the Accountability and Justice Law is a ‘worthless’ piece of paper, approved by a ‘worthless and false parliament’, a ‘Ba’ath party spokesman’ in Iraq has warned.
Al-Jazeera carried an interview with Abu-Muhammad, described as a spokesman for the Ba’ath party in Baghdad, on the adoption of the Accountability and Justice Law by the ‘Iraqi Council of Representatives’.
He said: ‘This is a worthless and false parliament, which came about as a result of rigged elections and by the will of the occupier.
‘Consequently, its decisions are worthless because it does not represent the Iraqi people at all.’
Izzat al-Shahbandar, from the ‘Iraqi List’, said: ‘There is nothing new in the Accountability and Justice Law.
‘It is also not a real alternative to the de-Ba’athification Law.
‘The de-Ba’athification Law is still valid.
‘The Accountability and Justice Law is more of a US achievement than an Iraqi achievement on the path of national reconciliation.
‘The US President wants to tell the US Congress and people that he has made or helped the Iraqis make a step towards reconciliation.’
Al-Shahbandar continued that: ‘All Ba’athists have rejected the Accountability and Justice Law. Results are what counts.
‘The Ba’athists, who are said to be an obstacle on the path of achieving stability, have rejected the Accountability and Justice Law in advance. This is a US step.’
The Ba’ath party, headed by President Saddam Hussein, ruled Iraq before the US-UK invasion of the country launched by US President George W Bush and ex-British Prime Minister Blair in March 2003.
The invading forces smashed up the Iraqi state, disbanding its army, whilst members of the Ba’ath party or people suspected of being Ba’athists became the targets of assassins as a ‘de-Ba’athification’ crusade was launched under the Anglo-American occupation.
Al-Shahbandar also said that: ‘As for the employees (of the former Ba’ath party government), there is nothing new in the law.’
‘The de-Ba’athification Law and the Accountability and Justice Law stipulate that the Ba’ath ideology is what should be uprooted.
‘No party in the world can claim this, for we cannot uproot an ideology, but we can uproot the traces of the Ba’ath experience over a rule of more than 30 years.’
Al-Shahbandar went on to say: ‘The de-Ba’athification Committee is still there. It is the same committee in charge of the Accountability and Justice Law.
‘It is actually a purging committee. It has close ties with the death squads and committees which wreak havoc in the Iraqi street.’
He added: ‘All the information that the de-Ba’athification Committee has is leaked to the death squads in the Iraqi street. These squads try and punish the people.’
Over two million Iraqis have fled Iraq since the 2003 invasion and over two million more have become internally displaced as a result of the US-UK occupation.
In an Al-Jazeera report from Egypt, where 130,000 Iraqi refugees are now living, an artist named Ru’yah told their reporter that she escaped to Cairo together with her elderly mother, who lost her hearing and memory as a result of the extensive shelling of her house in Iraq.
Another refugee, Dr Balsam Abd-al-Karim, living in Amman, Jordan, thanked the Jordanian government for giving her family refuge and calling them guests of the country.
Their biggest problem is finding work, because, she said, they are not officially allowed to work in Jordan.
She added that health and medical care is extremely expensive and that Iraqi refugees do not have the means or income to pay for treatment.
Nasimah Hamadi, an Iraqi refugee living in the Syrian capital Damascus, said refugees in Syria had received some aid from the United Nations.
They now have ration cards with which they can get a box of foodstuffs and basic supplies for a month, in addition to a health card provided by the Syrian government.
Speaking about how the aid is distributed, she said: ‘We receive an SMS on our mobiles. It used to be a monthly thing, but has now become every two months.’
Hamadi said the Syrian government had accepted Iraqi refugees at schools and treated them well, and that the teachers have shown great patience with them in the lessons, given that the Syrian curriculum is different.
The Syrian government has also opened government hospitals to the Iraqis, she said, adding: ‘Relations between the Syrian people and the Iraqi people are very good.’
But Dr Abd-al-Karim in Amman said that, as far as she knows, the United Nations has not offered anything.
She noted that some people can get discounts and rebates at Jordan’s hospitals for treatment, but not everyone is entitled to this.
She said: ‘With respect to the Al-Husayn Cancer Centre, for example, it is receiving many cases of cancer patients who have developed cancer now as a result of the depleted uranium that the United States used during its war in 1991.’
She said ‘these poor people’ have to pay huge sums of money for their treatment.
Asked if she had heard any news about the Arab League campaign to help the Iraqi refugees for a period of three months, Dr Abd-al-Karim said she had heard about the campaign and was grateful for it.
She added: ‘The fact is that the voice of the Iraqi refugee now is very weak and cannot be heard anywhere. No Arab or European countries hear the voice of the Iraqi refugee.’
l Poland says it will evacuate Iraqis who face danger for their association with Polish troops in Iraq.
Some 20-30 Iraqis, people who worked for Polish troops as translators, guides or informants, are expected to be evacuated with their families to Poland.
Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said Poland’s president would offer the Iraqi evacuees Polish citizenship, in justified cases.
The small number of Iraqis concerned fear they could be killed for being ‘traitors’ who collaborated with occupying forces in Iraq.
Poland is expected to withdraw its remaining troops from Iraq by October.
l The Turkish military is continuing its raids on northern Iraq.
Iraqi Kurds said Turkey opened artillery fire near to certain areas on the border, and that Turkish military jets targeted several areas.
Kurdish leaders who enthusiastically supported the US-UK invasion of Iraq in 2003 are now beginning to openly question what is happening to their alliance with Washington, which has not taken any action to stop the Turkish army’s operations.
In an article, entitled ‘Visit Us Too’, by Kurdish writer Stran Abdallah, the author questioned why US President George W Bush had not come to visit some of his most loyal followers in northern Iraq on his recent eight-day trip to the Middle East.
The article was published by ‘Aso’, a newspaper said to support the pro-American PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan), part of the regional government in Iraqi Kurdistan.
The article said: ‘President Bush is in the region and he hovers around Iraq without being willing to visit the land of two rivers.
‘He does not want to visit Iraq or come to Kurdistan, lest he should hear the sound of Turkish napalm falling on Qandil Mountain.
‘He is in the region but it is not part of his agenda to visit the displaced people of Kirkuk or the refugees on Kurdistan’s borders.
‘He does not want to visit our region, which has only a few hours of power supply per day and the winter cold bites mercilessly with no fuel and heating to resist it.’
The article continued: ‘Well, why don’t you come to Iraq? Why don’t you come to Kurdistan, to the only region that welcomes the Americans?
‘To a region where, if people have cause to blame the Americans, it is for not becoming their ally as they should; for not setting up military bases in their country; for not opening a consulate in their region. . . does the president only visit those places that need encouragement and motivation, and he takes the Kurds for granted?
‘Whatever the reason, the Kurds are better than Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Ignoring the Kurds is not the right approach. . . we wish to say to this great ally of ours: It is a shame that you have liberated a country only to leave it to people like Baker, Shahristani, the illiterate lot and Turkish generals, to play with its future.’