Thursday, December 14, 2006

News From Iraq December 14 2006 Translated From Arabic

Summary
  • Baghdad: Gunmen in Iraqi police uniform kidnapped shop owners and customers in al-Sanak Baghdad.
  • Hilla: Two people killed six others wounded by a car bomb in Hilla
  • Ten unidentified bodies in al-Khalesa south of Baghdad.
  • Basra – A British invader was wounded by roadside bomb.
  • Mosul – Two unidentified bodies found.
  • Falluja – Gunmen attacked an Iraqi army barracks in Falluja with RPGs and automatic weapons causing unspecified casualties among soldiers, an Iraqi police source said.

(these are the storys getting most attention in the Iraqi Arabic media when I was writing this - Laith:)

The Kidnapping Of Mechanics From The al-Sanak Market in Central Baghdad:
This morning there was a mass kidnapping from the al-Sanak market in Central Baghdad. Aswat al Iraq's Arabic report for this story is here but I am adding to it from my knowledge of the place and the people who work there. Also from Radio Annas and other news in Baghdad. - Laith:

Al-Sanak market is specialising in car spare parts. But it is not just a market. The merchants there are many of them very skilled mechanics and the area is a mix of workshops and shops. It is therefore a mix of shops and industry zone. And it is always very busy. The men who work there are a mix of Sunni and Shia.

This morning about 100 gunmen arrived in SUVs of the type used by police. They were accompanied by ambulances. They were dressed in police uniforms. They carried the rifles and the Glock pistols issued by the Americans to the SCIRI controlled police. They took over Rasheed Street and when they were in control they selected people to take away with them. There are different reports of the numbers some say as many as a 100. The kidnapping victims are a mix of ordinary people to the market to buy or toget something fixed and the people who work their. Their victims were hands tied and are a mix of Sunni and Shia. They then drove away taking their victims with them.

There are now reports that SCIRI are claiming to have found and freed about 25 of the kidnapping victims.

If you can read Arabic you will see that the report says that the commander of police (in Karadah) is being investigated for neglicense after an almost identical attack last month. You will perhaps remember that there were conflicting statements about how many had been kidnapped from the Sadrist controlled Education Government Department Ministry. They said 150 the SCIRI Interior ministry say 80. They also said they had freed 70 of the victims. The report also says that it is not known what the investigation found. I will tell you that the "police" commander of Karadah is a senior member of SCIRI and was put into the job directly by the SCIRI controlled Interior ministry. This is true also of the commander of police for Al-Sanak.
Mosul: Primary School Bombed:
A primary school that had been closed for repairs was bombed. Police said it was because it was thought the school had been closed for conversion to a police station. Several schools in the Yarmouk area have been subject to arson attacks recently

An employee of the election commission was assasinated in Al-Bakr north east of the city. Link:
Fallujah Surveillance Cameras:
The American invaders are installing surveillance cameras mounted on towers surrounded by barbed wire throughout the city to try to reduce the number of attacks conducted by the resistance. Here:
Kurdistan Women's Organisations Petition Against Baker Report on Iraq:
The Kurdistan Women's Union Branch in Zakho northern Iraq, began a campaign today to collect signatures against the Baker-Hamilton report. Read in full:
Fallujah: "Iraqi" Army Barracks Attacked:
The barracks in Eastern Fallujah was attacked at two o'clock this afternoon. The attackers used RPGs and light weapons (this usually means Ak47s - Laith) the attack lasted about half an hour. no information on casualties yet. Story here:
Hilla Car Bomb:
Two people were killed and six others injured in a car bomb 40km north of Hilla. The story is here:
Basrah British Patrol Bombed:
A British invader patrol was attacked by a bomb in central Basrah. The tank was damaged. One of the invaders was hurt and evacuated to hospital. The damage to the tank forced the entire patrol to be evacuated according to the British invader spokesman Captain Dunlop. The story is here:
Parliament absentees:
The Arabic URL for this story is here. However Aswat al Iraq have an English version of the story from here this is the English:

Parliament-Absentees
Iraqi parliament to make absent legislators pay heavily
By Santa Michael
Baghdad, Dec 14, (VOI) – Weary of repeated absence of its members and canceling sessions for lack of quorum, the Iraqi parliament decided to deduct 500,000 dinars (about $340) from the monthly allocations of legislators for each day of absence without a valid excuse.
Each Iraqi parliamentarian gets a total of 17 million dinars monthly.
The parliament also threatened to publish the names of the often-absent members in the media.
“Realizing the danger of this phenomenon as is hampers the House of Representatives in carrying out its duties, the presidency of the House decided to deduct the amount of half a million dinars from frequent absentees,” Mohannad Jabbar, head of the parliament media office, told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI) by telephone on Thursday.
The House of Representatives has failed to hold its 59th session for fives times during the last two weeks for lack of quorum. The legal quorum is half the members plus one meaning that at least 138 members should be present to hold a formal session out of the total is 275 members.
The House presidency would freeze the money allocations of frequent absentees, publish their names in newspapers and other media and urge their parties to hold them accountable.
Last week, Shiite cleric Ayatollah Muhammad al-Yaaqoubi issued a fatwa prohibiting members of the Iraqi parliament from performing the annual hajj (pilgrimage) rituals this year to avoid adjourning parliamentary sessions.
Najaf Security Iraq:
The URL for the Arabic story is here the English version is here below is the English version:

Najaf-Security
Iraqi army to take over security in Najaf Dec 20 - official
Baghdad, Dec 14, (VOI) – The Iraqi army will take over security in the Shiite-sacred city of Najaf on December 20 from the Multi-National forces, the Iraqi government spokesman said on Thursday.
“On the 20th of December, the Multi-Nationals will hand over the security file of Najaf to the Iraqi army,” Ali al-Dabbagh told a news conference in Baghdad without elaboration
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and U.S. President George Bush have agreed in October to form a high-level working group to work towards accelerating building up Iraqi security forces.

[The reporter has glued on peaces of other storys onto the Arabic version such as the political blocks meetings next Saturday and the kidnappings from the car parts market in Baghdad today so the English version is better - Laith)
Baghdad 10 dead body found (al-Khalesa) :
10 people were found dead in South Baghdad (it was in al-Khalesa. This is quite a remote place. I think these unhappy murdered people were probably Shia - Laith). The URL for this story is here:
The Escape of Saddam's Nephew:[This article is very funny if you like to laugh with bitterness - Laith]
Brigadier Abdul Aziz Aluka from the police command in the governorate of Nineveh who is one of those investigating the escape from prison of the nephew of Saddam Hussein said that the prison was the biggest terrorist centre in the governorate and need a large police presence. He also said that in the old days people obeyed their orders. He has asked the authorities to permit a large police presence so that the suspicious movements of the 1200 prisoners can be watched all the time. The article also lists all the "security measures" in the prison which include, many checkpoints, "massive" fortifications, and barbed wire. The article says that the escape was planned months ago. Ayman Sabawi Ibrahim Hasan, the nephew of former President Saddam Hussein, escaped from Badush prison on Saturday 9th of this month with a prison guard. I wrote about it here. You can read the story in Arabic today on Aswat al Iraq here:
Hilla American Patrol bombed
An American invader patrol was bombed today on the Hilla Najaf road close to the University of Babil there are no confirmed casualties but eyewitnesses said that ambulances were seen arriving at the place of the bombing and taking three but they do not know if those three were injured or dead. The report is here.
Mosul Bomb:
An "Iraqi" army patrol was attacked by a bomb in the "New" Mosul district. One person was killed and another injured. None of the "Iraqi" soldiers were hurt. The story is here:
Bomb West Baghdad:
I include this only because it is pleasant to read that no people or property were damaged. The report is here.
Did They Try To Kill Him Or Not?:
Both the Interior Ministry (controlled by SCIRI) and the Office of The "Vice President of Iraq" deny that Dr. Abdul-Mahdi, member of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) was the target of a bombing attack near the University in West Baghdad today. His office said he had left his office duringthe morning. The report is here. (There were media reports that he was attacked. Perhaps he was too busy reading the reports from the American backed trained and funded SCIRI death squads to be able to leave his office today. Or perhaps he was too busy preparing to grovel in front of the new American general called Raymond Odierno in charge of the invader forces in Baghdad. May God destroy him and his masters- Laith)
Laith

Two English Language Reports Selected For You by Mohammed:

IRIN Middle East | Middle East | IRAQ | IRAQ: Kawkab Barakat, Iraq “I lost my only two sons in the explosion” | Peace Security | News Items:
BAGHDAD, 13 Dec 2006 (IRIN) - Escalating sectarian violence in Iraq since the February 2006 bombing of a revered Shi’ite mosque in Samarra has been responsible for the deaths of thousands of ordinary Iraqis.

This vicious cycle of revenge killings between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims has left few families untouched. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), 425,000 Iraqis had been internally displaced since February and more than 3,500 Iraqi civilians are killed every month, according to the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

While shootings and bombings occur on a daily basis in the capital, a particularly devastating attack took place on 12 December in the centre of the capital, in Taiyanan Square. A man driving a pick-up truck pulled up alongside a large group of Shi’ite day workers, calling them to him. He then detonated his explosives-packed truck.

The Iraqi police say 70 people were killed in the blast and more than 230 injured.

Kawkab Barakat, 62, lost her two sons in the explosion. Needing sedatives to stay calm, she spoke to IRIN about her tragic loss.

“I lost my only two sons in the explosion. I cannot control the pain. Now I understand what every Iraqi mother who lost their sons feels. They were trying to work to bring food and pay our rent, which is three months late.

My sons were very good people. They were responsible and worked hard to support us. They had many proposals to work with US engineers but refused many times [for fear of being seen as traitors]. But it wasn’t enough and those bastards killed them anyway.

I saw the body of one of my dead sons, but for the other they brought me his shoes saying that they could only find pieces of him. What did I do to deserve this? I am a mother and even a decent burial is not possible because my son was blown apart. Allahu akbar! [God is great]”

We are a poor family and the only income for me and my three daughters was that which my sons were bringing to us each day. Their wives and children live with me too. Now we are afraid because we don’t know how we are going to feed the children tomorrow. We [the women] have never worked outside. Maybe the only solution is to go in the streets and beg for help.”
IRIN Middle East | Middle East | IRAQ | IRAQ: Appalling conditions of women prisoners disputed | Gender issues-Human Rights | News Items:
BAGHDAD, 13 Dec 2006 (IRIN) - Conflicting opinions exist within the Iraqi government on how female prisoners are treated. According to the Iraqi Minister of Women’s Affairs and local NGOs, female prisoners in Iraq are held in appalling conditions, often without charge, and are sometimes raped and tortured.

“We don’t know the exact number of female prisoners but there are many being held in different prisons - even though the [other ministries in the] government and US forces deny it. They are afraid of a counterattack from the country’s conservative society,” Faten Abdul Rahman Mahmoud, Minister of Women’s Affairs, said.

Sarah Abdel Yassin, spokeswoman for the Baghdad-based Organisation for Women's Freedom (OWF), said she agreed with the minister and had met many women who had been tortured in Iraqi jails.

“The Ministry of Interior, [Ministry of] Defence and US forces are denying that there are female prisoners in Iraq but we have enough proof that they are there and that they suffer daily humiliation,” said Yassin.

However, other government ministries either deny the existence of women in Iraq’s jails altogether or say that there are very few and that they are held in humane conditions in special prisons.

“It is true that sometimes women are taken for some questioning in our departments, to help us, but they are always released after the inquiry and never held in prisons,” Muhammad Fareed, information officer at the Ministry of Interior, said.

“However, women charged in criminal cases, which are very few, are held in special prisons with all their human rights guaranteed,” he added.

Emily Greene, a spokeswoman for the US military in Iraq, told IRIN that they had no information about women being held in Iraqi prisons. The ones that had been held for investigation by them had all been released months ago and no torture had occurred, she said.

“Detainees in multi-national forces’ custody are treated humanely and in accordance with international standards and the principles of the Fourth Geneva Convention,” said Greene.

Women’s affairs minister Faten rejected these and the interior ministry’s assertions and said she was urging the judiciary to carry out an extensive investigation into the conditions in which women are being held in Iraq’s jails.

She added that the problem is countrywide though most women in prison were arrested during raids in the Anbar and Baghdad governorates on suspicion of assisting insurgents.

Terrifying experience in jail

Samira Abdallah, 38, was released from an Iraqi prison a month ago after being held for four months. As she was hooded when she was brought to the prison and hooded when she was released, she has no idea where the prison was. After a terrifying experience in jail, she fears for the other women who are still there.

“We were around 20 women, most of them from Fallujah or Ramadi like me, in one cell. I was praying all the time and thank God I wasn’t raped, but the guards hit me many times, trying to get information about insurgents in Anbar,” Samira said.

“I am a woman who never goes out from my home. My life was to cook and clean for my husband and children and they were accusing me of being a terrorist,” she said, as tears rolled down her cheeks.

When she was released without charge, she found out that her husband had been killed by the Iraqi army and she said that her eldest daughter had been raped by a soldier.

“Hania [Samira’s 16-year-old daughter] was so ashamed of what happened that she committed suicide. Now, after being held without any proper investigation or reason, I only have my seven-year-old son and no husband and daughter,” she said.

Yassin from OWF said she has spoken to many women who turned to her organisation for help after torment in Iraqi prisons.

“There were different stories but all of these women were sad and humiliated. Cases of beatings and rape were the most common,” she said.

Hadija Zeidan, 36, was one such woman who sought out the OWF. She said she and other women were tortured while in prison.

“Every day I was taken for interrogation by soldiers. Sometimes they were Iraqis and sometimes Americans. Some of them tried to sexually abuse me but God protected me because each time they tried someone superior to them came and forced them to take me back to the cell,” Zeidan said.

"But I was tortured. The most common thing they did was to beat me with their belts all over my body and hit me in my face. They knew I had nothing to do with the insurgency but they were just angry with me because I come from Anbar [a Sunni-dominated area where insurgency is believed to be stronger than anywhere else in Iraq]. I still have pain in my abdomen caused by the kicks to it with their boots,” she said.

Zeidan went to the OWF because she could not find her family in Baghdad when she was released two months ago, as sectarian violence had driven them from their home. “My life is totally destroyed and for sure my husband will think that I was raped in prison and might even try to kill me or divorce me for honour,” Zeidan said.

(Mohammed is one of my sons and helps me write the English for these reports.)

Laith.

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