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An Iraqi Women’s Rights Group On Hillary Clinton's Headscarf in Cairo
06/06/2009 3:00 PM ET
Yanar Mohammed, president of the Organization for Women's Freedom in Iraq (out of Baghdad), writes an open letter to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in reaction to her covering her head in Cairo. Mohammed is not known to tiptoe around such issues - not many other women living in Baghdad displayed a photo of themselves burning a hijab on their website, even through the years of 2006 and 2007.

Full text is below.

In a visit to Egypt which was meant to be a landmark in US-Arab relations, Hillary Clinton chose to have her head covered with a veil, thus forwarding a clear message to more than a hundred million Arab women: "if an American Secretary of State can wear it, it should be okay for you too."

Women of the Arab world and the Middle East suffered and struggled from patriarchal Islamist oppression which escalated in the last two decades. One simple example of the oppression is the excluding of females from all decision making positions as they are thought of as "emotional" and "irrational". Therefore, a woman cannot be a judge in court; neither can she be a full witness, as two women's testimony will be equal to one man. Other examples of the oppression travel around the world dressed in full black, with no openings, even for breathing.

In a total control of governmental and non-governmental mass media, Islamist ideologists brainwashed generations into the idea that females are deficient human beings with an evil urge to disgrace and dishonour. Therefore, they should be restricted into a narrow zone lest they bring shame and filth upon the innocent unsuspecting patriarchs at home. The same ideologists who hold the binding veil in one hand, hold another unreserved banner in the other hand which assures the males' biological need for more than one sexual partner and tries to polish legalized polygamy with baloney testimonies of "'...being fair among wives when it is too difficult".

None of these misogynist ideologists mention the human catastrophe which befalls the female and children population in an Islamist city. In the religious city of Najaf , south of Baghdad 20% of the adult female population are abandoned wives with no income. They are second, third and fourth wives of men who had taken off for other women. Their husbands do not care to divorce them or to spend on their wives and their children. In the "holy" city of Najaf , masses of destitute women and children roam in the streets and may manage to live off the charity of religious institutions which had justified their abandonment and poverty in the first place.

The Islamist ideologists do not feel compelled to justify the tragedy of tens of thousands of women and children of a polygamist culture. They continue to pump a woman serves man ideology to the young generations to perpetuate the males' misogynist practices and the females' submission to misogyny as part of faithfulness and godliness.

There was a time of progressive leftist change in the Arab and Middle Eastern societies. It coincided with a world-wide movement for liberation from colonialism. Our mothers' generation benefited from that age as they reached to the university seats and became doctors and engineers.

Still, it took many years of political and feminist struggle to get rid of the veil and the control of patriarchs who imposed the veil on them. As you may know Hillary, these women were not born with the veil. It always takes a misogynist patriarch to tie it around your head and neck. But these women gracefully succeeded and got rid of the veil, the symbol of their oppression. From thereon came the female Ministers, judges, scientists, doctors, and engineers.

We are proud of our bodies and do not need to cover them to please your allies, the Islamist patriarchs. We also know that our fight for women's rights needs to parallel with a fight to end the US occupation in Iraq , as we have only witnessed deterioration in our lives and social status since day one of the occupation. Thanks to you and others like you, the Islamist patriarchs are ruling as government and militias in Iraq now. We know that women of Iraq cannot dream of a day of freedom as long as the US troops are in here.

If you need to flirt with your Islamist patriarch allies, go ahead. But never dare speak in the name of women and women's rights. Stick with the patriarchs in the boy's club as it serves you better.

Yanar Mohammed

Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq, president
June 6, 2009

In Mosul, Several Attacks Targetting Females
By DANIEL W. SMITH 05/30/2009 5:22 PM ET
Photo: Daniel W. Smith

BAGHDAD – Female victims have been a disturbingly common theme in recent security incidents in Mosul. In some cases, Mosul residents are under the impression that the victims were targeted because they were female.

On Thursday, unknown gunmen broke into a house in Mosul, killing a woman and her teenage daughter. It was referred to on some Iraqi television stations as a “copycat killing,” as another woman and her daughter were shot and left for dead in another Mosul break-in on Wednesday, and yet another two were killed on the previous Thursday.

Three female students were shot on Monday, again by “unknown gunmen,” in Western Mosul, as they walked from their school at the end of the day.

On Thursday, female Ninewa council member Lamia Mohammed was wounded by an IED in the al-Jamea'a neighborhood of Mosul which targeted the convoy of the council’s Health Committee. Four civilians were also wounded in the blast.

On Wednesday, according to a source in the Ninewa police, the Office of the Inspector-General of the Ninewa Interior Ministry arrested a first lieutenant in the barracks for the Fourth Regiment in northern Mosul, along with and a woman who was found with him. The woman was referred to as a “prostitute,” though this word is often flung at any woman thought to be involved in anything “immoral.” Another officer accused with being involved in bringing women into the barracks was reported to have escaped. The woman, in custody, is said the be under investigation.

Members of Iraqslogger’s network of Iraqi staff contributed to this report, but choose to remain anonymous, for security reasons.

Members of Family Hang Woman and Turn Themselves In, Expecting Little Punishment
05/02/2009 01:43 AM ET
Google Earth image/Iraqslogger

BAGHDAD – This week in Sadr City’s Gayara district, two family members of 27 year old Nadia Ahmad hung her with a rope. The motive was “to protect their family’s honor,” according to a source within Sadr City.

So-called “honor killings” can occur when a female is accused of having a boyfriend, engaging in prostitution, or being the victim of sexual assault, thus shaming her family’s name. In Iraq, mere rumors of a relationship with a male can lead to the label of prostitute, and her death. The same does not happen to males.

Two male family members are now reportedly in police custody for the killing. According to the source (who is familiar with the family), they were not arrested, but turned themselves in, expecting leniency. Honor killings are often looked at by law enforcement officials as family matters. Even if there are strong laws against the practice, perpetrators are sometimes given very short prison sentences, or must simply promise not to do it again.

The family’s reason for deciding that Nadia Ahmad had brought shame to them was unknown. Her mother was said to have been arrested five months ago for alleged involvement in a kidnapping.

Members of Iraqslogger’s network of Iraqi staff contributed to this report, but choose to remain anonymous, for security reasons.
Only on Slogger
Murder Spree Targets "Informants"; IED Defused Near General Hospital
By SLOGGER NETWORK 03/30/2009 7:59 PM ET
Google Earth image/

In what appeared to be the result of a gruesome coordinated operation, Iraqi forces discovered over a dozen murdered and disfigured women's bodies in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, all on the same day last week, security sources told Slogger.

The bodies of the women were all recovered last Tuesday, some of them disfigured, others stripped naked. One of the victims' corpses was found hanging from an electricity transmission pole.

The bodies of the seventeen women were uncovered across the city, security sources said, including in the Khams Mil, al-Hayaniya, al-Jumhouriya, al-Muwafaqiya, and al-Kuzayza areas.

Most of the women’s corpses were found with handwritten notes labeling the victims as informants to the Iraqi military, security sources said, adding that the notes referred to the victims, whom security forces were working to identify, as "prostitutes."

Security sources in Basra were unaware of the identity of the murderers in the apparent coordinated murders.

The same day, Iraqi forces deactivated an IED planted on a main road leading to Basra General Hospital, security sources told Slogger. Iraqi troops surrounded the area following the discovery of the roadside bomb, arresting three suspects carrying knives and guns. It is unknown if the detainees are related to the IED near Basra General.

Daily Column
Withdrawal Warnings, Electronic Warfare, Reports on Iraqi Women, Mental Health
By DANIEL W. SMITH 03/08/2009 02:00 AM ET
Most of today’s news is filed from the states and deals with how the US military is dealing with current challenges in Iraq – from logistics to the media. From Iraq, new studies on both mental health and women are looked at.

From Baghdad
The New York Times’ Alissa J. Rubin reports on two new surveys just out which aim to quantify war’s effects on the Iraqi population. One of the studies is on mental health in Iraq, the other on the status of women there. Rubin sums up the basic findings of the two studies, one commissioned by the Iraqi government and the other by the WHO, and provides some context. Rubin points out that the recent security doesn’t make these problems go away, but it does allow them to surface. “Only when the guns fall silent does the extent of damage wrought by conflict become visible. So in Iraq, as security improves, only now are the full effects of the violence on the Iraqi people emerging.”

The WHO’s mental health study found 17 percent of the Iraqi population with mental disorders of some kind (as you might expect, depression, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety are the most common) in the 4,332 Iraqis over 18 years old it surveyed. The researchers hypothesized that Iraqis had developed defenses to protect themselves. “Iraqi society has suffered for nearly 50 years from difficult circumstances, but gradually people seem to have become accustomed to enduring hard experiences,” said a psychiatrist who supervised the study. Women are particularly susceptible to mental illness, and few seek out the pittance of mental health services available.

On the report which deals exclusively with women, the outlook isn’t too positive. Three quarters of an estimated 740,000 strong population of widows aren’t receiving pensions, and the list goes on. Many of the issues facing other populations, such as children and those with health problems end up being shouldered by women, as usual. One curious finding of researchers is that “Quality health care is harder to obtain than it was in 2006 and 2007.” Jeez!

Ann Scott Tyson of the Washington Post reports on the logistical ramifications of the withdrawal of the majority of US troops from Iraq. Military officials are warning that when these troops go, they are taking much of the support which US servicemen currently count on with them.

Tyson focuses much of the article on the challenges for Special Operations, who routinely count on communications, helicopters, and other support provided by conventional forces. "A lot of people do not understand that SOF are really unable to support themselves," said Roger Carstens, who studied the problem as a nonresident fellow for the Center for a New American Security.
In the longer term, the Pentagon should consider creating at least two additional helicopter battalions dedicated to Special Operations forces, according to Robert Martinage, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment, who also testified last week before the terrorism subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, about two-thirds of Special Operations ground units do not have their own aviation and rely on regular Army units to provide it, Martinage said. As a result, he said that "in Afghanistan, nearly 50 percent of the lift requests" to support the Special Operations task force there "are routinely unmet," he said.
In the New York Times, Thom Shanker reports the US Army, viewed by its sister services as the less brainy branch of the armed forces, neglected to maintain its own ability to fight electronic warfare over recent years. Often, the army relies instead on the expertise of the Air Force and the Navy, but that has proved insufficient in today’s warfare, operating in a world of hyper-communications.

One example is that mobile phones and garage door openers, used as triggers for deadly IEDs, have led to complex jamming equipment, which in turn complicates regular communications between the troops themselves. Add to that the sheer volume of signal traffic to be sorted out, and having competent communications specialists becomes more and more important.

“When I first got over there in 2004 and in 2005, we didn’t have any Army electronic warfare capabilities,” said Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, Army vice chief of staff.
The Army reached out to the other services for help. Adm. Mike Mullen, then the chief of naval operations but since promoted to chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, immediately ordered to Iraq hundreds of sailors who specialized in electronic warfare.
“They saved a lot of lives when they came over,” General Chiarelli said. “They became the most important person in each formation down to the battalion level. They were sought out by soldiers who knew they had to learn this kind of warfare.”

Back in the Washington Post, Walter Pincus writes that, even as President Obama is calling for the Defense Department to stop outsourcing services that the government could perform, the Army is making actively recruiting contracting firms – in one case, for media specialists in north Iraq.

The article basically dissects a “wanted” ad for which the deadline has just been extended to demonstrate that a dramatic contracting overhaul may not be imminent, and looks at numbers. The extent to which Pincus reproduces a US military media specialist ad verbatim might give some conspiracy theorist a whole new area of study.

An editor might have been utilized, but if you’re looking for a job, and are interested in the exciting world of expanding “public information reach beyond traditional recipients of media products in order to garner maximum exposure to publics in the U.S. on a 24 hour basis," then this article is for you!

Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, no Sunday Editions.

Comments on the US Papers roundup are welcome at


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