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Security, intelligence services should reveal who is behind abductions in Iraq

Seven civil society activists were kidnapped in Baghdad earlier this week. The strong reaction by national politicians, the media and social media was not expressing any surprise at these abductions, rather they voiced their anger that these incidents have become worse than before. According to them, the frequency of these kidnappings signified increasing incapability of the state to do anything to confront this phenomenon.

The seven activists were kidnapped without any trace from their homes in the heart of Baghdad. Before this incident, dozens or rather hundreds were abducted. Some were kidnapped for years before they were released or before we know anything about their fate or about who abducted them.

Organized gangs usually kidnap businessmen and prominent employees to demand ransoms or settle accounts. However, no one asks for a ransom in exchange for releasing kidnapped civilians who are usually activists who became prominent during the popular activism which has been ongoing for two years now.

Jalal Al Shahmani and Waai al-Jabouri have been kidnapped from Baghdad and Babel for more than a year and a half now and no one has learnt anything about their fate yet.

Some Islamist parties’ leaders are shameless in attacking civil society activists and secularists while delivering public speeches, and one of them even went as far as blaming them for what’s happening in the country! As part of this propaganda, they began to target universities to market Islamist parties and criticize secular and civil society groups. Many civil society students were thus detained or expelled from some universities.

Adnan Hussein


It’s difficult to put these kidnappings outside the context of some influential parties’ efforts to abort popular activism and undermine it after its slogans and work received the growing support of many people, especially from students and youth.

Meanwhile, the Islamist movement’s reputation is on the wane due to its failure in managing the state and society. Not only that but these Islamic movement parties have also never quit struggling over power, influence and money.

Propaganda against secularism 

For months now, and as the countdown for the local elections has begun –scheduled for next September but likely to be postponed till next year – and the parliamentary elections – to be held within one year – the propaganda against secularism and the civil society has increased.

This propaganda first began on social media then found its way to radio stations and television channels affiliated with Islamic parties.

Some Islamist parties’ leaders are shameless in attacking civil society activists and secularists while delivering public speeches, and one of them even went as far as blaming them for what’s happening in the country! As part of this propaganda, they began to target universities to market Islamist parties and criticize secular and civil society groups. Many civil society students were thus detained or expelled from some universities.

As a prelude to this, many media figures were arrested or abducted for some time. Journalist Afrah Shawki is only one example of these kidnappings.

Restraints have been imposed on youths and the death of a young boy in a police station in the town of Tuwairij a few days ago falls within this context.

I think it’s difficult not to put all these incidents within the context of organized work by one or several parties.

Who is this party or these parties? The national security apparatus and the national intelligence services know. They’re supposed to and they should. What good are they for if are not among those who know?

This article is also available in Arabic.

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Adnan Hussein is the executive editor-in-chief of Al-Mada newspaper and head of the National Union of Iraqi journalists. Previously, he has held the position of Managing Editor in Asharq al-Awsat newspaper. He tweets under the handle @adnanhussein

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Last Update: Thursday, 11 May 2017 KSA 22:59 - GMT 19:59
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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Security, intelligence services should reveal who is behind abductions in Iraq
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