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RUMOR MILL
Kut Commander Reported to Face Charges of Forgery, Fuel Smuggling
06/30/2009 7:44 PM ET
A high-level Iraqi security official in Wasit Province is to be charged with various counts of forgery and fuel smuggling according to reports in Arabic in Iraqi cyberspace.

The anti-government Haq News Agency reports that its sources in the Interior Ministry have disclosed that arrest warrants will be issued for Maj. Majid Latif al-Amara, identifited as the commander of rapid response forces in the province, along with orders dismissing him from his work.

The sources said that al-Amara will face more than one legal charge. The arrest order cited by the Haq Agency includes allegations of falsifying a school degree, although the unidentified sources are also reported to reveal that more than one charge will be issued against the officer.

According to Haq News, the official stepped down from his post to contest the January elections in Wasit Province on the part of the secular al-Iraqiya List, led by former Iraqi Interim PM Iyad Allawi, but returned to the security forces after failing in that bid for a provincial council seat in Kut.

Meanwhile, the Buratha News website, a media organ of the Iraqi Supreme Islamic Council led by Shi'a cleric Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim, says that unidentified high-level officials in Wasit Province have disclosed documents that link al-Amara to fuel smuggling operations in the province.

Both reports appear on highly partisan websites and cannot be confirmed at this time.

The Latest
Detention of Two Councilmen Reportedly Tips Off Cycle of Arrests and Violence
06/19/2009 5:00 PM ET
Google Earth image/IraqSlogger.com.

Forces of the Iraqi 14th Division arrested an officer and eight members of the Provincial Council building guard in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, as clashes reportedly erupted Friday between Army forces and the council guards following the Army’s arrest of two provincial council members on Thursday and the apparent retaliatory arrest of a 14th Division employee.

An unidentified eyewitness told al-Malaf Press that armed clashes involving the use of automatic rifles broke out between Iraqi Army forces and Basra council guardsmen as Army troops moved to arrest the eight councilmen on Friday. The eyewitness could not provide details on any casualties in the fighting.

A source in the Provincial Council said that the arrest operation came after members of the council guard arrested one of the 14th Division employees at an earlier time, the agency adds. The source added that the Basra council held an emergency meeting to discuss the circumstances of the events.

On Thursday, Iraqi Army forces reportedly arrested two members of the Basra Provincial council, Muhammad al-Maksousi, the head of the economic development committee, and with Ali Sawadi, a member of the agricultural committee, while they were touring the southern province.

The two men were released after a short period, following the intervention of the provincial council president and other members of the council, al-Malaf Press writes.

14th Division Commanders have not provided further comment on those arrests, the agency adds.

The Latest
Jami'a District Resident Says Families Depart, Fearing "Sectarian" Detentions
06/18/2009 8:23 PM ET
Google Earth image/IraqSlogger.com.

Iraqi forces have conducted a widespread raiding and arrest campaign in the western Baghdad district of al-Jami'a, according to a report in Arabic citing eyewitnesses.

The al-Haq News Agency reports that eyewitnesses in the predominantly Sunni Arab area of western Bahgdad say that “many families in the district have left their homes empty for fear of sectarian arrests.”

One resident of the area, identified as Abu Ahmad, reportedly told the online news agency that the Iraqi government statements to the media claiming an improvement in the security affairs of the area were false.

“The truth of the matter is that security situation has deteriorated . . . and I fear for my children, that they will be thrown in prison and become just forgotten numbers, like their colleagues who are subjected to all manner of torture,” the al-Jami'a resident reportedly said.

Al-Haq takes an editorial line opposed to the post-2003 Iraqi political order and the presence of foreign forces in Iraq.

Al-Haq agency does not provide arrest figures in its report, nor does it provide further information as to the nature of the raids or the targeted sites.

Iraqi forces for the last two weeks have intensified their arrest and raiding campaigns across the country, the agency reports, citing official statements that the raids come in preparation for the withdrawal of American forces from Iraqi cities, scheduled for the end of the month.

The Latest
Al-Ahd Correspondent Taken into Custody while Covering Suicide Blast
06/11/2009 8:08 PM ET
Google Earth image/IraqSlogger.com.

A journalist was detained by Iraqi security forces in the southern province of Dhi Qar on Wednesday and remains in custody, according to a statement released in Arabic by an Iraqi media rights watchdog.

In its statement, the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory (JFO) demands that the Dhi Qar Provincial Council intervene with the security forces in the province to secure the release of Jasim al-Kanani, correspondent for the al- 'Ahd broadcaster arrested while he was covering an explosion in the city of al-Batha’ in the province.

The journalist was detained Wednesday by Iraqi security forces and is now in custody at the municipal police headquarters, according to the al-'Ahd network, JFO writes.

Qasim Nu'man, director of public relations in the al-'Ahd network, told the JFO that Jasim al-Kanani, their Nasiriya correspondent, was headed for the al-Batha’ area on Wednesday morning to cover a suicide bombing attack when Iraqi police placed him in a detention facility without announcing the reasons.

Nu'man added that al-Kanani called him from the prison cell on his mobile phone, asking for help.

JFO ends its statement by denouncing the detention of journalists in all areas of Iraq and demands that the Iraqi security forces expedite the release of al-Kanani and move to stop the detention of journalists.

RUMOR MILL
Rumors of Attempt to Bring Back Former Commander; Scores of June Arrrests
By SLOGGER NETWORK 06/10/2009 5:19 PM ET
Google Earth image/IraqSlogger.com.

Sources in the southern province of Karbala have told Slogger of rumors in the city that some members of the Karbala Provincial Council intend to dismiss the provincial police commander in order to bring back the former police commander.

Rumors, which IraqSlogger cannot confirm, suggest of movement in the provincial council to dismiss Maj. Gen. Jasim Muhammad, commander of Karbala police forces, and to bring back the former Karbala commander Ra’id Shakir Jawdat, who currently heads the police forces in Wasit Province.

Meanwhile, Iraqi forces in the city of Karbala, south of Baghdad, conducted a series of raids over the week of June, arresting scores of wanted suspects, including the former head of the provincial council.

Security forces detained Abd al-Ali al-Yasiri, the former president of the Karbala provincial council, on allegations of corruption and misuse of influence during his tenure, which ended with the accession of the incoming provincial council elected in the January 31 elections in Iraq.

In the course of the raids across Karbala city, Iraqi forces seized 57 artillery shells of varying sizes in operations in the al-Sina'i industrial sector, along with various other weapons and ammunition.

Sources in the Karbala security forces told Slogger that the 77 detainees captured in early June were arrested according to warrants issued by the Iraqi courts. Fourteen of the detainees are accused of dealing in narcotics in Baghdad’s Palestine Street area, with another 20 accused of participating in terrorist attacks, and at least 8 accused of murder and theft. Members of IraqSlogger's network of Iraqi staff in Karbala contributed to this report but choose to remain anonymous for security reasons.

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