Iraqi officers arrested on negligence charges: Baghdad has disciplined army personnel for lack of zeal in the marshland offensive, writes Christopher Bellamy, Defence Correspondent

A number of senior Iraqi officers have been arrested for negligence during the continuing Iraqi Army attack on the southern marshlands, according to 'reliable sources' in the country.

Meanwhile, the strategic 'third river' - a canal between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers - is now complete and awaiting its formal opening. It will help drain the marshes further, making it easier for government troops to penetrate the area, although the Iraqi government says its prime role is to carry away salt water and make the land more fertile and suitable for agriculture.

British Tornado GR1 and GR1a reconnaissance planes continue to survey Iraqi activity around the marshes, south of the 32nd parallel. The RAF said the photographs and videos taken were still being analysed.

The reports from inside Iraq confirm those of Western intelligence, indicating a large-scale offensive - up to 70,000 Iraqi troops in 10 divisions from III, IV and VI Army Corps are believed to be involved. They confirm that several senior or front-line officers have been disciplined for insufficient zeal in prosecuting the campaign.

The third or 'Leader's' river was due to open at the end of August, and has been finished on time. An article in al-Jumhuriah newspaper on 20 May, by the Military Industrial Minister, Hussein Kamil Hassan - a brother-in-law of Saddam Hussein - described the project as 'drying the marshes by military industrialisation'.

The article included a map showing the precise course of the canal, which is 565km (350 miles) long, about 8 metres (24ft) deep, 90 metres (270ft) wide at the top, tapering to 36 metres (108ft) at the bottom. It begins at al- Mahmudiyah, 30km (19 miles) south of Baghdad and runs to al- Gurmah, near Basra, linking with another drainage project - the al- Is-Haqi, and discharging into the Basra river, which runs into the Gulf. Near its southern end, the canal pases through the Hawr al-Hammar marsh.

According to Raad Nadhum Muhammad, the Chief Engineer, 2 million cubic metres (6 million cubic feet) of earth had to be removed to cut the last five- kilometre (three-mile) section and five road bridges and one railway bridge had to be built over it.

The Organisation for Human Rights in Iraq, a London-based group of exiles, has named 19 officers and NCOs whom, they say, have been arrested or have disappeared according to 'reliable sources inside Iraq'. Many of those arrested are said to be held at the Istihkbarat - General Military Intelligence Services' - prison, Baghdad.

Brigadier Anwar Ismael Hentoosh, commander of the 2nd battalion, 34th Mechanised Division, was arrested on 9 July, charged with 'neglecting to execute the order to attack the marshes'.

Captain Hani Neser Ibrahim, commanding a unit from 82nd Division, was arrested the same day, charged with negligence in attacking an objective north of the al-Hammar marshes, near Nasiriyah.

Brigadier A'Amir Rashid Hassoon, commanding the medical services of the Iraqi IV Army Corps was arrested two days before, charged with 'negligence during his tour in al-Amarah marshes'.

Major Ghaffori Ahmed Ismael, commander of 3rd battalion, 92nd Division, was arrested on 17 July for 'negligence' during an attack on al-Amarah marshes and Capt Allawi Muhsin Qermoot, deputy commander of 2nd battalion, 82nd Division, was arrested

for the same alleged offence the same day.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
Powdered colors are displayed for sale at a market ahead of the Holi festival in Bhopal, India
techHere's what you need to know about the riotous occasion
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Assistant / Credit Controller

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are an award-winning digit...

Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable