This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/1286
Iraqi Interior minister says 'okay there was abuse - so what?" - "no one was beheaded - no one was killed"
November 18, 2005
MIM Had the bombings of the mosque been caused by Westerners , the entire Arab world, the UN and ever human rights world would have unleased a flood of condemnation and denunciations of the United States and the West. Not only did the suicide bombings at the mosque not elicit rioting or protests on the part of the Muslim community which was targetted, not one word was heard from any Muslim organisation in the US. Muslims in Iraq also hold torture and abuse done by Muslims to Muslims to a different standard. When asked about the abuse of prisoners at the Interior ministry in Baghdad, the Interior minister replied "they weren't killed or beheaded", and implied that there was nothing to complain about.
Suicide Bombing Kill 52 at Shiite Mosque
Friday November 18, 2005 11:31 am
By CHRIS TOMLINSON
Associated Press Writer
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Suicide bombers killed 52 worshippers at a mosque in western Iraq on Friday while in Baghdad two car bombs destroyed the blast wall protecting a hotel housing foreign journalists and killed eight Iraqis.
The suicide attackers targeted the Sheik Murad Shiite mosque in Khanaqin, 87 miles northeast of Baghdad, as dozens of people were attending Friday prayers, police said. Iraqi army Col. Hazim al-Sudani said 52 people were killed and 65 injured in the largely Kurdish town.
The blast near the Hamra hotel in Baghdad knocked down the blast walls protecting the hotel and blew out windows, but did no structural damage.
"What we have here appears to be two suicide car bombs (that) attempted to breach the security wall in the vicinity of the hotel complex and I think the target was the Hamra Hotel," U.S. Brig. Gen. Karl Horst told reporters at the scene.
The blasts - less than a minute apart - reverberated throughout the city center, sent a mushroom cloud hundreds of feet into the air and was followed by sporadic small arms fire. At first the target appeared to be an Interior Ministry building nearby where U.S. troops found about 170 detainees, some of whom appeared to be tortured.
Several residential buildings collapsed from the blast, which gouged a large crater in the road. Firefighters and U.S. troops joined neighbors to dig through the debris and under toppled blast barriers to pull victims from the rubble.
The blasts appear to be the second attack against a hotel housing international journalists since the Oct. 24 triple vehicle bomb attack against the Palestine Hotel, where The Associated Press, Fox News and other organizations live and work.
"The investigation is under way, but the initial reports indicate so far the first car bomber was trying to pave the way for the second one, not on the main road, but on a secondary road to get in and hit the Hamra hotel, not the interior ministry," Maj. Gen. Hussein Kamal, the deputy interior minister, said.
Saad al-Ezi, an Iraqi journalist with the Boston Globe, said from inside Hamra hotel that it was clearly the target.
"They were trying to penetrate by displacing the blast barriers behind the hotel and then get to the hotel," he said. "I woke up to a huge explosion which broke all the glass and displaced all the window and doors frames."
On Thursday, the Iraqi detainee abuse scandal continued to dominate Iraqi politics. A leader of a major Sunni party, Tariq al-Hashimi, told Iraq's Sharqiyah television that his group had submitted 50 complaints of prisoner abuse to the government "but we did not receive a timely response."
However, Interior Minister Bayn Jabr, a Shiite, brushed aside the complaints, denied sectarian bias and claimed that "every time" al-Hashimi has differences with him "he exerts pressure on me through the U.S. Embassy."
"I reject torture and I will punish those who perform torture," Jabr said. "No one was beheaded, no one was killed" - a clear reference to the beheadings of foreign and Iraqi hostages by insurgents including al-Qaida's Iraq wing.
He also said "those who are supporting terrorism are making the exaggerations" about torture and that only seven detainees showed signs of abuse.
In a statement Thursday, the U.S. Embassy said Iraqi authorities had given assurances that they will investigate the conditions of detainees found Sunday night and that the abuse of prisoners "will not be tolerated by either the Iraqi government" or U.S.-led forces anywhere in the country.
"We have made clear to the Iraqi government that there must not be militia or sectarian control or direction of Iraqi security forces, facilities or ministries," the U.S. statement added.
U.S. officials have refused to say how many detainees showed signs of torture and whether most were Sunnis, pending completion of an Iraqi investigation.
Prominent Sunni Arabs have complained for months about abuse by Interior Ministry forces, whom they claim have been infiltrated by Shiite militias. The Sunnis called for an international investigation after the Jadriyah detainees were found.
The government denies the militia allegations.
Also on Friday, insurgents attacked U.S. and Iraqi troops in western Iraq, triggering fire fights that left 32 insurgents dead, a U.S. military statement said.
One U.S. Marine and an Iraqi soldier suffered minor injuries during the attack, the U.S. forces said. Most of the fighting took place around the a mosque in the center of the town.
"Marines reported that they received sustained small arms fire originating from the mosque," the statement said. "A nearby U.S. Army outpost also reported receiving enemy fire from the area surrounding the mosque."
The U.S. forces estimated that at least 50 insurgents took part in the coordinated attack, which quickly dissipated when the Iraqi and U.S. forces returned fire, the military said. Iraqi troops entered the mosque and found spent ammunition.
America's death toll rose Thursday as the U.S. military reported a U.S. Marine killed the day before in Haditha, 140 miles northwest of Baghdad. An Army soldier died Thursday in a traffic accident near Beiji, 155 miles north of Baghdad and a second soldier died in another accident near Balad, the command said.
MIM: Note that the Iraqi Interior Minister further justifies the treatment implying that the prisoners deserved it because "the prisoners were terrorists who killed scores of Iraqi children". So, if Muslims torture and abuse other Muslims who attack Muslims any kind of treatment is considered humane - since they were not"killed or beheaded".
'OK, There Were Signs of Torture,' Iraqi Says
The minister, a Shiite, contends that Sunnis held at a makeshift jail had not been illegally seized. The case points up sectarian divisions.
By John Daniszewski, Times Staff Writer
BAGHDAD — In a case roiling Iraq's fragile political system, the nation's Shiite Muslim interior minister sought Thursday to justify the actions of security forces accused of starving and beating 169 mostly Sunni prisoners, while acknowledging that at least seven of the detainees had been tortured.
Interior Minister Bayan Jabr, who has had ties to a Shiite militia, argued that prisoners found in a bunker-like Baghdad facility that U.S. troops entered Sunday night had been legally arrested based on proper evidence and documents. Jabr added that in many cases, the prisoners were terrorists who had killed scores of innocent Iraqi children.
OK, there were signs of torture," Jabr said. "And for that we will punish those responsible. But there were no killings and no beheadings, as some have said."
The U.S. Embassy, however, reacted sharply, issuing a statement that warned, "Even one case is too much, anywhere, at anyplace and anytime, in Iraq."
The U.S. also said it would not tolerate sectarian militias controlling Iraqi jails or running other security functions.
"We have made clear to the Iraqi government that there must not be militia or sectarian control or direction of Iraqi security forces, facilities or ministries," said embassy spokesman Jim Bullock. "The U.S. will assist the Iraqi government in every way to conduct a fair investigation."
With national parliamentary elections scheduled for Dec. 15, the furor has cast a spotlight on two key questions concerning Iraq's political future: whether the nation's major ethnic and religious groups can live together under the rule of law and whether Iraq will revert to a system in which the group in power feels entitled to exploit the others with impunity.
During the Saddam Hussein era, Iraq's Sunni Arab minority dominated the military and political hierarchies, and Shiites and Kurds were often persecuted. Now, the once-victimized groups control the nascent government, and the Sunnis are seen as the primary force behind the bloody insurgency.
Jabr, the interior minister, has links to the Shiite-run Badr Brigade militia, which Sunni politicians have accused of sectarian violence. His defense of his employees was a sharp departure from the Iraqi government's initial response to the prison discovery when confronted by senior U.S. officials. Both Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari and Deputy Interior Minister Hussein Ali Kamal acknowledged that the prisoners were tortured and promised a speedy cleanup.
U.S. military officials, publicly and privately, have also expressed little doubt that the Interior Ministry facility was used for abuse.
At a news conference Thursday, Army Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch provided a fuller account of what the troops led by Brig. Gen. Karl Horst saw and did when they went to the facility looking for a missing 15-year-old boy, who still has not been found.
"When he entered … Gen. Horst saw 169 individuals that had been detained. Some of those individuals looked like they had been abused, malnourished and mistreated," Lynch said. "Gen. Horst and his soldiers took control of the facility, took appropriate actions with the Iraqi leadership and the Iraqi government."
Medical treatment was ordered for the inmates after the discovery. Next, they were transferred to the U.S.-run prison complex at Abu Ghraib to have more room and better food and care. Abu Ghraib was at the center of a scandal last year involving abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. military personnel.
Some Sunni Arabs voiced satisfaction Thursday, saying their allegations that the Shiite-led ruling coalition has allowed Shiite militias to arrest, abuse, torture and, in some cases, kill Sunnis had been proved by American forces.
Others argued that the discovery demonstrated that today's Shiite-dominated special security services were capable of as much cruelty as that inflicted by Hussein's secret police, who abused prisoners in scores of facilities, including Abu Ghraib.
Some political analysts predict that the reports of abuse will work against the mainly Shiite United Iraqi Alliance, which won the January election, and enhance the stature of former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, a secular Shiite whose electoral coalition attempts to transcend divisions by including Sunnis and prominent members of all groups.
"This definitely will work against the alliance in the voting," said Qataib Ibrahim Jabbouri, a parliamentary candidate in Tikrit running on Allawi's slate. In 2003, Allawi was himself the subject of rumors that he had executed prisoners in a Baghdad jail, a charge he has denied.
"We Sunnis are so happy that the Americans showed the truth of what the Sunnis have been saying all along," said retired biology teacher Sadi Jumma. Others questioned why U.S. troops, the strongest force in the country, had waited so long to act on the accusations.
"I think the Americans know about what was happening, but the timing reveals that they have chosen to [hurt] the Shiite government now and make the people go for Allawi," said Awni Dabbagh, a 29-year-old Sunni. "Those Badr Brigade members really hate the Sunnis, and they are more Iranians than Iraqi."
Alisha Ryu, a reporter for Voice of America who watched the 169 prisoners file into buses late Monday, just 24 hours after they were found, said they appeared emaciated, "like concentration camp victims." About a third had bruises or cuts on their faces, she added.
The prisoners were all males, mostly in their 20s and 30s, she said.
A non-Iraqi who slipped inside the facility without permission Monday told reporters that the ground-level rooms that housed the prisoners were permeated with the stench of excrement. The same person, who requested anonymity, said one apparent instrument of torture was found, a mace-like steel rod with ball bearings on its end thought to be used in beatings.
The facility has remained closed despite promises to open it to journalists. U.S. officials so far have not provided the media access to the facility while the case is being investigated.
Reflecting the political sensitivities of the moment, both Lynch and the U.S. Embassy's Bullock made efforts to congratulate Jafari's decision to investigate the abuse and worked to smooth over any apparent conflict with the current government.
"What's important is that the prime minister and his good offices have decided to convene this investigative panel with investigative judges and require them to look specifically at these allegations, and that panel has our full support," Lynch said. "All of the questions will be answered as a result of this investigation."
The broad U.S. aim seems to be to strike a balance among Iraq's factions so that the majority of Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds have enough confidence in the emerging legal and political system to work for its success and steer the country toward some form of national reconciliation.
U.S. officials are banking on a successful election in less than three weeks to determine the makeup of the government that will hold power for the next four years and, U.S. leaders hope, establish enough stability to allow U.S. troops to go home.
London Bureau Chief Daniszewski is currently on assignment in Iraq. Times staff writers Suhail Ahmad, Caesar Ahmed and Saif Rasheed contributed to this report.
MIM: Another textbook example of how Muslims justify violence if it is committed by Muslims against Muslims reveals that to Islamists Muslims are always the victims - and anyone who is non Muslim is a legitimate target.
It is astounding how Abdul Rahman Al Rashed, the head of Al Arabiya TV (what is claimed to be a 'moderate' station), , repeats the now thoroughly debunked lies that the Muslims who were electrocuted of were "being being pursued by police", and disingenously asserts (in a piece today) that we do "not consider the events as terrorism or organised not now at least". Rashed then whitewashes the riots in Paris as simply " an outburst of anger" making a gratuitous comparison between burning a car and detonating a building.This foray into disinformation could have come from Al Jazeera.
This Arab mentality of "well it's not as bad as something else we could have done- so it's okay" " and " if Muslims do it its always justifiable because they are poor hapless victims - unless of course Muslims are the victims" is more proof that the outrage over the alleged Koran descration, and the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib had nothing to do with concern for the welfare of the prisoners, or respect for holy objects and places and was simply a cynical use of religous and humanitarian terminology to justify the destruction manifestation of a pathological hatred of non Muslims and everything associated with the West.
http://aawsat.com/english/news.asp?section=2&id=2719 The Clear difference between Amman and Paris
Friday 18 November 2005 Abdul Rahman Al Rashed
A reader disagreed with my denunciation of extremism with its terrorist repercussions and my understanding of the justifications for the continuous riots in France. The reader questioned whether there was any notable difference between what happened in the Jordanian capital and what has been happening in the French capital for the past few weeks.
The answer is yes. There is a big difference between rebellion that comes as a result of maltreatment and negligence on one hand, and waging war upon a people and a regime on the other. There is a big difference between burning a car and detonating a building. There is a big difference between unrest and terrorism.
What is taking place in France until now is the outburst of anger that increased substantially after the deaths of two young men who were electrocuted as they were pursued by police. Whatever the reasons were for this flight from the police, this incident was evidently what sparked the fires of France. The spreading of chaos in France is a mere reflection of people"s anger towards the government. The brewing of anger lasted for quite a long time and is now transforming into a state of chaos, particularly in the resembling districts in France.
Despite the powerful justifications of these rebellious acts, we do not say that these are wrong practices especially in a democratic country like France, which allows for the freedom of political activity and freedom of expression. We do not categorize the events in France as terrorism nor as organized action, until now at least.
We may agree with the complaints of the rioters, who are mainly of Arab and African origin, but disagree with the way in which they have expressed their anger.
France is a country that enjoys freedom of speech. If there is a matter to protest against, society can do so in the form of a demonstration, with its clear demands for everyone to see and hear, which even the police or army cannot prohibit.
Unfortunately, the rioters have wasted their efforts. Rioting for the sake of releasing fury without making clear demands is the manner of a backwards people. Political mobilization rather than violence was the option available to them that may have provided a solution to their predicament.
The angry rioters however, can change rather than simply expressing their anger. They can change their situation through parliamentary representation, electing those who can represent them in municipalities, local councils and parliament and even in the race for presidency. These are the advantages of an open system that was designed for those whose demands have not been met. The system allows them to protest peacefully for their voices to be heard without having to resort to starting fires, the use of guns or merely complaining about their situation in cafes.
As for terrorism, it is a crime that no society can purge itself of unless it openly wages war against terrorists and destroys it from its roots. Those who are unable to see the major difference between the criminals that assassinated the wedding guests in Amman because of a difference in thinking, and those who burn cars in the poor districts of France, are simply blind.
The anger that is prevalent among the less advantaged French immigrants can be understood completely, however, what one cannot understand nor accept are the actions of Al-Qaeda, its affiliated groups and their ideology that aims at the deliberate murder of civilians whose ideas differ to their own.
This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/1286