" The Dinar Daily ", Friday, 3 January 2013
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  1. #1

    " The Dinar Daily ", Friday, 3 January 2013

    Suicide bombers disguised as pilgrims infiltrate Iraq

    A suicide bomber walks into a crowd of pilgrims going to the city of Karbala, which Iraq’s Shiites consider holy, then blows himself up among the crowd by pressing the detonation button on his explosives belt while shouting “Allahu Akbar” [God is the greatest]. The loud explosion shreds the victims’ bodies.

    Summary⎙ Print The suicide bombers who have been striking Iraqi pilgrims are motivated by jihadist ideology.

    Author Adnan Abu Zeed

    Posted January 2, 2014

    Translator(s)Rani Geha

    Because of strong security measures, the suicide bomber has become an alternative to the car bomb. He can easily infiltrate a crowd and is hard to detect.

    Police Capt. Imad al-Khafaji, who heads a police station south of Baghdad, where a suicide bomber killed dozens of pilgrims on Dec. 19, told Al-Monitor, “The biggest challenge facing the religious processions at various occasions is the suicide bomber,” pointing to the difficulty of “identifying the perpetrator and the details of the suicide operations, except through the accounts of the survivors, most of whom would be in a state of terror due to the explosion.”

    Khafaji admits that “having tight security measures without modern detection technologies cannot stop the attackers. … The bomber managed to quietly sneak into the center of the crowd by using side passages and by sneaking between the dozens of soldiers deployed around where the blast took place. … Those who were nearby give different accounts of what happened. But the heart of the matter is the shredding of the suicide bomber’s body after detonating an explosive belt that killed dozens around him.”

    Hussein Abdullah, who lost his older brother in another suicide bombing on the same day in the religiously mixed Dora area amid crowds of pilgrims, said that he had been inside the structure where the explosion occurred but came out to bring some water to his ailing brother. So Hussein survived the explosion with deep wounds to the face and chest.

    He spoke to Al-Monitor about that day, saying, “Everything was normal. Nothing made us suspect the presence of a suicide bomber.”

    Because of the large number of pilgrims going to Karbala, particularly from cities south of Baghdad, the central Euphrates operation set up a plan to fight the terrorists. But that did not prevent suicide bombers from infiltrating religious processions.

    In a discussion with Al-Monitor, Iraqi writer and journalist Abdul Amir al-Majar said, “The culture of suicide, which wasn’t known in Iraq, is a new (jihadist) trend that has swept the Arab countries. Some young Arabs are being influenced by this distorted model and lured under the pressure of various feelings. But any political or ideological disagreement, regardless of how significant, cannot justify a man blowing himself up among innocent people just because he disagrees with them ideologically, unless such a person has been brainwashed.”

    Journalist Jawad Kharsan told Al-Monitor that the increasing numbers of suicide bombers are due to “brainwashing, whereby religious fanatics consider suicide operations a legitimate method to reach their goal. For ideological reasons, they call [such operations] ‘martyrdom operations.’”

    The suicide bomber often disguises himself as a pilgrim going to the holy city. He carries the appropriate “religious” flags and banners. Then he mixes into the crowds of pilgrims and detonates himself. His motivation is to achieve “redemption” and accelerate the sublimation of his soul to “paradise” among the saints and the righteous.

    The general characteristic of suicide bombers in Iraq over the years is that they are “jihadists.” Published interviews with them show that their motives were purely ideological. But others choose to kill themselves and others for material purposes and out of ignorance, with ideology being a lesser motivation.

    For his part, writer Jabbar al-Kawaz, speaking to Al-Monitor, said that suicide operations are due to “the sectarian education on both sides of the political and sectarian quarrel, in conjunction with the deepening feeling of abandonment and despair experienced by young people.”

    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/orig...#ixzz2pJdPVezJ



  2. #2
    Basra governor speaks about corruption, security challenges

    BASRA, Iraq — In an interview with Al-Monitor, Basra governor Majid al-Nasrawi confirmed that his city had contracted a British security consulting firm (whose name he would not disclose before the completion of the contract) to oversee Basra's security contracts and provide studies in this regard. Nasrawi noted that corruption is pervasive in all parts of the Iraqi state, which operates according to outdated standards and mechanisms. He confirmed that the American company Hill International had prepared Basra's 2040 Strategic Plan, which would include all of Basra's projects until that date. He revealed what he dubbed the "KMK phenomenon," which involves local companies linked to political parties that operate in the name of foreign companies in the city. Here is the text of the interview:

    Summary⎙ Print In an interview with Al-Monitor, Basra governor Majid al-Nasrawi speaks about corruption and says the city has hired a British security consulting firm to advise it on contracts.

    Author Mushreq Abbas

    Posted January 2, 2014

    Translator(s)Tyler Huffman

    Al-Monitor: You took office as governor of Basra four months ago. Anyone who returns to Basra after some time away sees it as a "tired" city. How do you see it?

    Nasrawi: As a citizen [of Basra], I have always felt that the city never gets what it deserves. Basra's budget for 2012 was $3 billion, yet despite that we have not seen a significant change in the reality of the situation. Thus, I think that Basra must seriously address the reality it is facing. Basra did not diagnose its problems correctly, and thus the treatments have been wrong over the years. This is evidenced by the fact that money was spent and efforts were made, but they did not change the reality of this "tired" city at any level. This is characteristic of the entire Iraqi experience.

    Personally, I've tried to search for long-term treatments for Basra's problems. I did not pay much attention to patchwork solutions. For those who claim that this is all an adventure for electoral purposes, I would say that it is not a requirement that we see results now. Rather, it is important that the solutions be deep-rooted and in the form of a road map that future governments can rely on.

    During a meeting with the Council of Ministers, they asked me: "What is your plan for Basra over the next four years?" I answered: "I do not have a four-year plan. [Such a plan] would be an electoral plan. Rather, I know that there are five-year, 10-year or 20-year plans."

    Al-Monitor: Where have things gone wrong?

    Nasrawi: First and foremost, the error has been in planning. We have a primary design for our city, but we don't have a primary plan. For this reason, strategic visions have been absent. When I took office I discovered there was chaos at the level of planning. The construction of bridges, sewage systems and other things were not conducted in a studied manner, but rather an arbitrary one. There was no vision about the future of residential, industrial and commercial areas and how to develop them. For example, the local government will hire a contractor to pave the streets of a certain area, yet when the contractor goes to carry out the work, he discovers that there is no sanitation or sewage system. Thus, we're back at square one, awaiting the completion of a new design plan for the sewage system — things remain as they are. The second problem we face in Basra, and in Iraq in general, is the lack of a scientific vision for design. I will say in all honesty — and I take responsibly for my words: We do not have Iraqi cadres capable of providing reports, surveys and design [plans] that adhere to international standards, and people do not resort to experts. The third problem is the companies executing [these projects], the majority of which are failed companies. For example, after years of confusion, the Iraqi state decided that major projects — i.e., those whose costs exceed $100 million — must be implemented by foreign companies. But what happened after that? Local [Iraqi] companies registered in other countries, changed their identities, and then received contracts for the same projects.

    Al-Monitor: Do you mean that these projects were awarded to local companies again?

    Nasrawi: Yes. Take this example: There is a company, which is supposedly foreign, owned by an Iraqi contractor. The company changed its name to KMK — the initials of the Iraqi owner, who was responsible for previous projects. After registering his company [under a different name] in Lebanon, he received a number of huge projects in the name of his "foreign" company. The local companies that caused all of the chaos in Basra left Iraq, "painted their faces" and returned under the banner of a "foreign company." This phenomenon has been dubbed the "KMK phenomenon." Thus, aside from oil companies, there are no foreign companies in Basra.

    This issue reveals the size of financial corruption in Basra, and in Iraq in general. Corrupt [officials] are pervasive and have influence everywhere and they impose their projects. Concerning the Qurna project — a huge project that is supposed to revive this region where the Tigris and Euphrates meet — I refused to conclude contracts with a group of Dutch, Lebanese and German companies. They were [foreign] only in name. There were no German, Dutch or Lebanese nationals involved, only Iraqi companies.

    Al-Monitor: In your opinion, aside from security issues, what are the main reasons foreign companies are not coming to Basra?

    Nasrawi: There are obstacles placed in front of foreign investors that prevent them from even thinking about bidding for a project. For example, low price estimates are given at the start, meaning a foreign company will not even think about [getting involved in] the project. Even when a company makes an [initial] bid, the investors have trouble obtaining entry visas for Iraq. The amount of time it takes them [to get a visa] is longer than the period granted for presenting the project. Moreover, they are subject to conditions that are incompatible with the standards of serious foreign companies. There is corruption when it comes to estimating the financial capabilities of companies — these estimates are carried out in roundabout ways. It's a festival of corruption.

    Al-Monitor: Are political parties participating in this "festival of corruption"?

    Nasrawi: There are political parties and politicians — as well as pervasive and influential people — all participating in corrupt deals. This is a known problem, it is no secret. You can see that in every province there is one prominent contractor who receives most of the contracts in the province — and he follows a certain political party. How can we interpret this? These contractors even have political influence over the province and its officials. It is no secret that a prominent businessman in Basra sat in on political negotiations to choose a governor and the local government. What is a businessman doing at such negotiations?

    Al-Monitor: How are you fighting corruption?

    Nasrawi: Our first step is to change all of the standards [for signing contracts] that help corruption become rife in our cities. This means concluding contracts and supervising them according to international standards, not according to the standards of corrupt government employees who sign [these contracts] under pressure, or as a result of blackmail or bribes. We implemented this first step via [employing] a huge international company to manage Basra's projects. We contracted Hill International for this purpose. What is painful is that — to this day — when I show a number of politicians and administrators the qualifications of this company, they don't even know what these qualifications mean.

    Al-Monitor: How is the company conducting its work now?

    Nasrawi: An agreement was concluded, according to the conditions we put in place, to prepare a Basra 2040 strategic plan. This will include all of the city's planning needs, such as the creation of a new commercial center, roads and services. Moreover, we will design one of the largest medical cities in the world. [Hill] has suggested to us a number of international companies to design and implement projects, according to certain standards. And Hill International itself will choose those companies that will execute the projects. Hill presented to us 76 engineering, mathematics and legal experts, in all specialties, for contracting and supervision. We have prepared standard documents for contracts, which include details of the contract.

    Al-Monitor: A few weeks ago, you objected to a housing project plan announced by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki during his visit to Basra, [which involved distributing plots of land to the poor]. What is the reason for your objection?

    Nasrawi: The local government had developed a housing plan, which included granting no-interest loans to residents via the housing fund, and granting [citizens] plots of land for building homes. [The plan even included] building new cities and giving [the houses] to those who deserved them. I support giving plots of land to citizens, but that is not everything. We had allocated $3 billion to housing projects in 2014.

    Al-Monitor: Do your powers clash with those of Baghdad in this area?

    Nasrawi: We are carrying out precise studies so that Basra gets what it deserves within the scope of the law.

    Al-Monitor: How do you see the security situation in the province?

    Nasrawi: The security problem is no different from the contract problems we talked about, for there is a lack of planning in both cases. The mechanisms in place for fighting terrorism are basic, limited and non-innovative. Thus, we decided as an initial step to contract a British security consulting company. I believe that the problem of terrorism cannot be solved via a military leader, but rather through security experts, surveillance technology, and training and developing the capabilities of the intelligence [agencies]. For example, we have a plan to buy sophisticated explosives-detection devices, but who determines the specifications and standards for these devices? Will we make the same mistake as Baghdad, which imported [explosives-detection] devices that didn't work? Who will choose the weapons and sniffer dogs? To answer these questions, we turned to a global consulting firm that works in the security field.

    Al-Monitor: Have you encountered any objections to this contract from the ministries concerned with security or the office of the commander in chief of the armed forces?

    Nasrawi: The law allows the province to do this, and the contracts are paid using Basra's money, not funds from Baghdad.

    Al-Monitor: You talk about security as though it’s a purely technical issue, but what about the social problems feeding disorder?

    Nasrawi: This is correct. Security cannot be achieved though arrests alone. First, it costs a lot of money to put large numbers of people in prison. Most importantly, however, we must address the motives for crimes and the cultural and social reasons standing behind these crimes — and we must work to address them. A culture of security must spread in society, so that each citizen becomes a part of the ingredients for security in the country and is not afraid or reluctant to report any security breach.

    Al-Monitor: What about the malfunction within the security establishment?

    Nasrawi: The causes [of this malfunction] are known. There is corruption, as well as political and partisan intervention in the work of the security services. Recently, Basra was able to rein in a large gang involved in theft, blackmail and kidnapping, which was led by a senior police officer. We were under pressure not to arrest [members of the gang], but we were determined to bring them to justice. We will not allow for a shuffling of cards in Basra. We will not stray from our path to purify the security services of any breaches.

    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/orig...#ixzz2pJeOtKNR

  3. #3
    Lebanese Shiite cleric calls for building inclusive state

    Hani Fahs is among the most prominent Shiite clerics with a moderate and civil discourse. He has maintained good relations with other Islamic sects and has made many efforts in the field of interfaith dialogue. He is known for criticizing both Sunni and Shiite sectarian projects in the region, has a long history of working with Imam Musa Sadr in Lebanon and visited Iran for a short time only to permanently part ways with the Islamic Republic, given his criticism of its work methods and of Hezbollah’s approach toward Lebanon and Syria.

    Summary⎙ Print In an interview with Al-Monitor, Lebanese Shiite cleric Hani Fahs said that the region must work toward peace, and citizens should work to build inclusive states.

    Author Ali Mamouri

    Posted January 2, 2014

    Translator(s)Joelle El-Khoury

    Al-Monitor: The political and social developments that have occurred in recent years shed light on the emergence of multiple and diverse “partial identities.” This has led to the disappearance of the inclusive identities of the past, which were influenced by nationalist and leftist ideologies. What is the alternative to the inclusive Arab or Muslim identity? Does this mean we will witness more political divisions in the region for sectarian and ethnic reasons? How can these diverse identities be involved and integrated in a state project?

    Fahs: The first reason for the pathological awakening of sub-identities is the weakness, or absence, of the state. States are reduced to one party, race or sect. In this type of state, the citizen resorts to fanaticism to get protection from his group. However, [this protection] can only be achieved through a strong and fair inclusive and sponsoring state. ... In such cases, a historical bloc with multiple historical affiliations, positions and experiences should be formed to achieve a historical settlement in a state open to developments. [All member of the bloc should] agree — despite all their differences — to expand the common ground and decrease and adjust divergences. This state must consecrate the concept of citizenship through the law and support a culture that educates people on identity, which is not an entity but rather a permanent consequence, complemented by the other party in the country and by evolution of knowledge.

    Al-Monitor: The worsening sectarian conflict in the region has changed several balances and alliances. What is your vision for the future of this conflict, and where will it lead us?

    Fahs: The violent sectarian conflict has always existed. Even if it dominated history for a long time it is bound to [eventually] lose in favor of peace and an inclusive state. [The inclusive state] does not eliminate differences but rather improves the management of differences and the treatment of their adverse effects. We are searching for the silver lining in every crisis. We are upset by the arrival of radical Islam to power, given that a religious party is always an extremist party, but we expect it to fail because it is ideological and not based on a practical plan, and it has no programs whatsoever. This kind of party falls among totalitarian parties that controlled the people and [somewhat] succeeded, but which [ultimately] fell because of a lack of freedom and justice. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt only accomplished loss and confusion and more lack of freedom. ... It is important not to take advantage of democracy or freedom to reproduce religious or secular tyranny.

    Al-Monitor: We have followed up on the rapprochement between the United States and Iran over the past few weeks. Currently, there is a lot of talk about a Saudi-Israeli convergence to repel the Iranian project. Are Israel and the United States no longer in the enemy zone of the regional people and states, in light of the ongoing sectarian conflict?

    Fahs: I never believed that there is a deep and clashing contradiction between Washington and Tehran; these two countries know their interests. Yet, there is a resolvable inherited crisis that emerged with the outbreak of destructive conflicts between the two over hostages, the Iraqi war, the occupation of Iraq by implicit agreement as was the case in Afghanistan and the Iranian contribution to the resistance against the Israeli occupation in Lebanon. … The situation reached its climax, the solution started to unravel and love prevailed over hatred. Iran went to Syria and the United States took hold of the Syrian chemical file. The Iranian nuclear file and the boycott were about to be remedied. This led to a reorganization of priorities, including in terms of Israel, since [President Shimon] Peres stated that “Iran is not an enemy,” which represent the real policy of Israel, not the anxious statements of [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu who fears the waning of his popularity. In this scenario, Israel will have no reason pushing it to form an alliance with any Arab party, and Saudi Arabia is not stupid, nor is it strong enough to think about an alliance against the United States and Iran together, regardless of political maneuvers, in terms of resolvable differences.

    Al-Monitor: The different methods of Qom and Najaf in dealing with social and political issues revealed the existence of two different approaches within the Shiite sect. Accordingly, to what extent do you think that Najaf could set the basis for a civilian “Shiism” to face the Shiite political Islam project adopted by the Iranian government in the Qom seminary?

    Fahs: The dispute between Qom and Najaf on crucial issues was never deep. This is evidenced by the fact that the constitutional revolution in Iran was led by the Iranian scholars in Najaf and by others in Tehran who graduated from [seminaries in] Najaf. … Currently, one may fear that Najaf is being taken over by Qom in appearance, given Najaf’s vulnerability and the Iraqi authorities’ loyalty to Iran, since it is the Iranian authorities — and not the Qom seminary — that will actually take over Najaf and weaken it. ... One may pin hopes on the reformist academic and political movement in Iran to restore the relationship between Qom and Najaf, if Najaf is able to stand back on its feet. ... Otherwise, Qom will remain the strongest party, it will marginalize Najaf and place it under its control and that of the Iranian authorities, as long as the authorities in Iraq do not want to be independent without bearing hostility toward Iran.

    Al-Monitor: The collision of Sunni and Shiite political Islam projects in recent years, specifically in Syria, exacerbated the sectarian crisis and made it very difficult to solve the Syrian crisis. What is your take on the possible solutions to the Syrian crisis? How can these solutions be realized?

    Fahs: The illness of Syria, Egypt and other countries are despotism, corruption, the abolition of the state with power, the abolition of religion with the state [political interferences], the abolition of the state with religion, the abolition of pluralism by removing religious and ethnic groups, destructing secularism with sectarianism and tribalism, converting nationalism into chauvinism and using external parties to show power over internal parties. This illness started as the project of Muhammad Ali Pasha to build a state model in the 18th century in Egypt that was foiled. Based on that, [the illness] must take a long period of time before recovery is achieved in each of the revolting Arab countries, even relatively. In Syria, the period of time will be longer, more complicated and more painful for many reasons. [These reasons] include Syria’s complex pluralistic history, its location among Israel, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, the lack of natural resources that entice the great [powers] to find quick and deep solutions and the regime’s focus and success in making the financial cost of freedom higher than that of despotism. Syria needs an Arab and international conference that is similar to the Yalta [Conference of 1945], but with different conditions. It needs a modern Marshall Plan and many historical and successive settlements. The solution is probably to form a temporary Syrian system on the order of the Lebanese system that is based on sectarian quotas, until [the situation in Syria] becomes stable, settled and starts to evolve politically and legally toward a pluralism preserved through unity — I mean an Alawite president with limited powers, a Christian vice president, a Sunni prime minister and a balanced parliament.

    Al-Monitor: In your writings, you have called for establishing a civil state, and you have mentioned that religion cannot lay the foundations of a state and vice versa. Does this mean that you believe secularism is a substitute for a religious government? How can one reconcile religion and a civil state, amid contradictory social and political perceptions?

    Fahs: I am calling for a civil, modern, democratic and pluralistic state based on citizenship, rights, law and human rights to necessarily preserve religion from the evil of some pious people who randomly mix religion with the state, just as some sort of extreme secularism has mixed them. Islamists want to build a state based on religion, which damages them both [religion and the state], while some extreme secularists wanted to produce religion through the state. The best option is to separate religion from the state. In Europe, the state and Christianity were preserved by liberating [the state] from the church and liberating the church from itself. We want this sort of separation, without separating religion from individuals and even society. We defend the conviction we have with scientific evidence that Islam does not describe a state, but rather it describes a society, by saying that the state is a social necessity, and necessities can vary. The modern state is the one that responds to current needs.

    Al-Monitor: In the past days, we've heard news about suicide attacks carried out by Shiite jihadists in Syria. This is a new development in terms of suicide bombings, which have usually been conducted by Sunni Salafists. Does this mean that we are now facing a reality where radical Shiite Salafism has been produced to counter radical Sunni Salafism?

    Fahs: I am not here to support or condemn this, but those who first conducted a suicide attack — called martyrdom — after Israel occupied Lebanon, were Shiites, including two of my cousins. Given that the jurisprudence has power, I believe that it has the ability to respond to any adventurer or extremist who wants to cover his conduct by a fatwa. In history, Christianity did not escape from the burden of this behavior, which is political, not religious. I guess that the Sunnis have a juristic opportunity to politically circumvent Sharia, because the period of time distancing the people from the four references — imams of the four Sunni schools of law — is long. However, it is necessary for Shiites to limit the power of sources of emulation — Marja’ Taqlid — to take them away from politics. Taking part in the killing and violence amid an absence of sufficient, accurate and legitimate evidence may eventually produce counter effects, such as what we saw happen in the history of revolutions controlled by the lust of murder and victory through fear, and what we hear of the rising voices of the families of Hezbollah’s fighters killed in Syria.

    Al-Monitor: You have made great efforts in the interfaith dialogue project in Lebanese society and in the region in general. How do you assess the ongoing developments in interfaith relations in the Middle East? Is there any possibility to activate dialogue and a constructive relationship following the worsening of the sectarian crises?

    Fahs: I have not and will not call for interfaith dialogue between religions, as the conflict is among people who practice religion in extremist mode, not among the religions themselves. In my view, dialogue must be up to the challenges, not to remain a mere trend that attracts the enemies of dialogue, so they pretend to conduct it, taking hold of it and thwarting it. So, there must be independent institutionalization, because conflicts have worsened and it is no longer enough to conduct dialogue occasionally. Peace must be created and expanded, and the power of moderation must be seen through organization. Therefore, there must be an institution that turns dialogue into a science, culture, action and harmony between theoretical awareness and the way to address all possibilities and states of conflicts on the ground, and to focus on systems of common interests, which raises awareness regarding common ideas and values. It is necessary to be aware of the danger that dialogue becomes an issue limited to academics, because it will result in contradictions and narrow similarities. Also, dialogue shouldn’t remain as an issue relevant [only] to political leaders, because they will ruin it. There is no objection if they want to take advantage of it, and be prepared to bear its consequences and protect its movements from afar.

    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/orig...#ixzz2pJf8QrGO

  4. #4
    Published: January 2, 2014

    BAGHDAD — Radical Sunni militants aligned with Al Qaeda threatened Thursday to seize control of Falluja and Ramadi, two of the most important cities in Iraq, setting fire to police stations, freeing prisoners from jail and occupying mosques, as the government rushed troop reinforcements to the areas.

    Sunni Militants Unleash Violence in Iraq

    Falluja and Ramadi

    Falluja and Ramadi were major battlegrounds during the war in Iraq. Both towns formed focal points of the armed Sunni Arab insurgency against the American-led military presence.

    In 2004, Falluja was the site of one of the biggest battles of the war as international forces struggled to wrest it from insurgent control. Dozens of allied soldiers were killed and hundreds wounded over eight days of sustained street-to-street combat.

    Ramadi was also rocked by regular insurgent violence. In 2006, American officials recorded as many as 25 violent episodes every day in Ramadi.

    Violence in both towns was largely tamed in 2007 when groups of local Sunni Arab leaders, some former militants themselves, organized into “Awakening Councils” that worked with American forces to turn their communities against violent jihadist extremism.

    Dressed in black and waving the flag of Al Qaeda, the militants commandeered mosque loudspeakers to call for supporters to join their struggle in both cities in the western province of Anbar, which have increasingly become centers of Sunni extremism since American forces withdrew from the country at the end of 2011.

    For the United States, which asserted at the time that Iraq was on track to become a stable democracy, Anbar holds grave historical significance — as a place for America’s greatest losses, and perhaps its most significant success, of the eight-year war.

    Nearly one-third of the American soldiers killed in the war died trying to pacify Anbar, and Americans fought two battles for control of Falluja, in some of the bloodiest combat that American troops had faced since Vietnam.

    The violence in Ramadi and Falluja had implications beyond Anbar’s borders, as the Sunni militants fought beneath the same banner as the most hard-line jihadists they have inspired in Syria — the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.

    That fighting, and a deadly bombing in the Beirut area on Thursday, provided the latest evidence that the Syrian civil war was helping breed bloodshed and sectarian violence around the region, further destabilizing Lebanon and Iraq while fueling a resurgence of radical Islamist fighters.

    It was not possible, amid the unfolding chaos, to determine a precise number of casualties, but officials in hospitals in Anbar reported at least 35 people were killed Thursday and more than 70 were wounded. Security officials in Anbar said the total killed over several days of fighting was 108, including 31 civilians and 35 militants. The rest of the dead were Iraqi security force members.

    The fighting began after Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, a Shiite, ordered security forces to dismantle protest encampments in Falluja and Ramadi.

    The order came after fighting erupted following the government’s arrest of a prominent Sunni lawmaker who had been a supporter of the protests, which had been going on for more than a year and had become an outlet for disenchanted Sunnis angered over their treatment by Mr. Maliki’s Shiite-dominated government. The arrest attempt set off a firefight that left several bodyguards and the brother of the lawmaker dead, and led to clashes between the government and armed tribesmen.

    Officials later seemed to have calmed the situation, and in a deal between local tribal leaders and the central government, Mr. Maliki agreed to withdraw army troops from Anbar on Tuesday.

    But as soon as any trace of government authority vanished, large numbers of Qaeda-aligned fighters attacked the cities, and by Wednesday the prime minister reversed his decision. He sent troops to try to secure the support of local tribal leaders, offering them guns and money to join forces with the regular army.

    In a telephone interview on Thursday, one tribal fighter loyal to the government, Abu Omar, described heavy clashes across Falluja, and said the government had started shelling militant hide-outs.

    “We told all the families to leave their houses,” he said over the phone, with the sound of gunfire in the background. “Many of the families fled from the city, and others are still unable to because of the heavy clashes. We have reports that the hospital in Falluja is full of dead and wounded people.”

    Many of the tribesmen fighting alongside government security forces have been doing so reluctantly, making the calculation that, in this case, the government is the lesser evil than Al Qaeda.

    Sheikh Hamed Rasheed Muhana echoed what many Sunnis in Iraq feel when he complained that the government had alienated Sunnis with harsh security crackdowns and mass arrests of Sunni men, militants and ordinary civilians alike. He said the government had worsened matters by “creating more depressed people willing to join Al Qaeda because of the sectarian behavior and ongoing arrests.”

    Also on Thursday, in a move that seemed calculated to appease Sunni resentment, the government arrested a Shiite militia leader in Baghdad who is believed to be the leader of the Iraqi affiliate of Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group.

    (Page 2 of 2)

    Thursday was the fourth consecutive day of battles in Anbar. Late in the afternoon, security officials said the government had regained some territory in Ramadi but that fighting was still fierce in Falluja, where militants controlled a much larger portion of the city than they did in Ramadi.


    Falluja and Ramadi were major battlegrounds during the war in Iraq. Both towns formed focal points of the armed Sunni Arab insurgency against the American-led military presence.

    In 2004, Falluja was the site of one of the biggest battles of the war as international forces struggled to wrest it from insurgent control. Dozens of allied soldiers were killed and hundreds wounded over eight days of sustained street-to-street combat.

    Ramadi was also rocked by regular insurgent violence. In 2006, American officials recorded as many as 25 violent episodes every day in Ramadi.

    Violence in both towns was largely tamed in 2007 when groups of local Sunni Arab leaders, some former militants themselves, organized into “Awakening Councils” that worked with American forces to turn their communities against violent jihadist extremism.

    With Iraqi casualty rates at their highest in five years, the United States has rushed to provide the Iraqi government with new missiles and surveillance drones to combat the resurgence of Al Qaeda.

    American officials have been in touch with the Maliki government and its Sunni critics, trying to encourage them to join forces against Al Qaeda.

    “We’ve encouraged the government to work with the population to fight these terrorists,” said Marie Harf, a State Department spokeswoman.

    The chaos in Anbar has underscored the steady deterioration of Iraq’s security since the withdrawal of American forces. The battles have heightened fears that Iraq is descending into the type of sectarian civil war that it once faced during the American-led occupation.

    The center of that unrest was in the desert region of Anbar, a cradle of Sunni discontent where swaggering tribesmen defied authority even under Saddam Hussein. An American pact with those Anbar tribesmen in 2007 — to pay them to switch sides and fight alongside the United States against Al Qaeda — became known as the Awakening and is considered partly responsible for turning the tide of the war.

    Abu Risha, a leading tribal sheikh in Ramadi, was perhaps the Americans’ most stalwart partner, and even today he is likely to show visitors the plaques he received from American officers, and old pictures of him with American soldiers, even as he speaks of what he calls betrayal by the United States for leaving without finishing the job.

    In a statement released this week, he exhorted his men to again fight Al Qaeda, and hinted at business left unfinished by the Americans.

    “We were all surprised that the terrorists left the desert and entered your cities to return a second time, to commit their crimes, to cut off the heads, blow up houses, kill scholars and disrupt life,” he said. “They came back, and I am delighted for their public appearance after the security forces failed to find them. Let this time be the decisive confrontation with Al Qaeda.”

    Violence continued elsewhere in the country on Thursday, with a suicide attack in a market in Diyala Province killing at least 17 people, and two explosions around Baghdad that killed eight.

    In another indication that the war in Syria is reverberating back here, Iraqis who fled the country by the thousands after the American invasion and then began to return as the fighting eased are becoming refugees again.

    On Thursday, Andrew Harper, an official with the United Nations refugee agency in Jordan, posted a message on Twitter saying that over the past three weeks the number of Iraqi refugees entering Jordan, which borders Anbar Province, had increased fivefold, with an average of 415 Iraqis leaving their country each week.

    Analysts have long worried that the war in Syria would engulf Iraq, as hard-line Sunni rebels in Syria have said they see the two countries as one battlefield in the fight for Sunni dominance. For some time, the Syrian war has dragged in Iraqis along sectarian lines, with Iraqi Shiites rushing to Syria to support the government of President Bashar al-Assad, and Iraq’s Qaeda affiliate fostering the most extremist Sunni fighting units across the border.

    These fears of spillover have been most acute in Anbar’s ungovernable desert, which borders Syria and where tribal loyalties cut across national boundaries, making it fertile territory for Al Qaeda’s resurgence.

    Earlier in the week many tribesmen fought against the government, following the arrest of the Sunni lawmaker and the dismantling of the protest tents, but when Al Qaeda returned many quickly switched sides.

    “We don’t want to be like Syria,” said Sheikh Omar al-Asabi, who led a group of fighting men in an area east of Falluja.

    For many men of Anbar over the last several years, fighting has been a constant, even as the enemy has shifted. “We fought the Americans, and we fought the Maliki army, and now we are fighting Qaeda,” said Firas Mohammed, 28, who is an engineer when he is not at war. “We will not allow any outsider to come here and impose his will on us.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/03/wo...ewanted=2&_r=0

  5. #5
    Preacher of Ramadi unified prayers confirms :the sit-in yard will continue till respond to all demands.
    03/01/2014 13:12:00

    Ramadi / NINA /-- Sheikh Adnan Mishaal Imam and preacher of Friday unified prayers in which held in al-Dawlah mosque in Ramadi, said : " The current government of Baghdad is working to foment the spirit of sectarianism in Iraq in order to keep in power, as is the case in Syria.

    He added during Friday sermon : " We do not want the release criminals and murderers, but we ask for the release of innocent prisoners and the abolition of Article 4 as well as the liar detective informant.

    Meshaal called police members , and traffic police as well as civil defense members to get back to work , stressing that the sons of the tribes will provide the necessary protection for them.

    He ended by stressing that the sit-in squares in Anbar and other provinces will be continue denouncing the accusation made by some parties, which launches between now and then against the sit-ins yards describing such accusations as false accusations used to cover up the failure to provide the people security and decent life ."

    http://www.ninanews.com/english/News...ar95_VQ=GLLDMH

  6. #6
    Sadr and Hakim had been in contact with the elders of the telephone to reassure Anbar

    Fri Jan 03 2014 12:46 | (Voice of Iraq)

    Baghdad / follow Baghdadi News

    Revealed a Kuwaiti newspaper, on Friday, said the cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and the leader of the Islamic Supreme Council Ammar al-Hakim held a telephone contact with the tribal leaders of Anbar

    And sit-ins to reassure the base "year" after the recent military operations witnessed by the province. The newspaper said in a report seen by Baghdadi News, that "the two leaders Ammar al-Hakim and Muqtada al-Sadr held a secret contacts with the leaders of the sit-ins in the province, through the channels of the coalition Najafi, and pledged through these contacts to resolve all differences with the western provinces Sunni dramatically, if the form of government the next. " The newspaper quoted a leader of the coalition Najafi said that "contacts were made before the recent military operation launched by Maliki's forces have been agreed between the parties, al-Hakim and al-Sadr on the one hand and the leaders of the sit-ins on the other hand, to continue the talks in the next few weeks, to promote some understandings on the future political partnership between Shiites and Sunnis to lead Iraq, has shown great interest to achieve reconciliation with the protesters in all Sunni cities that opposed the policies of the Prime Minister, "pointing out that" close to al-Hakim and al-Sadr told the leaders of specific coalition Najafi that the Iranian leadership has learned contacts the two leaders. "

    The witness Anbar province since the days of large-scale military operations to clear the city of terrorist groups after Daash control elements and al-Qaeda on government institutions and security centers.

    http://translate.googleusercontent.c...#ixzz2pLEJQKPC

  7. #7
    Kurdistan: Erbil and Baghdad are aimed towards resolving differences oil

    Thu Jan 02 2014 23:59 | (Voice of Iraq)

    Said the Kurdistan Alliance reach the Kurdistan Regional Government and the federal government to good understandings during the recent visit of the President of the provincial government to Baghdad.
    The spokesman for the Kurdistan Alliance MP supporter Ok told PUKmedia, on Thursday, 01/02/2014, that the position of the Kurdistan Regional Government, and in spite of its contract with the oil companies, and the possibility of exporting oil to world markets, is that the federal government agree on these operations, He pointed out that the federal government has stood since the first moment a negative attitude from the file of oil between Erbil and Baghdad.
    The good that there is a clear change in the attitude of the federal government, and a trend towards a solution, regarding the extension of the oil pipeline between the Kurdistan Region and Turkey, and the rest of the differences oil, hoping to reach Arbil and Baghdad to a final agreement, and the political blocs to agree on legislation, the oil law and gas, to put points on the letters, and solve the differences with respect to the powers of the provincial government in the file of oil.

    PUKmedia high Yezidi

    http://translate.googleusercontent.c...#ixzz2pLIl8B98

  8. #8
    Allawi: No military solution to end the presence of al Qaeda in Iraq without a commitment to a political solution

    Thu Jan 02 2014 23:13 | (Voice of Iraq)

    A. St.. A

    His former Iraqi prime minister, and the leader of the Iraqi List, Iyad Allawi, today, expressed his belief that there is no military solution to end the presence of the "Al Qaeda" in Iraq unless there is a political solution that combines the Iraqis and unites the respondents to combat various types of terrorism.

    Allawi said in a special television BBC: Iraqis approve the concept of reconciliation and to begin building state institutions fully democratic and professional non-denominational can efficiently deal with different threats, whether originating from al-Qaida or the armed militias of other spread across Iraq.

    He continued: should the current government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, to do three things to overcome these critical phase experienced by the country, first is to withdraw all military forces from the cities where there are among them "gray" and "Fallujah", and the second is to start a dialogue with peaceful protesters protesting the government's policies, and most recently to overcome the problem of coming to the land of the Iraqi-Syrian border, which is witnessing a fierce civil war, pointing out that without the commitment of those solutions Vstttor things for the worse on Iraqi territory.

    He called Allawi, the United States and Western countries and the international community to support his country to restore stability and security in its territory on the grounds that they stayed out for a long time, Iraq needs the support provided to them from all sides of the international community or the Middle East, pointing out that the government should release all innocent prisoners, which will contribute to reduce the current tensions and would respond to the forces of militant inside the country, such as al-Qaeda and other militias, which spread through the streets of Iraq.

    Asked outcome of the security situation in Iraq after more than ten years after the fall of former President Saddam Hussein, commented Allawi said: I did not imagine and with worst-case scenarios and the harshest conditions to reach things and the security situation for the outcome of the inside Iraq after the fall of Saddam, and I did not imagine to end Iraq to what it is now, unfortunately.

    http://translate.googleusercontent.c...#ixzz2pLJNAzpu

  9. #9
    Allawi: No military solution to end the presence of al Qaeda in Iraq without a commitment to a political solution

    Thu Jan 02 2014 23:13 | (Voice of Iraq)

    A. St.. A

    His former Iraqi prime minister, and the leader of the Iraqi List, Iyad Allawi, today, expressed his belief that there is no military solution to end the presence of the "Al Qaeda" in Iraq unless there is a political solution that combines the Iraqis and unites the respondents to combat various types of terrorism.

    Allawi said in a special television BBC: Iraqis approve the concept of reconciliation and to begin building state institutions fully democratic and professional non-denominational can efficiently deal with different threats, whether originating from al-Qaida or the armed militias of other spread across Iraq.

    He continued: should the current government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, to do three things to overcome these critical phase experienced by the country, first is to withdraw all military forces from the cities where there are among them "gray" and "Fallujah", and the second is to start a dialogue with peaceful protesters protesting the government's policies, and most recently to overcome the problem of coming to the land of the Iraqi-Syrian border, which is witnessing a fierce civil war, pointing out that without the commitment of those solutions Vstttor things for the worse on Iraqi territory.

    He called Allawi, the United States and Western countries and the international community to support his country to restore stability and security in its territory on the grounds that they stayed out for a long time, Iraq needs the support provided to them from all sides of the international community or the Middle East, pointing out that the government should release all innocent prisoners, which will contribute to reduce the current tensions and would respond to the forces of militant inside the country, such as al-Qaeda and other militias, which spread through the streets of Iraq.

    Asked outcome of the security situation in Iraq after more than ten years after the fall of former President Saddam Hussein, commented Allawi said: I did not imagine and with worst-case scenarios and the harshest conditions to reach things and the security situation for the outcome of the inside Iraq after the fall of Saddam, and I did not imagine to end Iraq to what it is now, unfortunately.

    http://translate.googleusercontent.c...#ixzz2pLJNAzpu

  10. #10
    IMF paper warns of 'savings tax' and mass write-offs as West's debt hits 200-year high

    Debt burdens in developed nations have become extreme by any historical measure and will require a wave of haircuts, warns IMF paper

    Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

    By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

    8:06PM GMT 02 Jan 2014

    Much of the Western world will require defaults, a savings tax and higher inflation to clear the way for recovery as debt levels reach a 200-year high, according to a new report by the International Monetary Fund.

    The IMF working paper said debt burdens in developed nations have become extreme by any historical measure and will require a wave of haircuts, either negotiated 1930s-style write-offs or the standard mix of measures used by the IMF in its “toolkit” for emerging market blow-ups.

    “The size of the problem suggests that restructurings will be needed, for example, in the periphery of Europe, far beyond anything discussed in public to this point,” said the paper, by Harvard professors Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff.

    The paper said policy elites in the West are still clinging to the illusion that rich countries are different from poorer regions and can therefore chip away at their debts with a blend of austerity cuts, growth, and tinkering (“forbearance”).

    The presumption is that advanced economies “do not resort to such gimmicks” such as debt restructuring and repression, which would “give up hard-earned credibility” and throw the economy into a “vicious circle”.

    This occurred as part of a bigger shake-up following the collapse of the war reparations regime on Germany under the Versailles Treaty. The US itself imposed haircuts on its own creditors worth 16pc of GDP in April 1933 when it abandoned the Gold Standard.

    Financial repression can take many forms, including capital controls, interest rate caps or the force-feeding of government debt to captive pension funds and insurance companies. Some of these methods are already in use but not yet on the scale seen in the late 1940s and early 1950s as countries resorted to every trick to tackle their war debts.

    The policy is essentially a confiscation of savings, partly achieved by pushing up inflation while rigging the system to stop markets taking evasive action. The UK and the US ran negative real interest rates of -2pc to -4pc for several years after the Second World War. Real rates in Italy and Australia were -5pc.
    Both authors of the paper have worked for the IMF, Prof Rogoff as chief economist. They became famous for their best-selling work on sovereign debt crises over the ages, This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly.

    They were later embroiled in controversy over a paper suggesting that growth slows sharply once public debt exceeds 90pc of GDP. Critics say it is unclear whether the higher debt is the problem or whether the causality is the other way around, with slow growth causing the debt ratio to rise to faster.
    The issue became highly politicised when German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble and EU economics commissioner Olli Rehn began citing the paper to justify eurozone austerity policies, over-stepping its more careful claims.

    Critics says extreme austerity without offsetting monetary stimulus is the chief reason why debts have been spiralling upwards even faster in parts of Southern Europe.

    The weaker eurozone states are particularly vulnerable to default because they no longer have their own sovereign currencies, putting them in the same position as emerging countries that borrowed in dollars in the 1980s and 1990s. Even so, nations have defaulted through history even when they do borrow in their own currency.

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