First Published: 2006-09-30

 
US threatens to cut funding for Iraq's police
 

Khalilzad to notify Baghdad of cut due to violations of human rights by Iraq army, police.

 

Middle East Online

Look who's preaching about human rights!

NEW YORK - The United States may cut off funding for Iraq's police because of its failure to punish people responsible for torture, the US ambassador to Iraq said in an interview published on Saturday.

Zalmay Khalilzad told the New York Times that Washington has yet to formally notify Baghdad that funding may be cut, but officials are reviewing programmes because of a US law that forbids funding armies or police that violate human rights.

Khalilzad said he still had faith in Iraq's new Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani, who oversees the police, and hoped he would punish those responsible for torture to avoid sanctions under the law, named for Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy.

"There is a Leahy Law that affects support if the terms of the law are not observed and implemented, and he has assured us that he will do so," Khalilzad said. "And we are still in discussions with him."

The United Nations said in a report earlier this month that torture was rampant in Iraqi detention centres and in the widespread sectarian killings seen across the country, based on the signs of abuse on victims' bodies.

The world body has demanded punishment of police responsible for abuse in Iraq after US and Iraqi inspectors uncovered evidence in May of systematic torture at a prison known as Site 4, run by the Interior Ministry's national police.

Some 1,400 inmates were kept at the site. No Iraqi officials have been arrested. Khalilzad said Bolani was waiting for written assurances that indictments had been handed down.

Several senior US military officials have briefed reporters this week expressing concern that the new government of Shi'ite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has failed to crack down on Shi'ite death squads since taking office in May.

One of those officials said police units were continuing to cooperate with death squads as recently as the past few weeks, by allowing them to re-enter areas US forces had secured in a seven-week-old crackdown in the capital Baghdad.

Bolani, a Shi'ite engineer, is seen as having little clout among the powerful parties with their own militia that controlled the Interior Ministry in the government Maliki replaced. But Khalilzad said Bolani has the right intentions.

"He wants to do the right thing," he said.

"Not because of us, but because that's what Iraqi law would require him to do as well. That's a much better reason for him to do the right thing than for the US pressing him or the US threatening with some sort of a sanction."

 

Mattis: We are not in Iraq to seize anybody's oil

Iraq forces battle their way to Mosul airport

Famine grips parts of South Sudan

Iran says Saudi, Israel working to damage country

Women named to head Saudi financial institutions

Syria army escalates shelling near Damascus ahead of talks

Coalition expects to remain in Iraq after Mosul operation ends

Egypt court hands out death sentences over football riot

Israelis optimistic on Trump despite mixed messages

Prime minister's convoy comes under fire in Libya

Four Russian military personnel killed in Syria

Prince of Poets returns to Al Raha Beach theatre

Merkel in Algiers hoping to curb Africa migrant flow

Debate on Muslim Brotherhood ban reflects battle lines in US

IS claims suicide attack by British bomber

Le Pen in Lebanon for first head of state meeting

Israeli PM sets off on Asia tour

HRW says IS jihadists raping, torturing Sunni Arab women too

Trial of 'Erdogan assassination plot' suspects opens in Turkey

Hundreds of migrants storm Morocco-Spain border

Iraq digs anti-IS trench around Ramadi

Israel's Lieberman fears Palestinians will dilute 'Jewish state'

At least 14 dead in Mogadishu car bombing

Arab leaders, Netanyahu held secret peace meeting

Obesity a major health problem in Jordan

350,000 children trapped in west Mosul

UN envoy to Syria : 'Where is the US?'

UN says aid to Sudan expected to drop

Mosul civilians divided over Iraqi army advice to 'stay home'

Iraq forces launch operation to retake west Mosul

US-led coalition praises Iraq's 'militias'

Egypt tourism shows signs of recovery

Turkey eyes strong US alliance, despite Trump splits

Former Ahmadinejad VP eyes Iran presidential bid in May

Turkey car bomb kills child, wounds 17

Russia seeks 'post-West' world order

Veteran Moroccan politician M'hamed Boucetta dies

Iran set to conduct new military drills

Viral video shows Syrian boy caught in barrel bomb attack

41 jihadists executed by rival group in Syria

Erdogan begins campaign for referendum to expand powers

Turkish shelling kills 9 in IS-held Syria town

Erdogan supporters 'increasingly demonising' 'no' voters

US backs political solution in Syria claim allies

Rare ancient busts rescued from Palmyra to be returned