Posted on October 24, 2010 by Juan Cole
The wikileaks document dump from the Iraq War may well derail the formation of a government by implicating caretaker prime minister Nuri al-Maliki in running death squads. We are in our seventh month since the March 7 elections, but no new prime minister has been named because no party or coalition has the 163 seats needed for a majority in Parliament.
In recent weeks caretaker prime minister Nuri al-Maliki has finally put together some 138 seats, needing only 25 to form a government.
But the Wikileak allegations about the government running Shiite death squads during al-Maliki’s term as prime minister may have derailed that process.
Al-Maliki’s rival, the largely secular Iraqiya List of Iyad Allawi, has slammed him in the aftermath of the leaks and has demanded an investigation of him. He says he is suspicious of the timing of the leaks. (Likely he means that it is odd that this information surfaced just as he closed in on nailing down a second term as prime minister, a development not welcome to Washington because it was fostered by Iran.) But it is silly to allege that Julian Assange is secretly working for the US government.
Jordanian t.v., which probably backs Allawi because he now heads a party popular with the Sunni Arabs, had this report, according to the USG open source center :
‘ Within its 1700 GMT newscast on 23 October, the Jordan Television carries as its 12th news item a report on the classified documents posted on WikiLeaks.
The channel says: “Iraqi officials have vowed to investigate any claims about crimes committed by the police and the army during the war in Iraq after WikiLeaks has published on its website classified US files that included the details of violations committed against prisoners at the hands of Iraqi forces.”
The channel then carries a video report by its reporter Sami al-Harbi in which he says: “As expected, WikiLeaks has set off d a big bomb through publishing documents on violations committed by the US forces against Iraqis, which included killing and torture.
Reactions by many parties denounced what has been published. The United Nations called on Washington to investigate the information published on this website and to quickly verify he cases of torture mentioned in the US Army’s documents.
The Iraqi side through the interior minister denounced such violations, affirming that the government will begin an investigation to verify the published information.”
The report adds: “The Iraqi street that was not surprised at these documents stressed the importance of these documents in revealing the violations against Iraqis during the war.”
The report notes: “The documents that referred to the role of Al-Maliki in these violations are expected to diminish his chances in the upcoming battle for prime minister’s post.
Iraqi officials pledged to investigate any claims on crimes committed by the police or the army during the sectarian war in Iraq.
This was confirmed by Major General Husayn Kamal, one of the deputies of the Iraqi interior minister, who said that the Iraqi officials will not turn a blind eye to these acts and any person involved in the violations.”
The channel goes on to report: “WikiLeaks website published some 400,000 US classified documents on the war on Iraq, some of which mentioned in detail horrible cases of abuse of prisoners by the Iraqi forces, which the United States was aware of but did not launch an investigation into them, according to the website.”
The channel adds: “These files indicate that the US military command in Iraq was aware of the violations of human rights and the cases of torture against the detainees in the Iraqi prisons, but failed to launch investigations into these cases.”
The report adds: “The documents disclosed that hundreds of Iraqi civilians were killed at the checkpoints set up by the US forces following the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and that hundreds of Iraqi detainees were tortured at the hands of the coalition forces.
The documents revealed that the US soldiers blew up complete civilian buildings because of the presence of only one insurgent on the roof. The documents disclosed in detail the killing of more than 66,000 civilians in the Iraqi war.
The New York Times published excerpts of the documents indicating the role of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in assassinations and bombings in Iraq.
The documents also reveal the confessions of detainees who received training in Iran and that they used Iranian-made weapons that were discovered by the US forces.’
A member of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, Jalaluddin Saghir was blistering in his criticism of the Iraqi government because of the new revelations. ISCI (which Iranian official news calls SIIC) is for the moment declining to join al-Maliki’s coalition. Its leaders thus have a vested interest in al-Maliki fading away.