Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Najaf cemetery witness to Iraq's tragic history

Many of my relatives are buried in this cemetery, including my mother's aunt, who died as a result of sanctions in 1991.

By PAUL SCHEMM
The Associated Press

'Pictures of the two brothers stare out, side by side, separated by the gulf of a quarter century. Rahim Jabr died in 1981, a foot soldier in the bloody eight year war with Iran, while Naeem was a casualty of the savage sectarian fighting that gripped Baghdad in 2006.

They were reunited in the end, their tombstones placed side by side surrounded by a decorative metal cage in the vast Shiite graveyard of Najaf in southern Iraq.

There is no holier place on earth for Shiites to be buried than this city of the dead, stretching to the horizon from the doorstep of the tomb of Imam Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad and Shiite Islam's most sacred martyr. While Sunnis put their dead in local plots, Shiites for a 1,000 years have been burying their fallen here and everyone has at least one relative in the graveyard.

That has made it a kind of map to Iraq's history, at least that of its Shiite majority. Its natural disasters, wars and tragedies are etched across the tombstones densely packed into every square foot of the dusty, sun-blasted expanse.

The violence that has overwhelmed Iraq since 2003, much of it directed against Shiites, fed a massive expansion of the graveyard, swelling it by 40 percent to about three square miles (7.5 square kilometers) - triple the size of the U.S.'s Arlington National Cemetery - according to Ihsan Hamid Sherif, the official in charge of receiving bodies.

But in a measure of the country's gradual return to stability, those working at the cemetery say in recent years the flood of bodies has slowed.

"We used to receive 200 to 250 bodies a day, now it's less than a hundred," said Najah Abu Seiba, the patriarch of a family that have been gravediggers here for three centuries. "We used to work 24 hours a day."

At least 85,000 Iraqis were killed from 2004 to 2008, according to a report by Iraq's Human Rights Ministry last fall, although those figures are considered a minimum and do not encompass the entire length of the war. The figures included Iraqi civilians, military and police from all the country's sects and ethnicities.

On a recent day this month, the cemetery was peaceful, the wind whipping colorful flags flying over the graves, with only the occasional three-wheeled transports buzzing by, taking relatives to graves.

"My mother, father and brothers are buried here," said Mouayed Hamed al-Lami as he brought the wife of his uncle to be buried in the cemetery's newer section. His relatives clambered out of the minibus hired to carry the body from Baghdad, a three hour drive away.

"We are burying her here because it is the place of Imam Ali," he said, gesturing at the distant golden dome of the tomb shrine. "It is the closest place to heaven."

The violence has not ended completely. That same day, 119 people died across Iraq in bombings that mostly targeted Shiites. So by evening, minibuses stacked with coffins of many of the victims began pouring into Najaf.'

continued

48 comments :

Anonymous said...

died by sanctions in 1991? or in the uprising?

Iraqi Mojo said...

Sanctions. She had asthma and could not find medicine after sanctions were imposed.

Anonymous said...

lol no medicine..from the ones who "liberated" iraq

Anonymous said...

lol. His "aunt" burried in Iraq is supposed to make him an Iraqi and garner sympathy from us. Try again because I know you are nothing but a stupid American kid woh does not speak Arabic and I do not care about your fucking family.

Don Cox said...

Did the sanctions in fact ban the import of medicines?

I thought the oil-for-food arrangements allowed health supplies as well as food to enter Iraq?

I may be wrong.

Iraqi Mojo said...

In the beginning everything was embargoed, and the Arab states participated. The "oil-for-food" program was introduced in 1995.

Iraqi Mojo said...

Sympathy from the 3arab jarab in LA? I expect no such thing from the cockroach scum of earth.

David All said...

Thanks, Mojo, for linking to that article. It is quite moving.

Anonymous said...

I know you do not speak Arabic but you really need to expand your english vocabulary.

Dolly said...

Yes, and the embargo was put in place by the United States.

I clearly remember in 1997 William Cohen saying that the sanctions could remain "indefinitely."

But you have no complaints against the U.S., just like you ignored the Apache gunning down of Reuters journalists, which your buddies here endorsed.

Anonymous said...

ahahahaha! No asma medicine ooops! i thought the americans cared about iraqis..

C.H. said...

http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/04/07/iraq.main/index.html

I thought the "resistance" cared about Iraqis...

Don Cox said...

"I thought the americans cared about iraqis.."

I don't think anyone cared much about the Iraqis at the time the sanctions were applied. Iraq was then seen as a heavily armed rogue state led by a crazy dictator, which was a menace to all its neighbours.

Since the invasion, people have learned a lot about Iraq and Iraqis, read the blogs, etc. I think we now have a much clearer and more sympathetic view of the Iraqis, and we understand better how many different beliefs and political views there are in Iraq (and in the diaspora).

Where there are three Iraqis, there are four political parties.

Dolly said...

C.H.,

Assuming for the sake of argument that this was a perfectly clean war with only foreign combatants being killed.

Would you support resistance then? No. You still wouldn't.

So spare us this trick of focusing on civilian deaths, when it's clear that you would be against resistance no matter what.

Anonymous said...

I support the resistance against Sharia and Islamic-fascism.

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Dolly said...

But, you don't support resistance against the occupation of Iraq by American fascists.

Dolly said...

The jews attack aid boat, killing 19 wounding 60.

Well, thank god Mojo and his Shia sided with America and the Zionists.

This shows you the 12,000 Iraqi puppet forces didn't die in vain.

Bruno said...

[dolly] "Assuming for the sake of argument that this was a perfectly clean war with only foreign combatants being killed. Would you support resistance then? No. You still wouldn't."

LOL!

You've nailed it on the head, Dolly.

Of course they would still not support the ejection of the American invaders.

Of course they would still support the killing of Iraqi resisters.

Of course they would try to deny the poll after poll after poll that show the vast majority of Iraqis WANT THE INVADER OUT, irrespective of sectarian beliefs.

The master-stroke of the Americans was to turn the invasion into a sectarian battle between Sunni and Shia, and then claim that they, the Americans, were needed to "keep the peace", while stirring the pot all the while.

In reality, the sectarian battle is another battle entirely and has nothing to do with legitimate resistance to the foreign invader.

Bruno said...

This is resistance:

The U.S. Anaconda base came under “heavy shelling” with mortars but no reports are clear yet about losses or casualties, a security source in Balad district said on Saturday.

http://en.aswataliraq.info/?p=132415

Bruno said...

Ask them if CH supports THAT, Dolly, LOL!

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Maury said...

"LOL!

You've nailed it on the head, Dolly."

You're yucking it up with someone who'd like to cut your head off and shove it up your ass Bruno. Knowing you, you'd have no problem with that as long as amreeka could be blamed. Bonehead.

Anonymous said...

Maury are you still a pussy? The offer to stand in front of an Arab Muslim still stands asshole.

Stupid are you allowed to mention the massacre on the mediteranean? Or would that get you in trouble with the american pigs who's asses you never get tired of licking?

It is a long weekend, a really cool dude like you is probably on a secluded island retreat by now drinking a few cold beers and chilling with the hot latina babes. Yep a really cool dude. lol

Bruno said...

[maury] "You're yucking it up with someone who'd like to cut your head off and shove it up your ass Bruno"

I blame Amreeka!

Bruno said...

lol

Anonymous said...

Salaam, I am a research scientist trying to understand Iraqi bloggers. I would appreciate your participation by emailing me your responses to leishiraqia[@]gmail.com.

Your blog identity:
Is your blog name the same your true identity? Why?

Do you only blog in English? Why?

Did you blog about the Iraqi elections in 2010? Why?

Thank you very much for participating.

Mojo's Ego said...

Hey Anonymous we can answer for him.

No his blog identity is supposed to make him sound Iraqi. His real identity is Stupid American asshole.

He only blogs in English because he does not speak Arabic although he knows a few curse words.

Yes he blogged about the elections because he had nothing better to do. He gave the best analysis one can possibly give while not understanding the language of Iraqis and living in California.

You are welcome.

Anonymous said...

why the silence on the flotilla massacre?

Anonymous said...

massacre?

You were unable to kill any of them. Your massacres are far more savage when you murder innocent women and children shopping in Iraqi markets.

Toady said...

Anonymous @7:30

why the silence on the flotilla massacre?

Because there is worse stuff going on the world.

P.S - You might want to inform yourself of the blockade in Yemen.

http://www.examiner.com/x-36012-Yemen-Headlines-Examiner~y2010m5d30-Three-week-blockade-of-South-Yemen-brings-starvation-and-violence

HaroldM22 said...

you‘ve got a great personality!............................................................

Anonymous said...

حصل المتشددون اسطول ما يستحقون

Bruno's Burning Anus said...

I see the AQI-Afrikaner axis is still trying to divert attention from the fact US forces are in Iraq with the consent of Iraq's democratically elected government and that the ultimate aim of their jihadi buddies is to overthrow that government.

Meanwhile the US training and equipping of the Iraqi National Army continues apace.

One of the current, major focuses in the U.S. Army is the continuous drawdown of troops in Iraq. Read below how the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team is during their job to prepare the Iraqi Army for this transition.

http://armylive.dodlive.mil/index.php/2010/03/3-1-cavalry-soldiers-help-train-iraqi-army/

Anonymous said...

"with the consent of Iraq's democratically elected government"?

Bruno

This sort of stupidity and lies play well in the US among the ignorant Americans. It is so effective sometimes you can't tell if the American is really this stupid or knowingly lying. I think they forget you are not American.

Bruno said...

LOL, yes. My burning anus up there sometimes comes up with such shit ... LOL.

The "legitimacy" of the current government has always been in question. Even by American standards, that is true. Bush excoriated Syria for occupying the Lebanon, and called the elections that took place there illegitimate on that basis.

Nevertheless, what the asshole above can't seem to realise is simple:

1: EVEN Maliki et al, America's so-called biggest friend, who pretty much has an Iranian remote control cable plugged up his ass ... WANTS AMERICA OUT.

2: They have been squeezing the Americans for everything that they are worth, before sending them home. The Americans are even thanking them, especially that shitty asshole above.

3: What has America gained? Really? Has the Neocon aim of Iraq sparking (LOL) a revolution in Iran been realised? Were the troops showered with cakes and kisses? Is Iraq more stable? Has the American plan of partitioning Iraq come to fruition?

To all of the above: no.

Yet we still get these internet assholes with their random opinions disseminating them as if they meant anything more to us than a passing foul smell on the breeze.

Anonymous said...

Hilariously desperate spinning by Bruno above. Maliki has THANKED US forces for the part they played in defeating the insurgency and wants them to leave gradually according to an AGREEMENT he signed with the US. He certainly doesn't support the insurgents who tried unsucessfully to drive US forces out, as those same insurgents were at war with the Iraqi Army.

Here's an account of how the Iraqi Army were supported by US forces in defeating the JAM in Sadr City.

http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2008/05/iraqi_army_presses_i.php

Anonymous said...

Yes Maliki thanked the US for bombing Sunni towns while he and his Iranian masters were busy consolidating their hold on Iraq.

Anonymous said...

Sadr City is not a Sunni town, you ass. The JAM was an Iranian-backed shi'ite militia that was crushed by Iraqi forces backed by the US. The Iraqi Army doesn't get its weapons from Iran.

Bruno said...

[anonymous] "Maliki ... wants them to leave"

Yes, that's what I said. After he's squeezed every drop of usefulness out of you. I said that too.

[anonymous] "The JAM was an Iranian-backed shi'ite militia that "

... kicked Badr ass until Maliki et al sent Talabani to Qassam Soleimani of the Iranian Quds Brigade for help. Daddy then intervened and stopped his squabbling children from tearing each other's eyeballs out:

A series of events in 2008, however, showed that the Iraqi regime was much
more comfortable relying on personal relationships with of the Quds Force than on U.S. military might to deal with the problem of the Mahdi Army.

First, Maliki refused in March to allow U.S. ground forces to participate
in an operation against the Mahdi Army in Basra. Then, only a few days into
the battle, the government turned to the Iranian Quds Force commander, Gen.
Qassem Suleimani, to lean on Sadr and broker a cease-fire in Basra only a few
days into a major battle there.

Iraqi President Talabani met with Suleimani March 28-29, 2008 at an Iran-Iraq border crossing and asked him to stop the fighting in Basra. Suleimani intervened to bring about a cease-fire within 24 hours, according to a report by McClatchy newspapers April 28, 2008.

http://www.alternet.org/world/141301/behind_detainee_release,_a_u.s.-iraqi_conflict_on_iran/

Let it be noted that Iran turned it's back on your allegedly "Iranian backed militia" and tossed its eggs into Maliki's basket after that.

Bruno said...

Dealing with these imbeciles is like ... dealing with imbeciles. It's like those victims of the Nigerian scam emails that are waiting for their big pay off "any day now".

Anonymous said...

bend over boy american mojo is always on about his shits. najaf is another stinking shithole of shit sectarianism. you reap you saw buddy. and since you're such an iraqi patriot, you ought to pack your bags and move to najaf or that other shit hole kerbala, am sure you'll feel right at home.lol

Bruno said...

Hear about the Jewish mother in Russia taking leave of her son, who has been called up to serve the czar in the war against Turkey? “Don’t overexert yourself,” she implores him. “Kill a Turk and rest. Kill another Turk and rest again.”

“But mother,” the son interrupts, “what if the Turk kills me?”

“You?” exclaims the mother. “But why? What have you done to him?”

Anonymous said...

"you reap you saw buddy"

What does this mean?

Anonymous said...

Hah! The Iranian-backed JAM fled to Iran after it got routed in Basrah by the Iraqi Army. And Muqtada was cowering in Iran as well. If that's withdrawing support they've got a funny way of showing it.

Here's what Maliki actually said about US Forces in Iraq:

The withdrawal from the cities is a victory and is not a failure for either the Iraqis or the Americans. In that withdrawal from the cities, we, the Iraqi forces and the American forces, we have defeated al Qaeda and all the other gangs. And after -- and also later on the Iraqi army itself will withdraw also to its own camp, and you will only see the police on the streets of Iraq.

After all the success that you have achieved with the SOFA, we are now gearing towards furthering our success at the Strategic Framework Agreement at all levels -- political, economical, educational, cultural. We want and we seek and we see a very strong, solid relationship that is open with the Americans, and there are no internal politics of Iraq that prohibit us from having such a solid relationship with a great and strong country as the United States
.

http://www.usip.org/conversation-iraq-s-prime-minister-nuri-al-maliki/read-the-transcripted-remarks

Back to the veld, Bruno.

Anonymous said...

Senior commanders of the Mahdi army, the militia loyal to the radical Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, have been spirited away to Iran to avoid being targeted in the new security push in Baghdad, a high-level Iraqi official told the Guardian yesterday.

On the day the Iraqi government formally launched its crackdown on insurgents and amid disputed claims about the whereabouts of Mr Sadr, the official said the Mahdi army leadership had withdrawn across the border into Iran to regroup and retrain.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/feb/15/iraq.iran

Anonymous said...

Senior commanders of the Mahdi army, the militia loyal to the radical Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, have been spirited away to Iran to avoid being targeted in the new security push in Baghdad, a high-level Iraqi official told the Guardian yesterday.

On the day the Iraqi government formally launched its crackdown on insurgents and amid disputed claims about the whereabouts of Mr Sadr, the official said the Mahdi army leadership had withdrawn across the border into Iran to regroup and retrain.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/feb/15/iraq.iran

Anonymous said...

"Maliki ... wants them to leave"

So does President Obama, because the war is over, the insurgents have been defeated and the troops are needed in Afghanistan. Get with the program man, the Iraq war is over. The US role in Iraq will soon be limited to training the Iraqi Army and Police and selling them weapons. I think the first consignment of Abrams tanks have already arrived.