At least three Iraqis were killed and nine more were wounded in light violence. Both Iranian refugees at Camp Ashraf and Iraqi journalists throughout the country have long maintained they are the targets of illegal harassment under the Maliki government. Two significant stories that were published today appear to support their allegations.
European lawmakers are asking the United States and United Nations to help the People’s Mujahedeen Organization of Iran (Mujahedeen-e-Khalq). Part of the aid would include removing the group from the U.S. State Department’s list of terrorist organizations. The group, which has lived at Camp Ashraf for the last two decades, had fought against their home country alongside Saddam in the 1980s, but is also accused of helping Saddam suppress the Kurds. After the 2003 invasion, the M.E.K. (also P.M.O.I) came under the authority of U.S. forces, but their protection ended at the beginning of 2009. Since then, several reports of abuse, harassment and even a deadly raid demonstrate the Iraqi government’s desire to be rid of the refugees. No third country currently will take them and they fear being returned to Iran.
Cairo-based al-Baghdadiya T.V. shut down its Iraq operations, accusing Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of censorship and personally meddling in their negotiations with the authority that controls the media. Furthermore, security forces have occupied the channel’s studios since last month, when the station broadcast the demands of gunmen who were holding hostages at a Baghdad church. They also allege that their journalists are in imminent danger of arrest. Al-Baghdadiya’s most famous journalist is arguably Muntazer al-Zaidi, who threw his shoes at former-U.S. President George Bush during a press conference with Maliki.
In Baghdad, a roadside bomb planted near a Karrada restaurant wounded three civilians. A bomb targeting police wounded six people in Ghazaliya. A police officer was shot dead. An Interior Ministry official was killed in a separate shooting.
In Kut, five suspects were captured in connection with the death of a civilian yesterday.
Mortars fell on a U.S. base in Hilla, but no casualties were reported.
Thirty suspects were detained in Basra province.