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BTL:The Status of Iraqi Women Deteriorates Under U.S. Occupation

Interview with Rania Masri, director of the Southern Peace Research, Institute for Southern Studies, conducted by Between the Lines' Melinda Tuhus
The Status of Iraqi Women Deteriorates Under U.S. Occupation

Interview with Rania Masri, director of the Southern Peace Research, Institute for Southern Studies, conducted by Melinda Tuhus

One month before the symbolic transfer of sovereignty in Iraq, Chief U.S. Administrator Paul Bremer, along with U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and the Iraqi Governing Council, named a new prime minister and president of an interim government who will lead until elections next year. The appointment of Iyad Allawi as Iraq's next prime minister has many observers questioning his acceptability among the Iraqi people, as the exile leader was formerly associated with Saddam Hussein's spy agency and is now linked to the CIA. The process of filling the mostly ceremonial post of president revealed serious conflicts between members of the Governing Council and Washington.

But as combat continues between U.S. occupation forces and resistance fighters in Iraq, the plight of Iraqi women is largely ignored. They are rarely if ever seen in western video footage of the war. But the U.S.-run Coalition Provisional Authority cites as one of their biggest accomplishments the liberation of Iraqi women from the "rape rooms" in use under Saddam Hussein's regime. The Bush administration also touts what they claim will be greater opportunities for women in future political participation under a new Iraqi constitution.

Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with Rania Masri, director of the Southern Peace Research and Education Center at the Institute for Southern Studies in Durham, N.C. Since the U.N.-U.S. sanctions were put in place in 1990 before the first Persian Gulf War, Masri has been active in supporting the people of Iraq during their humanitarian and political crises. She is part of a team that produced a just-released feature film called "About Baghdad." She discusses the status of women under Saddam, during the sanctions, and in the current period under U.S. occupation.

For information on the new film, "About Baghdad," visit the website: Contact the Southern Peace Research by calling (919) 419-8311 or visit their website at

Related links:

"On International Women's Day, Iraqi Women Have Little to Celebrate," by Medea Benjamin,, March 8, 2004

"The Other Prisoners," by Luke Harding, The Guardian U.K., May 20, 2004

"A Double Ordeal for Female Prisoners," by Tracy Wilkinson, the Los Angeles Times, May 11, 2004

"Council Defies US Over Top Job Choice," by Luke Harding and Michael Howard in Baghdad, the Guardian/UK, May 31, 2004 More links ...

To LISTEN to this or other programs, visit the Between the Lines website at
"Between The Lines" is a half-hour syndicated radio news magazine that each week features a summary of under-reported news stories and interviews with activists and journalists who offer progressive perspectives on international, national and regional political, economic and social issues. Because "Between The Lines" is independent of all publications, media networks or political parties, we are able to bring a diversity of voices to the airwaves generally ignored or marginalized by the major media.
"Between the Lines," WPKN 89.5 FM's weekly radio news magazine can be heard Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. ET; Wednesdays at 8 a.m. ET and Saturdays at 2 p.m. ET (Wednesday's show airs at 7:30 a.m. ET during fundraising months of April and October).
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