Despite the Obama Administration’s claims that the US had transformed Iraq into a free society by way of its eight and a half year occupation, a new report today from Human Rights Watch warns of an unsettling move toward authoritarianism.
The report, which terms Iraq a “budding police state,” warns that the government “routinely abuse protesters, harass journalists, torture detainees and intimidate activists.” The report referred back to early attempts at Arab Spring protests in Iraq, which ended with bloody crackdowns and mass arrests.
It also details mass arrests of Ba’ath Party suspects, which took place in the last weeks before the US pullout. Most of the detainees remain held without charges.
The report is just an annual one, but the timing could be particularly irksome for the Maliki government, with ongoing concern about his recent mass arresting of political opponents.