Obama,Israel Smirk At Genocide Of Iraq,Syrian Christians Who Speak The Aramaic Language Of Jesus
Tariq Aziz, ex-Saddam Hussein aide, dies after heart attack
BBC News-Jun 5, 2015
Tariq Aziz, known as the face of Saddam Hussein's regime on the world stage for many years, has died in an Iraqi hospital, officials say. Aziz, 79 ... As a Christian in a mainly Sunni Muslim government, he was not considered a ...
Aziz, for decades Iraq’s chief diplomatic representative on the world stage, voluntarily turned himself in to the US military in 2003. He apparently trusted that his long-standing international reputation—including his diplomatic relations with successive US administrations—would protect him.
Instead, the ailing 74-year-old has been subjected to more than seven years of solitary confinement, first by American military jailers at Camp Cropper, near Baghdad’s international airport, and, more recently, by Iraqi security forces. When US occupation forces turned Aziz over to the Iraqi government last July he confided to his lawyer, “I am sure they are going to kill me.”
Previously, Aziz had been sentenced to a combined prison term of 22 years on allegations that he was involved in the execution of merchants accused of price-gouging during the US-UN embargo of Iraq and in the suppression of Kurdish opposition in the north of the country.
The jail term represented a de facto life sentence, given that Aziz is in poor health, suffering from strokes and lung disease while in prison and undergoing an operation for a blood clot in his brain last January.
In the latest decision, the former foreign minister has been sentenced to death for the Ba’athist regime’s crackdown in the 1980s on Shi’ite Islamists, including the Da’wa party. Supporters of the party carried out a series of Iranian-backed terrorist attacks during that period, including attempted assassinations of both Aziz and Saddam Hussein. At the time, it should be recalled, Washington was supporting Saddam Hussein as a bulwark against the spread of the Iranian revolution to the Shia populations of the Arab world.
The tribunal that handed down these sentences was created by a decree issued under the US occupation’s Coalition Provisional Authority for the purpose of trying members of the Ba’athist government that the US invasion overthrew. Its staff was handpicked and paid by the US Embassy in Baghdad. From its inception, this kangaroo court has employed the crudest methods of “victors’ justice.”
The man who will probably sign Aziz’s death warrant is Iraq’s caretaker prime minister, Nur al-Maliki, the leading figure in the Da’wa Party, while the judge who issued the sentence, Mahmud Saleh al-Hasan, is a member of Maliki’s Shi’ite political bloc, the State of Law Coalition.
Aziz went through his multiple trials largely without any legal representation, as lawyers who dared to defend him were threatened with death by Shi’ite militias linked to the US-backed regime.
Essentially, he was found guilty of the crimes of Saddam Hussein’s secret police by virtue of his representation of the Iraqi government as the country’s chief diplomat. Those familiar with the workings of the Ba’athist regime dispute this logic, pointing out that Aziz was never part of the inner circle that controlled the security forces, drawn largely from Hussein’s Tikrit-based clan.
There is no small irony in Aziz being sentenced to death for religious-based persecution. Born in 1936 to an impoverished Christian family in northern Iraq, Aziz was drawn into nationalist politics in his 20s, working for the overthrow of the British-backed monarchy. Like many of the radicalized young people of the Arab world of his generation, he believed that nationalist revolution could liberate the region from the legacy of colonialism, including the ethno-religious divisions exacerbated by the divide-and-rule methods of European imperialism.
The Iraqi political forces overseeing his trial are linked to militias implicated in the massive sectarian-based bloodletting provoked by the US occupation. Iraq’s Christian population has been decimated, and the possibility that someone born a Christian like Aziz could assume a prominent post in the current regime is absolutely nil.
More fundamentally, however, the court and the regime itself are creations of a criminal war and occupation carried out by US imperialism. The death sentence was dictated from Washington.
While the European Union has declared the death sentence decreed against Tariq Aziz “unacceptable” and the Vatican and several European governments have called for clemency, the Obama administration has maintained a guilty silence.
The obvious question raised by the judicial lynching of Tariq Aziz is: Who are Washington and its local compradors to try anyone for crimes against the Iraqi people?
As Tariq Aziz himself told the British Guardian last August, in his only interview since his imprisonment, “We are all victims of America and Britain. They killed our country.”
The last seven-and-a-half years of US-led occupation have destroyed Iraqi society, claiming the lives of well over a million people, turning more than four million into refugees, and leaving millions more hungry, unemployed and lacking the most essential services.
To sentence Tariq Aziz to death while the authors of these crimes—in both the Bush and the Obama administrations—enjoy impunity is not only a crime, but an obscenity...................
WASHINGTON (BP) -- The U.S. State Department should not exclude Christians as victims if it declares the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria guilty of genocide, Southern Baptist ethicist Russell Moore has told Secretary of State John Kerry.
"This is genocide and civilization must declare it so."In a letter Monday (Nov. 16), Moore responded to a report the State Department is preparing to categorize the terrorist organization's campaign against Iraq's Yazidi sect as genocide but not to include Christians as targets of genocidal acts. The president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission urged Kerry not to distinguish between different groups suffering at the hands of the Islamic State (ISIS).
-- Russell Moore
Moore said in his letter he supports a U.S. declaration that ISIS has committed, and continues to commit, genocide, but he called for Kerry "to recognize every victim of every community standing in the path of [ISIS]. Let us not be distracted by a quibbling over terminology that falsely distinguishes between victims of equally horrific atrocities."
Iraqi and Syrian Christians "have faced mass beheadings, crucifixion, and other atrocities for the crime of following Jesus Christ," Moore wrote. "This is genocide and civilization must declare it so."
A leading human rights advocate in the U.S. House of Representative and a former member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) also spoke against the expected exclusion of Christians.
Rep. Chris Smith, R.-N.J., said he is "shocked and dismayed" the Obama administration "would even think to exclude the present day genocide of Christians."
"Ignoring Christians, and the full range of religious and ethnic groups who have been victims of the ISIS genocide, would continue [President Obama's] policy of silence and weak response," Smith said in a Nov. 13 written statement.
Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom and a USCIRF commissioner from 1999 to 2012, described Christians' fate at the hands of ISIS forces in a Nov. 13 piece for National Review.
"Christians have been executed by the thousands," Shea wrote. "Christian women and girls are vulnerable to sexual enslavement. Many of their clergy have been assassinated and their churches and ancient monasteries demolished or desecrated. They have been systematically stripped of all their wealth, and those too elderly or sick to flee ISIS-controlled territory" have been forced to convert to Islam or been killed.
Moore, Smith and Shea responded to a Nov. 12 article by investigative reporter Michael Isikoff of Yahoo News. Isikoff reported the State Department is preparing to label ISIS' onslaught against the Yazidis in Iraq as genocide. A 1948 United Nations treaty says genocide includes the commission of such acts as murder with the "intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group."
State Department officials contend attacks on Christians and minorities other than the Yazidis appear to fall short of the standard established in the genocide treaty, Isikoff reported.
The naming of victims of genocide "is not an academic matter," Shea said. "A genocide designation would have significant policy implications for American efforts to restore property and lands taken from the minority groups and for offers of aid, asylum, and other protections to such victims."
In addition, she wrote, it would mean the United States and other countries, under the genocide treaty, "would not be bound to act to suppress or even prevent the genocide of these Christians."
Moore has joined others in urging Obama and Congress to designate ISIS in violation of the genocide treaty.
A bipartisan House contingent is backing a measure, Concurrent Resolution 75, that expresses the view the "atrocities committed against Christians and other ethnic and religious minorities targeted specifically for religious reasons are crimes against humanity and genocide." The list of cosponsors of the resolution consists of 94 Republicans and 52 Democrats.
A new report from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum helped motivate the State Department to move toward a designation of genocide for ISIS' actions against the Yazidis, according to Isikoff's report. That Nov. 12 report found ISIS "perpetrated crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, and war crimes" in the cases of Christians, Yazidis, Turkmen, Sabean-Mandeans and others but concluded genocide has been committed only against the Yazidis, a sect with a patchwork of religious beliefs and practices.
Crimes against Yazidis have included the execution of men and the enslavement of women and girls, according to the report.
ISIS' campaign against the Yazidis definitely should be considered genocide, Shea said.
However, she wrote, "To propose that Christians have been simply driven off their land but not suffered similar fates is deeply misinformed.... [Christians] are also being deliberately targeted for extinction through equally brutal measures."
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