The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Putting out fire with gasoline

The latest grim development in Iraq is not only a horrible story in itself (aren't those soldiers supposed to be on our side?), but gave me the troubling impression that Maliki and his cronies are poised to create their own authoritarian regime. That sort of thing tends to happen in a power vacuum.

Four Iraqi soldiers have been charged with raping a Sunni Muslim woman in Talafar, northern Iraq, officials say.

Brig Gen Nijm Abdullah, who acts as mayor, said the men had confessed.

It is the second time this week that members of Iraq's security forces have been accused of serious sexual assault of Sunni women.

The first case prompted a row between senior Sunni figures backing the allegations, and the Shia-led government, which has denied them.

Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has said the accusations in the first case were fabricated by Sunni groups trying to undermine the Shia-dominated security forces. . . .

Gen Abdullah said the troops initially denied the charge but later confessed when the woman picked them out at an identity parade. . . .

The earlier rape was alleged to have taken place in the Amil district in Baghdad.

A 20-year-old woman said she was raped by three policemen in a police station where she was taken after a search of her house.

Mr Maliki published what he said was a US doctors' report saying no sexual had taken place, but the US military has not confirmed its authenticity.

The officers were cleared within a day, sparking claims of a cover up by Sunni politicians.

Mr Maliki sacked a Sunni official who demanded an international inquiry into the case.

This article isn't as complete as the report I caught on BBC radio, although new details might have emerged since then. Late last night the story was that the soldiers accused of the rape in Talifar were not only cleared within hours, but given commendations by Maliki. In addition to the on-the-spot firing of an official who demanded an investigation.