Saturday, December 16, 2006

December 16th 2006 Main Stories From Aswat Al Iraq Translated from Arabic

Aftermath of US raid on Sadr citySadr city residents seen through a hole in a wall of a house that was damaged during an Iraqi and U.S. Army joint forces raid and air strike Saturday, Dec.16, 2006.

Saturday's Main Security Stories:

  • Fallujah: Clashes erupted on Saturday between the U.S. forces and unknown gunmen after an explosive device blast damaged a Hummer within a U.S. vehicle patrol in southern Fallujah, 45 km west of Baghdad, an eyewitness said.
  • Baaquba: The Iraqi police, backed by the U.S. forces, arrested in a search campaign eight suspects, including two Egyptians, in western and northern Baaquba, 60 km northeast of Baghdad, a police source said on Saturday.
  • Baghdad: An green zone government army special force, backed by U.S. troops, arrested three men suspected of attacking Iraqi security forces in a raid on a mosque in Baghdad.
  • Hilla: Two people, including a soldier, were killed when two explosive charges went off near an Iraqi army checkpoint on a highway northeast of Hilla, 110 km south of Baghdad, the Iraqi police said.

What's Getting The Most Attention Saturday Night:

Kurdistan School Examinations: Aswat al Iraq:

Sheikh Hussein Sheikh Mustafa, Director-General of Education Sulaymaniyah announced a new examination grading system for schoolchildren. The system is is similar to that found in Iraqi universities. URI

Kurdistan Alliance Leader calls for Dissolution of Militias : Aswat al Iraq:

Fouad Massoum called for militias to to be dissolved and an end to double standards in politics [he also wants a pony - mfi] URI:

Mosul Arrests: Aswat al Iraq:

Coalition forces say they have arrested three members of an armed cell (including the leader) responsible for attacks against green zone government forces in the city. The statement says the leader is responsible for the deaths of several Iraqi soldiers loyal to the green zone government. URI :

Basra Curfew (Aftermath of Assassination of Tribal Leader): Aswat al Iraq:

Ali wrote about the assassination of Sheikh Mohsen Alkanaan yesterday. Today's events are part of the aftermath of the sheikh's murder. Following his murder a large number of tribesmen went round the city shooting into the air and vowing vengeance. Aswat al Iraq have almost identical reports in English and Arabic on the curfew imposed today as a precautionary measure. The text immediately below is from their English language service. (Note how the spokesman is very careful not to identify the tribe by name.) The interesting thing about this story is that there's an update. Identical in all respects to what you read below in which the police hastily deny that there's a curfew at all.- mfi:
Curfew imposed in Basra By Malik Saadon Basra, Dec 16, (VOI) -An indefinite curfew was imposed in the southern Iraqi city of Basra as announced by police vehicles roaming the city, according to eyewitnesses. "Armoured vehicles of the Iraqi army cordoned the Basra governor headquarters," an eyewitness from Basra's main city of al-Ashar told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI). Meanwhile, a member of the Basra province council who asked not to be named told VOI that these were "precautionary measures in case some clan embark on security-destabilising actions." The source did not name the clan.

On Friday, unidentified gunmen killed a tribal chief of the Bani Tamim clan and two escorts in an armed attack in downtown al-Cornish street. Following the attack, scores of vehicles boarded by gunmen from Bani Tamim clan wandered about the city shooting in the air and threatening the killers of their chief.

Update: The police in Basra have denied that a curfew exists. Bani Tamim is one of the largest and oldest clans in Basra. It dates back to the period preceding the Islamic conquest of Iraq. URI (Arabic): URI (English): URI (Arabic) to update in which police deny curfew exists.

Kirkuk Two Bodies Found: Aswat al Iraq:

Police have found two bodies in the Shwan area of northern Kirkuk. The victims were blindfolded, handcuffed, had been tortured, and shot repeatedly. URI :

Fallujah: American Headquarters Shelled (Mortars): Aswat al Iraq:

Headline says it all. It's so regular an occurrence it's surprising they even report it - mfi. URI

Fallujah: American Patrol Attacked: Aswat al Iraq:

At least two civilians were killed in crossfire between an American patrol and resistance fighters in the centre of Fallujah. The gunfight lasted about twenty minutes. The attackers used ordinary light weapons and RPGs. The report says there were American casualties as well. URI :

Hilla: Babil: Child Killed: Aswat al Iraq:

4 year old girl killed by mortar fire. The attack was on Hattin about 50km north of Hilla. URI:

Mosul: Aswat al Iraq:

Four civilians were wounded when two bombs targeting an American patrol in Mosul. Two people were killed and and a third wounded in separate attacks in the city. URI:


Technorati :

News From Iraq December 15 2006 Translated From Arabic

Summary: Main Storys translated from the Arabic Language pages of the independent Iraqi News Service Aswat al Iraq (Voices of Iraq) in Iraq on Friday Dec 15 2006
Al Sadr
Al Sadr's attempts to reach out to the Sunni continue apace and appear to be bearing fruit.

Two Iraqi policemen were killed in Diwaniya.

A bomb exploded targeting an Iraqi army patrol in al-Halabsa village west of Falluja their vehicle was destroyed there are known to be casualties.

Deloiya (Salah Adin)
U.S. invader forces raided several houses and took into captivity several citizens, an arms cache was discovered.

Car bomb one civilian killed.

Gunmen "dressed in police uniform" killed Sheikh Mohsen al-Kanaan of Bani Tamim tribe and two of his escorts.

Three people carrying Iranian nationality documents arrested for illegally entering Iraq.

Three U.S. invader army troops were killed and two others wounded in military operations in Anbar and Ninewa.

Most Important Story:

Al-Sadr Issues Statement Favour of Istanbul Conference: Sadrists Attend Meeting Basra Great Mosque Pledge To Protect Sunnis:
This is a very big story. The story is about Muqtada al-Sadr supporting the "Iraqi People’s Support Conference" in Istanbul. This was the Sunni conference held in Istanbul yesterday and the day before. Muqtada al-Sadr has issued a statement supporting it. He said that it "supports our brothers [the Ahl ul-Sunna, the Sunni people - Ali]," and that his entire concern was for the success of meetings such as this of people whose aim is:

"to extricate themselves from the grasp of the occupation and of the Baathists"

He went on to say:

"I will not accept the intervention of any country in the affairs of Iraq, and will continue to reject the occupation."

He added that he was "ready to attend conferences in support of the Ahl ul-Sunna, those in support of the Shiites, or those in support of Iraq as a whole or indeed of any Islamic country"

Aswat al Iraq's reporter then reminds the readers that the green zone government spokesman issued yesterday a statement in which he (Ali al-Dabbagh) condemned the Turks for hosting such a conference which he described in these terms:

“This conference currently held in a neighbouring country sends a wrong message to Iraq that is translated into acts of violence inside the country,” Ali al-Dabbagh, the "government" spokesman went on to say this:

“Such conferences are against the Iraqi people,”

and said that the neighbouring countries should refrain from holding such conferences.[You can read an English language account of this on the Aswat al Iraq English pages here - Ali]

Muqtada al-Sadr also called in his statement for unity and the closing of ranks, saying that our only weapon against weapon power was that we Muslims unite.He added that he was innocent of shedding Muslim blood and that were he qualified to issue fatwahs he would "If I were a scholar qualified to issue fatwas, I would without hesitation ban the killing of our brothers [the Ahl ul-Sunna -Ali] in Iraq or outside of Iraq" and that whomsoever does that is "the enemy of God and His Prophet and his family until the Day of Judgment."

The original URL of the story is here. There is a second much later story which you will find here that deals with the meeting in that was held today in the great mosque of Basra of clerics, and tribal leaders from both the Sunni and Shiite communities. The meeting was attended by a delegation representingMuqtada al-Sadr. The Sadrist delegates pledged to protect all members of the Ahl ul-Sunna. Amongst the others attending were members of:
  • The Iraqi Islamic Party.
  • The Association of Muslim Scholars.
  • Various Sunni delegations.
  • The Association of Islamic unity.
These "seized the opportunity" to reiterate their ban on belonging to takfiri and terrorist organisations, the spilling of blood, and their demand that the tombs of the Imams [in Samarra - Ali] be rebuilt. Following their issuing these fatwas Muqtada al-Sadr sent a delegation to the dialogue and today's meeting has been the result.

It is important for readers to remember that al-Sadr's movement sent both weapons and fighters to Fallujah when the Americans laid waste to the city and slaughtered many of its civilian inhabitants. That al-Sadr's group were the only ones to send aid, weapons, and fighters, and this has not been forgotten. It is particularly important for American readers to remember this.

Related Story

Iraq Political Powers Conference| al-Aani | (Arabic):
The link to the Arabic version is here. The text below is from the English version. There are no substantial differences:

Baghdad-Conference :: Aswat al Iraq :: Aswat al Iraq:
By Monther Hamad Zahi
Baghdad, Dec 15, (VOI) – Between 200 to 250 Iraqi political figures will attend the political powers conference scheduled to be held on Saturday in Baghdad, a spokesman for the conference said on Friday.
"The deteriorating security conditions were behind refusal by many figures opposing the political process going on in Iraq to attend the meeting," Nusayr al-Aani told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI) by telephone.
The government has granted assurances to those figures but fear is still dominating, he said.
Aani noted that several workshops will be held on the sidelines of the conference to discuss different issues like getting former Iraqi army officers back to their jobs, expanding the space for political participation and the legitimacy of the Debaathification Commission.
The conference resolutions, he said, would contribute to having common grounds of understandings among the Iraqi political blocs and figures outside the political process.
The state ministry for national dialogue affairs had said on Sunday that December 16 will be the date for convening the conference.
A statement by the Iraqi government said the gathering would be held under the aegis of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
The conference raises the slogan "Iraqi political powers will be the mainstay of national unity and a guarantee for the success of the political process, reconciliation and rapprochement," it said.
Last June, Maliki launched an initiative for reconciliation comprising four conferences, including Saturday's meeting of political powers.
Two months ago a religious clerics’ conference held in Mecca had issued the so-called Mecca Document, which urged an end to Iraqi bloodshed. The Mecca meeting was preceded by two conferences for Iraqi clans and civil society organizations.
Other Main Storys on Aswat al Iraq
Kirkuk bomb:
2 policemen injured by a bomb in central Kirkuk. Here:
Mosul 2 bombings: Police patrol attacked:

  1. An American patrol was attacked by a bomber in the west of the city. One civilian injured.
  2. Another patrol was was attacked by a bomber in the south east - one person injured.
  3. A police patrol came under fire from a group of gunmen in a car. They returned fire no reports of injuries.
From here:
Basra British Bases Shelled:
The British occupiers carried out a raid in north Basra and claim to have seized an unspecified quantity of ammunition. The British occupiers were reminded of how the people of Basra feel about them when their bases in Basra came under rocket attack overnight. Link:
Basra: Assasination of Sheikh Mohsen Alkanaan:
An elder of the Bani Tamim tribe [The Bani Tamim are a large and powerful tribe. -Ali] and two of his security detail were shot dead by "gunmen wearing police uniforms" in central Basra today. Sheikh Mohsen Alkanaan's car was atttacked by the gunmen firing into the car in which he was travelling killing him and his companions.The URL for this story is here:
Hilla Bombing:
A civilian died in Hilla when his car was bombed. The blast completely destroyed the car and burnt the unfortunate man's body completely. The URL for this story is here:
Unprecedented Masters Awarded To Female StudentIraq:
What is unprecedented is that her supervisor was located in Taiwan and because of the distances (to say nothing of the security issues - Ali] involved the University of Mosul coordinated with her supervisor over the net. Other supervisors were in Dohuk. Everything was coordinated over the net and her masters is now awarded. It is something to do with using a technique called PCR for diagnosing brucellosis in sheep. [I have no idea what that sentence means please be gentle to my ignorance - Ali ;-)]The story quotes the Mosul university spokesman as saying that her initiative was impressive and her as saying "We have demonstrated for all time that we did not know the [meaning of]impossible" The URL for this story is here:
Diyala Three Arrested Crossing Illegaly Into Iraq:
Security forces in Diyala province have arrested three Iranian nationals who crossed into Iraq illegally

The three were arrested near Mundhiriyah border crossing between Iraq and Iran in the province of Diyala, after they entered Iraqi territory illegally. The three are now being interrogated to know why they did this. [Probably businessmen or smugglers or pilgrims or people going to visit their relatives - people who live in the border zone cross "illegaly" everyday and have done so for centuries. - Ali ] The page for this story is here:
Fallujah (Halabsa Village) Bomb:
A bomb placed on the side of the road in Halabsa village (west of Fallujah) exploded as a patrol of the "Iraqi" army passed. There were casualties but their number is not known because a near by American patrol rushed to the scene and sealed it off. The vehicle that was attacked was completely destroyed the witness described the explosion as "strong and loud. " [Which in al-Fallujah and its environs means it must have been very large to be described like that - Ali] The URL for this story is here:
Diwaniyah 2 police shot dead:
2 policemen shot dead as they left home in the Iskan district of Diwaniya. Police rushed to scene but the gunmen had escaped. The page for this story is here:
Three American Invaders of Iraq Killed:
The American Invader Army released two statements one dealt with two invaders (marines) killed in Anbar the third death was in Nineweh governorate. That is 49 American invaders killed since the start of the month. The story is here:
Ad Duluiyah (Salah al-Din) American Raid:
The American invaders carried out a dawn raid in Ad Duluiyah Aldaudeh the raid involved armoured vehicles and air drops onto several houses. The American invader troops closed the bridge, cut off all the roads, and raided several houses. Five citizens were taken by the American invader troops, most from their houses and one from his car. A cache of weapons was also seized. This story is here:
3 Kidnappers Arrested Woman Freed: Kirkuk:
The gang pretended to be police. They searched homes and accused those living there of having false identity. They took away a woman pretending to do so for an investigation. The family reported this to the police. Who searched and caught the gang releasing the woman. [Some good news for a change - Ali] The report is here:

Finally my apologies for the extreme delay in posting. There was fighting last night and it was impossible for our group to make our way safely across Baghdad.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

News From Iraq December 14 2006 Translated From Arabic

  • 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:

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:

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)

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.)


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

News From Iraq December 13 2006 Translated From Arabic


  1. Basra-The Shiite Thaarallah (God’s Wrath) party leader survived an assassination attempt.
  2. A 12 year old child was killed on Wednesday when an "Iraqi army" soldier opened fire randomly in the southern gate of Falluja.
  3. Baghdad-At least two people wounded by a car bomb at Yarmouk hospital, bombings in New Baghdad and Al-Kamaliya killed and 5 respectively many injured.
  4. Three people kidnapped southern Baghdad,.
  5. At least 13 civilians, including women and children, were wounded when mortar shells attacked the Malik Bin Anas mosque (Sunni neighbourhood) western Baghdad.
  6. Mosul - Suicide attacks foiled.
  7. Kirkuk- Multiple bombings targeting "Iraqi" army and police.

Baghdad Malik Bin Anas Mosque:
were hit by mortar shells today. 13 civilians including 5 women and 2 children were injured. The area is mostly Sunni and has been the subject of several mortar bombardments recently. Original report here:
Abductions South Baghdad:
Three people including a 19 year old girl were abducted by gunmen in al-Wahda on the outskirts of South Baghdad. The original report for this story is here:
Operation Sinbad Basra $50m to be spent:
US$50 million is to be spent on the rehabilitation of schools, clinics and some service facilities in Basra. According to Major General Ali Hammadi. The money is part of the tripartite security plan and is being allocated by the British occupation. The URL for this story is here:
Fallujah American Patrol Bombed:
An American army of occupation motorised patrol was bombed in East Fallujah. The occupiers sealed the area immediately and have not yet commented on the incident. Therefore it is not possible to know if there were casualties. Original report:

Baghdad Car Bombings :
  1. Al-Kamaliya: A car bomb exploded in al-Kamaliya (east Baghdad) , killing ten people and wounding 25 others this attack was similar to the massive attack yesterday. It targeted a bus shelter that is a gathering spot for day labourers who go there early in the morning looking for work. Ten dead and 25 wounded. Al-Kamaliya is mostly Shia. [It is now 12 dead - 2 died in hospital Ali]
  2. New Baghdad: Two car bombs exploded almost simultaneously in New Baghdad district, 5 killed 10 wounded. New Baghdad is mixed.
  3. Yarmouk Hospital: (It is in West Baghdad) Explosions close to the morgue targeted people looking for dead relatives. 2 were injured. Three roadside bombs and a car bomb used to carry out this attack.
wounded child being carried by his motherSources: Some of this summary is from Aswat al Iraq here, some is from Radio Annas (Baghdad), some is personal observation from my telephoning my former commander who lives in al-Kamaliya and saw the bus shelter bombing. - Ali
Religious Authorities Support The Moves To Build A New Set Of Political Alliances:
The most important reactions were that Al-Sadr's office in Najaf refused to comment on the subject. Sheik Ali speaking on behalf of his father (Grand Ayatollah Al-Najafi) offered his father's support. While Sheikh Ali Rubaie said that Iraq is suffering and it is in everyone's interest (including the religious authority) to support every step that would preserve the unity of Iraq, stop bloodshed, and achieve peace and security. The Virtue Party said they will support any attempt to promote unity and descrease sectarianism. The draft political alliance, which was first announced in the last few days is supposed to include the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq and the two main Kurdish parties (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Democratic Party), and the Iraqi Islamic Party. Attempts are being made to include the Dawa Party, and the Iraqi List (led by Iyad Allawi.) Original Arabic report here:
Child Shot Dead in Fallujah:
"Iraqi Independent National Guard" soldiers who work with the American invader forces in supervising the entry point to Fallujah. Opened fire on a crowd of civilians at the southern gate of the city of Fallujah. They opened fire randomly to disperse the congestion of a large number residents in front of the gate who were waiting to enter. This random fire led to the injury of a 12 year old child. The child died shortly after arrival in hospital.

Al-Fallujah (45 km west of Baghdad) is surrounded by a wall and has seven gates directly supervised by the American forces, backed by Iraqi army forces and the local police. Citizens wishing to enter the city are subjected to a thorough search, and have to have an identity card proving they are resident in Fallujah. The Arabic language report for this story is here:
Wasit Mortar Attack | Bomb Defused:
Three mortar attacks this morning, a bomb was defused on the Baghdad-Kut road.
The URL for this story is here:
Basra Yosuf Sinawwi al-Mawsawi surivives Assasination Attempt| kidnapping attempt on student fails:
The convoy in which Yosuf Sinawwi al-Mawsawi who leads the (Shiite) Thaarallah (God’s Wrath) party was travelling was attacked using a bomb. He survived unhurt. The attack was in al-Nwaab district (7 km north of Basra) Two of his guards and three civilians wounded. [Thaarallah Party is an Islamic party based in Basra and it was first formed as a movement and later turned into a political party before the 2005 general elections but it won no parliamentary seats. - Ali]

The serious crimes squad foiled an attempt to kidnap a female student outside the Basra university campus in Bab al-Zubaier.

The original report is here:
Tal Afar 2 suicide bombers killed:
According to this report by Ibrahim Zannun two suicide bombers were killed before they could attack. His source was Brigadier Najam al-Juburi. There were two attacks prevented:
  1. A bomber wearing a vest of explosives was shot trying to detonate it beside a patrol car in Wahda [This is is Talafar to northwest of Mosul - Ali]
  2. A second bomber tried to flee driving an explosives packed car [in other words he knew his attack would fail and wanted to come back another day - Ali] He too was shot.
No casualties (except for the dead bombers who are surely now screaming in Hell.) Original report in Arabic here:
Breaking News From Aswat al Iraq::
Dawa have said they are interested in joining the new political bloc. Haidar Abbadi also said that there was no need to form alliances outside of parliament because in "included all communities." Here:
Kaadim New Head of Students Sports Body:
He replaces Dr. Hadeeb who was abducted and killed two weeks ago. Link:
Basra Raids And Bombing:
In several raids in Basra these weapons were seized:
  • 15 Katyusha rockets
  • 7 mortar bombs.
  • 5 Katyusha rocket launcher
  • 10 60 mm mortar shells
There was an attempted killing by bombing in the Abu al-Khasib area south of Basra. The story is here:.
Kirkuk Bombings:
One police officer killed three wounded in bombing 5km south of Kirkuk. [That is to be added to the 12 soldiers killed and 26 injured in three bombings in the last 24 hours - Ali] The URL for this story can be found here:

In other words to that you must add this report which details the attacks.
  • Suicide bombing (Riyadh-Baiji road)
  • 2nd suicide bombing (same place)
  • 3rd suicide bombing on Kirkuk-Tikrit road.
Wasit Three Further Councils Suspend All Dealings With American Invaders:
Three further councils as well as the main governorate council now refuse to cooperate with the American invaders in protest at the illegal arrest of Sheikh Yehya al - Baghdadi, Muqtada Al Sadr's envoy and manager to the governorate the councils are those of:
  • Kut
  • Al-Hayy and
  • Nu
[Truly the Americans are fools already they have lost Al-Anbar now they throw away Wasit. - Ali]
The URL for this story is here:

And Finally there is this report on the American Yahoo news reporting site. Please read it carefully:

US needed 'Iraqi De Gaulle' for invasion: Perle - Yahoo! News:
Wed Dec 13, 10:14 AM ET

BERLIN (AFP) - Top US neoconservative Richard Perle, a key former architect of US
President George W. Bush's foreign policy, has admitted there were mistakes in the execution of the
Iraq war, saying the invasion had needed "an Iraqi De Gaulle."

Perle, who was an advisor to former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, told German weekly broadsheet Die Zeit in an issue to be published Thursday that a string of tactical errors had resulted in the chaos reigning in Iraq today.

"The idea was good, the execution was bad," he was quoted as saying in an advance German transcript of the interview.

"We should have agreed on a post-war Iraqi leadership" but were thwarted by opposition at the US State Department and the
Central Intelligence Agency, Perle said.

"We should have marched into Baghdad with an Iraqi De Gaulle," he said.

General Charles de Gaulle led the French resistance against the Nazi German occupation during World War II and returned from British exile to a hero's welcome in Paris in 1944, assuming the presidency of the provisional government.

Perle blasted the findings released last week by the bipartisan Iraq Survey Group mapping a way forward in the strife-raged country.

"I have never seen such a foolish report," he said.

He said proposals such as opening talks with Iraq's neighbors
Iran and
Syria and planning the withdrawal of US troops were flat wrong.

"Syria and Iran have done everything they can to destabilize Iraq and they do not have the slightest interest in another strategy. A report that begins with false premises ends in nothing," Perle said, adding that he did not expect Bush to follow the recommendations.

"I think he will change the strategy: more US troops in Iraqi units, more Iraqis in American (units). That could improve the impact of both units. In any case that would be easier than forging a national army from enemy ethnic groups," he said.

Perle, one of the most outspoken advocates of toppling Iraqi leader
Saddam Hussein, publicly broke with the government over the invasion before key midterm elections in November, along with several other high-profile "neocons."

What this evil American fool, the zionist pig called Perle who made his money selling weapons and peddling his political contacts is too evil and arrogant to understand is that DeGaulle was a patriot who fought to free his country. He would never have been part of such an invasion. The Iraqi DeGaulles are fighting - and killing, the American invaders just as the French DeGaulle fought and killed the German ones in World War II


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

An Unbearable Photo and An Attack On Al Sadr's Office

4 year old Iraqi girl injured in bombing

I found this photo after I had done the main posting. There are three things I find very upsetting about it:

  1. It is always terrible to see an injured or dead child.
  2. The attack was on an ambulance.
  3. Like so many things in Iraq you only find it from the photograph service. It is too small an "incident" for me to have found any other reports of it.

I also found this after I had done the main posting:

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 12/12/2006 | Mahdi army headquarters briefly stormed by gunmen:

Mahdi army headquarters briefly stormed by gunmen
By Hannah Allam and Laith Hammoudi
McClatchy Newspapers
Audio | Raid on Sadr headquarters

McClatchy reporter Hannah Allam was in an interview at the headquarters of Muqtada al Sadr's office in Kadhemiya, down the street from the landmark golden-domed shrine of Imam Moussa Kadhim, when about 50 unidentified gunmen stormed in.

The incident, which occured at about 1 p.m. local time, was captured on a digital recorder. Here's what takes place on this audio file.

"Gunmen yell "Assalamu alaikum!" - Peace be upon you! - as they enter.

Sounds of guns being cocked can be heard as militiamen standing near the McClatchy team prepare their weapons.

Gunmen: "Nobody talk! Don't talk! Nobody goes out! Get inside!"

Sound of ruckus, unintelligible shouts. Someone from the crowd yells "Pray to Muhammad and his family!"

The Sadr militiamen respond with a prayer used solely by the Sadrists (the beginning is a standard Shiite prayer, but end reflects the militancy of the Sadrists): "May Allah bless Muhammad and his family, and bring salvation soon, and damn their enemies!"

Woman cries to the McClatchy team, "Please, take me with you!"

Another Sadr militaman calls for prayer and the crowd responds.

Women's voices, frantic: "What? Who? What is this?"

A Mahdi Army officer with gun in the air, says to Laith Hammoudi, referring to the women: "Get them out! Quickly!"

Woman sobbing, "How can I get out? How can I get out?"

Man's voice: "Walk behind me, follow me..."

More weapons cocking. Sound of running, voices, "Come on. Come on."

Then the sounds of the street, and horns honking signal that the McClatchy team has made it out of the Sadr offices to safety on the street. "OK, OK, OK."

Recording and translation by Laith Hammoudi, a special correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers

Their roundup can be found here. But the daily posting on Today in Iraq always has a much more comprehensive list and is the one we recommend.


Evening News Iraq December 12 2006

News Headlines from Independent Iraqi News Agency Aswat al Iraq English Language Service:

Baghdad-Bombing: al-Tayaran Square:
Baghdad, Dec 12, (VOI) – A suicide bomber blew himself up amidst a group of day laborers in central Baghdad killing 47 [Reuters are saying it is now 70 Dead and 236 wounded Erdla] and wounding 148 others, an Iraqi interior ministry source said on Tuesday.
Young man crying over brother's body"The suicide bomber parked his vehicle at al-Tayaran Square, where laborers used to gather each morning waiting for jobs, and pretended to hire laborers," the source said, adding the assailant set off his explosives-rigged car as the laborers got into his vehicle, killing 47 and injuring 148."
TV images carried live by the official al-Iraqiya channel showed the destruction left by the explosion. The state-run channel quoted Maj. General Jihad al-Jabri, the director of the interior ministry's explosives department, as saying the powerful explosion and the magnitude of destruction left indicate that the explosives were no less than 120 kg."
Baghdad and other Iraqi cities had recently witnessed similar armed operations that targeted day laborers' hangouts as suicide bombers tried to cause as many civilian casualties as they could.
The bombing comes amidst a series of armed attacks in the capital Baghdad, which witnessed a serious unbridled security deterioration, an immense challenge to the government's efforts to curb killings, assassinations, kidnappings and forced displacement.
Baghdad-Bombing: al-Tayaran Square: Update 1: Death Toll Now 60:
Baghdad, Dec 12, (VOI) – The death toll of a suicide car bomb attack that targeted day laborers on Tuesday morning reached 60 as the head of the Iraqi government vowed revenge against perpetrators.
A source from the Iraqi interior ministry said fatalities of a suicide attack that took place at al-Tayaran Square on Tuesday rose to 60 while the wounded climbed to 221.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Tuesday said “the organizations behind the deadly bombing want more blood of Iraqis and seek pushing the country towards the pit of a civil war.
"The bombing reveals that the armed groups behind it seek a murderous chaos, ignite sectarian sentiments and hurl the nation into a hellish sedition that would leave no one safe," Maliki said in a statement received by the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).
Those who stand behind this operation are the "takfirists and their pro-Saddam allies," said Maliki, pledging to track down "criminals who committed it and bring them before justice to receive the punishment they deserve."
The premier's statement added that the attack was committed by two car bombs while the interior ministry stated that it was caused by only one car bomb driven by a suicide bomber.
The ministry had announced earlier that the explosion targeted a gathering of day laborers at the area of Tayaran Square in central Baghdad.
Baghdad and other Iraqi cities had witnessed recent similar armed operations that targeted day laborers' hangouts as suicide bombers tried to cause as many civilian casualties as they could.
The bombing comes amidst a series of armed attacks in the capital Baghdad, which witnessed a serious unbridled security deterioration, an immense challenge to the government's efforts to curb killings, assassinations, kidnappings and forced displacement.
Baghdad-Water :
Hurriya mosques warn of poisoned public water supply By Dergham Mohammed Ali

Baghdad, Dec 12, (VOI) – Mosques in the town of al-Hurriya warned citizens on Tuesday via loudspeakers against using drinking water because it is poisoned.
The mosques in Hurriya, a town west of the capital Baghdad, repeated the warnings at dawn on Tuesday and advised citizens not to drink water.
Dr. Sabir al-Issawi, the mayor of Baghdad, however, denied alleged poisoning of water, noting statements carried by the official al-Iraqiya TV channel that "drinking water plants are secured and these reports about poisoning are sheer malicious rumors."
Issawi said "there are no cases of poisoning in Baghdad caused by drinking water."
AP photographer killed in Mosul :
Journalist-Killing AP photographer killed in Mosul By Ibrahim Zannun:

Mosul, Dec 12, (VOI) –The Iraqi police said on Tuesday an Associated Press photographer was shot dead outside his house in the northern Iraq’s city of Mosul.
“Gunmen shot and killed on Tuesday morning Aswan Ahmed al-Jaf, AP photographer, outside his house in al-Tameem district, east of Mosul,” a police source told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).
Jaf’s death raises the number of the journalists who have been killed in Mosul up to 29 since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 according to Journalistic Freedoms Observatory count.
The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory is a non-governmental organization formed of Iraqi journalists to monitor the violations and aggressions against media workers in Iraq.
Senior Iraqi army officer killed in Basra:
Basra-Assassination Senior Iraqi army officer killed in Basra By Muhannad al-Saadi
Basra, Dec 12, (VOI) – A staff officer in charge of training in the Iraqi army was killed by gunmen fire in northern Basra on Tuesday morning, according to an official source at the Iraqi armed forces. Full Story:
Top council forms commission to weigh Baker-Hamilton report :
Top council forms commission to weigh Baker-Hamilton report
Baghdad, Dec 12, (VOI) – Iraq's Political Council for National Security will set up a six-man commission to study the Baker-Hamilton report pertaining to the situation in war-torn Iraq.
A statement by the presidency office affirmed on Tuesday that the council met on Monday under President Jalal Talabani to discuss the report and decided to "form a sextet to mull over the report and forward a reading about it to the council." Full story:
Iraq seeks stopping sale of stolen Iraqi antiquities in Germany:
Baghdad, Dec 12, (VOI) – Iraq's tourism and antiquities ministry urged organizations concerned on Tuesday to intervene to stop the selling of what it called “stolen Iraqi antiquities in an auction in Munich, Germany.”
The ministry was tipped that the auction included two important pieces of antiquities stolen earlier from Iraq, the ministry advisor Bahaa al-Mayyah said in a statement received by the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).
The pieces are a 22.7-cm-high headless limestone statue of a Sumerian man wearing a woolen shirt and dates back 2500 years BC, and an 11.7-cm-high intact Cuneiform clay slab with Sumerian inscriptions that dates back to the era of the Ur Dynasty King Shulagi (2097 BC-2095 BC). Full story:
Gunmen set ten houses on fire in southern Baghdad village :
Gunmen set ten houses on fire in southern Baghdad village: By Monther Mohammed Zahi
Baghdad, Dec 12, (VOI) - Unidentified gunmen set ten houses ablaze in a village near the southern Baghdad’s outskirt of al-Madain, a source in the Iraqi police said on Tuesday.
"Unknown armed men set ten houses ablaze in al-Ibousah village near al-Madain outskirt, after two days of evacuating their residents," the source told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).
The source said “the incident occurred at dawn on Tuesday and the gunmen fled the scene before the arrival of the security forces there.”
This is the second incident of its kind in the area in as many days.
Mashhadani urges “resistance” to show face, adopt dialogue Baghdad, Dec 12, (VOI) – Iraqi Parliament Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani on Tuesday called upon all sides of the “Iraqi resistance” to come forward and sit at the dialogue table to end the “historic impasse” Iraq is facing.
Mashhadani also denounced a suicide bombing that targeted a workers’ gathering in central Baghdad which left more than 60 people dead and more than 200 wounded.
“These actions do not liberate a country, save a sect or retrieve a right… they are a waste of blood and money,” he told Tuesday’s parliamentary session which he said would be consultative rather than regular for lack of quorum.
He described the deteriorating security situation in Iraq as “a true historic impasse”, and urged those behind the current scene in Iraq to halt and reveal their true face.
“The message you want us to hear is already heard. If you consider yourselves the alternative then show up, express yourselves and come forward,” Mashhadani said.
“If you were part of the Iraqis, then give us a chance to contact you. This whole issue could be solved very simply… if you want us to respect you as an honest resistance, declare your platform and come for a solution,” he added Full article: "Mashhadani-Resistance"
Alertnet Stories And Headlines:
Reuters AlertNet - Four S.African Mercenaries kidnapped in Iraq:
JOHANNESBURG, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Four South African security workers have been kidnapped north of Baghdad and their whereabouts remain unknown, South Africa's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

Ministry spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said the four, who have not been publicly identified, were kidnapped on Sunday when their convoy was stopped at a road block. Five Iraqis were also abducted, he said.

The men were employed by OSSI-Safenet security service, a sub-contractor for the U.S. Department of Defence, Mamoepa said.

About 2,000 South Africans, many trained as soldiers in the apartheid-era military force, are believed to be working in the security sector in Iraq. Several have been killed there.
Reuters AlertNet - CHRONOLOGY-The deadliest bomb attacks in Iraq:
Here is a list of some of the deadliest bomb attacks in Iraq since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003:

  1. Aug. 19, 2003 - A truck bomb wrecks U.N. headquarters in Baghdad, killing 22 people, including U.N. envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello.
  2. Aug. 29, 2003 - A car bomb kills at least 83 people, including top Shi'ite Muslim leader Ayatollah Mohammed Baqer al-Hakim, at the Imam Ali mosque in Najaf.
  3. Feb. 1, 2004 - 117 people are killed when two suicide bombers blew themselves up in Arbil at the offices of the two main Kurdish factions in northern Iraq.
  4. Feb. 10, 2004 - Suicide car bomb rips through a police station in Iskandariya, south of Baghdad, killing 53.
  5. Feb. 11, 2004 - Suicide car bomb explodes at an Iraqi army recruitment centre in Baghdad, killing 47.
  6. March 2, 2004 - 171 people are killed in twin attacks in Baghdad and Kerbala.
  7. Dec. 19, 2004 - A suicide car bomb blast in Najaf, 300 metres from the Imam Ali shrine, kills 52 and wounds 140.
  8. Feb. 28, 2005 - A suicide car bomb attack in Hilla, south of Baghdad, kills 125 people and wounds 130. It was postwar Iraq's worst single blast.
  9. July 16, 2005 - A suicide bomber in a fuel truck near a Shi'ite mosque in the town of Mussayib, near Kerbala, kills 98.
  10. Sept. 14, 2005 - A suicide bomber kills 114 people and wounds 156 in a Shi'ite district of Baghdad.
  11. Sept. 29, 2005 - 98 people are killed in three coordinated car bomb attacks in the mixed Shi'ite and Sunni town of Balad.
  12. Nov. 18, 2005 - At least 74 people are killed and 150 wounded when suicide bombers blew themselves up inside two Shi'ite mosques in Khanaqin.
  13. Jan. 5, 2006 - Two suicide bombers kill over 120 people and wound more than 200 in the cities of Kerbala and Ramadi. Fifty-three were killed and 148 wounded in Kerbala and 70 killed and 65 wounded in Ramadi.
  14. July 1, 2006 - A car bomb attack at a crowded market in Sadr city, a Shi'ite district of eastern Baghdad, kills 62 and wounds 114. The Supporters of the Sunni People, a previously unknown Iraqi Sunni Muslim group claim responsibility.
  15. July 18, 2006 - Fifty-nine people are killed by a suicide bomb in Kufa, near Najaf in an attack claimed by al Qaeda.
  16. Aug. 10, 2006 - Thirty-five people are killed and 90 injured by bomb blasts near the Imam Ali shrine in southern city of Najaf. The Jamaat Jund al-Sahaba (Soldiers of the Prophet's Companions) group claim responsibility.
  17. Nov. 23, 2006 - Six car bombs in different parts of the Sadr City neighbourhood of Baghdad kill 202 people. A further 250 people are wounded.
  18. Dec. 12, 2006 - A suicide bomber kills 60 people and wounds at least 221 in Tayran Square, in central Baghdad after luring a crowd of labourers to his vehicle with promises of work.

Bush said likely to unveil Iraq plan in early '07
12 Dec 2006 16:29:13 GMT
Source: Reuters
(Adds more details) WASHINGTON, Dec 12 (Reuters) - President George W. Bush is likely to delay the unveiling of a new strategy for Iraq until early 2007, instead of late this year as originally ... Full article
Bush said likely to unveil Iraq plan in early '07
12 Dec 2006 16:13:24 GMT
Source: Reuters
WASHINGTON, Dec 12 (Reuters) - President George W. Bush is likely to delay the unveiling of a new strategy for Iraq until early in January, instead of late this year as originally planned, a White ... Full article
"Reveal yourself," Iraq's Speaker urges insurgents
12 Dec 2006 16:06:58 GMT
Source: Reuters
BAGHDAD, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Iraq's Sunni Muslim parliament speaker on Tuesday urged insurgents to come out into the open to help break a deadly cycle of tit-for-tat sectarian violence that has killed ... Full article
INTERVIEW-UK Iraq troop withdrawal "long time" away-minister
12 Dec 2006 15:19:06 GMT
Source: Reuters
By Mohammed Abbas MANAMA, Dec 12 (Reuters) - British troops could be in Iraq a "long time down the road", Britain's armed forces minister said. Adam Ingram declined to be drawn on a ... Full article
Divided Iraqi leaders in talks to find consensus
12 Dec 2006 15:17:12 GMT
Source: Reuters
By Mariam Karouny BAGHDAD, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Iraqi political leaders are in talks in an effort to find common ground among rival groups so as to halt worsening sectarian violence and strengthen Shi ... Full article
Bomb explodes at Iraq's Samarra mosque
12 Dec 2006 15:00:54 GMT
Source: Reuters
SAMARRA, Iraq, Dec 12 (Reuters) - A bomb exploded on Tuesday near the entrance of Samarra's Golden Mosque, site of a February bombing that unleashed a wave of sectarian violence in Iraq, causing ... Full article
CHRONOLOGY-The deadliest bomb attacks in Iraq
12 Dec 2006 13:58:06 GMT
Source: Reuters
(Updates with new details) Dec 12 (Reuters) - A suicide bomber killed 60 people in central Baghdad on Tuesday, the Interior Ministry said. Here is a list of some of the deadliest bomb attacks in ... Full article
Bomber kills 60 in Baghdad, Bush to review policy
12 Dec 2006 13:33:23 GMT
Source: Reuters
(Updates with US general) By Ross Colvin BAGHDAD, Dec 12 (Reuters) - A suicide bomber targeting poor labourers killed 60 people in Baghdad on Tuesday as President George W. Bush prepared to review ... Full article
IRAQ: Shortage of anti-retroviral drugs in Kurdistan
12 Dec 2006 13:28:58 GMT
Source: IRIN
Health officials in Iraq's northern Kurdistan region have said they lack anti-retroviral drugs and the necessary equipment for testing for the HI virus and that they have been instructed by health authorities in Baghdad to deport foreigners who have been found HIV-positive. Full article
IRAQ-JORDAN: Iranian-Kurd border refugees reject new proposals
12 Dec 2006 13:17:53 GMT
Source: IRIN
Iranian Kurds stuck on the Iraq-Jordan border for nearly two years say they will not leave their make-shift camp until they are resettled to a third country. Full article

Other Reports

Mothers lose bid to force Iraq war inquiry - Law - Times Online:
The mothers of two British soldiers killed in Iraq had challenged the Government’s refusal to hold an independent inquiry.

But this morning the court dismissed their claim that the Government was under an implied obligation to hold an independent inquiry under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the "right to life".

Three appeal judges said: "We have every sympathy for the applicants. The deaths of their sons must be unbearable. However, the deaths will be investigated in detail.

"The only question which will not be investigated is the invasion question, namely whether the Government took reasonable steps to be satisfied that the invasion of Iraq was lawful under the principles of international law."

The case was brought by Beverley Clarke, mother of Trooper David Jeffrey Clarke, and Rose Gentle, mother of Fusilier Gordon Gentle. Full Article:
The New Anatolian - Gonul asks Baghdad not to impose 'unrealistic' future on Kirkuk:
The status of Kirkuk sparked a heated debate between Turkey and Iraq after Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul's request on Sunday not to impose an "unrealistic" future on the oil-rich city drew strong criticism from Baghdad.

Gonul said that Kirkuk's future status carries major implications for Turkey and Iraq's other neighbors, no matter who controls the city and its surrounding oilfields, and asked the Iraqi Shiite and Kurdish-led administration not to impose an "unrealistic" future on Kirkuk.

"We hope the natural resources of Kirkuk will be used by all groups in Iraq without discrimination," Gonul told an International Institute of Strategic Studies conference in the Bahraini capital Manama.

Gonul's remarks were immediately protested by Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, an ethnic Kurd, who warned Turkey not to meddle in "our Kirkuk."

"You speak of Kirkuk as if it is a Turkish city," Zebari said, adding, "These are matters for Iraq to decide."

Kirkuk is an ancient city that was once part of the Ottoman Empire, with a large minority of ethnic Turks (Turkmen) as well as various Christians, Shiite and Sunni Arabs, Armenians and Assyrians. Read in full:
Xinhua - English:
Bush administration bitterly rethinks Iraq policy 2006-12-12 18:40:17
By Zhao Yi

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- The year 2006 ends with President George W. Bush bitterly rethinking his Iraq policy, which is widely believed to be the biggest fiasco of his government that even cost the Republicans both houses of Congress in the mid-term elections.


Nov. 7, 2006 was far from a good day for Bush and his Republican Party as the ruling GOP lost control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives in the mid-term elections.

The failure was hardly a surprise at a time when the United States is widely believed to be bogged down in an Iraq war, which has already claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 U.S. soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.

The other rocky regions where Washington has been deeply involved, are Afghanistan and Gaza, which are both turning from bad to worse. Afghanistan's outlawed Taliban forces are increasingly perceived as making a comeback, and the implementation of the roadmap for a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict still remains deadlocked. Read in Full:


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]:

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]:

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 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 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.