Iraq Occupation Focus
Newsletter No. 30
November 16, 2005
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Eye witness in Haditha
Dahr Jamail reports (November 7th): There is
a huge US military operation once again targeting the Al-Qa'im
area of Iraq, this one named Steel Curtain. US warplanes on
targeted al-Jamahir, al-Risala and other neighbourhoods in the
town, destroying houses, and killing and injuring dozens of
people. The US shelling has demolished government buildings
and two mosques in the city. The following is a first-person
account from journalist Sabah Ali who ventured into Haditha
The American and the Iraqi soldiers were
everywhere in the streets. Traces of the last attack could be
seen everywhere on the buildings, the faces, and the
suspicious eyes. We heard the same scenario. Water,
electricity, phones, roads were all cut. The city was besieged
before the bombing began on October 5, 2005 and went on for 18
days. Many houses were demolished; many families left to the
refugee camps, many people were arrested. The general hospital
was occupied for 10 days; the hospital director and one of the
doctors were brutally beaten and then arrested for a week
inside the hospital. Many schools and offices were still
occupied. All houses were raided, some twice a day. There is
no government, no offices, no schools, no work, no markets...
Dr. Walid Al-Obeidi, the director of Haditha General
Hospital and Dr. Jamil Abdul Jabbar, the only surgeon in the
Haditha area were arrested for a week, very badly beaten.
Dr.Walid said: They beat me on my eyes, nose, back, hands,
legs... My face was covered with blood. Then they tied my
hands to the front, and left me for two days. A few days
later, one of the soldiers came in the room, did not say
anything, kicked me again on my face and left.
Dr. Jamil, a surgeon for 20 years, was also arrested
and very brutally beaten. When we met him, 22 days later, his
face was still bluish. His nose was broken, and a big opening
in his head. He said: They beat me on my eyes and nose,
kicked me with boots under my chin. One of them threatened me
if I do not talk after he counts to three, he would shoot me.
killed near al-Qaim in air strike
IRIN report (1st November): Dozens of
civilians including women and children were reportedly killed
in US air strikes near the western Iraqi town of al-Qaim, some
12 km from the Syrian border, local doctors said. Local
witnesses say the dead and injured were mainly civilians.
According to Dr al-Rabia'a, several women and children were
among the 43 dead and 25 injured who reached his hospital.
dead, thousands displaced in west, doctors say
IRIN report (November 7th): Dozens of
civilians were killed and injured when US-led forces launched
an offensive on the western Iraqi town of Husaybah, according
to local doctors. One doctor in al-Qaim said that the US
militarys regular use of anti-personnel cluster bombs had
left at least 31 dead and 44 wounded, among them women and
According to the IRCS, people began to flee
Husaybah nearly a week before the launch of the offensive. The
agency added that local volunteers had estimated the number of
displaced at some 4,000.
assistance needed for al-Qaim displaced
IRIN reports (November 10th): Thousands of
displaced people from the towns of al-Qaim and Husaybah are
living in desperate conditions and in urgent need of
assistance. Relief workers said many of the displaced were in
urgent need of medical attention, but there were only two
hospitals in the area, which were already overwhelmed. Several
injured people had been forced to trek up to 200 km to
Fallujah hospital for treatment. "Some people are dying on
their way to the hospital," said Ferdous al-Abadi, spokeswoman
for the Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS).
of US-led military mandate draws demonstrations
IRIN report (November 10th): A unanimous
decision by the United Nations Security Council to extend the
mandate of the US-led multinational force in Iraq received a
mixed reaction in the country. Demonstrators marched in
Baghdad urging the UN to change its decision. Protesters
called for the departure of foreign forces once the new
elected government takes office, following a 15 December
Sunni group blasts defence minister
UPI report (November 5): An Iraqi Sunni
group demanded Saturday the dismissal of Defence Minister
Sadoun al-Dulaimi for threatening to demolish civilian houses
that harbour terrorists. In a statement, the Iraqi Council for
National Dialogue called on the government of Prime Minister
Ibrahim Jaafari to sack Dulaimi after he vowed the Iraqi
forces will not hesitate to "demolish their houses on their
women's and children's heads, as we did before."
The council said the minister's comment was a confession of
committing war crimes and called for his trial as a war
criminal in the International Court of Justice. It added there
were more than 200,000 refugees stranded in the Anbar desert
with no food and water, and warned of a "humanitarian
disaster" as disease spreads among the "homeless people" in
Oil cartel maintained
Greg Palast reports in Harpers (October
24th): Two and a half years and $202 billion into the war
in Iraq, the United States has at least one significant new
asset to show for it: effective membership, through its
control of Iraq's energy policy, in the Organization of the
Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Just what to do with this proxy power has been the cause of a pitched battle
between neoconservatives at the Pentagon, on the one hand, and
the State Department and the oil industry, on the other.
According to insiders and to documents obtained from the State
Department, the neocons, once in command, are now in full
retreat. Iraq's system of oil production, after a year of
failed free-market experimentation, is being re-created almost
entirely on the lines originally laid out by Saddam Hussein.
Under the quiet direction of U.S. oil company
executives working with the State Department, the Iraqis have
discarded the neocon vision of a laissez faire, privatized oil
operation in favour of one shackled to quotas set by OPEC,
which have been key to the 148% rise in oil prices since the
beginning of 2002. This rise is estimated to have cost the
U.S. economy 1.5% of its GDP, or a third of its total growth
during the period.
Should Repay Millions to Iraq, a U.N. Audit Finds
The New York Times reports (November 5th):
An auditing board sponsored by the United Nations recommended
yesterday that the United States repay as much as $208 million
to the Iraqi government for contracting work in 2003 and 2004
assigned to Kellogg, Brown & Root, the Halliburton
The work was paid for with Iraqi oil proceeds,
but the board said it was either carried out at inflated
prices or done poorly. Some of the work involved postwar fuel
imports carried out by K.B.R. that previous audits had
criticized as grossly overpriced.
But this is the first time that an international
auditing group has suggested that the United States repay some
of that money to Iraq. The group, known as the International
Advisory and Monitoring Board of the Development Fund for
Iraq, compiled reports from an array of Pentagon, United
States government and private auditors to carry out its
Attack on Fallujah
reports (November 7th): The Italian television network RAI
has released a video that includes an interview with an
ex-Marine and footage of the use of phosphorous bombs at
Fallujah in November of 2004.
The Italian press is calling
the phosphorus bombs "chemical weapons" and alleging that they
were used indiscriminately and against civilian populations.
The use of incendiary bombs against civilian targets or
concentrations of civilians with no military function is
forbidden by Protocol III of the 1980 Convention on Certain
Conventional Weapons. Although the US ratified Protocols I and
II of the Convention, it does not appear to have adopted
Protocol III into US law.
used white phosphorus on Iraqi civilians, report says
The New Zealand Herald reports (November
9th): US forces in Iraq have used incendiary white
phosphorus against civilians and a firebomb similar to napalm
against military targets, Italian state-run broadcaster RAI
A RAI documentary showed images of bodies
recovered after a November 2004 offensive by US troops on the
town of Falluja, which it said proved the use of white
phosphorus against men, women and children who were burned to
"I do know that white phosphorus was used," said Jeff
Englehart in the RAI documentary, which identified him as a
former soldier in the US 1st Infantry Division in Iraq.
"Burned bodies. Burned children and burned women," said
Englehart, who RAI said had taken part in the Falluja
offensive. "White phosphorus kills indiscriminately."
US soldiers charged with abuse
Arab News reports (November 9th): Five US
Army Rangers in Iraq alleged to have punched and kicked Iraqi
detainees and hit them with a broomstick have been charged
with assault, the military said.
US Army spokesman Paul
Boyce said the five Special Operations troops had been charged
with assault and maltreatment of prisoners and dereliction of
duty in the incident, which occurred on Sept. 7 in Baghdad.
The BBC reports (November 8th): Figures
released by the US last week said its forces were holding
13,885 prisoners at several detention centres across Iraq,
including more than 5,000 at Abu Ghraib, a vast complex in
Human rights groups have complained that
US prisoners are sometimes detained arbitrarily, and kept for
months on end without facing charges or trial.
Democracy Now reports (October 20th): I
think the whole Iraqi story for us as journalists is becoming
almost impossible to cover. The last trip I made outside
Baghdad it took me two weeks to arrange, to go down to Najaf.
It was the most fearful trip. I drove the road with three
Iraqi friends. All the checkpoints of the Iraqi army had been
abandoned: this just after George Bush said the Iraqi army is
in the field. There were up-turned Iraqi police cars,
burned-out American vehicles. I didn't see a member of the
Security Forces until I reached the outskirts of Najaf about
80 miles from Iraq.
The whole of the countryside outside
Baghdad is under the control, is now the property of the armed
insurgents, both Sunni and Shia. This, we are not being told.
This President Bush will not acknowledge.
Iraq vet works against war
Rocky Mountain News reports (October 31st):
Sgt. Kelly Dougherty went to Iraq in 2003, doubting that the
war was just. She returned in 2004, certain it was wrong, and
co-founded Iraq Veterans Against the War.
the thousands of innocent civilians who have been killed and
the broken American promises about repairing water,
electricity and sewage systems convinced her the troops should
The worst events she experienced involved civilians,
including children, hit by contractor convoys that thundered
along rural roads under orders to never stop. "I wasn't
protecting America. I was protecting Halliburton trucks going
to military bases," she said.
Dougherty said she had hoped that American troops would
help rebuild power plants, water systems and schools, but the
only construction she saw was at military bases. "From what I
saw, we just created more chaos and violence," she said. "I
became less and less convinced that we were there for a good
Tuesday 01 - 30 November 2005 ACROSS THE UK:
A month of activities to mark the
1st anniversary of last year's US-led assault on
SPEAKING TOUR WITH RAHUL MAHAJAN
Rahul Mahajan, a US author and activist, was in Fallujah during the
April 2004 siege of the city. He is the author of The New
Crusade: Americas War on Terrorism and Full Spectrum
Dominance: US Power in Iraq and Beyond and maintains the
anti-war blog EmpireNotes.org. He is also a member of the
Steering Committee of the US anti-war coalition United For
Peace and Justice.
Friday 18 November 2005 (7.30pm) LEICESTER:
Secular Hall, 75, Humberstone opposite Sainsburys. Organised
by Leicester Campaign to Stop the War.
or 0116 2219459
Saturday 19 November 2005 (1-3pm) NORWICH: at
the Methodist Church, Chapelfield Rd, Norwich (behind Bignold
School). Alongside Doug Jewell (Liberty) and Fahim Ahmed
(Campaign Against Criminalising Communities).
or 01986 892 723.
See also Film Screenings, 19 November,
Sunday 20 November 2005 (2.30 4.30pm)
KETTERING: Quakers Meeting House, Northall Street,
Kettering. Organised by Kettering Stop the War.
or 07855 988 073
Monday 21 November 2005 (7- 8.30pm) BRADFORD:
Richmond Building, University of Bradford. Organised by
Yorkshire CND, Bradford Stop the War and the University of
Bradford Students Union.
or 01274 730 795.
Tuesday 22 November 2005 EDINBURGH: Organised by
Word Power Books. Contact: 0131 662 9112 or email@example.com
details on-line at http://www.word-power.co.uk/
Wednesday 23 November 2005 (7pm) GLASGOW: George
Moore Building, Glasgow Caledonian University, 70 Cowcaddens
Road, G4 0BA. Org. by Glasgow Troops Out.
Thursday 24 November 2005 (7.30pm) BRISTOL: The
Malcolm X Centre, 141 City Road, BS2 8YH. With Eric Herring
(see Film Screenings, 8 Nov below). Organised Bristol Stop
Sunday 27 November 2005 (7.30pm) SHERBORNE:
Methodist Hall, Cheap Street. Organised by Yeovil and
Sherborne Stop the War.
Contact 01935 873 028.
Monday 28 November 2005 (7.30pm) BRIGHTON:
Brighthelm Centre, North Rd. Organised by the Hands Off Forum.
FALLUJAH FILM SCREENINGS
Saturday 19 November 2005 (7pm) NORWICH:
Screening of Testimonies from Fallujah with Rahul Mahajan
(see Speaking Tour above). United Reform Church, Princes
Street. Organised by Norwich Stop the War.
Tel. 01603 270 420.
Thursday 24 November 2005 (7.30pm) SOUTHEND:
Testimonies from Fallujah Venue: Utopia Cafe (in the Royales
in the street opposite BHS). Organised by Southend
or 01268 682 820.
Friday 25 November 2005 (7.30pm) LONDON: Special
fund-raising screening of Testimonies from Fallujah with
Venue: Friends Meeting House, 173 Euston
Rd, NW1. All proceeds split between Muslim Peacemaker Teams
(currently working in Iraq) and the costs of bringing Iraqi
speakers to the IOF teach-in on 26 Nov (see below)
Saturday 26 November 2005 (10am - 5pm) VOICES FROM
OCCUPIED IRAQ Themes: Corporate invasion; democratic,
civil and human rights; resistance.
Organised by Iraq
University of London Union, Malet Street, London
Registration: 10 am.
Speakers include: Hassan Juma'a, General
Secretary, General Union of Oil Employees,Basra
Dawood, human rights activist, Baghdad
Mahajan, author of Empire Notes (http://www.empirenotes.org/)
Dear, General Secretary National Union of
Gilbert Achcar, author 'The Clash of
Barbarisms: September 11 and the Making of the New World
Professor Kamil Mahdi, Exeter University
Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies
lecturer, Iraqi-born activist, regular contributor to The
Haifa Zangana, Iraqi-born novelist,
activists and former political prisoner in Iraq, regular
contributor to The Guardian
Registration �(waged), �(unwaged). Creche available
if booked in advance.
To register in advance, or for
further information contact Iraq Occupation Focus, http://www.iraqoccupationfocus.org.uk/or PO
Box 44680, London N16 7XX Email: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org