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Trench Shields Shiite Iraqi Province ...
Karbala
By mushtaq mohammed
27 Mar 2015

Karabala, Iraq
March 27, 2015

A trench is being dug on the border of the southern Shiite-majority Iraqi province of Karbala with the provinces of al-Anbar and Babel. The ditch, which extends for 50km, is 6m deep and 10m wide and is guarded by surveillance towers and checkpoints manned by Iraqi government forces and a Shiite militia known as the Al-Abbas Combat Division.

Colonel Hassan al-Silawi, the commander of the 33rd Infantry Brigade in the Iraqi army, said in an interview that this trench aims to keep ISIS fighters from entering Karbala from al-Anbar province. Silawi denied that this obstacle was conceived to separate Sunni and Shiite populations.

Another interviewed officer denied claims made by Sunni politicians that the aim of the trench was to annex territory to the province Karbala. The city of Karbala hosts the tomb of Imam Hussein, one of the holiest shrines for Shiite Muslims.

SHOTLIST AND TRANSCRIPT

Wide of soldiers standing next to surveillance tower
Wide of trench
Various of soldiers guarding trench
Wide of Iraqi army Humvee and soldier
Wide of soldiers running on sand barrier
Interview with Colonel Hassan al-Silawi, Commander of the 33rd Infantry Brigade
Wide of soldiers next to sand barricade
Various of soldier manning machinegun behind sand barricade
Various of soldiers guarding trench
Various of soldiers and military vehicles next to sand barricade
Interview with Colonel Hassan al-Silawi, Commander of the 33rd Infantry Brigade
Various of soldiers and military vehicles
Wide of pickup truck moving and banner with Shiite religious symbols
Wide of tents and Iraqi flags
Interview with Major Jaber Ahmed, Infantry Platoon Commander
Various of trench
Various of soldier in surveillance tower looking through binoculars
Wide of soldiers and vehicles at checkpoint. Phrase written with bricks in Arabic reads: “Long live Iraq.”
Wide of solider next to Iraqi flag
Wide of Iraqi soldier on guard

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Colonel Hassan al-Silawi, Commander of the 33rd Infantry Brigade
01:18 – 02:50

“The trench extends for about 50km along the administrative border between the provinces of Babel and Karbala. No, it is not about Sunni or Shiite provinces. This trench is an obstacle set up for military purposes. It has nothing to do with whether an area is Sunni or Shiite. This is a desert. These lands do not belong to any individual; they belong to the Ministry of Agriculture.

"The trench will be guarded by platoons from the 33rd Infantry Brigade in addition to groups from the Popular Mobilization [Shiite militia umbrella], especially the Al-Abbas Combat Division. The trench was dug by the province of the holy Karbala in agreement with the local governments of neighboring provinces. This system involves surveillance towers and cameras, as well as a dirt barrier that is 5m high and 6m wide.

"This trench was dug in the desert – an unpopulated area. There are no agricultural areas or shepherds. This is a desert, barren land. The aim of digging the trench is to stop the terrorist ISIS organization from training in this area.”

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Colonel Hassan al-Silawi, Commander of the 33rd Infantry Brigade
04:00- 04:48

"The soldiers are not scared because it is their duty to fight. We are terrorizing ISIS; ISIS is scared of us. The proof is that we liberated areas with the support of the Popular Mobilizations forces. This is a border of separation in desert areas neighboring the province of Karbala. The trench goes along the administrative border of three regions – Babel, Ramadi and the province of Karbala.

"There is no transgression. There is an agreement among local governments. This [trench] serves all the provinces. The public interest comes ahead of everything, especially when it comes to security. There are no lands that belong to the state or agricultural land, either. It is a desert area."

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Major Jaber Ahmed, Infantry Platoon Commander
05:12 – 05:51

“Thanks be to God, so far no security breach has been recorded in this district. Thanks be to God, it was because of the efforts of the head of operations, the commander of the 33rd Brigade."

Interviewer: "How would describe your morale?"

"Our morale is very high, thanks to [the military commanders]. God willing, the operations to liberate Falluja, which is close to us, as well as Tikrit, have started. God willing, operations will also start within Al-Anbar. God willing, the operations will keep going. We are guarding the northern district of the province of Karbala. Our morale is high, thanks be to God.”

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Sunni Tribe in Iraq Trains Child Sold...
Ramadi
By mushtaq mohammed
02 Mar 2015

March 2, 2015
Anbar, Iraq

Children of the Sunni tribe of Bou Fahed receive weapons and trench-warfare training from community elders in Ramadi, al-Anbar province, Iraq in order to prepare them against potential ISIS assaults. In the video, boys as young as 12 claim to have taken part in pitched battles against ISIS, whereas others appearing much younger hold automatic weapons and join in chants vowing to "die with dignity" and defend their land from ISIS with their "dead bodies". One says he would rather train in combat in order to please his father and bring honor on his family than go to school. Abu Oman, a tribal Sheikh, says that teaching young children to defend their honor and protect their land is part of tribal tradition, and it is a father's duty to teach his son the importance of these virtues.

Transcription:

Trainer (man, Arabic):

(00:07) If you see anybody moving in front of you, shoot him. Our enemies are located from this point onward.

(00:21) You are the men of…

Children: Bou Fahed men!

Trainer: Whose men are you?

Children: The Bou Fahed!

(00:30) Trainer: Would you allow ISIS to come here?

Children: No!

(00:57) Trainer: By God, you will fight in real life, not in some fake battle.

(01:16) Hold it like that, to the front.

(01:24) Put the rifle butt against your shoulder.

(01:45) Trainer: Who is your enemy?

Children: ISIS! (Shouting)

Trainer: Do you want to fight them?

Children: Yes! (Shouting)

Trainer: You are heroes, good job.

Oman, 12 years old, (Child, Arabic):

(02:10) We are the heroes of the Bou Fahed clan. We are standing up to ISIS to defend our land and honor.

This is the field of honor, dignity and pride. We are standing here to defend our honor, women and land.

Many battles began in the Eastern Husseiba area, al-Madeek and al-Jareyya. We support our brothers in the police, the army, al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization militia), and other tribal heroes.

We are steadfast against ISIS. By God, they will only step on this land over our dead bodies.

I participated in the battle of Eastern Huseiba. My brothers from the police and the clans were worried about my safety. But I asked to shoot, and they allowed me to shoot.

My friends at school are proud of me. I support my brothers from the Bou Fahed clan.

Interviewer: Are you not afraid of being injured or hurt? Are you not scared of the sound of shooting? What would you do?

Does one die once or twice?

Interviewer: What is that? Repeat it.

Does one die once or twice? We would rather die with our dignity than live in humiliation.

Ali Kamal Sabagh, 13 years old, (Child, Arabic):

(03:45) The Bou Fahed clan was at the barricade, the Eastern Husseiba barricade. There was shooting. I said: “Should I shoot?” They said: “No, do not.” They did not let me shoot.

They asked me to bring them water, to carry ammunition and bring food. I stayed with them.

Interviewer: Are you not afraid of being injured? What do your friends in school tell you? What class are you in?

I am in seventh grade. I am not afraid of being injured or of anything that might happen to me. All I care about is protecting my home, honor, and dignity.

Interviewer: How do you feel about the police and the army? What does your father do for a living?

I love the police and the army and I wish I could participate with them in fighting ISIS, the terrorists. I hope that ISIS leaves al-Anbar.

My friends ask me if I fear to get injured, I say: “No, I am protecting my home.”

Interviewer: What does your father do for a living?

He works in the police force.

Interviewer: Your father is in the police?

Yes.

Chanting 1:

(04:53) These are the people of al-Ramadi, who did not accept shame.

They are both young and gray-haired,

They are the people of dignity, generosity, manliness and goodness,

We want to die with dignity!

Chanting 2:

We will stand and fight you, ISIS!

You have doomed yourselves by attacking the Bou Fahed clan,

The brave have stood against you,

They will cut your tails.

Chanting 3:

O my brothers,

We are leopards and our flag shall remain high,

We taught the entire universe a lesson,

We will die with our dignity, and never surrender or be humiliated.

O my brothers,

We shall fight,

We are the victorious leopards,

O my brothers,

Cover your head for the Bou Fahed have come.

Abu Oman, Tribal Sheikh (Man, Arabic):

(06:09) People should know that these are the traditions of the clans. We raise our children to have good ethics and religious values; to be generous and respect hospitality. This is the most important message we want to deliver. Our children, in spite of their young age, they were brought up to defend their land, honor, religion, homeland, the province, and the clan. As their fathers we have duties, but they also have duties, too. They need to understand the need to defend honor, land and religion.

We want to deliver this message to anyone who does not understand what a clan means. Each clan can represent a country that has its own traditions, customs and constitution. Whoever does not know this should know it.

Interviewer: How old were you when you started to shoot? Did your father also teach you these things?

I was 10 years old, as I remember. I started to shoot during the good times; at weddings, occasions, and funerals. We learnt how to shoot since we were children.

Interviewer: Do you know anyone from your clan who joined ISIS? What were the reasons behind this?

Unfortunately, yes, there are many people from the clans and from al-Anbar who joined ISIS. They were fooled due to unemployment. They were lured by money.

I hold government officials responsible for this. If they had good intentions to embrace all the sons of Iraq and keep them within a unified country, none of this would have happened.