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 A Message for Iraq’s Women

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تاريخ التسجيل : 07/10/2009
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مُساهمةموضوع: A Message for Iraq’s Women    الأربعاء 09 فبراير 2011, 4:25 pm

A Message for Iraq’s Women






Four mannequins in Western dress in the Kadhimiya neighborhood. Text accompanying the display, put on by a mosque, had an
uncompromising message: Men who look at women in such dress become voracious monsters; women who wear it burn through
eternity.
Vendors around the Kadhimiya mosque in northern Baghdad sell all manner of women’s clothing, from drape-like black abayas to racy
evening wear. But on a recent afternoon, Hameed Ibrahim ushered his family toward a different kind of fashion display.

On a raised stage between two shops, four mannequins in Western dress, their blond hair peeking out under colored scarves, stood amid
crepe-paper flames. To one side was a banner featuring lust-crazed male ghouls; behind the mannequins, images of eternal suffering.

And at the foot of the stage was a scripture from the mosque."Whoever fills his eyes with the forbidden, on judgment day God will fill them with fire."For Mr. Ibrahim, it was a message that his wife and daughters — and all Iraqi women — sorely needed. "I brought them here so they can see this," he said. "Maybe everyone has forgotten about God, and they say that this is progress. Well, I call it depravity."

Since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s government in 2003, women’s clothing has served as a barometer not just of fashion, but of the current ascendancy of religious values in a once secular society. On this busy thoroughfare, near Baghdad’s largest holy shrine, what might be called the mannequin salvo in the Battle of the Abaya — between secularism and Shariah law — incites heated views on both sides. If revolution in the Arab world is sweeping Cairo’s streets, the smaller strokes here represent forces no less urgent.

Mr. Ibrahim’s wife, who gave her name as Um Noor, or mother of Noor, approved of the exhibit, which has been up for about a month. Like many on the street, she wore a loose-fitting black abaya that covered everything but her face, and she dressed her four daughters in kind.

"This is good because it will make women feel frightened and stop what they are doing and wearing," she said. "There are some people who are not afraid of God. Let them come and see this." The clothes on the mannequins were chaste by American or European standards. The sleeves and hems were long, and the necklines were high or covered by scarves. But the message was uncompromising: men who look at women in such dress become voracious monsters; women who wear it burn through eternity.

"We had this great idea after we saw the depravity and the way they dress and show their body," said a representative of the mosque, who gave his name only as Abu Karar, or father of Karar. "This is a small stage to show the punishment of God if they wear these kinds of clothes, showing their breast, their butt, their body."

The mosque, he added, offers free head scarves to women who agree to "keep their promise to God" and not wear clothes that will inflame men’s imaginations.

Clerics have had only partial success imposing Islamic mores. Baghdad’s government recently shuttered many bars and liquor stores for a 40-day Shiite holiday. But the minister of higher education rejected a cleric’s call to separate men and women on campus. Women in scarves or abayas now predominate in the capital, but they move among others wearing the tight jeans or skirts seen in the Turkish television series that have swept Iraq.

"Religious parties are on top right now," said Dr. Nada Abed al-Majeed al-Ansari, dean of the College of Science for Women at Baghdad University, who recently organized a panel discussion on appropriate dress for women.

She said that the decades of war and sanctions had made Iraqis more religious, and that the end of Hussein-era prohibitions had created a bubble for religious zealotry, especially among Shiites, whose rituals were banned by the old government."I think everything will be settled in time," she said, "but not today." She said there was no movement for an official imposition of Islamic law. "No one is forcing anyone to wear the veil."

As in America’s culture wars, both sides in the abaya battle say they are losing.From Abu Karar’s perspective, the decline has been steep. "We were witnessing bad depravity last year," he said, "and this year it is worse." Even in Kadhimiya, where two important Shiite imams are enshrined, he said that most women who come to the display "call me bad names."

But to Maysoon Ibrahim, 34, the display only encouraged men to harass women by making them less than human. Already, she said, the pressures to cover herself were getting stronger and uglier. Men who used to flirt now use nasty words, she said."Even if I wear perfume they say, 'Why are you using it?’ " She added, "We are becoming like Iran." Still, she said she would not stop wearing tight jeans and skirts.

Abbas Hussein, 23, saw this sort of attitude as problematic. Since the influx of satellite television and DVDs, he said, Iraqi women have been getting ideas from the non-Muslim world — and putting men like him at moral risk."Yes," he admitted, "I do look at women when I see them dressed up with tight jeans. That is one of the problems. It means the devil is doing a good job."

By JOHN LELAND and DURAID ADNAN,
The New York Times


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Labels: Iraqi Women, Islamic Fundamentalism, the Iraqi government






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Iraq: A regime of torture





The government of "liberated" Iraq operates secret prisons and routinely tortures prisoners to extract confessions that are used to convict them, Amnesty charged today.

The London-based rights watchdog released a report - Broken Bodies, Broken Minds - which estimates that 30,000 men and women remain in custody in post-Saddam Iraq, including about 1,300 on death row.

Amnesty said that some were languishing in secret facilities operated by the ministries of defence and the interior, which are believed to have close links to sectarian Islamist groups."Iraqi security forces use torture and other ill treatment to extract 'confessions' when detainees are held incommunicado, especially in detention facilities - some secret - controlled by the ministries of interior and defence," the report alleges.

Amnesty said that Iraq's Central Criminal Court often convicts defendants on the basis of "confessions" clearly obtained under torture.Accounts of torture collected over the years include "rape and the threat of rape, beatings with cables and hosepipes, electric shocks, suspension by the limbs, piercing the body with drills, asphyxiation with plastic bags, removal of toenails with pliers, and breaking of limbs."

Amnesty noted that Iraq's Human Rights Ministry had recorded 509 allegations of torture by the country's security forces in a 2009 report but said that the figure was a "gross underestimate of the scale of the abuse."And it warned that US forces had handed over tens of thousands of prisoners to Iraqi custody between early 2009 and July 2010 without any guarantees that they would be protected.

In 2008 Iraq's parliament voted to join most of the rest of the world in banning cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of prisoners by signing up to the UN Convention Against Torture.But Iraq has still not filed its paperwork with the UN and "there is no indication that the government intends to," according to the report.

Iraqi MP Mahmoud Othman of the Kurdistan Socialist Party insisted that parliament intends to ratify the UN treaty but has been too busy trying to stabilise the occupied country to address it yet."The convention enjoys the support of all political blocks and nobody rejected it in the previous parliament," Mr Othman said.

By the
Morning Star Online - foreigneditor@peoples-press.com



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Torture common for Iraq prisoners






Suspected Sunni Islamist insurgents and Shi'ite militiamen are routinely tortured or abused by Iraqi security forces to extract confessions early in their detention and interrogation, Iraqi military officials say.

Six Iraqi security officials, including two high-ranking officers, as well as former detainees and lawyers, told Reuters that prisoners are beaten, stomped on or strung up by their hands during arrest and preliminary interrogations.

Suspects are beaten and trampled when they resist arrest and are sometimes tortured when they provoke interrogators by showing "enjoyment" or "pride," a senior military official familiar with military jails in Baghdad told Reuters.

"Some suspects delight in the narrative details of how they murdered their victims. In response, some investigators slap them or kick them or order them hung up (by the arms)," he said, asking for anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Iraq's Supreme Judiciary Council received more than 400 complaints last year from detainees or their families, accusing Iraqi military interrogators of torture or abuse. In only 90 cases did a court take up the allegations and launch a probe.

Iraq's Human Rights Ministry, responding to the information obtained by Reuters, said inspection teams still record abuse cases during prison visits but the number is falling."Cases of violations and irregularities ... are not a phenomenon ... not systemic, but a very limited number of individual cases," ministry spokesman Kamil Amine said.

Torture was widespread under the late dictator Saddam Hussein, ousted in the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Disclosures in 2004 that U.S. jailers had abused and sexually humiliated Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison outraged many Iraqis and may have fueled the insurgency.

Iraq's elected authorities last year promised to crack down on continuing abuse of prisoners in Iraq, where human rights groups have warned torture of detainees by security forces has been systematic as they fight a waning insurgency.Terrorism suspects often are held at the Camp Cropper prison near Baghdad airport, or Camp Honor, inside the Iraqi capital's heavily fortified Green Zone.

U.S.-based Human Rights Watch said in a February 1 report that security forces torture inmates at Camp Honor, citing interviews with former detainees.In a new report on prisoner abuse in Iraq issued Tuesday, Amnesty International said urgent action was needed to end a "pattern of abuse" in Iraqi detention centers.

THE FOURTH AREA

Many preliminary terrorism interrogations take place at Camp Cropper, a former U.S. detention center turned over to the Iraqis last year and renamed Camp al-Karkh, in a little-known place called the "Fourth Area," Iraqi security officials said.

"It is a place for the detention of prisoners in accordance with article 4 of the terrorism (law), so it is named after that," a senior officer from Iraq's Counter-Terrorism Squad said. "The interrogations in this area are brutal, more brutal than the interrogations in Camp Honor."

Cropper was the last U.S. prison in Iraq and its handover ended a difficult chapter of the U.S. invasion in which thousands of people were held without charge.

In the most common methods of abuse, suspects are kicked, beaten with pieces of electric cable, hung by the arms, or burned with cigarettes, and hot metal or given electrical shocks, security officials and lawyers said.

"Some detainees have died as a result of torture. The last death occurred four or five months ago in this place (Cropper) as a result of severe beatings that led to kidney malfunction," the officer from the Counter-Terrorism Squad said.

Lawyers say proving torture in court can be difficult."Some of those conducting the interrogations are artists in the field of torture, and hide the evidence and facts from the judges," said a lawyer who declined to be named.

By Suadad al-Salhy for
Reuters with additional reporting by Haider Najim, Writing by Suadad al- Salhy, Editing by Jim Loney and Michael Roddy.




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Torture routine in Iraq






Iraq operates secret prisons and routinely tortures prisoners to extract confessions that are used to convict them, Amnesty International said in a report released on Tuesday.

An estimated 30,000 men and women remain in custody in Iraq, some in secret facilities operated by the ministries of defence and interior, the London-based rights watchdog said in the report, titled "Broken Bodies, Broken Minds."

"Iraqi security forces use torture and other ill-treatment to extract 'confessions' when detainees are held incommunicado, especially in detention facilities -- some secret -- controlled by the Ministries of Interior and Defence," the report said.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said in an AFP interview on Saturday that there were no secret prisons in Iraq, denying recent reports by New York-based Human Rights Watch and the Los Angeles Times.Amnesty said that Iraq's Central Criminal Court often convicts defendants on the basis of "confessions" clearly obtained under torture.

Accounts of torture collected over the years include "rape and threat of rape, beatings with cables and hosepipes, electric shocks, suspension by the limbs, piercing the body with drills, asphyxiation with plastic bags, removal of toenails with pliers, and breaking of limbs," Amnesty said.Children, women and men have all suffered these abuses, it added. "Since 2004, suspects held in Iraqi custody have been systematically tortured and dozens of detainees have died as a result."

Amnesty noted that in its 2009 report, the Iraqi Human Rights Ministry had recorded 509 allegations of torture by Iraqi security forces, but said that number was "a gross underestimate of the scale of the abuse."

Amnesty said that US forces had handed over tens of thousands of prisoners to Iraqi custody between early 2009 and July 2010 without any guarantees that they will be protected.US forces were also implicated in the torture and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison in 2004.

US forces, which invaded Iraq and toppled dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003, have handed control of detention facilities to the Iraqi government ahead of a full pullout of combat troops at the end of this year.

AFP


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Mubarak’s Role in Iraq






Hosni Mubarak is being surrounded by opposition from many sides of Egyptian society. The message is clear: he has to go. Various explanation for his imminent ouster have been well-chronicled: brutal repression, abject poverty in Egypt and corruption in the government are but a few of the reasons. The international press has delved into these and made the world aware of Mubarak’s actions over the years. However, one aspect yet to be brought out is his activities in 1990 that played a major role in making an attack against Iraq acceptable in the eyes of the world.

Let’s look at the chronology. On August 2, 1990, Iraqi troops crossed the border into Kuwait. This was no mere on-the-spot decision made by Saddam Hussein. For months prior, Saddam brought up the subject of Kuwait’s attempts to undermine Iraq’s economy, that was fragile at the time because Iraq had just ended an eight-year war against Iran in which it defended all Arab countries, especially Kuwait, against a possible Iranian intrusion and the desired spreading of the Iranian Islamic revolution to the entire Arab world.

Saddam Hussein called for a summit in Cairo, Egypt to be held on August 4, 1990. At this meeting, all issues would be addressed and some sort of arrangement probably would have emerged that would have received world attention and explained why Iraq had to resort to military means to right the wrongs. Additionally, Saddam proclaimed that Iraqi troops would withdraw from Kuwait on August 5. He was, hindsight shows, falsely optimistic. The only concession that Saddam asked was that no Arab country condemn the Iraqi intrusion before the summit. In other words, he wanted Arabs to determine the outcome of the animosities between Iraq and Kuwait.

Shortly after Iraqi troops crossed the Kuwaiti border, King Hussein of Jordan talked with Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi president mentioned that most problems could be resolved at the scheduled mini-summit to be held in Cairo. King Hussein took the role of mediator and said he would talk to the other Arab nations. He foresaw few problems.One of the first calls King Hussein made was to the Egyptian leader, Hosni Mubarak. After the king explained the situation, Mubarak replied, "I’ll support you."

On the same day, August 2, 1990, King Hussein called President Bush to explain the latest developments in negotiations. He wanted to obtain Bush’s commitment that he not pressure Arab countries to issue communiqués criticizing Iraq’s actions for at least 48 hours. At the time of the call, Bush was on an airplane from Washington D.C. to Colorado. The Jordanian leader told Bush, "We (Arabs) can settle this crisis, George … we can deal with it. We just need a little time." Bush’s reply was, "You’ve got it. I’ll leave it to you."

King Hussein thought he was dealing with honorable people, and, when the conversation ended, he took Bush’s word that he would do nothing for 48 hours. Bush did not wait 48 seconds to start thwarting the efforts of a negotiated settlement.

While the Arab world was awaiting the mini-summit in Cairo, George Bush was already lining up allies to condemn Iraq, despite his promise to King Hussein to remain quiet for 48 hours. On August 3, 1990, Saddam Hussein issued a communiqué announcing he would begin to withdraw Iraqi troops from Kuwait on August 5. He was confident that the mini-summit scheduled for August 4 would reap benefits for everyone. Saddam, as well as the entire Arab world, was unaware of the American chicanery, supported by Hosni Mubarak, which was occurring.

On August 3, 1990, Bush met with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Colin Powell. The topic was the option of military force against Iraq. Powell told Bush, "If you finally decide to commit to military forces, Mr. President, it must be done as massively and decisively as possible."

Meanwhile, on August 3, in Amman, Jordan, matters worsened. King Hussein met with his foreign minister, Marwan Al Qasim, and stated, "I have very good news. Saddam Hussein has told me he’s going to pull out of Kuwait." The foreign minister was a little more up-to-date on the situation and he wasted no time telling the king, "You haven’t heard, but the Egyptian Foreign Ministry has just put out a statement condemning the Iraqis for invading Kuwait."

King Hussein realized he had been duped by Bush. Egypt was an Arab country that held much influence and its condemnation could destroy all possible negotiations. The king did not know at the time that Bush had already called Mubarak and cancelled a $7 billion Egyptian debt in return for Mubarak’s condemnation — a debt George Bush had no right to forgive under U.S. law.

An irate King Hussein called Mubarak and asked, "Why did you release that communiqué? We had an agreement not to do something like that until the mini-summit took place." Mubarak answered, "I was under tremendous pressure from the media and my own people. My mind is not functioning." King Hussein angrily told Mubarak, "Well, when it starts functioning again, let me know."

Mubarak’s denunciation stopped any discussion by Arabs to come to an agreement. Of course, Saddam Hussein was irate and he cancelled his edict to remove Iraqi troops out of Kuwait. Without Mubarak’s non-functioning mind, there was a strong chance that Iraq would have pulled out of Kuwait and there never would have been a Gulf War that began in January 1991. The actions of 28 nations, all bought off in various manners by the US, destroyed the infrastructure of Iraq and created a devastating embargo that kept Iraq isolated, even though the Iraqis had performed all the necessary draconian obligations that the US-led United Nations imposed on it.

Then, in the mid-1990s, Mubarak had the audacity to declare that Saddam Hussein should step down and allow "democracy" in Iraq. Today, he’s the victim of his own suggestions to Saddam. Mubarak was instrumental in the destruction of Iraq, yet today’s pundits rarely bring up the despicable incidents that Mubarak orchestrated 20 years ago that led to Iraq’s demise. He was a tool of the US and Western imperialism in 1990 and remained so for more than two decades. The only question now is will his successor(s) carry on the tradition?

by Malcom Lagauche



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Clamor for change reaches Iraq






Clamor for political change across the Arab world has reached Iraq, where protests against poor government services have broken out in the capital and other cities.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Nouri Maliki vowed not to run for a third term, a day earlier he announced that he would cut his pay in half. Other officials agreed to decrease their salaries in a bid to stave off the kind of unrest erupting elsewhere in the region.

We will also enact a law that guarantees equilibrium between the salaries of officials and ordinary Iraqis," said lawmaker Abbas Bayati. "The current circumstances are pushing us to decrease expenses and salaries, and spend them on the low income classes."

The popular uprising that overthrew of the government of Tunisian strongman Zine el Abidine ben Ali helped spark the unrest that now threatens the rule of President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. At a conference in Munich, Germany, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned Saturday of a "perfect storm of powerful" economic and demographic trends that could envelop the Middle East.

But the popular demands for change have played out differently in various countries. In Jordan and Yemen, authorities appear to be making compromises to stave of social explosions. With protests planned for Feb. 12, Algeria has vowed to end a years-long state of emergency that has restricted political liberties. Bahrain's state-run news agency said Friday that the government had increased food subsidies and vowed to widen social welfare programs. Protests there are scheduled for Feb. 14.

Some Iraqi officials earn tens of thousands of dollars a month and receive generous perks. One former official estimated that the president, prime minister and speaker of parliament earn between $500,000 and $700,000 a year. In comparison, President Obama's salary is $400,000.

On Friday, Maliki ordered the prime minister's salary to be decreased by 50% and the difference returned to the Iraqi state budget starting this month. A day later, he announced that he would not run for a third term even though he is not barred from doing so by law.

Maliki's Islamic Dawa Party, also issued a statement in support of a peaceful transition of power in Egypt, which has traditionally had enormous political, cultural and educational influence in Iraq.

Salaries of elected officials eat up as much as 20% of the Iraqi budget's operational expenses. An official inside the Iraqi parliament, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said officials decided to slash their pay after protests in the capital and the provinces against poor services and corruption.

Iraqis have also launched a campaign on Facebook and Twitter calling for cutting salaries. Some said the moves so far were little more than a publicity stunt."The problem is not with their salaries," said Sabah Saadi, former chief of parliament's integrity commission. "The problem is with the social welfare and the additional allowances they are getting."

He said that salary reductions were a superficial attempt to placate Iraqis without addressing public concerns. "We saw the demonstrations in some cities in Iraq yesterday," he said. "Nobody mentioned the problem of salaries."

Iraqi officials and clerics have long urged the government to cut salaries and perks for elected officials. Parliament is finally beginning work after a months-long deadlock. Abdul-Mehdi Karbalai, a representative of the influential Shiite religious figure Ayatollah Ali Sistani in the city of Karbala, has been preaching for months about the issue.

"There is a big difference between the salaries of Iraqi officials and the ordinary people," he said in a Jan. 7 sermon. "This new government should review all of that and reduce the difference to create balance in society."

By Salar Jaff and Raheem Salman are
LA Times staff writers in Baghdad. Times staff writer Borzou Daragahi in Beirut contributed to this report.


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A Message for Iraq’s Women
استعرض الموضوع السابق استعرض الموضوع التالي الرجوع الى أعلى الصفحة 
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