The USG Open Source Center translates or paraphrases reports in the Iraqi press on the sermon of Abdul Mahdi al-Karbala’i, the representative in the holy city of Karbala of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, calling for parliament to regulate foreign security firms and ‘occupation forces’ (i.e. the US military) operating in the country. Al-Karbala’is sermons are widely viewed as representing the views of Sistani, obedience to whom pious Shiites view as obligatory.
‘Iraq: Sh’ite Shaykh Says Deputies Shoud Debate Issue of ‘Foreign Security’ Firms
Iraq — OSC Report
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Al-Sistani’s representative in Karbala Urges Iraqi Parliament to Regulate Operations of Foreign Security Firms
” Aswat al-Iraq ” (The Voices of Iraq) – available at www. aswataliraq. info and calling itself in English “The Independent News Agency” – carries a Karbala-datelined report on 12 October on the Friday sermon delivered by Shaykh Abd-al-Mahdi al-Karbala’i, the representative of Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. The report reads as follows:
“On Friday, the representative of religious authority Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani called on the Iraqi House of Representatives to debate the issue of the foreign security companies operating in Iraq and to issue a resolution that would prevent the recurrence of the incident that took place in the Al-Nusur (The Eagles) Square in Baghdad last month. He also prayed that the Id (al-Fitr) would be an opportunity for dialogue and harmony among the Iraqi political leaders and an occasion to give precedence to the national interests. In the Friday prayer in the Al-Husayni Mosque, Shaykh Abd-al-Mahdi al-Karbala’i, said, ‘The disdain shown to the lives of the citizens by the security companies and the occupation forces has reached a level on which we cannot remain silent’. He added, ‘The security companies are killing citizens and the occupation forces are attacking families in their villages as happened in the village of Al-Jizani in the district of Al-Khalis’. Last week, the US forces bombed the village of Al-Jizani in Diyala where scores of villagers were killed or wounded. Al-Karbala’i went on to say: ‘We have asked the citizens from Diyala or from Baghdad to raise this issue from off the Friday pulpit’. He pointed out, ‘In response to this call, we ask the Iraqi House of Representatives to raise and debate the issue of the security companies and the occupation forces in order to issue resolutions that protect and safeguard Iraqi blood and that do not allow such incidents to recur because they increase the list of bereaved orphans and widows in Iraq’. The Blackwater Company opened indiscriminate fire at the citizens in the Al-Nusur Square last week (date as published), killing more than 21 citizens and wounding dozens more. The families of the victims have filed a complaint in the United States seeking compensation.
“On the occasion of the blessed Id al-Fitr, the Karbala Friday imam urged the officials in Iraq to use the Id ‘as an occasion to instill hope and to give precedence to the interests of the country over all narrow factional interests, and to cast away sectarian convulsions and conflicts’. He added, ‘Everybody one should resort to the language of amity and should sit at the dialogue table in order to reach acceptable formulas that would enable the country to overcome its crises and not allow the regional forces to do whatever they wish and not to permit the international sides with personal agendas at the expense of the people’. On the occasion of Id al-Fitr, Al-Karbala’i called on the Iraqi people ‘to spurn anything that divides their ranks and to demonstrate sincerity so that all the sects and faiths could co-exist in harmony and cohesion in order to restore security and progress in the country’. He added, ‘This would happen when every sector in society, every sect, and every ethnic group respects the other sects and ethnic groups in order to enjoy a decent life and respect for blood, property, and honor’. Shaykh Al-Karbala’i went on to say, ‘The Id is the best opportunity to open the hearts and remove feelings of hatred and sedition. We should plant love and put aside weapons because that would be a loss to everyone even if that requires some concessions because the people can no longer bear the blood hemorrhage'”.
Buratha News Agency, WWW- Text in Arabic on 12 October carries a report headlined “Al-Karbala’i calls on the Chamber of Deputies to meet and take decisions that would prevent the excesses of the private foreign security firms”. Following is the text of the report:
“Shaykh Abd-al-Mahdi al-Karbala’i, the representative of the supreme religious authority in Karbala, has called on the political blocs in the government ‘to give precedence to the public interests of the Iraqi people over factional and party interests’ of these blocs. He also called on them not to give a chance to the international and regional forces to implement their political agendas at the expense of the interests of the Iraqi people. This came in his second sermon during Friday prayers on 29 Ramadan 1428 Hegira corresponding to 12 October 1007 in the Holy Al-Husayni Mosque. Al-Karbala’i also called on the Iraqi people “to unify their ranks and their sects, ethnic groups, and religions because there is no salvation for them from the destruction, deficient security, and conspiracies against them unless they are in harmony and amity’. He called on them ‘to respect the ethnic groups, sects, religions, and rights of the other ethnic groups, sects, and religions, and especially to respect blood, honor, and property that are being violated every day’. Shaykh Al-Karbala’i called on the Iraqis “to renounce the language of violence and arms as a means to get their rights instead of the language of dialogue’. He added, ‘Dialogue is the only way to solve problems that will require everyone to make concessions on part of their demands in order to reach final results as soon as possible’.
“The representative of the supreme religious authority discussed the issue of the private security companies operating in Iraq, saying, ‘The disdain for the blood and lives of Iraqis by these companies has reached a level that cannot be tolerated. Iraqi blood has become the cheapest commodity in existence. The latest incident was what took place in the village of Jizani al-Imam in the Province of Diyala when innocent women, children, and men were killed and were whole families were annihilated that had lost their sons due to the murders based on one’s identity card by the terrorists’. He added, ‘In response to the request by some brother members of the Diyala provincial council and some afflicted citizens there, we ask the House of Representatives to meet in order to debate the issues of the disdain shown by these companies to the lives of Iraqis and to take the necessary resolutions regarding this important matter that demonstrates contempt for the blood and the lives of Iraqis’. . . ‘