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#943669 --- 12/23/08 01:28 PM It's going to get uglier and uglier in Iraq
Retired Soldier Offline
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Registered: 12/23/05
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Iraqis to Try Suing US Troops
December 23, 2008
Mclatchy -Tribune News Service

BAGHDAD - The families of three men who were killed last week during a search of a grain warehouse want to press charges against American Soldiers under the terms of a new security agreement between the U.S. and Iraq.

The security document protects American Soldiers so long as they're on U.S. bases or on missions, so it's unlikely that the families can base their claims on it, though they plan to press their case with the help of international lawyers.

Nonetheless, their charges are a preview of some of the nettlesome questions that are likely to arise as the U.S. yields more authority to Iraq under the terms of the pact, which takes effect Jan. 1.

Iraqis will lead operations, but U.S. forces will continue to have a high profile with their more advanced armor and weapons.

Iraq's parliament approved the deal last month, and President George W. Bush visited Iraq last week to spotlight an agreement that allows U.S. forces to remain in Iraq for another three years.

"Where is Iraq's sovereignty, even if it is to go in effect Jan. 1?" asked Ahmed Cheloob Sabor, 48, whose brother was one of the three security guards who died in the incident last Wednesday at a Ministry of Trade grain-storage site. "Why did this incident take place so close to that date?"

Two different descriptions of the raid are circulating in Baghdad, both from official sources.

The Trade Ministry furnished gory pictures to two Iraqi newspapers showing blood smeared along walls in a bedroom at the storage site. Ministry officials and victims' families were quoted in the newspaper accounts as saying that the men were killed while they were asleep at about 5:10 a.m. One of the photos shows bloody sleeping bags.

"The Ministry of Trade denounces this despicable act that targeted one of its sites," the ministry says in a statement on its Web site. The ministry "demands that the American forces halt these attempts and submit a formal apology in addition to compensating the victims of the incident, who were security guards tasked with guarding the site."

The U.S. military, however, says Iraqi special forces led the search. Military spokesman Capt. Charles Calio said U.S. Soldiers were at the scene only as advisers. He stressed that the men who were killed had fired their weapons at the Soldiers.

"The targeted individuals were not sleeping at the time of the attack; they were killed in an exchange of gunfire," Calio said.

A week ago, the U.S. touted the raid in a news release that praised the Iraqi forces for their professionalism. It said the joint operation had netted four arrests of suspected criminals and the seizure of weapons, homemade explosives and bulletproof vests.

The Iraqi National Police and the Iraqi army refused to explain their roles in the raid.

The search took place in Atafiyah, a north Baghdad neighborhood where U.S. and Iraqi security forces are sharing quarters on joint bases and coordinating missions.

That partnership, once an exception in most of Iraq, is now the norm. After Jan. 1, all offensive military operations must be coordinated through the Iraqi government, though U.S. forces will be allowed to defend themselves on those missions under the security agreement.

The U.S. military didn't say what prompted the joint raid, but it's common for security forces to search large government facilities such as warehouses and rail yards for hidden weapons.

The Trade Ministry controls Iraq's monthly ration program, which provides residents with basic necessities such as tea, sugar and rice. The ministry has been the focus of several corruption probes, and several high-ranking officials were ousted in September because of allegations that they'd misused their positions.

Ministry spokesman Mohammed Hanoon said U.S. officials had assured him that the Iraqi forces led the raid and fired at the site. He still faulted the Americans, however, saying that as advisers they should have crafted a safer strategy to take control of the facility without harming the guards.

"Even if they were wanted men, there are procedures to get them without killing them," he said.

American officers are said to be preparing to meet neighborhood officials and families of the men who died. Iraqis are portraying that meeting as a time for the Americans to apologize.

"In two days we'll have a kind of meeting between the families of the victims with the Americans to talk about the incident," said Khalid Mawood, a member of a district council in northern Baghdad.

The men killed in the raid were Assad Cheloob Sabor, Heider Sattar Manshad and Hussein Hashim, according to the Ministry of Trade.

Ministry spokesman Hanoon said it was possible that the security guards were sleeping because the neighborhood is generally safe.

"It is their job to provide safety and security, and in this way they were killed," Hanoon said.

Ahmed Cheloob Sabor said that the death of his brother, Assad, had rocked his family. The 29-year-old guard had a wife and baby son.

"All the Iraqis have become used to being killed in many ways," Ahmed Cheloob Sabor said. "But this way, in their beds, is too much."

The security agreement replaces a U.N. mandate that has allowed U.S. forces to operate in Iraq since 2003. The U.N. voted Monday to let the mandate expire Dec. 31.

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#947614 --- 12/31/08 02:27 PM Re: It's going to get uglier and uglier in Iraq [Re: Retired Soldier]
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Iraq security deal to change U.S. tactics
Published: Dec. 31, 2008 at 7:58 AMOrder reprints | Feedback
BAGHDAD, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- U.S. troops accustomed to staging mass arrests of suspected Iraqi insurgents will be forced to acquire warrants as part of a new security deal, officials say.
The new Status of Forces Agreement, which goes into effect Thursday, asserts Iraqi sovereignty in the area of arrests and demands that U.S. soldiers obtain arrest warrants from local judges before staging raids in such places as Baghdad's Sadr City slum, The New York Times (NYSE:NYT) reported.

The change is being welcomed by many Iraqis as an important step toward sovereignty, because many of those arrested by U.S. troops remained imprisoned for years without charges. But others say the change also raises concerns that the longer and more complicated arrest process could jeopardize recent gains in safety in Sadr City, the Times said.

"There will be more steps," said Maj. Hasoon S. Hussein Zoubadi, an Iraqi officer. "It will make it harder for us and easier for the Mahdi Army," the militia run by the anti-American cleric Moqtada Sadr.

One American major told the Times Iraqi judges have threatened to prosecute U.S. officers for detaining suspects on inadequate or false evidence.

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#948572 --- 01/02/09 01:31 PM Re: It's going to get uglier and uglier in Iraq [Re: Retired Soldier]
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UK Hands Over Murder Suspects to Iraq
January 02, 2009
Daily Post

Two Iraqis accused of murdering two British soldiers were handed over to the Baghdad government by UK forces Dec. 31 in defiance of the European Court of Human Rights.

UK Defence Secretary John Hutton said Faisal Al-Saadoon, 56, and Khalaf Mufdhi, 58, were transferred by British forces who had been holding them in Basra after a Court of Appeal ruling yesterday.

The transfer went ahead despite a last minute bid by the Human Rights Court, in Strasbourg, to block it with an injunction effectively suspending the Court of Appeal's decision.

The men, who now face trial in an Iraqi court, are suspected of involvement in the murder of Staff Sergeant Simon Cullingworth and Sapper Luke Allsopp.

Mr Hutton said: "After December 31, 2008, the UK had no legal power to detain any individuals in Iraq and continued detention would be a breach of the UK's international law obligations.

"The European Court of Human Rights has asked the UK to retain custody in Iraq of Mr Al Saadoon and Mr Mufdhi when we have no legal power to do so."

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#948658 --- 01/02/09 04:04 PM Re: It's going to get uglier and uglier in Iraq [Re: Retired Soldier]
Taxpayer14456 Offline
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Registered: 08/23/06
Posts: 8109
Loc: Geneva
When do you post that the overall deaths of American soldiers are down for year 2008?
_________________________
Maybe we should chug on over to mamby pamby land...

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#948722 --- 01/02/09 07:54 PM Re: It's going to get uglier and uglier in Iraq [Re: Taxpayer14456]
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You did. Obviously, you feel that it is relevant to the topic of this thread. I don't.
The point of this thread is that our forces in Iraq are in the midst of changes they are not prepared for and do not know how to handle. They have been used to doing whatever they thought was best for them without considering the rights and safety of Iraqis. They will not be able to do that anymore.
For the mercenaries, they are no longer immune to Iraqi law, and will have to answer for their actions.
The US forces are still protected from civil or criminal prosecution by Iraqis except when they are off duty, but all operations now have to be approved by the Iraqis prior to being mounted.

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#949088 --- 01/03/09 02:36 PM Re: It's going to get uglier and uglier in Iraq [Re: Retired Soldier]
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Registered: 12/23/05
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Iraq won't be used to threaten neighbors: Maliki
Sat Jan 3, 2009 TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iraq's prime minister, who started a visit to Iran on Saturday, told Iranian state television his government would not allow Iraq to be used as a base to threaten its neighbors.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told Iran's Arabic news channel on Friday that Iraq "will not let Iraq be a launching ground to threaten any country," Al-Alam said on its website.

U.S. forces in Iraq came under Iraqi mandate on January 1, a move Maliki said restored sovereignty nearly six years after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

Iran is embroiled in a row over its nuclear plans with the United States, which has refused to rule out military action if diplomacy fails to end the dispute. Washington and its allies accuse Iran of seeking nuclear weapons, which Tehran denies.

Analysts say any U.S. attack against Iran would most likely involve air strikes rather than any land invasion. Washington used its bases in regional countries to attack Iraq in 2003.

Washington and Tehran have traded accusations about who is responsible for violence in Iraq. U.S. officials say Tehran backs Iraqi militants. Tehran blames the presence of U.S. forces and says they should withdraw from Iraq and the whole region.

Baghdad has long urged both sides not to use Iraq as a proxy battleground. The level of violence in Iraq has recently subsided but lethal bomb and gun attacks are still common.

Maliki also "emphasized that Iraq will open all pending files with neighboring states and others in order to build sound relations with them," the report said, adding that Iraq would be an "axis for positive relations with Iran."

Iraq's government said on Wednesday it wanted 3,500 members of the exiled Iranian opposition group, the People's Mujahideen Organization of Iran (PMOI) in Camp Ashraf, north of Baghdad, to leave the country.

Iran considers the group a terrorist organization and many Iranians oppose it for siding with Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in the 1980s war with Iran. Analysts say it is difficult to gauge what support the group has inside Iran.

Maliki repeated his government's call for members of the group to leave in his comments to Al-Alam. He also said Iraq would not force them to leave to Iran or another country but would leave the choice to them.

Maliki said Iraq "will not let any terrorist party harm its relations with neighboring governments" and named the PMOI, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) that wants a homeland in southeast Turkey and PKK offshoot, the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), that often clashes with Iranian forces.

Maliki is expected to meet Iran's top authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during his two-day visit, an Iranian newspaper reported.

(Reporting by Edmund Blair in Tehran; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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