‘Careless & insane airstrike on Iraqi market kills dozens of civilians, probably a few terrorists’
Dozens of civilians, including many women and children, were killed in an airstrike on the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL)-held town of Qaim in Iraq on Wednesday, according to multiple reports. The airstrike reportedly hit a busy market in the small town, which is located in Anbar province, near the Syrian border.
The US-led coalition’s joint air force operates in the area, but coalition representatives denied conducting any strikes in Qaim. There’s little-to-no possibility that the coalition will ever acknowledge responsibility for the alleged airstrike, said political analyst Daniel Patrick Welch.
“They are not going admit it, because only ‘bad people’ like the Russians carry out airstrikes that hit civilians. But no one else is bombing ISIL in that area, as far as I’m aware, or has the capacity to do so from the air,” Welch told RT.
“It could be that they’re not airstrikes like the attack on the convoy in Syria last month. But the trouble is the discrepancy in accountability and the recording that the US [is doing of] targeting and hitting civilians, or Syrian soldiers, or any of these other things, hospitals, which has been going on for years and years, and is swept under the rug. Whereas everything else done by the Syrian Army or by the Russian air force is highlighted and called a war crime.”
The double-standard approach to civilian deaths in the ongoing wars in the Middle East is blatant, all the incidents should be treated the same way, said Welch.
“The fact is, you have to condemn all. You know, civilians die in war and it’s unavoidable. The question is that Syria is returning sovereignty to the legitimate government. And that’s not what’s going on around the region. ISIS and all its affiliates are offshoots of a deliberate US and western policy to arm Islamic jihad and use it as a weapon against any of its enemies it sees in the region and around the world.”
While one should not jump to conclusions as to the source of the alleged airstrike until “the dust settles,” in general, US policy to nurse jihadists world-wide, and then battle them using rather questionable means must be exposed and condemned, said Welch.
“The thing is, there’s no question that the US has targeted hospitals, weddings sometimes by accident, and sometimes not. Counter-terrorism winds up being terrorism ... it’s not excusing any of the devastation or the treachery that’s befallen Syria on behalf of either the Russians or the Syrian Army,” said Welch. “But you have to look at things at their context. And this is the same proliferation of Islamic extremist militarized global jihad, that was loosed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Libya, Yemen. This is the same thing that’s happening worldwide and the US has to be held to account. It doesn’t change no matter who’s running the joint. The goals of empire are always the same.”
Multiple reports from eyewitnesses of the alleged airstrike indicate that it could have been carried out by the Iraqi air force. If that is really the case, the US-led coalition, of which Iraq is a part, must take full responsibility for the incident, retired US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski told RT.
“It seem like the people there in the city believe that the Iraqi army, Iraqi air force did it. Because of the way that they are reacting to it, they are talking to Baghdad, saying, ‘please don’t do this again.’ If that is true, if the Iraqi army conducted this strike, then the coalition conducted this strike, because the US is the key part of the coalition with the Iraqi army, and the key source of the intelligence that is used in some of the targeting. So, somebody is not telling the truth there,” said Kwiatkowski.
The high death toll in the alleged airstrike is most likely the result of “insane” targeting and “bad intelligence.” The strange silence on the part of the Iraqi army only fuels suspicion over their involvement and even signifies a “willingness” to allow civilian casualties.
“It’s a market, that’s where people go. Maybe militants go there, and I’m glad they got a few. But it is insane to target like that, and it seems like it was targeted,” Kwiatkowski told RT.
“I don’t understand why they won’t comment. And it sounds like they are trying to get their story straight, which is another problem, when you have bad intelligence and you… I hate to say this, but they are quite willing to have civilian casualties. I think that’s clear.”
The US military has a “long history” of bombing “not proper, by Geneva convention, targets” and might be somewhat accustomed to it, according to Kwiatkowski. However, the coalition will have to take full responsibility, since the “blame Russia” scenario won’t work this time.
“I don’t know if they … thought they could get away with it, because it’s a small town, and people are focused on Aleppo, people are focused on Mosul. It seems careless. The fact that some militants are in hospital and possibly dead from this attack kind of suggests that it was done on purpose. You know, to target and ... get a few guys,” said Kwiatkowski.
“I think it’s sloppy, it’s inhuman. I’m curious to see how the US and how SATCOM is going answer to this, because they said that the coalition didn’t do it. Unless they are going to pin it on Turkey, or Russia, or Syria which I haven’t seen [that] they are going to do, they going to have to take responsibility for it, the coalition itself is going to have to take responsibility and tighten up their game. And particularly their intelligence game.”
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.