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Posts Tagged ‘Falluja

Iraqi Birth Defects: Usage of depleted uranium shells for years

I watched a documentary on the cable ARTE yesterday on the birth defects suffered by babies in Iraq after the US invasion of 2003.

And today Hot Posts is disseminating what Rania Khalek wrote. This is a reblog with minor editing. 

Rania Khalek posted on March 20, 2013 in her blog “Dispatches from the underclass”

The United States may have finished dropping bombs on Iraq, but Iraqi bodies and babies will be dealing with the consequences for generations to come in the form of birth defects, mysterious illnesses and skyrocketing cancer rates.

Al Jazeera’s Dahr Jamail reports that contamination from U.S. weapons, particularly Depleted Uranium (DU) munitions, has led to an Iraqi health crisis of epic proportions.

Children being born with two heads, children born with only one eye, multiple tumors  disfiguring facial and body deformities, and complex nervous system problems…” are just some of the congenital birth defects being linked to military-related pollution.

In certain Iraqi cities, the health consequences are significantly worse than those seen in the aftermath of the atomic bombing of Japan at the end of WWII.

(Dr Samira Alani/Al Jazeera])

(Dr Samira Alani/Al Jazeera])

The highest rates are in the city of Fallujah, which underwent two massive US bombing campaigns in 2004.

Though the U.S. initially denied it, officials later admitted using white phosphorus (like what Israel used on Gaza).

In addition, U.S. and British forces unleashed an estimated 2,000 tons of depleted uranium ammunition in populated Iraqi cities in 2003.

DU, a chemically toxic heavy metal produced in nuclear waste, is used in weapons due to its ability to pierce through armor.

That’s why the US and UK were among a handful of nations (France and Israel) who in December refused to sign an international agreement to limit its use, insisting DU is not harmful, science be damned.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon’s refusal to release details about where DU munitions were fired has made it difficult to clean up.

Today, 14.7% of Fallujah’s babies are born with a birth defect, 14 times the documented rate in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Fallujah’s babies have also experienced heart defects 13 times the European rate and nervous system defects 33 times that of Europe.

That comes on top of a 12-fold rise in childhood cancer rates since 2004.

The male-to-female birth ratio is now 86 boys for every 100 girls, indicating genetic damage that affects males more than females.

(Dr Samira Alani/Al Jazeera)

(Dr Samira Alani/Al Jazeera)

(On a side note, these pictures are rather sanitized compared to other even more difficult to look at images. See here if you can bear it.)

If Fallujah is the Iraqi Hiroshima, then Basra is its Nagasaki counterpart.

According to a study published in the Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, a professional journal based in the southwestern German city of Heidelberg, there was a 7 fold increase in the number of birth defects in Basra between 1994 and 2003.

According to the Heidelberg study, the concentration of lead in the milk teeth of sick children from Basra was almost 3 times as high as comparable values in areas where there was no fighting.

In addition, never before has such a high rate of neural tube defects (“open back”) been recorded in babies as in Basra, and the rate continues to rise. According to the study, the number of hydrocephalus (“water on the brain”) cases among new-born is 6 times as high in Basra as it is in the United States.

These phenomenon are not isolated to Fallujah and Basra. The overall Iraqi cancer rate has also skyrocketed:

Official Iraqi government statistics show that, prior to the outbreak of the First Gulf War in 1991, the rate of cancer cases in Iraq was 40 out of 100,000 people.

By 1995, it had increased to 800 out of 100,000 people, and, by 2005, it had doubled to at least 1,600 out of 100,000 people. Current estimates show the increasing trend continuing.

As Grist’s Susie Cagle points out, “That’s potentially a more than 4,000% increase in the cancer rate, making it more than 500 percent higher than the cancer rate in the U.S.

Dr. Mozghan Savabieasfahani, an environmental toxicologist based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, told Jamail that “These observations collectively suggest an extraordinary public health emergency in Iraq. Such a crisis requires urgent multifaceted international action to prevent further damage to public health.”(

Dr. Samira Alani/Al Jazeera)

Instead, the international community, including the nation most responsible for the health crisis is mostly ignoring the problem.

To make matters worse, Iraq’s healthcare system, which was once the envy of the region, is virtually nonexistent due to the mass exodus of Iraq’s medical doctors since 2003.

According to recent estimates, there are currently fewer than 100 psychiatrists and 20,0000 physicians serving a population of 31 million Iraqis.

Dahr Jamail was on Democracy Now this morning discussing the horrific effects of military-related pollution in Iraq:

Yanar Mohammad, President of the Organization for Women’s Freedom in Iraq was also on Democracy Now and addressed the toxic legacy of birth defects in Iraq. (I interviewed Mohammed for a piece I wrote for Muftah about the deterioration of Iraqi women’s rights since the invasion, which you can read here.

)https://www.youtube.com/embed/5eBgRcgLNW0?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent 

 

Iraqi Government Losing Control of Border Crossings and Syria extending a hand by bombing towns on the Syrian/Iraqi borders that fell in ISIS (Da3esh) control.

ISIS fighters captured the border crossing at Qaim on Friday. Over the weekend, the group appeared to be trying to seize the remaining Iraqi government controlled border crossings with Syria and Jordan. RELATED ARTICLE »

Sources: Caerus AssociatesLong War JournalInstitute for the Study of War

ISIS partial or complete control   Contested    Recent fighting

Al Waleed There were unconfirmed reports that government forces had fled. Frightened police officers, reached by telephone, said that the army had already left and that the police scattered when militants arrived. Qaim ISIS captured this crossing on Friday. Bukamal, on the Syrian side, was also out of government control, with groups including the Free Syrian Army and Al Nusra Front maintaining a strong presence. Rabia Kurdish forces secured this crossing following the fall of Mosul. Yaroubia, on the Syrian side, is controlled by Kurdish forces of a different political affiliation.

Consequences of Sectarian Violence on Baghdad’s Neighborhoods

Baghdad became highly segregated in the years after the American-led invasion of Iraq.

The city’s many mixed neighborhoods hardened into enclaves along religious and ethnic divisions. 

These maps, based on the work of Michael Izady for Columbia University’s Gulf 2000 project, show how the city divided from 2003 to 2009.

KEY Sunni majority Shiite majority Christian majority Mixed areas

2003

Sadr

City

Kadhimiya

Adhamiya

BAGHDAD

Green Zone

Baghdad

Airport

Tigris River

2 MILES

2009

Adhamiya

Huriya

BAGHDAD

Green Zone

Amiriya

Baghdad

Airport

Tigris River

2 MILES

2003: Before the Invasion

Before the American invasion, Baghdad’s major sectarian groups lived mostly side by side in mixed neighborhoods.

The city’s Shiite and Sunni populations were roughly equal, according to Juan Cole, a University of Michigan professor and Middle East expert.

2009: Violence Fuels Segregation

Sectarian violence exploded in 2006. Families living in areas where another sect was predominant were threatened with violence if they did not move.

By 2009 Shiites were a majority, with Sunnis reduced to about 10 percent to 15 percent of the population.

• Kadhimiya, a historically Shiite neighborhood, is home to a sacred Shiite shrine.

• Adhamiya, a historically Sunni neighborhood, contains the Abu Hanifa Mosque, a Sunni landmark.

• The Green Zone became the heavily fortified center of American operations during the occupation.

• Sadr City was the center of the insurgent Mahdi Army, led by the Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr.

• Huriya was transformed in 2006 when the Mahdi Army pushed out hundreds of families in a brutal spasm of sectarian cleansing.

• More than 8,000 displaced families relocated to Amiriya, the neighborhood where the Sunni Awakening began in Baghdad.

• Adhamiya, a Sunni island in Shiite east Baghdad, was walled and restricted along with other neighborhoods in 2007 for security.

• Neighborhoods east of the Tigris Riverare generally more densely populated than areas to the west.

Source: Dr. M. Izady, Columbia University’s Gulf 2000 project

Battle for the Baiji Oil Refinery

Witnesses reported that Sunni extremists seized Iraq’s largest oil refinery on June 18 after fighting the Iraqi Army for a week, but officials disputed the reports and the situation remains unclear.

Workers were evacuated, and the facility, which provides oil for domestic consumption to 11 Iraqi provinces, including Baghdad, was shut down. RELATED ARTICLE »

Source: Satellite image by NASA

ABOUT 100

MILES TO

MOSUL

ABOUT 50 MILES

TO KIRKUK

Power

plant

1

Tigris

River

Oil refinery

Employee

dormitories

Village

Employee

village

Village

Smoke plume

at 10:30 a.m.

Wednesday.

Baiji

ABOUT 115 MILES

TO BAGHDAD

1 MILE

Encroaching on Baghda

Since seizing Mosul on June 10, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has been attacking towns along the main highway heading south, coming closer and closer to the capital.RELATED ARTICLE »

Sources: Institute for the Study of War,Long War Journal

KEY  Towns attacked  Bomb attacks

ABOUT 140 MILES

TO MOSUL

MILES FROM

CENTRAL BAGHDAD

ABOUT 80 MILES

TO KIRKUK

70

Adhaim

JUNE 15

Samarra

JUNE 11, 13, 17

60

Al-Mutasim

JUNE 14

Dhuluiya

JUNE 12

50

Ishaqi

Muqdadiya

The Iraqi army retook control of Ishaqi and Muqdadiya on June 14. In Muqdadiya, a Shiite militia assisted the government forces.

40

Dujail

JUNE 14

30

Militants took control of several neighborhoods inBaquba on June 16 but were repulsed by security officers after a three-hour gun battle.

Baquba

JUNE 16, 17

Tarmiyah

JUNE 11

20

Falluja and many towns in the western province of Anbar have been under ISIS control for about six months.

Tigris

River

10

At least five bomb attacks occurred in Baghdad, mainly in Shiite areas, in the week after the rebel group took Mosul.

Sadr City

Kadhimiya

Falluja

Bab al-Sheikh

Al-Bab Al-Sharqi

Baghdad

Saidiyah

Ten Years of ISIS Attacks in Iraq

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Sunni militant group that staged a stunning operation to seize Iraq’s second largest city, has been fueling sectarian violence in the region for years. RELATED ARTICLE »

100

80

60

Attacks That Could Be Attributed to ISIS

40

20

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Mosul

Kirkuk

Baghdad

IRAQ

Basra

2004

51 attacks

 

2005

58 attacks

2006

5 attacks

2007

56 attacks

2008

62 attacks

2009

78 attacks

2010

86 attacks

2011

34 attacks

2012

603 attacks

2013

419 attacks

2004-05 The group emerges as “Al Qaeda in Iraq” following the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Its goal is to provoke a civil war. 2006-07 The group’s February 2006 bombing of one of Iraq’s most revered Shiite shrines ignites sectarian violence across the country. After merging with several other Sunni insurgent groups, it changes its name to the Islamic State of Iraq. 2008-10 I.S.I. claims responsibility for more than 200 attacks, many in densely-populated areas around Baghdad. 2011-12 The group is relatively quiet for most of 2011, but re-emerges after American troops withdraw from Iraq. 2013 Seeing new opportunities for growth, I.S.I. enters Syria’s civil war and changes its name to reflect a new aim of establishing an Islamic religious state spanning Iraq and Syria. Its success in Syria bleeds over the border to Iraq.
Note: Before 2011, less information was available on who was responsible for attacks, so the number of ISIS attacks from 2004 to 2010 may be undercounted.

Sources: Global Terrorism Database, National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (attack data); Congressional Research Service; Council on Foreign Relations; Long War Journal; Institute for the Study of War

A Week of Rapid Advances After Taking Mosul

After sweeping across the porous border from Syria to overrun Mosul, insurgents aligned with the jihadist Islamic State in Iraq and Syria continued to press south down the main north-south highway toward Baghdad. RELATED ARTICLE »

Mosul

Area of

detail

Tikrit

June 13

June 10

Mosul captured

Baghdad

IRAQ

Jalawla

Kirkuk

Sadiyah

June 11

Tikrit

captured

Basra

June 12

Dhuluiya captured

June 11-12

Samarra

Tigris R.

About 110 miles

Attacks in

the days after

Mosul captured

30

June 11

Parts of Baiji

captured

20

30

Baghdad

Ishaki   Dujail

June 14

Taji

Lake Tharthar

Falluja

Ramadi

Euphrates R.

After capturing Mosul, Tikrit and parts of a refinery in Baiji, insurgents attackedSamarra, where Shiite militias helped pro-government forces.

Then, they seized Jalawla and Sadiyah but were forced back by government troops backed by Kurdish forces. They continued their moves south by Ishaki and Dujail.

Which Cities Does ISIS Control?

UPDATED JUNE 23

Having occupied crucial sections of Syria over the past year and more recently seizing vast areas of Iraq, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria controls territory greater than many countries and now rivals Al Qaeda as the world’s most powerful jihadist group.

The group seized Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, on June 10. RELATED ARTICLE »

Deir al-ZourRaqqahQaimAl WaleedAnaHadithaHitRawaaFallujaSaadiyahHawijaMosulRamadiBaijiTikritHasakahSamarraKirkukBaqubaTal AfarAzazJalawlaRutbaIRAQSYRIAJORDANTURKEYIRANKUWAITDamascusBaghdadAleppoHamaHomsErbilBasraKarbalaNajaf

ISIS control of cities

Partial or complete

Contested

Attacks since Mosul

Sources: Caerus AssociatesLong War JournalInstitute for the Study of War

What the Militants Want: A Caliphate Across Syria and Iraq

PUBLISHED JUNE 13

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has vowed to establish a caliphate — a unified Islamic government ruled by a caliph, someone considered to be a successor to Muhammad’s political authority — stretching from western Syria across Iraq to the eastern border with Iran.

This map shows the boundaries envisioned by ISIS.

Source: “The Islamic State in Iraq Returns to Diyala” by Jessica Lewis, Institute for the Study of War

TURKEY

Hasakah

Mosul

Erbil

Aleppo

Raqqa

Kirkuk

Deir al-Zour

IRAN

Baiji

SYRIA

Tikrit

Homs

Jalawla

LEBANON

Samarra

Dhuluiya

Damascus

IRAQ

Baghdad

ISRAEL

SAUDI

ARABIA

JORDAN

KUWAIT

Attacks Follow Sectarian Lines

PUBLISHED JUNE 12

The insurgents, originating in Syria, moved through Iraq’s Sunni-dominated north and west, occupying cities and towns surrendered by Iraqi soldiers and police.

They have largely avoided the Kurd-dominated northeast, but have threatened to march on to Baghdad and into the Shiite-dominated areas of the south.

Source: Dr. M. Izady, Columbia University’s Gulf 2000 project

Mosul

Kirkuk

Baiji

Tikrit

Dhuluiyah

Samarra

Ramadi

Baghdad

IRAQ

Falluja

Tigris

Euphrates River

Basra

Predominant group

Sunni Arab

Shiite Arab

Kurd

50 MILES

Iraqi Cities, Then and Now

PUBLISHED JUNE 13

Many of the Iraqi cities that have been attacked and occupied by militants in recent days were also the sites of battles and other major events during the Iraq War.

Mosul

Then: American forces took control of Mosul in April 2003. What followed was a period of relative peace until mid-2004 when periodic insurgent attacks flared, resulting in a large-scale battle in November.
The death toll reached dozens, including a number of Iraqi soldiers who were publicly beheaded. RELATED ARTICLE »
Now: In perhaps the most stunning recent development, Sunni militants drove Iraqi military forces out of Mosul on June 10, forcing a half-million residents to flee the city.
Iraqi soldiers reportedly dropped their weapons and donned civilian clothing to escape ISIS insurgents.
MosulMoises Saman for The New York Times
Falluja

Then: Falluja played a pivotal role in the American invasion of Iraq. It was the site of a number of large-scale battles with insurgents.
In April 2003, it became a hot bed for controversy when American soldiers opened fire on civilians after claiming they had been shot at.
Incessant fighting left the city decimated, leveling a majority of its infrastructure and leaving about half its original population. RELATED ARTICLE »
Now: Sunni militants seized Falluja’s primary municipal buildings on Jan. 3. The takeover came as an early and significant victory for the group, initiating a slew of attacks south of the city.
FallujaMax Becherer for The New York Times
Tikrit

Then: The home of Saddam Hussein, Tikrit became the target of an early American military operation during the Iraq war.
Securing it proved cumbersome, however, as insurgents mounted continued attacks on the city for years afterward.
On Dec. 14, 2003, Hussein was found hiding in an eight-foot deep hole, just south of Tikrit. RELATED ARTICLE »
Now: Tikrit fell to ISIS insurgents on June 11, clearing a path for them to march on to Baiji, home to one of Iraq’s foremost oil-refining operations.
After taking the city in less than a day, militants continued the fight just south, in Samarra.
TikritChang W. Lee/The New York Times
Samarra

Then: Samarra is home to the Askariya shrine, which was bombed in 2006, prompting an extended period of sectarian violence across the country. RELATED ARTICLE »
Now: After an initial attack on June 5, ISIS insurgents have now positioned themselves just miles away from Samarra.
It is unclear whether they are capable of capturing the city in the coming days, but the Shiite shrine makes it a volatile target.
SamarraAyman Oghanna for The New York Times

Video: Iraq’s Factions and Their Goals

PUBLISHED JUNE 13

A look at the goals of of the three main groups in Iraq — Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish — as the country threatens to split apart along sectarian lines.

Growing Humanitarian Crisis

PUBLISHED JUNE 12

The United Nations estimates that at least 500,000 Iraqis were displaced by the takeover of Mosul.

Food supplies are low and there is limited fresh water and little electricity.

An additional 430,000 people were displaced by fighting In Anbar Province, which insurgents have controlled for more than six months.

Safin Hamed/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
An Iraqi family, one of thousands who have fled Mosul for the autonomous Kurdish region, walks past tents at a temporary camp.

Video: Behind the Group That Took Mosul

PUBLISHED JUNE 10

Background on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Islamist group that appears to be in control of the second largest city in Iraq.

Same casualties in car explosions, different media effects…

How powerful are media?

“This is the third explosion I escaped. I don’t know if I will die in the fourth one”.  Tweeted the 18-year old Maria Jawhari.
And her apprehension was fulfilled this time around.
Last year generated over 290 car explosions, many kamikaze-type, around the world, resulting in over 3,500 killed, and five fold of injuries.
Iraq experienced about 3 times more car explosions than in 2012: 92 compared to 35.
Syria witnessed about 27 explosions.
Shall I mention the calamities in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Mali, Libya, Tunisia…?
Countries under foreign occupations experienced only 35% of the total explosions in 2013.
How powerful are the media?
Lebanon witnessed 3 explosions last year, mainly in the last two months.
This year has started with another 3 explosions.
Onset of the explosion
لحظة الإنفجا OTV Lebanon – otv.com.lb
otv.com.lb
If this trend continues, Lebanon might outpace Iraq, assuming that
1. Iraq continues to crack down hard on the hot zones or sources of terrorism in the cities of Ramadi and Falluja in the Anbar province by the Syrian borders.
2. Syria manages to liberate the large towns of Yabrod and Deir Zur from the ultra Wahhabi Islamists, funded by Saudi Arabia, the people in Kuwait and the Arab Emirates…
3. The town of Qusair stays freed from these Al Nusra Front terrorists
The first car bomb exploded in Haret Hrik in Dahiyaa. The media covered intensively this first since it took place in Hezbollah stronghold. The second one in Dahiya generated lukewarm reactions in the Lebanese media.
The third explosion targeted Iran embassy.
The fourth car explosion generated tons of comments… in Lebanon and abroad, describing the death of Mohammad Shateh https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2013/12/27/beirut-explosion-exclusive-photos-and-the-death-of-mohammad-shateh/
and the selfie kid  Mohammad Sha3ar https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2013/12/29/lebanon-tragic-selfie-of-2013-rip-mohammad-hassan-al-sha3ar/
(Mind you that this car explosion is supposed to be targeting Al Mustakbal sympathizers of the Hariri clan)
The successive explosions generated none. And all these car explosions resulted in the same numbers of killed and injured. What give?
Another photo depicting the aftermath of #HaretHreik explosion, south #Beirut – #AFP #Lebanon
Maria Jawhari, the 18 year old who was killed in today’s‪#‎HaretHreik‬ ‪#‎explosion‬ had this to say before she died:
pic.twitter.com/ebgwu1E1HL
رَد إعادة تغريد تفضيل المزيد
رابط دائم للصورة المُضمّنة
Martyr Maryam Jowhary #beirut #bombing #harethreik
Martyr Maryam Jowhary #beirut #bombing #harethreik
Maria el Jawhari was reported as one of at least 4 victims of a bombing in southern Beirut on Tuesday. Netizens shared this image of a January 2 post from Facebook reading,
The car bomb attack was claimed by the Nusra Front in Lebanon and was the second blast in less than a month in the Shia-dominated Haret Hreik. Read more: http://ow.ly/sO3gD
“This is the third explosion I escaped. I don’t know if I will die in the fourth one”.
Maria el Jawhari was reported as one of at least four victims of a bombing in southern Beirut on Tuesday. Netizens shared this image of a January 2 post from Facebook reading, "This is the third explosion I escaped. I don't know if I will die in the fourth one". The car bomb attack was claimed by the Nusra Front in Lebanon and was the second blast in less than a month in the Shia-dominated Haret Hreik. Read more: http://ow.ly/sO3gD
Ali Ibrahim Bashir, another victim of #HaretHreik‘s #explosion |#Lebanon
Ali Ibrahim Bashir, another victim of #HaretHreik's #explosion | #Lebanon

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