Domestic Challenges and Threats
ACADEMIC COMPETENCIES IN IRAQ
INTERNAL CHALLENGES AND THREATS, AND VISION FOR TREATMENT
Bismillah Al Rahmnan Al Raheem
A vital aspect of our research addresses the main reason for Iraq attaining such a high degree of backwardness and ignorance, this being the absence of a conscious and educated class from the Iraqi arena, particularly academic talents in their various competencies, as a result of assassination, kidnapping and detention, as well as deportation, degree forgery, harassment and other forms of pressure, to bring Iraqi society to such a state of backwardness and intellectual retreat that would facilitate and put into effect the will and suspicious plans of parties with certain agendas.
Despite the fact that these hot operations began with the beginning of the occupation in 2003, they have increased in recent years and the present authority in addition to the occupation, bear complete responsibility in that:
First: No plan was put to stop or identify the perpetrators.
Secondly: No action was taken to provide protection for these groups, despite the availability of the capabilities.
Third: They did not take any measures to hold to account the militias or their organs, whose involvement in these criminal activities, is confirmed by the facts.
Here, I would like to point out that I will not go into the details of the targeting of these competencies, neither will I dwell on the casualty figures, nor on the parties who stand behind these operations, for there are reputable researchers who will speak about this in detail at this present meeting.
The most dangerous challenge to this academic elite, today, is the continuation of this serial of liquidation and assassination. Scientists and academics in Iraq, have been exposed to a continuing haemorrhage of emptying Mesopotamia from its academic brains at an increasing daily pace since the beginning of the occupation.
The statistics for this particular subject and despite their scarcity point to the fact that 340 academics and members of the judiciary have been premeditatedly assassinated during three years.
The Spokesman of the Ministry for Human Rights, Hamza Kamil, clarified that: "the number of university lecturers who had been killed in the years 2005, 2006, and 2007 amounted to 224, while 21 judges, 95 lawyers, and 197 journalists had been killed over the same period," as well as 2334 Iraqi women in similar situations. While a scientific study on social studies in Iraqi universities confirmed that violence against lecturers and in Iraq, after its occupation, to a large extent hampered academic freedoms. The study carried out by the Iraqi Center of Strategic Studies documented the assassination of approximately 338 university lecturers and professors since April 2003 up to the same month in 2008 in addition to the disappearance of 75 university lecturers whose fate is still unknown.
The BRussells Tribunal and CEOSI have also confirmed that they have 449 confirmed assassination cases of academics up to October 2010, and this figure, in my opinion, is the most precise statistic to date, not withstanding that it is still lower than the real figure which quite definitely exceeds that.
This serial is still continuing and the last academic to be assassinated at dawn, the day I left Amman, was Dr. Ayad Ibrahim Mohammed Al Jibourie, a young 34 year old professor at the School of Medicine in Tikrit University specializing in a rare study, I believe, nerves . He was killed in his home at dawn under the eyes of his family by Occupation troops called "mixed force") who landed in helicopters in his home village of Allazaga, in Al Haweejah, south west of Kirkuk. His body was taken away and his brother arrested and both were taken to one of their bases in Sallahuldeen; their whereabouts are still unknown.
Continuing Forced Displacement:
The pace of academic migration increased after the American troops entered Iraq in 2003 because of the continuation of the assassinations and kidnappings serial. It is mentioned in the ICRC report 2008 that more than 20,000 doctors out of 34,000 were forced to leave Iraq, as well as the disappearance of tens of thousands of the medical staff.
In a recent analytical field study carried out by the Human Rights Department in our organization, about the not so small numbers of these competencies who were forced to leave the country and migrate to the neighboring countries (we have not mentioned their names out of respect to their wishes), the result of that study was as follows:
The overwhelming proportion of those polled hold rare scientific disciplines, and are recognized for their competence, their patriotism and their devotion to their work in all their different fields; they are people who cost the Iraqi state a great deal of time and effort as well as large amounts of money, since:
A- Around 90% of them were exposed to direct threats.
B- More than 50% were subjected to kidnapping to his person or of a family member by armed militias.
C- 30% were subjected to detention and arrest by the Occupation forces of by the government forces.
D- Most of those exposed to kidnapping or detention experienced physical torture in addition to psychological.
The demands of the kidnappers on the whole can be summed up in the following:
(i) To leave the work place immediately.
(ii) To leave the country or go to northern Iraq (what is called, today as Iraqi Kurdistan) within a limited period 3- 30 days.
(iii) A large ransom of between US Dollars50,000 and USD 100,000.
All this points to the fact that the forced displacement of these competencies was, and continues to be, part of a studied programme and falls in the context of ending the scientific and academic strength of this country and that the parties involved in this are both regional and international. Unfortunately, this serial is still going on, and what was rumored that some of these competencies had returned was nothing but propaganda for the government; tempting offers were made and what was known to all and sundry is that most of them returned back to where they came from after being shocked by the bitter reality of the of the life of academics in Iraq
The phenomenon that has become dominant is that of forging degrees at the level of ministers and members of parliament in addition to the other posts. This is a striking phenomenon that previously never existed in Iraq.
The Chief of the Transparency Commission, Raheem Al Akaily, exposed frightening numbers reflecting the size of the forgery taking place in the Iraqi state which means that there is a crushing and devastating catastrophe about to take place in the future, after the marginalizing of the higher degree holders and of the highly talented students, the emigration of millions who are still in the host countries, suffering difficult living conditions and the tragedies of exile at the time when the ignorant and the forgers enjoy the benefits of Iraq.
Agaily expected that "the number of the names of forgers which the Commission will announce later will amount to 10,000 and added that the Commission at this time is in the early stages of investigating another 10,000 names" at a time when there are tens of thousands of forged degrees which are still untouched, whose forgers have attained senior positions.
This fact has made academic degrees worthless in the eyes of the Iraqi people and the world since they are sold in markets at fixed and known prices per type of degree. There are specific sites where they are sold in Baghdad and other cities.
The strange fact is that none of the high ranking officials have been made accountable for forging and defrauding the law, while the law, at the same time was applied to ordinary people and to those who have no one to back them in the executive or legislative powers.
The Official Defense of the Forgery Phenomenon:
In the past, were a case of forgery be exposed, all those in responsibility would stand together to fight it, as a result of their realization of the extent of the danger it entails on the future of academia of the country; you would never find anyone, however related to the person involved, who would show any sympathy or a wish to cover-up, but the situation in Iraq, today, is completely different. This phenomenon possesses supporters who are not embarrassed by defending it in the media and in the court of public opinion.
For the present Council of Ministers, after the degree forgery stink seeped through and touched a large number of high ranking officials from the rank of minister to the lowest rank, its unique method of treating the problem was to issue a decree constituting a committee to present proposals for a pardon for these officials who had forged their degrees and to make this presentation within two weeks!!!!!!!
The Spokesman for the Council of Ministers announced that ,Council had ordered a committee to be formed chaired by the legal advisor and the membership of the Director of the Legal Office in the Cabinet Office as well as a representative of the Justice Ministry and the Higher Legal Council to present their proposals concerning the pardon of those who had forged their degrees and these to be presented within two weeks!
Here, everyone has the right to ask: How dare the Council of Ministers issue such a decree seeking to pardon officially and legally those who forge degrees and documents?!
Loss of Security and the Absence of Immunity
Up to this instant, university lecturers do not feel safe, and the word we have grown accustomed to hearing is from academic circles is:"when I go out every day, I am not sure I will return home safely", so just imagine how an academic who is so full of fear to the extent of horror is able to perform his job efficiently.
In addition, academics have no immunity for it is possible that at any instant, the occupation forces raid university campuses and arrest academics, or for that matter government security bodies, and it is possible for the militias to take academics away from university campuses. Cases have been recorded of the assassination of university lecturers on university campuses as in the case of Faris Younes Abdul Rahman, lecturer at the College of Agriculture and Forestry in the University of Mosul; he was assassinated on university campus by the explosion of a "sticky bomb" which was placed in his private car on 2.6.2008.
Students did not escape this, either for a force from Neneva Command raided Mosul University Campus on 16.6.2008 to arrest two students on the pretext that they are wanted by the judiciary with the resultant killing of the two students by this force on the university campus.
Nepotism at the Expense of Efficiency:
Favoritism for those who are granted the management of ministries and to those who are given the directorates supervising education thus performing favors to their political leaders, or to their sectarian allegiance, as well as other factors; without taking into consideration their suitability for these sensitive academic posts which has led to the arrival of incompetent people to manage the education process in Iraq.
These people always appear in their true light with their limitations at the first test they are put to.
For example, the former Minister of Education, Khudaier Al Khozaie, who also happens to be a senior member of the Da'wa party, met a TV presenter who works for Al Shaqiya TV Channel,
And was asked by her about the strange results of the Secondary Stage results, in 2009 for the capital, Baghdad's results had declined when compared to the provinces, unlike in the past when the results often showed superiority, so she said to him:"Mr. Minister, explain to us have Baghdad's students have got to such a low level, academically and how is it possible that the results in Kerbala and Nejaf are higher than Baghdad ikn the manner the state results show?"
He answered her:"Sister, don't forget the Imam's grace"!!
He means the Imam Ali's grace. Imam Ali has a shrine in Nejef.
Another example; the Deputy Minister of Education for Administrative Affairs, Ali Al Ibraheemi, in a meeting with all the directors of the ministry to describe teachers in very rude terms , amongst others, that they are asses; the fact that drove the Teachers' Union in Baghdad to demand his resignation, confirming that it is going to bring a case against him in the courts. A statement issued by the Union concerning the above, said:"We possess a picture and sound recording in which the Deputy Minister of education for Administrative Affairs describes teachers with unsuitable words and with very rude words which is witnessed by the directors general and in which he describes the teachers as "asses" who do not understand the new syllabus."
The Union considered, in its statement, which the Iraqi News Agency received, that in this description of the Iraqi teachers, lies an insult to all the Iraqi people where every family has at least one member who is a teacher.
It is no secret that the appropriate solution to address this dilemma is radical and is in the people's revolution against this situation and the gaining of freedom and independence, because this step will allow the Iraqi people to administer its country by itself far away from the hegemony of the occupation and international interference. This is a matter that is sought for by the Iraqi people since the first days of the occupation. A blessed resistance was launched that forced the occupation to put down a schedule for itself to leave the country. And, today, the Iraqi people complete this effort in a massive revolution launched on the 25th February, of this year, throughout Iraq from Sulaymaniya in the north to the Fao in the south, and it is a revolution against oppression and corruption.
In my estimation this will be achieved in several steps:
First - Work on constructing complexes inside the universities, especially for habitat of university lecturers with their families to enable them to continue their attendance and to insure that they do not emigrate, particularly because there are plenty of opportunities for traveling to and working in Arab universities.
Secondly - Provide security for the teaching staff. A great many parties asked the government to protect these academics security-wise as it protects the parliamentarians who number 325 MPs and cost the state USD 40 million, approximately, per month; there are 10 security guards per MP; the government should assign at least 2 armed security guards for each member of the university teaching staff, since the protection of Iraqi academic wealth is better and more urgent, because there exists programmed killing of these academics who are in truth more important than some of the MPs and others on whose protection the government spends enormous amounts of money.
Third - Legislation for immunity from prosecution, arrest and accountability for these teachers and professors except after informing the University President and getting his permission. Just as it should not be allowed to place any form of punishment by anyone except for the University President and the the Minister for Higher Education.
Fourth - Legislation of strict laws that encompass principles of justice, free and honourable competition, and equal opportunity, on the basis of efficiency and competence undergraduate studies and postgraduate studies and in the appointment and promotion of lecturers to administrative posts as well as academic scholarships and bursaries, as well as training courses, without any consideration to party political affiliations, or social affiliations or religious ones.
Fifth Practicing international pressure on the successive governments letting them know that there is international follow up and the possibility for imposing partial sanctions to make them feel the importance of the matter and of its seriousness, since it is working under an American umbrella, it denigrates this portfolio and is good at making promises for America's official sources have always stated that the protection of Iraqi Academics (Brains) were its first priority, however these sources have not explain how this was to be achieved to realize this target and no sign has appeared on the ground which indicates measures taken where this portfolio is concerned.
SHAIKH MOHAMMED AL FAIDHI Spokesperson of the Association of Muslim Scholars. Professor of Hadith College of Tenets of Religion Islamic University in Baghdad.