UN: 613 Iraqi Civilians Killed in 2012

The shining city on a hill Washington promised in Iraq has not been forthcoming

The UN special envoy for Iraq, Martin Kobler, told the UN Security Council that terrorist attacks and sectarian violence in Iraq killed a total of 613 civilians in the first three months of 2012.

“This is slightly less than civilian casualties last year,” Kobler noted. “However, every man, woman, and child dying in terrorist attacks in the streets, markets, or mosques of Iraq is one casualty too many.”

Kobler said political instability and human rights violations had resulted in heightened sectarian tensions, which led to violent attacks on civilians. This is probably a reference to the regime of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who has been consolidating dictatorial power and marginalizing his political rivals through force and coercion.

According to Ayad Allawi, the secular Shi’ite leader of the opposition Iraqiya bloc in parliament, Maliki’s security forces have detained and brutally tortured more than 1,000 political opponents in secret prisons and denied them access to legal counsel. Press freedoms have also been put in jeopardy.

The Obama administration has been enthusiastically supportive of this, sending about $2 billion in annual aid and tens of billions in military assistance in 2011. While this keeps the halls of power in Washington and the oil corporations happy, it seems to be leading to violence and hundreds of additional civilian deaths each month.

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Author: John Glaser

John Glaser writes for Antiwar.com.