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What's happening to the Iraqi academics and intellectuals?

Posted in the database on Wednesday, December 14th, 2005 @ 07:43:33 MST (1497 views)
from The Brussels Tribunal  

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Many academics have been killed in Iraq since the American occupation began according to the Iraqi Union of University Lecturers.

The most striking fact is that the majority of those killed where not sciencists (thus targeted for the alleged knowledge of Iraq’s weapon’s programme) but were involved in field of humanities (such as law, geography and history). The motives for these assassinations are unknown.

This ‘war on Learning’, as Robert Fisk, a reporter in Iraq for the Independent called it, is making Iraqi intellectual’s work impossible and further augments the view that a ‘normal life’ in Iraq is far too dangerous for them. According to an article in the Times Higher Education Supplement: ‘there is a widespread feeling among the Iraqi academics that they are witnessing a deliberate attempt to destroy intellectual life in Iraq’. Furthermore, quoting Dr Sinawi – a geologist formerly employed at Baghdad University and interview by THES- the academic dismissals, the assassination of intellectuals will bring a ‘disruption of higher education in Iraq for years to come. This will dramatically affect the standard of teaching and research for generations’. Source: http://www.nearinternational.org/alerts/iraq320040915en.php

Many academics in Iraq are imprisoned, were discharged, have disappeared, or were forced into exile. This web page has been created to document these facts.

Here is an incomplete list

Further reading:

- Iraqi intellectuals under siege - Al Jazeera, 29 Febr 2004.

- Iraqi intellectuals flee 'death squads' - Al Jazeera, 30 March 2004.

- Death to those who dare to speak out - CS Monitor 30 April 2004.

- Iraqi intellectuals appeal for security - Al Jazeera 19 May 2004.

- "It has begun." - Dahr Jamail, 13 June 2004.

- Where is this going? - Al Ahram 16 June 2004.

- Academics targeted as murder and mayhem hits Iraqi colleges - Robert Fisk 14 July 2004.

- The slaughter of Iraq's intellectuals - The New Statesman, 06 Sept 2004.

- Iraq losing its best and brightest, CS Monitor 21 Sept 2004.

- IRAQ: Rising threat against academics fuels brain drain -IRIN news 28 Oct 2004.

- Joint Statement by MESA, AAUP, AAAS, 05 Nov 2004.

- A Sinister Campaign, 11 Dec 2004.

- Approximately 300 academics have been killed - 17 Jan 2005.

- The Destruction of Iraq’s Educational System under US Occupation - Ghali Hassan 11 May 2005.

- Iraq healers have become targets , IHT 31 May 2005.

- Medics fleeing Iraq's violence in their thousands, 25 Sept 2005.

- Everyone is a target in Iraq, Al Jazeera 14 Oct 2005.

- Guidelines Relating to the Eligibility of Iraqi Asylum-Seekers October 2005, UNHCR Report [PDF]

- Iraq’s Science Community: to be or not to be

- Who's killing Iraqi intellectuals? - 03 Dec 2005.

More than 250 Iraqi college professors assassinated


The International Coalition of Academics Against Occupation (ICAAO) has issued the following statement on the assassination of Iraqi intellectuals (8/11/04):

Even after the ‘transfer of authority’ the U.S. Government remains in de facto military occupation of Iraq. The idea that the escalation of violence can be put to an end by the ‘interim’ government, while 140,000 U.S troops remain in control of major Iraqi cities like Mosul and Baghdad, is far from the reality on the ground.

Overlooked by the U.S. Press is the escalating assassination of Iraqi academics, intellectuals, and lecturers. More than 250 college professors since April 30, 2003, according to the Iraqi Union of University Lecturers, have been the targets of assassination. Among the 250 professors assassinated to date include: Muhammad al-Rawi, President of Baghdad University (July 27, 2003); Dr. Abdul Latif al-Mayah a Professor of Political Science at Baghdad's Mustansiriya University (late January 2003); Dr. Nafa Aboud, a Professor of Arabic Literature at the University of Baghdad; Dr Sabri al-Bayati; a Geographer at the University of Baghdad; Dr. Falah al-Dulaimi, Assistant Dean of College at Mustansariya University; Dr. Hissam Sharif, Department of History of the University of Baghdad; and Professor Wajih Mahjoub of the College of Physical Education.

Whoever is responsible for these targeted assassinations, the U.S. and its Coalition of Allies , all of them commanding and controlling the ongoing de facto occupation of Iraq—bear an international responsibility and obligation to protect civilians living under occupation and who are protected by the 4th Article of the Geneva Convention.

The Geneva Convention, which the U.S. and others nations have signed without reservation, holds all occupying authorities responsible for the condition pertaining to the lives of Iraqi intellectuals, professors, and civilians of all types, including the further undermining of the already sanctioned and utterly destroyed system of education in Iraq. We, the undersigned, deplore the killing of professors, intellectuals and other civilians, and urge a full Congressional investigation into the circumstances that led to the ongoing, systematic and targeted assassination of Iraqi intellectual, academics, and professors. According to Union of Iraqi Lecturers, if “the stream of assassinations” continues Iraqi Colleges and Universities will be left without a qualified teaching staff.


Iraq’s Science Community: to be or not to be

British and American scientists and academics assisted the birth of Iraq’s science community in the last century; can they help it now to be born again?

Two international initiatives to help Iraqi scientists and academics to reconstruct their community began two years ago. They were independent of each other. The first initiative was supported by American academic institutions (see main text), the second by British counterparts. International Symposium on Higher Education in Iraq is an initiative by a group of expatriate Iraqi academics working in UK. “We are following different avenues”, says Dr. Gahzi Derwish, visiting professor of Surrey University and member of the Symposium Organising Committee. “Our aim is to explore the needs of universities in Iraq, help to set their priorities and determine how best British Universities and other organizations can help in restoring the once flourishing links between Iraq’s academic institutions and their correlatives in the west”.

“Higher education has been the incubator of R&D in Iraq”, says Dr. Derwish, a veteran scientist who obtained his PhD in chemistry from the University of London and held prestigious scientific posts in Iraq for four decades. The public sector comprises 20 universities and 47 technical institutions with about 350,000 students and 18,000 academic staff. There are also 10 private sector higher education colleges with some 15,000 students.

The Symposium, hosted last month by the University of Westminster in London, was attended by 170 academics, 20 of them presidents, assistant presidents and deans of Iraqi universities. Abbas Al-Hussainy, Secretary General of the Symposium and senior lecturer at Westminster University, said that they discussed with their British colleagues curriculum modernization, ways to establish higher education policies and strategies that can effectively deal with the challenges of the reconstruction period. Parallel to the political issues being debated in Iraq; special workshops in the Symposium were devoted to centralisation vs. de-centralisation, role and regulation of private universities and radical rethinking of scientific research in line with national needs.

Beyond discussing what needs to be done, some practical measures have already been taken since the first Symposium held in January 2004. Dr. Al-Hussainy said that several training workshops, research co-operations, and academic/scientific visits for Iraqis were organised by a number of British universities (Birmingham, Nottingham, John Moor, Bangor, Westminster, Surrey, Cardiff, Greenwich). The Association of Iraqi Academics in UK and a number of British universities have arranged donation of books and scientific journals to Iraqi universities. The Association of British Publishers invited Iraqi university librarians to attend the British Book Fair and to establish contacts with UK publishers. British and European universities offered scholarships for MSc and PhD degrees to six Iraqi Universities. Furthermore, the British Council contributed six-month training courses for seven academics under the Chevening Technology Enterprise Scholarship Programme.

Dr. Derwish points out that few scholarships and training courses will not be sufficient to alleviate the tragic state engulfing Iraq’s science community. A recent Report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Baghdad stated “Iraq’s university laboratories suffered heavy damage during the US invasion two years ago and are desperately short of essential equipment and chemicals needed to teach medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and several other science subjects. As a result, 15 students or more have to share a single set of equipment during practical experiments, three times more than the internationally recommended maximum of five”. University teachers grumble that thousands of graduates are being turned out every year short on practical knowledge.

Iraqi scientists and academics are suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune as they face the constant danger of assassination and kidnapping. According to Sami Mudhaffar, minister of Higher Education and Science Research, 54 Iraqi scientists and academics have been assassinated. In an interview to London based Arabic newspaper Ashahrq Alawsat, Dr. Mudhaffar expressed his regret for accepting ministerial responsibility “only one of 14 reconstruction projects ready for implementation has been carried out”. The reason, he said is the “halt of ministry expenditure”. He added, “All the talk about international donations is an empty promise. Many of the 200 contracts and agreements that were signed didn’t benefit the country. On the contrary they added more debts to an already heavily debited nation”.




Recent examples of killed Academics

August 5 2005

Three university lecturers were assassinated by unknowns, by shooting. The source from university of almustansiria university said that, some unknowns fired a flow of bullets, Dr Zaki Bakir Alaany,the lecturer in college of literature and Dr Hashim Abdulameer ,the lecturer in college education, while they were on their way out from the university gate. On the other hand Dr Sameer yelda was kidnapped from outside the gate of the university, the day before yesterday. It is known that 55 university professors were assassinated after the fall of the past regeme; this forced many university professors to leave IRAQ.


University Professor in Basrah is kidnapped




Unknown armed group has kidnapped Dr professor Haithem Ooda, deputy head of chemical engineering department in the University of Albasrah while he was on his way to office on Monday.

Eye witnesses said that unknown car has stopped the professor while he was on his way to the office, then three armed men forced him to inter their car and took him to unknown direction. It is mentioned that university professors from Basrah city, south of IRAQ were targets of assassinations, arresting and eliminating by armed groups linked with the incoming parties from outside the borders together with US occupation.

University professors are worried from these accidents in the beginning of the new academic year.


2005-09-18 - 09:43:56

30 medical doctors were killed and 220 others were forced to immigrate abroad during the past period

Bahrain Gulf News 18-09-2005

Baghdad: Qais Alazzawy, specially for Gulf News

After Dr Basil Abbas Husain ;the hurt specialist was martyred by the US forces on the fifth of this month ,by mistake as they claimed…and the discovery of a car bomb which was about to explode the Karame hospital; the ministry of health announced a campaign to speak about the doctors who were victimised because of their human duties and who are exposed to kidnapping or forcing their families to pay ransoms also the number of doctors who left the country for good became hundreds. The deputy health minister Dr Jaleel Alshammary declared that the martyred doctors so far are 30, whereas those who were forced to immigrate or threatened to immigrate abroad are more than 220 medical doctor,. in addition to those who were kidnapped. The ministry of high education announced that the number of immigrated university professors are more than2000 so far. This obliged the ministry to close down 125 high degree branches whereas Jordan and Syria became full of the Iraqi medical doctors who are looking for jobs, so the Syrian government has opened a new hospital composed of the Iraqi doctors who immigrated from their own country.


The Dean of the college of political science in the University of Mousil was saved from assassination.

Dr Talal Aljaleely; the Dean of the political science college, and his son were saved from an attempt to assassinate them by a group of armed men, after they opened fire of light weapons against them, in front of their house, which is located in the university site, while they were about to leave out.

A medical source from the hospital of educational alzahrawy hospital declared that Dr Aljaleely was shot in his back, while his son was shot in his leg. The source assured that their state became stable after they received a surgical intervention.



Dear Colleague

I would like to inform you of the sad news of the murder of Dr Wissam Al Hashimi in Baghdad in August this year.

Ina Lil Allah Waina Elaehe Rageoun.

This is another Iraqi scientist killed in Baghdad by the "organised criminal and or organised terrorists". Another number to be add to body count of civilian Iraqis since the "Liberation" which now amounts of more than 1000 Doctors and University staff murdered and thousands of similar qualifications who have been forced out of Iraq since the "liberation." The total death toll of civilian Iraqis ranges between 25,000-160,000 depending on your side of the political fence.

Dr Al Hashimy was until his murder the president of the Union of Arab Geologists. He persevered in serving Iraq throughout his career and helped improve the co-operation between Geologists in Arab countries. He organised several
(GEOCOME) conference of the Arab Geologists Union under difficult conditions in several Arab capitols, including Cairo, Baghdad, Amman, Beirut, etc. and he was planning another GEOCOME conference in Abu Dhabi in early 2006.

Dr Wissam Al Hashimi is an internationally known experts in Carbonates, and he is well known for his important contributions to dolomite and dedolmitisation in and outside Iraq. He was killed while he was preparing his last paper "Porosities Of Carbonate Reservoirs Of The Mesopotamian Basin: An Insight Into Their Origin" to be delivered in the AAPG International Conference and Exhibition in Paris in the Wednesday 14/9/05 morning session.

He will be remembered by many Iraqi student of Geology whom he supervised and or helped with their PhD and MSc projects.

Attached is an emotional letter from his daughter Tara to Dr Sadooni.

If you are like me was thinking of attending the planned Iraqi Higher Education Conference in Baghdad later this year or earlier next year, I would rethink again.



Dear Mr.Sadooni,

I am Tara Al-Hashimi the daughter of the late Dr. Wissam Al-Hashimi. I'd like to inform you that my father (Dr. AL- Hashimi) has died. He was kidnapped early in the morning on the 24th Aug 2005 while going to work, his recent papers were stolen. A ransom was given but unfortunately he was shoot twice in the head and died. May his soul rest in peace. As his ID was taken from him it took us about 2 weeks to find his body in one of Baghdad's hospitals.
Lately he was very busy preparing a paper that he was going to talk about it in a meeting in Paris, Unfortunately he will not be able to attend the meeting. On behalf of myself and the family we would like that at least the abstract of his paper remains in the meeting's agenda and to be lectured by someone else.
NB: please contact me as soon as possible


Tara Al-Hashimi


University Professor was exposed to armed assault

2005-11-15 - 13:50:17

The Iraqi News Agency

Iraqi police source announced that Dr Jasim mohammed the dean of literature college of the university of al-mustansiria has escaped from an assassination attempt that caused the death of his driver, while he was wounded. The sources has pointed out that unknown armed men had attacked a car belongs to the ministry of high education, opening fire towards it, that lead to the killing of the car driver promptly and caused dangerous injuries to the dean of the college, who was transferred to the hospital.


Assasination of one of the distinguished specialists in malignant deseases

Dr Sami Aymen was assassinated by unknowns in his house, that is located in the west of tikreet city. The family of the victim declared that a group of armed group had surrounded his house and killed him in front of his sons and escaped. Dr sami aymen was one the distinguished specialists in the field of malignant and chronic diseases


The Iraqi university staff had lost a new martyr, who was assassinated by gun men today, in the west of Baghdad. A spokesman from the ministry of interior affairs said that, criminals attacked the martyred saad yaseen al-ansary, the professor in the University of Baghdad, while he was driving his car in saydia district, accompanied by his wife, who was injured by the betrayal bullets, then transported to the hospital. A source has mentioned a police man was martyred in the same district today, by unknown criminals, while others had assassinated an engineer in al-ameen district, in addition to that, a dead body was found with his hands bound together and his eyes wrapped in sulaik district, and then shot dead.


The ministry of high education announces, the assassination of three scientists from the university of Baghdad

Baghdad: The ministry of high education and scientific research had announced, the assassination of three scientists and professors, working in the university of Baghdad, during the past few days. The ministry has named the assassinates as; Dr Haikal Mohammed al-Moosawy, from the Kindy medical college, who was assassinated in alsulaik district in Baghdad, and Dr Saad yaseen al-Ansary the professor from the college of science, who was assassinated just outside his house, in addition to Dr Raad Muhsin Mutar al-Mawla, the head of the biological sciences in the college of science, who was assassinated in his clinic.



Assassination of the deputy head of the college of education in the University of Al-Mustansria

Unknown armed men had assassinated the deputy head of the college of education in the Al-Mustansiria University on Wednesday night and his car driver. Major Raed Ali Salih from Baghdad police declared that; unknown armed men had attacked Dr kadhim talal husain the deputy dean of the college of education in the Al-Mustansiria University; on 6pm tonight, while he was in Alsulaikh district, in the north east of Baghdad, and shot him dead. The source added; that the car driver was shot dead in that attack as well, while the armed men had escaped after committing their crime.


Islamic memo(special):the Islamic memo correspondent in Al- Basra city , south of Iraq said that more than 20 medical doctors and university professors, had received threats to be killed during the past two days ,by unknowns

The correspondent said that one of the distinguished heart surgeons in Al-Basra city received a written threat that says(get out of from Al-Basra city or you will be killed), whereas another professor from the university of Al-Basra city said; that he found a paper on Saturday morning saying (get out you dirty sunny, or you will be slaughtered like the camel) Our correspondent said that all the professors and medical doctors are thinking to flee from the city after the threats, that they described as serious, accusing elements of Badr brigade, the military wing of the IRSC, islamii revolution supreme council, in Iraq, that is lead by Abdul Azeez`Al-Hakeem.

It is mentioned that two of those who received the threats, were assassinated writhen the past two days; namely Dr Saad Alrubaiee and the professor of the biological sciences in the college of science Dr Omer Fakhri


Incomplete list of killed Iraqi academics

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