30,000 displaced from Fallujah
BAGHDAD—Fighting in the Iraqi city of Fallujah has displaced at least 30,000 people in three days, the Norwegian Refugee Council said Sunday, warning that a humanitarian disaster was unfolding.
Iraqi forces achieved a breakthrough on Thursday, taking over the center of Fallujah while the ISIS group retreated to areas in the north of the city. That allowed thousands of civilians who had been used as human shields to flee the city, a key militants stronghold west of Baghdad that had been besieged for months.
“The estimated total number of displaced from Fallujah in just the last three days is now at a staggering 30,000 people,” the NRC said in a statement. The aid group,
HISHAM MELHEM T was a moral rational Cri de Coeur for taking steps to end the carnage in Syria, but it was also grounded in equally clear and compelling strategic imperatives. For weeks, scores of State Department officers in Washington and in U.S. embassies in the Middle East have been circulating a draft of a sharply critical “dissent cable” of the Obama administration’s fickle policies towards the tragic war in Syria, and forcefully urging the United States to end its dithering and carry out military strikes if necessary to compel the Assad regime to end its systematic mass murder of Syrian civilians.
About two weeks ago the message titled Syria Policy was posted on the “Dissent Channel” signed by fifty one mostly middle ranking and junior officers who worked over the last five years on aspects of Syria policy, and who were exposed to the daily gut-wrenching accounts that came across their desks of the demoralizing and very depressing depredations, mostly from the Assad regime.
The Dissent Channel was set up during the Vietnam War as a vehicle for officers who had strong political and moral disagreements with official policies, to express their dissent to their senior officials
Iwhich runs displacement camps around Fallujah, said another 32,000 people had already been displaced since the start of the government offensive against the ISIS bastion nearly a month ago.
It said it believed dozens of families were still inside Fallujah, including the most vulnerable civilians such as pregnant women, the sick and the elderly. The aid community has been overwhelmed by the influx of people and many were sleeping in the open, in the scorching summer sun and waiting for a tent at one of the displacement camps.
“We implore the Iraqi government to take charge of this humanitarian disaster unfolding on our watch,” NRC’s Iraq director Nasr Muflahi said in the statement.—Agencies without fear of retaliation.
Although the military recommendations in the dissent message are thoughtful and the signatories believe that “perhaps most critically, a more muscular military posture under U.S. leadership would underpin and propel a new and reinvigorated diplomatic initiative.” It is very unlikely that President Obama, who pursued half-heartedly and with stunning detachment several tentative, incomplete and contradictory approaches to Syria will fundamentally alter his current policy, which involves only criticizing the Assad policies but steering away from undermining him or his regime, and focus instead on containing the threat of ISIS.
A history of dissent: uring the Vietnam War a number of National Security Council staff, including Anthony Lake, who served later as President Bill Clinton’s first National Security Advisor resigned in protest over the war. During the Bosnian war in the 1990’s, a number of midlevel young officers involved in that conflict resigned out of frustration with the bulk of American troops in Japan. Also contentious is a plan to relocate a Marine Corps air station to a less-populated part of the southwestern island. The relocation plan developed after public anger erupted in 1995 over the rape of a girl by three American servicemen.
The killing of the local woman, who had been missing for several weeks when her body was found last month, set off outrage on Okinawa, where tensions periodically run high over crime linked to American troops. The U.S. contractor, a former Marine, was arrested on May 19 on suspicion of abandoning the woman’s body, but has not yet been charged with killing her. Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga told the crowd at the rally in Okinawa’s capital, Naha, that he wanted to apologize to the woman for failing to protect her, even after what happened in 1995. “We had pledged never to repeat such an incident,” he said. “I couldn’t change the political system to prevent that. That is my utmost regret as a politician and as governor of Okinawa.”
About 65,000 people attended the rally, according to the Kyodo News agency. Many people held signs demanding the Marines leave and the overall military on Okinawa be scaled back. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is behind the security agreement with the U.S., and wants Japan to take on a bigger military role on the international stage. But those at the rally said they wanted a more peace-oriented Japan.—Agencies President Obama remained immune to the shame of the many Srebrenicas that the Assad regime has committed in Syria.
The conscientious objectors to America’s policies towards the wars of Vietnam, the Balkans and Syria have always been midlevel and young officers, maybe because group think and bureaucracy have not jaded them enough, and maybe because of their youth they don’t have burdensome family responsibilities,