As the Mideast protests and government crackdowns continue, one country to watch closely is Iraq, with whom the U.S. has a long-term partnership and where clashes between protesters and government forces recently turned violent. Even as Iraqi security forces detained and abused hundreds of intellectuals and journalists, the U.S. government—in keeping with a pattern of silence on Iraq’s abuses—has withheld criticism of its strategic ally. (Salon noticed this too.)
Asked generally about the violence against Iraqi demonstrators on Friday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said only “the approach we’ve taken with regard to Iraq is the same that we’ve taken with regard to the region,” which he said was to call on governments to respond to the protests peacefully. Neither the White House nor the State Department seem to have mentioned the matter since. Yesterday’s State Department briefing discussed Libya, Egypt, Iran, Oman, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, China, Pakistan, Argentina, South Africa and Haiti—Iraq was never discussed.