Monday, March 27, 2006

Iraq's newest import

They've gotten pretty good at targeting gays in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Iran, and now they're exporting those methods to the Badr Corps death squads in neighboring Iraq.

Journalist Doug Ireland has spoken to gay men both in and outside of Iraq who believe "the Badr Corps is receiving advice from Iran on how to target gay people." Ali Hili, a gay Iraqi exile living in London, said that "murders of gays have become an almost daily occurrence" in Iraq.

Hili provided details on several of those killed in Iraq. Ammar, a young gay man of 27, was abducted and shot in back of the head in Baghdad by suspected Badr militias in January 2006. Haydar Faiek, aged 40, a transsexual Iraqi, was beaten and burned to death by Badr militias in the main street in the Al-Karada district of Baghdad in September 2005. Naffeh, aged 45, disappeared in August 2005. His family was informed that he was kidnapped by the Badr organization. His body was found in January 2006. He, too, had been subjected to an execution-style killing.

And what's been the U.S. response?

Iraqi gays who have appealed to U.S. authorities for help have been "met with indifference and derision," Ireland reports. One gay Iraqi who is hiding five gay men in his home said that when he has approached American officials they have "laughed" and have refused to provide support. There really is only one way that the United States would reverse course: If a considerable amount of pressure were to be drummed up from within the United States. But if the reactions of U.S. gay and lesbian groups to Iran's gay executions are any indication, there isn't much reason for hope.

No, they're focused instead on why "Brokeback Mountain" didn't win Best Picture. The gay rights movement needs to go global, and American leadership is required. Is there any excuse for indifference?

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