Al Jazeera & Syrian Television Reports – 2005-09-24 09:10:42
Iraqi MP accuses British Forces in Basra of “Terrorism”
(September 20, 2005) — Text of interview with Fattah al-Shaykh, member of the Iraqi National Assembly representing Basra area, from Baghdad, by Ali al-Zufayri, Al-Jazeera presenter in the Doha studio, broadcast live by Qatari Al-Jazeera satellite TV on 20 September
Al-Zufayri: Mr Fattah al-Shaykh, how do you assess this raid operation, which might be the first of its kind, to liberate British soldiers from a police centre?
Al-Shaykh: In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. In fact, we, all the Iraqi people and the government, were pleased when we heard yesterday that the sons of the Iraqi people in the steadfast and mujahid city of Basra were alert and tried to detain two American [as heard] soldiers yesterday who wanted to foment sedition, stir up disturbances and sow the seeds of terrorism in Basra. Those soldiers were disappointed. The Iraqi people captured them and handed them over to the Iraqi government. This shows that –
[Al-Zufayri: correcting him] Mr Fattah, they were two Britons.
[Al-Shaykh] Excuse me, yes, they were two Britons. This shows that the sons of the Iraqi people are completely committed to protecting their country, whether in Basra, Al-Najaf, Al-Sadr City, Samarra or anywhere else.
Apart from what the UK forces are doing, this was frankly considered a violation. They claim that they are forces that enjoy international cover and that they can do what they want and can ravage Iraq. As for how the UK forces acted, they encircled the Major Crimes building and opened fire on citizens.
This is a flagrant violation of human rights and this per se is terrorism, whether conducted by the UK forces, the US forces or all the foreign occupation forces. These forces that claim that they came to liberate Iraq have to respect Iraq and the Iraqi people. Regardless of the UK forces’ actions carried out against the sons of our people in Basra, I reiterate that this is a flagrant violation against the sons of the Iraqi people.
Al-Zufayri: We would like to get a clearer understanding of the issue. What do you think the UK soldiers were doing wearing civilian cloths? The UK forces did not comment on their presence in that place?
Al-Shaykh: What would they say? Do you expect them to say that they are terrorists, British intelligence members working to stir up disturbances in Basra? Basra has been volatile for four days. I, personally, was a guest in Basra two days ago. I could see that the UK forces were always provoking the Iraqi people in Basra.
There are indiscriminate arrests and pressure. Shaykh Ahmad al-Fartusi [a leader of the Al-Mahdi Army in Basra ] and his aides were arrested as a result. Moreover, they began giving excuses about him and said that there were charges levelled against al-Fartusi. Yesterday, when we — five members, including the spokesman, of the Independent National Bloc — met Patrick (Toppin), representative of the British embassy in Baghdad, he said that he asked us to be patient and not to stir up disturbances.
While we were at the Conference Palace, a telephone call was received from Basra on that two UK soldiers were trying to stir up disturbances. Explosive materials were found in their car and they opened fire on one of the citizens, breaking his legs.
Moreover, the Iraqi police began assuming their role in the right manner [to contain the situation], but the British forces this time are trying to violate even the Iraqi law and mistreat the Iraqi police who defused this sedition.
Al-Zufayri: Mr Fattah, there is an important point here related to the extent of the relation and the coordination between the Iraqi police, the Iraqi forces and the UK forces. The incident probably indicates that they failed to coordinate and exchange information.
The UK forces maybe filed a request [for the soldiers’ release]. What kind of argument do you think this incident would raise with regard to the relation between the Iraqi and UK forces, specifically in Basra?
Al-Shaykh:The Iraqi forces always receive orders from the Iraqi officials and this is their duty as policemen or National Guard members, may God reward them well for carrying out their duties perfectly. However, what the UK forces are doing is not necessarily known by the Iraqi forces or coordinated with them through exchange of information. There are occupation forces, armoured vehicles, tanks and military aircraft in Basra.
Moreover, there are members of the British intelligence present in Basra especially, since Basra is currently a sensitive and important area in Iraq. There are members of the Central Intelligence Agency [CIA] and Mossad [word indistinct], as well as many institutions in this city.
What happened is not due to the lack of coordination, but a scandal took place when the anniversary of the birth of the expected Imam Al-Mahdi, may God hasten his honourable appearance, is commemorated. Almighty God exposed the true image of the occupier.
In Karbala, a foreign member was trying to detonate his car among visitors yesterday. This shows a great deal of grudge they harbour. I say that if the situation continues as is, I expect that the 1920 Revolution will erupt again against the Britons in the south.
Al-Zufayri: Fattah al-Shaykh, member of the Iraqi National Assembly representing Basra area, from Baghdad, thank you very much.
Al-Jazeera TV, Doha, in Arabic, 20 Sep 05
Copyright Al Jazeera and BBC Monitoring 2005
Middle East Press Reports on the British “Undercover Soldiers”:
US-UK occupation involved in “armed operations against civilians and places of worship”
Text of report on Syrian TV (Arabic), 19 September 2005
Newsreader Nidal Zaghbur: Ten Iraqis — seven police commandos, two civilians and a child — were killed and more than 10 others wounded in the explosion of two car bombs near two checkpoints in Al-Mahmudiyah and Al-Latifiyah south of Baghdad while hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were heading towards the city of Karbala to mark the anniversary of a religious event.
And in a significant incident in the city of Basra, which is also marking the same religious event, Iraqi demonstrators set fire to two British tanks near a police station after Iraqi police had arrested two British soldiers disguised in civilian clothes for opening fire on police. Eight armoured British vehicles surrounded the police station before the eruption of the confrontations. A policeman at the scene said the two detained Britons were wearing traditional Iraqi jallabahs [loose cloaks] and wigs.
For more details about this development in Basra, we have on the line with us our correspondent in Baghdad Ziyad al-Munajjid. Ziyad, good evening.
Al-Munajjid: Good evening, Nidal.
Zaghbur: What are the dimensions of this incident in light of the increasing operations against civilians and places of worship to create sedition among the Iraqis?
Al-Munajjid: In fact, Nidal, this incident gave answers to questions and suspicions that were lacking evidence about the participation of the occupation in some armed operations in Iraq. Many analysts and observers here had suspicions that the occupation was involved in some armed operations against civilians and places of worship and in the killing of scientists.
But those were only suspicions that lacked proof. The proof came today through the arrest of the two British soldiers while they were planting explosives in one of the Basra streets.
This proves, according to observers, that the occupation is not far from many operations that seek to sow sedition and maintain disorder, as this would give the occupation the justification to stay in Iraq for a longer period.
Zaghbur: Ziyad al-Munajjaid in Baghdad, thank you very much.
Copyright Syrian Arab TV and BBC Monitoring, 2005
Further on Arrest of two British Soldiers in Basra
Text of report by Qatari Al-Jazeera satellite TV on 19 September
DOHA (September 19, 2005) — A British military source has said that the Iraqi police in southern Iraq have arrested two Britons. The police said that they had fired at an Iraqi security man in Maydan in the city of Basra.
AFP said that angry Iraqi demonstrators torched two British tanks after the British soldiers fired in the air to disperse them.
Anchorman Al-Habib al-Ghuraybi: We have with us on the telephone from Baghdad Fattah al-Shaykh, member of the Iraqi National Assembly. What are the details of and the facts surrounding this incident?
Al-Shaykh: In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate. There have been continuous provocative acts since the day before yesterday by the British forces against the peaceful sons of Basra. There have been indiscriminate arrests, the most recent of which was the arrest of Shaykh Ahmad al-Farqusi and two Basra citizens on the pretext that they had carried out terrorist operations to kill US soldiers.
This is a baseless claim. This was confirmed to us by [name indistinct] the second secretary at the British Embassy in Baghdad, when we met with him a short while ago. He said that there is evidence on this. We say: You should come up with this evidence or forget about this issue.
If you really want to look for truth, then we should resort to the Iraqi justice away from the British provocations against the sons of Basra, particularly what happened today when the sons of Basra caught two non-Iraqis, who seem to be Britons and were in a car of the Cressida type.
It was a booby-trapped car laden with ammunition and was meant to explode in the centre of the city of Basra in the popular market. However, the sons of the city of Basra arrested them. They [the two non-Iraqis] then fired at the people there and killed some of them.
The two arrested persons are now at the Intelligence Department in Basra, and they were held by the National Guard force, but the British occupation forces are still surrounding this department in an attempt to absolve them of the crime.
Al-Ghuraybi: Thank you Fattah al-Shaykh, member of the National Assembly and deputy for Basra.
Copyright Al Jazeera TV and BBC Monitoring, 2005
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