U.S. troops storm Antiquities Department
By Amar Imad
Azzaman, May 19, 2007
U.S. occupation troops forced their way into the offices of the Antiquities Department with its chief denouncing the move as “a violation.”
In a statement to Azzaman, Abbas al-Hussaini, said the raid was the second in a week. Earlier a force of four U.S. military vehicles had forced its way into the department’s offices.
“This action is a violation of the Iraqi ancient heritage,” Hussaini said.
The department offices are adjacent to the Iraq Museum which was looted shortly after U.S. invasion troops entered Baghdad.
The department faces an uphill battle to protect Iraqi ancient sites of which there are more than 10,000 archaeologically significant ones in the country.
Illegal digging is reported to be taking place at some of the most famous Mesopotamian metropolitans such as Nimrud and Khorsabad in the north and Ur and Borsipa in the south.
At least 10,000 pieces of Iraq Museum treasures are still missing following the museum’s plunder and looting as U.S. invasion troops entered Baghdad.
Smuggling of ancient artifacts has become a lucrative business with gangs of illegal diggers unearthing relics and selling them to smugglers.
Iraq’s interior ministry calls on former staff to return to service
By Adel Fakher
Sunday , 20 /05 /2007 Time 7:24:38
Baghdad, May 19, (VOI) – The Iraqi interior ministry will call on all staff from security agencies during the time of the former regime to appear at the ministry’s institutions and police stations, “otherwise they will be dealt with in accordance with the terrorism law,” an official source said.
“The decision to bring back the old security staff includes those who worked in intelligence, public security and special services, except those who have reached the age of retirement,” Maj. General Abdul-Kareem Khalaf, the interior ministry’s national command center chief, told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).
“Security staff outside Iraq will have to refer to the country’s consulates and interest sections in 90 days, and those inside the country have to refer to the interior ministry in 60 days,” added Khalaf.
The interior ministry official affirmed that those “who fail to report to the security organizations in the country, during the mentioned period of time, will be considered involved in acts of hostility against the Iraqi people.”
The interim coalition authorities led by U.S. Civil Administrator Paul Bremer, following the fall of the former regime in April 2003, had issued decisions dissolving all the then operating Iraqi security agencies, as well as the Iraqi army and information ministry.