Mohamad Ali Harissi, AFP
Last updated: 2 October, 2012

Iraqi politicians silent on deadly violence

Most high-ranking officials are publicly silent on the deadly attacks that claim hundreds of Iraqi lives each month, rarely issuing any statements condemning or even acknowledging the violence.

While Iraqis were contending with a wave of bombings and shootings that killed at least 33 people and wounded 106 in 10 different cities and towns at the weekend, no high-ranking official made any comment on the unrest.

The websites of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, President Jalal Talabani, and Parliament speaker Osama al-Nujaifi did not mention the attacks, with the victory of Iraq’s national youth football team over Kuwait garnering far more attention.

Parliament’s website also made no mention of the attacks, but did carry a statement quoting Nujaifi — usually the only top Iraqi politician to comment on violence — as congratulating the youth football team on the victory.

Iraqiya state television meanwhile issued an “urgent” on the win and another on congratulations from various Iraqi officials, but made only a passing mention of the attacks.

“The policy of ignoring (the violence) is caused by a feeling of guilt,” said Ibrahim al-Sumaidaie, an Iraqi political analyst.

“If they (politicians) realise they can benefit from it, they would have been using it all the way,” Sumaidaie said, referring to the violence.

“But as long as the condemnation is not politically useful, then staying quiet is golden,” he added.

“Regrettably, terrorist acts of violence have become something that happens without some politicians noticing, or even blinking,” said former national security advisor Mowaffak al-Rubaie.

“The reason is that they are part of the problem,” he said.

Sumaidaie also said that “even the Iraqi journalists have become like ostriches that bury their heads in the sand and see nothing.”

Most of the newspapers associated with Iraqi political parties did not focus on the attacks in their editions the day after the wave of violence on Sunday.

The official Al-Sabah newspaper did not mention the attacks until page four, and when it did, it used the headline “Baghdad Operations (Command) announces foiling an attempted terrorist plot with eight car bombs.”

Only later did it get to the numerous bombs that actually did go off in Baghdad and elsewhere.

Al-Dawa newspaper, which is close to Maliki’s party, and Al-Adala newspaper, close to the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council, another member of the premier’s National Alliance, made no mention of the attacks.

September was the deadliest month in Iraq in more than two years, with 365 people killed in violence, according to statistics compiled by the health, interior and defence ministries.

The statistics showed that that 182 civilians, 88 police and 95 soldiers were killed in attacks in September, while another another 683 people were wounded — 453 civilians, 110 police and 120 soldiers.

It was the highest monthly toll given by the government since August 2010, when figures showed 426 people were killed and 838 wounded in attacks.

“Violence has become a part of our daily life. It is something ordinary with the current failure in security,” 35-year-old Abdelsattar Alwan said in Baghdad.

“Violence is all over us,” while politicians “are living in another world, or a different Iraq.”