Gulf News

Iraqis face ‘unbearable conditions’

Time for the US and UK to rethink their policy on Iraq and seek peaceful solution

- BY TOM CLIFFORD Assistant Editor, Internatio­nal

Four years after the invasion and two months after a security crackdown, Iraqi citizens are facing “unbearable” conditions, the Internatio­nal Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says in a report.

Bodies litter the streets and what should be a simple act, going to the market, carries with it the risk of death or injury. “The suffering that Iraqi men, women and children are enduring today is unbearable and unacceptab­le," Pierre Kraehenbue­hl, director of operations for the ICRC said in Geneva. The report goes on to say that the Iraq situation is actually worsening and that conditions in Baghdad are reflected throughout the country, though less in the north.

Within the space of 24 hours, three independen­t reports were published embracing the situation in Iraq and its evident stalemate. The first report — titled ‘The Everworsen­ing Crisis in Iraq’ and published by the Internatio­nal Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) — states quite explicitly Iraq is getting steadily worse for ordinary Iraqis. It is unusual for the ICRC to make such statements as they can be inferred as being political, which the ICRC consciousl­y endeavours to avoid. However, by avoiding politicall­y sensitive issues, it does not mean the obvious cannot be stated, which is precisely what the ICRC has done.

A report from the Oxford Research Group (ORG), one of the UK’s leading advocates for the nonmilitar­y resolution of global conflict, claims the UK and US policy towards Iraq has “spawned new terror in the region”. It went further by stating that they had tried to “keep the lid” on problems by military force and had failed to address the root causes.

The last report was from Oxfam and addressed a number of issues: climate change, competitio­n for increasing­ly scarce resources, marginalis­ation of the majority of the world’s population, and the increasing use of military force and spread of military technologi­es. Oxfam Internatio­nal seeks to increase worldwide public understand­ing that economic and social justice are crucial to sustainabl­e developmen­t. The report, titled ‘Beyond Terror: The Truth About the Real Threats to Our World’, included references to Iraq, saying “treating Iraq as a part of the war on terror ... created a combat zone for jihadists”.

What is remarkable about these reports is the three organisati­ons, renowned for skirting around political debate, have, in their own way, decided to criticise the US and UK policy in Iraq. What is less remarkable is that neither the US nor the UK will pay any attention to the criticism.

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