LETTER FROM THE EDITOR, NOVEMBER 2013

Iraq is in a desperate situation and every day the news coming out of the country seems to take a turn for the worse.

The number of people executed rose from 18 in 2010 to 123 in 2012. So far this year, the authorities have carried out 140 executions, according to figures compiled by the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq.

“The escalation in the number of executions in recent weeks is an extremely alarming development,” said Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui in a statement. “Death sentences continue to be imposed after grossly unfair trials.”

Aside from the official executions, the UN has said that 5,740 civilians have been killed in Iraq since January as a Sunni Islamist insurgency, which includes attacks by Al Qaeda, gains momentum – almost double the figure it reported for the whole of 2010.

Although western business continues to court Kurdish sector opportunities, there has been little in the way of support from western governments to help improve the situation elsewhere in the country.

The long-suffering Kurds are to be commended for the way in which they are trying to maintain order and create opportunities in their area. For the rest of Iraq however, there is little to celebrate.

Speaking on British television on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War in March, former Prime Minister Tony Blair defended the chaos that ensued after the Coalition’s invasion of Iraq to search for Saddam Hussein’s Weapons of Mass Destruction. The invasion, failed to turn up any such weapons, although the knock-on effects of the war launched in order to find them, continues to wreak murder and mayhem in Iraq to this day.

Meanwhile, according to reports in the UK’s Sunday Telegraph recently, Mr Blair “will enter the rich-lists for the first time this year (2013), with a fortune of somewhere between £35 million and £60 million” and, the paper went on, according to accountants, Blair has “a complex web of companies, designed… to hide just how much money he makes and from where his money comes.”

Something tells me that, just like Saddam’s Weapons of Mass Destruction, we will never quite get to the bottom of Tony’s elusive ill- gotten gains.

Pat Lancaster, November 2013

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