Embassies to Spy on Dissidents Abroad
Iraq Slogger | March 15, 2007
The Scoop from Key Iraqi Arabic-language Websites
Al-Badeel Al-Iraqi reports that chairman of the foreign relations committee in Iraqi parliament, Humam Hamoudi (SCIRI), told members of the Iraqi community in London that the Iraqi government is planning to increase intelligence activities in its embassies worldwide. Hamoudi told an audience at the Imam Al-Khoei Center in London that new “security stations” would be formed in Iraqi embassies in foreign capitals to monitor the activities of “figures opposing the new Iraq” and “recruiting and funding activities for militants in Iraq.” The Iraqi Az-Zaman newspaper also ran a report on Hamoudi's statements, which have been widely criticized and have stirred accusations of returning to methods employed by the former regime on several Iraqi websites and forums.
In a chilling interview with the Jordanian state-run Al-Rai newspaper, Iraqi President Jalal Talibani warned that Kurdish and Shi'ite militias would “overrun” Iraq in the case of a U.S. withdrawal. Talibani, speaking from the Al-Hussein Medical City, where he was recuperating from exhaustion and pulmonary inflammation, said the Kurds and Shia can prepare “hundreds of thousands of trained fighters” to quickly control all of Iraq, adding that he does not wish to see this scenario take place. “We in the Kurdistan region can take control of Mosul and surrounding Arab areas within hours,” said Talibani. “This is not in the interest of Iraq because there has to be an Iraqi force that represents all components of the Iraqi people.” President Talibani arrived Wednesday afternoon at the Suleimaniya International Airport in the Kurdistan Region north of Iraq.
The Haqq Agency reports that Iraqi security forces raided the Palestinian apartment compound in Baladiyat, northeast of Baghdad, this morning and detained 60 people. Eyewitnesses said that ten people were killed in the raids and several others wounded after Iraqi troops opened fire randomly. The Baladiyat compound is the largest Palestinian residential area in Iraq, and an estimated 15,000 Palestinians live there. The agency also reports that Mahdi Army militiamen abducted a Palestinian citizen from outside his house in the Tobchi district, west of Baghdad. His family found his corpse dumped near the railroad in the area, which is where Shi'ite militias that control the district dispose of bodies. The Ministry of Refugees Affairs in the Palestinian authority published a report Wednesday revealing that Palestinian refugees in Iraq have suffered 31 attacks from militias, Iraqi security and U.S. forces. The report found that nine Palestinians were killed and 15 abducted by militias, two of which were found dead later and two others released, while the fate of the rest is unknown. Also, 136 Palestinians have taken refuge in the Waleed camp on the Iraqi-Syrian border, bringing the total of Palestinian refugees in the camp to 517, according to the Palestinian Media Center.
Several Shi'ite families in the upscale mixed district of Mansour west of Baghdad have been forced to leave their houses by Sunni militants over the last two days, according to Al-Melaf. The website said the district continues to witness sectarian violence despite the strict security measures in neighboring areas. Residents say that fundamentalist Sunni militants dump unknown headless corpses on the streets every day, some of which have not been removed for days.
A number of displaced Shi'ite families in Hilla said they would not return to their original areas of residence in Baghdad even if security improves, the Al-Badeel Al-Iraqi website reported. The refugees from Abu Ghraib and Dora in Baghdad said they would prefer to remain in refugee camps in Hilla, even if deprived from basic necessities, rather than return to the cycle of threats and sectarian violence in Baghdad. They also criticized governmental officials, including PM Nuri Al-Maliki, for the difficult conditions of refugees in Hilla.
The Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq issued a press statement condemning the attack against the worshippers of the Hudhayfa bin Al-Yeman mosque in the Risala district, south of Baghdad, Tuesday afternoon. Six old men were killed in a drive-by shooting as they were leaving the mosque after prayers. The association accused “sectarian militias” of carrying out the attack. The association also issued a press statement accusing “terrorist militias of a well-known political movement” of blowing up the Dhakireen mosque in the Asriya village near Iskenderiya, south of Baghdad, during the nighttime curfew.
SCIRI's Buratha News Agency reports on a meeting between MP Sheikh Jalal Al-Din Al-Sagheer and Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani in Najaf. Sistani said that he regards the pilgrimage season to Karbala with millions of Shi'ite pilgrims from all over the country as a “triumphant victory.” Sistani also said that it is important to stand ground in Baghdad despite all the hardships they are going through, adding that their patience will pay in the end.
The agency's correspondent in the Karrada district of Baghdad reported that the heavy artillery bombardment of the Sunni-majority Arab Jubour and Al-Bu Aitha rural suburbs south of Baghdad by Iraqi security forces has resumed.