Iraq: UN concerned over repression of protesters

UN Special Representative to Iraq Ad Melkert issued a statement March 1 expressing concern about reports of human rights violations in the nationwide protest campaign now shaking the country. Melkert said reported violations included “disproportionate” use of force by security forces against protesters. “Fundamental changes are needed for creating stability and trust,” said Melkert, who is the head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI). (AP, UN News Centre, March 2)

Amid the protest wave, insurgents on Feb. 26 executed an audacious attack on Iraq’s biggest oil refinery, at Baiji, north of Baghdad. In a predawn raid, gunmen stormed the complex, killed one engineer and set off several bombs. The attack shut down parts of the refinery, halting production of about 150,000 barrels per day of diesel, gasoline and other petroleum products. Output at the complex is normally 250,000 barrels a day. The government plans to increase production from the Ash Shaabiya refinery in Basra to cover shortages. (Bloomberg, Feb. 28; NYT, Feb. 27)

See our last posts on Iraq, the insurgency, the struggle for the oil, and the new Arab revolutions.

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