Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Salvador Style Death Squads in Iraq

In January, American media started talking about Pentagon's plans to exercise a "Salvadoran Option" in the Iraq counter-insurgency fight. Since then, this concept has at once been accepted as true in some way and also been forgotten. Meanwhile, Iraqi commentators like riverbend in Iraq have commented on the increasing paramilitary style operations in Iraq targetting clerics who are openly against the occupation. Riverbend is quoted below:

"Almost every Iraqi family can give the name of a friend or relative who is in one of the many American prisons for no particular reason. They aren’t allowed to see lawyers or have visitors and stories of torture have become commonplace. Both Sunni and Shia clerics who are in opposition to the occupation are particularly prone to attacks by “Liwa il Theeb” or the special Iraqi forces Wolf Brigade. They are often tortured during interrogation and some of them are found dead."

Max Fuller of the Centre for Research on Globalization has pointed also out that the recent discovery of mass graves have been in areas where the new Police Commando Units in the Iraqi Army are located. It is unclear to me if these are the same units that Riverbend calls the special operations "Wolf Brigade" of the Iraqi Army.

From Max Fuller's article

In the last few weeks, with the discovery of several mass graves in and around Baghdad, evidence of multiple extra-judicial killings has started to become much more visible, but, in fact, even a cursory review of such archives as the one compiled by Iraq Body Count ( /) reveals that mass executions have been taking place commonly in Iraq over at least the last six months. What is particularly striking is that many of those killings have taken place since the Police Commandos became operationally active and often correspond with areas where they have been deployed.

The clearest correlation is in Mosul, where the Police Commandos began operating in late October"

This analysis is not exactly scientific, but it is a bad sound, and i doubt it will be the last we hear about these "commando units" in the same paragraph as the words "death squads."

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