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Iraq Orders Confiscation of Assets of Saddam Hussein’s Relatives, Aides

The seizure of assets extended to real estate, cars, bank accounts and other funds

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Saddam Hussein
Saddam capture in Tikrit, on December 13, 2003. Wikimedia Commons
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An Iraqi legal body on Monday ordered confiscation of assets of hundreds of relatives and cronies of former leader Saddam Hussein.

Tasked with vetting the members of Hussein’s Baath party, the Iraqi Supreme National Commission for Accountability and Justice decided to confiscate the movable and immovable properties of a list of 4,257 people.

Their properties will be registered as properties of the Iraqi Finance Ministry, the Commission said in a statement.

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Saddam Hussein
Some of the named in the list are in prison, others are living abroad and some were executed, such as Saddam Hussein himself and his cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid, also known as “Chemical Ali”. Wikimedia Commons

Ali was hanged in 2010 for ordering attacks in 1988 that killed thousands of Kurds in the town of Halabcha in Iraq’s northeastern province of Sulaimaniyah.

Hussein’s half-brother Barzan Ibrahim al-Hassan al-Tikriti as well as former Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan were also on the list, Kurdistan 24 TV network reported.

Also included in the list was Hussein’s special secretary Abdul Hamid Mahmoud, known as Abdul Hamoud, and Tareq Aziz, who died in 2015 in jail after surrendering to US forces in 2003.

The listed people have the right to object the decision in a special committee formed by the Council of Ministers to decide the fate of the seized assets, the commission said.

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Saddam Hussein
After the fall of the Saddam regime in 2003, property belonging to the former ruler and his Baath party members were divided among Iraq’s new leaders, armed forces, and multiple militias. Wikimedia Commons

The seizure of assets extended to real estate, cars, bank accounts and other funds.

The Accountability and Justice Commission on its website published two lists, one including the names of 52 people whose money was confiscated.

The second list has 4,257 names, those who worked for the banned Baath party and its security service. (IANS)

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Water-Borne Illness Increases Sharply in Iraq

Iraq's individual provinces have been fighting for water, amid a general shortage.

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Water crisis
A girl drinks water in the street outside her tent at a camp for internally displaced people in western Baghdad, Iraq. VOA

Iraqi health officials say that a health crisis stemming from water pollution and a shortage of clean drinking water has worsened in recent days, as hospitals in the southern port city of Basra treat more than 1,000 cases of intestinal infections on a daily basis. The problem was exacerbated several months ago when Turkey cut back on water distributed to the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.

A crowd of young men took to the streets on in the southern port city of Basra Tuesday, demanding the central government and Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi increase the quantity of clean drinking water allotted to their province, otherwise it’ll lead to a health crisis. Abadi vowed to increase spending on infrastructure for the province during a visit to Basra in July.

A young man, whose friend was killed during a rally several weeks ago, broke down and sobbed over the protesters’ inability to force Iraqi leaders to improve the condition of public services in Basra, especially the region’s worn-out water infrastructure and insufficient quantities of drinking water allotted by the central government.

Some health officials in Basra warn that a cholera outbreak is possible due to water pollution and water-borne parasites that have made thousands of people sick in recent days. The director general of the Basra Health department, Riad Abdul Amir, told Al Hurra TV the situation continues to worsen.

He says more than 17,500 cases of intestinal ailments, resulting from contaminated drinking water, have been treated by Basra hospitals during the past two weeks, alone.

 

egypt. health crisis
The water network in Basra hasn’t been updated in at least 30 years. Pixabay

 

Abdul Amir says the problem stems from insufficient fresh water supplies coming into the city via canals and water pipes from the north.

“Salty water [which has infiltrated the water network],” he asserts, “is known to reduce the efficacy of chlorine used to treat and kill bacteria in drinking water,” he said.

Safaa Kazem, a docotor who has been treating dozens of cases of intestinal problems and diarrhea in Basra’s Sadr Teaching Hospital each day, says water from the city’s supply is not safe to drink.

She says the degree of water sterilization is minimal and that Basra’s water is very salty and has an extremely high level of microbes in it, along with a high degree of chemical pollution.

Basra Governor Assad al Edani told Al Hurra TV that his province has been suffering from numerous infrastructure problems for a long time.

He says the water network in Basra hasn’t been updated in at least 30 years and the old pipes often break, mixing drinking water with sewage.

water, health crisis
The degree of water sterilization is minimal. VOA

Edani says “not enough fresh water is arriving via the region’s only canal from Thi Qar province to the north.” He thinks a “strong current of fresh water will flush out salty water seeping into the water network from the sea.”

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Edani adds that the population of Basra has “more than doubled since the water network was last updated in the early 1990s.”

Iraq’s individual provinces have been fighting for water, amid a general shortage, since Turkey in early June severely curtailed the number of cubic meters of water it funnels into both the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. (VOA)