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Old 02-08-2008, 02:48 PM   #1
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life gets worse for Iraqi women

[q] BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The images in the Basra police file are nauseating: Page after page of women killed in brutal fashion -- some strangled to death, their faces disfigured; others beheaded. All bear signs of torture.

The women are killed, police say, because they failed to wear a headscarf or because they ignored other "rules" that secretive fundamentalist groups want to enforce.

"Fear, fear is always there," says 30-year-old Safana, an artist and university professor. "We don't know who to be afraid of. Maybe it's a friend or a student you teach. There is no break, no security. I don't know who to be afraid of."

Her fear is justified. Iraq's second-largest city, Basra, is a stronghold of conservative Shia groups. As many as 133 women were killed in Basra last year -- 79 for violation of "Islamic teachings" and 47 for so-called honor killings, according to IRIN, the news branch of the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

One glance through the police file is enough to understand the consequences. Basra's police chief, Gen. Abdul Jalil Khalaf, flips through the file, pointing to one unsolved case after another.

"I think so far, we have been unable to tackle this problem properly," he says. "There are many motives for these crimes and parties involved in killing women, by strangling, beheading, chopping off their hands, legs, heads."

"When I came to Basra a year ago," he says, "two women were killed in front of their kids. Their blood was flowing in front of their kids, they were crying. Another woman was killed in front of her 6-year-old son, another in front of her 11-year-old child, and yet another who was pregnant."

The killers enforcing their own version of Islamic justice are rarely caught, while women live in fear.

Boldly splattered in red paint just outside the main downtown market, a chilling sign reads: "We warn against not wearing a headscarf and wearing makeup. Those who do not abide by this will be punished. God is our witness, we have notified you."

The attacks on the women of Basra have intensified since British forces withdrew to their base at the airport back in September, police say. Iraqi security forces took over after British troops pulled back, but are heavily infiltrated by militias.

And tracking the perpetrators of these crimes is nearly impossible, Khalaf says, adding that he doesn't have control of the thousands of policemen and officers.

"We're trying to trace crimes carried out by an anonymous enemy," he says.

Amnesty International has raised concern about the increasing violence toward women in Iraq, saying abductions, rapes and "honor killings" are on the rise.

"Politically active women, those who did not follow a strict dress code, and women [who are] human rights defenders were increasingly at risk of abuses, including by armed groups and religious extremists," Amnesty said in a 2007 report.

Sometimes, it's just the color of a woman's headscarf that can draw unwanted attention.

"One time, one of my female colleagues commented on the color of my headscarf," Safana says. "She said it would draw attention ... [and I should] avoid it and stick to colors like gray, brown and black."

This extremist ideology enrages many secular Muslim women, who say it's a misrepresentation of Islam.

Sawsan, another woman who works at a university, says the message from the radicals to women is simple: "They seem to be sending us a message to stay at home and keep your mouth shut."

After the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, Sawsan says, the situation was "the best." But now, she says, it's "the worst."

"We thought there would be freedom and democracy and women would have their rights. But all the things we were promised have not come true. There is only fear and horror.[/q]
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Old 02-08-2008, 02:52 PM   #2
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Well, we've clearly done our job well! It's nice to know that things have gotten progressively worse since we've arrived. I'm not an expert on military force and war, but I'm guessing that's not quite the way things are supposed to go.
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Old 02-08-2008, 03:27 PM   #3
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Does this count as things being better off in Iraq after we invaded their country? Can someone form the "war is good" party clarify this?
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Old 02-08-2008, 03:29 PM   #4
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Originally posted by martha
Does this count as things being better off in Iraq after we invaded their country? Can someone form the "war is good" party clarify this?
Well that's why 100-year-McCain is gonna stay there till we do this right.
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Old 02-08-2008, 03:31 PM   #5
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Does this count as things being better off in Iraq after we invaded their country? Can someone form the "war is good" party clarify this?
The conservatives couldn't stop the women's rights movement here, so I'm sure they're proud of enabling it's destruction abroad .
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Old 02-08-2008, 03:32 PM   #6
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You know what my liberal fantasy is? Not cry-baby Republicans staying home because their boy didn't get nominated.

It's someone who thinks this war is working actually addressing shit like this. Really talking about the steps backward in that country since the invasion. Talking about how women are treated now and what the fuck they're going to do about it.

It's a fantasy, though, because those idiot Republicans couldn't give any less of a shit about how women are treated around the world if they tried. They really couldn't.
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Old 02-08-2008, 03:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by martha
You know what my liberal fantasy is? Not cry-baby Republicans staying home because their boy didn't get nominated.

It's someone who thinks this war is working actually addressing shit like this. Really talking about the steps backward in that country since the invasion. Talking about how women are treated now and what the fuck they're going to do about it.

It's a fantasy, though, because those idiot Republicans couldn't give any less of a shit about how women are treated around the world if they tried. They really couldn't.
You communist! There you go aiding terrorism again. Excuse me, I have to go build my bunker to protect against the round of attacks our country is sure to face if a *le gasp* Democrat is elected president. You know what Mitty boy says: If you're not a Republican you are with Al-Queda. Can't let that happen!
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Old 02-08-2008, 03:42 PM   #8
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Originally posted by martha
You know what my liberal fantasy is? Not cry-baby Republicans staying home because their boy didn't get nominated.

Mine is for all of those Republican chickenhawks to enlist.

Or, the draft. Now that would end the war in what, 4 days?
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Old 02-08-2008, 03:51 PM   #9
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Mine is for all of those Republican chickenhawks to enlist.
pfft. Dream on. Hell, we can't even get the able-bodied conservatives on this forum to put up or shut up.
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Old 02-08-2008, 03:59 PM   #10
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I don't think many in either party would see "how women are treated around the world" as cause for aggressive intervention (political or military) in and of itself. In theory eradicating militia groups would also put an end to the trends the article is describing, since those are really just another extension of the general extremism of these groups. Whether that's possible in practice is another story.
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Old 02-08-2008, 05:54 PM   #11
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I'm wondering if there's an accurate record of the number of women maimed/killed in Basra in the years before the war began. The city's population is 2.6 million. It might provide some perspective........religion-inspired violence and honor killings were not invented in the last five years.
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Old 02-08-2008, 06:00 PM   #12
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Originally posted by Bluer White
I'm wondering if there's an accurate record of the number of women maimed/killed in Basra in the years before the war began. The city's population is 2.6 million. It might provide some perspective........religion-inspired violence and honor killings were not invented in the last five years.

You're right! I don't think any of us are disputing that. However, we were told that the reason we were going to Iraq in the first place was to take out Saddam Hussein's regime with it's WMD's that were found to be nonexistent. When the American public began to call our government on that, the war was spun as liberation of the Iraqi people. We managed to take out their dictator who had killed many of his people, yet we also created a breeding ground for terrorists and insurgent groups that were not there before we invaded. As long as we're involved there, more people will continue to be recruited by terrorists groups preying on the bitterness and anger many Iraqis feel towards our government. In the end, this could lead to the loss of more lives than Saddam Hussein could've ever killed.
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Old 02-08-2008, 06:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bluer White
I'm wondering if there's an accurate record of the number of women maimed/killed in Basra in the years before the war began. The city's population is 2.6 million. It might provide some perspective........religion-inspired violence and honor killings were not invented in the last five years.
Women in Iraq in general were getting along pretty well under the old government. They had many more rights then they do now.
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Old 02-08-2008, 06:16 PM   #14
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Originally posted by yolland
I don't think many in either party would see "how women are treated around the world" as cause for aggressive intervention (political or military) in and of itself.
I know. No one did anything at all when the Taliban was killing women. It only hit home when it literally hit home.

No, all I want is for it to be addressed in the context of the American invasion of the sovereign nation of Iraq. We're there; it's happening; now what?
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Old 02-08-2008, 06:18 PM   #15
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McCain has a son serving in Iraq.
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