Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Torture Orders Were Part of U.S. Sectarian War Strategy

By Gareth Porter, Dissident Voice, November 2nd, 2010

IPS – The revelation by Wikileaks of a U.S. military order directing U.S. forces not to investigate cases of torture of detainees by Iraqis has been treated in news reports as yet another case of lack of concern by the U.S. military about detainee abuse.

But the deeper significance of the order, which has been missed by the news media, is that it was part of a larger U.S. strategy of exploiting Shi’a sectarian hatred against Sunnis to help suppress the Sunni insurgency when Sunnis had rejected the U.S. war.

And Gen. David Petraeus was a key figure in developing the strategy of using Shi’a and Kurdish forces to suppress Sunnis in 2004-2005.

The strategy involved the deliberate deployment of Shi’a and Kurdish police commandoes in areas of Sunni insurgency in the full knowledge that they were torturing Sunni detainees, as the reports released by Wikileaks show.

That strategy inflamed Sunni fears of Shi’a rule and was a major contributing factor to the rise of al Qaeda’s influence in the Sunni areas. The escalating Sunni-Shi’a violence it produced led to the massive sectarian warfare of 2006 in Baghdad in which tens of thousands of civilians — mainly Sunnis — were killed.

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