Source: BBC Monitoring Iraq Briefing 0400 gmt 2 Aug 04.
(From BBC Monitoring International Reports)
The following is a round-up of the latest reports relating to Iraq and reaction to developments there in the surrounding region, available to BBC Monitoring as of 0400 gmt. This service is filed twice a day at 0400 gmt and 1600 gmt.
In this edition:
DEFENCE AND SECURITY
IRAQI BROADCAST MEDIA
REGIONAL BROADCAST MEDIA
DEFENCE AND SECURITY
Christian churches targeted in wave of violence: At least six bombs exploded during evening prayers at churches in Baghdad and the northern city of Mosul on Sunday, 1 August, in what appeared to be a targeted assault on Iraq’s small but influential Christian minority, AFP reported police as saying. Police and medical workers confirmed at least ten people were killed, and dozens were injured. The wave of bombings marked the first attacks specifically aimed at Christians since the US-led invasion last year, the agency said. A police witness said a suicide bomber detonated the first car-bomb outside the Armenian church in the upmarket Al-Karradah district. The blast was followed a few minutes later by the explosion at the nearby Syriac church. Bishop Raphael Kutami at the Syriac church in Baghdad told AFP there were a lot of women and children attending mass, as it was a Sunday. The worst devastation occurred at a large church and seminary complex in southern Baghdad, Al-Dura, an AFP correspondent said, where six were reported dead. Police reported a fourth explosion in Baghdad, outside a Chaldean Catholic church in the east of the city. In Mosul, 370 kilometres (230 miles) north of Baghdad, two car bombs exploded in the early evening outside a Syrian-rite church, a security official, Major Muhammad Umar Taha, said. Medical staff said one person was killed and 11 were wounded in the bombings. In Kirkuk, police said an explosion went off in a Christian residential neighbourhood, but that there were no casualties. (AFP 1828 gmt 01 Aug 04)
Al-Sadr aide blames US, Israel’s Mossad for Iraq bombings: Shaykh Abd-al-Hadi al-Darraji, spokesman for Iraqi Shi’i cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s office, denounced on 1 August the explosions that took place at a number of Christian churches in the country that day. In an interview with Qatari Al-Jazeera satellite TV, Al-Darraji said they were “terrorist operations” and blamed the “occupation forces” and the Iraqi interim government, saying that the latter had still not been given full responsibility for security in the country. He also said Al-Sadr’s supporters held “the occupation forces and the Israeli Mossad” responsible for the blasts as they were attempting to “create chaos and sedition and to blame the Islamists for it”. Al-Darraji said the Israeli intelligence services had been working in Iraq since the fall of the Saddam government, adding: “Consequently, the Israeli Mossad plays a great role in such bombings that take place inside Iraqi mosques and churches and against the Iraqi people.” (Al-Jazeera TV 1703 gmt 1 Aug 04)
Vatican very concerned about attacks on churches: The Vatican on 1 August described as “very worrying” the attacks against Christian churches in Iraq, which a spokesman said was intended to increase tension. “It is terrible and very worrying because it is the first time that Christian places of worship have been targeted in Iraq,” AFP quoted the Rev Ciro Benedettini as saying. “It seems that someone wants to increase tension by trying to hit all groups, the churches included.” The attacks, aimed at various Catholic and Orthodox rite communities in Baghdad, Mosul and Kirkuk, killed at least 10 people and injured dozens of others, the agency said. (AFP 1911 gmt 01 Aug 04)
Iraq forms “rapid deployment forces” to deal with attacks: Adnan al-Asadi, undersecretary of the Iraqi Interior Ministry, announced on 1 August the formation of “rapid deployment forces” in Baghdad and in all the Iraqi governorates to confront the wave of violence targeting the country, Dubai-based news channel Al-Arabiya TV reported. He said their job would be to “track down the criminals, gangs and groups engaged in carrying out abductions, killings, looting, bombings and assassinations”. Al-Asadi said that the ministry would enlist the help of public security officers who worked for the former regime and who did not have a criminal record, to work in the new security directorate. (Al-Arabiya TV, Dubai, in Arabic 1613 gmt 1 Aug 04)
Three Iraqi policemen shot dead, four wounded in Kirkuk: Three policemen were shot dead and four wounded on 1 August as they were eating on the terrace of a restaurant in Iraq’s main northern oil centre of Kirkuk, AFP quoted police as saying. Gunmen in two Opel cars fired a hail of bullets at members of two police patrol units as they were having supper at the Kabab Rashid restaurant at around 1900 gmt, said General Mu’nis Ishaq. (AFP 1947 gmt 01 Aug 04)
“At least” ten dead in Al-Fallujah: Hospital sources in Al-Fallujah said that at least 10 Iraqis were killed and 40 wounded in the town on 1 August, in battles between US troops and rocket and mortar-equipped insurgents, AFP reported. Powerful explosions were reported to rock the Al-Askari neighbourhood in the northeastern part of Al-Fallujah in what appeared to be a US bombardment of the city. US Marines called in an air strike against a building in the city’s industrial neighbourhood from where insurgents were suspected to be firing on a military post, the agency said. (AFP 1828 gmt 01 Aug 04)
Kenya announces hostage release: Kenyan Foreign Affairs Minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere said on 1 August that three Kenyan hostages being held in Iraq had been released and were “in the hands of the Egyptian embassy in Baghdad”. Speaking in remarks broadcast on Kenyan Nation TV, Mwakwere said the hostages were in good health and he looked forward to hearing their account of their detention. The TV said that the families of the three Kenyans were jubilant at the news. AFP also reported that Mwakwere had told the agency that the three Indians and one Egyptian being held with the Kenyans had also been released. (Nation TV, Nairobi, in Swahili 1600 gmt 1 Aug 04; AFP 1424 gmt 1 Aug 04)
India, Egypt deny knowledge of hostage release: India’s Junior Minister for External Affairs, E. Ahammed, said the government had had no confirmation of the reports about the release of hostages. “I wish to convey that as of now, we have no confirmation of their release,” Indian news agency PTI quoted him as saying. “Neither our embassy in Baghdad nor our embassy in Kuwait have been able to confirm this.” (PTI news agency 1703 gmt 1 Aug 04)
An Egyptian official on 1 August also denied that any hostages were safely inside his country’s embassy in Baghdad. The official, who asked AFP not to be named, said: “All of this is not true and we are still making contacts to secure the release of the hostages,” adding, “We are hopeful of a positive outcome.” (AFP 1703 gmt 01 Aug 04)
Kuwaiti firm denies hostages free, says “sacrifice” made to attain release: Rana Abu-Zaynah, a spokeswoman for the Kuwaiti Al-Rabitah Company employing the drivers being held hostage in Iraq, said in an interview with Dubai-based news channel Al-Arabiya TV that the report of the hostages’ release was untrue. She said the issue had been “misunderstood by the Kenyan minister”. She said, however, that “positive negotiations” had been held and that they were hoping for good news soon. She added that the company had offered “all that is reasonable and logical in order to release the hostages” and confirmed that the firm had made a “sacrifice” to achieve the hostages’ release, but declined to specify what it was. (Al-Arabiya TV, Dubai, in Arabic 1500 gmt 1 Aug 04)
Iraqi mediator says hostage talks over: An Iraqi mediator trying to secure the release of seven foreign hostages in Iraq said on 1 August that negotiations had broken down, and that the kidnappers had threatened to take what they called “the appropriate action”. BBC World Service quoted a spokesman for the mediator, Hisham al-Dulaymi, as saying he’d withdrawn from the talks, blaming their collapse on the Kuwaiti company which employed the kidnapped men. The seven, three Kenyans, three Indians and an Egyptian, were working as truck drivers taking supplies from Kuwait to Iraq when they were taken hostage. Earlier, the mediator denied a statement from the Kenyan foreign ministry that the men had all been released. (BBC World Service 1651 gmt 01 Aug 04)
One Lebanese hostage released: The Foreign Ministry in Lebanon announced on 1 August that one of two Lebanese businessmen taken hostage in Iraq on 30 July had been released, BBC World Service reported. He was named as Vladimir Dama’a. He was seized at gunpoint from the offices of a construction firm he ran, which sold prefabricated buildings to American forces in Iraq. There was no immediate word on the fate of the second Lebanese hostage, Antoine Antoun, who was kidnapped at about the same time, the radio added. (BBC World Service 1833 gmt 01 Aug 04)
Turkish lorry driver reported missing: A Turkish truck driver is missing in Iraq after reportedly coming under an armed attack on a road linking Baghdad and Tikrit, his brother told Anatolia news agency on 1 August, AFP reported. Abdulvahap Alkan said relatives lost contact last month with Tevfik Alkan, a father of seven children from the village of Akoba in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir. Alkan said he had learnt “from other truck drivers” that his brother had come under attack while transporting construction materials from southern Turkey to Iraq. “But we do not believe he is dead. I will go to Iraq to find him,” he added. (AFP 1628 gmt 01 Aug 04)
Official slams “irregularities” in vote for National Conference delay: An official taking part in arranging the Iraqi National Conference said, in remarks published in Lebanese newspaper Al-Mustaqbal on 31 July, that Iraqi politicians would spend the next two weeks ahead of the event hammering out an agreement leading to an increase in the number of members of the interim parliament from 100 members to 150-200. Salam Smaysim, identified as a member of the higher preparatory committee of the Iraqi National Conference, accused committee chief Fu’ad Ma’sum of impropriety in the way he held a vote on the postponement of the conference. She said “only two” of those present supported the proposal, which she deemed to have been ultimately imposed on the meeting. She denied that the Shi’i authority Ali al-Sistani played any role in the selection of candidates for the National Conference and said that a campaign would be launched in the next few days to acquaint the public with the candidates. (Al-Mustaqbal, Beirut, in Arabic 31 Jul 04)
Allawi tells Kuwaitis Iraq upholds UN resolutions on eve of invasion anniversary: Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi assured his Kuwaiti hosts on 1 August that Baghdad upholds UN resolutions demarcating the border between the two countries and providing for war reparations, AFP reported quoting KUNA. “We believe that relations between Iraq and Kuwait are stronger than UN resolutions, although we are committed to UN resolutions,” it quoted Allawi as saying. However, Allawi hinted that Iraq would seek to discuss with Kuwait the issue of reparations stemming from the seven-month occupation of the emirate by the forces of deposed Iraqi President Saddam Husayn in 1990-1991. “We are prepared to talk with the leaders in Kuwait and the Kuwaiti people about development and reconstruction operations,” he said, urging the Kuwaiti private sector to take part in rebuilding Iraq. Allawi’s remarks came on the eve of the 14th anniversary of the August 2, 1990 Iraqi invasion, which both sides have said they want to put behind them. (AFP 2147 gmt 1 Aug 04)
Iraqi premier reportedly cancels visit to Iran: Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi cancelled a visit to Iran and chose instead to send a delegation at undersecretarial level to meet Iranian officials, London-based newspaper Al-Hayat reported on 1 August. The newspaper said it had learnt of the cancellation from a “senior Iraqi official” and said that the decision was taken “to protest Tehran’s interference in Iraq’s domestic affairs”. (Al-Hayat web site 1 Aug 04)
Iranian defence minister says Iraqi counterpart’s comments on Iran insignificant: The Iranian Minister of Defence Ali Shamkhani said on 1 August that the Iraqi defence minister had “not said anything significant” when he was reported to have commented recently that Iran was an enemy of Iraq. Shamkhani criticized the minister for using language “used by the Israeli and American defence ministers”. “This does not befit a defence minister,” he added. (ISNA web site, Tehran, in Persian 1321 gmt 1 Aug 04)
Arab League chief reports “no desire” to send troops to Iraq: Arab League Secretary-General Amr Musa said on 1 August that Arab and Islamic countries had no desire to dispatch troops to Iraq, Egyptian news agency MENA reported. Addressing a press conference in Jedda whilst on a visit to Saudi Arabia, Musa denied that he was against the Saudi proposals, saying that the Arab League would put the Saudi ideas on Arab troop deployment up for discussion. Musa said what was proposed by Saudi Arabia was not an initiative but rather ideas aiming at achieving withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq and helping the Iraqi government stabilize the situation. (MENA news agency 1638 gmt 1 Aug 04)
Bangladesh yet to receive Saudi proposal on troops for Iraq – minister: Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister M. Morshed Khan has said that the country has not yet received any proposal from Saudi Arabia for the formation of a Muslim security force for Iraq, the Daily Star web site reported on 2 August. Khan said the country’s stance on sending troops to Iraq remained unchanged. He said several issues needed to be discussed before reaching any decision on sending troops. (The Daily Star web site 2 Aug 04)
Editorial says Pakistan must not send troops to Iraq: Pakistani newspaper Nawa-i-Waqt on 31 July carried an editorial saying that Pakistan must not become part of any force of foreign troops in Iraq and that it should “clearly announce that it has no connection with any such proposal”. The editorial claimed the US was “forcing” Muslim countries to send troops to Iraq, “to weaken the resistance movement and to strengthen its illegal occupation”, and said that “unfortunately, the Pakistani president and the Saudi foreign minister are promoting this ridiculous proposition”. It called on the US to hand over Iraq to the United Nations to establish peace there. (Nawa-i-Waqt 31 Jul 04)
IRAQI BROADCAST MEDIA
Iraqi Islamic Party Dar al-Salam Radio 1000 gmt 1 Aug 04: The US “occupation” forces free 128 prisoners at Abu Ghurayb prison … A car bomb kills five Iraqis in the Iraqi city of Mosul, and 10 Iraqis are killed in US air raids on the city of Al-Fallujah … An armed group in Iraq kidnaps two Turkish drivers in Iraq and asks the Turkish company for which they are working to withdraw from Iraq. A Turkish driver held in Iraq for 12 days has been freed … The Lebanese Foreign Ministry says two Lebanese citizens were kidnapped in Iraq yesterday. India is planning to evacuate 6,000 of its nationals from Iraq … The Jordanian Foreign Ministry says contacts are under way to free the Jordanians kidnapped in Iraq … NATO is planning to dispatch the first batch of officers to Iraq to train Iraqi security forces … The Algerian foreign minister says his country will not dispatch any troops to Iraq. Kuwait says it will study the Saudi initiative to deploy Islamic troops in Iraq … An armed group in Iraq condemns proposals to deploy Arab or Islamic troops in Iraq.
Al-Iraqiyah TV 1600 gmt 1 August 04: Bomb blasts near churches in Baghdad and Mosul. Video report covers blasts, condemns them. Bomb goes off in Baghdad, killing two and injuring two others … Five killed and over 50 injured in car bomb blast outside Mosul police station ; eight killed in Fallujah clashes between gunmen and multinational force … Kuwait Emir Jabir al-Ahmad al-Sabah meets Iraq Prime Minister Iyad Allawi. Video report covers talks in Kuwait, visit coinciding with anniversary of Iraq invasion of Kuwait, Allawi Arab tour … Report on 14th anniversary of Iraq invasion of Kuwait … Iraq defence ministry to form three new infantry units. Video report highlights decision, units to be deployed on borders, new army … Dozens prisoners released from Abu-Ghurayb prison. Video report covers release, role of clans in release, joint presser of American prison chief and clan chief … Interior ministry to open new passport offices. Video report highlights public grievances over staff under increasing pressure and resulting inefficiency, passport staff speaking about difficult office environment and work pressure … Studio interview with director general of passport department. He talks about problems facing department … Air traffic control at Baghdad airport handed over to Iraqis by Australian troops … Fire brigades at Baghdad airport get new fire fighting equipment … Police tighten security at checkpoint on border with Syria … Paper industry workers demand salary revision … Basra police remove small boats moored along Shat-al-Arab to restore coastline road … Iranian foreign minister denies his country involvement in destabilising Iraq … Business bulletin: Iraq electricity minister signs power station construction deal with German firm. Report on conference for promoting women in business. Report on efforts to upgrade Basra power stations. Report on improved economic conditions in Basra. IMF approves Turkey loans. Seven Asian countries agree to boost regional trade.
Al-Zaman 2 August headlines: 28 Iraqis killed in separate attacks, one US soldier killed near Samara … Six suicide bombs against churches in Baghdad, Mosul on Sunday mass … Arab League: criteria for Arab military role unavailable, Riyadh’s condition: withdrawal of multi national troops before arrival of Muslim forces in Iraq … Release of seven hostages, kidnap of two Lebanese businessmen … Israel demands Washington to stop missile deal to Jordan … Algeria hesitant on opening its borders with Morocco following scrap of visa requirement by Morocco … Attack on electricity station in Najaf, suspension of Al-Amarra council … Australian ground navigators hand over Baghdad Airport to Iraqis … Yemen biggest market for smuggling arms to Somalia, fifth fleet in Bahrain chases pirates in gulfs of Aden and Amman … Patriot missiles, submarines to protect Olympics in Athens.
Iraqi newspapers dated 1st August highlight the following issues:
I. Political Developments and Comments
Al-Mu’tamar publishes on its front page a 1,000-word report discussing the widespread administrative corruption in state establishments. The report cites “different sources in Iraqi ministries” as saying that these ministries have become similar to those of Saddam. The main aim of involved officials is to make illegal gains. The sources added that “parasitic agents, brokers, and thieves” are surrounding a number of the newly appointed officials in certain ministries, forming networks for cheating and stealing to make fast money. The newspaper says it has received many letters from people complaining about corruption in a number of state offices as is the case these days when people are trying to obtain passports, building licenses, contracts, and others, the report adds.
Al-Mu’tamar publishes on its front page a 100-word report stating that a delegation comprising a number of Iraqi experts and economists headed by Dr Ahmad Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi Congress Party, has left for Tehran to attend the two-day Iraqi-Iranian economic cooperation forum organized by the Iraq Reconstruction Committee in cooperation with the Iranian Foreign Ministry and will begin on Sunday 2 August.
Al-Mu’tamar publishes on its front page a 120-word report noting that President Ghazi Ajil al-Yawir received in his office Dr Mudar Shawkat, a leader in the Iraqi Congress Party, to discuss the political process and economic stability in the country. Al-Yawir emphasized the importance of political independence and national unity and called for forming of a “reconstruction council” to set plans for reconstructing the infrastructure, which has been neglected for decades.
Al-Adalah publishes on its front page a 100-word report quoting SCIRI leader Abd-al-Aziz al-Hakim, in his meeting with a US Time magazine correspondent, affirming the importance of enlightening the Iraqi people about the elections, adding that the main goal is to impose peace in Iraq.
Al-Adalah publishes on page 2 a 600-word report citing Al-Sayyid Muhammad al-Haydari, imam of the Al-Khullani Mosque and SCIRI’s official in charge of the Cultural and Information Bureau, in his last Friday prayer sermon [on 30 July] at the Al-Khullani Mosque in Baghdad, as saying that the National Conference is merely a step in the right direction and does not represent our goal of general elections. Al-Haydari added that the election of Islamic trends in a number of governorates is the reason behind the UN pressure to postpone the conference.
Al-Adalah publishes on page 6 a 2,000-word interview with Youth and Sport Minister Ali Fa’iq al-Ghaban explaining his ministry’s plans to develop sports in Iraq. Al-Ghaban said that the Finance Ministry allocated $12 million for this year and promised to increase next year’s budget for his ministry.
Al-Mashriq publishes on its front page a 1,000-word report commenting on the postponement of the expanded National Conference. The report says that the reasons for the postponement are: the boycotting of the conference by essential forces such as Muslim Ulema Council, Al-Sadr Trend, Iraqi Islamic Party and Al-Khalisi, which called for a counter conference, and the UN envoy’s threat not to give international legitimacy to the conference.
Al-Mashriq publishes on its front page a 200-word report citing Al-Sadr Aide Shaykh Ali Sumysim as saying that the Iraqi police and National Guard attempted to arrest him on Saturday, 31 July. Sumysim added that the Iraqi police and National Guard prevented people from attending the Friday prayer sermon at Al-Kufah mosque.
Al-Mashriq publishes on page 4 a 100-word report stating that the Christian political parties in Baghdad protested because they were not invited to participate in the local election of the representatives of al-Rasafah District in Baghdad to the national Conference.
Al-Manar al-Yawm publishes on its front page a 1,000-word report on the meeting of US Secretary of State Powell with the Iraqi President Ghazi Ajil al-Yawir. The report cites Al-Yawir as saying: “We regard the US as our strategic partners.” Powell warned Iran not to interfere in Iraq’s internal affairs especially in the south.
Al-Bayyinah publishes on its front page a 200-word article criticizing the US Administration and Iraqi President Ghazi Ajil al-Yawir for “opposing the people’s will” in an attempt to limit the Islamic forces’ role in the political and construction process by postponing the National Conference and their secret attempts to postpone or perhaps cancel the upcoming general elections scheduled for early next year.
Al-Bayyinah publishes on its front page a 400-word editorial criticizing the Iraqi government and Interior Minister Falah al-Naqib for the arrest of Al-Shira chief editor for publishing a report criticizing the Iraqi Intelligence Agency. The article says that any journalist revealing negative points against the government may be arrested in future. The editorial adds that this incident constitutes a massive violation of the rights included in the State Administration Law.
Al-Bayyinah publishes on its front page a 100-word report citing western sources in Baghdad as saying that the US will urge Iraq to submit an official request to Kuwait to obtain access to the Persian Gulf and to discuss the issue of Umm-Qasr, Warbah, and Bubyan Islands.
Al-Bayyinah publishes on page 3 a 2,200-word article discussing Iraq’s relations with its neighbours in the wake of Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi’s tour. The article emphasizes the importance of establishing strong relations based on mutual respect and non-interference in internal affairs with all neighbouring countries. The article says that Allawi’s visit came because of the failure of the meetings of the foreign ministers of Iraq’s neighbouring countries in Cairo recently to contain terrorism in the country. The article says that Syria plans to protect the former Ba’thists; Saudi Arabia, for sectarian reasons, encourages some of the sabotage operations in Iraq; Kuwait has not got rid of its hatred of Iraq; and Iran should ensure Iraq’s stability to avoid US aggression. It notes that Turkey and Jordan have strong economic ties with Iraq.
Al-Bayyinah publishes on page 5 a 1,500-word interview with Fu’ad Ma’sum, head of the Higher Preparatory Committee responsible for the expanded National Conference, discussing the significance of holding local elections in the governorates and the expanded National Conference to enhance the democratic experience and traditions in the country after decades of dictatorship. Ma’sum said that only three trends including Al-Sadr have boycotted the conference and the doors are open for their participation until the last minute.
Al-Bayyinah publishes on page 14 a 1,200-word report discussing the reasons behind the postponement of the National Conference. The report says that although the national forces represented by Iraqi political parties and movements and the higher committee made successful preparations for the conference, the forces of evil moved to ensure the failure of the conference through the unjustified interference of the UN to postpone it. The US intelligence agency was not happy with the results of the local elections in the governorates. The report criticizes former UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi’s programme that is pursued by his assistant Jamal Bin-Umar, which includes the involvement of nationalists and Wahabis in the political process.
Al-Bayyinah publishes on page 14 a 1,200-word “exclusive” report citing Hasan al-Sari, secretary general of Hezbollah in Iraq, as saying that the general elections are the best solution for the political violence and chaos in Iraq. Commenting on the postponement of the National Conference, al-Sari said that we fear that the US will return to its previous style of appointment as was the case with the dissolved IGC.
Al-Dustur publishes on its front page a 200-word editorial saying that the distinction between terrorism and resistance has become clear. The Iraqi resistance believes in ending the occupation using armed resistance, while the goal of terrorism is the failure of the entire political process in Iraq. Opening dialogue with the Iraqi resistance is an urgent necessity to heal the wounds in national unity, which threaten the entire political process in the country, especially that the Preparatory Committee has failed to involve all political forces in the process.
Al-Dustur publishes on its front page a 60-word report citing well-informed sources as saying that the US forces will hand over the airfield and aviation tower at Baghdad International Airport to the Iraqi authorities.
Al-Ittijah al-Akhar on 31 July publishes on page 3 a 1,200-word report criticizing the occupation forces’ conduct on the highways. The report says that the US troops shoot at any car that approaches or tries to overtake their patrol.
Al-Nahdah carries a 500-word report on a meeting chaired by Adnan Pachachi, leader of the Iraqi Independent Democrats Grouping, and attended by the heads of the grouping’s branches in the Iraqi governorates to discuss the political situation and the forthcoming elections in Iraq. Addressing the conferees, Pachachi says: “he is confident that the general elections early next year to choose the first Iraqi national assembly under the canopy of freedom and democracy will be a success.” After explaining the various stages of the elections process, Pachachi outlines the main points of the programme of his party for the elections. Pachachi says “the main objectives of his grouping is to provide job opportunities for the unemployed, appoint graduates, upgrade the level of the necessary services, adopt a solid economic policy, safeguard the Arab identity, spread basic liberties, and enhance women’s capabilities to enable them to assume their full and effective role in Iraq’s reconstruction.”
II. Security and Military Developments
Al-Mu’tamar publishes on its front page a 100-word report citing a Borders Guard source as saying that these forces arrested 60 Afghan nationals who crossed the borders from Iran. The source said that only 16 of them carried passports, adding that they were not armed and perhaps wanted to visit the holy shrines in Al-Najaf and Karbala.
Al-Adalah publishes on its front page a 70-word report citing an official source at the Interior Ministry as saying that the Iraqi police have arrested the gang responsible for a number of kidnappings including the kidnapping of Dr Walid al-Khayyal in Baghdad a few months ago.
Al-Adalah publishes on its front page a 50-word report citing a well-informed source at the Interior Ministry as saying that corruption and misconduct are openly exercised in the ministry. The source added that former police officers are reinstated for short periods during which they are promoted to higher ranks and retired immediately afterward to obtain higher pensions.
Al-Adalah publishes on its front page a 50-word report stating that a number of mortar grenades hit the Ministry of Migration and Displaced People in Baghdad on 30 July, injuring a guard.
Al-Dustur publishes on its front page a 70-word report citing eyewitnesses as saying that fierce fighting occurred yesterday, 31 July between the US forces and gunmen in Al-Fallujah when a US patrol tried to enter the city.
Al-Dustur publishes on its front page a 200-word report stating that US forces handed over Al-Rashid sector in Baghdad to the Iraqi army yesterday 31 July. The report cites a US officer as saying that his forces will withdraw from the sector and will intervene only at the Iraqi forces’ request. The officer said that all other sectors will soon be controlled by the Iraqi security forces.
Al-Dustur publishes on its front page a 100-word report citing a police source as saying that US forces arrested Al-Sadr aide in Karbala Mithal al Hasnawi yesterday, 31 July.
Al-Dustur publishes on its front page a 140-word report citing an Iraqi National Guard officer as saying that the Iraqi security forces have arrested a number of terrorist elements responsible for kidnapping foreigners in Iraq. The source added that during interrogation, they admitted that they were trained abroad and came to train and recruit other elements in Iraq. The interrogation has also revealed the involvement of some of Iraq’s neighbouring countries, the source added.
Al-Dustur publishes on page 4 a 140-word report citing a police source as saying that the leader of the Al-Fadilah Party in al-Mahmudiyah city, 30 km south of Baghdad, was assassinated on Friday, 30 July. The victim’s brother said that two Shi’is have been assassinated in the city in the last ten days.
Al-Bayyinah publishes on its front page a 120-word report stating that the newspaper learned that an Iraqi police patrol was ambushed by a group of gunmen in al-Suwayrah, 60 km south of Baghdad. The report says that a large number of policemen were killed and two police officers were arrested, The mutilated bodies of those killed were found next day.
Al-Mashriq publishes on page 4 a 70-word report cites an official source in the Iraqi Railways as saying that an explosive charge went off while a cargo train was passing but no casualties were reported, The incident took place near Samarra two days ago, 30 July.
Al-Nahdah carries a 200-word report citing a security source as saying that the police arrested “Ali Husayn Alwan, one of the members of the gang that kidnapped Dr Walid al-Khayyal in Baghdad who was later released after paying a quarter of a million dollar in ransom money to the kidnappers.” The report adds that he was brought to trial and sentenced to life in prison.
III. ECONOMIC AND PUBLIC SERVICES:
Al-Mu’tamar publishes on its front page a 200-word report citing an official source at the Oil ministry as saying that oil pipelines feeding refineries have been subjected to 250 sabotage operations so far. The source added that the production of these refineries has dropped by approximately 20 per cent due to these operations and has caused environmental pollution.
Al-Mu’tamar publishes on its front page a 100-word report citing an official source at the Industrial Bank as saying that his bank has begun lending up to 50 per cent of the cost of industrial projects in order to develop Iraqi industries.
Al-Mu’tamar publishes on its front page a 120-word report on a meeting between Water Resources Minister Dr Abd-al-Latif Jamal Rashid and a British MP. Rashid urged donor countries to rapidly contribute to the reconstruction of the country in order to end the unemployment problem, which is the main cause of instability in the country.
Al-Mu’tamar publishes on its front page a 120-word report stating that hundreds of pensioners staged a demonstration in Al-Amarah Governorate protesting the new pension scale adopted by the Finance Ministry.
Al-Mu’tamar publishes on its front page a 120-word report citing an official source in the Iraqi Insurance Company as saying that his company has urged all ministries to insure the lives of their employees.
Al-Manar al-Yawm publishes on its front page a 150-word report stating that Electricity Minister Ayham al-Samarra’i signed a contract for three power generating plants in Iraq with a German company in Amman on Friday, 30 July. A source in the company said that the contract is for the construction of 550 megawatt and 100 megawatt plants with an option to build a third plant with a 240 megawatt capacity.
Al-Dustur publishes on page 2 a 100-word report citing Trade Minister Muhammad Mustafa al-Juburi as saying that his ministry has signed contracts for the supply of baby milk with reliable sources. Al-Juburi said that the shortage in food items of the ration card during the past period was the intention of the occupation forces so as to replace the ration card with cash payments.
Al-Nahdah carries a 200-word report citing Iraqi Airways Director Fadil Abbas Karim as saying “talks between Iraq and London continue to open the first Iraqi Airways office in London and resume regular flights between the two countries. Karim explains to Al-Nahdah that an Iraqi Airways delegation is currently on a mission to discuss the reopening of the office that has been closed since 1990 following the severance of relations between the two countries.”
Al-Nahdah carries a 300-word report on agreement Iraq and Syria signed to enhance cooperation in land, maritime, and railroad transport. The report cites “an official source at the Ministry of Transport as saying to Al-Nahdah that the agreement between the two sides allows Iraq to use the Syrian ports and airports to transport goods to Iraq.” The source adds “another agreement was signed between the two sides to purchase a vessel that will be used to transport goods for the two countries and to jointly operate 150 oil tankers for the Iraqi Transport Ministry.”
Al-Mada carries a 100-word report citing Minister of Science and Technology Rashad Mandan Umar as saying “Iraq had reassumed its membership in the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA. He adds at a news conference that was attended by Al-Mada that the IAEA decided to grant Iraq one million dollars to build eight projects that were suspended during the past incidents in Iraq. The minister also says that the Italian Government offered technical and financial facilities to Iraq to establish an e-government.”
IV. Health and Human Rights Issues
Al-Dustur publishes on page 2 a 50-word report citing a health source as saying that her hospital has recorded 15,798 cases of infertility during the past five months compared to almost the same figure for a year in the past year. The reason for the doubling of infertility cases is environmental pollution, the source added.
Al-Nahdah carries a 1,000-word report on health services and plans to improve them in Iraq. The report cites Dr Abd-Ali Mahdin, director of nuclear medicine hospital, as saying that “Japan has pledged to build two hospitals in Baghdad and Basra that are to be among the biggest hospitals for the treatment of cancer tumours in the Middle East.”
V. Press Comment
Al-Mu’tamar publishes on page 7 a 500-word article by Zuhayr al-Dujayli discussing the Iraq-Iran relations. The article says there are two important factors that will cause further deterioration in the relations between the two neighbouring countries unless they are contained as was the case with the relations with Syria and Lebanon, these are: the recent statement made by Defence Minister Hazim al-Sha’lan describing Iran as Iraq’s first enemy and the US decision to provide protection to the Mujahidin-e-Khalq Organization in Iraq.
Al-Ittijah al-Akhar on 31 July publishes on page 16 a 1,000-word article by Sa’d al-Amidi, Iraqi activist living in Sweden, discusses the Islamic political parties’ role and conduct during the recent local election of representatives of the governorates to the National Conference. The article says that the irresponsible acts of the Islamic parties will turn Iraq into small entities run by the “Talebans” of Iraq.
Al-Nahdad carries a 500-word article by Abd-al-Mun’im al-A’sam replying to statements by Iranian spokesman on the Iraqi defence minister’s statements accusing Iran of encouraging infiltration of terrorists
into Iraq, describing Tehran’s reply as calm and one that wants to avoid political confrontation.
Al-Mada carries the first 700-word part one of a two-part article by Kazim Habib who affirms that Iraqi parties, nationalities and sects should unite to establish the Iraq they want. Article says: “Dreams and hope cannot materialize unless democratic forces are activated at all levels and in every direction within a unified organizational framework.” The article adds that experience has shown that these forces will always be marginalized and will hardly be able to have any tangible influence on political developments in Iraq if they are left to work each on its own” for “this is bound to create a vacuum other political forces, including religious forces in general and their extremist varieties in particular, would only be too happy to fill.”
REGIONAL BROADCAST MEDIA
Al-Arabiya TV 1000 gmt 1 Aug 04: Car bomb kills five people and wounds more than 51 others near a police station in the Iraqi city of Mosul … AFP says two explosions occurred in central Baghdad a short while ago; an explosive charge goes off and kills two Iraqis in Baghdad … Iraqi medical sources say at least 10 Iraqis are killed and 36 others wounded in US air raids on Iraqi city of Al-Fallujah. A correspondent reports the situation. … Lebanese Foreign Ministry says two Lebanese businessmen were kidnapped in Iraq yesterday … Iraqi armed group belonging to Abu-Mus’ab al-Zarqawi says it is holding two Turkish truck drivers and threatening to kill them unless Turkish company for which they are working withdraws from country … Iraqi tribal chief Hisham al-Dulaymi, authorized to negotiate the release of seven kidnapped foreigners in Iraq, tells our TV that negotiations are under way … Turkish CNN TV Space Channel says Turkish truck driver held in Iraq for 12 days returned home after promising his abductors not to return to Iraq … US forces freed 126 prisoners from Abu Ghurayb prison today … Iraqi prime minister holds talks with his Kuwaiti counterpart on relations between two countries.
Al-Jazeera TV 1300 gmt 1 Aug 04: A car bomb kills five Iraqis and wounds more than 50 others in the city of Mosul. A number of Iraqis are killed in clashes with US forces in the city of Al-Fallujah. The TV correspondent reports on the situation … Lebanese sources say that two Lebanese citizens have been kidnapped in Iraq and that the Lebanese Foreign Ministry is working to verify their identities … Iraqi tribal chief Hisham al-Dulaymi, who is negotiating the release of seven hostages in Iraq, says negotiations are still under way … Turkey says that two of its nationals have been abducted in Iraq and that the abductors want Turkish workers to leave the Iraq … The Iraqi authorities have freed 128 prisoners from Abu Ghurayb prison. Iraqi political analyst Liqa Makki assesses the security situation in Iraq … Guarded calm prevailed in the Iraqi city of Al-Fallujah after 10 people were killed in clashes with US forces … According to AFP, the Saudi foreign minister says Islamic forces may be dispatched to Iraq to replace the multinational forces. The Arab League chief visits the kingdom to discuss the Saudi initiative … Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi concludes his visit to Kuwait, where he held talks with his Kuwaiti counterpart on relations and other issues of common interest … On the sidelines of the Iranian-Iraqi economic cooperation forum in Tehran, Iranian officials urge the Iraqi Government not to allow foreign forces to interfere in relations between the two countries.
Iranian Al-Alam TV 1700 gmt 1 Aug 04: Five people killed, more than 20 others wounded in three car-bombs explosions outside churches in Baghdad … At least 55 people killed and wounded in explosions of two car-bombs outside churches in Mosul. Report over video showing people gathering in explosion area, police officer explaining what happened, houses destroyed due to the explosions, police officer weeping and vowing to retaliate against perpetrators … Live telephone interview with Al-Alam TV correspondent in Mosul Masa’ud Badal on the latest death toll in Mosul explosions. Badal says these operations aim to sever relations between Iraqis of different faiths … Live satellite interview with Al-Alam TV correspondent Muhammad al-Kazim from Baghdad on latest death toll in Baghdad explosions. Al-Kazim says that it is clear that the Christians have been the target of these operations. He said the aim of these operations is to spread sedition between Iraqi people of different faiths … Lebanese official source said Lebanese businessmen recently kidnapped in Iraq were released … Kenya says seven hostages kidnapped on 20 July, including three Kenyans, were released … Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi concluded his visit to Kuwait. Report over video showing arrival of Allawi in Kuwait, meeting with Kuwaiti emir. Reporter describes Allawi’s visit as historical and that he discussed several political and economical issues with Kuwaiti officials. Reporter also speaks about the Saudi initiative on sending Islamic troops to Iraq … Iranian defence minister criticizes his Iraqi counterpart, urges him not to reiterate words of Israeli and US defence officials … Iranian Foreign Ministry holds forum on economic cooperation between Iran and Iraq.
Egyptian satellite channel news 1700 gmt 01 August 04: Egyptian diplomat in Baghdad denies the presence of any hostages inside the Egyptian embassy, as series of blasts rock the Iraqi capital in attacks against churches … Kuwaiti Emir Shaykh Jabir al-Ahmad al-Jabir Al Sabah receives today Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi who is currently visiting Kuwait.
Nile News TV 1600 gmt 01 August 04: The Lebanese Foreign Ministry says a Lebanese hostage who was kidnapped in Iraq has been released today. Report on the hostages that are detained by armed groups in Iraq … The US army in Iraq says four blasts took place today in Baghdad, and American soldier killed and two others wounded when a bomb exploded near their convoy in Iraqi city of Samara … Kuwaiti Emir Shaykh Jabir al-Ahmad al-Jabir Al Sabah receives today Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi who is currently visiting Kuwait … Dispatcher’s report from Baghdad on the situation in Iraq.
Syrian Arab TV 1730 gmt 01 Aug 04: A series of car-bomb explosions rock Baghdad and Mosul. At least two people were reported killed. American soldier was killed and two others wounded in a blast north of Baghdad. At least 10 Iraqis were killed and 40 wounded in renewed American raids on Al-Fallujah. Over 120 Iraqis were released from Abu Ghurayb prison … A Lebanese national kidnapped in Iraq was released. Fate of seven other foreign hostages remains vague … Prime Minister Itri receives telephone call from his Jordanian counterpart on the issue of the Jordanian trucks that were transporting Israeli goods to northern Iraq via Syria.
Sources: as listed
[c] BBC Monitoring