In Iraq, Palestinians Face Ethnic Cleansing

Aug. 11 2015

Iraq was once home to a sizable Palestinian population. But since the beginning of the Iraq war, they have been driven from their home by the thousands. Khaled Abu Toameh writes:

Since 2003, the number of Palestinians [in Iraq] has dropped from 25,000 to 6,000. Palestinian activists say the Iraqis are waging a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the country’s Palestinian population. The activists say that since the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime, Shiite militias in Iraq have been systematically attacking and intimidating the Palestinian population, . . . prompting many to flee.

The Shiites . . . are opposed to the presence of non-Iraqi Sunnis, including the Palestinians, in their country—especially in the capital, Baghdad. . . . Sunnis in Iraq who had opposed Saddam Hussein [when he was in power] have also been waging war on the Palestinians, in retaliation for their support for him. . . .

But what is most interesting is the complete indifference displayed by international human-rights organizations, the media, and the Palestinian Authority (PA) toward the mistreatment of Palestinians in Arab countries. The PA, whose leaders are busy inciting against Israel on a daily basis, does not have time to care about its people in the Arab world. . . . . The UN and other international bodies [likewise seem not to have] heard of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in the Arab world. They too are so obsessed with Israel that they prefer not to hear about the suffering of Palestinians under Arab regimes.

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: Iraq, Palestinian Authority, Palestinians, Politics & Current Affairs, Saddam Hussein, United Nations

UN Peacekeepers in Lebanon Risk Their Lives, but Still May Do More Harm Than Good

Jan. 27 2023

Last month an Irish member of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was killed by Hizballah guerrillas who opened fire on his vehicle. To David Schenker, it is likely the peacekeeper was “assassinated” to send “a clear message of Hizballah’s growing hostility toward UNIFIL.” The peacekeeping force has had a presence in south Lebanon since 1978, serving first to maintain calm between Israel and the PLO, and later between Israel and Hizballah. But, Schenker explains, it seems to be accomplishing little in that regard:

In its biannual reports to the Security Council, UNIFIL openly concedes its failure to interdict weapons destined for Hizballah. While the contingent acknowledges allegations of “arms transfers to non-state actors” in Lebanon, i.e., Hizballah, UNIFIL says it’s “not in a position to substantiate” them. Given how ubiquitous UN peacekeepers are in the Hizballah heartland, this perennial failure to observe—let alone appropriate—even a single weapons delivery is a fair measure of the utter failure of UNIFIL’s mission. Regardless, Washington continues to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into this failed enterprise, and its local partner, the Lebanese Armed Forces.

Since 2006, UNIFIL patrols have periodically been subjected to Hizballah roadside bombs in what quickly proved to be a successful effort to discourage the organization proactively from executing its charge. In recent years, though, UN peacekeepers have increasingly been targeted by the terror organization that runs Lebanon, and which tightly controls the region that UNIFIL was set up to secure. The latest UN reports tell a harrowing story of a spike in the pattern of harassment and assaults on the force. . . .

Four decades on, UNIFIL’s mission has clearly become untenable. Not only is the organization ineffective, its deployment serves as a key driver of the economy in south Lebanon, employing and sustaining Hizballah’s supporters and constituents. At $500 million a year—$125 million of which is paid by Washington—the deployment is also expensive. Already, the force is in harm’s way, and during the inevitable next war between Israel and Hizballah, this 10,000-strong contingent will provide the militia with an impressive human shield.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Lebanon, Peacekeepers, U.S. Foreign policy