OneJerusalem.com

a different side of Israel

Category: Iraq

Streets of Iraq Engulfed by Massive Sunni-led Rallies

Thousands of protestors consumed the streets and major highways of Fallujah in Iraq as they rally against Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his government.

The demonstration was the largest of a series of week-long rallies led by the Sunni minority as they band together to put pressure on Maliki and his government, which is led by a Shia majority.

Separate rallies have also taken place in Mosul with protestors accusing the government of unequal treatment and a call for the release of Sunni prisoners. Other locations like Samarra and Tikrit also became a focal point for massive demonstrations with province officials and legislators getting involved and echoing their support.

The protests began after 10 bodyguards belonging to the finance minister – who is one of the few Sunni senior officials in the government – were detained. Protestors are accusing Maliki and his administration of marginalizing the Sunni minority by not equally distributing the power and denying them equal rights and privileges.

The main highway in Ramadi had to be barricaded for the fifth day straight, which brought a halt to transit and the transportation of government supplies.

As the demonstration rages on, Maliki spoke at a conference in Baghdad and warned that continued civil unrest could lead to sectarian conflict and bring the country back into the dark days when people would kill each other over trivial religious differences. He also condemned the protestors in Anbar for blocking the roads and disrupting the lives of ordinary civilians.

Activists say Iraq’s current terrorism laws unfairly target and penalize Sunnis. According to a professor from Baghdad University, if the protests do not quell, the Sunnis may begin to seek their own regional autonomy in Anbar where they are the majority. This was what ultimately happened back in 1991 when the Kurds received anatomy from Saddam with the backing of the U.S.

Young Iraqis Beginning to Favor Western Style of Clothing over Traditional Garbs

Traditional outfits and modest clothing are being abandoned in favor of sleek new styles for this generation of youth in Iraq. For both young men and women, they are beginning to adopt western styles of fashion. This means skin tight jeans and high heels for girls, and slacks and spiky hairdos for guys. While the youth are enjoying more freedom with their wardrobe selection, the transition is a nightmare for the older generation who feel that customs and tradition are being abandoned in favor of what is hip and popular.

A few clerics, however, find the fashion sense to be in violation of religious morality and have took it upon themselves to dispatch a group of security guards to assume the role of fashion police and crack down on youth who dress provocatively.

Posters have also been displayed warning people, especially women, to dress conservatively and to be covered from head to toe. Posters have also reminded women to wear a head scarf.

Some residents in Baghdad have even petitioned for a law to pass to require women to be veiled when walking in public areas. The government, however, has been in support of personal freedoms and even ordered posters that enforced dress codes to be removed.

By law, women are only required to wear a headscarf when entering a mosque. Outside, however, they are encouraged to wear one out of modesty though it is certainly not against the law not to wear one.

Western styles have become more prominent ever since the U.S. invasion that lead to the topple of Saddam Hussein’s regime. More women are beginning to abandon their head scarves and favor tight fitting clothing. Men are also beginning to break from tradition by getting tattoos and piercings.

There is a clear division between the youth who value personal freedom and the older generation who maintain that traditional customs and respect for religion must be adhered to.

Women in Iraq Forced to Undergo Virginity Tests

Most countries in the Middle East have a notorious history of treating women as second class citizens. There is now even more reason to believe that women are being held to unfair standards in a male dominated society.

In Iraq, some women are now being ordered by court to take a virginity test. In most Middle Eastern societies, women are expected to remain a virgin until marriage. Sexual activity before tying the knot is considered a dishonor to the family. In more traditional villages, some women are even killed by a male relative if it is discovered that she had engaged in premarital sex.

In the Baghdad Medical Legal Institute, women are being taken into a windowless room where tests are being done to prove or disprove their virginity.

Most women are admitted when the husband suspects his wife of not being a virgin. He then takes the matter to court where a judge can order the women to undergo a virginity test.

Aside from the women, the husband may also be tested for erectile dysfunction. Often times, the man will accuse his wife of not being a virgin in order to deflect attention away from his own shame.

If the test shows that the woman is indeed not a virgin, then there is no law to protect her. Her family would also then be required to repay for all gifts and expenses given during the courtship.

The human rights organization, Amnesty International, is currently looking into the matter and has described the virginity testing as a violation of human rights. The group has also said that the tests can be inaccurate at times.

In a culture where family honor is everything, women’s rights are being trampled on through these virginity tests. It is degrading and further illustrates that women are still being viewed as inferior to their male counterparts.

Sunni and Shiite Muslims Battle for Control of Holy Site

Shiite and Sunni Muslims have been killing each other for years over trivial differences in the way they interpret the Koran. The violence took a turn for the worse in 2006 when the two sects began fighting for control over the Askariya Shrine in Samarra, a site that has been deemed holy. Since then, retaliatory attacks have been exchanged and left hundreds of civilians dead.

A recent attack by a suicide bomber who rammed his car into a Shiite religious building killed 18 and left 125 wounded. Later that day, a bomb was found lodged in the back of a Sunni Endowment office. The area was cordoned off where police safely detonated it.

Sunni and Shiite endowment offices are the logistical centers for religious matters regarding mosques and cultural locations. The two authorities have been disputing over how the Askariya shrine and surrounding perimeter should be reconstructed and developed.

While violence in Iraq has quelled in recent months, sectarian attacks remain a serious epidemic. Just a few days before, a series of bombings took place at a Shiite neighborhood market, killing 17 and injuring scores of others.

Some locals suspect that some of the attacks are orchestrated by government officials, as it is believed that some who hold office have ties to militia.

Following the 2006 bombing, an army brigade was dispatched to seize control of the shrine from the Sunni locals. This began a steady transition where rights to the shrine were given to the Shiite endowment. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, however, has taken measures to prevent full control from being granted to the Shiites. Sunni officials from Sumarra have vowed to take legal action to limit Shiite authority over the shrine.

Though Sunni Muslims are the minority, they held control over most of Iraqi policy and law. That is, until the U.S. invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein’s reign. Since then, the tide has shifted to the Shiite majority. This has created embitterment that led to the back and forth violence that has resulted in nothing other than countless civilian deaths.

Insurgency Uprising in Iraq creates more Casualties

A series of bombings erupted in Iraq over the weekend. Baghdad and its northern neighbor Kirkuk were the hardest hit and sustained the most casualties. The total number of fatalities tallied at over three dozen with more than 100 wounded.

Bombings occur in Iraq on a daily basis, though the number has diminished over the last few years. This attack, however, served as a hellish reminder that an active insurgency remains in the country and will probably not be dissipating anytime soon.

In the village of Al Malhaa, nine people were killed and 24 wounded when a series of explosions rocked the area. The village is located in Kirkuk and is largely divided between Arabs, Kurds and Turkmens, all of whom are at odds with one another over conflicting interests.

In Baghdad, an assassination attempt was made on the minister of health, Majeed Hamad Amin after a bomb was set off in the direction of his convoy. Though he escaped uninjured, the blast claimed the lives of two pedestrians.

Despite the increased onslaught of recent attacks, statistics released by the United Nations reveal that violence has remained quite steady and that Iraqi security forces have done quite well on their own since the withdrawal of American troops.

The attacks are believed to be attributed in part to political unrest. The government is lead mostly by Shiite Muslims with a small Kurdish minority. Disputes escalated between the two groups when Kurdish authorities entered a business deal with Exxon Mobil, which the Baghdad government proclaimed is illegal. The government is now threatening to withhold a portion of budget that is owed to Kurdistan.

Without the presence of an American force, Iraq is left to deal with the unrelenting sectarian violence. It is up to the Iraqi government now to find compromise over the differences that have divided its people for so long. Further division created in the political aisle will only beget more violence.

US & Israel Consulting on Iran

Some great new quotes from the US starting with State Department Deputy spokesman Mark Toner regarding the Iran Nuclear time bomb and the failure of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s to Tehran:

“This is a disappointment. It wasn’t all that surprising, frankly. But, you know, we’re going to look at the totality of the issue here and the letter and what we think is the best course of action moving forward”.

“let’s be very clear that we consult very closely with Israel on these issues,” he added. “We are very clear that we are working on this two-track approach. We believe, and are conveying to our partners, both Israel and elsewhere, that this is having an effect.”

Then, White House spokesman Jay Carney:

“We regret the failure of Iran to reach an agreement this week with the IAEA that would permit the agency to fully investigate the serious allegation raised allegations, rather, raised in its November report…”

“Unfortunately this is another demonstration of Iran’s refusal to abide by its international obligations..”

In a blatant F U finger gesture Iran raised the hopes of the world nations that still believe in Santa Clause, when it sent a letter to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton last week, raising hopes for the prospects of renewed talks with world powers. To this Carney said the United States was continuing to evaluate Iran’s intentions and that

“This particular action by Iran suggest that they have not changed their behavior when it comes to abiding by their international obligations..”

Please try and understand. Iran is building a nuclear bomb and nothing and no one will stop it. As soon as it has the weapon it will use it to change the balance of power in the Middle East and around the world. If nothing is done by force it will continue to piss on the world community. The best proof is the response Ahmadinejad gave a few days ago to Hilary Clinton’s remark “that all options are still being examined and are on the table” – to which he answered “those options can stay on the table and rot there”.

Just a little background on the Iranian mentality – Iran fought Iraq for eight years in the First Gulf War (1980-1988) – the longest Conventional War in history. And not only it did not give in, it rejected attempts for cease fire by Iraq’s Sadam Hussein: “On 21 June 1982 Khomeni rejected the Iraqi peace offer in a speech and proclaimed that Iran would invade Iraq and would not stop until the Ba’ath regime was replaced by an Islamic Shia republic. Given that Saddam’s offer of 1982 served as the basis of the 1988 ceasefire, Khomeini’s decision extended the war for the next six years”.

According to journalist Robin Wright:

“During the Fateh offensive [in February 1987], I toured the southwest front on the Iranian side and saw scores of boys, aged anywhere from nine to sixteen, who said with staggering and seemingly genuine enthusiasm that they had volunteered to become martyrs. Regular army troops, the paramilitary Revolutionary Guards and mullahs all lauded these youths, known as baseeji, for having played the most dangerous role in breaking through Iraqi lines. They had led the way, running over fields of mines to clear the ground for the Iranian ground assault. Wearing white headbands to signify the embracing of death, and shouting “Shaheed, shaheed” (Martyr, martyr) they literally blew their way into heaven. Their numbers were never disclosed. But a walk through the residential suburbs of Iranian cities provided a clue. Window after window, block after block, displayed black-bordered photographs of teenage or preteen youths.”

The Iran–Iraq War was horribly costly, it is considered one of the deadliest wars since World War II. It cost Iran an estimated 1 million casualties, killed or wounded, and Iranians continued to suffer and die as a consequence of Iraq’s use of chemical weapons. And still, not all was negative according to the Iranian government-owned Etelaat newspaper who had this to say:

“There is not a single school or town that is excluded from the happiness of “holy defence” of the nation, from drinking the exquisite elixir of martyrdom, or from the sweet death of the martyr, who dies in order to live forever in paradise.”

Get the picture?

© 2014 OneJerusalem.com

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑