We noticed during the few past days how unidentified entities of the dark continue to target the religious authorities. We monitored the stories about the bombs that were placed near the office of His Holiness Grand Ayatollah Shaikh Muhammed Ishaq al-Fayyadh (may his extending shade perpetuate) and after that the bombs that were placed near the office of His Holiness Grand Ayatollah Basheer al-Najafi. The news media had leaked before that reports about a bomb placed near the office of His Holiness Imam Sayyid al-Sistani (may his extending shade perpetuate). The religious Marji`iyya, which has represented a basic pivot and the main safety valve for this society, has always prevented bloodshed, took a stand and called for peaceful coexistence among the components and has had a major role in the face of sectarian seditions. It has launched the message of peace not only for the Iraqis but for the Arabs and Muslims, becoming a lighthouse in the whole world. This Marji`iyya, in all its outgiving, is exposed to such unfair and shameful targeting by unknown entities of the dark. The important question is this: Why is the religious Marji`iyya targeted while it is the source of goodness, accord and love for all Iraqis and the entire region, and why is this fruitful tree being thrown with stones like this? It is a big question. We have to look for those who find it in their interest to target life and the treasures of goodness in the Iraqi society. But we say it clearly that we will not permit the Marji`iyya to be a target for the arrows of those who lurk and try to harm our symbols, our sanctities, our religious authorities. We say to them what was said by the Commander of the Faithful Ali (Ú) had said: “Beware of the man of status when you insult him, of the clement when you wound him, and of the brave one when you cause pain to him,” for there are limits for patience, and we shall not remain patient forever when the religious authorities are thus targeted. Also, the security services bear a great responsibility: They must carry out this responsibility by looking for the criminals who stand behind this agenda and such oppressive targeting of our great authorities. They must also provide sufficient and full protection of our religious authorities, offices, representatives and all the arms that move in the name of the Marji`iyya so that this Marji`iyya does not remain exposed to the enemies.
The Iraqi street now expects to hear a clear statement by the security services regarding who carries out such attacks and abuses the great authorities in this regretful way which we find. It is also regretful how some concerned officials underestimate the value of this incident and this release of messages, as if these bombs do not target the authorities but come in a normal process like any bomb anywhere, ignoring a big fact which also raises many question marks and more fears that this regretful series of targeting the authorities, their trustees and representatives will continue. Such targeting shatters the dignity of the security services and does disservice to these services that stand incapable of identifying those who cause this abominable crime more than doing disservice to the targeted Marji`iyya itself.

The Iraqi street looks forward to the officials putting the interests of Iraq and of the Iraqi people above their personal interests, narrow sensitivities and selfish calculations…
The political scene remains charged with tense situations and fiery statements which many political groups release in our field, pushing the country to a serious downhill. The politicians must fully realize that their bickering and disputes reflect directly on the Iraqi citizen, on his security, services and prosperity, this citizen that came out to the polling boxes in tough circumstances, bearing the brunt of terrorism, carrying out its great patriotic responsibility and voted for them so they would take charge in the council of representatives or in the cabinet of ministers. Nowadays, the Iraqi street looks forward to see those whom it trusted are on the level of the responsibility, putting the interests of Iraq and of the Iraqi people above their personal interests, narrow sensitivities and selfish calculations. We bear a great responsibility to restore the trust of the street in the officials and in the political forces whom we elected, pushing them towards the parliament and the government. We have to be on the level of responsibility during these tough and critical circumstances.

Flooding the meeting of the national gathering with a long list of problems means coming out without a result, another setback to the political status quo.
The national gathering is looked at as an important station, a chance to melt the ice, to stop the exchanged media campaigns in order to put in place a vision for the problems, challenges and needed treatments for these chronic problems in Iraq. The condition of success of this national gathering is that it must not be emptied of its context and be turned into a formality meeting of a protocol type. Rather, it must stay a basic meeting for discussing the basic submitted issues and the serious disputes among the political forces. The condition of the success of this national gathering iss that it must not be flooded with a long list of problems, demands and issues, so one meeting cannot solve all Iraq’s problems. Flooding this meeting with a lengthy list of problems will mean the meeting coming out without a clear result which will be regarded as an additional setback in our political reality. The condition for the success of this gathering is the sincere political will, the good patriotic intention and the exchange of trust among the political groups as well as the cooperation among them to come out with a result that brings comfort to all groups. The result will not comfort everyone except when everyone decides to submit real concessions in the interest of the partners and will not be rigid in his positions, demands and selfish ambitions. Everyone is invited to submit concessions. Everyone is concerned about flexible dealing so we may reach a result that brings comfort and pleases all groups, representing a true launch for exiting the tense reality through which we nowadays live.

I invite the Iraqi List to actively participate in the national gathering and submit what it believes to be its right…
I invite the respectful national forces in the Iraqi List to reconsider their decision to freeze their participation in this national gathering and in the meetings for preparations for it, to attend and actively participate in this national meeting, for it is more worthy of an active participation. They should present what they think to be their right, and we will all stand and defend the rights of all Iraqis without any exception. Wherever and wherever we find this right, we will support it. No group should be concerned about its right being lost when all national forces meet. The Iraqi people sacrificed everything that is precious in a lengthy suffering against the past regime, offering hundreds of thousands of martyrs in the mass graves, in Halabja, the Anfal and others in a lengthy list of sacrifices. All of this was for the sake of putting an end to that unjust Saddam regime. This people cannot accept injustice, and it will encourage equity and justice in building our reality, our new political experiment. It will stand in the face of anyone who does not want equity to be achieved for our citizens. The Iraqi people must stand and say its word, must encourage the politicians to go ahead and meet in order to put an end to these tensions and to these continuous crises.

Extending tasks of the Electoral Commission: A step that prevents constitutional vacuum…
The Iraqi parliament has decided to extend the tasks of the commissioners council of the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) for three months with full powers. We thank and appreciate this steps which the ladies and gentlemen members of the parliament undertook. It is a responsible step that prevents the constitutional vacuum which may take place when the electoral establishment is absent, and we must face a situation where we have no specialized apparatus for monitoring electoral affairs. We are fully optimistic that the specialized parliamentary committee which was formed to choose a new electoral commission will continue its work with vigor and full seriousness in order to speed up the submitting of names of candidates for the new commissioners council so it may handle its tasks and continue this course.

We warn against any tampering with elections’ deadlines, and I call on our citizens to be cautious and vigilant against such attempts.
The continuations of preparations to hold governorate council elections in the Kurdistan Province and then for the electing of governorate councils in the other Iraqi governorates to be followed by electing the parliament provide a basic conditions and an urgent need to msitnain our democratic reality. We have to go ahead and hold repeated and several elections within the set deadlines without any delay. This will require a precise monitoring by the parliament which is responsible for overseeing the work of the electoral commission. There must be precise monitoring by the news media and Iraqi public opinion. The issue of elections is not one that is studied in the narrow alleys and dark rooms. It is the issue of all Iraqis. It is their destiny, their future, and our citizens must have the basic role in monitoring this issue, in following it up, in pressuring anyone who wants to postpone the elections or cancel them or tamper with their deadlines. This does not represent the targeting of anyone or any entity; rather, it represents a victory for the political system, for the regime’s legitimacy and for Iraq’s image before the world. What has distinguished Iraq during the past ten eyars is that Iraq is now democratic where elections are held, where power handling is done peacefully in all aspects. This is the basic legitimacy which has been able to stand in the face of all pressures to which Iraq has been subjected. If we forfeit this legitimacy, we will be facing a catastrophic reality in Iraq, the region and the world in their attitude towards Iraq; therefore, I warn against any tampering with the elections’ deadlines, against any pretexts or “reasons” released from here or there to justify this delay. I call on our citizens to be cautious and vigilant about such attempts. The elections must be held on time. We must remain loyal to our political system and to the democracy which we elected, chose and made the system in our constitution. We must be loyal to the legitimate nature which must continue for this political system. It is an issue of concern to all of us. It concerns the patriots who are keen about our Iraqi reality.

In a report by the ministry of planning, the governorates that suffer the most and are the most damaged are now the same that used to be the most deprived and the most damaged during the past regime…
The ministry of planning has released the results of its report titled “Map of Deprivation, Standards of Living in Iraq for the Year 2011” which combines data about the social and economic reality in the Iraqi governorates, including governorates  of the Kurdistan Province, and extends to counties, districts and the countryside. This report has pointed out to the existence of 30% of citizens living a low standard of life, according to the expression of the report. This report has pointed out to the governorates that are the most deprived in Iraq, and these are those of Thi-Qar, Maysan, al-Muthanna and al-Qadisiyya where the deprivation of their citizens ranges between 48% to 56%. It points out to a high level of deprivation in these four governorates. The report then makes many important recommendations, including the need for a unified legislation for retirement and social security, that there should be emphasis on the principle of committal to the minimum wage for workers, for suitable labor criteria which must be achieved and verified during work hours. It also emphasizes the need to strengthen the role of the inspectors of work conditions and the desired professional health in work areas, for the rehabilitation of the infrastructure in the education and teaching sector, and other important recommendations. We laud the ministry of planning for issuing this and other clear and transparent reports which provide a true picture about the Iraq status and become a basis for undertaking sound scientific steps. We hope all Iraqi ministries will issue such clear and transparent reports in their areas of specialization. The foundation of development and growth of any country is based on a precise, transparent and clear database that enables the officials to monitor budgets, put together accurate plans and programs to solve these problems and pinpoint the elements of strength and weakness in the governmental program so that measures are undertaken to deal with it and to correct its paths. What is regrettable to notice in this report is that the governorates that are the most deprived and the most harmed are the same governorates that used to be the most deprived and damaged during the past regime. Ten years of the New Iraq keep Thi-Qar, Maysan, Muthanna and Diwaniyya governorates the most deprived and the most damaged despite all the achievements, agreements and opportunities during this period. This places the officials before big requirements to lift the deprivation from all members of our people especially from these four governorates that are the most damaged and deprived.

We call on the Iraqi State, in its parliament and government, to release a comprehensive national campaign to fight cancer in Iraq…
Official reports talk about more than 160,000 patients suffering from cancer and tumors. It is a very high figure. Most of these patients are children and youngsters. Each year, 8,000 patients depart from this life as a result of cancer in Iraq, in addition to the high costs the families of these patients have to meet, the tough and long treatment path which cancer requires. International reports, which have been prepared with participation from the World Health Organization (WHO) and of global environment, stress that Iraq has been living for the past three decades in a very highly polluted environment because of the wars, the use of chemicals, the effects of radioactive military waste and other factors. We express our solidarity with the cancer patients and with their families who suffer from the big burdens in these harsh circumstances and critical economic reality through which our Iraqi families pass. We call on the Iraqi state, in its parliament and government, to undertake a comprehensive national campaign to fight cancer in Iraq. Without such a campaign and such cooperation among state institutions, without putting together legislations and suitable appropriations, the number of cancer patients will dramatically increase as official reports point out.

The big question: The largest theft attempt in history of more than 7 trillion Iraqi dinars does not meet sufficient political and media attention! Why?!
The ministry of finance has disclosed that it foiled an attempt to steal more than seven trillion dinars by entities that forged official documents in order to steal this astronomical amount from the Iraqi state. Luckily, the ministry of finance was able to discover these forged documents and prevent the stealing of this huge sum of money from the sustenance of the people. We thank the ministry of finance for such precision and for being able to stop this big theft which is the largest theft attempt in history witnessed by Iraq and the region. The sum of seven trillion dinars is the equivalent of six billion dollars. Some people tried to steal it. It greatly surprises observers and citizens of our people is that such corruption attempts of this level, daring, precision and targeting of state institutions should ever take place. It is amazing how a group of people would even think of stealing six billion dollars by forging official documents so such thefts would reach this astronomical figure.
The big question that forces itself is: Who stands behind such huge thefts, forges official letters in order to steal six billion dollars from Iraq’s budget and from the sustenance of the Iraqi people? The other important question is: Why does this topic not receive enough attention from the politicians and the media? The largest theft attempt in history could have been seen by Iraq and the region through such stealing, yet it passes as a simple news report and disappears, while simple reports and marginal issues take the largest area of the attention of politicians and of the news media…! Why do we not undertake a lengthy halt at the sensitive and serious issues that are linked to the people’s concerns and sustenance, to their interests, whereas we go and occupy the public opinion and our citizens with marginal or detailed issues? Here we must stop and scream, and here we must open an investigation, and here we must look for those who tried to cause it or who covet such thefts of the sustenance of our people. We say it one more time: Unless we stand and fight corruption, unless we firm the features of integrity in our Iraqi reality, we will never be able to build a state. Billions of oil dollars will be the reason for more deprivation in Iraq when they become a cause and a way for mafias and groups to be bigger at the expense of our citizens. Integrity, the fighting of corruption, must be the first foundation for building a state, for investing these riches for the good of our citizens.

Earthquakes and tremors in Maysan require a government cell and experts who study this phenomenon so we may not face surprises that lead to serious human and material catastrophes…
Ali al-Gharbi county in Maysan governorate came under three earthquakes and tremors during short periods with short intervals in the past days. The Seismic Monitoring Board has expected these earthquakes to happen again in the region and governorates neighboring Maysan. Also, Shaikh Saad city in Wasit governorate witnessed a light earthquake in the few past days. These quakes have terrified the citizens, causing material damage to homes and properties in some of these cities. It is a new and serious environmental phenomenon. Iraq never witnessed such quakes and tremors which stirs real concern and calls for a full study of the causes of these quakes and of how to deal with them. Such matters take place suddenly without a technical ability to expect and explain them. Our Iraqi areas and governorates lack precautionary measures that help conduct an early warning about these quakes or to minimize their damages when they happen. This requires a governmental cell and specialized experts who study this phenomenon so that we may not be facing surprises that lead to serious human and material catastrophes. These deprived areas do not need its deprivation to increase or its problems and crises by a quake that comes and sweeps the good citizens of this governorate or that. Such an effort cannot be handled by only the local government, and the federal government must interfere and help diagnose the causes and put solutions and treatments for such environmental phenomena so they may not turn into huge human catastrophes.

We do not think that obligating employees of security establishments to shave their beards is a sound vision, and we call for reconsidering such a decision…
We have monitored with regard how cadres in the security establishments are forced to shave their beards and how this is regarded as a military discipline for these cadres. We support a neat appearance for the men of the security and police, that these have to have shiny loved faces, having a good appearance in public as they deal with people. We support putting in place restrictions for the process of letting beards grow. But regarding the beard as a cause and sign of lack of discipline is something which we oppose, and we do not think that it is a sound attitude. Nowadays, there are those that are among the most important armies in the area that permit their employees to keep their beards, and this is regarded as falling within the employees’ personal liberty. The Indian, Pakistani, Iranian armies as well as many armies of Arab and Gulf countries permit keeping a beard as a case that enters within the personal freedom of the employees, especially since we Muslims have among us those who regard the shaving of the beard as being prohibited by Islam. Obligating employees to share their beards will put them between the hammer and the anvil and violates the position of the Islamic Shari’a. They are being demanded to adhere to the decisions of the security services so they may safeguard their positions or else they fall into insubordination which requires penalties, etc. it is not right that the decisions of the security services violate personal liberties and religious obligations of these employees. I, therefore, call on the officials in the security services to reconsider such decisions and permit the safeguarding of a Shari’a-endorsed situation, to let those who commit themselves to such endorsement do so.

Questions of final examinations must not be impossible to answer or are based on memorized texts; rather, they must be regarded as a criterion and a measure for the students’ comprehension of scholastic materials…
We have started approaching the end of the present academic year and the final examinations which represent the reaping of efforts our student children exert at schools and universities round the full academic year. I from this podium call on my dear sons who are studying at schools and universities to dedicate these days to review their lessons and achieve the highest levels of success in the examinations which the country will witness at the end of the academic year. I also direct my address to the respectful teachers who submit the questions, that these questions must not be impossible to answer, that they must not be based on things that are memorized by heart. Rather, they must be looked at as a criterion and a measure for the comprehension of the students of scholastic materials so we may not face the phenomenon of serious failure and a high rate of failure which will represent an additional burden on the educational status in Iraq and on the Iraqi families.

On the International Day of Work Safety and Health: The need for building an effective system for health and professional safety that leads to protecting economic resources, their good investment and risk detection…
On the 24th of April, we will witness the international day for safety and health in the workplace. It is an opportunity for remembering the rights of workers and the need for working to achieve health safety and professional environment for our good workers as they practice these honest and good professions. This requires an effective sytem for health and professional safety that leads to protecting the economic resources, for their good investment and for detecting the risks which may lead to harming our economic reality or the work status, and to undertake the necessary precautionary and preventive measures for this purpose. Health and professional safety aim at creating a secure work environment through which the workers can practice their businesses without harming their reality, with sufficiently desired harmony in work conditions. The production elements have to be protected. These are represented in manpower, resources, means of production. They must be protected from damage and waste. We congratulate our dear workers on this international day and wish a safe work environment so they may perform their tasks.