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Archive | August, 2008

Kidnappings Now Become ‘Unofficial’

BAQUBA — Residents of Baquba deny police claims that kidnappings are now a matter of the past.

“There are fewer people disappearing, but it continues,” a trader who asked to be referred to as Abu Ali told IPS. “All of us know that several people are still being kidnapped every week.”

A local sheikh, speaking to IPS on condition of anonymity, said that many from his tribe have been kidnapped in just the last three weeks.

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Fallujah Finds a False Peace

FALLUJAH — Fallujah is quiet these days. After all the fighting and destruction of 2004, U.S. and Iraqi forces call this success. Many residents are not so sure.

Fallujah, 60km west of Baghdad, produced some of the strongest resistance yet to U.S. forces and their Iraqi collaborators. These forces led two severe assaults on the city, in April and November of 2004. Three-quarters of the city was destroyed, massive numbers of people were killed.

There has been little by way of reconstruction.

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Sectarian Clashes Flare Up Again

BAQUBA — A military operation said to target al-Qaeda has ended up targeting Sunni Muslims instead, creating new sectarian tensions.

A U.S.-backed security operation launched last month has only targeted cities with majority Sunni populations such as Buhriz, Tahreer, Qatoon, Mafraq, and Hay in Diyala province, north of Baghdad. The operation has drawn more than 50,000 Iraqi soldiers.

The deputy governor of Diyala, Awf Rahoomi, has demanded in a public speech in Baquba that “the new security plan should also include Shia cities like Hwaider, Khirnabat and Abara.”

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‘Provincial Saddam’ Goes, Finally


BAQUBA — The surprise removal of the Diyala police chief has brought new hope of a more secure future.

The decision by members of the ruling council of Diyala governorate to discharge provincial police chief Ghanim al-Quraishi brought celebrations in its wake. In Baquba, 40 km northeast of Baghdad, and capital of Diyala province, Quraishi has long been a controversial figure.

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