Saturday, 29 November 2008

The United Nations' Darkest Day


Robert Thompson*, Axis of Logic

axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/article_28883.shtml

November 28, 2008
This Saturday, 29th November, is the sixty-first anniversary of the darkest day in the history of the then still youthful United Nations. The Organisation then member states carelessly breached the provisions of the Charter by voting in favour of a partition of Palestine without any attempt at asking the population what it wished to have as a future, after the British Empire wished to give up its mandate due to a general desire on the part of the government headed by Clement Atlee to decolonise, cut expenses and end the terrorism of the Zionist gangs, Irgun Zwai Leumi, the Strern Gang and Haganah.

The British Empire had been bled dry by the cost incurred for the supply of very expensive arms from the USA manufacturers before their country finally joined in the Second World War half-way through. Also the cost in British lives and injuries at the hands of the terrorists was a strong argument in favour of leaving what had become a hell-hole not only for the indigenous people but also for the British before, during and after the War, as a result of the attrocities committed by these de facto allies of the Nazis.


For those who do not understand the extent of the injustice of the Proposition for which the United Nations then voted, the Zionist occupied land in Palestine was approximately 7% and that occupied by indigenous Palestinians some 93%, whereas, apart from the proposal to make Jerusalem and its immediate neighbourhood into an international area, the land was attributed almost equally between the indigenous people and the incoming Zionists, with the latter being given areas largely occupied by the former, especially in the centre and in the south, including the Naqab (or in Hebrew Negev) giving access to the Gulf of Aqaba.

We should all condemn this terrible breach of justice, as well as of their Charter, by the United Nations and work towards the establishment in all of Palestine of a single democratic state, where all those driven out by force in 1947-1948 (and their descendants) can, as the United Nations did later resolve, return and recover their homes and lands, and where full citizenship rights do not depend on one's belonging to any specific religious group.


© Copyright 2008 by AxisofLogic.com


See Robert Thompson's Bio and read his essays

This material is available for republication as long as reprints include verbatim
copy of the article in its entirety, respecting its integrity. Reprints must cite
the author and Axis of Logic as the original source including a "live link" to the
article. Thank you!

Friday, 28 November 2008

Abdurrahman Kizilay - Great Iraqi Turkmen Singer


Abdurrahman Kizilay

Altun hizmav Mülayim, Kerkük'lüyem ben

Iraqi Turkmen singer Abdurrahman Kizilay - Video:
Vidéo: Abdurrahman Kizilay, chanteur Turkmène irakien

http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=VAPltQliMDk&feature=related

Support Israeli refuseniks




“The Shministim are Israeli high school students who have been imprisoned for refusing to serve in an army that occupies the Palestinian Territories. Show your support by contacting the Israeli Minister of Defense using the form below. Israeli peace activists will hand-deliver your message on December 18th, the Shministim Day of Action.” - LINK

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Asie Centrale: Exposition des photos de Sylvie Lasserre à Paris

Kashgar, Sortie d'école - Photo Sylvie Lasserre


Paris. Mois de la Photo 2008 - Ce soir vernissage de mon exposition ” Aksham “


http://sylvielasserre.blog.lemonde.fr/2008/11/07/mois-de-la-photo-2008-jexpose-un-projet-personnel-aksam/

j’ai le plaisir de vous inviter au vernissage de mon exposition :
Akşam - Crépuscules (I)
(Asie centrale 2004 - 2008)

Vendredi 7 novembre à 18 heures
” Ouzbékistan, Tadjikistan, Kirghizistan, Kazakhstan, Turkménistan, Turkestan chinois… autant de contrées d’Asie centrale si semblables et si différentes à la fois où je ne cesse de retourner et où j’ai tant appris… Etonnamment, surtout, sur l’Occident. Je suis tombée amoureuse de cette région ignorée du reste du monde, notamment grâce à la lumière crépusculaire, souvent magique, qui y règne le soir et ne cesse de me fasciner.

Ces photos ne sont pas des photos de reportage. Ce sont mes photos personnelles, prises sur plusieurs années, lors de mes nombreux séjours. A travers elles j’ai tenté de capter cette ambiance entre chien et loup qui m’envoûte tant.

Akşam signifie soir (prononcer aksham). Ak, c’est blanc. Jour blanc… Ou soir blanc. Plus exactement, c’est le soir à l’heure des premières lumières. C’est le moment de la journée où les gens se pressent pour rentrer. C’est l’heure à laquelle l’on achète les nans encore chauds de la dernière fournée, livrés dans des landaus. L’heure à laquelle l’on croise partout des ombres, fantômes sur le bord des routes. L’heure à laquelle grouille la vie dans la pénombre quand la fumée des shashliks envahit les rues. Gaité et préoccupations se mêlent.
C’est l’heure de la vie. La vie malgré tout. Car ces républiques d’Asie centrale sont des dictatures économiquement dévastées pour beaucoup, où menacent famine et maladie, où rôde la mort et où il faut se taire… “


Invitation :
L’exposition se tiendra du 1er au 30 novembre 2008 à Tempo Vitraux, 33 rue Bezout, 75014 Paris. Métro Alésia. Du mardi au samedi de 10 h à 13 h et de 15 h à 19 h.


Sylvie Lasserre est grand reporter. Elle travaille en Asie centrale et plus largement dans le monde turcophone.

Zionism, the United States, and Hegemony in the Middle East



By James Petras
Paperback: 192 pages(Clarity Press, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0-932863-60-4
ISBN-13: 978-0-932863-60-7

Professor James Petras has written another book — Zionism, Militarism, and the Decline OF US Power — probing deeper into what he contends is a Zionist Power Configuration (ZPC) that has infiltrated and largely usurped US foreign policy even using the US military for its ends in the Middle East. Petras fills his book with lots of evidence backed by sound rationales.

Petras’s thesis is that Israel — and not Big Oil — was behind the push to invade and occupy Iraq. That has already happened. What concerns Petras now is the push by the ZPC to have the United States again breach international law and launch an attack against Iran.

Petras reasons that the ZPC’s purpose is to incorporate Palestine and consolidate its hegemony in the Middle East. Strategically, gaining and holding sway over the planet’s preeminent military power has been a major plank toward this goal.

The professor provides numerous examples of the sway the ZPC wields and how it wields it: through its propaganda and media arms (Petras cites how, pre-“war,” the Lobby produced about 8,800 pro-Iraq attack pieces which were circulated to major Anglo-American media versus zero pro-Iraq attack pieces published from Big Oil spokespeople); through its academic acolytes; through involving US soldiers to fight its wars (Petras charges that the Israel Firsters “ridicule the US military precisely to instigate them to prosecute wars and thereby avoid the loss of Israeli-Jewish lives”); through the relative silence of dissenting voices, including dissenting Jewish voices in mass media; through members of the US Congress beholden through acceptance of campaign contributions form the Lobby.

Campaign contributions turn out, actually, to be an investment. Through seeding the US Congress, Israel has become the prime beneficiary of US “aid,” even though Israel is a relatively well-to-do state, especially compared to many of its neighbors. Petras wavers on what the “US annual ‘tribute to Israel’” is. On page 68, he cites a figure of $6 billion a year; on page 68 he states $3 billion a year; on page 156, it is $2.4 billion a year; and on page 164 it is “well over $3 billion” a year. This irritation contributes to unevenness in Petras’s account.

Exacerbating this irritation is an uneven patchwork of endnotes. Sometimes key points are in the endnotes, and sometimes key points are not in the endnotes. For example, he writes that Big Oil is anxious and fearful about an Israeli-instigated warmongering destabilizing the Middle East citing a source for this claim (p. 32). On page 92 he claims electoral chicanery without citation. Whether the claims are true or not is beside the point, which is that the reader is hindered from checking the professor’s sources. And when there are endnotes, many convey scanty information (e.g., no author, no title, no page) that forces a reader to spend inordinate time tracking down a citation.

Petras, however, deserves kudos for taking on the Lobby which resorts to disreputable tactics to try and silence its critics. Petras does not shirk from identifying how he perceives the threat from the ZPC: “The lesson is clear: the rise of Judeo-fascism represents a clear and present danger to our democratic freedoms in the United States.”

The ZPC is ruthless says Petras, who observes that Israel reneges on obligations as an occupier in Palestine and engages in “meat-grinder genocidal policies in Gaza.” And yet, it has vulnerabilities, such as the “repeated failures and incredible stupidity of the Israeli intelligence agencies.”

The ZPC control apparatus is necessarily twined with the corporate media. “State provocations,” writes Petras, “require uniform mass media complicity in the lead-up to open warfare.”

With a massive media blitz and compliant government, Israel recruits US soldiers to fight its wars. The US, on the other hand, tries to get its victims to fight against their fellow countryfolk. This is a dubious strategy reasons Petras, as Iraqis fighters under occupation “recruited on basis of hunger and unemployment (caused by US war) are unreliable soldiers.”

This, according to Petras, is a losing tactic: “US colonization of Iraq is a blatant denial of the conditions necessary for reconciliation.”

Just how losing a strategy it is to run a militaristic economy is evidenced by the massive capitalistic expansion of non-belligerent China. In fact, the US is becoming less competitive and falling into an increasingly dire economic situation

Petras describes a schism among Jewry. He notes that “most Jewish Americans differ from the leaders of the major American Jewish organizations” … but that “they have not or do not challenge” this leadership. Antiwar sentiment among Jewish Americans, finds Petras, is quite vague.

He writes that “both the progressive majority of Jews and the reactionary minority … have a fundamental point of agreement and convergence: support for and identity with Israel and its anti-Arab prejudices, its expansion, and the dispossession of Palestine [sic].”

Given that the peace movement has gone AWOL, this bodes ill for the peoples of the Middle East. Here again, Petras holds the ZPC responsible since he charges that it has also infiltrated the antiwar movement and split it, rendering it anemic.

Petras notes that everywhere he visits around the globe people from all walks ask him why American citizens tolerate the killing done by the US government/military. This is a good question, but another question is unasked by Petras. Why do these citizens not demand the same answers from their complicit governments which, even when they do not contribute fighters to a so-called Coalition of the Willing, remain silent to the great criminal breaches of international law and the abandonment of morality?

That is why Petras’s thesis in Zionism, Militarism, and the Decline OF US Power is important: innocent people are dying for wicked reasons.

Kim Petersen is co-editor of Dissident Voice. He can be reached at: kim@dissidentvoice.org.

Cartoon: Happy Thanksgiving from all the Children of Iraq

Cartoonist: Mr. Fish

"Honour killings" in the Kurdish region in Northern Iraq

'Honour killings' are among the primary causes of unnatural deaths among women in the Kurdish region of Northern Iraq, and a number of reports are also documenting the practice of female genital mutilation. Medical personnel operating in Iraqi Kurdistan and women's rights activists report that incidents of self-immolation are on the increase, with at least one case reported daily and many more remaining either unreported or concealed as accidents.


Source: United Nations Human Rights Council
Date: 25 Nov 2008
"Violence against Iraqi women continues unabated", says UN expert
GENEVA – "Iraqi women have seen their rights eroded in all areas of life while the world observes from afar," warns the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, its causes and consequences, Ms. Yakin Ertürk, on the International Day on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (25 November).

"The ongoing conflict, high levels of insecurity, widespread impunity, collapsing economic conditions and rising social conservatism are impacting directly on the daily lives of Iraqi women and placing them under increased vulnerability to all forms of violence within and outside their home", says Ms. Ertürk.

Although too often overlooked, "violence against Iraqi women is committed by numerous actors, such as militia groups, insurgents, Islamic extremists, law enforcement personnel, members of the family as well as the community", laments the UN Special Rapporteur.

Women are victims of rape, sex trafficking, forced and early marriages, murder, and abduction for sectarian or criminal reasons; many are driven or forced into prostitution. Women also fall victims to the disproportionate use of force by members of Iraqi and multi-national forces (MNF-I), including during raids on private homes. To escape the cycle of violence many women turn to suicide, sending a clear message of despair to their society.

"I am also concerned by the increased violence within the family", says Ms. Ertürk. The so-called 'honour killings' appear to be on the rise and are largely committed with impunity. On the rare occasions where perpetrators are arrested and charged, they are given lenient punishments under the Iraqi Penal Code. As a result, women and girls are reluctant to even report sexual attacks for fear of then being ostracized or even killed by their family.

'Honour killings' are among the primary causes of unnatural deaths among women in the Kurdish region of Northern Iraq, and a number of reports are also documenting the practice of female genital mutilation. Medical personnel operating in Iraqi Kurdistan and women's rights activists report that incidents of self-immolation are on the increase, with at least one case reported daily and many more remaining either unreported or concealed as accidents.

Iraq, as a State Party to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, must protect women from violations by State agents and private actors, whether they are family members or armed groups. The Security Council, in its Resolution 1820 further demands that all parties to an armed conflict cease all acts of sexual violence against civilians, especially women and children.

"I urge the Iraqi government and the international community to prevent women and girls from being the 'soft targets' of violence and the invisible victims of the conflict in Iraq.", concluded the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Ms. Yakin Ertürk.

http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900SID/FBUO-7LQE86?OpenDocument&RSS20=02-P

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Aşuri heyeti ITC Suriye Temsilciliğini ziyaret etti


24 Kasım 2008 tarihinde Aşuri Demokrat Hareketi siyasi büro üyesi Romel Muşi başkanlığında bir heyet, ITC Şam Temsilciliğini ziyaret etti. Heyete eşitlik eden Aşuri Demokrat Hareketi Suriye sorumlusu Yunan Kilyana ve ilişkiler büro üyesi Zeyye Yunan, ITC Şam temsilcisi vekaleten Aydın Maruf tarafından karşılandı.

Görüşmede Irak ve bölgede cereyan eden son siyasi durumu özellikle ABD ve Irak arasındaki güvenlik anlaşması, Kerkük meselesi ve 24.madde etkisi, ITC'nin bölge politikası ve gelecekte yapılacak yerel vilayet seçimleri değerlendirildi.

Irak'ta Türkmenler ve Aşuriler arasındaki tarihi ilişkilerin önemle bahsedildi.

Ayrıca görüşmede ITC Şam temsilcisi vekaleten Aydın Maruf, Türkmenler ve Aşuriler Irak'ın önemli ve esas unsurlardır, bölgede tarihi bir ilişkilere sahiptirler, Musul ve diğer bölgelerde Aşurilere yapılan terör eylemleri ve zorla göç ettirme siyaseti, ayni bölgede Türkmenlere de yapılmaktadır, bölgenin demografi yapısını değiştirmek isteyen bazı grupların komplosudur, bu komplolara karşı çıkmak için her iki taraf arasında ortak tavır ve yakın siyaset çalışmaları yapılması, ayrıca bu olaylara karşı dikkat ve hassas davranmamız gerektiğini söyledi.

Ayrıca Aşuri Demokrat Hareketi siyasi büro üyesi Romel Muşi, Irak'ın önemli ve etkili unsurlarından birisi olan Türkmenlerle ilişkilere her zaman önem verdiklerini, çünkü bu ilişkiye her iki tarafın ihtiyacı olduğunu söyleyen Muşi, bugün Irak'ta Türkmenlere yapılan haksızlıklar ve siyasi baskılar ayni zamanda bu baskı politikalar Aşurilere de karşı yapıldığını açıkladı.

ITC Şam Temsilciliği
Basın Bürosu
24. 11. 2008

Iraqi lawmaker: "US should pay compensation to Iraq"

'US should pay compensation to Iraq'
Mon, 24 Nov 2008

An Iraqi lawmaker says the US-Iraq security agreement should oblige Washington to pay compensation for its 2003 invasion of the country. Hussein al-Faluji, an independent Iraqi lawmaker, called on the government to include a clause in the security deal, requiring the US to pay compensation for damages it caused by the means of invasion, the Voices of Iraq news agency reported on Monday.

"The absence of a reference to the damages in the agreement is enough to reject it in its current form," he added. Under the deal, which is endorsed by the Iraqi cabinet, the US would extend its stay in the war-ravaged country by three more years. The deal has so far faced fierce opposition by many lawmakers. The Parliament is to vote on the pact on Wednesday.

SB/MMN
http://www.presstv.ir/Detail.aspx?id=76420&sectionid=351020201

Monday, 24 November 2008

US-IRAQ: What's the deal? (Real News Video)

November 24, 2008
US-Iraq: What's the deal? (Real News Video)
Michael Schwartz deconstructs the US-Iraq security pact

"In the first part of this series, professor Michael Schwartz, author of a recent new book on the Iraq war, examines the twists and turns of the Bush administrations' rush to have a security pact approved by the Iraqi Parliament before Bush leaves office."

Watch Real News Video with Pepe Escobar:
http://therealnews.com/t/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=2842&updaterx=2008-11-24+01%3A34%3A56

DIŞ TÜRKMENLER BİRLİĞİ (DTB)

DIŞ TÜRKMENLER BİRLİĞİ (DTB)
(Avrupa, K. Amerika, Türkiye, Avustralya)


Konu: DTB, Başbakan Malikinin Destek (Isnad) Meclislerini kurması ve Anayasa değişikliği istemini desteklemektedir.


Irak dışındaki Türkmen dernekleri, hareketleri ve komiteleri adına, Dış Türkmenler Birliği (DTB), Iraktaki milli birliği güçlendirecek, kanunsuzluk ve kaos ortamına son verecek olan Destek (Isnad) Meclislerinin kurulması ve merkezi hükümetin yetkilerini genişletecek olan anayasa düzeltme istemini candan desteklemektedir.

Irakın orta ve güney bölgelerinde hızla yayılan bu uygulama, halkın desteğini geniş ölçüde almıştır. Böyle bir yaklaşım şüphesiz ki terroristlerin ve ayrılıkçılardan çok zarar gören Türkmenlerin lehinedir.
Türkmen halkımızı ve siyasi partilerimizi bu konuda açıkca tavır koymalarını ve bu uygulamanın Türkmenelinde ve Kuzey Irakın diğer bölgelerinde uygulanması için desteklemelerini bekliyoruz.

Irakta diktatörlük yıkıldığından beri, kanunsuz ve yetkisiz kişiler ve guruplar ülkeyi soymuş, parçalamış ve yıkıma doğru sürüklemiştir. Bu guruplar Başbakan Malikinin bu insiyatifine hemen karşı çıkmışlar ve tehditler savurarak engellemeye çalışıyorlar.

Başbakanın bu tehditlere ve engellemelere aldırış etmemesi ve doğru yolunda devam etmesini istiyor, Irak dışında ve dünyaya yayılan Türkmenler olarak ona her türlü desteği vermeğe hazır olduğumuzu bildiririz.

Dış Türkmenler Birliği
Yönetim Kurulu

Sunday, 23 November 2008

ITC'den Başbakan El-Maliki'ye destek

Türkmen siyasi hareketleri Başbakan Nuri El-maliki'nin anayasa değişliği ve Kerkük'te İsnat güçleri kurulması konusunda desteği sürmektedir.

Irak Türkmen Cephesi (ITC) Enformasyon Büro Sorumlusu Nermin Müftü Irak'ta Arapça yayın yapan ''Newzmatik'' İnternet sitesine verdiği mülakata, Irak Türkmen Cephesi (ITC) olarak Başbakan El-Maliki anayasa değişliği ve Kerkük'te isnat güçleri kurulması konusunda desteklediklerini açıkladı.

Ayrıca Müftü'nün konuşmasında şu ifadeler yer almıştır:'' El-Maliki'yi anayasa değişliği ve Kerkük'te İsnat güçleri kurulması konusunda ITC olarak destekliyoruz. Çünkü Irak anayasanın bazı maddeleri değişme ihtiyacındayız, aynı zamanda milli bir istektir. İsnat güçleri ise, bugün ülkenin birçok illerinde güvenlik onların sayesinde sağlanmıştır''.

Özdemir HÜRMÜZLÜ

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Anti-U.S. demonstration in Iraq

An Iraqi Protester uses his shoe to beat an effigy of U.S. President Bush during the demonstration against SOFA
AP Photo

Friday, 21 November 2008

Uyghur Human Rights Project Press Release

Karamay city government mandates tighter Party oversight of mosques and practitioners

For immediate release

November 21, 2008, 4:00 pm EST

Contact: Uyghur American Association +1 (202) 349 1496

According to an official Chinese media report, new regulations being implemented in the city of Karamay in the northern part of East Turkestan (also known as Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in northwest China) stipulate that minority cadres in the local government must engage in close contact with local mosques and worshippers, in part to “cut off unstable factors” and “achieve the goal of unifying the masses of worshippers”. The Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) believes the new policy of closer oversight of Islamic religious worship in the city indicates intensified government restriction that will prevent Uyghur religious worshippers from practicing their faith freely.

At a meeting held on November 17 in Karamay, Party Standing Committee Member Burhan Kahar, together with other local government officials, put forth specific arrangements for 22 minority cadres in Karamay to liaise with mosques and religious worshippers in the area.

According to the new rules, every minority cadre at the deputy bureau level and above must communicate with the leaders of one mosque each specified period, and must communicate with each “responsible person” at the mosque at least once during that period. One out of every two cadres at the deputy director level and above must communicate with one mosque at least once a month, and must communicate with each “responsible person” at the mosque at least once.
Kahar stated that all levels of minority cadres should take a leading role in the work of communicating with worshippers, making use of the advantages they possess in terms of a common language and background, and to work toward the “unification” of religious believers. He also emphasized the long-term nature of these efforts, and urged minority cadres to avoid a mere superficial undertaking of this work to “protect social stability”.

UHRP is particularly concerned about the official media report’s references to social stability and unification. Such words, frequently used by Chinese government officials in East Turkestan, often indicate a clampdown on Uyghurs whose assertions of religious belief or cultural identity are viewed as a separatist threat. The rules come on the heels of a Ramadan (the Muslim holy month) that saw an unprecedented tightening of religious control throughout East Turkestan. Students and government employees were not permitted to fast during Ramadan this year or attend mosques in general. Restaurants were also forced to open during fasting hours.

The article also refers to the November 17 meeting’s adherence to the spirit of Deputy Communist Party Secretary Nur Bakri’s remarks at a recent high-level meeting in September. At the September meeting, Bakri condemned “imperialist plans to split China” by fomenting violence in East Turkestan, and railed against the three evils of “terrorism, separatism and extremism”. UHRP is concerned that Karamay officials’ reference to Bakri’s September remarks indicate a lack of distinction between Uyghurs’ peaceful expression of their religious beliefs and acts of violence or terrorism.

“The Chinese government is demonizing Uyghurs’ religious beliefs, in Karamay and in cities and towns throughout East Turkestan,” said Uyghur democracy leader Rebiya Kadeer. “By linking religious practices with calls for social stability and requiring greater government control of mosques, the Chinese government leaves no room for Uyghurs’ to peacefully practice their religion.”

While China’s constitution guarantees religious freedom to all citizens, including the right to “[…] believe in, or not believe in, any religion”, religion is often viewed as detrimental to society, particularly in the Uyghur case. Uyghurs’ religious identity is viewed as a threat that must be controlled or eradicated. Uyghur imams are required to attend “political education classes”, and their sermons are restricted in terms of in length and content. Minors are forbidden from entering a mosque or engaging in religious study; Uyghur government cadres are forbidden from practicing Islam; and Uyghur women and university students face restrictions in their religious worship. Only official versions of the Koran are permitted.

Uyghurs are not permitted to undertake Hajj, unless it is with an expensive official tour, in which applicants are carefully vetted for their “obedience to the law”. Confiscations of passports, to the point where very few Uyghurs have passports, ensures adherence to the ‘official tours only’ policy, and also restricts other types of international trips.

The majority of religious Uyghurs in East Turkestan practice a moderate form of Islam, which has been influenced by East Turkestan’s historical role as a crossroads of cultures and traditions. This historical background has lent Uyghurs a relatively tolerant system of religious beliefs and an openness to other cultures.

Please see:
Leaders at the “fuchu” level and above in Xinjiang Karamay must maintain long-term contact with mosques [Xinjiang Kelamayi fuchu yishang lingdao he qingzhensi changqi lianxi], November 19, 2008, www.chinanews.com.
http://news.china.com/zh_cn/domestic/945/20081119/15195484.html
See also:
Top Communist official accuses West of supporting “East Turkestan terrorist forces”
http://www.uhrp.org/articles/1428/1/Top-Communist-official-accuses-West-of-supporting-quotEast-Turkestan-terrorist-forcesquot-/index.html
A “Life or Death Struggle” in East Turkestan; Uyghurs face unprecedented persecution in post-Olympic period
http://www.uhrp.org/articles/1396/1/A-Life-or-Death-Struggle-in-East-Turkestan-Uyghurs-face-unprecedented-persecution-in-post-Olympic-period/index.html
State Department report highlights human rights abuses against Uyghurs
http://www.uhrp.org/articles/817/1/State-Department-report-highlights-human-rights-abuses-against-Uyghurs-/index.html
* * * * *

The Uyghur American Association (UAA) works to promote the preservation and flourishing of a rich, humanistic and diverse Uyghur culture, and to support the right of the Uyghur people to use peaceful, democratic means to determine their own political future.

The UAA has undertaken the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) for the purpose of promoting improved human rights conditions for Uyghurs and other indigenous groups in East Turkestan, on the premise that the assurance of basic human rights will facilitate the realization of the community’s democratic aspirations.

Uyghur Human Rights Project
Uyghur American Association
1701 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W. Suite 300
Washington, D.C. 20006
Tel: +1 (202) 349 1496
Fax: +1 (202) 349 1491
info[at]uyghuramerican.org
www.uhrp.org
www.uyghuramerican.org

Iraqi Premier Nouri al-Maliki accuses Kurdish leadership of "violating" the Constitution

PM accuses Kurdish leadership of “violating” the constitution
November 20, 2008 - 05:00:55

http://en.aswataliraq.info/?p=103376


BAGHDAD / Aswat al-Iraq: The Iraqi Premier Nouri al-Maliki on Thursday launched a sharp attack on the Kurdish leaderships, without specifying them, accusing those leaderships of violating the constitution.

I am surprised with the Presidential Board’s silence regarding the constitutional violations committed by the Kurdish leaderships, through opening offices for diplomatic missions, deploying forces to encounter federal governmental forces, in addition to using governmental funds to support tribes serving their parties’ interests,” al-Maliki said in a press conference in Baghdad.

“All oil contracts signed by Kurdistan’s government with foreign companies violate the constitution,” he added.

“Since the beginning, all parties agreed to amend the constitution, and a committee had been formed for this purpose,” he noted.

“It is important to amend the constitution,” he asserted.

MH (P)/SR

Hadi Kerküklü geç kalmadan istemiyorum de…!

Kerkukgazetesi.com okuyucularının dikkatine…!


Hadi Kerküklü geç kalmadan istemiyorum de…!

http://kirkukpc.net/

http://kirkukpc.net/kirkuk%20design/index.htm

http://www.kirkukpc.net/English/Index.html

http://kirkukpc.net/kirkuk%20design/Phase%202.pdf


Sevgili Kerküklüler,

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Denouncing the US-IRAQI "Security" Agreement


The "Security" Agreement With Iraq

By Emad Hajjaj

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Turkey to explore natural gas in Iraq

Turkey will explore natural gas in Iraq with a multinational oil company, authorities said on Thursday.

Turkey's Petroleum Corporation (TPAO), the Petroleum Pipeline Corporation of Turkey (BOTAS) and Shell Energy Europe BV. signed a preliminary contract to explore, manage, transport and market natural gas in Iraq.

The agreement enables transportation of natural gas to Turkey and Europe after it meets the domestic demand in Iraq.

It also envisages the mentioned companies to carry out infrastructure works including construction of pipelines, underground depots and interconnection lines.

"The cooperation of these three companies would contribute to world energy supply safety, and regional peace and stability," Turkey's Energy & Natural Resources Minister Hilmi Guler said in the signature ceremony in the Turkish capital of Ankara.

Guler defined TPAO as a company that knew well about Iraq's geology and BOTAS as a firm that was constructing pipelines worldwide.

The Turkish minister said that TPAO, which had been invited to tenders to explore and manage eight giant oil fields in Iraq, wanted to be partners with many foreign companies.

Guler said that TPAO and Shell could also cooperate in exploring and managing oil in Iraq, and also said that TPAO was deliberating with the Iraqi government to drill natural gas near Iraq's border with Syria.

Continued on:
http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/detaylar.do?load=detay&link=159276

Joint commission with Iraq against PKK signals a shift in Turkish policy

A decision to establish a permanent commission in Baghdad to coordinate U.S., Turkish and Iraqi efforts to fight the terror organization, PKK, signals an important shift in Ankara's policy.

Turkey, Iraq and the United States agreed Wednesday to form a joint commission to combat the terror organization PKK, which uses northern Iraq as a base for attacks on Turkey.

Turkey has long rejected to negotiate the PKK issue with the Kurdish regional administration in northern Iraq, who Ankara accuses of supporting the terror organization.

The inclusion of Iraqi Kurdish officials in Wednesday's talks held in Baghdad represents an important step back for Turkey from its red lines.

The commission will track the threat represented by the PKK to the security and the stability of Turkey and Iraq, Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement after the meeting between the delegations headed by U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker, visiting Turkish Interior Minister Besir Atalay and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

The commission will also "enact forceful measures to stop all activities undertaken by this organization inside Iraqi territory or in any region adjacent to the Turkish-Iraqi border."

Turkey, provided with intelligence by the United States, stepped up its campaign to crackdown on the PKK both inside Turkey and in northern Iraq, after the terror organization increased its attacks on Turkish soldiers, as well as civilians.

Turkish officials say around 2,000 PKK terrorists are holed up in the mountains of northern Iraq, where they enjoy free movement and use the region to launch cross-border attacks.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist group by Ankara and much of the international community, including the EU and the United States.

MORE DETAILS WIHIN 10 DAYSThe three sides have agreed to hammer out details of the commission within 10 days. This means the agreement should be fully in place before Iraq takes control of its own air space when a U.N. Security Council resolution expires at the end of the year.

A U.S. embassy statement also confirmed the commission would coordinate the fight against the PKK and exchange intelligence.

Previous three-way talks had failed to take hold, but the latest effort was different because the Turks had agreed to recognize officials from the Kurdish regional administration in northern Iraq as part of the Iraqi delegation, a senior U.S. embassy official told Reuters.

"The Turks acknowledge that the Iraqis are more capable of addressing this issue," he said.

"The Turkish public position is different from the Turkish private position. The Turks have seen action (by Iraq) and they acknowledge that," the U.S. official added.

Turkish officials have expressed concern that Iraq could try to obstruct air strikes when it takes control of its air space after the new year. But the U.S. official said Baghdad has not tried to block limited air strikes in the past.

"The Turks came here very concerned about how they are going to keep up their operations against the PKK," he said.

"As it is, the government of Iraq has chosen not to make an international incident over these actions. They, including the KRG (Kurdish regional government), realize that the PKK is a security threat to Iraq," the U.S. official told Reuters.

But Iraqi officials say Turkey should make a security part with Iraq as the United States did, sources told hurriyet.com.tr.

http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/english/world/10404139.asp?gid=237

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Top judge: US and UK acted as 'vigilantes' in Iraq invasion

Former senior law lord condemns 'serious violation of international law'

Richard Norton-Taylor
guardian.co.uk,
The Guardian, Tuesday November 18 2008

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/nov/18/iraq-us-foreign-policy


One of Britain's most authoritative judicial figures last night delivered a blistering attack on the invasion of Iraq, describing it as a serious violation of international law, and accusing Britain and the US of acting like a "world vigilante".

Lord Bingham, in his first major speech since retiring as the senior law lord, rejected the then attorney general's defence of the 2003 invasion as fundamentally flawed.

Contradicting head-on Lord Goldsmith's advice that the invasion was lawful, Bingham stated: "It was not plain that Iraq had failed to comply in a manner justifying resort to force and there were no strong factual grounds or hard evidence to show that it had." Adding his weight to the body of international legal opinion opposed to the invasion, Bingham said that to argue, as the British government had done, that Britain and the US could unilaterally decide that Iraq had broken UN resolutions "passes belief".

Governments were bound by international law as much as by their domestic laws, he said. "The current ministerial code," he added "binding on British ministers, requires them as an overarching duty to 'comply with the law, including international law and treaty obligations'."

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats continue to press for an independent inquiry into the circumstances around the invasion. The government says an inquiry would be harmful while British troops are in Iraq. Ministers say most of the remaining 4,000 will leave by mid-2009.

Addressing the British Institute of International and Comparative Law last night, Bingham said: "If I am right that the invasion of Iraq by the US, the UK, and some other states was unauthorised by the security council there was, of course, a serious violation of international law and the rule of law.

"For the effect of acting unilaterally was to undermine the foundation on which the post-1945 consensus had been constructed: the prohibition of force (save in self-defence, or perhaps, to avert an impending humanitarian catastrophe) unless formally authorised by the nations of the world empowered to make collective decisions in the security council ..."

The moment a state treated the rules of international law as binding on others but not on itself, the compact on which the law rested was broken, Bingham argued. Quoting a comment made by a leading academic lawyer, he added: "It is, as has been said, 'the difference between the role of world policeman and world vigilante'."

Bingham said he had very recently provided an advance copy of his speech to Goldsmith and to Jack Straw, foreign secretary at the time of the invasion of Iraq. He told his audience he should make it plain they challenged his conclusions.

Both men emphasised that point last night by intervening to defend their views as consistent with those held at the time of the invasion. Goldsmith said in a statement: "I stand by my advice of March 2003 that it was legal for Britain to take military action in Iraq. I would not have given that advice if it were not genuinely my view. Lord Bingham is entitled to his own legal perspective five years after the event." Goldsmith defended what is known as the "revival argument" - namely that Saddam Hussein had failed to comply with previous UN resolutions which could now take effect. Goldsmith added that Tony Blair had told him it was his "unequivocal view" that Iraq was in breach of its UN obligations to give up weapons of mass destruction.

Straw said last night that he shared Goldsmith's view. He continued: "However controversial the view that military action was justified in international law it was our attorney general's view that it was lawful and that view was widely shared across the world."

Bingham also criticised the post-invasion record of Britain as "an occupying power in Iraq". It is "sullied by a number of incidents, most notably the shameful beating to death of Mr Baha Mousa [a hotel receptionist] in Basra [in 2003]", he said.

Such breaches of the law, however, were not the result of deliberate government policy and the rights of victims had been recognised, Bingham observed.

He contrasted that with the "unilateral decisions of the US government" on issues such as the detention conditions in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

After referring to mistreatment of Iraqi detainees in Abu Ghraib, Bingham added: "Particularly disturbing to proponents of the rule of law is the cynical lack of concern for international legality among some top officials in the Bush administration."

Taking a stance against Zionism before the world falls apart

By Tariq A. Al-Maeena
published in Tehran Times


At an international conference in London entitled Terrorism: Alternative global perspectives, Alan Hart, the author of Zionism: the Real Enemy of the Jews, said that the United States is supporting Israeli-sponsored terrorism in the Middle East.

Speaking at the conference organized by the Center for the Study of Terrorism (CFSOT) in London to explore the comprehensive effects of the U.S. ‘global war on terror’, he added that the Israeli regime, with blanket approval of Washington, “simply ignores the United Nations resolutions concerning the violation of Palestinians’ rights.”

Hart, a noted British expert on Middle East affairs and a former television executive who once held the post of Controller of BBC One, expressed his alarm at the absolute lack of veracity of the spin machines of the Western media when it came to reporting on Israeli ambitions and atrocities. “The world is poling apart. There is only one way to confront with the double standards of the West and that is informing people about the realities of the history,” he said.

He also noted that for the past six decades since the establishment of Israel, the United States has blocked most anti-Israel resolutions at the UN Security Council, despite the gross and often barbaric human rights violations committed against the Palestinians. The annals of injustice accorded the Palestinians had no such previous parallels, he added.

Referring to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, he described it as analogous to the long-drawn-out British-Irish conflict in which the British government moved the Scottish people to Northern Ireland to occupy it gradually. “A similar situation exists in Palestine, where the Jews are occupying Muslim lands,” he said, blaming former British premier Tony Blair’s foreign policy, and his close alliance with U.S. President George W. Bush, for spreading terrorism and extremism across the world.

Urging Muslims to stand against Islamophobia ‘which is currently spreading across the world’, Hart also expressed his concern that Iran is a victim of collusion among the policymakers in Washington, London, and Tel Aviv while “it is constantly targeted by the propaganda war of the U.S. media.”

In his latest book, Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, Hart expands on how such collusion is leading to a clash between civilizations and how it could be prevented. He is a firm believer in the notion that what peacemaking needs above all else is some truth, “about many things but, especially, the difference between Zionist mythology and real history, and, the difference between Judaism and Zionism and thus why it is perfectly possible to be passionately anti-Zionist without being in any way, shape or form anti-Semitic.”

Those who would like to get to the truth behind Middle East politics and understand how the U.S. has gradually fallen from grace among the Arab masses should deeply reflect upon Hart’s words, because his remarks come as no new news to most of us in the region.

A fiercely independent thinker, Hart has held many private conversations with key players on both sides of the conflict including Golda Meir, Shimon Peres, and Yasser Arafat. During Carter’s presidency, Alan Hart established covert diplomatic maneuvers to help start an exploratory dialogue between Arafat and Peres as the U.S. president found it difficult to advance the peace process by institutional diplomacy because of the Zionist lobby’s awesome influence on American politics and politicians.

When asked if the Israeli lobby would not seek to discredit him as they had done so with many scholars before him when it came to protecting their interests and preventing the truth from being told, Hart replied, “I have three children and, when the world falls apart, I want to be able to look them in the eye and say, ‘Don’t blame me. I tried.’” Hell, he says, “is when you know that the end of your life is approaching and that you have not used your talents and resources as well as you could have done to make a difference -- i.e. when you realize upon reflection that you have wasted your life. Heaven is contemplation of the approach of death without fear because you know that, on balance, you’ve done your best to make a difference.”

It is an uncompromising statement, one that should be carefully considered

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Monday, 17 November 2008

All US forces will leave by 2011, Baghdad cabinet agrees


US troops walk along a corridor separating detainees at Camp Bucca in Iraq. Photograph: David Furst/AFP/Getty Images


• Combat troops to quit most provinces next year
• U-turn by leading Shia cleric paves way for deal

Martin Chulov in Baghdad and Richard Norton-Taylor
guardian.co.uk,
Monday November 17 2008

The US and Iraq will formally commit to a pact that withdraws all American forces from the country within three years, and pulls all combat troops out of most provinces by mid-2009, the Iraqi cabinet announced yesterday. The deal for the first time prescribes a timeline for an American departure from Iraq, which the US president-elect, Barack Obama, had foreshadowed as top of his foreign policy agenda when he takes office on January 20.

In a development that caught coalition officials by surprise, Iraq's cabinet yesterday ended one year of protracted negotiations by agreeing to a series of US amendments to draft documents. All but one cabinet minister present at the meeting committed to the agreement.

On Saturday the leading Shia cleric, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani dropped his opposition to the deal, in a shift that some observers believe paved the way for a Shia bloc in the cabinet to vote in its favour.

"The cabinet has just approved a deal between Iraq and the United States for the withdrawal of American troops," said a government spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh.

The deal must now be ratified by the 275-seat Iraqi legislature, a process that most considered a formality.

A UN mandate for coalition troops to remain in Iraq expires on December 31. However, the agreement will provide a legal framework for their continued presence under Iraqi law.
The deal will also strengthen the powers of the Iraqi government, giving it legal jurisdiction over US troops and contractors who commit crimes off-base and off-duty. It will ban American troops from launching raids into neighbouring countries, like the operation carried out late last month by US special forces into Syria.

The agreement is being interpreted as a sign that the Iraqi government is gaining in confidence and competence. But concerns remain in Whitehall about the principle of British troops being subjected to an Iraqi judicial system potentially influenced by political considerations.

The bulk of the 4,100 British troops still based at Basra airport are expected to leave by the middle of next year. Most of these are not engaged in combat roles. However, a few hundred UK soldiers are assigned to accompany Iraqi troops in anti-insurgency operations near Basra. UK forces also supply logistics support.

Iraqi forces now have command in all but five of 18 provinces. Baghdad this year took the lead in a crackdown on Shia militias and last week also started to pay, from its own budget, a large group of former insurgents and anti al-Qaida figures, known as the Sons of Iraq. The group of up to 100,000 people had been paid $300 (about £200) each month by the US.

The US now has about 150,000 troops in Iraq and is still involved in combat operations in and around Baghdad, and in northern Iraq.

President George Bush had opposed setting a timetable for a troop withdrawal, saying combat forces would leave only when Iraq was stable enough for them to go. However, the US embassy in Baghdad yesterday hailed the decision as a "positive step".

Iran and the loyalist Iraqi Shia militia of the cleric Moqtada al-Sadr had demanded that all US troops should leave Iraq immediately. Response to the Iraqi cabinet agreement was mute in Tehran last night, while al-Sadr threatened to mobilise his powerful militia, which he stood down earlier this year. The cleric's stronghold in the Baghdad neighbourhood of Sadr City was last night surrounded by coalition and Iraqi troops ready to try to quickly suppress any revolt.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

MUSIQUE TURKMENE (IRAK): CHANTS HOYRATS

Musiciens et chanteurs Turkmènes (IRAK)




The most popular and indigenous songs are Hoyrats. Hoyrats, longplay songs with nearly twenty different melodious voices forming rich literary texts are typical Turkmen musical works. Hoyrats are classified according to tunes into Muhalif, Beshiri, Kesik, Yolcu, Ömergele, Muçyla, Yskenderi and Matari and regarded as typical Turkmen songs in Iraq and elsewhere.
Short plays/Kyrykhavas are locally called Beste. Beste is divided into groups based on the subject matters, such as love, homesickness and death; nature (pastoral), games, ceremonies etc. Songs depicting bravery and historical events are called Neshide or Sharky.

To listen to Hoyrats please click on links below:
Pour écouter des Hoyrats (Chansons typiques Turkmènes) veuillez cliquer sur les liens ci-dessous :

http://www.iraqiyoon.com/muzik.html



http://www.iraqiyoon.com/SiirEdeb/SesliSiir.html



For biography of some Turkmen singers please see:



http://members.lycos.nl/Kerkuk/B_kersa.html


New Blackwater Iraq Scandal: Guns, Silencers and Dog Food

November 15, 2008

Ex-employees Tell ABC News the Firm Used Dog Food Sacks to Smuggle Unauthorized Weapons to Iraq

By BRIAN ROSS and JASON RYAN
November 14, 2008

A federal grand jury in North Carolina is investigating allegations the controversial private security firm Blackwater illegally shipped assault weapons and silencers to Iraq, hidden in large sacks of dog food, ABCNews.com has learned.

Under State Department rules, Blackwater is prohibited from using certain assault weapons and silencers in Iraq because they are considered “offensive” weapons inappropriate for Blackwater’s role as a private security firm protecting US diplomatic missions.

“The only reason you need a silencer is if you want to assassinate someone,” said former CIA intelligence officer John Kiriakou, an ABC News consultant.

Six Blackwater employees are under investigation by another federal grand jury, in Washington, D.C., in connection with the shooting deaths of at least 17 civilians in September, 2007 at a Baghdad traffic circle. Prosecutors are expected to return indictments in the next few weeks, according to people familiar with the case.

The investigation of the alleged dog food smuggling scheme began last year after two Blackwater employees were caught trying to sell stolen weapons in North Carolina. The two, Kenneth Cashwell and William “Max” Grumiaux pleaded guilty in February and became government witnesses, according to court documents.

Two other former employees tell ABCNews.com they also witnessed the dog food smuggling operation. They say the weapons were actually hidden inside large sacks of dog food, packaged at company headquarters in North Carolina and sent to Iraq for the company’s 20 bomb-sniffing dogs.

Larger items, including M-4 assault weapons, were secreted on shipping pallets surrounded by stacks of dog food bags, the former employees said. The entire pallet would be wrapped in cellophane shrink wrap, the former employees said, making it less likely US Customs inspectors would look too closely.

Last year, a US Department of Commerce inspector at JFK airport in New York discovered an unlicensed two-way radio hidden in a dog food sack being shipped by Blackwater to Iraq, according to people familiar with the incident.

A Blackwater spokesperson, Anne Tyrrell, said certain arms shipmens were sent to Iraq surrounded by dog food “to secure them on the airplane and not to smuggle them.” Tyrrell said she could not comment on specifics because of “the ongoing investigation” but she denied the company had done anything wrong.
In addition to the grand jury investigation, Blackwater sources say the company is facing a multi-million dollar fine for some 900 instances in which it violated State Department licensing requirements for the export of certain weapons.

Of the 900 cases, about 100 of them have been referred to the Department of Justice for possible criminal prosecution, according to lawyers briefed on the case.

Last month, Blackwater hired a team of former federal law enforcement officials and defense experts that it said would review the company’s compliance with export laws.
Andrew Howell, Blackwater’s general counsel, said, “Ongoing reviews by the Department of Justice, State and Commerce have highlighted the need for a significant and systems-wide initiative.”

Another former Blackwater insider who talked with ABCNews.com said company executives made the decision to smuggle the weapons and silencers in the dog food “because it’s a war over there and our guys need them.”

Despite four separate federal grand jury investigations of its operations, Blackwater’s contract to provide security services for the US State Department was renewed earlier this year. The contract pays Blackwater $250 million a year and runs for five years.
http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=6254508


Veterans Occupy National Archives Building


November 16, 2008
From Veterans for Peace:

On Saturday, November 15, at 8:00 am, at the National Archives Building on Connecticut Ave., eight military veterans and a military mother climbed a 9-foot retaining fence and occupied a ninety-foot high scaffolding to raise two 450 square foot banners stating, “DEFEND OUR CONSTITUTION. ARREST BUSH AND CHENEY: WAR CRIMINALS!” and “WE WILL NOT BE SILENT.” The same message will also be displayed at demonstrations in the Los Angeles area on Saturday.

Members of Veterans for Peace (VFP) chose the Archives for their nonviolent protest because it is symbolic of their military oath to “defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” In September they occupied the Archives for 24 hours, and plan to stay longer this time.

“The offenses of Bush, Cheney, and their accomplices are appalling,” said Kim Carlyle, a VFP member and Army veteran. “Their misdeeds have killed or maimed more than a million people - American soldiers, innocent civilian children, women, and men. They have displaced almost five million people, with millions seeking refuge in other countries. Their total disregard for international agreements has severely tarnished the reputation of America in the world. Their unlawful wars have squandered billions of dollars that could have bolstered a troubled economy.”

The veterans are demanding Bush administration be tried for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes against peace; asking the media to clearly inform the public of the administration’s crimes; and encouraging citizens to take similar nonviolent actions.
According to Tarak Kauff, a VFP member, “People say Bush and Cheney will be gone soon so what’s the point? The point is, there is no statute of limitations on war crimes, and if not held accountable, criminality will continue regardless of who is in office. We either are or we are not a nation of law.”

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Inside ancient Turkmen House in Kerkük - Türkmeneli


Çukur Mahallesinde 100 Yıllık Ev-Kerkük/Türkmeneli

Dr. DAHLIA WASFI (Video)



Please click on the link below to see the video
http://dprogram.net/2008/11/14/video-israel-firsters-the-greatest-danger-dr-dahlia-wasfi/

That Americans continue to kill and be killed in Iraq (and Afghanistan), whose agenda does this serve? Who benefits from such wars in the Gulf? Who are the cheerleaders? Dahlia Wasfi, M.D., provides answers to these questions.


Wasfi was a speaker at the Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) ‘Winter Soldier’ eyewitness testimony, March 2008, in Maryland. Snowshoefilms had some questions for the young physician and caught up with her in Chicago a few months later.


As a child of a JEWISH MOTHER (New York City) and IRAQI MUSLIM FATHER, U.S.-born Dahlia Wasfi looks at the world from a unique perspective.
Mother and father met at medical school, in Washington D.C. Wasfi’s father was from Basrah. After getting his medical degree, the young Wasfi family returned to Basrah for five years, meeting the terms of a scholarship from Saddam Hussein’s Baathist government. Then Dahlia, born in the USA, returned with her family to the U.S. Many of us knew in 1990 that Hussein was being set up by the American empire as the new villain, then George Herbert Walker Bush in 1991 found (manufactured) the pretext to attack and cripple Iraq. For the next decade the ghoulish Bill Clinton quietly continued his predecessor’s mass murder through sanctions, and bombing. The people of Basrah, for example, were hard-hit by U.S. and British use of depleted uranium ordinance. Many of the most hideous DU-deformed children are from Basrah.


And then came along George Bush, total captive of the neo-cons (Israel Firsters), in a rigged election that the whole government and the press were in on (or complicit with by their silence). Dahlia Wasfi, while in medical school, was watching thousands upon thousands of Iraqis - some of them her relatives, boys and girls she played with, aunts and uncles, being murdered by her government (the U.S.), let alone the destruction of modern and ancient Iraq.


In part-one of her Winter Soldier testimony, Dahlia Wasfi tells of her encounter with the heroic example of Rachel Corrie (crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer in 2001) that brought her out of despondency and into action. Wasfi reminds us that Oded Yinon wrote the Strategy for Israel in the 80s (published by the World Zionist Organization). Then Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and David Wurmser, as part of the Israeli Likud government of Benjamin Netanyahu, write ‘Clean Break: a new strategy for securing the realm’ (that’s ‘Israel’s realm, of course). Then these three Israelis (Wasfi explains how easy it is for any Jew to become an Israeli citizen, especially those working for the Likud government) return to implement the Israeli plan which includes the removal of Saddam Hussein and the neutralization of Israel’s main enemy, Iraq. Dahlia Wasfi asks ‘whose agenda is being served?’


Interview and camera: ranxer. edit: yoryevrah(part 1 of a series)

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Kurdish expansion squeezes northern Iraq's minorities

Kurdish expansion squeezes northern Iraq's minorities
By Leila Fadel McClatchy Newspapers

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/iraq/story/55711.html

BASHIQA, Iraq — Kurdish forces have detained Murad Kashtu al Asi three times in the isolated district of Sinjar in Nineveh province. First, they beat him and accused him of being a terrorist and a member of the Iraqi Islamic Party, a mostly Sunni Arab political party. The second time, they detained him for several hours, he said.

The third time, they hit him in the face with the butts of their guns. "If you leave alive this time, then work with us or we will kill you," he said his captors told him. He was held six days and released Sunday after U.S. forces intervened on his behalf, he said.

The Kurds never charged him with a crime and even called him their "brother." His offense was working with an Arab party in territory that the Kurds covet. "We don't want you to be with Arabs anymore . . . if they controlled the area (the existence of the) Yazidis will end," Asi recalled.

Asi is a member of the ancient Yazidi sect, most of whom consider themselves Kurdish. In the complex and often violent landscape of Iraq, the community, estimated at a few hundred thousand, is at the center of a tug of war over land between mostly Arab Iraq to the south and mostly Kurdish Iraq to the north.

Three minorities that populate the villages near the city of Mosul in Nineveh now find themselves under heavy Kurdish pressure: the Yazidis, whom some Muslims and Christians disdain for revering Malak Tawas, the peacock angel, which other religions see as devil worship; the Shabaks, a small ethnic group of Sunni and Shiite Muslims who claim Persian descent; and the Assyrian and Chaldean Christian communities, who speak Aramaic, the language of the biblical era.

Together they hold one of the keys to Kurdish ambitions to expand the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan on this strip of 300 miles between Sinjar near the Syrian border to Khanaqeen in Diyala province. Kurds chafed under the repression of Saddam Hussein's regime, but with provincial elections looming, many non-Kurds fear that they're more determined to achieve their greater Kurdistan.

"Any man who is not with them (the Kurds) — and especially not with the party (the Kurdistan Democratic Party) — cannot live in the area because he will suffer, and for this reason I think all of us will leave the area," said Asi, who works in Sinjar with al Hadba, a Sunni Arab nationalist party. Every night he moves to avoid detention. Six days ago, however, he was found and held again.

Although world attention has focused on the battle to control oil-rich Kirkuk — where the late Saddam once purged Kurds, and now Kurds and Kurdish parties are purging Arabs — the strip of small villages connecting Sinjar to Khanaqeen has turned into a powder keg as Kurdish and Arab parties compete for the loyalties of the minorities. Both sides are using economic incentives, intimidation, detention and in some cases murder.

The force at the center of the conflict is the Peshmerga, Kurdish militias that mostly have been absorbed into the Iraqi Security Forces but remain loyal to the Kurdish parties in the north rather than the Shiite-dominated central government to the south. Sunni Arabs, who've cracked down on extremists elsewhere in Iraq, are angry and fearful of Kurdish rule in the region and have given the extremists space to terrorize Mosul.

"The whole front of where the (Kurdistan Regional Government) borders the rest of Iraq from Sinjar through Kirkuk on down to Khanaqeen is timed for a misstep, especially a military misstep," said Brig. Gen. Tony Thomas, the U.S. commander in Nineveh province. "We've got a real challenge and a crisis on our hands."

The office of the head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, Massoud Barzani, an outspoken Kurdish nationalist and the president of the Kurdistan Regional Government, rejects allegations that they're "Kurdifying" areas through intimidation, detention and extrajudicial killings. Barzani's chief of staff, Fuad Hussein, charged that accusations from the Shabak and Yazidi communities, whom the Kurds consider to be fellow Kurds, often were due to Arab backing and Arab racism against the Kurds. Any incidents of intimidation or abuse are isolated and not a policy, he said.

"Some people speak on the behalf of the Yazidis, and now there are a few who are speaking on behalf of the Shabak to say that there is a policy within Kurdish political parties or within the KRG to discriminate against them," Hussein said. "We are trying to do everything to protect these people. We believe in their rights. . . . We are trying to help them as we are trying to help ourselves."

Thomas said he'd seen little evidence of extrajudicial killings during his 14-month tour. "We hear allegations all the time. You'll hear about Kurdish pressure; it will be everything from economic and political pressure to more concerning forced apprehension and murder," he said.

The issue is so sensitive that many Western officials won't talk about Kurdish intimidation on the record. Residents who've complained to U.N. officials about intimidation by Kurdish forces are often subject to detention by those forces within hours of their meetings with the officials.

Earlier this year, Khanaqeen was a flash point between Kurdish forces and troops sent from the central government after the Kurdish soldiers who'd been in the mixed Kurdish and Arab area wouldn't stand down.

"They're definitely caught in the middle, and our job is just to make sure that we can protect the area," said Thomas, speaking of the minority groups. "It's a political hot potato right now that we're trying to contain."

Now that the Iraqi parliament has approved a provincial elections law, Kurds worry that they can't retain the power that they wield in mostly Sunni Arab Nineveh province.
Kurds dominate the provincial council, holding 31 of 41 seats. Peshmerga loyal to the Kurdistan Democratic Party dominate half of Mosul, and they've taken over many of the villages in the disputed areas within the 300-mile strip since 2003, and continue to expand.

An amendment to the provincial elections law giving minorities a quota in the upcoming elections gave Christians, Shabaks and Yazidis only one seat each in the province. Arab nationalists, worried that the minorities would act as an arm of the Kurds, extending their power base, reduced the minority representation from that in an earlier proposal.

Kurdish pressure is acute in Nineveh's minority villages.

In the Sinjar district of mostly Yazidis and Arabs, Sheik Abdullah al Yawar, a Sunni Arab tribal sheik who works with the nationalist party Hadba, said the Peshmerga and Kurdistan Democratic Party representatives were pressuring the community to accept appointed Kurdish leaders from the Kurdish region rather than residents of Sinjar.

"The people are now boiling because the army is used against them," he said.

"There is no freedom, no democracy. You cannot speak about any ideas that disagree with the KDP," he said. "The people are boiling, and if this is not a fair election it will be like a volcano."
Kurdish flags now flutter in the sky in the Christian villages of Tel Keif, al Qosh, Qaraqosh and Bartella near Mosul, and the roads that curve through the mountains are manned by Kurdish soldiers loyal to the Kurdistan Democratic Party.

At the entrances to Christian towns, Christian militiamen paid by the Kurdistan Regional Government man checkpoints.

In some areas, Kurds are attempting to buy loyalty with cash. Nineveh province should be the main provider of funds to the villages in its northern fields, but the Kurdistan Regional Government has flooded the minority villages with money to win their support. The Kurdish government's finance minister, Sarkis Aghajan, a Chaldean Catholic, has spent millions of dollars to restore run-down churches and provide homes for displaced Christians and bus transportation for university students to Mosul.

When about 10,000 Christians fled Mosul after a spate of about 15 killings in the span of two weeks, the Christian affairs offices and churches in these villages of the northern fields took them in and urged them not to return. The central government in Baghdad promised about $127 to each displaced family, but Aghajan topped that by giving each family $212.

In every church in the village of Qaraqosh, about 18 miles east of Mosul, a photo of Aghajan hangs in the vestibule.

"As Christians we're trying to keep the same distance between us and the Arabs and us and the Kurds so we can live in peace," said Rama Daniel of the Assyrian Democratic Movement in Qaraqosh. "The Iraq flag is disappearing day by day."

Outside the Assyrian party's offices, the old Iraqi flag hangs above the building, a reminder of the protection that Christians had during Saddam's dictatorship. Kurds, however — the victims of Saddam's chemical, gas and aerial attacks — refuse to fly the flag.

"We do this to annoy them," Daniel said, referring to the Kurds and their expansion into the Christian towns.

Daniel was born and raised in the small Christian village, and he said that the money now flooding the town was worrying. The Kurdish militiamen, who were allied with the United States, arrived in his village after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, he said.

Daniel has stopped going to the churches, where Aghajan's smiling face reminds him of the powerful men who pay the religious leaders. The cameraman for the Assyrian Democratic Movement's TV channel was beaten up by Christians allied with the Kurdish region, and he was banned from church functions.

"All Iraqis saw an American occupation, and we saw a Kurdish occupation," he said. "Kurdification is harsher than Arabization. They are buying the people."
Across the area, the Kurdistan Regional Government has opened hundreds of schools over the years and appointed more than 400 teachers this year.

In the Chaldean Catholic churches, priests speak of Aghajan as a hero and say that they want to be part of the Kurdish region. Many priests and administrators at churches in the region whispered to a McClatchy reporter that the money that comes from the Kurdistan Regional Government pays for fixing up the churches and for other services.

In Bashiqa, a mostly Yazidi and Shabak village about 14 miles northeast of Mosul, the regional government has implemented a Kurdish school curriculum this year for the first time in a town where almost everyone speaks only Arabic. Kurds claim that Shabaks are Kurds and their language is a dialect of Kurdish, but not all Shabaks agree.

In many of the 35 Shabak villages east of Mosul and just south of Bashiqa, Arabic signs have slowly given way to Kurdish, the Iraqi red, white and black flags have slowly been replaced by red, green and yellow Kurdish flags, and schools have begun offering Kurdish language courses.
Those who publicly denounce the Kurdish expansion into Shabak villages and the Kurdish claim on the Shabak community fear for their lives.

Fadel Abbas is convinced that Kurdish security forces killed his father, Abbas Kadhim, a member of the Shabak assembly. Kadhim publicly called for Shabaks to be recognized as an ethnic community and not be allowed to melt into Kurdish society, a view that angered local representatives of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, his family said.

Kadhim wrote pieces on Shabak Web sites calling for the community to preserve its identity, traditions and loyalty to the Nineveh region and criticized Shabak members of the Kurdish parties. Days later he received a threat from the Asayesh, Kurdish intelligence, his family said.
On July 13, Kadhim was shot down about 30 yards from a Peshmerga checkpoint.

The Shabak party posted accusations against the Kurdish parties online, filed a criminal case and gave evidence to the United Nations. The United Nations demanded a thorough investigation, but no one has been arrested, and Kadhim's family members say that they're being watched.
"He wrote that we are Shabak, we are the residents of Nineveh fields, and we demand our rights," said his wife, Sahla Jawad Ramadan. "That's why he was targeted. We told the United Nations and the American Embassy about this."

Some even accuse the Kurds of killing Christians to give the illusion that minority communities can find a haven only under Kurdish rule.

When about 15 Christians were killed last month in Mosul, other Christians fled to the Kurdish or Kurdish-protected areas for safety as Arabs, Kurds, Shabaks and Yazidis have in the past. Rumors circulated that Kurds had killed the Christians to draw them into the Kurdish region and side with them when it came time to decide whether the disputed areas would land with the semi-autonomous Kurdish north or with Nineveh province.

The left bank of the city, where the spate of killings took place, is protected by Peshmerga. A battalion loyal to the Kurdistan Democratic Party was investigated and found to have failed to protect the population.

The right bank is rife with Arab extremists, including al Qaida in Iraq, who typically carry out attacks and killings there.

However, the U.S. military, which has control over the province, said it had proof that Sunni Arab extremists within al Qaida in Iraq had targeted the Christian community.

Christians who fled to surrounding villages said they didn't know who'd killed their brethren. They were so fearful they wouldn't give their names.

"We don't know if those who killed us are among us now," one woman said.

Mosul, a mostly Sunni Arab city, is by far the bloodiest place in Iraq now, still at war while overall the country's violence has lessened. Kurds provide services to those who side with them, while Sunni Arab extremists play on Iraqi Arabs' fears of Kurdish expansion. Those in the middle are subject to terrorism and in some cases have been murdered, but it isn't clear by whom. Kurds also are being run out of the city.

In a small coffee shop in Bashiqa, a village near Mosul, an uncle and his nephew debated their history as Yazidis and where they belong in the new Iraq.

Khalil Jamal, 74, wore a traditional Arab headdress, and his voice was deep and gravelly.
"It's not in our hands," he told his nephew Khadar Jamal.
"Let's suppose we want to join Kurdistan. Will the government let us?" said Khadar Jamal, who's 45.
"It is influencing our lives. They are killing us to empower themselves," he said, referring to both Arabs and Kurds.

"If I want to stay a part of Mosul and the others want it, it doesn't matter. We are Yazidis, and Yazidis are to join Kurdistan whether we accept it or not," Khalil Jamal said.

The debate moved to the roots of the Yazidis. Their holy scriptures are written in Kurdish, they said.

"My clothes are Kurdish and our religion is Kurdish," Khadar Jamal said, pointing to the traditional clothes he wore.

Another patron piped up angrily.

"We are not Kurds; our texts are also in Arabic and some in Persian," he said.

Khalil Jamal sighed.

"I am Yazidi, and we need a voice," he said. "In the end, we want whoever gives us security."
In Sheikhan, another small village near Mosul, the spiritual leader of the Yazidis sat on the colorful woven rug reserved for the man who leads the religious community. He said the Yazidis were Kurds but that the community must be protected from Kurdish and Arab extremists. The community is being pulled in every direction, he said.

"The Yazidis have no problem with the Muslims, but we are in this place and we are considered the winning card," said the spiritual leader, Baba Sheikh. "We are the balance, and whoever wins the Yazidis tips the scale."

(McClatchy special correspondent Mohammed al Dulaimy contributed to this report.)

Sunday, 9 November 2008

ITC´NİN SEÇİM NUMARASI 206



09-11-2008



Ülkede yapılacak mahalli seçimlere siyasi kitlelerin hangi numarayla katılacakları belli oldu.
Başkent Bağdat´ta seçim kurası çekildi.

Bağımsız Yüksek Seçim Komiserliği tarafından çekilen kurada siyasi kitlelerin ülkede yapılacak mahalli seçimlere hangi numarayla katılacakları kesinleşti.Irak Türkmen Cephesi´nin mahalli seçim numarası ise 206 olarak belirlendi.
Çok sayıda siyasi kitlenin yer aldığı mahalli seçim kurasının çekilişi Bağımsız Yüksek Seçim Komiserliğinde yapıldı.

Kura çekilişinin ardından basın açıklamalarında bulunan Bağımsız Yüksek Seçim Komiserliği Başkanı Faraç El Hayderi seçimlerin nezih ve şeffaf bir şekilde tamamlanması için Irak´taki tüm siyasi tarafların birbirleriyle yardımlaşarak çalışmaları gerektiğini belirtti.Faraç El Haydari açıklamasında, seçimlerin hür ve nezih bir şekilde yapılması durumunda Irak´ta demokrasinin varolduğunu ortaya koyacağını belirtti.

Bağımsız Yüksek Seçim Komiserliği İdari işler müdürü yargıç Kasım Abbudi yaptığı açıklamada, kura çekilişlerinin mahalli seçimlere katılan siyasi kitle temsilcilerin hazır bulunmasıyla yapıldığını belirterek kura çekilişlerini basın mensuplarının da izlediğini belirtti.206 numarayla mahalli seçimlere katılacak Irak Türkmen Cephesi´de halkı oyunu kullanmaya çağırıyor. Ülkede yapılacak mahalli seçimlerde il meclislerinde temsilciler belirlenecek.

TÜRKMENELİ SPİKERİ SERBEST BIRAKILDI




TÜRKMENELİ SPİKERİ SERBEST BIRAKILDI

09-11-2008KDP asayışının hedefinde bu kez spikerimiz vardı.5 seneden beri Irak'ta gerçek ve doğru yayıncılık yapan Türkmeneli Televizyonunun elde ettiği başarıları hazmedemeyenler bir kez daha devreye girerek bu kez spikerimizi tutukladılar. Spikerimiz Timur Beyatlı, önceki gün Yurt dışına çıkmak üzere gitiği Erbil havavalanında KDP asayışı tarafından tutuklandı ve Türkmeneli Televizyonu tarafından yapılan müdahale ve açıklamanın ardından spikerimiz Timur Beyatlı serbest bırakıldı. Nedensiz bir yere tutuklanan spikerimiz Timur Beyatlı'nın yurt dışına çıkm aişlemlerinin yüzde yüz tamam olmasına rağmen Kürt asayışı tarafından tutuklandı. İki gün gözaltında kaldıktan sonra Timur Beyatlı'nın serbest bırakılması için Türkmeneli televizyonun açıklama ve çabaları sonuç getirdi ve spikerimiz serbest bırakıldı.
Irak'ın Aydınlık Yüzü sloganıyla 5 yıldan beri doğru yayıncılık yapan Türkmeneli Televizyonu personelleri Irak'taki emniyet boşluğundan yararlanan güçler tarafından hep baskı ve tutuklamalara maruz kalmıştı. Yayına başladığı günden beri defalarca karanlık güçlerin saldırısına maruz kalan Türkmeneli Televizyonu hiç bir zaman yıldırılamadı ve doğru olan yoluna devam etti.Türkmeneli Televizyonunun doğru ve gerçek yayıncılığından rahatsız olan taraflar her zaman işleri engellemek ve personellerimizi rahatsız edecek yollara başvurdular.
Kerkük'te defalarca Türkmeneli Televiyoznu haber ekibine saldırılar yapılmış bunun da kimler tarafından gerçekleştirildiği malum... Spikerimiz Timur Beyatlı, yurt dışına giderken Erbil yolunu kullandı ve havaalanına ulaştığında KDP asayışı tarafından sorgusuz bir şekilde hemen gözaltına alındı...Nedensiz ve herhangi bir gerekçe gösterilmeden gözaltına alınan Timur Beyatlı'nın serbest bırakılması için Türkmeneli Televizyonu müdahalelerde bulunup ve canlı yayında açıklamasını yaptıktan kısa bir süre sonra spikerimiz serbest bırakıldı.Irak'ta özgürlükten bahsediliyor özelliklede Irak'ın Kuzey illerinde özgürlükten iddia ediliyor biz Türkmeneli Televizyonu ailesi olarak bumudur özgürlü, bumudur insan hakları bir televizyon spikerine böylesi bir tutuklama yapılır mı diye soruyoruz ve bu gibi olayların tekrar yaşanmamsını istiyoruz.Türkmenlerin dünyaya açılan penceresi olan Türkmeneli Televizyonu her ne kadar baskı ve tutuklamalara maruz kalsada bizler hep burdayız ve doğru yayıncılığımız sürdüreceği ve hiç bir zaman yıldırılamadık ve yıldırılamıyacağız.... Yaşasın Türkmeneli Televizyonu, yaşasın Irakımız...

09-11-2008KDP asayışının hedefinde bu kez spikerimiz vardı.5 seneden beri Irak'ta gerçek ve doğru yayıncılık yapan Türkmeneli Televizyonunun elde ettiği başarıları hazmedemeyenler bir kez daha devreye girerek bu kez spikerimizi tutukladılar. Spikerimiz Timur Beyatlı, önceki gün Yurt dışına çıkmak üzere gitiği Erbil havavalanında KDP asayışı tarafından tutuklandı ve Türkmeneli Televizyonu tarafından yapılan müdahale ve açıklamanın ardından spikerimiz Timur Beyatlı serbest bırakıldı. Nedensiz bir yere tutuklanan spikerimiz Timur Beyatlı'nın yurt dışına çıkm aişlemlerinin yüzde yüz tamam olmasına rağmen Kürt asayışı tarafından tutuklandı. İki gün gözaltında kaldıktan sonra Timur Beyatlı'nın serbest bırakılması için Türkmeneli televizyonun açıklama ve çabaları sonuç getirdi ve spikerimiz serbest bırakıldı. Irak'ın Aydınlık Yüzü sloganıyla 5 yıldan beri doğru yayıncılık yapan Türkmeneli Televizyonu personelleri Irak'taki emniyet boşluğundan yararlanan güçler tarafından hep baskı ve tutuklamalara maruz kalmıştı.
Yayına başladığı günden beri defalarca karanlık güçlerin saldırısına maruz kalan Türkmeneli Televizyonu hiç bir zaman yıldırılamadı ve doğru olan yoluna devam etti.Türkmeneli Televizyonunun doğru ve gerçek yayıncılığından rahatsız olan taraflar her zaman işleri engellemek ve personellerimizi rahatsız edecek yollara başvurdular. Kerkük'te defalarca Türkmeneli Televiyoznu haber ekibine saldırılar yapılmış bunun da kimler tarafından gerçekleştirildiği malum... Spikerimiz Timur Beyatlı, yurt dışına giderken Erbil yolunu kullandı ve havaalanına ulaştığında KDP asayışı tarafından sorgusuz bir şekilde hemen gözaltına alındı...Nedensiz ve herhangi bir gerekçe gösterilmeden gözaltına alınan Timur Beyatlı'nın serbest bırakılması için Türkmeneli Televizyonu müdahalelerde bulunup ve canlı yayında açıklamasını yaptıktan kısa bir süre sonra spikerimiz serbest bırakıldı.Irak'ta özgürlükten bahsediliyor özelliklede Irak'ın Kuzey illerinde özgürlükten iddia ediliyor biz Türkmeneli Televizyonu ailesi olarak bumudur özgürlü, bumudur insan hakları bir televizyon spikerine böylesi bir tutuklama yapılır mı diye soruyoruz ve bu gibi olayların tekrar yaşanmamsını istiyoruz.Türkmenlerin dünyaya açılan penceresi olan Türkmeneli Televizyonu her ne kadar baskı ve tutuklamalara maruz kalsada bizler hep burdayız ve doğru yayıncılığımız sürdüreceği ve hiç bir zaman yıldırılamadık ve yıldırılamıyacağız.... Yaşasın Türkmeneli Televizyonu, yaşasın Irakımız...

Iraq - Customs officials seize large cash sums at border outlet

BAGHDAD / The Iraqi customs administration said its officials on Sunday seized millions of dollars, euros, and Iraqi dinars at the Taraybeel on the Iraqi-Jordanian borders.
“The sums of $3.228 million, €100,000 and 300 million Iraqi dinars (ID) were seized at the Taraybeel outlet on the joint borders between Iraq and Jordan,” according to an Iraqi Finance Ministry press release received by Aswat al-Iraq.

“This is the first time that the administration has managed to seize such a large amount of cash in 10 years,” read the release, without providing further details about the number of individuals win possession of these sums or their occupations.

Aswat al-Iraq

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Political intrigues against Christians

Complex persecution

Despite political intrigues against Christians, the enduring peace between Muslims and Christians is hard to snuff out, observes Nermeen Al-Mufti

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Ever since the invasion started, things have been tense in the oil-rich city of Mosul in northern Iraq, which the Kurds want to declare part of the northern region they now control. The Kurdish administration has placed towns close to Mosul on the list of so-called disputed areas. These towns are inhabited by minority groups such as the Turkomen (500,000 of them live in Talaafar, Al-Rashidiya and surrounding areas), Yazidis, Shabaks, and Christians.

Political manoeuvres have succeeded in breaking many of the minority communities apart. A section of Shabaks now call themselves Kurds, so does a section of the Yazidis. Other sections, such as the Shabak Party led by parliamentarian Honein Qadou, and the Yazidi Party led by Anwar Moawiya, want to be recognised as separate ethnic groups.

Christians have inhabited Mosul for centuries. They include Assyrians, Chaldeans, Armenians, and Arab Christians who trace their ancestry to the mighty pre-Muslim tribe of the Ghasanids. But some Christian parties have been lured into collaborating with the Kurdish administration of the north and consequently demand self-rule in Nineveh.

Things took a turn for the worst when the Iraqi parliament, while ratifying the law for electing governorate councils in September 2007, decided to abrogate Article 50 of the law, which gave Kuta to the Christians and other minorities, including Shabaks, Yazidis and Zoroastrians. The parliament also amended Article 24, thus postponing local elections in Kirkuk, a city that the northern administration wishes to annex.

Since then, minorities staged demonstrations demanding control over Kuta. It was about that time that something more sinister happened. Christians living in the Mosul area began receiving death threats, and 12 have been killed so far. As a result, 2,650 Christian families fled from Mosul.

Kirkuk Archbishop Luis Sakou told Al-Ahram Weekly that the families that fled the town now live in eight predominantly-Christian villages close to Mosul, where they receive regular supplies of food and other necessities from their Muslim friends.

"Despite the ordeal, the Islamic-Christian solidarity we all believe in has survived. The Christians who received the refugees in their homes and churches have also restored my confidence in human nature. But there is no way out of this ordeal except through their return to their homes, so that children can go to school and adults can go to their work. We need a government decision to send them back and we need to see law and order restored in the city," Sakou said.

Asked whether the Christians were being bullied so that they let their seats in the local councils election go to another ethnic group, the archbishop told the Weekly that he wasn't interested in making charges without adequate evidence.

"I suspect that there are agencies involved in these acts, because the targets were well-planned. For example, when a father and son are both killed, it is clear that the intention is to bully and intimidate. Immigrants say that cars roamed their areas with loudspeakers telling them to leave. There are invisible hands and foreign hands involved, as well as interference from neighbouring countries. Also, I cannot absolve the Iraqi situation and the role of the US occupation forces from blame. All parties have their reasons and their interests. Perhaps the cancellation of Article 50 motivated some people to pressure minorities and make them vote for larger groups... It may all be a plan to get Christians out of Iraq, or to portray Islam as an intolerant religion. There are many possibilities and assumptions, but I cannot make accusations without proof."

Sakou said that the government has to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice, so as to reassure the country. He scoffed at a recent government statement saying that a man was executed in Hodeithah (western Iraq) after pleading guilty to the killing of Bishop Paul Faraj Rahou and three of his escorts in May 2008. Eyewitnesses, the archbishop noted, saw three vehicles attacking and abducting the bishop. "Without releasing the findings of the investigation, the execution doesn't make sense."

Most Islamic groups in the country have denounced the bullying and killing of Christians. The Islamic Army, the Islamic State of Iraq, and like-minded groups have all issued statements to this effect.

So who is involved in the killings? A Christian eyewitness told Al-Sharqiya television that the man who killed his brother was dressed as a policeman. Another eyewitness said he feared for his life if he were to reveal the identity of those who forced him to flee his home.

Christians of all sects lived in Iraq along their Muslim brothers for centuries. The Iraqi church in Mosul was actually instrumental in making Mosul a part of Iraq in 1927.

Caption: Several people were killed and nine others injured after a car bomb exploded in Baquba, 60km from Baghdad

C a p t i o n 2: Several people were killed and nine others injured after a car bomb exploded in Baquba, 60km from Baghdad




Al-Ahram Weekly Online : Located at: http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2008/921/re9.htm