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
Thursday, May 19, 2005
HEADLINES, Click to follow link
Iraqi Prime Minister Dr Ibrahim al-Ja'fari reiterated on 18 May the US commitment to supporting the Iraqi political process without exercising pressure on the government or the writing of the Constitution. In a joint news conference with visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi, Al-Ja'fari said his recent meeting with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was positive and fruitful with respect to supporting the political process in Iraq .
"I have met with Rice in my office when she visited me," Al-Ja'fari said in comments carried by Iraqi Al-Sharqiyah TV. "We addressed several issues. Rice has appreciated the new experience of the Iraqi government, which engaged all segments of the Iraqi people... Furthermore, she did not interfere in or object to issues related to the committee [tasked with drafting the constitution]. The atmosphere of dialogue was positive. She gave a good image of the US administration and the United States . There was no interference in or objection to the issues related to drafting the constitution." (Al-Sharqiyah, Baghdad , in Arabic 18 May 05)
Iraqi Defence Minister Sa'dun al-Dulaymi today stressed that the multinational forces in Iraq will operate in the next few months as support units for the Iraqi forces.
Speaking to correspondents in Baghdad , Al-Dulaymi said that in the next few weeks and months the friendly forces will only operate as support units. He stressed that the Iraqi forces will be able to reduce the infiltration into Iraq of those whom he called terrorists, and that these forces will also be able to pursue and defeat them wherever they are.
Al-Dulaymi added that Iran will do its best to achieve the stability of Iraq because the security of Iraq is part of the security in Iran , as he put it. He also called on the neighbouring countries to contribute to the stability of Iraq , which reflects on regional stability. (Text of report by Iraqi Al-Sharqiyah TV on 18 May)
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari praised on 17 May his visiting Iranian counterpart Kamal Kharrazi's "brave initiative to pay this visit". At a news conference at the Iraqi Foreign Ministry in Baghdad , relayed by Iraqi Al-Diyar TV, Zebari said the Iranian foreign minister's presence testified to the fact that "the new Iraq , after Saddam, is a peaceful Iraq , forgiving of itself and its neighbours." Zebari said the two countries had to "turn over the painful page of the past in our relations, and endeavour to build the best of relations between us in all fields, based on clear principles of honest cooperation and mutual respect without interference in each other's internal affairs." Zebari called on "our brothers in the Islamic Republic and the neighbouring Arab and Islamic countries to help us overcome this stage, understand our situation, and help us combat terrorism, control the border, prevent infiltrations, and avoid all that is aimed at harming our bilateral relations."
Kharrazi, in response, said his visit sought to emphasize Tehran 's support for the government and people of Iraq . "We deem it our duty to fully support this government," Kharrazi said. "Our support for the government and the Iraqi people should not be considered interference in the internal affairs of Iraq ... The Islamic Republic of Iran is fully prepared to cooperate in all security, economic, and other fields of joint interest."
After their opening remarks, the two ministers fielded questions from reporters in which Zebari said there was no proposal to sign a formal peace treaty during this visit. Kharrazi replied: "The stage of war and its repercussions date back to the era of Saddam Husayn. Today there is no Saddam at the helm of power. Therefore, peace, amity and brotherhood prevail between us. You saw the effects of this amity after the fall of Saddam and you will see it more in the future."
Asked to comment on an Arab press report today that Prime Minister al-Ja'fari had turned down a US request to postpone Saddam's trial, Zebari replied: "I have not heard of this press report. The trial of Saddam is certainly an Iraqi issue that concerns the Iraqi people. This is an issue the Iraqi people will decide. The Iraqi judiciary is the side that will determine this. The elected Iraqi government is the side that has the right to conduct this trial. I think the trial should be held as soon as possible."
Asked about pending issues such as debts from the Iraq-Iran war, Iraqi planes held in Iran , and the arrest of a number of Iranians for carrying out armed operations in Iraq , Kharrazi replied: "Past issues remain between Iran and Iraq but this is not the right time to talk about these issues. The path of cooperation and amity we opened will open the door wide for cooperation between the two countries." Kharrazi said there was "no concrete evidence" to support the "totally baseless" claims that Iranians had been arrested.
Asked about practical steps Iran has taken in the past two years to make its border with Iraq more secure, Zebari said: "We do not deny that infiltration occurs but we cannot say that these operations take place with the approval of the government." He said Baghdad believed Tehran would "extend all forms of support and assistance to the Iraqi government, especially since the continuation of instability and chaos are not in the interest of any neighbouring country." He said the joint ministerial committee would be reactivated to address economic and security issues, and cooperation in the field of visiting holy shrines and borders. The Iranian foreign minister said Tehran had "exerted maximum efforts to monitor the border between the two countries. As a result, many were arrested for trying to smuggle weapons. We believe that security on the border with Iraq is security for the Islamic Republic of Iran" and the best way to achieve murtual security lay in forming a joint security committee. (Al-Diyar TV, Baghdad , in Arabic 17 May 05)
Former Iraqi prime minister Iyad Allawi called on Syria to do more to maintain security on the Iraqi-Syrian borders and help achieve security inside Iraq , Al-Sharqiyah TV reported on 18 May. Allawi, who arrived in Damascus on 17 May, acknowledged Syria 's actions in protecting their borders with Iraq , and called on the countries of the region to work collectively to bring about security, freedom and dignity for the peoples of the region. He said he was confident that the Syrian and Iraqi governments could work together to deal with crises and end armed operations. (Al-Sharqiyah TV, Baghdad , in Arabic 18 May 05)
Minister of Defence Sa'dun al-Dulaymi met British Secretary of State for Defence John Reid in Baghdad on 17 May, Al-Iraqiyah TV reported very briefly. They discussed ways to develop bilateral relations in the military field. (Al-Iraqiyah TV, Baghdad , in Arabic 17 May 05)
Sa'di Barzinji, acting head of the Kurdistani bloc in the Iraqi parliament and member of the commission for drawing up the Iraqi constitution, told Kurdistan Satellite TV in an interview on 17 May that the commission had to "stay resolved to have the chairman of the commission from the Kurdistani List, namely Dr Fu'ad Ma'sum", and the Kurdistani List was "even ready to split from the commission over the chairmanship of the commission". Commenting on US Secretary of State Rice's visit, Barzinji said her message was clear: "She reminded Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Ja'fari several times that Iraq must be rebuilt within a federal and democratic framework, she stressed that several times during her news conferences". Barzinji continued that in his opinion, the US would not allow a theocratic state to become established in Iraq . Asked about relations between Shi'is, Sunnis and Kurds, Barzinji said that he regretted that there was currently an underground sectarian conflict simmering between the Sunnis and Shi'is. He said the Kurds, as long as they were committed to stay in a federal and democratic Iraq , should act to keep the balance between them, but "not at the Kurds' own expense".
Going on to comment about the omission of the reference to a federal Iraq in the constitutional oath, he said Kurds feared that if the Shi'i list were allowed to alter the law by omitting the phrase " federal and democratic Iraq", they could also get away with altering the interim law in other ways, and in the political context in which it occurred, the omission did not portray good intentions. "This was not an absent-minded move," Barzinjni said. "It was made by a prominent figure; I do not want to mention any names here." The programme went on to a phone-in, in which almost all the callers were critical of the two major parties in Kurdistan, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), for their disagreement over the powers of the president of the Kurdistan region, which, in turn, had delayed the inaugural session of the elected Kurdistan National Assembly. (Kurdistan Satellite TV, Salah-al-Din, in Sorani Kurdish 17 May 05)
Defence Minister Sa'dun al-Dulaymi stressed the multinational forces in Iraq would operate in the next few months as support units for the Iraqi forces, Iraqi Al-Sharqiyah TV reported earlier. According to the TV report, Al-Dulaymi told correspondents in Baghdad the Iraqi forces would reduce the infiltration into Iraq of "terrorists" and that these forces would also pursue and defeat them wherever they were. Al-Dulaymi said Iran would do its best to help achieve Iraq 's stability because the security of Iraq was part of Iran 's security. He also called on the neighbouring countries to contribute to Iraq 's stability, which impacted on regional stability. (Al-Sharqiyah, Baghdad , in Arabic 18 May 05)
An audiotape on the Internet attributed to Abu-Mus'ab al-Zarqawi said on 18 May anti-US attacks in Iraq that also kill Muslim civilians do not violate Islamic law. The Ana al-Muslim forum and The Fortress website carried several links to the new audio message allegedly by Al-Zarqawi, leader of the Al-Qa'idah of Jihad Organization in the Land of Two Rivers, posted by "Abu-Muhammad al-Khuthayri", BBC Monitoring observed.
In the one-hour 14-minute message, directed to the "infidel rejectionists [derogatory term for Shia]," Al-Zarqawi justified the killing of innocent Iraqis, including women and children, in suicide attacks by the insurgents. Al-Zarqawi claimed that if the insurgents avoided harming innocents completely they would not be able to conduct jihad and liberate the country. The message was theological in nature and Al-Zarqawi used Koranic verses and the sayings of several known Muslim scholars to support his arguments.
Al-Zarqawi condemned the Shi'i and the possibility that they will be able to control all Iraq . He said: "The hateful rejectionists try by all means to show their concern for Iraqi blood to smear the picture of the mujahidin and show them to the world as blood suckers." Then he went on to list a number of suicide attacks by the Shi'i from the early 1980s. He concluded by questioning the logic of listening to Westerners telling Muslims how they should behave and reiterated that Muslims know best their religion and its teachings and should only follow them.
On 18 May, "ossama," a prolific contributor to Al-Hikmah forum (www.hkmah.net), posted a statement issued by Abu-Mus'ab al-Zarqawi's Al-Qa'idah of Jihad Organization in the Land of Two Rivers (Tanzim Qa'idat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn) in which the group claimed responsibility for clashes with US and Iraqi forces in Mosul the same day.
"Abu-Abd-al-Rahman" posted to Al-Hikmah forum a statement by Al-Zarqawi's Al-Qa'idah of Jihad Organization in the Land of Two Rivers on 18 May in which the group claimed responsibility for the assassination of three Iraqi National Guards in the Al-Sa'diyah District in Jalula. The statement was attributed to "Abu-Maysarah al-Iraqi" and the Media Division of the Al-Qa'idah [of Jihad] Organization in the Land of the Two Rivers.
"Abu-Abd-al-Rahman" posted to Al-Hikmah forum a statement by Al-Zarqawi's Al-Qa'idah of Jihad Organization in the Land of Two Rivers in which the group claimed responsibility for the assassination of Iraqi police colonel Ibrahim Khamas in Al-Walid District. The statement was attributed to "Abu-Maysarah al-Iraqi" and the Media Division of the Al-Qa'idah [of Jihad] Organization in the Land of the Two Rivers.
Iraqi Al-Sharqiyah TV said US troops stormed the fire brigade headquarters in Samarra , northwest of Baghdad , and arrested six policemen on 18 May. US troops also stormed the house of Samarra District Officer Maj Mahmud Khalaf Ahmad and confiscated his personal computer, the TV added. (Al-Sharqiyah, Baghdad , in Arabic 18 May 05)
Basra Net, a website that posts news of the Iraqi resistance, operations, and Ba'th Party statements (www.albasrah.net) posted on 18 May the "Harvest of Resistance" report issued by "The Iraqi National Resistance" for 8-14 May. The report listed alleged losses by Coalition forces, amounting to 614 killed, 803 injured, four helicopters - three of them in Al-Qa'im - five unmanned drone planes, 29 armoured vehicles, six strategic oil pipelines and 54 assorted vehicles.
IRAQI PRESS HEADLINES, 18 May 05
Al-Adalah [Baghdad, twice-weekly newspaper in Arabic published by the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI)]:
- Presidential council discusses new security plan with PM
- [Hoshyar] Zebari: We discussed with Iranian FM common security files, economic cooperation, issue of POWs, MIAs
- Electoral commission ready to hold referendum on constitution (news agencies quoted) ... President confirms constitution independency
- [Ahmad] al-Chalabi demands new civilian trial (AFP quoted)
- Government to issue new package of laws against collaborators with terrorists (AFP quoted)
- Defence minister receives his UK counterpart (AFP quoted)
- Iraqi government confirms capture of 75 members of Al-Zarqawi group (CNN quoted) ... Condoleezza Rice reports "encouraging" talks with Iraqi leaders (AFP quoted) ... Second mass grave found in Al-Shannafiyah in two weeks
- Slaughterer of 16 policemen, one Iraqi soldier caught
- Senior Kuwaiti information official emphasises his country's deep appreciation of Sayyid Ali al-Sistani (KUNA quoted)
- SCIRI leader receives US ambassador
- Kazakhstan may withdraw Iraq troops (Reuters quoted)
- US State Department spokesman: Saudis cooperating in stopping terrorist infiltrations into Iraq (KUNA quoted)
- Denmark : Coalition pullout from Iraq does not serve situation (AFP quoted)
- Senior anti-corruption official murdered in Baghdad (AFP quoted)
- US troops to stay in Iraq as long as Iraqi government wants (AFP quoted)
- Civilians martyred in series of terror acts throughout Iraq ; Different gangs in criminal intelligence hands; 20 terrorists captured; Explosive devices defused (news agencies quoted)
- Al-Nu'man Hospital director murdered in Baghdad
- Jawad al-Maliki, senior member of PM al-Ja;fari's Dawa Party, says government programme provides safety valve for Sunni Arabs; Constitution never to be at the expense of anyone (news agencies quoted)
- New power station established to cover southern governorates (news agencies quoted) ...
Baghdad [Baghdad, daily newspaper in Arabic published by the Iraqi National Accord Movement]:
- Differences over chairmanship of constitution drafting committee (AFP quoted)
- Al-Ja'fari: Al-Sistani stresses need for Shi'i, Sunni fraternity (AFP quoted)
- Iranian foreign minister discusses future of relations with Iraq (AFP quoted)
- Police officer martyred, two others wounded in Kirkuk (AFP quoted)
- Father, his three sons killed by gunmen in Al-Mahawil (AFP quoted)
- Car-bombing expert in the hands of justice (AFP quoted)
- Thirty wounded in criminal attack on borders (AFP quoted)
- Nine arrested on suspicion of involvement in Iraqi journalists' death (AFP quoted)
- Saddam Husayn's lawyer raided (AFP quoted)
- Baghdad outskirts short of water ... Gunmen murder former Iraqi army official ...
Al-Bayan [Baghdad, daily newspaper in Arabic published by the Islamic Al-Da'wah Party]:
- PM Al-Ja'fari visits Al-Sistani
- Iranian FM Kharrazi meets president, PM on first-ever visit to Iraq
- [Planning Minister Barham] Salih: Our border with Syria is crossing point for terrorists (news agencies quoted)
- [Municipality Minister] Barwari warns of corruption as gravest danger threatening national interests
- Planning Ministry: Inflation rate rising by 2.3 per cent
- Names of key terrorists detained over past five months declared (news agencies quoted)
- Justice Ministry source: Terrorists to face death penalty..
- . Government sets up operations room to retaliate for terror attacks
- Justice Ministry preparing studies to improve court, prison conditions
Al-Dustur [Baghdad, daily independent newspaper in Arabic]:
- Zebari, Kharrazi confer in Baghdad on closing Iraq-Iran war file
- [Government spokesman Layth] Kubbah: We negotiate with whoever lays down arms, not with who carries them Talabani denies meeting Israeli official (news agencies quoted)
- Al-Maliki: De-Ba'thification exclusions covered 9,000 Ba'thists
- Assassins of [Sadrist] Martyr Bashir al-Jaza'iri captured
- Twenty bodies found in Iraq
- Rice accuses Syria of supporting terrorists in Iraq ; Damascus rejects Washington accusations
- Migration minister: Ministry to build residential compounds to house Iraqi families living in refugee camps
- Shi'i endowment office demands roles in writing Iraq constitution
- Interior Ministry: People largely cooperating to inform on crimes ...
Ishraqat al-Sadr [Baghdad, weekly newspaper in Arabic published by the Sadrist Movement]:
- In news conference, Muqtada al-Sadr calls on Sunnis, Shi'is for restraint, rejects military action against civilians
- [MP] Fattah al-Shaykh: Constitution incomplete unless Sunni brethren seriously involved
- US government, occupation troops offered no apology for insulting MP
- Al-Najaf local council discharges national guard officer of duties after opening fire on worshippers
- Anybody to support detainees at Camp Bucca prison?
- Will Al-Ja'fari's government surmount crises? ...
Al-Mada [Baghdad, daily, independent newspaper published by Al-Mada Media, Culture and Arts Corporation]:
- Kharrazi in Baghdad to discuss bilateral relations and economy, wrap up war file
- Three civilians wounded in roadside bomb blast; House used as weapons cache bombed in Mosul
- Karbala mourns two slain Al-Mada journalists
- Integrity commission official murderedin Al-Durah
- Twenty Iraqi prisoners to be released from Kuwaiti jails
- ICRC concerned over Iraqi civilians' ordeal
- Suspect arrested in Babil; Three explosive charges disarmed
- Two railway stations rehabilitated in Kirkuk
- Weapons, munitions seized in Al-Awjah on borders with Saudi Arabia , Kuwait
- Car bomb driven by woman detonated in Al-Za'faraniyah, another defused
- Gunmen open fire on police checkpoint in Kirkuk centre ...
Al-Mu'tamar [Baghdad, daily newspaper in Arabic published by the Iraqi National Congress]:
- Al-Ja'fari: Spate of killing aimed to ignite sectarian war
- Integrity commission cancels all ministerial orders issued after 15 February 2005
- [Electoral] commission rejects referendum delay; Government hints at possible six-month extension for writing constitution
- Al-Chalabi rebuffs Jordanian royal pardon, demands new trial (Reuters quoted)
- Interior minister turns down proposal to form commando regiment in Babil
Al-Sharq al-Awsat [Baghdad edition of London-based daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat, Saudi-owned]:
- Assassination wave hits Iraq , targets clerics, officials; Al-Zarqawi warns Sunnis against participation in constitution
- Iraq , Iraq express determination to close bloody past chapter; Zebari praises Kharrazi's courage for Baghdad visit
- Shi'i-Kurdish differences over presidency of constitution committee (AFP quoted)
- UK pledges to keep troops until Baghdad requests their departure; Denmark warns of civil war after early withdrawal (AFP quoted)
- Baghdad : New laws to penalize terrorism collaborators
- Basra university professors stage sit-in to demand better living standards
- Federal constitutional court sworn in before Talabani ...
Al-Zaman [daily, independent, Baghdad edition of London-based Al-Zaman]:
- Higher Education Ministry confirms 72 university professors quitted job because of threats
- [Integrity commission chief] Al-Radi: All government employees subject to liquidation ... US forces detain municipal council member in Jalawla
- Al-Zarqawi threatens those involved in writing Iraq constitution
- Palestinian school principal killed against background of Baghdad al-Jadidah bombing; Baghdad Palestinians demand protection against threats
- Court martial convicts US soldiers on six counts over Abu Ghrayb scandal
- Twenty-one suspects arrested in Mosul ; Weapons cache discovered near Balad
- Rice stresses Kurds' right to federalism within united Iraq
- Gunmen kill four Iraqi soldiers in attack on Al-Msayyab power station
- Karbala police: Wanted man captured; Maps of government buildings found in his possession
- Police forces arrest 156 suspects in Al-Nasiriyah
- Talabani: We support independent judiciary establishing rule of law
- Cleric murderedin Al-Jihad Quarter [ Baghdad ]
- Thirty-two Iraqi prisoners released from Kuwaiti jails
- Moscow respond angrily to Congress charges; Galloway denies receiving drop of oil
- Three killed during curfew time in Al-Ramadi
- Army practices against civilians cause resentment ...
Al-Adalah [Baghdad, twice-weekly newspaper in Arabic published by the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI)] 18 May: [From commentary by Ali Khalif]
"The Iraqi political scene is moving with a quickening pace to complete the constitutional process successfully through laying solid foundations wide enough to absorb all the spectra of Iraqi society to get them involved in the writing of the constitution. Most parties seem to be trying to make this issue a reason for conflicting views and opinions, even though the vision is quite clear to all parties, whether those who took part in election or those who did not It is the Iraqi people who will draft the constitution through their representatives. It is they who will vote on it in a large referendum that will be a milestone in the life of Iraqis."
Al-Zaman [daily, independent, Baghdad edition of London-based Al-Zaman] 18 May: [From commentary by Layth al-Sanduq]
"It seems that some of the forces that have belatedly joined the political process are still putting spokes in the wheel of the new government, although the narrow tunnel through which the car is passing requires from all to cooperate, enjoy maximum flexibility and not to view the circumstantial hurdles and minor obstacles through a magnifying glass The homeland can no longer bear more bloodshed. It is the duty of all not to abandon it until the ambulance arrives, though very late. All should become doctors and nurses to heal its wounds and stop the bleeding I am not asking you to break your magnifying glasses, but rather to try the plan I have applied Put your glasses in your pockets until the homeland recovers and stands on its feet The new government has not descended from heaven. Those working with it are no saints or angels. Its ministers do not walk on clouds, nor do they keep halos in their pockets for time of need. It is just like any other government on the ground, with many shortcomings and defects However, will things be straightened up if we replace certainty with doubt and fight it [the government] even before giving it a chance?"
IRAQI BROADCAST MEDIA HEADLINES, 18 May 05
- Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Kharrazi says Tehran ready to help Iraq in all respects. Video report covers talks of Kharrazi with Vice-President Adil Abd-al-Mahdi, joint presser
- Minister of Defence Sa'dun al-Dulaymi says army committed to serving all Iraqis.
- Prime Minister Dr Ibrahim al-Ja'fari to visit Turkey .
- Four candidates compete to chair parliament committee for writing of constitution.
- Iraqis hail call of Shi'i marja Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani for participation of all Iraqis in writing of constitution.
- Forum held in University of Baghdad on Iraq in post-election era.
- Sports official killed in terror attack in Baghdad .
- Civilian killed in Mosul terror attack; 18 injured in attack in Ba'qubah.
- Al-Qa'idah operative Abu-Mus'ab al-Zarqawi has ordered surge in suicide bombings in Syria terrorists meeting--multinational force.
- Iraqis pay tribute to Izz al-Din Salim in Basra . Video report covers ceremony of anniversary of former President of Governing Council killed in terror act.
- British MP denies US accusation of involvement in oil-for-food programme. Video report covers US Congress hearing, George Galloway testimony.
- Iraqis denounce terrorism. Video report covers conference on terror.
- Forum in Basra on effects of wars.
- Australian hostage may be released--Australian radio
- Gaza settlers sign agreement on moving back to Israel --paper. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw calls for inquiry into riots in Uzbekistan . Video report
- . Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmad Nazif meets US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Washington .
- Japan extends mandate of its troops in Afghanistan
- Business bulletin. Cabinet sets up high council for energy. Project to build barriers on Shat-al-Arab rivers. Iraq share market report. Basra company offers life insurance policies.
- Headlines with video clips.
- . Iraqi police says that 14 policemen were wounded in an explosion of a booby-trapped car in city of Ba'quba . Video shows destroyed car.
- . Iraqi civilian killed and three others wounded today in an exchange of fire between Iraqi police and gunmen who attacked the Iraqi Police Academy in city of Mosul in northern Iraq . Map of Iraq .
- . US military helicopters bombard a number of buildings in Mosul yesterday. No video.
- . Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Ja'fari to start official visit to Turkey next Friday, 27 May. Still picture of Al-Ja'fari.
- . Al-Ja'fari stresses in a joint news conference with Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi in Baghdad today that the US have asserted adherence to support the political process in Iraq . Report on the news conference. Video shows Al-Ja'fari and Kharrazi speaking.
- . US President George Bush speaks with Iyad Allawi, the former Iraqi prime minister on the phone and stresses the need to hold Iraqi elections as scheduled before the end of this year. Still pictures of Bush and Allawi.
- . After arriving yesterday in Damascus , Allawi demands Syria to exert more efforts in guarding its borders with Iraq . Still pictures of Allawi and Syrian President Bashar al-Asad.
- . Iraqi intelligence officer and his wife killed today in an attack by gunmen in southern Baghdad , and gunmen also assassinate today a senior official of the Iraqi Interior Ministry in Baghdad . No video.
- . The Iraqi Olympic Committee says the director of the office of the Iraqi minister of youth and sports was killed today in Baghdad in an attack by gunmen. No video.
- . Suicide bomber attacks convoy of Iraqi police and US forces early today in an area near Baghdad . No video.
- . The Iraqi defence minister stresses that coalition forces in Iraq will turn into helping forces that only present support to Iraqi forces within the coming weeks. Still picture of the minister.
- . Report on the problem of ownership of buildings that was seized by the Iraqi state and sold to new owners. Video shows meeting in progress.
- . Iraqi police discover today corpses of seven Iraqis who used to work for a security company. Video shows corpses.
- . US forces arrest the head of the Iraqi civil defence department in city of Samara and five employees. No video.
- . George Galloway, the British MP tells the US Congress that the invasion of Iraq was based on lies. Video shows Galloway speaking.
- . 2002 The mufti of Muslims in Australia who is currently in Baghdad expresses hope that Douglas Wood, the Australian hostage kidnapped in Iraq , will be released within 24 hours. Video shows the mufti speaking.
- . Izz-al-Din Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas warns Israel that it will resume attacks if it does not stop its attacks on Palestinians. Video shows funeral.
- . China and the Palestinian National Authority sign five cooperation agreements during the visit of Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas to Beijing . Video shows meting in progress.
UPDATES FROM THE KURDISH PERSS, 18 May 2005
- On her way back home from the surprise visit to Iraq , US State Secretary Condoleezza Rice told reporters her country recognized the unique status of the Kurds “within a united Iraq .” She said she had successful meetings with Iraqi officials. (Xebat & Kurdistani Nwe dailies)
- The positions of Kirkuk governor and chairman of the governorate municipal council would be announced Thursday, current governor Abdulrahman Mustafa said in a press conference on Tuesday. (Xebat & Kurdistani Nwe dailies)
- Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari received in Baghdad his Iranian counterpart Kharrazi on Tuesday. President Talabani also received the Iranian Minister in the presence of Zebari and other Iraqi officials. The meetings focused on the need to bilateral relations and the role of Iran in preserving stability in Iraq . They also considered “opening a new chapter” in bilateral relations between the two countries after the 8-year war between them. (Xebat & Kurdistani Nwe dailies)
Aso, weekly newspaper issued in Kirkuk by Xandan Publishing House
- Talabani-Barzani summit for the settlement of the Kurdistan Region presidency deadlock is not on the agenda as reported by many newspapers, “at least for the coming 2-3 days,” sources close to KDP and PUK politburos disclosed.
- Whom did US State Secretary Rice support in her Iraq sudden visit – Barzani or Talabani? She visited Kurdistan and met with Barzani before moving to Baghdad and meet with Talabani for 90 minutes. In her press encounters, Rice did not blow the internal disputes of the [Kurdistani] political parties out of proportion. However, the sudden visit is certainly has to do with the settlement of the crisis over the authorities of Kurdistan Region president and the settlement that will surface after the visit will show if the US supports KDP, PUK or a solution in between.
- The Kurds and the Shiites disagree on presidency of constitution writing committee. The Shiites want Sistani to clear the draft of et permanent constitution before putting into a referendum but the majority of the transitional national assembly reject the Shiite demand and insist that only the parliament has the authority to clear he draft.
- KRG-Sulaymanya Interior Minister Osman Haji Mahmoud denied having prohibited demonstrations. “We have not issued any directive to prohibit staging demonstrations,” the minister said. “We only advised the people to distance themselves from massive gatherings in light of the prevailing security conditions,” he explained.
- Kurdistan Peshmarga Force needs to be organized on the basis of military science and enriched with Kurdish nationalism and patriotism to materialize the legitimate rights of Kurdistan people, KDP leader Massoud Barzani said during two separate meetings on Tuesday with chiefs and executive members of his party’s 9th and 10th organizational branches. Barzani reiterated that the Kurdish community must shift from the consumption status to productivity.
- The president and members of the supreme federal constitutional court were sworn in on Tuesday in front of President Jalal Talabani, who reiterated his commitment to support independence of the judiciary system in the country. The court is mandated to settle disputes between the federal government and the regions. In related news, Barzani received PM Jaafari and briefed him on his [Talabani’s] visit to Jordan , where he met with King Abdullah and other Jordanian senior officials, as well as his participation in the Arab-Latin summit in Brazil .
Peyamner – Kurdistan News Agency
- A number of Kurdistan National Assembly members met for the second time in less than a week to protest against the non-convening of the new parliament. Upon an invitation from Kurdistan Islamic Union (Yakgirtu), 17 MP’s from Ali Bapeer’s Kurdistan Islamic Group, Yakgirtu, Kurdistan Communist Party and other parties, as well as Turcomans, Assyrians and independent Kurds, met Tuesday evening at the Yakgirtu politburo members but MP’s affiliated to KDP and PUK did not join. The attendees warned that they would break into the parliament house and stage a sit-in if the two parties failed to settle their disputes and let the parliament convene by 25 of May.
- Barham Salih is the first Iraqi planning minister o say the truth. Commenting on his ministry’s living conditions survey that was conducted in cooperation with UNDP, Salih said in a press conference that the outcomes of the survey showed the bitter reality of Iraq that contradicts with the supposed situations in a rich country like Iraq . ,at the outset of the ceremonies held for the launch of the survey findings, Salih said that the international community was also responsible for the miserable conditions detailed in the survey results not only the toppled regime.
- Talabani will supervise the implementation of Article 58 of the Iraqi Transitional Administrative Law (TAL) in Kirkuk , an Italian newspaper wrote. Talabani will make a great success if he manages during his stay this month in Kirkuk in removing the constraints before reversing Arabization of Kirkuk and politically assuring the Chaldo-Assyrians, Turcomans and genuine Arabs. It will not be for possible to sustain the achievements gained in Kurdistan without reversing Arabization. The Arabized areas of Kurdistan constitute backbone of the region’s economy and have a security importance for federal Kurdistan . Those areas may pose a great danger to Kurdistan , particularly from the anti-democracy Shiites and Sunnis, unless all traces of Arabization are eliminated.
Corruption undermines democracy
17 May 2005 KurdishMedia.com - By Rauf Naqishbendi
By its very definition, a democratic system is one of equality. This should mean that every citizen’s rights and properties are fully protected by the constitution, preventing both the deprivation of rights and the overstepping of rights. Thus the head of the state is as equally accountable for his actions as is the most underprivileged peasant. In democratic societies, a popular vote elects a political body that is then involved in the enactment of legislation. But this body’s powers typically extend beyond simple law making, since it must also involve itself in drafting and ratifying a budget to finance government programs, and sometimes in declaring war. Now, bearing in mind these fundamental principles that are the essence of a democratic system, let us evaluate the merits of the current democracy in Kurdistan .
Democracy cannot flourish within a system dominated by corruption, for corruption undermines the altruistic ideals of equality and equal opportunity. It is undeniable that Kurdistan has been plagued by corrupt political officials, perhaps not the Kurdish leaders themselves, but certainly their appointees to the governing body in Kurdistan .
The Kurdish leaders protest that they do not obstruct anyone who wants to from running for any post. While that is true in its most literal sense, it is also true that the two predominant Kurdish political parties control all the resources a candidate must tap into in order to get elected, including funds, armed forces, and the media. So where does democracy fit into this system?
Ms. Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, the Kurdish Regional Government’s representative to the United Kingdom , was asked to comment on corruption in Kurdistan in an interview with Radio Free Europe on May 4. She replied, "It depends on what you mean by corruption. People use this word all the time. If you mean corruption generally to mean using your post or power for personal gain, there have been prosecutions in Kurdistan of people breaking the law, yes." It is interesting to note that she grappled with the meaning of corruption, although it is universally accepted to mean "guilty of dishonest practices, such as bribery; lacking integrity; crooked" (Webster’s Dictionary). Why does she feel compelled to narrow down the meaning of the word before she can make any public comments about it?
Besides, using one’s power for personal gain is not the issue, but rather depriving others from equal opportunities and entitlements through the use of cronyism and favoritism and secrecies. For instance,
Ms. Sami indicated that those found in violation of certain laws have been prosecuted, but intimated that none of these are from the rank and file of her party, which is quite true. But if the people in the leadership of her party are all moral and ethical, then why is the entire population of Kurdistan disgusted with the rampant corruption and unethical conduct of the leadership of both predominant Kurdish political parties?
Unlike a monarchy, a democratic form of government puts the people in control of the federal revenue by allowing the parliament to budget government programs, such as construction, education, defense, healthcare, etc. But democracy didn’t work in the 1990’s, when Ms. Sami’s boss was collecting billions of dollars from the oil-for-food program as an excise tax on exported oil, not to mention additional considerable revenues from imports and exports through the Turkish border. The amount of taxes collected was kept secret, and even now, no one other than top KDP leaders has any knowledge of how much tax was collected, or how much of it was spent, or into whose coffers the remainder was deposited. Thus, in this case, the people were given the freedom to elect their parliament, but were not to be trusted with the details of their parliament’s budgeting activities. Once again, corruption undermined democracy.
"The reality is that we are years ahead of the rest of Iraq and the overwhelming majority of the middle east," Ms. Sami wrote in an article to KurdishMedia.com, responding to an earlier essay regarding corruption in Kurdistan . This is flawed logic at its best. In the first place, to compare Kurdistan with the rest of Iraq is to compare civilization with barbarism, since Iraq is the most dangerous and chaotic place in the world. Second, to compare Kurdistan to the rest of the Middle East is to
compare apples and oranges, since the Middle East has never been democratic. True logic would have compared Kurdistan with other civilized countries that have a long tradition of democracy, and Kurdistan would have paled by comparison.
"Corruption is a problem throughout the Middle East but in Kurdistan at least it is openly discussed," wrote Ms. Sami, admitting that corruptions exist, but she does not have the courage to admit how widespread they are. Nevertheless, the proliferation of corruption in the Middle East should never be used as justification for its continued existence in Kurdistan .
The widespread corruption in Kurdistan needs to be addressed and the guilty ones held accountable before the government is overcome with some unpredictable and tragic consequence. Unethical conduct practiced by the Kurdish leaders’ appointees is not only demoralizing, but also undermines every democratic principle and moral decency upon which this new government was founded. Kurdish leaders, though complacent in the past, must now stir themselves up to recognize the gravity of the situation. Corruption must be driven out of their public offices quickly, before its claws succeed in completely crushing this fragile blossom of Kurdish democracy.
NB: This is not an official document. The information contained therein was compiled by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq , Information Office.
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