From the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI)
This document is provided as a service by UNAMI. The material is drawn from non-UN sources and does not reflect the opinions of the United Nations, nor can the UN vouch for its accuracy
Monday, May 16, 2005
HEADLINES, Click to follow link
Iraqi Al-Sharqiyah TV said that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would urge the new Iraqi cabinet to reach out to Sunni Arabs. Quoting "informed sources", it said she had called Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari and Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Chalabi and urged them to broaden the circle of constitution drafters.
Rice met President Jalal Talabani in Baghdad to discuss a political alternative to military means in solving violence as well as means of developing the political process.
Rice voiced "absolute support" for Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Ja'fari at a news conference with him. "We admire the way in which he is running the country," she said. They discussed the need to boost the capabilities of the armed forces and ensure that all shades of the political spectrum take part in the political process. Al-Ja'fari acknowledged that Sunni Arabs are underrepresented on constitution-drafting committee and pledged to resolve this. (Al-Sharqiyah, Baghdad , in Arabic 15 May 05)
Rice in Iraq to discuss constitution - Iraqi TV
Speaking to reporters who accompanied her on the visit, Rice said she wanted to discuss ways of moving forward the political process to quell the insurgency, Iraqi Al-Sharqiyah TV reported. She said the way to defeat the insurgency was not just militarily but by offering a strong political alternative. Rice also indicated concern about the level of Sunni participation in a committee to draft a new constitution. She said it was important that all Iraqis believed their interests would be represented. (Al-Sharqiyah, Baghdad , in Arabic 15 May 05)
The Ansar al-Sunnah Army in Iraq posted the video clip of the killing of four foreign contractors and 12 bodyguards and escorts on the Al-Firdaws Forum website. The Japanese news agency Kyodo had earlier reported the incident, in which a Japanese national was captured. The video shows footage of dead bodies and torched vehicles, with masked gunmen pulling the bodies from a pickup lorry with the caption "The Agents of the Crusaders". One of the gunmen is then shown opening machine-gun fire at three bodies. The video ends with the following text on the screen: "Do not forget the mujahidin in your prayers." (Al-Firdaws Forum 15 May 05)
Saudi clerics welcome meeting with Iraqi Shi'is
A number of Saudi clerics have repeated their condemnation of terrorist operations that target Iraqis and welcomed exchanging visits with religious leaders in Iraq to "deny terrorists a chance to sow sectarian strife among Iraqis". Shaykh Abd-al-Muhsin al-Ubaykan, adviser to the Saudi Justice Ministry and member of the Shura consultative Council, and other Saudi clerics expressed willingness to travel to Iraq and meet Iraqi Shi'i scholars to build dialogue. Shaykh Hasan al-Saffar said Islamic leaders must stand up against attempts to sow sectarian strife. (Al-Sharq al-Awsat web site, daily, in Arabic 15 May 05)
Four hundred Iraqis have been killed, and hundreds of others wounded as a result of some 70 explosions since the new Iraqi government was installed, Al-Sharqiyah TV reported on 15 May. Layth Kubbah, the official spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Ja'fari, speaking at a news conference in Baghdad, blamed an upsurge in violence on disgruntled Saddam loyalists intent on "planting terror and desperation and demonstrating the government's inability to govern the country and protect the citizens" and foreign fighters who wanted to "hinder the departure of the foreign forces from Iraq and make it a permanent stage for violence". (Al-Sharqiyah, Baghdad , in Arabic 15 May 05)
According to Reuters, Kubbah told a news conference although the exact number of insurgents was hard to determine, their popular support had been greatly reduced. He said that the government anti-insurgency centre had received 20 times more tip-offs than in March. (Reuters)
Iraqi police have discovered a number of unidentified bodies at three different locations in Iraq , Al-Sharqiyah TV reported on 15 May. A source in the Iraqi Interior Ministry said 13 bodies were found at a refuse dump in Baghdad 's eastern districts of Kasra and Atash [ Al-Sadr City ] on the morning of 15th. The bodies of 11 Iraqis, believed to be shot dead, were discovered in Al-Iskandariyah, south of Baghdad . The bodies of 10 Iraqi soldiers killed by insurgents were uncovered in the western city of Al-Ramadi on 14th, believed to be killed two days previously. (Al-Sharqiyah, Baghdad , in Arabic 1008 gmt 15 May 05)
AFP quoted medical and security sources saying that most of the 13 bodies discovered in Al-Sadr City "were killed by bullets, some were beheaded and others were carrying traces of torture or were stripped naked". It added that the corpses found in Al-Ramadi were those of Iraqi soldiers killed on 11th, "all with their throats cut". (AFP)
Several hundred people have demonstrated in Karbala , protesting against alleged "insults" to senior Shi'i cleric, Grand Ayatollah Al-Sayyid Ali al-Sistani, during a song and dance festival broadcast by Kuwaiti TV on 12 May, Al-Sharqiyah TV reported. According to the TV, Al-Sistani's photograph was displayed in the background at the stage where a local artist performed dance songs. The demonstrators, led by scholars from a number of Shi'i seminaries, carried placards calling for severing relations with Kuwait and demanding a Kuwaiti apology for insulting al-Sistani. Students at Al-Najaf seminary issued a statement on 14th, condemning the action, as "an insult to a religious authority which concerns not only Iraqis, but all Shi'is in the world". (Al-Sharqiyah, Baghdad , in Arabic 15 May 05)
Kurdish leader Mas'ud Barzani on 15 May welcomed US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's visit to Arbil, Kurdish TV reported. Speaking at a news conference after the meeting, he said the visit showed US commitment to democracy in Iraq . "We look at it as the America 's reaffirmation to the Iraqi people, in general, and the people of Kurdistan , in particular, that it will support the democratic process, and will support the establishment of a democratic and federal Iraq ". Speaking about the role of the Kurds in the new Iraq , Barzani said: "Undoubtedly, the Kurdish role is fundamental in the building of a federal and democratic Iraq . The visit by her honourable Condoleezza Rice is an evidence that the role of the Kurds is significance in the building of federal and democratic Iraq ". For her part, Rice said she was in Arbil to consult Kurdish people on the future of Iraq . "We have a wonderful friendship, and a history of friendship, between the Kurdish people and the American people, and now we have an opportunity to use that friendship to help to bring about a democratic and unified and federal Iraq ," she said. She added that the two sides had agreed that "the future now is to have a constitutional process, that is inclusive so that Iraq can take the next step toward a democratic and federal Iraq ". (Kurdistan Satellite TV, Salah-al-Din, in Sorani Kurdish 15 May 05)
IRAQI PRESS HEADLINES, 15 May 05
Al-Bayan [ Baghdad , general political daily newspaper published by the Islamic Al-Da'wah Party]:
- Parliamentary committee tasked with promulgating constitution holds first meeting today (Agencies quoted)
- Blast at gate of Industry Ministry in central Baghdad , perpetrators of New Baghdad atrocity arrested by Wolf Brigade
- Saddam's secretary ready to divulge master's secrets, chemical Ali ailing, Barzan restless
- New checks adopted to regulate in-coming, out-going transfers of gold, foreign currencies
- Al-Zarqawi cornered, nine US troops, 100 gunmen killed in operations at Al-Qa'im (Agencies quoted).
Al-Siyadah [ Baghdad , daily newspaper]:
- We will see to it that a quick solution is found for the problem of the disbanded former Information Ministry staff, says minister of culture in interview with Al-Siyadah In expression of solidarity, Karbala citizens march to Al-Fallujah (INA quoted)
- Defence Ministry sets controls regulating procedures during raids, house searches Former military personnel to get official ownership documents for plots of land [allotted to them by former regime]
- New boost to pensions to be effective as of next month Finance Ministry issues new directives on payment of allocations married couples and parents are entitled to Car bomb explodes in Al-Nidhal Street .
Al-Mu'tamar [ Baghdad , comprehensive daily newspaper published by the Iraqi National Congress]:
- Al-Ja'fari cabinet faces mountain of problems Ma'sum, Hammudi most prominent candidates for head of committee tasked with drafting constitution
- Arrest warrants issued against labour, transport ministers in Allawi's government
- Iraqi Navy conducting naval exercise (KUNA quoted)
- Association of Muslim Scholars warns against persisting in the practice of detaining women as hostages (Reuters quoted)
- Babil Police Academy turns out first batch of graduates
- Health Ministry blames illegal trade in medicines on total lack of border control.
Al-Zaman [ Baghdad edition of London-based independent daily newspaper]:
- Al-Rummanah Bridge destroyed by bombing on seventh day of Al-Jazeerah operation, medics warn of impending disaster, gunmen release Al-Mahallawi (DPA quoted)
- Toppled president starts writing memoirs, accuses France , Britain of betrayal
- Two sites used as arms caches uncovered near Samarra
- Member of the National Union of Kurdistan assassinated in Hawijah, nine suspects apprehended by police, multinational force in Kirkuk
- Car bomb detonated in Mosul , another in Baghdad , roadside bomb kills municipality workers in Dawrah
- Three pan-Arab nationalist parties move to formulate draft of principles to be incorporated in new constitution
- Al-Najaf seminary students demand Kuwait satellite TV channel apologize to Al-Sistani [for airing scenes of party with Sistani's photo shown in background].
Al-Adalah [ Baghdad , general political daily newspaper published by the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq ]:
- Military operations continue in Al-Qa'im, aiming to wipe out terrorists, population starts exodus to safe locations, as Syria troops reinforce presence along border (AFP quoted)
- Dr Adil Abd-al-Mahdi visits Mr Mas'ud al-Barzani, both officials underscoring support for political process conducive to ripening democratic experiment in new Iraq
- Anti-corruption measures activated by new government (AFP quoted)
- Representatives of minor parties in Iraqi Kurdistan warn of further delay in holding inaugural session of regional parliament (AFP quoted)
- [National Security Adviser, Abd-al-Karim] al-Inizi hails Arab tribes fighting against terrorist in Al-Qa'im,
- [former Anbar governor, National Solidarity Council secretary-general, Fassal] al-Ig'ud confirming Sunni Arabs support for Al-Ja'fari government in fight against terrorism (Agencies quoted).
"This same Jordan, having funded its modern national construction by taxing everything and everyone moving in or out across its mutual border with us, is now repaying us by contributing a lion's share in the grisly terror atrocities being committed on our soil, sending us packs of dirty killers masquerading as holy warriors."
"The close cooperation now developing between the Iraqi public and the security forces provides the one truly effective noose now tightening around the neck of terror groups and the truly invincible sword with which their blood-stained hands will soon be cut off. This explains why these groups, seeing that they can no longer hope to block the political process now under way, have begun to target civilians so savagely and so randomly in their latest wave of suicide attacks."
"The worst thing to happen under these extremely tense circumstances is for some revenge-motivated fanatics to be drawn into irresponsible acts that can only lead to further loss of innocent lives in Iraqi Indeed, the situation has become so dangerous that a growing number of Iraqi families, both Sunni and Shi'i, are already fleeing the country, seeking safety away from home."
IRAQI BROADCAST MEDIA HEADLINES, 15 May 05
- Starting a visit to Iraq today, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stresses ending armed operations should not necessarily take place through military option, but perhaps through political option; arrives in Arbil to head to the Salah-al-Din resort to meet Kurdish leader Mas'ud Barzani; Stills of Rice, Barzani, Ahmad Al-Chalabi, Hushyar Zibari
- Unidentified gunman assassinate today representative of Shi'i cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, and one of his escorts in eastern Baghdad
- Hundreds of citizens in Karbala , southwest of Baghdad , demonstrate in protest at offending prominent Iraqi Shi'i cleric Ayatollah Ali Sistani at a concert on the Kuwaiti TV, calls for severing relations with Kuwait
- Four hundred Iraqis killed, and hundreds wounded as a result of 70 booby-trapped car and bomb explosions since the new Iraqi government assumed power two weeks ago, says Layth Kubbah, official spokesman for Iraqi prime minister in a news conference in Baghdad today
- Six people killed, 37 wounded, including police elements and civilians, in two suicide car bombs in Ba'qubah, northeast of Baghdad . Diyala governor survives suicide bombing in central Ba'qubah; Video shows police elements near destroyed cars, escorting injured elements, ambulance
- Iraqi Interior Ministry says three soldiers killed in an attack on military convoy yesterday in Al-Amiriyah district
- Gunmen release Al-Anbar Governor Raja Nawwaf late last night after abducting him last week
- US Army says military operation in Al-Qa'im resulted in killing 125 gunmen, arresting 93; Video shows scenes of military operation in Al-Qa'im
- Iraqi national movement issues statement denouncing US military operations in Al-Qa'im border town and nearby areas and towns
- Iraqi Education Ministry denies reports about postponement of exams for intermediate and preparatory stages
- Iraqi forces find bodes of 10 Iraqi soldiers killed by gunmen in Al-Ramadi, western Iraq; Iraqi police finds today 11 bodies of civilians shot dead in an agricultural area near Al-Iskandariyah town, south of Baghdad; Map of Iraq
- Iraqi democratic trend holds seminar attended by representatives of various political parties and movements to discuss possible way of writing the permanent Iraqi constitution. Report over video showing seminar in progress, interviews with participants
- Two Iraqis killed, 11 wounded, including seven soldiers, in separate attacks north of Baghdad
- Unidentified gunmen assassinate assistant security chief in the Iraqi Ministry of Industry and Minerals, his driver today in al-Ghazaliyah in western Baghdad; senior official in foreign ministry assassinated
- Joint US-Iraqi force arrests today seven civilians belonging to one family at dawn today in Al-Amin district in eastern Baghdad
- Mufti of Australia says abductors of Australian hostage plan to set new conditions to be received within one or two days for releasing him
- Senior international official calls international community, Iraqi government to take urgent, tougher measures to prevent Iraqi turning into key link for drugs and gunmen.
- Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
- discuss security. Video report covers talks. (0:23)
- Rice says US troops to withdraw when Iraqi force is capable of taking over security. Video report covers talks between Rice and Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Ja'fari, joint presser.
- Cabinet spokesman Laith Qubah accuses foreign groups coming from across the border of fuelling violence in Iraq . Video report covers his comments at presser, calls security raid in Al-Qa'im success. Qubah says weapons, explosives seized in Al-Qa'im. Video report
- Parliamentary committee for writing of constitution to name its chairman. Video report
- Studio interview with Abd-al-Halim al-Rihimi, a media expert. He speaks about Rice surprise visit saying it signals a strong American support for the new cabinet. ( 3:40 )
- Ministry of Defence celebrates opening of infantry regiment headquarters. Video report covers comments by Iraqi commander, opening ceremony. ( 1:53 )
- Five killed, 24 injured in separate bombings in Ba'qubah. Video report covers violence.
- Terror suspect killed while trying to carry out bombing in Kirkuk .
- Iraqis demand harshest punishment for terrorists. Video report
- Christians mark religious event. Video report ( 2:23 )
- Muslim clerics call for national unity in forum held in Hanaqin. Video report
- Karbala dignitaries discuss development in province. Video report highlights discussion, federalism as suitable political system for the country. ( 2:30 )
- Middle East peace hinges on rise of Palestinian state--Palestinian President. (0:24)
- Tehran firm on resuming nuclear programme--official. (0:36)
- Report on Cannes film festival. Video report ( 1:25 )
- Business bulletin. Report on grievances caused by delayed delivery of rationed food items. US to give Iraqi businessmen more opportunities in reconstruction contracts--American military official. Japan to build power station. Report on rising prices of imported used earth-moving vehicles.
UPDATES FROM THE KURDISH PERSS, 15 May 2005
Peyamner News Agency – Kurdistan
- The US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice left Kurdistan after a short sudden visit. Coming directly from Qatar without passing through Baghdad , Rice landed in Erbil International Airport from a military jet of C17 type before she climbed in a military helicopter and traveling further north to Salahuddin town, where KDP leader Massoud Barzani and KRG-Erbil Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani received her warmly. After a one-hour meeting, Rice and the KDP leader had a joint press conference. She told the press she came to consult with Barzani, whom she described as a “wise leader.” Answering a question by the press, Rice said that her country would consider important projects for Kurdistan economic development. Reiterating the US full support to Kurdistan ’s political and economic measures, Rice underlined the Kurdish-US “historical friendship” adding that it was time to invest that friendship for the establishment of a federal democratic Iraq . “I know the Kurds have sacrificed a lot under the former regime. It is time for you to have a great future,” Rice further said about the Kurds. She also said that the US was concerned that the Iraqi constitution process should be inclusive “to guarantee right movements towards a federal democratic Iraq .” In the same press encounter, Barzani appreciated the US official’s visit and said it indicated the US commitment to support the establishment of a federal democratic Iraq .
- The Syrian security forces in western Kurdistan [eastern parts of Syria ] have been applying strict measures and body searching the local people as a prelude for stationing the Syrian troops pulled out from Lebanon . Kurdish eyewitnesses say that Syria has decided to station in the entire western Kurdistan , particularly in Jazeera area, the pulled troops and the government is setting up a huge camp in Qamishlu for that purpose. Western Kurdistan was the scene of a comprehensive uprising that confused the Syrian authorities in the area last year.
- Hunar Salim, director of the first Kurdish film participating in the Cannes Festival said the Arabs wanted his to lie and call his production an Arabic one. The Arabs are upset for Salim’s film ‘Zero Kilometer’ that depicted the “brutality of the Arab culture” and how the Kurds were forced to fight under Saddam’s Arabism flag. The Kurds, however, believe that what Salim showed was only a small portion of reality. Recalling that the credits of the film referred to a joint France-Kurdistan production, Salim says that some papers wrote that the film was made in Kurdistan and some others wrote Iraqi Kurdistan. “The identity of my work has nothing to do with Iraq definitely,” the Kurdish filmmaker said adding, “The Arabs tried with me so much to convince me to attribute the film to Iraq , but I can not lie to the world. It is a Kurdistani film not an Iraqi one.”
- Iraqi president Jalal Talabani arrived home in Baghdad after a successful visit to Brazil , where he represented Iraq in the Arab-Latin summit.
- Iraqi trade minister Abdulbasit Mawloud described the Brazil visit of the Iraqi delegation headed by President Talabani as successful. In a statement to Sawa Radio, Mawloud said that Brazil expressed commitment to assist Iraq in all commercial aspects.
- The Chinese Communist Party delegation concluded its visit to Kurdistan on Friday.
- The KDP and PUK will settle their differences by next week and Kurdistan Parliament will convene then, PUK politburo executive Chief Kosrat Rassoul Ali said in an inclusive interview with the paper.
- Tens of people were hospitalized in Kalar due to water contamination.
- Rebwar Arif refuses to be released on bail. Arif, whose given name is Bahaadin, says he has not committed any crime and his arrest was illegal. The security forces in Sulaymanya arrested him because he gave a speech at a crowd of demonstrating students in front of the KRG-Sulaymanya Council of Ministers on 4 May 2005 . A security source commented that Arif was not a student and had nothing to do with that demonstration. “Whoever gives speeches without license or agitate people will be dealt with according to the laws,” the source added.
- The margin for expressing disagreement [with government’s official line] is being narrowed in Sulaymanya. Expression of dissatisfaction is becoming a phenomenon in Kurdistan , particularly in Sulaymanya. Different sects and classes of people stage demonstrations on a semi-daily basis and voice out their demands from the government. These demonstrations were the main issue on the agenda of the last KRG-Sulaymanya cabinet meeting. Different explanations were considered at the meeting, including one that said that the demonstrators were “pushed by people from outside Sulaymanya.” To halt the momentum of the movement, the cabinet members reached a conclusion that the ministries needed to “verbally” warn its departments, and through them the employees, to distance themselves from such acts of dissatisfaction expression or get ready to face the consequences.
NB: This is not an official document. The information contained therein was compiled by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, Information Office. If you have any questions/suggestions, please contact us at (+ 962 550 -4631/4632 or Cell. + 962 77 619 731 email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
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