After a long absence, Riverbend, of Baghdad Burning, is back with an account of how a young Iraqi woman gave an harrowing interview on TV about how she had been raped by Iraqi security forces who’d arrested her.
Within 14 hours, Prime Minister Nouri al-Makiki had issued a statement exonerating the officers involved and announcing that they are to be rewarded.
This is meant to discourage other prisoners, especially women, from coming forward and making claims against Iraqi and American forces. Maliki is the stupidest man alive (well, after Bush of course…) if he believes his arrogance and callous handling of the situation will work to dismiss it from the minds of Iraqis. By doing what he is doing, he’s making it more clear than ever that under his rule, under his government, vigilante justice is the only way to go. Why leave it to the security forces and police? Simply hire a militia or gang to get revenge. If he doesn’t get some justice for her, her tribe will be forced to… And the Janabat (the Al Janabis) are a force to be reckoned with.
Maliki could at least pretend the rape of a young Iraqi woman is still an outrage in todays Iraq…
This, of course, happened in Baghdad, but it gives a worrying ring to Blair’s words on the planned troop withdrawal:
“What all of this means is not that Basra is how we want it to be. But it does mean that the next chapter in Basra’s history can be written by Iraqis”.
It seems all too likely that it will be written in blood, or, rather, even more blood than at present.
I really don’t know what to make of it. On the one hand, I’m delighted that British soldiers are being withdrawn from a conflict into which they should never have been sent. On the other, it’s a terrible thing to walk away, knowing that the place will almost inevitably collapse into even worse chaos and civil war when we go. But, if that’s inevitable, then inevitable I suppose it is.
God alone knows what’ll happen when the Iranians get understandably fed up with a civil war and a massive humanitarian disaster going on next door.
Update: I see Gracchus, who is looking after Imagined Community, shares my concerns about what happens next, though he expresses them far more fully and more eloquently than can I. On balance, though, I think we should remember that the Turks, Iranians and Saudis aren’t complete idiots and that they’ve got even more incentive to avoid exacerbating the situation than have we, since it’s just next door to them. I’m not saying Gracchus thinks they are idiots, of course; rather than we tend to forget that they’ve got a justifiable interest in what’s happening next door to their respective countries and can hardly make a worse fist of things than our American friends, with our assistance, have done.