Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Morning Round-Up December 12th 2006

[Update:]Baghdad suicide bombing kills 57 - Yahoo! News:
22 minutes ago

BAGHDAD (AFP) - A suicide bomber detonated a pickup truck packed with explosives among a crowd of casual labourers in downtown Baghdad, killing at least 57 people and wounding 148, medics said.

The powerful blast ripped through traffic at 7:00 am (0400 GMT) in the busy Tayaran Square in the Rusafa district of the city, in at least the fourth attack on mainly Shiite day labourers in the same spot this year.

In a tactic used before, the pickup truck pulled up to a group of labourers and offered daily work, immediately attracting a large crowd desperate for wages in this economically depressed city.

"They came like bees to honey," said an interior ministry official.

Then the truck exploded. In the hours afterwards, several more dull explosions could be heard around the city.

The impact of the blast severely damaged two nearby buildings while dozens of handcarts full of fruit and vegetables were destroyed in the explosion.

Medical officials said 52 bodies had been received in the Al-Kindi Hospital and five more in Ibn Nafis, while the death toll was expected to rise.

"We are treating 25 people with extremely serious injuries," a doctor from the Ibn Nafis hospital said.

Suicide car bombs have become a hallmark of Sunni extremist attacks on the Shiites and in the last few weeks there have been several bloody blasts, including a series in Sadr City last month that killed nore than 200 people.

The whole city is in the grip of a cycle of revenge attacks sparked by these blasts, as Shiite militias launch mortars and night time death squad attacks against rival Sunni neighbourhoods.

Dozens of bodies turn up every day as result of these attacks and, according to UN figures, more than a hundred Iraqis are dying across the country every day -- many from sectarian attacks.



Aswat al Iraq [In English]:
Iraq-Security (Highlights)

Voices of Iraq / National stories Posted by nadioshka on Dec 11, 2006 - 09:51 PM
Iraq-Security (Highlights) Security developments in Iraq
Baghdad, Dec 11, (VOI) – Main security developments in Iraq on Monday:
  1. Baghdad – Gunmen clad in police uniform robbed $1 million from employees working for the private Middle East Investment Bank in al-Saadoun street downtown Baghdad, in central Baghdad, security sources said.
  2. Iraq-Security (Highlights)
  3. Security developments in Iraq
  4. Baghdad, Dec 11, (VOI) – Main security developments in Iraq on Monday:
  5. Baghdad – Gunmen clad in police uniform robbed $1 million from employees working for the private Middle East Investment Bank in al-Saadoun street downtown Baghdad, in central Baghdad, security sources said.
  6. Baghdad – Five people were killed and others injured after a mortar shell fell on the southern Baghdad neighborhood of Abu Deshir.
  7. Baghdad - One Iraqi civilian was killed and five were wounded when a bomb exploded in eastern Baghdad morning, a security source said.
  8. Baaquba- An armed group killed a member of Kurdistan Democratic Party in a town near Baaquba, Diala province, while two policemen were shot dead in Baaquba, Iraqi police said.
  9. Dujail – Gunmen kidnapped five teachers in the village of Dujail, a security source in the Iraqi northern province of Salah Eddin province said.
  10. Hit – An Iraq civilian was killed in clashes between a joint U.S.-Iraqi force and gunmen in Hit, Anbar province, eyewitnesses said.
  11. Baghdad – Unidentified gunmen kidnapped nine civilians in al-Madain neighborhood in southern Baghdad, an Iraq police source said.
  12. Touz Khormato – An armed group killed five members of one family in a village near the Iraqi town of Touz Khormato, a police source said.
  13. Mosul – A policeman and a civilian were killed in separate attacks in the Iraqi northern town of Mosul.
  14. Baghdad – A college student was killed when a car bomb was detonated near a private college in western Baghdad, a police source said.
  15. Balad – Unidentified gunmen kidnapped eight farmers from a market east of Balad town, Salah Eddin province, a security source said.
  16. Mosul – An armed group killed four members of one family in the northern Iraqi town of Mosul.
  17. Kirkuk – Six civilians were wounded in a suicide bombing that targeted the house of a top police officer in the northern Iraqi oil town of Kirkuk, a security source said.
The URL for this story is: here
Aswat al Iraq [In English]:
Iraq-Bloc-Accordance

Voices of Iraq / National stories Posted by nadioshka on Dec 11, 2006 - 09:20 PM
Iraq-Bloc-Accordance Sunni front backs new political alliance
By Santa Michael
Baghdad, Dec 11, (VOI) – Prominent members of the Sunni Iraqi Accordance Front on Monday declared their support for a new political alliance planed between Iraqi political powers.

Sunni front backs new political alliance

Baghdad, Dec 11, (VOI) – Prominent members of the Sunni Iraqi Accordance Front on Monday declared their support for a new political alliance planed between Iraqi political powers.
Akram al-Hakim, the minister of state for national dialogue affairs, said on Friday that the coming days would see a new political bloc comprising the Shiite Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), the Sunni Iraqi Islamic Party and Kurds.
News of the new bloc came amidst a spiral in violence in Iraq and Hakim said the bloc aims at standing up to sectarian troubles.
“Iraq is now sliding into a civil war and anything that helps avoid this war has our support,” Adnan al-Dulaimi, head of the Accordance Front told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).
“We are with any alliance formed inside the parliament or outside it, but we want it to be a true alliance that has an impact on the Iraqi scene. If these were only emotional pleas not based on practical bases, then I do not think it will work out,” he said.
The Accordance Front is the third biggest parliamentary bloc with 44 seats. It combines Dulaimi’s Iraqi People’s Congress, the National Dialogue Council headed by Khalaf al-Olayan, the Islamic Party headed by Iraqi Vice-President Tareq al-Hashemi and independent legislators
“This call has our blessings, but we think it should come from the heart and has the true basics to implement what the bloc agrees on,” Dulaimi said.
He said that Iraq’s infrastructure is completely ruined and forced displacements are going on so the parliament has to rise up and solve all these issues.
Iraqi Parliament Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani welcomed on Sunday the formation of the new political bloc.

The URL for this story is: here
Aswat al Iraq [In English]:
Gunmen-Robbery

Voices of Iraq / Baghdad
Posted by saleem on Dec 11, 2006 - 02:12 PM Gunmen-Robbery Gunmen rob $1 million in central Baghdad
By Wathiq Ismael
Baghdad, Dec 11, (VOI) –The Iraqi police said on Monday gunmen clad in police uniform and riding police-like vehicles robbed $1 million in central Baghdad.

Gunmen-Robbery: Gunmen rob $1 million in central Baghdad: By Wathiq Ismael:
Baghdad, Dec 11, (VOI) –The Iraqi police said on Monday gunmen clad in police uniform and riding police-like vehicles robbed $1 million in central Baghdad.
“Gunmen clad in police and riding new police-like 4x4 vehicles robbed $1 million from four employees working for the private Middle East Investment Bank in al-Saadoun street downtown Baghdad after they (robbers) stopped and forced two cars carrying the employees at gunpoint to unknown place,” the source told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).
The source added “the employees inside the two cars were on their way to deposit the amount at the Iraqi central Bank, located at Rasheed street downtown Baghdad.”
The robbers, the source pointed out, forced the employees along with the $1 million at gunpoint to unknown place.
“The employees worked for the private Middle East Investment Bank-Elwiyiah branch,” the source added.
Al-Saadon street is one of the most crowded commercial area in central Baghdad.
This is the third armed robbery where gunmen clad in police hijacked a large amount of money from banks in Baghdad during the last two years.

The URL for this story is: here
Clerics urge Muslims to back Iraq Sunnis - Yahoo! News:
By ABDULLAH SHIHRI, Associated Press Writer 33 minutes ago

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - More than 30 prominent Islamic clerics from Saudi Arabia on Monday called on Sunni Muslims around the Middle East to support their brethren in
Iraq against Shiites and praised the insurgency.

The clerics said jihad, or holy war, "is one of the most important tenets of religion, and what has been taken by force can only be regained by force."

Their statement warned that Shiite Muslims were taking control of Iraq in a conspiracy with "Crusaders" in an attempt to marginalize Sunnis. They called on Sunni Muslims around the Middle East to "stand directly with our Sunni brothers in Iraq, using all appropriate and considered forms of support" and urged clerics to "educate the public about the Shiite threat."

Thousands of Iraqis have been killed this year in sectarian bloodshed between the majority Shiites and the Sunni Arab minority, who lost their dominance of the country to Shiites after the fall of
Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Saudi Arabia, like most Arab countries, is predominantly Sunni but has a significant Shiite minority. Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt all have expressed concerns over increasing Shiite power in Iraq and other parts of the region, which they see as an opening for Iranian influence.

"After almost four years of occupation, it is clear that the aim behind this occupation is for the Crusaders and Shiites to take control of Iraq, paving the way to complete their control over the region," read the statement, posted on a Saudi news Web site.

The statement was signed by more than 30 Saudi clerics — most from Saudi Arabia's top Islamic universities, the centers of the kingdom's hardline version of Sunni Islam.

The sectarian conflict in Iraq has raised fears of a growing split between the two main sects of Islam around the Middle East as members of each rally around their group.

Key Iraqi officials have said that millions of dollars in financing has been sent to Iraq's insurgents by private donors in Saudi Arabia, though Saudi officials have denied the report.
Car bombs kill 42, wounds 106 in Baghdad - Yahoo! News:
16 minutes ago

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Two car bombs exploded in a main square of central Baghdad on Tuesday morning, killing at least 42 people and wounding 106, police said.

The carefully coordinated attack in Tayaran Square at 7 a.m. involved a bomb in a parked car and a suicide car bomb, both of which exploded simultaneously near a police patrol and a crowd of Iraqis gathering to apply for jobs as day laborers, said police Lt. Bilal Ali.

He said at least 42 Iraqis, including seven policemen, were killed and 104 people wounded.

Gunfire could be heard right after the explosions, which occurred about 100 feet apart, but it was not immediately known if it involved police or insurgent snipers hiding nearby, Ali said.

In Baghdad, where many people are unemployed, scores of Iraqis gather in the square early in the morning to wait for minibuses or private cars that stop by and hire them for the day as construction workers, cleaners or painters. Nearby, small stands are set up to sell the laborers a breakfast of tea and egg sandwiches.

The suicide car bomber appeared to drive into one of those crowds and set off his explosives as the nearby parked car bomb also went off, Ali said.

Khalil Ibrahim, 41, a shop owner in the area, said: "In the first explosion, I saw people falling over, some of them blown apart. When the other bomb went off seconds later, it slammed me into a wall of my store and I fainted." He was speaking from a local hospital where he had been taken to be treated for shrapnel wounds to his head and back.

Tayaran Square is located near several government ministries and a bridge that crosses the Tigris River to the heavily fortified Green Zone, where Iraq's parliament and the U.S. and British embassies are located
Reuters AlertNet - Suicide car bomber kills 45 in Baghdad-ministry:
12 Dec 2006 05:51:35 GMT Source: Reuters (2 minutes ago): (Updates wounded toll, adds details)

BAGHDAD, Dec 12 (Reuters) - A suicide bomber killed 45 people and wounded scores in central Baghdad on Tuesday after luring a crowd of poor day labourers to his vehicle with promises of work, the Interior Ministry said.

Police said 148 people were wounded when the bomber's vehicle exploded at 7 a.m. (0400 GMT) in Tayran Square, sending a cloud of black smoke into the sky. Gunfire sounded immediately after the blast.

Tayran Square is typically a gathering point for carpenters, plumbers, brick-layers, painters and other workers in the construction trade who frequent the cafes and street vendors in the early morning while waiting for the chance of some work.

About 90 minutes later, a roadside bomb exploded near an Iraqi police patrol, but the Interior Ministry said there were no casualties in that incident. A third explosion rocked the centre of the city shortly afterwards, but there were no immediate reports of casualties.

Iraq is gripped by tit-for-tat sectarian killings between majority Shi'ites and Sunni Arabs who were once dominant under Saddam Hussein.

A car bomb devastated a fruit and vegetable market in Baghdad on Dec. 2, killing at least 51 people. In the worst attack since the U.S. invasion, more than 200 people were killed on Nov. 3 in multiple car bombings in the Shi'ite district of Sadr City.
Reuters AlertNet - Iraq in turmoil Other Headlines :
IRIN Middle East | Middle East | IRAQ | IRAQ: Alia'a Haydar, Iraq "I want go to school and learn how to write" | Children, Education, Gender issues | News Items:
IRAQ: Alia'a Haydar, Iraq "I want go to school and learn how to write"

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

BAGHDAD, 11 Dec 2006 (IRIN) - Aid agencies estimate that thousands of Iraqi parents do not send their daughters to school for cultural reasons and because of the general insecurity in the country. As a result of two decades of war and economic hardship, Iraqi schools have fallen into disrepair, enrolment has dropped, and literacy levels have stagnated, agencies say.

In the south of the country, where infrastructure is more deteriorated due to years of neglect, the situation is worse.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) estimates literacy rates to be less than 60 percent, or 6 million illiterate Iraqi adults. People in rural areas and women are worst off. Only 37 percent of rural women can read, and only 30 percent of Iraqi girls of high school age are enrolled in school, compared with 42 percent of boys.

Alia'a Haydar, 15, resident of the city of al-Samawah, some 240km south of the capital, dreams of the day when she will be able to read magazine articles on the latest fashion and music and also read the Quran, the holy Muslim book.

"I don't know how to read or write my name. My family says that girls should not study as their destiny is to marry and raise children. They say women that study and read in the end turn out to be prostitutes," Alia'a said.

"I know this thinking is wrong but I fear my father. One day, he saw me trying to write on a piece of paper and he punished me for a week. Now, he is looking for a husband for me so that he won’t risk losing his daughter to a school.

"To make the situation of girls in our community worse, in the rural areas where I was living before there weren't schools. Now that we have come to the city, the only one near my home is seven kilometres away. For a girl who is not even allowed to go to the street corner alone, how could go I go to school alone?

"I want to go to school and learn how to write but I don't know what to do. Male mentality in Iraq is very old-fashioned. They see women as their servants with no brains to think and they are afraid of losing their power over us.

"One day I will be able to read, even if I have to run away. The risk of being killed if I do that is the same as working like a donkey in my home, getting beatings from my family for not doing housework properly or living the rest of my life with an illiterate man and not being able to write my own name."

Copyright © IRIN 2006 The material contained on www.IRINnews.org comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian news and information service, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. All IRIN material may be reposted or reprinted free-of-charge; refer to the IRIN copyright page for conditions of use. IRIN is a project of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
IRIN Middle East | Middle East | IRAQ | IRAQ: Respect for human rights still a dream | Human Rights, Peace Security | News Items:
IRAQ: Respect for human rights still a dream

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

BAGHDAD, 10 Dec 2006 (IRIN) - Sectarian violence causing displacement and targeted attacks are continuing to further deepen the situation of human rights in Iraq today, local and international NGOs say.

"We live in a catastrophic situation of a lack of human rights and displacement and targeting of people according to their identity and religious beliefs by militias, terrorists and mafia," Dr Aziz Jabur Shaeal, chairman of the Baghdad Centre for Human Rights Studies (BCHRS), said.

Shaeal's comments come as the world marks the United Nations Human Rights Day on 10 December.

"Sectarian violence has affected human rights in all fields with the assassinations of academics, doctors, journalists, writers, artists and the leaders of public opinion as well as kidnappings to blackmail families to pay huge quantities of money," Shaeal said.

"Deprivation of people from employment without proving their loyalty to a political party, especially religious parties, torture inside official and nonofficial prisons, the disappearance of many people after they are arrested, the deterioration of infrastructure, the absence of the role of government in the protection of people’s security and prevailing partisanship and corruption [are also rife]," he added.

Ibraheem Yacoub, 38, is one of millions of Iraqis who has first-hand experience of what it is like to live with no human rights. His two brothers were captured by militia men and accused of taking part in insurgent attacks. However, Yacoub said they were just students trying to finish their college studies. His brothers were found shot dead a week later in one of the streets of Baghdad.

"We were forced to leave our home because sectarian violence reached our neighbourhood and we didn't have any choice but to take our bags and some food and run, living like the homeless and with the risk of being the next victims of the country's daily violence," Yacoub said.

The Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights said continuing displacement should be tackled urgently - as this could open the doors to more violence and disrespect of the already deteriorated human rights situation in Iraq.

Escalation of sectarian violence

Sectarian violence began escalating significantly in February 2006 after a Shi’ite shrine in the northern city of Samarra was bombed by Sunni militants. Since then, revenge killings between the two Muslim sects have displaced nearly 425,000 Iraqis, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

In addition, up to 3,000 Iraqis are leaving to neighbouring countries on a monthly basis as the extent of the violence becomes clearer to residents, according to the Ministry of Displacement and Migration.

"The right to have a home to live and to live safely is the minimum that any human being should have and today thousands of Iraqis are being forced to flee their homes and encounter dangerous situations because of sectarian violence," Diar Ahmed, press officer at Iraq's Ministry of Human Rights, said.

Amnesty International says the lack of human rights in Iraq is unacceptable.

"Thousands of people are encountering the most serious and critical form of a lack in human rights and it is an absolutely intolerable situation," said Nicole Chouery, spokeswoman for Amnesty International in London, UK.

"People are displaced and require urgent support and assistance and violence is increasing every day, leaving the human rights issue absent in Iraq," Chouery added.

Women and children have also suffered greatly.

"Women and children are recognised [only] theoretically, but their rights are violated all the time. They face the same problems as other people in Iraq but also have additional problems, such as the enforcing of the Hijab [head cover] and other kinds of clothes, and restrictions in employment," Shaeal from BCHRS said, remarking on how conservative Iraqi society was now becoming.

Recent calls for improvements

In November, Louise Arbour, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told a session of the UN Human Rights Council that despite the Iraqi government's efforts to address the deteriorating human rights situation, violence had reached unprecedented levels.

"In many parts of the country, scores of civilians are wilfully killed and injured every day," Arbour said at the conference.

She also said ever-growing unemployment, poverty, discrimination and diminishing access to basic services were severely affecting the economic and social rights of the Iraqi people.

According to Shaeal, establishing an international investigation committee with Iraqi NGOs to determine the violations of human rights is the only way to guarantee recognition of rights.

"The Security Council should vote for a resolution calling for the establishment of an international criminal court for Iraq, mandated to investigate all crimes against humanity committed in Iraq and to prosecute those found to be responsible. This should be the starting point," Muhammad al-Deraji, director of Monitoring of Human Rights in Iraq (MHRI), said.

"In addition, there should be support of the work of the United Nations in Iraq through an expansion of the political and human rights mandate of UNAMI [UN’s Assistance Mission for Iraq] in order to increase the protection of human rights in the country. And the Security Council should re-establish the position of the Special Rapporteur of Human Rights in Iraq," he added.

Based in Jordan for security reasons, UNAMI said it was struggling to keep abreast of human right violations in Iraq but said it was working closely with the Iraqi government to improve this situation.

Local and international NGOs have urged the Iraqi government to ratify the relevant international conventions that protect human rights, such as the Convention Against Torture (CAT); to disseminate the results of former investigations into cases of major human rights violations; and to invite the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture to visit Iraq.

According to the Iraqi constitution, “All Iraqis are equal before the law without regard to gender, opinion, nationality, religion, or origin. Discrimination on the basis of gender, nationality, religion, origin, or social standing is forbidden. They [the people] have the right to personal security in life and freedom except in accordance with the law. Equality of opportunity is guaranteed to all citizens in accordance to the law.” However, the reality on the ground is very different, activists say.

Copyright © IRIN 2006 The material contained on www.IRINnews.org comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian news and information service, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. All IRIN material may be reposted or reprinted free-of-charge; refer to the IRIN copyright page for conditions of use. IRIN is a project of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.


Erdla

Links to "Morning Round-Up December 12th 2006"

Create a Link