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Sunni Bloc Still at Odds With U.S. Over Killing
Iraqslogger interviews a member of Iraqi Islamic Party leadership
By DANIEL W. SMITH 11/02/2008 9:33 PM ET
Google Earth image/Iraqslogger

BAGHDAD - Last Saturday, Iraq’s largest and most powerful Sunni party cut all ties with both American military and civilian officials. Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, a member of the Iraqi Islamic Party(IIP), said that U.S. forces had killed an innocent man in his bed and arrested five others in the Bualwan village on Fallujah’s outskirts. He stated this as the reason for the suspension of contact, and charged that it was part of a pattern of targeting IIP members in the area.

U.S. forces say the man was wanted for insurgent activity, and that he was not sleeping when killed, but firing upon them.

One week later, it is still not resolved. (For background, see Iraqslogger's past coverage here.)

We speak to Dr. Omar Abdul Satar, an IIP leader from Fallujah who has been outspoken on this incident since it occured.


DR. OMAR ABDUL SATAR: Before, when other arrests and killing happened around Fallujah in this year, we had a political meeting with the American forces. For the American side, we feel they are not continuing to cooperate with us. Six months ago, they told us that they will work together with us to solve any problems that arise, but from their side, they did not do anything except continue to attack members of the IIP.

What happened a week ago was something that is so sudden, something so painful, something so aggressive, that what we did, to cut off contact with them, was something fitting with what they did. Our goal is to stop these events in the future. We want to solve them before they happen. We did what we did, and we are waiting for what we ask from them to continue.

IRAQSLOGGER: How have they responded?

DR. OMAR ABDUL SATAR: Until now, they try very much to meet us, but they do nothing about the men who are arrested, or about anything else. They want to meet in al-Anbar, in Basra, in Sulahadin, in Baghdad, but we didn’t agree. They have only released two of the five men they arrested. They said that some of them are related to Hamas al-Iraq(an insurgent group from Western Iraq), and some of them are related to al-Qaeda, but we know that this is not true. We have much information about them. We are still waiting for a real solution, and until now, we have not received any action from them.

IRAQSLOGGER: What would you need to start talking with the Americans? Do you require everything that Vice-President Hashimi laid out as a prerequisite for further contact - namely an apology, an explanation, compensation for Hameed’s family, some kind of promise of future behavior, and the release of all those arrested?

DR. OMAR ABDUL SATAR: The first thing is to release them. The second thing... why did they kill Mr. Hameed in his bed? This is a crime. This man, he is a very good man. He has not any relation in anytime with al-Qaeda. He is a political man, and a member of IIP, but he was killed in his bed, in his sleep. They said he was fighting them, but he was wrapped in his blanket still. He was a very brave man against al-Qaeda, so we do not understand this.

We want to continue our good relationship with the Americans, but we need to solve this problem. This is not the only time this happened. Many times in this year, they do things like this.

IRAQSLOGGER: Jurisdiction and criminal behavior of U.S. troops in Iraq is a major point right now in the negotiations on an Iraqi/American security pact. Does this incident change your party’s approach to the current draft of the agreement?

DR. OMAR ABDUL SATAR: No, no, no. It is a different issue, and has no relation to what we did (cutting off contact) with them. We want to solve this problem and stop it from happening again. That is the only reason we are doing this.

IRAQSLOGGER: One final question – the Special Investigator General for Reconstruction in Iraq released a report last week about another topic that affects Fallujah, that of the waste water treatment plant. The report is very critical of the work done on this project, and states that it is not only will fail to serve all but a small portion the population, but the few it serves will be done so ineffectually, and that it is actually dangerous for some. What is the effect of this on the people of Fallujah?

DR. OMAR ABDUL SATAR: You know, I am a doctor, and this is a big topic, a very important one for me. On the west side of Fallujah, a very large percent of the river is waste-water because of this problem. It is not treated, so it all goes in the river. People need this water for everything. The solving of this problem will solve maybe 80 percent of the health problems in al-Anbar. During Saddam’s regime, they never fixed this problem, especially in the last 15 years. In the last five years, it was much worse. You can’t believe how it affects health, jobs, and agriculture, and the people in general. This project is very, very necessary for other things to happen.

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