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[casi] HRW, Anfal report, propaganda and burning villages?

In a recent reponse to someone made reference to the Anfal campaign, implying to disbelieve in this 
was simply not possible.

Well, whether or not their was something call the Anfal I cant say.  Although naming a campaign the 
Spoils for what is a dirt poor region of Iraq seems a bit odd.  But I thought I would read HRW's 
report on the affair as that seems to be the definitive document which, in the end, everyone refers 
back too.

It reads like a narrative and a propaganda one.  My gut reaction that a trip round Kurdistan would 
reveal plenty of errors and complete fabrications - although their claims of eye-witness reports 
would be difficult to discredit.  However, thats just my impression and one that would have to be 
proved in practice.

But a number of things struck me that just dont seem to match the region as I know it(having 
visited Kurdish areas in Turkey and Iran).  And one of those is repeated references to village 
burning.  In common with the rest of the region houses and villages are built entirely(?) of brick, 
concrete or mudbrick.  None of them very combustible materials.

And yet just taking one chapter....

"Although Spindar itself had been burned down more than once, the government had never prevented 
the inhabitants from returning to rebuild. "

"As in the Sorani-speaking areas, there was a fresh flurry of village-burning that April and May, 
with some forty-nine villages being destroyed in various parts of Badinan"

"The army had burned Bawarkeh Kavri four times before Anfal, but the village had always been 

(Oh puhleease.)

"The villagers of Gizeh fled to caves in the mountains, as they had in the past. On the evening of 
the same day, they watched ground troops enter the village and burn it to the ground."

What do you think HRW mean by this?  Was the Iraqi army burning the interior decorating?  Sneaking 
in and setting fire to the curtains?  Is it just a code for bulldozing or demolition and they dont 
literally mean burning?

While the report clearly contains some local detail and knowledge it seems to have been spiced up 
for maximum effect by some committee in Washington that has never set eyes on the place.  Its a 
small issue in itself but one that I think is indicative of a lot of the rest of what HRW 
presented. How does it reflect on the credibility on the rest of the report?

Tom Young

Free Poetry Contest. Win $10,000. Submit your poem @!;6750922;3807821;l?

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