TRANSLATED: If true, a window into Sunni anger – Anbar refugees prevented from entering Baghdad
In tonight’s Briefing (for a free trial email email@example.com):
On December 2, the Qatari-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily carried the following report by its correspondent in Baghdad Omar al-Jaburi: “Citizens from the Iraqi Anbar province expressed deep disgruntlement towards the Iraqi government’s practices against them, saying it was dealing with them as second-class citizens and preventing them from entering the capital Baghdad unless they have a guarantor from among its inhabitants. On the other hand, they pointed out that 500,000 Iranian visitors crossed the Iraqi border without a visa or a passport and within just a few minutes, at a time when thousands of families fleeing Al-Anbar were left at the Bzeibiz Bridge and prevented from entering the capital. Abu Nuri, 65, said to Al-Quds al-Arabi: “I fled Ramadi City after the [Islamic] State organization seized it to escape the bombing.”
“[He continued:] “Today, my family and I are caught at the Bzeibiz Bridge, after the Iraqi authorities prevented us from entering Baghdad without a guarantor from among its inhabitants.” He was therefore surprised by the entry of more than 500,000 Iranians to the capital at once, without any obstacles, and without the Iraqi authorities even asking for their visas or passports. In the meantime, “they are dealing with us in an arbitrary and extortionate way, as though we are not Iraqis.” He added: “The exclusion and marginalization practiced by the Iraqi government against the Sunnis is making us feel as though we are second-class citizens. Staying in our homes under the bombing would have been better for us than the humiliation to which we are being subjected by the Iraqi authorities at the Bzeibiz Bridge.” For his part, Abdullah Duleimi compared the measures adopted against the displaced from Al-Anbar to those taken against the Palestinians at the Rafah border crossing.
“He thus described the state of the displaced as wretched, saying that “deaths were registered due to the lack of medicine and medical care at the Bzeibiz Bridge. I do not understand why they are being prevented from entering and staying in the capital, at a time when non-Iraqis are allowed to enter Iraq without any conditions or restrictions, as though they were the country’s citizens, while we the Sunnis are guests in it…” As for Hajja Um Mustafa, she said to Al-Quds al-Arabi while constantly resorting to her inhaler to avoid suffocation from her chronic asthma: “I never recall having been detained anywhere in Iraq. But I have been now been detained her for months, without anyone paying attention to my state. I have several illnesses, including asthma and blood pressure. I have also suffered from several strokes, and I need medicine and rest. Maybe I will die here at any moment due to the bad health and living conditions.
“She continued: “I have learned that the Iranian visitors were crossing the Iraqi border without a visa or even an ID card, and are free to move in the Iraqi governorates in total freedom, whereas we, the displaced from Al-Anbar and the Sunni governorates, are enduring harassment, humiliation and arbitrary measures. This is not to mention the Iraqi government’s imposition of the guarantor condition on its own people, which shows that the Iraqi government does not perceive us as being this country’s children, rather the Iranians.””