THE IRAQ COMMISSION – BRUSSELS 16-17, 2014

April 22, 2014 at 3:19 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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IRAQI ELECTIONS 30th APRIL 2014 – Photo of Turkmen candidates

April 13, 2014 at 10:55 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Turkmen candidates elections april 30 2014

IRAQI PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS, by Nermeen Al-Mufti

April 13, 2014 at 10:00 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Theatre of the absurd

As the country prepares to go to the polls on 30 April, many Iraqis have lost their faith in their parliamentary representatives, writes Nermeen Al-Mufti in Baghdad

Theatre of the absurd

The UN mission in Iraq has stated that 592 Iraqis, among them 484 civilians, were killed in the country in March, the statement excluding causalities in the Anbar province where the Iraqi army has been in operation for the last three months.

The ongoing violence comes as the country prepares for its first parliamentary elections, to be held on 30 April, since the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. On 1 April, the electoral campaigns began, and by the morning of the first day thousands of posters and billboards from the 9,094 candidates from 32 blocs, 250 parties and including independent personalities, were to be seen across the country.

Iraqis have lost trust in their representatives over the last four years because of the ongoing crises in the country. “The last four years were enough to discover that our representatives are not representing us, but working for their own interests,” said Saad Ali, an academic. “For the last four years, the agendas, inside and outside, have been obvious.”

Qasim Al-Fahdawi, the former governor of Anbar province and the leading candidate of the Loyalty to Anbar political bloc, said in a televised interview that the ongoing crises in his province were due to the fact that the country’s parliament had not discussed the demands of the protesters and had not met them.

 The UN mission published a statement by Nikolay Mladenov, the representative of the UN secretary-general in Iraq, on the formation of a “quartet committee” intended to move forward negotiations on the country’s budget.

“I welcome the efforts of the presidency of the Council of Representatives and the heads of the parliamentary blocs to move forward the negotiations over the 2014 budget. The formation of a quartet committee to address outstanding issues is an important step. I encourage Iraqi leaders to work together and in a spirit of compromise to enact the budget as soon as possible. This should be done with the agreement of all components of Iraqi society in order to ensure that everyone shares the wealth of this country and receives needed public services,” Mladenov said.

“This statement is further evidence that our representatives do not think of Iraqi interests,” commented Ahlam Qiasy, a teacher, who added that “we know there are problems among the leading blocs in parliament, yet who would imagine that our representatives would lead the country to bankruptcy just because some of the blocs are against the prime minister?”

Similar questions are being asked by the majority of Iraqi voters, who have begun pressing for changes in the country. For the time being, it seems that the only people that can bring about this change are the voters themselves.

In the first elections to be held after the withdrawal of the US from the country, the Turkmens, Kurds and Arabs in Kirkuk do not have separate lists. Moreover, for the first time the two leading Kurdish parties, the PUK of Jalal Talabani and the KDP of Masoud Barzani, who led the Kurdistan coalition in the previous elections, now have two different lists.

There are also Arabs on different lists and Turkmens, too, for the first time are participating on two lists. Torhan Mufti, head of the Alliance of the Kirkuk Turkmens list, said that “our list believes that Turkmen issues can be solved, but in Baghdad.” Mufti is State Minister for the Provinces and acting Communications Minister in the present cabinet.

The situation in Kirkuk, the oil-rich city that is described as a “small Iraq,” also shows how problems and differences are woven deep in the country.

Meanwhile, the State Ministry for Women has issued a statement asking Iraqis to behave politely with female candidates after photographs were published on social media showing young men kissing posters of female candidates and Iraqi bloggers attacking female candidates by criticising their appearance.

The Shiite higher marjieya, a religious institution, has stated that it does not support any particular list or bloc, but wants to see Iraqis achieve change through voting for the “right candidates.”

Amidst the ongoing violence and crises, candidate posters have been causing fun through their slogans, statements and promises. One candidate wrote on his posters that he had been ordered to stand by the Prophet Mohamed. A comment on Facebook then appeared saying “I was ordered by the Prophet not to give you my vote.”

 Until April 30, elections day, the posters of the candidates will continue to appear across the country along with the black banners that mourn the causalities of the violence, as an indication of the theatre of the absurd that is contemporary Iraq

http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/News/5883/19/Theatre-of-the-absurd.aspx

Iraqi Turkmens in Erbil welcome Turkish mosque sermon

April 12, 2014 at 6:01 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Iraqi Turkmens in Erbil welcome Turkish mosque sermon
Iraqi Turkmens in Erbil welcome Turkish mosque sermon

It will be the first time since the Friday sermon is read in Turkish in Erbil since the end of the Ottoman Empire.

World Bulletin / News Desk

The autonomous Kurdish Regional Government of northern Iraq has given permission for one mosque in the city of Erbil to recite the Friday sermon in Turkish. The decision has made ethnic Turkmens, who have a strong presence in the city, very happy.

Turkmen lawmaker Aydin Maruf Selim welcomed the decision, calling it an important step for the Turkmens of Erbil and a ‘historic decision’.

The Iraqi Turkmen Front Council member also noted that it will be the first time since the Friday sermon is read in Turkish in the city since the end of the Ottoman Empire.

Promising more Turkish sermons in the future, he called the decision a natural right for the Turkmens and call on them to congregate to the mosque.

Jumping Ship? Defections from Maliki ahead of the Iraqi Parliamentary Elections

April 7, 2014 at 6:30 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Jumping Ship? Defections from Maliki ahead of the Iraqi Parliamentary Elections

Posted by Reidar Visser on Sunday, 6 April 2014 2:28

An interesting piece of information that emerges from the newly released list of candidates for Iraq’s 30 April general elections is that at least a dozen ministers and MPs previously considered part of the State of Law coalition will contest the elections on other tickets than that of the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki.

It makes sense to structure the discussion of these apparent defections from State of Law with respect to the degree to which they truly constitute a challenge to Maliki. Firstly, there are some lists that are so loudly loyal to Maliki that one might suspect he doesn’t mind them running separately. An example is list 240 associated wih Saad al-Mutallabi, a staunch Maliki supporter.  Named the “Movement of Youth for the State of the Hegemony of the Law”, it is running in Baghdad and Najaf. With Maliki featuring prominently on its election posters, it seems more like an auxiliary than an enemy, even though one cannot help wonder why Maliki would truly want to deliberately split his own vote. (A recurrent theme in the debate on this is the misguided belief that the new Iraqi elections law offers better prospects for smaller parties. It doesn’t.)

In a similar category is list 230. It is focused on two State of Law MPs: Ihsan al-Awwadi (Qadisiyya) and Haytham al-Jibburi (Babel). The list is running in Basra, Mid-Euphrates and Diyala. Originally this movement emerged as the creation of former government spokesperson Ali al-Dabbagh who himself moved on to ISCI before these elections (though without appearing on their final candidate list). Whereas the schism between Dabbagh and Maliki appears to be final, pro-Maliki slogans are prominent in this successor party: Jibburi, for example, uses the slogan “hand in hand with Prime Minister Maliki” in his campaign.

Other independent candidacies within the State of Law group of politicians seem less friendly  to Maliki, and at least two of them could potentially be somewhat substantial.

Firstly there is list 228, headed by Izzat Shahbandar as candidate no. 1 in Baghdad. It is also running in Wasit, Basra, Dhi Qar and Karbala. The list also includes former Iraqiyya member Abd al-Khadar Tahir, reflecting perhaps the fact that Shahbandar was formerly one of the Maliki aides considered most sympathetic to the idea of cooperating with Sunnis and secularists. Judging from the make-up of his list, though, the successes in this respect north of Baghdad remain limited, even after the split from Maliki.

Second there is list 211, associated with Sami al-Askari. It will run in most Shiite-majority governorates as well as in Diyala. Another leading figure on the list is Najaf governor Adnan al-Zurfi. Given the connection to Najaf, the list has links to Shiite religious circles in Iraq’s holy cities. At the same time these are politicians with a record of dialogue with the Americans and the West, perhaps more so than some of the more Iran-sympathetic circles within State of Law.

Other new lists based on defections from Maliki seem more limited to personalities and localities.

Firstly there is Ali Fayyad and his list 226 running in Baghdad and with a few candidates in Najaf also. This is essentially Ali Fayyad’s personal creation. Judging from its posters, the list is apparently trying to appeal to tribal electorates in and around the Iraqi capital.

Secondly there is former minister of state for security and current MP Shirwan al-Waeli with list 284. It will be running in his home province of Dhi Qar only after initial negotiations to have him as part of the Askari-Zurfi group appear to have failed.

Thirdly there is minister of state Safa al-Din al-Safi, running list 201 in his own hometown Basra as well as in Wasit. It seems more detached from Maliki than one might expect given Safi’s sometimes key role in fixing problems for Maliki in the past. Safi has some links to the religious leadership in Najaf whose calls for “change” have been interpreted as a hint that a shakeup of the current government is needed.

Fourthly there is Jawad Kazim al-Buzuni and list 238 running in Basra, Dhi Qar, Wasit, Babel and Baghdad. Apart from its outspoken, sometimes federalist key figure from Basra, the list comprises mostly academics with relatively low profiles.

While the above statistics of defections are remarkable, equally important is perhaps the fact of relative dissipation – geographically and organizationally alike. Perhaps the bigger challenge to Maliki consists of those MPs who did not start their own new list but instead jumped to an existing enemy: Muwatin, dominated by the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) and Ammar al-Hakim. They include at least the following: Janan Abd al-Jabbar Yasin (Basra), Hussein al-Assadi (Basra), Ali Kurdi al-Husseini (Karbala; now on Muwatin list in Baghdad), Manal Hamid al-Musawi (Karbala), and Ahmad Habib al-Abbasi (Babel).

It has been suggested that it is the acceptance of post-election bloc formation in Iraqi parliamentary politics (following the precedent of 2010 and the disputed supreme court ruling enabling this) that has prompted so many State of Law politicians to try their luck on their own this time. But as long as the numbers of MPs affiliated with each bloc count as much as they do in Iraq – both practically and in terms of prestige – it is somewhat difficult to take at face value the talk of  friendly and temporary divorces emanating from some of the players involved in these developments. And with respect to the defections to Muwatin, in particular,  there can be no doubt that this is bad news for Maliki. The likely outcome of all of this is a reduction of Maliki’s total bloc size and therefore his stature. Additionally, these acts of defection also tell important stories about how people whose livelihoods depend on the outcomes of these elections think the result will shape up.

The murder of a prominent Iraqi journalist at a Baghdad checkpoint has heightened fears of ethnic tensions in the country, writes Nermeen Al-Mufti in Baghdad

March 27, 2014 at 9:12 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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A killing argument

 

The murder of a prominent Iraqi journalist at a Baghdad checkpoint has heightened fears of ethnic tensions in the country, writes Nermeen Al-Mufti in Baghdad

 

A killing argument
The funeral of Al-Shimmari, professor of media studies and Baghdad bureau chief, who was shot dead this week

Last Saturday, a presidential guard shot dead a senior Iraqi journalist during an argument in Baghdad and then fled, briefly sparking a standoff in which Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki demanded that he be handed over to the authorities.

According to official statements, Mohamed Bdaiwi Al-Shimmari, a professor of media studies at the Al-Mustansiriya University and Baghdad bureau chief of Radio Free Iraq, was shot dead close to a checkpoint that leads to the presidential complex in the upscale Jadriyah neighbourhood of the capital, an area where high-ranking members of the former Saddam regime used to live.

The reports said that Al-Shimmari had been on his way to his bureau inside the compound when the incident happened. He was stopped by the security forces despite wearing his badge, but why there was an argument and why he was shot dead is not known.

An eyewitness said in a TV interview that Al-Shimmari had been stopped and “one of the presidential guards put a pistol against his head and shot him in cold blood.” A journalist at Radio Free Iraq, who declined to be identified, was quoted as saying that “the peshmerga captain killed him after he stopped him from getting into the compound.”

As soon as the news of the killing was made public, hundreds of Al-Shimmari’s colleagues, friends, and students, many of them senior journalists or senior officials in the Iraqi government, came to the scene of the crime to pay their respects to the dead man.

The family of the victim refused to evacuate the dead body of the victim unless the killer was arrested first. Hundreds of Iraqis began publishing photographs of the victim lying in the street in the midst of blood on Facebook and Twitter, many of them demanding the arrest of his killer and that he be sentenced to death.

The dead body remained at the scene for five hours, and then it was announced that First Lieutenant Ahmed Ibrahim, believed to be the killer, had been arrested. By sunset, dozens of journalists were at the scene bearing candles.

Hadi Maree Jalou of the Iraqi Journalism Observatory, an NGO, said in an interview with Al-Fayhaa TV that “the peshmerga should leave Baghdad, and the Kurds in Baghdad should be dealt with in the same way the Kurds deal with the Arabs in Erbil.”

“Iraqi Arabs cannot enter Erbil without having an official permit from the checkpoint linked to the regional police and cannot live in Erbil without an official residential permit, while the Kurds are free to enter Baghdad and live there.”

However, despite such comments many Iraqis have refused to see the crime as a confrontation between Arabs and Kurds, though slogans appeared on the cement barriers at the scene saying “down with the Kurds.” Some have demanded that the killer should be sentenced according to Article 4 of the relevant law that deals with terrorists.

The Peshmerga Ministry spokesman was quoted as saying that the accused officer was not from the peshmerga, but was affiliated to the Federal Defence Ministry. Many Kurdish officials, while condemning the incident, have asked that it should not be used against the Kurds because it was a personal act and the accused has been taken into custody in Baghdad.

The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, learned with shock and dismay about the murder. “I strongly condemn this despicable crime and extend my condolences to the bereaved family of the victim, the media and the academic community and to the colleagues and friends of Mr Bdaiwi,” Mladenov said.

“The Iraqi authorities have reacted swiftly to obtain the surrender of the culprit. It is now up to the judiciary to prosecute him and to hold him accountable before the law,” he added, calling on the government “to do all it can to ensure that security forces personnel strictly abide by their rules of engagement for the protection of civilians, so that such tragic events do not happen in the future.”

“Circumstantial evidence indicates a random killing. However, this tragedy again highlights the vulnerability of people performing their duties in the media profession under the deteriorating security conditions of Iraq,” Mladenov said.

Journalists who returned to the scene of the crime after the funeral of Al-Shimmari demanded that the government take steps towards protecting them since more than 360 Iraqi journalists have been killed in the country since April 2003.

The well-known Iraqi novelist Warid Badr Al-Salim said that “our friend Mohamed was killed by a presidential guard of an unexciting president,” recalling the chaos that had reigned in the country after the US-led invasion in 2003 and establishing the power-sharing system that was responsible for the ongoing violence.

 

http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/News/5785/19/A-killing-argument.aspx

 

In Baghdad, Iraqis spoke to Nermeen Al-Mufti of life under occupation

March 23, 2014 at 11:23 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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In 2006, March, no. 787 from Al-Ahram Weekly, devoted a special dossier on Iraq newspaper, under the headline “Iraq. Years of torment. 2003-2006
 

‘Can you help me not miss them?’

In Baghdad, Iraqis spoke to Nermeen Al-Mufti of life under occupation

Click to view caption
FACES OF THE FALLEN: Iraqis continue to mourn civilan victims as the body of Farid Hussein is carried for burial. Hussein, and three others, were killed in a bomb blast on Monday. Such a scene has come to dominate the Iraqi street during the past three years; Sinan Abdul-Aziz; Saleh Shibani; Shaymaa; Jaafar


The journalist

Saleh Al-Shibani,
Editor of the weekly newspaper Al-Qalaa

“We are all liable to being killed by mistake or by a suicide bombing. We are all targeted, from university professors to garbage collectors, including hairdressers, journalists, doctors — all Iraqis. I heard from a soldier friend that you cannot hear the sound of the bullet that kills you. As a result, every time I hear the sound of a bullet I praise God for my life. I would not make the heroic claim that I’m not afraid. It’s fear that taught me to be cautious. I routinely change the times at which I leave the house to the office and vice versa, as well as the route I take. I fell silent in the wake of the occupation but, finding that futile, I went back to writing a few months ago. I speak for my conscience and for Iraq. And to my mind targeting journalists is first and foremost part of a campaign to terrorise Iraqis — because journalists, being objective, tell the bitter truth; there are always parties who want to put an end to that. The claim is made that, among the virtues of the “new” Iraq is the plurality of voices as evident in the large number of newspapers on offer.

The truth is that the newspaper scene is in chaos; and however many there are of them, very few newspapers can be called professional at all. Every party, every party leader, basically everyone who can afford it has launched a newspaper. And each newspaper speaks for the entity it represents, makes a claim to the truth, assuming the right not only to criticise but to insult its adversaries; this is particularly easy in the light of the legal void. Democracy means constructive criticism and the ability to listen to another; in Iraq any other voice will set off an endless string of problems. The assassination a few days ago of our colleague Muhsin Khadir, editor-in-chief of the magazine Alif-Baa, raised only a few journalistic voices; this is the case given that, since the beginning of the occupation, 49 journalists have been killed. In the absence of security to protect Iraqis, working conditions are difficult. We live only by the grace of God. Before the occupation I used to work for Al-Jumhouriya newspaper, and despite the despicable dictatorial regime, I feel that publishing what I wanted to say was then easier than it is now. Every politician and leader wants you to write about him; everyone blames you because you have ignored their achievements. My question is, ‘how does the destruction of the country, its values and sense of unity amount to an achievement?’ My wife too was also a journalist before the occupation; now, for many reasons, she has become a housewife: she does not like to leave the side of our two sons, nor does she feel safe with the house unattended for a second “

The professor

Sinan Abdul-Aziz,
Professor of Arabic literature, Kirkuk University

“Deteriorating security means Iraqi academics are an easy target for abduction and assassination; a total of 190 professors have been killed under the occupation. You might be killed in an explosion on the street. Many professors can’t afford private cars; they ride on the bus, which makes their death more likely. Not that I’d personally want the attention or misunderstanding incumbent on having a bodyguard. We work to build the students’ confidence in us, but since we’ve grown to fear them sometimes, they too fear us. That said, both parties have resumed the work they do together — teaching and learning. Iraqi minds are specifically targeted; it’s a particularly dangerous dimension of the occupation which the killing of nuclear scientist Mohamed Al-Ardramali in Abu Ghraib prison during the first few months of occupation revealed. They want a backward Iraq to suit Zionist plans.

Neo-conservatives in Washington are already admitting that what is happening in Iraq serves Israeli, better than American, interests. So we were right to point to Zionism. Students attacked a colleague of mine; another, Abdul-Razaq Al-Naas, was assassinated. I’ve received threats since. If not for the absurd situation in which the occupation has placed us, with the vaguest promise of an elected government working towards security and stability, no student would dare hit a teacher. And what’s even more of a joke: the government requests that we should protect ourselves. Hundreds of qualified Iraqis have fled their homelands.

Many universities are without staff, and campus has turned into a kind of investigative court or interrogation chamber, in which teachers have no right to question or punish students, especially when they belong to a party, much less criticise a political organisation. I hardly know any more where the threat is coming from, whose protection to seek. True, our financial situation has improved a lot; but give me the choice of salary or security, and I’ll take the latter. Before the occupation, only one person and his family posed threats; now everyone is a threat, everyone capable of liquidating you at a blink. I don’t understand how killing came to be so easy.”

The doctor

Luway Al-Salehi

“Last January, according to unofficial sources, 26 doctors were assassinated in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities.

Physicians are in the line of fire of many entities right now in Iraq. When a member of the national guard died in my care, I was personally beaten by his colleague. Never mind that the casualty was already brain-dead when he entered the hospital, the victim of a booby-trapped car. It’s happened to many doctors besides me. But going on strike, we soon realised, only deprived the citizens of necessary medical care. Still, in the last six months alone, four doctors died on the job.

Violence on the streets makes the situation unimaginably painful in hospitals. There are too many injured for us to accommodate. We’ve even begun to spread people out on the floor. That’s not to mention the constant lack of life- saving supplies necessary for wounds and burns. The numbers of dead are such that, rather than a month in the morgue, casualties are buried within three days of their photos being published if they haven’t been identified. How many civilians have been killed? No one will answer that question; my conviction is that no official agency has undertaken a proper count of civilian casualties. Anyone who tries ends up fleeing the country; that was the case with some people who tried to publicise the number of corpses following the bombing of Samaraa. Despite the sanctions, the regime, the difficult material circumstances, before the occupation I for one was someone who had millions of dreams. I do not dream any more. In fact I’m often scared of my own shadow.

The housewife

Hana Madhloum

“I must tell you that I have suffered much to bring up my daughters, with what little help my family, my husband’s family and the neighbours could spare; finances were not forthcoming and the sanctions made it all worse. My eldest daughter Reem has now graduated from the Faculty of Engineering; Suha is a pharmacology student. My youngest, Hind, is in the final year of middle school and wants to study medicine. And having suffered, I never thought I’d miss the Saddam Hussein years. My husband died in 1993, due to lack of medication in Iraq, also brought about by the sanctions; though he was a university professor, I was unable to take him abroad for treatment. And I despised the Saddam regime. Because of Saddam’s mistakes, we lost many loved ones, many valuable things. But the last few years have been a nightmare by comparison. I wish they were a nightmare. I wish I could wake up to Saddam — and security. The worry I go through on a daily basis, waiting for my daughters to come home: no one can endure that.

I used to place freedom above security. Now I know security counts more than bread.”

The mother

Um Jaafar

(During a US raid Um Jaafar, a woman in her 40s, saw her three sons Jaafar, Haidar and Athir being killed before her eyes).

“At 2.30, the night of 21 January, I woke up to a blast that opened the door of our house in the Al-Huriya Al-Thaniya area, west of Baghdad. A group of American soldiers stormed in.

With them was an Iraqi translator, through whom they asked me about Mohamed. I pointed to my son Jaafar, whom we call Mohamed at home. Without a single comment, they moved to where Jaafar was sleeping and shot him dead. Athir, Jaafar’s 28-year-old half-brother, tried to question the translator about the reason. The response was, ‘the matter has come to an end.’ And when he tried to go upstairs to seek the help of their elder brother Haidar, 29, an American bullet beat him to it, killing him immediately. Haidar’s wife tried to defend her husband and their children, Mustafa and Ali, but one of the Americans beat her back — on the head, with a baton — to make way for the bullet that was to kill Haidar. The whole process took no more than a few minutes. In the end my daughter Shaimaa lay among the three corpses, injured and bleeding.

Only later did the translator ask me to fetch the identity cards of those killed — only to realise that there was no Mohamed among them. He said simply, ‘sorry, but we have killed them on a suspicion.’ And the raiding force left. What happened had not sunk in when they came back, and to this day I still can not believe it; I have not visited the graves of my sons. I lost three sons like that; who would believe me? I do not believe it myself. Trying to comfort me, neighbours and relatives point out that at least I got to bury my dead; there are mothers, they say, who do not even have access to their sons’ corpses once they are told they were killed. But I am a mother and my disaster feels the greatest.

Tell me, what should I do when I miss Jaafar and his brothers? I miss them. For how long will we keep losing our sons by mistake? Just tell me what to do. Can you help me not miss them?”

http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2006/787/sc3.htm

Iraq’s post US-invasion laws: Death knell for women’s rights

March 21, 2014 at 6:38 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Iraq’s post US-invasion laws: Death knell for women’s rights

Published Thursday, March 20, 2014

Human rights advocates and religious leaders are outraged after an overwhelming majority of the Iraqi Council of Ministers voted in favor of a contentious personal status draft law last month, which implicitly legalizes pedophilia, rape, and prostitution as long as they fall within the boundaries of a sharia-based marriage.

The draft law, put forward by Justice Minister Hassan al-Shimari and approved by 21 of the 29 ministers, lowers the age of legal marriage for females to 9 years old and for males to 15 (article 16), permits unconditional polygamy (article 104), stipulates that women over 18 years of age still need fatherly consent for marriage, and gives the husband the right to sexual intercourse even without his wife’s consent (article 101).

Moreover, the bill prevents a woman from leaving her marital home or entering the workforce without her husband’s permission. The law further states that a husband is not required to financially support his wife if she is in a condition where she is unable to sexually satisfy him (article 126). The law also states that the father is the sole guardian of his children at the age of two in divorce cases, and forbids Muslims from marrying non-Muslims (article 63).

‘Shamelessly degrading’

Continue Reading Iraq’s post US-invasion laws: Death knell for women’s rights…

ITF EU Representative met with the Vice-President of the EU Parliament MEP Laszlo Tokes

March 19, 2014 at 7:53 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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DSC_1037

MEP Laszlo Tokes, Vice President of the European Parliament and Dr. Hassan Aydinli, ITF EU representative. (standing in front of the picture of Altiero Spinelli).

ITF EU Representative Dr Hassan Aydinli attended the conference : Religious Minorities in Iran under Rouhani’s Presidency at the EU Parliament on 18/03/2014.

The conference was organized by Mr Willy Fautré, Director  of Human Rights Without Frontiers and it was hosted by MEP Laszlo Tokes, Vice-President of the EU Parliament.

Participants at the conference said that Iran’s religious minorities still face harsh repression, despite earlier hopes that Hassan Rouhani, elected to Iran’s presidency in 2013, would bring much-needed reforms.

At this event HRWF also presented its annual Freedom of Religion or Belief World Report and World Report and Freedom of Religion or Belief & Blasphemy Prisoners List 2013.

After the conference ITF EU Representative spoke with MEP  Laszlo Tokes, Vice-President of the EU Parliament, he informed him of the situation in Iraq in general and about the grave problems of security the Turkmens continue to face in Iraq and how they continue to be targeted,  he also mentioned the recent assassinations of Turkmen intellectuals and ITF leaders.

Musings On Iraq Security Report March 8-14, 2014

March 19, 2014 at 6:45 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Posted by Joel Wing

Violence in Iraq took a slight dip in the second week of March 2014. The number of reported attacks and casualties both went down compared to the first week of the month, which was the worst of the year so far. The main cause of the decline was due to fewer car bombings by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). In fact, quite a few provinces reported the lowest number of attacks and casualties for the year. Despite that the week was still very deadly for the citizens of Iraq.
In The second week of March there were 204 reported security incidents in Iraq. That was below the first week’s 249, and tied for the second lowest amount for the year so far. The result was 323 killed, of which 112 were members of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), 7 were from the Sons of the Iraq and Awakening known as the Sahwa, and 204 were civilians. Another 618 were wounded, made up of 461 civilians, 157 ISF, and 4 Sahwa. Bombs were the most common form of attack at 100 for the week, along with 85 shootings. There were 12 suicide bombings, just around the same amount as the first week of the month, 11, but there were only 9 car bombings down from 20 the previous week. That reduction was one main cause for the drop in casualties.
Reported Violence In Iraq By Week 2014
Jan
1-7
Jan
8-14
Jan
15-21
Jan
22-28
Feb
1-7
Feb
8-14
Feb
15-21
Feb
22-28
Mar
1-7
Mar 8-14
Incidents
245
285
202
240
204
227
265
247
250
204
Dead
363
372
358
308
296
255
347
370
402
323
Wounded
736
683
597
624
700
501
703
614
672
618
Reported Violence In Iraq By Province Mar. 8-14, 2014
Attacks
Deaths
Wounded
Anbar
57
85
145
Babil
5
54
163
Baghdad
44
57
155
Basra
2
2
0
Diyala
13
21
42
Kirkuk
7
5
9
Ninewa
33
29
39
Salahaddin
43
70
65
Despite the overall trend for the period Anbar remained very violent. There were 57 incidents there causing 85 killed and 145 wounded. Despite all the focus upon Fallujah, Ramadi has been the center of fighting lately. There were 26 incidents there for the week, including a large number of shootouts between the security forces and the insurgents. March 14 for example gunfire was exchanged in seven different parts of the city. Government shelling continued to take its toll as well. There were casualties due to artillery and mortars on March 8 in Ramadi and Fallujah,March 9 in Fallujah, March 12 in Fallujah, March 13 in Fallujah and Ramadi, and those two cities again on March 14. In total, 22 were left dead and 51 wounded as a result. Finally, on March 13 a suicide car bomb was used to destroy a bridge in Rawa leaving behind 19 killed and 20 injured. These have been some of the highest casualty figures in the province since the fighting started there at the end of December.
Reported Violence In Anbar By Week 2014
Jan
1-7
Jan
8-14
Jan
15-21
Jan
22-28
Feb
1-7
Feb
8-14
Feb
15-21
Feb
22-28
Mar
1-7
Mar 8-14
Incidents
54
69
37
60
25
45
48
55
57
57
Dead
116
52
42
63
30
55
54
45
83
85
Wounded
243
126
47
245
79
131
89
136
108
145
Babil is another province that has become unstable since the middle of February. There were just five incidents there for the week, but one of those was a suicide bombing in Hillah on March 9 that caused 50 fatalities and 160 wounded. That was one of the worst single attacks in the last few years. The northern portion of the province has become a base for ISIS and a likely source for building car bombs that are sent into Baghdad and the south. The security forces recently tried to clear the area but were beaten back. That cost the provincial police chief his job. The suicide attack was a message to the government by the Islamic State saying that it was still strong and operating in the province.
Reported Violence In Babil By Week 2014
Jan
1-7
Jan
8-14
Jan
15-21
Jan
22-28
Feb
1-7
Feb
8-14
Feb
15-21
Feb
22-28
Mar
1-7
Mar 8-14
Incidents
8
3
4
3
2
16
16
1
10
5
Dead
4
0
3
0
0
33
55
4
23
54
Wounded
28
7
3
5
0
70
137
0
46
163
Casualties in Baghdad dropped for the week due to there being fewer car bombs in the province. The week before there were ten such attacks leaving behind 33 dead and 116 wounded. In comparison, there were only five during this period. On March 8 one went off in Qahira leaving 6 dead and 14 wounded. Then there were three on March 13, one in Zayouna leaving 5 wounded, another in Sadr City with 9 injured, and then the final one in Nahda that didn’t hurt anyone. ISIS launches car bombs in waves in the capital. This week was simply one of those transition periods in between larger bombing attacks. In total, there were 44 incidents for the week, the fewest for 2014, leading to 51 deaths, the second lowest amount for the year, and 132 wounded. This was a lull in operations by insurgents, and the major reason why overall casualties were down for the period.
Reported Violence In Baghdad By Week 2014
Jan
1-7
Jan
8-14
Jan
15-21
Jan
22-28
Feb
1-7
Feb
8-14
Feb
15-21
Feb
22-28
Mar
1-7
Mar 8-14
Incidents
59
58
69
58
65
47
52
54
68
44
Dead
106
147
172
90
148
50
79
113
112
51
Wounded
183
299
388
187
347
129
217
233
280
132
Salahaddin saw almost as many attacks as the week before they just weren’t as deadly. There were 43 incidents with 70 killed and 65 wounded. Tikrit, 16 attacks, Samarra, 6, and Baiji and Shirqat with five each saw the most violence. The ISF and Sahwa were the main targets accounting for 37 of the dead and 42 of the injured. The insurgency has successfully re-emerged in the province and has also gone after local politicians as a district mayor was killed in Tikrit on March 8. That same day there was an attempt on the life of a candidate from the Iraqi National Dialogue Front. March 9 a bus carrying workers from the North Oil Company was ambushed in Tuz Kharmato leaving three of them dead and 7 wounded. Most of the attacks in Salahaddin were small and targeted usually consisting of an attack upon a checkpoint or a drive by shooting or an IED on an ISF patrol.
Reported Violence In Salahaddin By Week 2014
Jan
1-7
Jan
8-14
Jan
15-21
Jan
22-28
Feb
1-7
Feb
8-14
Feb
15-21
Feb
22-28
Mar
1-7
Mar 8-14
Incidents
39
40
39
41
37
46
54
49
44
43
Dead
43
79
50
57
57
48
84
83
121
70
Wounded
85
118
70
101
125
80
135
97
108
65
Diyala and Kirkuk remain largely off militants’ agenda. In the former there were only 13 incidents resulting in 21 killed and 42 wounded. In the latter there were just seven attacks with 5 dead and 9 injured. That tied for fewest attacks in a week, second lowest killed, and lowest injured. That was largely in line with the previous weeks.
Reported Violence In Diyala By Week 2014
Jan
1-7
Jan
8-14
Jan
15-21
Jan
22-28
Feb
1-7
Feb
8-14
Feb
15-21
Feb
22-28
Mar
1-7
Mar 8-14
Incidents
17
20
12
19
14
12
19
19
15
13
Dead
42
25
49
37
13
12
13
33
19
21
Wounded
67
37
31
13
27
28
27
56
32
42
Reported Violence In Kirkuk By Week 2014
Jan
1-7
Jan
8-14
Jan
15-21
Jan
22-28
Feb
1-7
Feb
8-14
Feb
15-21
Feb
22-28
Mar
1-7
Mar 8-14
Incidents
10
14
7
18
16
22
16
14
18
7
Dead
4
5
8
18
4
15
11
7
11
5
Wounded
70
21
27
33
25
23
26
10
41
9
Violence has gone down the last two weeks in Ninewa. There were 33 incidents for the week along with 30 killed and 39 wounded. That was the second fewest attacks and wounded, and the lowest amount of deaths. The provincial capital of Mosul is a major financial base for ISIS. In the last year or so it has attempted to intimidate and scare the local officials and ISF there, and that remains the main purpose behind attacks there.
Reported Violence In Ninewa By Week 2014
Jan
1-7
Jan
8-14
Jan
15-21
Jan
22-28
Feb
1-7
Feb
8-14
Feb
15-21
Feb
22-28
Mar
1-7
Mar 8-14
Incidents
56
55
31
38
41
36
55
52
35
33
Dead
47
58
33
40
41
38
49
78
31
30
Wounded
60
66
30
40
94
36
72
75
52
39
Finally there were just a few attacks in southern Iraq. There were 2 in Basra leading to 2 killed, shootings each. That was it for the eight governorates of the region. The south was a major target for ISIS in the previous year. In 2014 however its focus has moved northward and the south has been left pretty much alone. There are shootings and explosions every now and then, some of which are likely the work of militias or gangs, but otherwise the insurgents have left the region alone.
Reported Violence In 8 Southern Provinces By Week 2014
Jan
1-7
Jan
8-14
Jan
15-21
Jan
22-28
Feb
1-7
Feb
8-14
Feb
15-21
Feb
22-28
Mar
1-7
Mar 8-14
Incidents
2
8
3
3
4
5
2
3
3
2
Dead
1
6
1
4
3
6
0
7
2
2
Wounded
0
9
1
0
3
4
0
5
1
0
SOURCES
Agence France Presse, “Iraq attacks kill nine, including parliament candidate,” 3/8/14
- “Iraq suicide bombing death toll rises to 50,” 3/10/14
-”Seven dead in Baghdad area attacks,” 3/14/14
AIN, “Civilian killed central Basra,” 3/12/14
- “Driver killed in Basra,” 3/16/14
- “Security forces clash with ISIL elements in Ramadi,” 3/14/14
Associated Press, “Suicide bomber uses Iraq police humvee in attack,” 3/8/14
Buratha News, “Four Martyrs and six wounded, and the collapse of the bridge is part of a suicide bombing that targeted a gathering of army western Anbar,” 3/13/14
- “Martyrdom and wounding six children by fall of a mortar shell on the playground on a popular football center of Ramadi,” 3/14/14
Al Forat, “Mayor killed central Tikrit,” 3/8/14
Iraq Times, “people dead and injured in the bombing of a bridge in Rawa, 39 which occurred yesterday in Anbar,” 3/14/14
- “people were injured by a car bomb in Sadr City 9,” 3/13/14
Al Jazeera, “Deaths in suicide bombing in Iraq,” 3/9/14
Al Mada “Killed and wounded 14 civilians by random bombardment of the army on Ramadi,” 3/13/14
- “Killing and wounding four soldiers in an armed attack south of Ramadi,” 3/14/14
NINA, “/5/ Civilians Injury by Bombing of the City of Ramadi,” 3/8/14
- “/23/ Civilians, Including Women and Children, Got Martyrdom and Wounded in the Shelling of Fallujah,” 3/9/14
- “Armed clashes resumed between army and armed elements in Ramadi,” 3/14/14
- “Car bomb goes off in Central Baghdad,” 3/13/14
- “A child killed and four civilians wounded in Fallujah,” 3/12/14
- “A civilian killed, six injured in Fallujah,” 3/13/14
- “A Civilian Killed, Three Members of One Family wounded by Artillery Bombing to the City of Ramadi,” 3/14/14
- “Two people, including a child killed and wounding seven others in Fallujah,” 3/14/14
- “Urgent…one killed, ten others wounded of employees NOC in an armed attack south of Kirkuk,” 3/9/14
- “A woman, a child killed, six wounded in bombing on Fallujah,” 3/8/14
Al Rayy, “Five people were injured in eastern Baghdad bombing,” 3/13/14
Yacoub, Sameer, “Iraq: Bombs Kill at Least 8 People in Baghdad,” Associated Press, 3/13/14
Xinhua, “41 killed in separate attacks across Iraq,” 3/10/14
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