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Mosul Massacre killed THOUSANDS of INNOCENT people

A place to talk about domestic politics in Middle East (Iran, Iraq , Turkey, Syria) Also includes topics about Assyrian, Armenian, Chaldean .

Re: Mosul Massacre killed THOUSANDS of INNOCENT people

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Dec 27, 2019 3:02 pm

After Mosul:

Who cares for the caretakers?

Seventeen year old Hala* was pale, and she was quickly bleeding out. Her mother was screaming and crying while her grandmother prayed silently from a wheelchair.

They had all been brought into our trauma hospital in Adhba by our field ambulance after their last minute decision to flee their ISIS captors resulted in a horrifying gunshot wound to Hala’s stomach. She was 9 months pregnant.

This was during the final battle for Mosul in 2017, the offensive to retake control of the city and push the terror group out from their final stronghold.

As a psychologist and former Australian Army medic, I was on my first deployment to Mosul. 15 km from the frontline, my organisation had turned a broken down cement factory into a trauma and maternity hospital to provide medical services for those fleeing ISIS captivity in Mosul.

Hala was immediately taken into the operating room. Her mother and I walked around the small compound while her grandmother rested. Hala’s mother cried and pulled out a small Christian card from her pocket, kissed it and handed it to me, curling my fingers around it. We prayed together and walked some more.

The situation was critical. Hala’s mother was sobbing inconsolably, and I began to wonder if she or her baby would survive. I was careful not to create any false hope, as her condition did not appear hopeful.

After many hours, surgeons finally managed to save both Hala and her baby, who had only suffered a bullet graze to her tiny wrist. The trauma team emerged from the operating theatre smiling triumphantly after working tirelessly to save both of them.

As surgeons presented Hala’s baby to her proud grandmother, she smiled but motioned with her hands to give the child to me first. After I held Hala’s baby in my arms, her grandmother handed me back the Christian card as a parting gift. To me, Hala’s baby became known as ‘The Miracle Baby of Mosul.’

Unfortunately, the reality is that even the most dedicated medical staff are ordinary human beings, not miracle workers, and things don’t always work out so well. Two years after the liberation of Mosul, the medical personnel who treated the wounded still carry the weight of the countless lives lost and the memory of the many atrocities we witnessed.

We saw many casualties, and the sight of blood flowing out of the ambulance doors never got any easier. At times there were up to five victims of violence that had been shot, blown up, or cut up all in one ambulance. No matter how severe the wounds, they had to wait at the front gate with precious seconds ticking away while a security check was done.

Trained medical professionals learn early about boundaries and the emotional cost of over-identifying with patients, but the context of war changes that. War injuries are vastly different from car accidents and regular admissions that are often seen, and the staff at our field hospital outside Mosul was constantly exposed to blast and chemical injuries, burns, and other severe injuries for 12-18 hours a day, seven days a week.

One afternoon, staff gathered around the bed of a dying man. The man had eventually passed away after sustaining blast injuries. Staff members were struggling to contain and conceal their emotions, avoiding each other’s gaze.

Alex, our security officer, took me to the front gate to inform the family. It was the hardest thing I had ever done. His brother fell to his knees onto the sharp stones and sobbed hysterically. Alex and I watched him drive away, holding his dead brother in the back of a stranger’s utility.

The people we treated reminded us of our own family and friends, and the difficulty of coping with such emotionally intense working conditions could often be seen in the form of silent tears, confusion, and social withdrawal. Alex has since left Iraq, but three years later he continues to express his sadness, saying, “The things that hurt me the most, was not being able to save everyone - all those children…”

We ate dinner that night under the stars, mopping up rice and tomatoes with stale bread. Flat expressions all around, shuffling back to the kitchen to make tea before heading off to try and sleep and then rising to do it all again the following day. A joyous win for Hala and the devastating loss of somebody’s brother, and more patients to care for after either scenario; this is the harsh daily reality of such deployments and missions.

In the months that followed, the toll taken on medical staff ranged from confusion and anxiety to alcoholism and trauma. The importance of pre and post deployment screening, as well as follow up interviews and regular counseling and debriefing for all personnel deployed in hostile environments, cannot be understated.

While I served our mission as a staff psychologist employed for the sole purpose of providing psychological intervention to staff members, this type of support is not typical for medical and humanitarian missions in Iraq. In most cases, staff are usually given nothing more than a phone number for a mental health contact that is often based in a completely different country.

In May of this year an exasperated senior level security advisor to 3 major NGOs operating in Iraq said, “the mental health care chain is non-existent, and there is no psycho-social support for NGO staff, just a phone number.” Another medical officer who served in Iraq and has since returned to her home country referred to this mental health phone contact as “useless.” One nurse who I know personally refused to go on any further missions due to “the lack of support there and when you get back home.”

As the humanitarian effort continues in Iraq with no end in sight, it is my professional opinion that all humanitarian organizations working here need to undertake a review of the deployment, debriefing, and follow up processes to ensure the integrity of the working contract, insurer commitments, and duty of care to all personnel. As a professional who works in the field of psychological care and as an individual who has personally experienced the inadequate debriefing process, it is clear to me that more needs to be done.

Medical personnel put their lives on the line and are frequently subjected to vicarious traumatization, which may not present itself for years. If we can summon the funds and manpower to execute such humanitarian missions, then our efforts should also focus on protecting and supporting those who come to Iraq to offer humanitarian aid.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/opinion/26122019

NEVER FORGET THE MOSUL MASSACRE
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Re: Mosul Massacre killed THOUSANDS of INNOCENT people

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Re: Mosul Massacre killed THOUSANDS of INNOCENT people

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Jun 11, 2020 12:52 am

Sixth anniversary of
ISIS Mosul’s occupation


Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi vowed to prevent a repetition of the occupation and destruction of Mosul on Wednesday, marking the sixth anniversary of the Islamic State (ISIS) group’s capture of the city

“We must never again allow what happened in 2014 to be repeated,” reads a tweet by the Iraqi government, attributed to the PM.

Kadhimi visited the liberated city of Mosul Wednesday for the first time in his tenure as Iraqi PM, where he met with several Iraqi military commanders and senior officials from Nineveh province, including Najim Al-Juburee, governor of Nineveh.

ISIS first swept into Iraq in 2014, capturing cities across northern and central Iraq including Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city and the capital of Nineveh province.

At the height of its power, ISIS controlled a contiguous area of Iraq and Syria equivalent in size to the entire United Kingdom, subjecting close to ten million people to its extreme interpretation of Islam.

ISIS also caused the forced displacement of more than a million Iraqis who fled the organization’s brutal violence. These internally displaced people (IDP’s) moved into camps, mostly located in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

The city of Mosul was all but demolished during an offensive that saw Iraqi and Coalition forces battle ISIS to retake the city. Control was finally wrestled from the terrorist group in June 2017.

Three years on, the city remains mostly in ruins and its destroyed infrastructure has yet to be rebuilt or restored by the Iraqi government.

Kadhimi is said to have informed the Iraqi commanders and officials in Mosul that “corruption and mismanagement” have contributed to past disasters in Mosul.

“All Iraqis played a part in the liberation of Mosul. Iraq was victorious thanks to their [sacrifices] and to the heroism of the Iraqi Armed Forces,” reads another tweet attributed to Kadhimi.

Although the Iraqi government announced the territorial defeat of ISIS in December 2017, remnants of the group have since returned to their earlier insurgency tactics, ambushing security forces, kidnapping and executing suspected informants, and extorting money from vulnerable rural populations.

Having lost all of its urban strongholds, the group is now most active in Iraq’s remote deserts and mountains, and in the disputed territories contested by the federal government and the autonomous Kurdish region, where a wide security vacuum has opened up.

ISIS has been held responsible for a spate of attacks on the Iraqi Security Forces and Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF, also known as Hashd al-Shaabi in Arabic) units.

The latest Pentagon Inspector General report, covering January 1 to March 31, said ISIS remnants are “regrouping and reforming” and continue to pose a threat in both Iraq and Syria.

US CENTCOM in February described ISIS as ‘regrouping and reforming’ in the Makhmour Mountains in northern Iraq, while the 2021 DoD budget justification for overseas contingency operations said that ISIS is expected to seek to re-establish governance in northern and western areas of Iraq,” the Lead Inspector General’s report said.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeas ... -100620202
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Re: Mosul Massacre killed THOUSANDS of INNOCENT people

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Jul 10, 2020 2:46 pm

Slim funds keep Mosul in ruins

Ahmed Hamed has dreamt of rebuilding his pulverised home in Iraq's Mosul from the moment government forces recaptured the city from jihadists in 2017. But three years on, it remains a pile of rubble

He is among tens of thousands of Iraqis who have filed claims to the Nineveh province's Subcommittee for Compensation, seeking reparations for material goods, injuries and even lives lost in the months-long fight to retake Mosul from the Islamic State (ISIS) group.

"I still haven't gotten a cent, even though it's been so long since the liberation," said Hamed, 25, who works menial day jobs to afford a small apartment.

His original home lies in Mosul's ravaged western half, where ISIS made its final stand in the city and reconstruction has been the slowest.

Iraq gathered $30 billion in pledges from international donors in Kuwait in 2018 to rebuild, but virtually none of the funds have been disbursed

The lack of progress has been widely blamed on Iraq's infamous bureaucracy, corruption that has siphoned off reconstruction funds and polarised city politics.

Amid the novel coronavirus pandemic and plummeting oil prices, Iraq's government is struggling to rake in enough monthly revenues to break even – pushing rebuilding even lower on its priorities list.

"Politicians keep telling us we need to go home," Hamed said, slamming the government's insistence on closing down the camps where more than one million Iraqis, rendered homeless by the fighting, are still seeking shelter.

"But how? Our homes are destroyed and there isn't a single public service that works."

According to a Norwegian Refugee Council survey in Mosul, over 270,000 people remain unable to return home and of those living there, 64 percent said they would be unable to pay rent in the next three months.

Government is stalling

Every day, dozens of people queue outside a reception window at the Subcommittee for Compensation, clutching thick packets of multi-coloured forms they pray will be approved by the central committee in Baghdad.

Among them under the midsummer sun was Ali Elias, hoping for news of his son, a soldier kidnapped by ISIS in 2017.

"I filed a claim on him shortly after the liberation, at least so we know what happened to him. It was sent to Baghdad, but no one answered," the 65-year-old told AFP.

"I'm getting old and I'm exhausted by spending my life in these different government offices," he said.

According to subcommittee head Mohammed Mahmoud, the body has received 90,000 claims, of which about 48,000 to 49,000 were for goods, houses, shops and other properties, and 39,000 for human loss - dead, wounded or missing

"We processed three-fourths of the claims on material damage, but there aren't enough funds to actually pay them out. We were only able to compensate 2,500 families," he said.

Most of the rebuilding efforts in the northern city have either been undertaken by individuals or by the United Nations and other international organisations.

The UN has reconstructed 2,000 homes, dozens of schools, healthcare centres, and water or power plants in Mosul since 2018, but even it has faced challenges.

According to a recent report by the American University of Iraq in Sulaimani, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) complained the "government is stalling or blocking projects rather than facilitating them".

Seeking to root out corruption, the UN introduced long vetting processes, which further delayed rebuilding.

Dark past, grim future

The report accused ex-Mosul governor Nawfal Aqoub of seeking bribes and kickbacks from reconstruction companies.

Even when a project was completed, authorities often failed to hire staff, wrote its authors Zmkan Ali Saleem and Mac Skelton.

The scandalous testimonies found an audience in Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who travelled to Mosul in June and promised things would change.

"I want to personally look at every contract for Mosul's reconstruction, so that we no longer see a single case of exploitation or corruption," Kadhimi said.

But the outlook remains grim

Already, the housing and migration ministries were two of the worst-funded, making up two percent and 0.1 percent of cabinet's 2019 budget, respectively.

They were the only two ministries whose salary expenses shrunk that year.

"Baghdad has done too little in response to this catastrophe," said Muzaham al-Khayyat, who briefly governed the city when Aqoub was ousted.

Now, with the government facing a liquidity crisis, authorities are scraping together funds each month to pay eight million workers, pensioners and welfare recipients.

Barely breaking even, they appear unwilling to grow costs further by funding compensation or reconstruction.

"We asked the finance minister to set aside up to 20 billion IQD ($17 million) for compensation in Nineveh, but he hasn't approved our request," said lawmaker Mahasen Hamdoun, who hails from the province.

"Kadhimi promised a lot during his visit, but nothing was done."

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/10072020
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