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[Transcript]  Mosaic: World News From The Middle East - August 8. 2007

US Bombings Kill 30 in Sader City

Al Jazeera, Qatar
Presenter, Man # 1
According to the Pentagon, a joint American and Iraqi force launched air attacks and home raid operations in Al Sadr city in Baghdad, killing 30 alleged terrorists and arrested 12 others. The city’s residents held a funeral procession for their dead chanting slogans against the US presence in Iraq.

Reporter, Man # 2
The American warplanes are retaliating against the road side bombs that have the ability to penetrate their armored vehicles in Iraq. This is Al Sadr city; a strong hold for Al Mahdi army. It has the largest number of population in Baghdad most of whom are poor. They’ve gotten accustomed to such military operations, like today’s air attacks which allegedly targeted terrorists. The city’s residents believe that they are paying the heaviest price for the American air attacks. Watching the funeral processions held for the people, killed as a result of these air attacks, it becomes clear how much animosity the local population hold for those who had killed their sons. Iraqi families wrap the coffins of their dead with the Iraqi flag; it means that they consider them martyrs because they were killed by the occupation’s warplanes. The American warplanes’ attacks were followed by home raid operations in search for what the Americans allegedly described as a cell linked with Iran. According to the pentagon, this cell provides explosive devices that have the ability to penetrate American armored vehicles.

It is believed that 70% of the causalities among the American army in Iraq were caused by these kinds of explosives.The constant attacks against Sadr City have overshadowed the political process in Baghdad. Al Sadr movement which had suspended its participation in the Iraqi parliament and only returned to it recently has always condemned such military operations and held the Iraqi government responsible for the destruction caused by them. According to Al Sadr movement, the Iraqi government’s failure to protect the Iraqis which it represents means that it is complacent to the US air attacks or is unable to stop the American forces from launching an attack anywhere in Iraq.

Maliki Visits Turkey & Iran

Dubai TV, UAE
Presenter, Female #1
After wrapping up a visit to Turkey, Iraq’s Prime Minster Nouri Al-Maliki arrived in Tehran, where security was at the top of his agenda. Al-Maliki’s visit comes amidst the worst political crisis rocking the Iraqi government since its formation. Sayed Salam has the details in the following report.

Reporter, Male #1
Leaving behind a growing political crisis, Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki flew to neighboring countries, where security was the main topic of discussion. Al-Maliki, who was accompanied by his close ministers or the remaining members of his cabinet, arrived in Tehran after wrapping up a visit to Ankara. In a meeting with top Iranian officials, Al-Maliki discussed ways to restore security in Iraq. The last time Al-Maliki visited neighboring Iran was in September, 2006, when the Iraqi government was in a better position than it is now. Today, Al-Maliki’s government is facing a political crisis in Baghdad, where several members of his cabinet have resigned. However, Al-Maliki will not discuss his government crisis with Tehran but rather seek its help and urge it to take a more positive approach in Iraq. Iran strongly dismissed allegations that it has supported and trained armed groups in Iraq. Before flying to Tehran, Al-Maliki met with Turkish officials to discuss energy and security issues, with the latter given the “Lion’s Share” of the talks. Turkish leaders asked Al-Maliki to take part in a joint offensive against Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq. At the end of the meeting, Al-Maliki and Turkish officials signed a Memorandum of Understanding.
However, Ankara believes that it will be very difficult for Al-Maliki to meet his end of the bargain due to the deteriorating security and political situations in Iraq. This news comes after 17 ministers or nearly ½ of Al-Maliki’s cabinet have resigned from the government. Will Al-Maliki, who is facing a growing political, economic, and security crisis, be able to fix what the war has torn apart the Land of the two Rivers?

Iraqi Families Live Amidst Garbage

Baghdad TV, Iraq
Presenter, Woman # 1
The municipality of Al Musaiab in southern Baghdad has the largest number of displaced families due to violence and forceful migration. An official from the Ministry of Displacement and Migration in Babel said that the number of displaced families in Al Musaiab has exceeded 2400 families. The number of displaced families in all of Babel’s municipalities has exceeded 6000 families, most of whom face difficult living conditions.

Reporter, Man # 1
Dozens of displaced families face depravation, poverty, diseases, and live amidst piles of garbage. About 600 Iraqi families were forced to leave their homes and relatives for security and economic reasons. They have built their homes out of tin cans amidst piles of garbage, and polluted cesspools. Yes, these scenes are from the cradle of civilization.
Iraq is rich with resources and has a very fertile land, but its people are dying of hunger, thirst and suffer from forced migration and violence. Iraqi families are living in swamps and the children are playing with garbage and are drinking the remaining liquid inside disposed bottles. As if we have returned to the middle ages when people were forced to live wherever they can’t find water and food.

Guest, Man # 2
We do not know where this water comes from. We do not know if it is healthy to drink or not. We have to survive.

Reporter, Man # 1
A mother had the courage to vocalize the problems and complained about the difficulty of living in a home made of tin cans in extremely hot weather.

Guest, Woman # 2
It is very hot. We have no shelter from this heat. The only thing we can do is cover ourselves with clothes. We sweat a lot, but we do not have enough water; we barley get one or two containers of water every three days.

Reporter, Man # 1
The homes of the displaced families can’t be distinguished from the piles of garbage, an obvious result of the situation in Iraq.

Iraqi Ministers Deserting Maliki

Alsumaria TV, Iraq
Presenter, Male #1
The withdrawal of the Iraqi Accordance Front from the government and the political vacuum created in the cabinet has caused major problems for Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki. This news comes at a time the nation needs a strong government that is able to achieve security, economic, and political viability. Amidst this political crisis, some Iraqi leaders called for a change in Maliki’s government. Moreover, some candidates launched political campaigns in preparation for a possible government shakeup.
More details are in the following report.

Reporter, Female #1
Maliki’s government faces a political vacuum caused by the withdrawal of two major parties: the Sader party and the Iraqi Accordance Front. The move will likely further cripple the embattled national unity government especially considering that the Kurdish Alliance and the Iraqi Coalition are the only two parties left in the cabinet. With this, Al-Malki will have a rough time running the country especially considering that the Iraqi Parliament is still in summer recess. This news comes at a time when Baghdad must meet political and security benchmarks by September, when the US Army General David Petraeus files his report on the progress of the military surge in Iraq. Meanwhile, some Iraqi leaders, including former Prime Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafry, who is Al-Malki’s number one rival, called for a ministerial change in the government. Among the candidates running for the position of Prime Minster are former Prime Ministers Ibrahim Jaafery and Iyad Alawi and Vice President Adel Abed Al-Mahdi as well as Mahdi Al-Hafeth, a secular leader. Al-Jaafery, who is proposing a national and non-sectarian political plan to save the nation, has rallied the support of the Sader Faction, the Daawa Party, and the Iraqi Accordance Front. This news comes after Al-Jaafery vowed to give the Office of the President for the Sunni Arabs. Meanwhile, Iyad Alawi, who enjoys the support of certain political blocs from both Sunnis and Shiites, is seen as a national and secular candidate.

However, Alawi has angered the Kurds after he formed an alliance with some opposition tribal leaders against the will of the two major Kurdistan parties in Northern Iraq. Unlike Alawi, who no longer enjoys the support of the US, Adel Abed Al-Mahdi maintained a balanced political relationship with both Tehran and Washington. Abed Al-Mahdi tried to reach out to the Daawa Party and the Accordance Front by forming a coalition with the first and offering guarantees for the second. Meanwhile, Mahdi Al-Hafeth has started his political campaign early after meeting with the Head of the High Religious Authority Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani in order to pave the way for him to run for office. With this, Al-Hafeth declared that he is no longer shares the same views with the Iraqi List, which he used to be a member of, but rather supports the idea of federation.

Pakistani President Pulls Out of Afghan Peace Talks

Al Jazeera English, Qatar
Pakistan President Musharraf has pulled out of peace talks that were being held in the capital of Afghanistan. Hundreds of Tribal elders from both Pakistan and Afghanistan were present at the meeting to discuss ongoing disputes and terrorism.

Interview with Rasfanjani

Al Arabiya TV, UAE
Reporter, MALE #1:
Honorable Shaikh, allow me to begin directly. Do you feel that Iran, today, is truly threatened by the danger of a military strike or something greater? Or is this all just sensationalizing by the U.S. media and nothing more?

Guest, MALE #2:
In the name of God, the most compassionate the most merciful. What is happening today is a psychological war being waged against Iran. Of course, in this psychological war the talk is about the isolation that is being imposed by the Security Council. Also, there are denials and confirmations about a possible military campaign against Iran. Will the other side be able to achieve its goals? There is a lot of hesitation in this regard. We confront threats and challenges, but I imagine that past experiences prevent the aggressors from being bold enough to carry out an aggression against Iran because Iran has always proven that it has superior capabilities to resist all aggressions. Also, they will sustain losses just as they did in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as other areas, such as Lebanon, where they attempted different types of aggression. I do not want to deny such possibility. However, I believe that if these threats are followed through, it will come out of ignorance by America or by any other front.

Reporter, MALE #1:
Honorable Shaikh, some people believe that whenever the U.S. faces difficulties in Iraq and Afghanistan, its reaction may be unexpected. Or, the more the US faces difficulties, the more dangerous it is for Iran.

Guest, MALE #2:
Of course, in terms of psychology and historical experience, yes, the situation is like this.
The dominating superpower, when it finds itself in tight spot or at a dead end, this power may take irrational initiatives. However, these initiatives will not always be aimed in one direction, but they may be aimed in different directions. I feel that the Americans, the British, their allies, and NATO have reached a state of being uprooted from Iraq and Afghanistan. They are in a predicament. They also face problems domestically in their own countries. The elections and public opinion show that there is dissatisfaction in this regard. For them, initiating another aggression would be the worst way to get out of this predicament. I would consider this suicide. Of course, to us and to them, this suicide will face new problems. However, the outcome will be a real defeat for the aggressors in our region. Also, the region will face some new disasters.

Abbas Refuses to Talk to Hamas

Future TV, Lebanon
PA Chairman Mahmud Abbas is meeting the Egyptian President Husni Mubarak in Egypt to discuss the Middle East Process. Meanwhile, Fatah has rejected any dialogue with Hamas and the Israeli army killed 2 Hamas gunmen.

Israel Demolishes Jerusalemites Homes

Al-Alam, Iran
Presenter, FEMALE #1:
The so-called Municipality of Jerusalem issued warning notices to many Palestinian residents, threatening to demolish their homes under the pretext that the homes were built without permits. These measures come as Israeli authorities continue to pressure Palestinian residents with the aim of forcing them to leave the holy city.

Reporter, MALE #1:
After the Israeli occupation completed constructing the apartheid separation wall around Jerusalem, isolating it from its Islamic and Arab periphery, politically, economically, socially and geographically. It has begun to increase its repression and humiliation measures against the residents in Jerusalem. This is being done to force the Jerusalemites to leave their city.

Guest, MALE #2:
In the past two years, we have noticed a major escalation by Israel. They are affecting everything in the life of Jerusalemites, beginning with plans to demolish homes and ending with confiscating the identity cards. All these acts are aimed at one thing, reducing the Palestinian population in Jerusalem as much as possible.

Reporter, MALE #1:
Tens of homes were given demolition notices, in Sul Wadi in the Silwan neighborhood in occupied Jerusalem. The justification, which the occupation authorities always use, is building without a permit. The residents of these homes lived through an arduous journey of fines and courts in order to maintain their presence on their land and in their homes.
Many times, these torturous journeys end with their homes being demolished and they are made to pay for the demolition.

Guest, MALE #4:
We were given an order to demolish. The aim is to empty out this area. They don’t want anyone here who says, there is no God but God.

Guest, FEMALE #2:
We are suffering here. We pay for Israeli taxes, electricity, water and two violations. I have a son who is in prison. My house has been threatened with demolition for the past five years. Every six months I hire an attorney and pay more money.

Reporter, MALE #1:
The Israeli government has recently allotted large sums of money to the so-called “Municipality of Jerusalem” to fund the demolition of Jerusalemite homes. These homes will be demolished under Israeli occupation pretexts and justifications. The Israeli objective is to clear vast areas in order to settle extremist settlers there, particularly in the lands that surround the sacred site, which was the first direction for Muslims prayer and Islam’s third holiest site. Khadr Shaheen. Al Alam. Occupied Jerusalem.

War with Syria is not in the Cards

IBA, Israel
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert secretly convened his cabinet today to discuss the ongoing issue with Syria and the findings of the Winograd Committee.
Olmert said that neither Syria nor Israel are preparing to go to war with one another. He added, however, that Syria has been sending mixed signals to Israel about its intentions towards reaching a peace agreement.