As many as 1700 Iraqi soldiers exhumed from mass graves

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Exhumation of Iraq's Camp Speicher victim mass graves begins

BAGHDAD | Tue Apr 7, 2015 9:10am EDT
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi forensic teams began on Monday excavating 12 suspected mass grave sites thought to hold the corpses of as many as 1,700 soldiers massacred last summer by Islamic State militants as they swept across northern Iraq.

The mass killings last June of Shi'ite soldiers from Camp Speicher, a former U.S. base outside the Sunni city of Tikrit, has become a symbol of the brutality of Islamic State fighters and their hatred for Iraq's Shi'ite majority.

The deaths showed Iraqis that the Islamic State fighters, who have also attacked ethnic and religious minorites as well as fellow Sunni Muslims opposing them, were a threatening new kind of foe.

The images of Shi'ite soldiers being machine-gunned in their hundreds, posted online by the jihadists, could rank as the deadliest single act of bloodshed during a decade of periodic sectarian war in Iraq.

The exhumation of burial sites on the late dictator Saddam Hussein's presidential compound came days after Islamic State militants were driven from the city by Iraqi forces and Shi'ite paramilitaries.

"We dug up the first mass grave site today. Until now we found at least 20 bodies. Initial indications show indisputably that they were from the Speicher victims," said Khalid al-Atbi, an Iraqi health official working with the forensic team sent to Tikrit.

"It was a heartbreaking scene. We couldn’t prevent ourselves from breaking down in tears. What savage barbarian could kill 1,700 persons in cold blood?" he asked.

Survivors of Speicher have described to Reuters their ordeal last June as the Iraqi military chain of command unraveled and Islamic State's Sunni fighters descended on Tikrit, rounding up Shi'ite soldiers for slaughter.

The victims' families, who often grow angry at Iraq's political class for failing to provide them proper answers, have wondered for months about the fate of their friends and loved ones.

"The only positive thing is the victory in Tikrit," said, Ali Hamad, whose cousin Kamal went missing at Speicher.

"We are happy. At least the families will soon know the fate of their sons and cousins," he said.

(Reporting by Ned Parker; Editing by Tom Heneghan)
 
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It's a pity that the people who have more to lose have to literally lose more and the people who have nothing to lose gain more in this senseless battle. This awful waste of lives needs to come to an end. Where are the Internet vanguards when you need them the most? If they can shut down sites involved in piracy, I'm sure as heck they can also stop ISIS online recruitment camps from operating. I was under the impression that Iraq had the upper hand only to find out this wasn't so.
 
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It's a pity that the people who have more to lose have to literally lose more and the people who have nothing to lose gain more in this senseless battle. This awful waste of lives needs to come to an end. Where are the Internet vanguards when you need them the most? If they can shut down sites involved in piracy, I'm sure as heck they can also stop ISIS online recruitment camps from operating. I was under the impression that Iraq had the upper hand only to find out this wasn't so.
I was under the impression Anonymous was going to shut them down. It's a shame they didnt. I just don't understand why ISIS is being allowed to operate at all. We need to not only shut down their websites, but shut them down completely.
 
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The fact that I think Iraq was much better off under the leadership of Saddam Hussein speaks volume about how the country has deteriorated over the last decade. At least under Saddam's rule these termites where under control and wouldn't dare to show themselves.
 

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Saddam Hussein was a tyrant but he ruled with an iron fist which kept the area more stable than it is now. By killing Saddam a power vaccuum opened up which instantly created new, and much worse, factions. The United States is largely responsible for destabilizing the area, regardless of their intentions, and the Caliphate created by ISIS thrives in the new conditions.

The regional governments need to step in to fix the situation themselves, the U.S. cannot win this war because it was raging for hundreds of years before they intervened. These drone bombings from the air cannot win the war, no war has ever been won using air power alone, it will require boots on the ground but those boots MUST NOT BE U.S. boots, they have to be from regional government troops.

You also cannot kill the leadership of ISIS or Al Queda and expect the war to just end, that would just create a bigger vaccuum for power and even more ruthless leaders that hate the west that much more. The area would have been better off if the U.S. never set foot there, but many suspect that arms sales are too profitable to allow the war to end anyway.

This entire problem has been repeated in history many times, it never ends well.
 
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The United States elected itself "sheriff". We can't keep out of anything. Particularly, when it involves oil and guns.
 

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