Jul 11 2014

Media Spotlight Turns Away from Iraq, as Concerns Mount Over Human Rights and Political Stalemate

While the world’s eyes are turned toward Israel’s bombing campaign against Gaza, the situation in Iraq continues to unravel.

Even as Sunni militants organizing under the umbrella organization the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), have halted their march toward Baghdad, disturbing new allegations are emerging. Among them are reports of more than 50 bodies of Iraqis found in the Shia-dominated city of Alexandria, and the Iraqi government’s notification to the UN that Sunni militants have seized low grade nuclear material, and have taken over a chemical weapons facility. Reports are also emerging of Iraqi women facing fresh restrictions as well as being targets of rapes in areas controlled by ISIS.

Meanwhile Iraq’s parliament convened on Sunday in an emergency meeting to form a new government earlier than planned. Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki who has come strong pressure to step down, has thus far refused.

The ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi has released a video asserting his leadership over the so-called Caliphate he says has been established. Al Baghdadi’s core message is to push for persecution of Shias.

GUEST: Juan Cole, Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan, and author of the newly released book The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation is Changing the Middle East; Yifat Susskind, Executive Director of MADRE, an international women’s human rights organization, who just published a piece in the Guardian newspaper entitled Under Isis, Iraqi Women Again Face an Old Nightmare: Violence and Repression

Read Juan Cole’s blog, Informed Comment at www.juancole.com.

Click here to read Yifat Susskind’s article about Iraqi women.

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