Wednesday, September 11, 2013

At least 13 dead today so far in reported violence

The US Embassy in Baghdad posted "Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens" at its website late yesterday:

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all but essential travel to Iraq.
Due to heightened safety and security risks and the ongoing threat of terrorist activities throughout Iraq, the U.S. government remains highly concerned about the danger to U.S. citizens, whether visiting or residing in Iraq, and to U.S. facilities and businesses.  Threats against U.S. interests, U.S. assets, and foreign companies employing U.S. personnel in Iraq have been reported, related to a possible U.S. military strike on Syria.
On the eve of the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. Embassy reminds U.S. citizens of the need for caution and awareness of personal security.  U.S. citizens in Iraq should avoid areas where large gatherings may occur.  Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.  You should avoid areas of demonstrations and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.
Review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates.  Maintain a high level of vigilance, take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security and follow instructions of local authorities.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens residing in Iraq enroll in the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).   STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you don't have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State's Internet website at where the Worldwide Caution, Country Specific Information, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts can be found.  Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.  Download our free Smart Traveler app, available through iTunes or Google Play, to have travel information at your fingertips. 

Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada, or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
The U.S. Embassy is located at Al Kindi Street, IZ, Baghdad.  If you are a U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance, the emergency number for the U.S. Embassy is 0770-443-128, from the United States:  011-964-770-443-1286.  The U.S. Consulate General in Erbil is located at 413 Ishtar, Ankawa, Erbil:  0770-443-4396.

Today NINA reports Sheikh Natiq Yassin was assassinated in Abe al-Kahseb, police shot dead 1 suspect and injured another in Baiji, a suicide car bomber in Tuz Khurmatu claimed the lives of 5 police officers and left another four injured, a Baquba bombing claimed the life of 1 "employee in the Sunni Waqf Directorate in Diyala and his wife," an attack on a Buhriz checkpoint left 1 police officer dead, 1 worker for the General Company for Ports of Iraq was shot dead in Basra, and last night 2 Muqdadiya bombings left four people injuredAll Iraq News adds a Mosul sticky bombing killed 1 journalist and 1 police colonel was shot dead in Mosul.

Meanwhile All Iraq News reports Basra Governor Majid al-Nasrawi has fired Faysal al-Abadi who had been the commander of the Basra police.  Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) reports on the various ("heavy-handed") efforts that Iraqi officials are using in attempts to reduce violence including a moat around Kirkuk, vehicle restrictions and "bulldozing soccer fields."

Two Sundays ago, Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq's prime minister and chief thug, launched yet another attack on Camp Ashraf.  US House Rep Dana Rohrabacher's office issued the following statement yesterday:

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats, today called on the Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to take all steps necessary to stop the ongoing violence, including murder, directed against unarmed civilian Iranian refugees.
He also demanded that the Iraqi prime minister assure that the seven Camp Ashraf refugees taken hostage during a Sept. 1 raid by Iraqi forces not be returned to Iran. The hostages, according to reports, are being held near the Baghdad airport facing forced repatriation.
“These hostages, who tried to flee the Islamist tyranny across the border, face almost certain death if they are forced back to their hostile homeland,” said Rohrabacher. “We must not stand by, to quote Secretary of State John Kerry’s words with regard to the gassed Syrian rebels, as ‘silent spectators to the slaughter’ of these freedom seekers.” The Congressman is on record as opposing Kerry’s case for intervening in Syria.
The Congressman’s call followed reports of systematic killing of residents at Camp Ashraf near the Iranian border. According to the reports, 52 unarmed civilians were murdered and at least 14 others were taken from the camp, their fate unknown. At least five such attacks have been reported.
“The Camp Ashraf refugees have suffered and been at risk since the American liberation of Iraq in 2003,” said Rep. Rohrabacher. “They were part of a resistance movement opposing the mullah regime in Iran. In 2004 the residents of the camp disarmed and left themselves totally at the mercy of the U.S. Government as part of an agreement to afford them protection. Shortly afterward, the Iranian dictatorship targeted the 3,000 residents of Camp Ashraf. Most have been transferred to Camp Liberty elsewhere in Iraq.
“The Iraqi military is murdering unarmed refugees, and there is every reason to believe Prime Minister Maliki, at the behest of Iran’s mullahs, ordered these criminal acts. Come what may, Maliki will be held responsible for this reprehensible slaughter of civilians in his own country. It is unfortunate that America’s foreign policy establishment hasn’t taken steps to prevent this atrocity.”
Rep. Rohrabacher recommended halting all aid to Iraq until the refugee matter has been settled. “The refugees disarmed themselves with faith in U.S. Government guarantees of their safety,” he said. “If we fail them, nobody will believe us again.”

Rep. Rohrabacher is Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats.

The following community sites -- plus Jody Waltey, Black Agenda Report, PRI, Susan's On the Edge,  the ACLU, Ms. magazine's blog and The Diane Rehm Show --  updated since yesterday morning:

The e-mail address for this site is