residents, for "at least three days"(1). It seems likely that similar tactics have
been used in Samarra. Water, as well as electricity, has been cut off (4, 5).
Although media reports do not explicitly blame the US army, they are the only group
who would benefit from cutting off water, and so in the absence of clearer
information we should consider it likely they are responsible.
If true, this seems to contravene the geneva conventions, which state that:
"It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects
indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as... drinking water
installations and supplies and irrigation works, for the specific purpose of
denying them for their sustenance value to the civilian population or to the
adverse Party, whatever the motive, whether in order to starve out civilians, to
cause them to move away, or for any other motive." (6)
(1) "A team of civil affairs officers is working with Iraqi officials to restore basic services, including water and electricity, which U.S. forces had turned off for at least three days during the fighting." Washington Post, 19/9/04, http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A31377-2004Sep18?language=printer The same article also discusses the military's failure to provide basic supplies to those fleeing the town.
(2) Islamic Release press release, 28/9/04, http://www.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/480fa8736b88bbc3c12564f6004c8ad5/fe6604fcf395f2b349256f1f001beddc?OpenDocument
(3) '"They won't let us deliver water, blankets or medicine, except to the hospital," said Hisham Idrees, another Red Crescent official.'LA Times, 3/10/04, http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-samarra3oct03,1,6841364.story?coll=la-home-world
(4) "The town is now said to be largely calm, but electricity and water are reported to have been cut off" BBC, 1/10/04, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3705890.stm
(5) "Electricity and water were cut off as tanks pushed through the streets and came under fire from rocket-propelled grenades and rifles". Guardian, 2/10/04, http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1317962,00.html