Currently viewing the tag: "Iraq"

Given the continuing, indeed worsening, violence in Iraq, I think everyone at the recent seminar on How Mass Atrocities End: Iraq struggled to work with the title. The past few months threaten to reduce the drop, though by no means cessation, of political and criminal violence that began in late 2007 to an ephemeral page [...]

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Can the Iraq war tell us something general about how to end mass atrocities? Honestly, I don’t know. In fact, I’m not really sure that the Iraq war can tell us something about how to end mass atrocities in the Iraq case. Indeed, it is not at all clear to me that mass atrocities are [...]

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One important lesson we learned from post-Saddam Iraq is that violence is still an important political tool and it is not only used by the state, but also by groups competing to control or demolish the state. The excessive violence in Iraq was an outcome of nation- building process that was based on exclusion. One [...]

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Rather than debate the U.S. record, seminar discussions were focused on Iraqis’ experiences of mass violence, from diverse perspectives—historical, sociological, political, demographic and statistical, environmental. Iraqi scholars and specialists framed an agenda for studying patterns of violence around Iraq’s history and politics, including domestic governance and societal relations, and relations with neighboring states and international powers.

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During the Iran-Iraq war, the regime pursued the Iran-allied Kurdish rebels with a vengeance, focusing on both towns (arrests, deportations) and countryside (attacks on, then destruction of, villages); targeting insurgents but then also the civilians who – willingly or not – gave them shelter; and using at first conventional weapons (rockets, air-dropped bombs), but then also poison gas. The assault on the Kurds was one long escalation from 1982 (the first turning-point in the war) onward.

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The story of abuse in Iraq is about an extremely weak state with an even more bloated repressive apparatus than Saddam boasted at the height of the Iraq- Iran war; it is about settling of accounts; it is about treating the state that has so abused them as nothing more than a ghanima, a place to steal from as fast as one can because who knows what tomorrow may bring.

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