Wednesday, March 02, 2011

With US fears of Iran, 1991 uprising was doomed

20 years ago this week: "The emboldened rebels wanted to move on Baghdad. They asked for support from the allied forces, still on the ground in southern Iraq, but were rebuffed. The Americans feared the Shi’iah insurgents were aligned with Iranian Islamists. With that, the uprising was doomed. Soon came the counterattack from Baghdad. Saddam’s Republican Guard fought the resistance in Karbala. Civilians and rebels fled the city. On the roads leading out, Iraqi army helicopter crews poured kerosene on the refugees, then set them on fire. American aircraft circled high overhead, watching. Saddam’s forces began systematically crushing the uprising. Basra was the first city to fall, after just a week out of Saddam’s control. Iraqi tanks captured a road above the city and pelted it with heavy machine guns. Basra General Hospital issued 600 death certificates, though many more were killed. There were mass executions of civilians, some of whom were tied to tanks and used as human shields. In Karbala, some of Shiite Islam’s holiest shrines were destroyed. Others were used as centers for murder, torture and rape. In Najaf, residential areas were bombed, and hospital staff and patients were murdered. The homes of suspected rebels were destroyed while the suspects were executed in the streets."

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