London, Asharq Al-Awsat- Mishan al-Juburi, former Iraqi Parliament member, has said that his assets in the United States and those of a media establishment owned by his wife were frozen at the instigation of “political foes” in Iraq.
Al-Juburi denied the charge of “inciting terrorism” and stressed that the transmission of scenes that he called “resistance operations” are only part of the newscasts on his satellite channel. On Tuesday, the US Treasury announced that it is freezing the assets of Sheikh Al-Dari, the leader of the Sunni Association of Muslim Scholars, other Iraqi nationals, and one Iranian national as well as Syrian national Rawah al-Usta, Al-Juburi’s wife, and suspending the Suraqiya (acronym of Syria-Iraq) for Media and Broadcasting establishment that includes the Al-Ra’y Television [satellite channel] and the newspaper Al-Ittijah al-Akhir owned by Al-Usta under the charge of “inciting violence in Iraq”.
In a telephone interview from Syria, Al-Juburi told Asharq Al-Awsat: “We believe that this action came at the instigation of our political foes in Iraq”. Al-Juburi denied the charge of “inciting terrorism” and said: “We in the station (Al-Ra’y satellite channel) prohibit the shedding of Iraqi blood. How could we be accused of inciting terrorism?” He added: “We do not transmit resistance operations except as part of the news bulletins. I believe that that our transmissions refute the claims that the occupation is making that the resistance has receded and that the security situation is now under control. This is what angered them because since the arrival of General David Petraeus (the former commander of the US forces in Iraq), the occupation’s policy has been based on concealing the facts and denying resistance operations. The Americans are saying that they are not suffering losses in their ranks while we are showing scenes of their bodies flying in the air reinforced by documentary films about the resistance as part of our news bulletins. This is not a call for resistance”.
Al-Juburi is a prominent Iraqi politician that became engaged in the political process after the fall of the former Iraqi regime. He was elected to the parliament as a leader of the “Reconciliation and Liberation” bloc that won three seats in the parliament that was elected around the end of 2005. Al-Juburi is known for his opposition to the current Iraqi government and his satellite channel Al-Zawra came to be known as the “channel of the resistance” for transmitting video clips showing armed operations targeting the US forces in Iraq. In 2007, the Iraqi parliament voted to lift Al-Juburi’s parliamentary immunity. Since then he has been living in Syria. The Iraqi government also suspended the transmissions of the Al-Zawra satellite channel. Al-Juburi added that in addition “to revealing the truth about the resistance,” the US Treasury reached this decision “because we angered the occupation government in Iraq.
The Iraqi government made this suggestion to the US Administration and endorsed this decision because we exposed its practices of murder, rape, and displacement of civilians as well as its practices in the Iraqi prisons”. Al-Juburi added: “I am proud and glad that we are upsetting the Americans and giving them sleepless nights. We are proud that along with Harithal-Dari, the sheikh of the mujahidin, the United States has placed us on the same list as those that are confronting its schemes in Iraq”. Al-Juburi emphasized “We shall go on” as he said that the satellite channel now transmits for five minutes and jammed for 55 minutes in the hour. He added, “They are jamming us using all means although we are transmitting from Syria on six different frequencies on the NurSat satellite. They are jamming these frequencies”. Al-Juburi pledged, “We shall work with the technicians as of now and until next month to defeat this jamming”.
Al-Juburi said that although his spouse, Raw’ah al-Usta, owns the Suraqia Media establishment because she is a Syrian national, the US decision included him as well. According to Al-Juburi, his assets in the US banks were frozen in February this year. He declined, however, to reveal the amount of these funds. According to Al-Juburi, the US Congress “is debating a bill to expand the measures against the Al-Zawra channel. Although it has been shutdown, it is still in the minds of the people”. The Iraqi government shut down the Al-Zawra channel in the middle of 2007. Al-Juburi added that he finds himself “in the same trench as the resistance that is opposing the occupation. I shall resist the occupation with all my strength and let them do whatever they can against me”. He stressed that he is expecting more measures from Washington, adding: “Let them wait for more resistance. I will look for various ways to upset them”.
Al-Juburi went on to say: “I am part of everything that opposes the occupation, starting with financing and ending wherever you wish”. He added: “We are against those that target Iraqis regardless of their sects or ethnic backgrounds. We are actually part of the effort of the resistance against the occupation”. He emphasized that he differs from “other resistance factions” in that he rejects the killing of any Iraqi regardless of whether he is “a soldier or in the Awakening councils or the government”. He went on to say, “I also oppose the killing of any American civilians whether in the humanitarian relief organizations of journalists”. Al-Juburi said that he will not participate in the political process in Iraq again as long as it is “under the control of the occupation”.
He said that he may support some individuals but “as long as there is an American boot in Iraq, I shall resist. When the last boot leaves, I shall participate in the elections regardless of the ruler”. In its turn, the [Sunni] Association of Muslim Scholars said that the US Treasury’s decision to freeze the assets of its Secretary General Sheikh Harith al-Dari is “ridiculous”. Sheikh Bashar al-Faydi, the official spokesman of the association told Agence France Presse [AFP], “The decision is ridiculous because Al-Dari does not have any assets in foreign banks or Arab banks”. He added: “If they find anything, let them take it. We give it to them.
The US penalties of those that the United States suspects of involvement in terrorism or that support or provide financial aid to terrorists include freezing their assets in the United States and prohibiting US citizens from dealing with them. The US measures also targeted Iraqi national Akram Abbas al-Kabi. According to the US Treasury release, Al-Kabi is a leader in the Shiite “Special Groups” in Iraq that – according to the United States – are supported and armed by Iran. The US measures also targeted Ahmad Hasan al-Ubaydi that – according to the release – is the commander of insurgents in Kirkuk (northern Iraq).