Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Woe is Iraq

"In Ramadi, a ragtag solution with real results," headlined a story on successes in U.S. training of local police, the Los Angeles Times' effort to report good news about Iraq. Soon bad news muscled in: "Ramadi suicide blasts kill at least 25" read an hours-later update. Perhaps the only surprise is that a reporter found even fleeting good news in Iraq. Surely there is none in the 1st-quarter report of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq. To the problem of counting casualties cited in the report and discussed here, add these:
Armed groups from all sides...frequently violated the sanctity of places of religious worship, such as mosques to store weapons and ammunition, occupied civilian buildings such as schools, and disregarded the protected status of health facilities and health professionals....(¶5)
Kidnappings and hostage-taking remained a daily occurrence....(¶5)
...reports of possible collusion between armed mlitia and Iraqi Special Forces....(¶16)
...threats to lecturers and students, deadly attacks on educational institutions, and the individual targeting of teaching professionals....(¶20)
...journalists remained one of the most vulnerable professional groups, with an increasing number of them killed, abducted or otherwise threatened....(¶28)
Attacks against religious and ethnic minorities continued unabated....(¶39)
...flight of Palestinian refugees towards the Syrian border continued....(¶43)
...women's right to life and pesonal security remained of serious concern...given the high incidence of "honor killings" and other abuses....(¶49)
...4 million are estimated to be acutely vulnerable due to food insecurity. (¶60)
...an estimated 54% of the Iraqi population is living on less than US$ 1 per day, among whom 15% is living in extreme poverty (less than US$ 0.5 per day)....(¶62)
...12,000 out of 34,000 doctors have left Iraq, 250 have been kidnapped, and 2,000 physicians have been killed....(¶62)
...apparent lack of judicial guarantees in the handling of suspects arrested....(¶68)

On 1 measure, however, Iraq has crept toward the top tier internationally: it now ranks 4th in the world in execution of death sentences.

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