shot 15 civilians, including children, in a punitive action near the town of Haditha after an attack with a cluster bomb on their vehicle, killing one U.S. soldier. In their report, the soldiers had stated that the latter, along with 15 Iraqis, had been killed by the bombing. They also reported that they had been attacked by insurgents and had then returned fire. In the process, 8 insurgents were killed.

Witnesses on the ground could not confirm this, however. The soldiers reportedly went on a revenge rampage into the village after the attack, indiscriminately killing 15 civilians, including 7 women and 3 children in their homes. Time had forwarded the witnesses’ reports to the Pentagon, which in January actually launched an investigation conducted by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Moreover, the magazine is in possession of a video showing the consequences of the racketeering and the victims. Bullet holes are found in the houses after this one, but not auben, which was suggested that there had not been a prior exchange of gunfire. The corpses were mostly still wearing sleeping clothes. According to Time, the US military admits that the Iraqi civilians were killed by the Marines’ gunfire. But perhaps the insurgents had taken cover behind civilians, as a spokeswoman for the multinational forces said. In the Pentagon one was forgotten the history probably gladly, after one nevertheless the relatives of the killed with 2.has compensated $500 per head. And even if the Marines killed the civilians, this was not done intentionally, but was "collateral damage". That just happens, to be sure.

But the fact that the Marines first told a cover story and only later, after Time had intervened, invented a new version, was allowed to indicate that the survivors’ and witnesses’ accounts could be true. In the newer version, Marines reported they had heard noises in a house as if from the safety catch of a rifle and fired in response. Then they were shot at by another house and returned fire, killing eight people, including four children. In another house there had been men with weapons. In total, 23 Iraqis had died in the house raids, which included 15 civilians, as well as four men and four teenagers, but the militar called them enemy combatants.

Model is a city enclosed by a security wall

Time story about the incident

Just in time for the three-year anniversary of the start of the war, the next incident has already become known. This time, as Knight Ridders Newspapers reports, Iraqi police officers, in a signed log that also covers other incidents, accuse American soldiers of executing 11 people last Wednesday, including a 75-year-old woman and a six-month-old baby. A Pentagon spokesman denied this, saying that during a search for a suspected al-Qaida member, four people – a woman, two children and "an enemy" – were killed, and one "enemy" was captured. However, only a preliminary investigation was made, so the number of dead could be higher. The Iraqi police claim that an execution took place is "highly unlikely" because U.S. forces are "taking every precaution not to endanger civilians".

The police officer’s report, which is also trusted by his superior, the head of a regional security center set up jointly with U.S. forces, is again based on statements by local police officers. In fact, neighbors have confirmed that an al-Qaeda member was in the teacher’s house. They are related to each other. At two o’clock in the morning U.S. troops had approached the house, there had been an exchange of fire. The soldiers were supported by combat helicopters.

Then, according to the account of the US soldiers, the house collapsed. In the trumpets, the four dead and the suspected al-Qaeda member were found alive. According to the Iraqi police report, however, the U.S. soldiers entered the house while it was still standing: "The American soldiers gathered the family members in one room and executed 11 people, 5 children, four women and two men. Then they blew up the house, burned three vehicles and killed the pets."The autopsies of the corpses had shown, as one correspondent reported, that all of them had bullet wounds in the heads and their hands were bound.

US President Bush during his speech in Cleveland. Photo: Female House

Tal Afar as a Model for a Liberated City

U.S. President Bush made good on the announcement, seeking in a speech in Cleveland, Ohio, to emphasize the success of the Iraq war and to promote the continued presence of troops, for whom five rough, well-secured bases will be built in the long term. Since the media focused only on the bad news and images and thus created a false impression, Bush described a concrete case, that of the pacification of the city of Tal Afar near the Syrian border. Of course, one could also say that focusing on one city avoids having to talk about the situation in all of Iraq.

Tal Afar is a town of about 200.000 inhabitants, the majority of whom are Turkmen and therefore not typical of the other three major population groups. Unlike Bush, it is not really possible to speak of Tal Aafar as being a typical Iraqi city in terms of its population composition. About 3 million Turkmen are said to live in northern Iraq. In 2004, insurgents and Islamists took control of the city, similar to other cities. U.S. troops began heavy attacks in September, prompting Turkey to intervene and call for restraint. Tens of thousands of people had fled the city, many houses were destroyed by the attacks. Allegedly, they had al-Qaeda supporters nestled here.

The city was eventually captured, the U.S. soldiers moved on again, the cursed insurgents returned – another common story – shortly thereafter and were soon back in control of the police and administration, threatening opponents and spreading fear and terror. This is impressively painted by Bush and went also before into media reports. In June 2005, Tal Afar was attacked again by U.S. and Iraqi soldiers and finally captured in September with the help of massive air strikes. As in Fallujah, the majority of the insurgents had previously been cursed, as had many of the residents. In July, the U.S. military had begun a new tactic, surrounding the city – as well as Samarra and Siniyah, for example – with a 64-kilometer-long wall, so that only in a few places could people enter or leave at checkpoints. Neighborhoods inhabited by Sunnis, where insurgents were suspected, were closed off with barbed wire. Before attacking the remaining insurgents in the city, the city was turned into a prison and the surrounding area was secured.

Model is a city enclosed by a security wall

U.S. soldiers patrol the conquered Valley of Afar in September 2005. Image: Pentagon

This operation, with the euphonious name "Operation Restoring Rights," has already been touted by the Pentagon and the White House as a model of how to clear, hold, and build places from insurgents, but it is a strategy that has not really been pursued elsewhere and would be difficult to apply to larger cities. In Tal Afar, 8.000 soldiers deployed for months. The US soldiers had to learn at least a little Arabic before the mission, the commander amed that they also had to understand the culture in order to be able to intervene in a meaningful way. moreover, they love to take time to talk and coordinate with the people and local leaders as well. In addition, of course, the rebels were not popular with the Turkmen, if only because of their brutal appearance. In a Sunni city, the situation would probably have been different. And after the "cleanup," reconstruction work actually began on a cruder scale.

But cities like Baghdad can hardly be completely sealed off from the surrounding countryside by a wall or a fence. Moreover, you cannot evacuate most of the population and destroy suspected rebel bases with massive air strikes. Nevertheless, Tal Afar had also been considered a model in the domino theory, or meme theory, popular in the White House, in that a "failed" city in Iraq, conquered by the Americans, restored, and then turned over to Iraqi security forces, was supposed to have a contagious effect and thus gradually spread the desired order – just as the democracy established by the Americans in prosperous Iraq was supposed to take hold of the whole region by contagion and turn it upside down.

However, according to a report in the Washington Post, for which residents of Tal Afar were interviewed, the fear of returning insurgents seems to be returning. People have also been killed in the city for cooperating with the Americans. Others fear that the city could be taken over again by al-Qaeda supporters if they continue to withdraw the Americans.

Apparently, they are also preparing a new terminology for the "enemies". Most of the time, there was talk of "foreign fighters," leftover Saddam supporters and terrorists, when there was no general mention of insurgents. Now, in response to a question from the audience for a clearer definition of the "enemy," Bush has offered three classes: the al-Qaida adherents who fight democracy, the "Saddamists" who want to reverse regime change, and the "rejectionists," mostly Sunnis according to Bush, who reject change because they fear repression as members of a minority, for example. Bush prefers not to mention the Shiite insurgents or the Shiites who want an Islamic state, as well as the Shiite death squads and militias that also work closely with the Interior Ministry and are linked to the police.

On the official website of the multinational forces, a "Fight for Freedom" section has already been added to the menu. However, apart from the "Most Wanted" titles, it is still empty. So work is in progress. Here, too, in addition to a depiction of the "threat", one wants to characterize the enemies. However, it is not only al-Qaida that is mentioned here, but "terrorists and foreign fighters" in general. The "Saddamists" and the "rejectionists" are also found here. So there should not be more opponents to keep the clarity.

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