Christian peacemakers say coalition force causes Iraqi violence
Christian peacemakers in Iraq have written to US ambassador, Paul Bremer, suggesting that the excessive use of force by the Coalition is contributing to the escalating violence in the country.
Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) wrote to Ambassador L. Paul Bremer III who is the Presidential Envoy to Iraq and in this capacity is the Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority, on Easter Saturday.
CPT has maintained an almost continuous presence in Iraq from October 25, 2002.
In a letter to Paul Bremer CPT said; "We are deeply troubled about the recent escalation in violence throughout Iraq. We hear of overwhelming civilian casualties in Fallujah and elsewhere, amid reports of numerous Coalition deaths. Our Iraqi friends in neighbourhoods throughout Baghdad report civilian causalities, as well as great fear of kidnappings and spiralling violence."
"One friend witnessed helicopter fire spraying heavily populated streets in Sadr City. Another tells that his children are terrified by both Coalition and resistance munitions. Yet another, who welcomed the troops with joy last spring, now says, "I hate Muqtada al-Sadr, but now I can also say that I hate the Americans."
CPT report that Iraqi people on the streets have told them repeatedly that the Coalition's use of excessive force encourages greater resistance.
"Such use of force, rather than reducing terrorism, actually acts as fuel on the fire" says CPT.
"If the attempt to bring every 100 perpetrators to justice results in 1000 new enemies, the prospect for peace and security diminishes."
CPT urged that Coalition forces exercise restraint and foster dialogue as a means of overcoming the present instability. They also suggested talking to community leaders, and listening to their recommendations for de-escalating violence to "build bridges of dialogue" and "increase the common area of understanding."
Since July 2003, CPT has been focusing on the cases of numerous Iraqis detained by US forces. Often these detentions have involved acts of violence.
In January Christian Peacemaker Teams presented the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq with a dossier of statistical data compiled from seventy-two case studies of the treatment of Iraqi detainees.