Dar al-Hayat: Najaf Provincial Council brings a case against (Dar) al-Hayat after its reporter’s refusal to reveal his sources.

http://international.daralhayat.com/internationalarticle/101870

Najaf – al-Hayat

The Najaf Provincial Council decided to bring a case against a reporter from al-Hayat that (works) in the city, Fadil Rishad, after his refusal of the request by the council to give up information on the full names and addresses of those formerly in the Ba’ath party that had made statements to al-Hayat previously.

al-Hayat had published a report from Najaf in a number of its news outlets on the 23rd of this month titled, “Najaf’s Ba’athists fear the security apparatus and political militias.” It quoted unnamed former Ba’athists in regards to (their) security concerns, “Fear and panic have gripped Ba’athist families,” after threats that circulated from the local city government. Some of them mentioned that, “They have decided to flee the city after taking pledges from the security elements not to cooperate with armed elements.”

The Najaf (Provincial) Council issued had issued a report previously granting the Ba’athists a single day to vacate the province, following bombings that struck the city and left tens of people dead and injured.

After the report was distributed, the al-Hayat reporter was summoned to the headquarters of the (Najaf) Provincial Council where they requested that he divulge the complete information about the sources of his information and threatened to bring a case against him if he refused to disclose the sources.

The Press Freedoms Observer and the Association for the Defense of Press Freedoms announced their condemnation of the Najaf Provincial Council’s actions. The Press Freedoms Observer said in a report that, “(We) emphatically condemn what our colleague, Fadil Rishad, is having to deal with from the Najaf Provincial Council as well as its requests for (Fadil) to divulge his sources.” They added, “This is not a regional issue, and it goes against the freedom of expression that the constitution guarantees, as well as the democratic process in the country.”

Likewise, the Association for the Defense of Press Freedoms condemned the pressure that had been placed on the al-Hayat journalist in Najaf in order to compel him to divulge the names and addresses of his sources, and it believes that is a violation of the most basic necessities of a journalist’s work. The Association requested that, “The Najaf Provincial Council and it’s president, Shaykh Fayid al-Shamari, stop terrorizing journalists and raising cases against them using condemned criminal laws inherited from the previous regime that flies in the face of the constitution and international obligations to build a democracy and respect and strengthen freedom of the press.”

The organization mentioned that the Najaf Provincial Council had raised tens of cases in the past against international (media) organizations because of their use of quotes from members of the (Najaf) Provincial Council.

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Dar al-Hayat: 3 Yemeni Soldiers killed in Shabwa by bullets from armed fighters of al-Qa’ida

http://international.daralhayat.com/internationalarticle/101000

Sana’ – Faysal Mukaram

At least three soldiers were killed and two others belonging to the Central Yemeni security forces were injured in the province of Shabwa (In the eastern part of the country), by armed fighters believed to be members of the “al-Qa’ida” organization in Yemen. In the early hours of yesterday morning, they attacked one of the military positions in the ‘Amashiya area of the ‘Atuq district (Around 600 kilometers from Sana’), and then ran away.

Local sources said that the attack might have been a response to security operations that have lately targeted “al-Qa’ida” in Shabwa and a number of provinces, and the authorities continue their pursuit of the organization’s members.

In the southern province of Lahaj witnesses confirmed to “al-Hayat” that tens of armed fighters belonging to “al-Harak al-Janubi” looted businesses, lit them on fire, and cut off the main highway connecting the province with the capital, Sana’, and the neighboring province of ‘Adin. (These acts) forced businessmen, particularly those who have come down from the northern provinces, to close their shops down and flee the province.

The neighboring province of al-Dhalia’ witnessed clashes between demonstrators belonging to “al-Harak al-Janubi” and police (forces) which arrested tens of the (demonstrators) after they blocked off the main highway leading to Sana’ and raised flags opposing (national) unity. At the same time, armed fighters in the demonstration seized three members of (Yemen’s) security forces, who they later released after (the three captured soldiers) confirmed that they were from the southern provinces.

On another front, in regards to the battle in Sa’da’, witnesses indicated that violent fighting has been going on since dawn of yesterday between the Army’s forces, supported by volunteers from tribes (al-Jaysh al-Sha’bi), and al-Huthi insurgents, especially in the entrances to the old district.

In the latest news, local sources indicated that the army has possibly wiped out a number of the positions that had been in the hands of the al-Huthis, due to the damage to their positions along the Buni Sufyan area and the foiling of their attempts to infiltrate near the Tibba al-Burka (area.)

Note: The “Harak al-Janubi”, or “Southern Movement” is a secessionist movement in Southern Yemen that is distinctly separate from the al-Huthi rebellion in the north and al-Qa’ida’s country-wide presence. For more information, follow these links:
http://www.isim.nl/files/review_22/review_22-50.pdf
http://www.criticalthreats.org/yemen/yemens-southern-challenge-background-rising-threat-secessionism

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Dar al-Hayat: Incidents of Thallium poisioning in Basrah, Suspicions that an unknown group distributed it in the province.

http://international.daralhayat.com/internationalarticle/97158

Basrah – Ahmad Wahid

The Health Department in Basrah observed incidents of disease that it has described as “strange,” that ended in the death of two people and the poisoning of tens of others as a result of the spread of, “Dangerous substances and attempts to meddle with the health of the citizens by exploiting the national vaccination campaign in the province.”

The Health Department announced the death of two people due to poisoning by the substance “Thallium” that an “unknown group” spread in the Nazran area of the Abi al-Khasib district” in southeastern Basrah (490 kilometers south of Baghdad.)

The General Director for the Department, Doctor Riyad al-Amir told al-Hayat that, “The residents said that a team claiming that it was from the government distributed the deadly substance while saying that it exterminated rodents. The team was wearing clothes that were unlike those worn by teams from the Health (Department).”

He added, “We are trying to cooperate with the province’s security apparatus, the Agricultural Department, and the Basrah Provincial Council to understand the source of this deadly substance.”

He indicated that, “The insecticides that the (Health) Department’s teams were given by the Ministry of Health don’t have the deadly substance Thallium in them.”

He pointed out that, “This substance in banned internationally and is only sold to licensed health offices, nevertheless some who have gotten a hold of it have distributed it widely at a cheap price which has made it easily obtainable.” He added that, “The case is now in the hands of the security apparatus and there are criminal investigations searching for the truth of the matter.” He explained that, “The substance has caused nervous system illnesses and resulted in death.”

The rapid events have led to the use of a fast-response unit at Basrah area hospitals seeking to treat those injured by this poisoning. A doctor from the unit, Muhammad Talib, said that, “There has been 16 cases that have come in over the past two days.”

A member of the health committee in the Basrah Provincial Council, Sukna al-Maliki, explained that, “There is a committee being formed to look into the places that this substance was found.” He added that, “We have informed the border crossings to increase their vigilance to prevent the entrance of this substance which is internationally banned.” This has coincided with a national vaccination campaign in the province to combat polio, and led to health groups to issue a warning to only receive vaccination teams after confirming that they belong to the (Health) Department, so as not to have the citizens not reject these teams outright.”

Muhammad ‘Abd al-Rizaq, Director of the Mercy Health Clinic in Basrah, told “al-Hayat”, “Our clinic is packed with people seeking information even though there are traveling health teams. The residents are scared of the possibility that the mobile health teams doing vaccinations were infiltrated by saboteurs, and it has led to much panic.”

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Dar al-Hayat: Widespread “preventative” security measures in Baghdad, the government denies taking precautions against a “Military Coup”.

http://international.daralhayat.com/internationalarticle/96807

Baghdad – Husayn ‘Ali Dawud

Yesterday Iraqi forces took “preventative” security measures that led to a lockdown of movement in Baghdad after most of the streets and bridges connecting Karkh and Rusafah were closed, not to mention the stopping of traffic and closing of a number of the southern, western, and northern neighborhoods in the capital.

The inhabitants (of Baghdad) were surprised yesterday morning by the Iraqi force’s imposition of the procedures, and they were prevented from going to their work amidst rumors of an uprising or military coup, not to mention a massive armed attack possibly resembling the severe explosions that occurred in Baghdad a few months ago.

The government denied yesterday that the prudent measures were a precaution against an uprising or military coup. In a joint press conference with the government’s spokesperson, ‘Ali al-Dabagh, that was broadcast on some of the media outlets, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense, Muhammad al-‘Askari, described the “coup attempt” as, “Hilarious conjecture. There are no military manuevers in Baghdad that don’t have the permission from the highest levels of authority in the country.”

He said, “There were military forces that had come to Baghdad to put on a military parade in honor of the founding of the Army, they were equivalent to a select representation of their divisions, yet they have all already returned back to their original bases.”

The former British Ambassador to Iraq, John Jenkins, had warned in his testimony last week in front of the British Gulf War investigative committee that Iraq was facing a military coup undertaken by officers in the army that still have allegiance to the Ba’ath part, but he recanted and took back (what he said) in regards to that.

A military (spokesperson) pointed out that, “Intelligence information from various locations and sources that was passed to the Baghdad Operations center about car bombs that were going to enter the capital, as such the (Iraqi Security) Forces undertook what is called a nullification or preservation operation to find those cars and thwart their effect.” He (also) noted that, “The operation wasn’t made known (in advance) so as not to miss the opportunity to (get) the terrorists and surprise them, and prevent them from doing what they want to do.” He indicated that, “So far, we haven’t found the cars or their type yet.”

From his side, al-Dabagh said that the Council of Ministers discussed the applicable security measures in the province of Baghdad and the possible threats and assured that, “The Council of Ministers calls on the citizens to understand the latest security measures demanded the imposition of a partial lockdown, more intense inspection procedures, and monitoring that targetted their security details and entourages, which led to the arrest of terrorists and the cooperation of citizens with the security forces.”

He indicated that, “The measures taken today were a result of important information from one of the citizens about car bomb assembly locations in Baghdad.”

The spokesmen for the Baghdad Operations Command, Major General Qasim ‘Ata described the security measures as, “Preventative and prudent.” He confirmed in a statement to “al-Hayat” that, “Intelligence information that we obtained indicated that terrorist groups intended to detonate car bombs this morning(yesterday).”

Hours after the security measures were rescinded, the Baghdad Operations Command issued a report announcing within it the arrest of, “25 individuals they were planning to undertake terrorist aggressions in the capital.”

The report explained that, “These people were arrested during raid operations undertaken by the security apparatus in various areas.” It added, “There were 200 kilograms of TNT discovered, 200 kilograms of C4, 250 liters of Ammonium Nitrate, and 60 mortar rounds.”

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