contingent “awakening” formed by u.s. forces is accused of plundering iraqi civilians/homes

Baghdad, Sept 23, (VOI) – Thousands of people in the southwestern Baghdad district of al-Sayidiya protested in front of the Baghdad provincial council on Sunday morning, urging the Iraqi government and the interior ministry to diband the al-Sahwa (Awakening) contingent formed by the U.S. forces.

“The contingent, an offshoot of the special forces the Iraqi Scorpion Brigade, has relocated more than 10,000 families in the area, set a number of houses on fire and killed civilians,” Muhammad al-Jurani, the chairman of the al-Sayidiya displaced families committee, told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).

“The protests lasted for two hours and if our demands were not met the march would develop into a sit-in,” said Jurani.
He pointed out that the “official statistics we have indicate that the return of more than 6,000 displaced families to this area was not approved so far.”

No comments were made by the Iraqi authorities on these protests.

Technocracy to cancel 10 state ministries – UIC legislator Baghdad, Sept 23, (VOI) –

A member of parliament from the Shiite Unified Iraqi Coalition (UIC) said on Sunday that the technocracy planned by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki would cancel ten state ministries and merge two into one.

“The Iraqi Constitution ensures that no canceling or merging of ministries can take place except by virtue of a law passed by the parliament,” Abbas al-Bayyati told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).

Maliki reiterated on Wednesday his plans to set up a technocratic government and trim his current one, criticizing the quota system upon which the government was based. Regarding the dialogues by the UIC with the blocs that withdrew from it, Bayyati replied that the UIC was having a dialogue with the Islamic (Virtue) Party. “Our dialogues with the Fadhila have come a long way. The UIC will soon send a delegation to the Najaf province to negotiate with the political board of the Sadrists,” or Iraqis loyal to Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr, said Bayyati.

Fadhila, which holds 15 out of a total 275 seats in the Iraqi parliament, broke away from the UIC in March 2007 after rejecting what he called “the sectarian quota system policy,” while the Sadrists quit earlier this month.

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