America, Iraq and Arab Opinion: Shockwaves

This was to have been the month when the White House launched its Greater Middle East initiative, a scheme for wide democratic reform. Instead Washington stands accused in the Arab world of a string of horrific abuses and insults. Rime Allaf assesses the impact and what needs to be done now.

The World Today Published 1 June 2004 Updated 16 October 2020 4 minute READ

Rime Allaf

The leaked photographs showing scenes of sadistic physical and psychological abuse inflicted on Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib, the notorious prison where Saddam Hussein’s jailers preceded US forces, will have long-term negative repercussions on American designs for the Arab world, and Arabs’ perception of the United States.

While it was known that the rules of the Geneva Convention were being routinely flouted by Americans in Iraq, as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reported months ago, the graphic pictures revealed the extent of these serious violations of international humanitarian law.

They were supplemented by even more explicit descriptions of the prisoners’ ordeals, including a comprehensive report by US General Antonio Taguba, and Seymour Hersh’s extensive investigative reporting in The New Yorker.

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