Friday, March 09, 2007

Sadr City Base to Be One of Baghdad's Largest

A lot of information in this post. The Association of Muslim scholars actually condemned a terrorist attack!

Sadr City Base One of Baghdad's Largest
Fadhila Attacked for Corruption; Mass Graves in South
By ZEYAD Posted 9 hr. 50 min. ago
The Scoop from Key Arabic-Language Websites

Al-Melaf cites a senior security official that said U.S. troops are in the process of building one of the largest military bases in Baghdad in the middle of Sadr City, the Mahdi Army’s stronghold. The source said that U.S. military officers met with city elders who overwhelmingly approved the U.S. decision, which they said would largely improve security in their district. According to the website, construction of the base will start soon and will employ a large number of the city’s impoverished youth.

The Al-Shaheed Organization reports the discovery of a new mass grave during the construction of a new school in the industrial Iskan district on the Suq Al-Shiyoukh road, east of Nasiriya in southern Iraq. Iraqi police sources said a number of corpses were discovered at the site but without identifying documents, save for a ring on one corpse. Locals said that the area had witnessed clashes between Shi’ite rebels and Iraqi Republican Guards during the 1991 uprising in the south.

The Shaheed Organization also reports that tribal leaders in the Basrah Governorate are planning to write a detailed memo to Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki complaining about the practices of the Fadhila Party, which dominates the Basrah Governorate Council and the local police force. The organization said the objections were due to the party’s monopoly over resources in the governorate, especially the oil industry. The memo reportedly includes detailed reports on financial and administrative corruption by party officials and the governor’s brother, who has cornered most reconstruction and commercial contracts in the southern city, as well as documents linking party members to illicit smuggling of oil through the Shatt Al-Arab waterway.

The Fadhila Party, a Sadrist offshoot movement, is led by Sheikh Mustafa Al-Yaqoubi in Najaf, but the party’s main power base is in Basrah, where they hold the governor position and constitute a majority in the governorate council. They have allegedly managed to control oil smuggling operations in southern Iraq through the Oil Ministry, which they have ran under the premiership of both Ayad Allawi and Ibrahim Ja’fari, until they were cast out under SCIRI and Da’wa pressure by independent candidate Dr. Hussein Al-Shahristani. Secretary-general of the Fadhila Party Nadim Al-Jabiri has also recently announced the party’s withdrawal from the main Shi’ite bloc in Iraqi parliament, where they hold 15 seats.

Deputy Speaker of Parliament Khalid Al-Attiya stated that Iraqi parliament received a request from the Higher Judicial Council to strip MP Abdul Nasir Al-Janabi (Sunni, Accord Front) of parliamentary immunity to face “terrorism-related charges,” according to the Al-Badeel Al-Iraqi website. Al-Janabi, who is a member of the National Dialogue Council – one of three Sunni parties forming the Iraqi Accord Front – for the Anbar Governorate, had a strong verbal argument with Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki during the discussion of the Baghdad security plan in parliament a few weeks ago. Maliki angrily threatened at the time to make public a file that incriminates Janabi for the disappearance of 150 civilians west of Baghdad. Al-Janabi, speaking in a telephone conversation from abroad, denied the charges and accused Maliki of fabrication and using the legislative branch of government in a political dispute, adding that he will return soon to face the charges.

WNA News reports that three major British military based in Basrah were attacked with Katyusha rockets yesterday. A spokeswoman for multinational forces in the south of Iraq stated that the British consulate in the Baradhi’iya district of Basrah was hit by 12 Katyusha rockets, while 16 rockets targeted the Shatt Al-Arab Hotel in downtown Basrah and five rockets hit the Basrah International Airport.

Ninewa Governor Duraid Kashmoula denied that two nephews of Saddam Hussein were among prisoners who had fled the Badush prison, northwest of Mosul, adding that they were not held at the prison in the first place, the Voices of Iraq Agency reported. Mosul police sources had said that 140 prisoners escaped the Badush prison following an attack by heavily armed militants. Sources from the Iraqi Justice Ministry put the number of prisoners who had fled at 70, while Mosul deputy police commander Colonel Mohammed Abdul Aziz said that 42 inmates who were arrested later while attempting to cross the Syrian border. The heavily fortified Badush prison, northwest of Mosul, is the second largest in Iraq after Abu Ghraib, and it has witnessed several jailbreaks over the last two years. One of Saddam’s nephews, Omar Sab’awi, had fled the prison three months ago.

The Haqq Agency reports that U.S. troops have captured a Mahdi Army death squad leader accused of abducting and murdering dozens of Sunni residents in the mixed Sha’ab district, north of Baghdad. Eyewitnesses said an American force supported by helicopters raided Hussein Al-Assadi’s house in the Dewan area of Sha’ab and detained him. Meanwhile, the Iraqi Rabita website quotes eyewitnesses who said U.S. troops also detained several Mahdi Army leaders in the Waleed and Shumookh areas of the Za’faraniya district, southeast of Baghdad. The residents said that the soldiers carried lists and were accompanied by masked informants who pointed out the houses of suspected Mahdi Army militiamen.

The Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq issues statement No. 383 condemning the “terrorist attacks” in Hilla against the pilgrim processions heading to Karbala that killed and wounded dozens of civilians. The association held the “occupation and the current government” responsible for the lack of security and called on Iraqis to “exercise restraint and keep the country from spiraling further down the abyss.”

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