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الثلاثاء، 17 سبتمبر 2013

Iraq: At least 38 dead and 46 injured in today's violence

Iraq: At least 38 dead and 46 injured in today's violence

The Common Ills
A major bombing today in Iraq on the edge of Baquba.  AP identifies the location as Umm al-Adham village.  AFP reports, "Iraqi officials say a bomb has struck a Sunni mosque during prayers north of Baghdad, killing 28 people in the latest eruption of violence to rock the country." at least forty-one more people are said to be injured. BBC News adds, "Two roadside bombs were detonated as worshippers left the al-Salam mosque after Friday prayers, police said." Lu Hui (Xinhua) reports:

At least 30 people were killed and 42 others wounded around midday when a car bomb hit worshippers as they completed their Friday prayers and went out of a mosque in the town of Ottomaniya, 15 km southwest of the provincial capital city of Baquba, a provincial police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, one was killed and five others were wounded in a roadside bomb attack near a Sunni mosque in Qarataba, some 110 km northeast of Baquba, he added.

Reuters also notes the death toll has risen to 30. The attacks comes during an already violent September.  Through yesterday, Iraq Body Count counts 403 violent deaths in Iraq so far this month.

In other violence today, National Iraqi News Agency reports a Mosul home invasion has left 6 family members dead, Khalaf Humeed Mohammed (Board Chair of Shura county local council) was shot dead in Mosul, a Ramadi sticky bombing left one police officer injured, and, early this morning, 1 Khadija preacher was shot dead and a Alaadheim car bombing left four people injured.

One week shy of the nine month anniversary, the ongoing protests in Iraq continue today.  Iraqi Spring MC notes protests took place in Ramadi, in Falluja, in Tikrit, in Mosul and in Baiji.The protesters are demanding basic rights and freedoms. They have to demand them because Nouri fails to honor the most basic promises fails to honor the most basic promises government makes to its citizens.

Aswat al-Iraq, for example, reports, "Press Freedoms Observatory called the Iraqi security and military forces to release the journalist who was arrested this morning mid of Baghdad. The Observatory said that the security forces arrested Sumariya Channel journalist Jaffar al-Nasrawi during and gathering of activists and journalists who called for stopping organized crimes against the citizens."

The Ashraf community was attacked two Sundays ago in Iraq.  US Senator Robert Menendez is the Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and his office issued the following yesterday:

September 12, 2013
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released this statement condemning the attacks on Camp Ashraf residents, and called on the Iraqi government to protect the community and secure the release of seven hostages taken after the massacre at Camp Ashraf.

"I condemn the brutal violence targeting Camp Ashraf residents in the most forceful of terms and personally offer my deepest sympathies to the families of this horrific act of terror. The surviving residents have been moved to Camp Liberty, but serious threats endure for the community and they remain targets of future attacks even as they are relocated. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq must proceed with their independent investigation and thoroughly ensure the safety and wellbeing of those residents now in Camp Liberty.

"I hold the Iraqi government directly responsible to protect the community, to investigate this matter thoroughly, and to prosecute the perpetrators of this heinous act. I am deeply concerned for the seven hostages who were taken during this attack. The Iraqi government should act swiftly to determine their whereabouts and ensure their safety. There is added urgency for the global community, as well as for the United States, to help resettle this community outside of Iraq, and end this cycle of ongoing terror attacks."


Press Contact

Camp Ashraf housed a group of Iranian dissidents who were  welcomed to Iraq by Saddam Hussein in 1986 and he gave them Camp Ashraf and six other parcels that they could utilize. In 2003, the US invaded Iraq.The US government had the US military lead negotiations with the residents of Camp Ashraf. The US government wanted the residents to disarm and the US promised protections to the point that US actions turned the residents of Camp Ashraf into protected person under the Geneva Conventions. This is key and demands the US defend the Ashraf community in Iraq from attacks.  The Bully Boy Bush administration grasped that -- they were ignorant of every other law on the books but they grasped that one.  As 2008 drew to a close, the Bush administration was given assurances from the Iraqi government that they would protect the residents. Yet Nouri al-Maliki ordered the camp repeatedly attacked after Barack Obama was sworn in as US President. July 28, 2009 Nouri launched an attack (while then-US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was on the ground in Iraq). In a report released this summer entitled "Iraqi government must respect and protect rights of Camp Ashraf residents," Amnesty International described this assault, "Barely a month later, on 28-29 July 2009, Iraqi security forces stormed into the camp; at least nine residents were killed and many more were injured. Thirty-six residents who were detained were allegedly tortured and beaten. They were eventually released on 7 October 2009; by then they were in poor health after going on hunger strike." April 8, 2011, Nouri again ordered an assault on Camp Ashraf (then-US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was again on the ground in Iraq when the assault took place). Amnesty International described the assault this way, "Earlier this year, on 8 April, Iraqi troops took up positions within the camp using excessive, including lethal, force against residents who tried to resist them. Troops used live ammunition and by the end of the operation some 36 residents, including eight women, were dead and more than 300 others had been wounded. Following international and other protests, the Iraqi government announced that it had appointed a committee to investigate the attack and the killings; however, as on other occasions when the government has announced investigations into allegations of serious human rights violations by its forces, the authorities have yet to disclose the outcome, prompting questions whether any investigation was, in fact, carried out."  Those weren't the last attacks.  They were the last attacks while the residents were labeled as terrorists by the US State Dept.  (September 28, 2012, the designation was changed.)   In spite of this labeling, Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) observed that "since 2004, the United States has considered the residents of Camp Ashraf 'noncombatants' and 'protected persons' under the Geneva Conventions."  So the US has an obligation to protect the residents.  3,300 are no longer at Camp Ashraf.  They have moved to Camp Hurriyah for the most part.  A tiny number has received asylum in other countries. Approximately 100 were still at Camp Ashraf when it was attacked Sunday.   That was the second attack this year alone.   February 9th of this year, the Ashraf residents were again attacked, this time the ones who had been relocated to Camp Hurriyah.  Trend News Agency counted 10 dead and over one hundred injured.  Prensa Latina reported, " A rain of self-propelled Katyusha missiles hit a provisional camp of Iraqi opposition Mujahedin-e Khalk, an organization Tehran calls terrorists, causing seven fatalities plus 50 wounded, according to an Iraqi official release."


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