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Tony Bliar: "Reconcile" This!

Hussein Al-alak, The Iraq Solidarity Campaign, URUKNET | 20.05.2007 15:16 | Iraq | Repression | Terror War

On what was his last visit to Iraq, British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced on the 19/5/2007, that he had "no regrets about removing Saddam," in a staged visit that was used to promote “reconciliation“ inside of the war torn country.

According to Reuters, the outgoing leader of the Labour Party, “met Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and President Jalal Talabani and discussed the situation in Iraq which is beset by sectarian violence.”

The Prime Minister declared: "The future of Iraq should be determined by Iraqis in accordance with their wishes and it is important that all the neighbouring countries understand and respect that".

Blair’s arrival was greeted with “A mortar round,” which landed “in the heavily fortified Green Zone”, with other reports including how a similar attack on Wednesday killed two people within the US base.

Resistance attacks against British Troops have been rising over the past few months, with April being declared the “bloodiest month up to now“.

This has been the biggest set back for the British since the invasion in 2003, which was launched on the premise, that former President Saddam Hussein had been accumulating “weapons of mass destruction“, whilst Iraq was economically isolated under the UN imposed sanctions.

"We need to take advantage of the possible momentum in Iraqi politics to create the space for long-term security," a Blair spokesman announced on Saturday, "The key to that is reconciliation ensuring the needs of Iraqis of different communities are properly taken into account and a lasting political accommodation is reached between them."

Hitting the skids on his departure, a recent poll taken from the Observer revealed, that over 58 % of British people thought the destruction of Iraq, was Blair’s failed legacy, as more people view the out going PM as being the “puppet” of US President George W. Bush.

Blair’s departure is also being mired by allegations made in the Independent, which revealed on the 18/5/2007, that “The British Army is facing new allegations that it was involved in "forced disappearances", hostage-taking and torture of Iraqi civilians after the fall of the regime of Saddam Hussein.”

Robert Verkaik wrote that: “One of the claims is made by the former chairman of the Red Crescent in Basra, who alleges he was beaten unconscious by British soldiers after they accused him of being a senior official in Saddam's Ba’ath party.”

Other allegations include: “The family of another Iraqi civilian claims he was arrested and kidnapped by the British in order to secure the surrender of his brother, who was also accused of being a high-ranking member of the (Ba’ath) party. He was later found shot dead, still handcuffed and wearing a UK prisoner name tag.”

Apparently, “Both cases are being prepared for hearings in the High Court in which the Government will be accused of war crimes while carrying out the arrest and detention of alleged senior members of the Baath party.”

“Last month, the first British soldier to be convicted of a war crime was jailed for a year and dismissed from the Army after being convicted of mistreating Iraqi civilians, including the hotel worker Baha Mousa, who died of his injuries at the hands of British soldiers.”

Blair’s Labour government, was also criticised earlier in the year, with a UN report claiming in February that, “Children growing up in the United Kingdom suffer greater deprivation, worse relationships with their parents and are exposed to more risks from alcohol, drugs and unsafe sex than those in any other wealthy country in the world.”

A similar scenario is now being faced by Iraqi young people, where it is claimed that since “liberation”, poverty, violence and the forced dispersal of families, has led to an increase in gangs kidnapping children, as young as thirteen and forcing them into drugs and prostitution.

Through revenues brought in by nationalised oil, the Ba’ath Party launched a campaign against illiteracy, with levels dropping to less than 10%. The Iraqi government had also issued a law which made education available and compulsory to all children and more importantly, this was provided for free - in other words: “from cradle to grave”.

In 1998, Felicity Arbuthnot accredited UNESCO as claiming that, “Iraq was one of the only countries in the world where, even if you were born in absolute poverty, with illiterate parents you could come out of the education system either a brain surgeon, archaeologist or whatever you wished to become."

The Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) reported on the 17/5/2007, that "Violence and lack of resources have undermined the education sector in Iraq. No student will graduate this year with sufficient competence to perform his or her job, and pupils will end the year with less than 60 percent of the knowledge that was supposed to have been imparted to them," said Professor Fua’ad Abdel-Razak, at the Baghdad University.

With echoes of inner city UK school “According to Lina Muhammad, a primary school teacher in Baghdad’s Mansour district, no teacher in her school will be able to complete this year’s curriculum because of violence, low attendance by students and a lack of teaching materials.”

Hussein Al-alak, The Iraq Solidarity Campaign, URUKNET
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  1. No truth — At the BBC