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News ::
To Mr. Mic Mac Merc (english)
09 Apr 2003
Modified: 10:37:45 PM
Mr. Mic Mac Merc,

You asked in article
that you get information on the "swamp people in Irac". They are
actually called the "Marsh Arabs" .. and despite your misnomer I will
post for you. We have never met but I like your soul. I see beteewn
your lines.
Iraq's 'devastated' Marsh Arabs
Heather Sharp
BBC News Online

The Marsh Arabs, or Madan, have seen their centuries-old way of life virtually destroyed under Saddam Hussein's regime.

Many fled their remote homeland in the marshes of southern Iraq when the central government reasserted its authority across the country after uprisings following the 1991 Gulf War.
In addition, massive government drainage schemes have turned the region from one of the world's most significant wetlands to a wasteland of cracked, salinated earth.

Baroness Emma Nicholson, Chairman of the Amar Foundation, which provides aid to Marsh Arab refugees, believes they are the victims of genocide.

In targeting the Madan, Saddam Hussein "has destroyed the livelihoods and many of the lives of nearly half a million people", she told BBC News Online.
The United Nations Environmental Programme says about 90% of the up to 20,000 square kilometres of marshlands have been lost because of drainage and upstream damming in "one of the world's greatest environmental disasters".

Estimates suggest there were around 400,000 Madan in the 1950s, but that this had dropped to 250,000 by 1991.

There may now be as few as 20,000 living in the marshes.

The wetland region where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers split into meandering ribbons and lakes before flowing into the Persian Gulf has been home to human communities for five millennia.
The Bible places the Garden of Eden near the two rivers (Genesis chapter 2, verse 14).

Until 1991, the Madan lived traditionally, growing rice and dates, raising water buffalo, fishing and building boats and houses from reeds.


After coalition forces drove Iraqi troops from Kuwait in the Gulf War, rebellions spread across the south and north of the country.

Ecosystem has "completely collapsed"
Impact on wildlife and biodiversity is "catastrophic"
The marshlands are home to:
Two-thirds of west Asia's wintering wildfowl
11 globally-threatened bird species
3 globally-threatened mammal species
Shia Muslims in the city of Basra on the southern edge of the marshes played a key role. Some Marsh Arabs took part.
Iraqi Government forces put down the uprisings brutally, bombing civilians from military helicopters. Between 30,000 and 60,000 people were killed, according to the United States.

Tens of thousands of army deserters, political opponents and others sought shelter in the remote marshes, Human Rights Watch says.

Repression was stepped up in the southern Shia towns and the Iraqi regime began large-scale hydro-engineering projects in the marshes, building dams, canals and embankments. Water levels began to drop.

In 1992 and 1993 reports emerged of a military campaign to flush out the wetlands.

If the marshlands are not restored... then the marsh people will fade into history, and our generation will be responsible for the deliberate extinction of one of the oldest races in the world
Baroness Emma Nicholson
Refugees fleeing to Iran described artillery and aerial attacks on civilian areas, arrests and executions, mine-laying and the destruction of homes and properties.
They said the Iraqis used napalm and chemical weapons and poisoned the marsh waters, although the accusations have not been confirmed.

In August 1992, US, UK and French forces imposed a no-fly zone to stop attacks on southern Iraq from the air, but offensives continued on the ground.

"The army's favourite tactic is to blow up villages selectively and then sow mines in the water before retreating," wrote the Observer journalist Shyam Bhatia, who visited the marshes in 1993.

Iraq said its engineering programmes were for reclaiming agricultural land and that it was running a relocation programme for the benefit of the marsh dwellers.
But the UN special rapporteur on Iraq, Max van der Stoel, concluded in 1995 that he had found "extremely little evidence" of successful land reclamation and "indisputable evidence of widespread destruction and human suffering".


A decade later, about 40,000 Marsh Arabs are known to be living in camps or squatter settlements in Iran.

The rest are thought to be internally displaced in Iraq, but no one knows how many are still alive.
Baroness Nicholson, who visited Marsh Arabs in Iran in early February 2003, said the psychological impact on them had been "total and devastating".

She said the Madan would not be able to return home unless Saddam Hussein was replaced by an administration which would allow the marshes to be re-flooded.

Even then it might be too late to restore more than half the marshlands, she said, and few of the refugees held out much hope.

"The Marsh Arabs I know are in a state of desolation and utter hopelessness. They have been treated as no human beings should be treated and virtually no one has done anything about it," she said.

"If the marshlands are not restored in the wake of the toppling of Saddam's regime, then the marsh people will fade into history, and our generation will be responsible for the deliberate extinction of one of the oldest races in the world," she added.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2003/03/03 12:45:34

[ and there was this... I hope this is what you were seeking. ]

18 November 2002

Legal Expert Describes Iraqi Treatment of Marsh Arabs as Genocide
Says massive network of canals meant to destroy a people

By James Fuller
Washington File Science Writer

Washington A legal expert says there is a good chance Saddam Hussein could be convicted of genocide for the near total destruction of the vast marshlands of southern Iraq that has devastated the indigenous people who have populated the area for 5,000 years.

Joseph Dellapenna, a professor at Villanova University Law School and an expert on international water rights, spoke at a briefing November 14 sponsored by the United States Institute of Peace, an independent federal institution created to promote the peaceful resolution of international conflict. He was joined by several other speakers, all contributors to a new book entitled "The Iraqi Marshlands: A Human and Environmental Study."

"We know that Saddam Hussein has been accused of a wide variety of human rights violations and war crimes over the years," Dellapenna said. "I am going to suggest that, among other things, it is very likely that he is also guilty of genocide against the Marsh Arabs."

Dellapenna explained that the Ma'dan people, or the Marsh Arabs as they have come to be known, have spent the last 5,000 years subsisting through farming, fishing and hunting in the vast marshlands lying between the lower reaches of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in southern Iraq.

After the Gulf War ended in 1991, the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein began an ambitious civil engineering project aimed at deliberately draining the marshes to permit military access and greater political control of the Marsh Arabs. Recent commercial satellite imagery shows that less than 10 percent of Iraq's marshland holds water today, and what remains is a massive network of man-made canals and parched, salty earth.

According to a report released by the AMAR International Charitable Foundation - a non-governmental organization set up in 1991 in response to the plight of the Marsh Arabs - the draining of the marshes has led to the destruction of the Marsh Arabs' self-sufficient economy, the near-complete atrophy of the entire ecosystem, and the flight of tens of thousands of refugees.

Dellapenna said the systematic draining of the land followed a 1991 uprising by Shiite Muslims in southern Iraq that was immediately crushed by Iraqi forces.

"What happened in 1991 that prompted the draining of the marshlands?" Dellapenna asked. "The answer is very obvious. It is that the Marsh Arabs in the South, as well as the Kurds in the North, rose in revolt against Saddam Hussein at the end of the Gulf War. The Allied Coalition took steps to protect the Kurds - they did not take steps to protect the Marsh Arabs.

"And it seems very likely that the motivation for draining, at least the central marsh . . . was motivated by a desire to destroy the Marsh Arabs as a people, rather than by any desire to develop the country, or the various other explanations - in my view excuses - that would be offered in that direction. And if so, this itself is genocide," Dellapenna said.

Dellapenna also discussed legal questions regarding the Marsh Arabs' right to water. He said that while existing law found in treaties and other legal documents on transboundary water management deals only with the rights of states, there is an emerging body of law under so-called customary international law that recognizes the rights of people - particularly the rights of indigenous people seeking to preserve a traditional lifestyle. He said international law recognizes people as having collective rights if they are bound by a common language, culture, religion or some combination of these.

"I think it's pretty clear that the Marsh Arabs qualify as a people in this sense - they did share and they do share a common identity," Dellapenna said. "It's true that they speak a dialect of Arabic, so you can say they don't have a separate language, but they certainly have a distinctive culture going back thousands of years.

"And that culture has been destroyed, and I would argue deliberately and purposely destroyed precisely because they were a people hard to control and a people who had risen in revolt," he said.

Dellapenna added that while customary international law does not recognize a general right to water, "it seems fairly clear, if you turn to the law of human rights and the rights of an indigenous people to maintain their traditional lifestyle, that at the very least governments are under an obligation not to deprive people of the water they need to maintain that lifestyle. And this clearly has been violated by Iraq."

Dellapenna said that there are also claims about the right to development by governments and states. He said this raises a question as to what extent the right to development conflicts with the right of a people to maintain a traditional lifestyle.

"If, as I have argued, the changes in the marshes are motivated by an intent to commit genocide, rather than by an intent to develop Iraq, there is in fact no conflict in this situation," he said.

AMAR Executive Director Peter Clark told the audience attending the Institute of Peace briefing that there have been schemes for draining the marshlands throughout the 20th century. However, while drainage plans drawn up by British companies in the 1940s and 1970s were linked to irrigation and cultivation projects, the massive water diversion efforts undertaken by the Iraqi regime over the last decade were aimed at destroying the environment of the marsh dwellers.

According to reports from various international organizations, the Iraqi government by 1993 was able to prevent water from reaching two-thirds of the marshlands; the flow of the Euphrates River had been almost entirely diverted to the two-kilometer-wide Third River Canal, bypassing most of the marshes; and the flow of the Tigris River had been channeled into tributary rivers, their artificially high banks prohibiting water from seeping into the marshlands.

By 1999, the drainage of the marshes was largely complete, according to an October 2002 Brookings Institution report, entitled "The Internally Displaced People of Iraq." The only remaining marsh of any size was the al-Hawizeh marsh that straddles the Iraq-Iran border. According to the Iranians, the Iraqi side of the marsh is now under assault. In September 2002, it was alleged that the Iraqis were burning the reeds in a possible attempt to prepare a military assault on the remaining villages.

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Dear Guen (english)
09 Apr 2003

I knew I read something here about this. THANK YOU for being
nice enough to take the time to put them here again.

In the articles a question was raised that I want to once
again present to the "crusaders" against the grunt/troops
doing what they feel is needed to put an end to this BS.
I don't like ceing any casualtys but unfortunately - a
price has always been paid for "freedom". Grunts from
the US and other country's are paying one now, as well
as some unfortunate Iraq civilians... but ... what would
the civilian casualty numbers be if sodam remained in
power? Not only in Iraq.. but else where?

This fact is one of many that points to a hypocrital
group who, rather than weigh the facts of the numbers
they relish ( adds fire to their wigwams I guess )they
misuse/misquote much like some professor who I see posted
here and saidthere was no GI's stoned ( not smoking pot--
hit with rocks ) in Vermont.. then I saw the reply's with
a USA today or something article saying it happened.

( hhhhhhhmmmmmmm I'm geting lost here ) no matter I have
asked these staunch supporters of removing our gov and
installing a dictator WHY they never marched for these
"swamp people" of Iraq.. and thats a just for instance..
nor to dis arm Sodam?? No one answers.. can you?

the article said:
"The Marsh Arabs I know are in a state of desolation and utter hopelessness. They have been treated as no human beings should be treated and virtually no one has done anything about it," she said.

And thats a fact jack. No One CARED!! So much for the
true intentions of those who burn our flag and pot shot
at our way of life -- they are condemned by thier own
inaction on/about any one elses turf - but the USA's..


Thank you again,
MicMac Merc
Sorry... (english)
09 Apr 2003

Sorry I got your name wrong...
"""""""""Gwen"""""""" I kinda like
that name.. what is the dif. between communism &
socialism to you? Just curious.

Hugs to ya,
MicMac Merc