News Release

Assessing Realities: · Iraq · Pakistan


Jamail is an independent journalist who reported for eight months from inside Iraq, including the city of Fallujah. He said today: “Two ongoing U.S. military operations in the primarily Sunni province of al-Anbar will make voting in the critical constitutional referendum more difficult for Iraqis in that region. With thousands of families now living as refugees and more refugees generated daily, voting will now take a backseat to things like acquiring food, blankets, medicine and shelter. Some Sunni political and religious leaders have accused the U.S. and Iraqi governments of a deliberate attempt to hamper the Sunni voting ability, as Sunni political/religious leaders have called on their followers to vote ‘no’ in order to block the constitution with a 2/3 majority vote in three provinces.” Jamail has posted rare pictures from the U.S. offensive in western Iraq, taken by an unembedded photographer, on his website.
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Mahajan is author of the book Full Spectrum Dominance: U.S. Power in Iraq and Beyond and writes the blog He said today: “Residents of western al-Anbar province are caught between an increasingly ruthless insurgency and the destructive tactics of U.S. military operations. Last month’s [U.S.] offensive against the town of Tal Afar involved the same kind of heavy bombing of residential areas that we have seen before in Fallujah, Najaf, and elsewhere; by one estimate, 90 percent of the population had fled before the final offensive. These tactics continue near the Syrian border with the provocatively named Operation Iron Fist and along the Euphrates in Operation River Gate. The U.S. military makes little or no provision for the hundreds of thousands of refugees generated by these operations, violating its obligations as an occupying power.” Mahajan, like Jamail, was in Fallujah in April 2004 while it was under attack.
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Available for a limited number of interviews, Khattak is executive director of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute in Islamabad. She said: “We are working together with organizations that have come together under the banner of the Joint Action Committee, Pakistan, for relief efforts. Individuals as well as organizations are members. Different committees have been formed so help may reach the affected areas in a systematic manner and efforts may not be duplicated.”
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President of Conscience International, Jennings is leaving for Kashmir on Friday. He has led earthquake relief projects in Iran, Turkey, India, and Indonesia. Jennings said today: “The size of the disaster in Pakistan in some of the world’s most difficult terrain requires major logistical support. Helicopters are generally only available from military forces, and military discipline is certainly effective in stabilizing relief efforts and transporting major shipments of relief supplies. However, to make the military the main force in providing humanitarian aid … is fraught with problems.”
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Co-editor of the book Power and Civil Society in Pakistan and professor of international studies at the University of Oregon, Weiss said today: “The outpouring of help from all over Pakistan has been unprecedented. Civil society, realizing that the government is not doing certain things, is stepping in.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167