Tuesday, 31 March 2009

TAZIYE MESAJI

ITC Lideri Dr. Sadettin Ergeç, BBP Genel Başkanı Sivas Bağımsız Milletvekili Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu’nun şahadeti nedeniyle, bir başsağlığı mesajı yayınlandı. Mesaj şöyle:Büyük Birlik Partisinin Genel Başkanı Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu‘nun vefatını büyük üzüntü ve teessürle öğrenmiş bulunuyorum. Türk siyasi hayatı, önemli bir şahsiyetini kaybetmiştir. Türk siyasi tarihinin simge kişiliklerinden Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu, yaşamı boyunca etik değerleri ön planda tutarak, benimsediği ilkeli çizgisi, saygın duruşu, nezaketi ve milliyetçi kimliği ile örnek olmuştur. Merhuma Tanrı’dan rahmet; ailesine, dostlarına, sevenlerine ve Türk milletine başsağlığı dileklerimi iletiyorum.

Dr. Sadettin ERGEÇ
Irak Türkmen Cephesi Genel Başkanı ve Kerkük Milletvekili

Monday, 30 March 2009

Iraq serves Turkey a rare treat

Iraq serves Turkey a rare treat
By Sami Moubayed

http://www.atimes.com

DAMASCUS - A historical run-through of non-state players in the Middle East concludes that they were never intended to win, just achieve the short- and long-term objectives of their patrons.

In 1974, former United States secretary of state Henry Kissinger encouraged Iraqi Kurds to rebel, for example, to drain the energy of the Iraqi army and divert Baghdad's attention from supporting Syria's "steadfastness front” against Israel.

Kissinger fanned the flames of conflict in Iraq and was generous with the Kurds, prompting Kurdish leader Mustapha Barazni to send him expensive rugs as a token of appreciation, and a gold necklace for his bride on the occasion of Kissinger's marriage in March 1974.

This incident, among Kissinger's numerous endeavors, was revealed during the Watergate investigations in 1976, in what became known as the Pike Report. The testimony said that Kissinger had armed and financed the Kurds to dissuade Iraq from "adventurism", such as coming to the aid of Syria. The report added, "Our clients, who were encouraged to fight, were not told of this policy."

From where Kissinger saw things, the Kurds were never intended to win, only weaken Iraq.

This week, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) suffered a similar trade-off, when Turkish President Abdullah Gul visited Baghdad and met with Kurdistan Prime Minister Nechervan Barzani (the grandson of Mustapha). The latter promised that the Kurdistan-based PKK would lay down its arms completely - thereby ending a state of war with Turkey that has lasted for 30 years - in exchange for a full pardon for all Kurds who had fought the Turkish government.

Clearly, Barzani had not consulted with the PKK before making Gul his offer. The PKK immediately snapped back, saying that Barzani's offer was "wrong, because it benefits nobody but enemies of the Kurdish people”. Barzani - whose meeting with Gul was a remarkable event in its own right - added that he would not allow non-state players, like the PKK, to use the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan as a base to launch war against Turkey.

Gul said, "I told him [Barzani] explicitly that the PKK terrorist organization and their camps are ... in your region [and] you need to take a clear position against them. Once the PKK is eliminated, there are no bounds to what is possible: you are our neighbors and kinsmen."

For his part, Barzani said, "We are determined, and we confirm again our territory will not be used to attack Turkey." Falling in line with the "new mood" in relations between Turkey, Iraq and the Kurds, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, recently said that creating an independent Kurdish state - his dream for over five decades - was "impossible", describing it as a "dream in poems".
His comments were carried in the Turkish daily Sabah. "I tell this to my Turkish brothers: don't be afraid of Kurdish independence. To stay within Iraq is in the interest of the Kurdish people in an economic, cultural and political sense."

Coming from Talabani, the Kurdish version of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, this was a bold statement, reflecting wisdom that comes with age, and a strong understanding of what can be achieved in real life and what has to remain nothing but an inspiring dream.

Twenty years ago, it would have been impossible for Talabani to make such a thundering statement. Barzani grabbed the cue from the veteran Kurdish leader, who is on the verge of political retirement, and offered the PKK on a gold platter to Gul. Had it not been for Talabani's blessing, the PKK would not currently be based in Iraqi Kurdistan.

This is the first time that a Turkish president has visited Iraq in 33 years, and the first time ever that one has met with an official from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), which has had de facto autonomy in northern Iraq since 1991.

Not only has the KRG ignited the ambitions of Turkish Kurds, who want to carve 50% of their aspired state out of Turkey, but also it has harbored warriors of the PKK, under the watchful eye of the Barzani clan, since 2003.

The PKK was worried - with due right - by the Barzani initiative and Talabani's words, believing that some kind of deal was being hatched between big players in the Middle East at their expense.

A PKK commander, Haval Roze, barked out, "No one has the right to tell the PKK fighters to lay down their weapons or leave the territory of Kurdistan.” Roze seemed to forget that the only reason the PKK was there in the first place was because Barzani, and his uncle, President Maasoud Barzani, had given them sanctuary after 2003. If it desires, the KRG can also get them to leave.

Although the US labels the PKK a terrorist organization, it refuses to crack down on their cells in northern Iraq, knowing from the al-Qaeda experience how difficult it is to trace and combat a non-state player. It had too much on its hands already, combating al-Qaeda and ex-Ba'athists in different parts of Iraq, to worry about the PKK.

When the militia's terrorist acts continued, becoming unbearable to the Turkish government, Ankara responded with force in 2007-2008, authorizing attacks on Iraqi Kurdistan and forcing the Americans to cooperate with their long-time North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally in what the Turks describe is part of the global "war on terror".

Blamed for the death of no less than 40,000 Turks since 1984, Ankara insists that the PKK is no different from al-Qaeda. In January, Turkey, Iraq and the US agreed to set up a command center in north Iraq to coordinate efforts against the PKK. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who initially humored the Kurds to keep his shaky coalition cabinet floating in Baghdad, was forced to follow suit, also supporting the Turkish effort.

Three things are new:
• Gul's willingness to walk that extra mile to defuse long-lasting Turkish problems with the Kurds.
• Talabani's statements on Kurdish nationhood.
• The KRG's willingness to abandon the PKK in exchange for a peaceful relationship with Turkey.

Gul's opponents grabbed at the opportunity to criticize him after the Iraq visit for using the word “Kurdistan”, which is taboo in official Turkish discourse. Talabani's allies criticized him for putting dampers on a dream he had dedicated his life to achieving. Both presidents gave reasonable answers.

Talabani said that real politics are one thing, and dreams are another. Gul reasonably argued that this was the region's official name, as stated by the Iraqi constitution, adding, "What shall I say? We do not refuse to say Macedonia because Greece refuses to do so.”

Gul had made headlines in September 2008 by paying a landmark visit to Armenia, again, trying to mend broken fences between Turkey and the Armenians. His visit was at the invitation of his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisyan to watch an Armenia-Turkey football match in the European Cup, although the countries do not have diplomatic relations.

On March 24, Turkey announced that it was planning to launch Armenian-language radio programming, for two to three hours a day, similar to a Kurdish program that started in 2008 and a Kurdish TV channel, which launched this January. More friends for Turkey, and fewer enemies, seemed to be the motto of the Turkish president.

US President Barack Obama arrives in Turkey on April 5 to acknowledge the importance of Turkey as America's ally in the region, an economic and political heavyweight that follows a moderate Islam, which needs to be copied throughout the Muslim world.

That might explain why Talabani and Barzani are both over-anxious to be on the good side of Turkey. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has already made the trip to Ankara, and so has Obama's Middle East envoy, George Mitchell. Gone are the days of US anger at Turkey's refusal to allow the US to use its territories to launch war against Iraq in 2003.

Also gone is America's fury at Ankara for hosting Hamas leaders like Khaled Meshaal, or its loud words criticizing Israel at Davos last January. Turkey has already announced that it is willing to mediate between Iran and the US, after having mediated indirect talks in 2008 between Syria and Israel.

All parties reason that Turkey cannot be sidelined from any solutions to the region, and it will be Obama's strategic partner in 2009-2013. It would be madness to maintain sour relations with Ankara, and if the price is the PKK, then so be it.

Sami Moubayed is editor-in-chief of Forward Magazine in Syria.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

ALTUNKÖPRÜ KATLİAMI


Ali Kasapoğlu


Tam dört yıl oldu Altunköprü katliamı belgesel filminin çekimi için ilçeye gideli. Altunköprü insanımız o zaman yakından tanıdım. Sevincini ve hüznünü üç günülük bir çekim sırasında paylaştık. O gün için on dört yıl geçmişti katliamın üstünden ama hayret ettiğim bir olay vardı, şehit yakınları olayı sanki o gün gibi yaşıyorlardı. Hüzünleri taze,gözleri nemli ve bir çoğu olayı anlatırken içten ağlıyor kendilerini tutamıyordu Altunköprülüm.

Aradan on sekiz yıl geçti her yıl olduğu gibi bu yılda şirin ilçemde siyasilerim anıta çelenk koydular ve Türkmen insanımın kulağının alıştığı klasik sözleri ettiler. Televizyon ve radyolarımızda uzun uzun bu çalışmalara yer veriliyor ve tabi ki yarın yazılı ve elektronik basınımda bu çalışmalara süslü püslü yer verecek. Allah razı olsun yılda bir kere olsa da siyasilerim, politikacım ve medyacım Altunköprülü garibimin yanındadır.

Bu yıl anma törenleri sanki biraz daha kalabalık, ilgili ve daha organizeliydi gibime geldi,yanılıyor muyum acaba. Kürsüye gelen konuşmacıların önündeki televizyon logoları sayıca daha kalabalıktı geçmişteki yıllara oranla. Konuşmacılarım şiir gibi konuştular vallaha, mest olduk.Tüm bunlara rağmen Türkmen insanımın beklentileri yerine getirilmemiştir.

Altunköprülüm bunu düşünüyordu, belki de çok istiyordu, Şehitlerimiz bizleri, büyükbaşlarımızı ve yöneticilerimizi birleştirebilir mi ?. Şehitlerimiz için bir arada değilsek, şehitlerimiz bile bizi birleştiremez. Allah şehitlerimiz rahmet eylesin ama bizlerde yürüyen ölüler olmayalım.
http://bizturkmeniz.com/tr/index.htm

’ Türkiye’nin aktif dış politikası Kuzey Irak’ta farklı grupları birbirine yaklaştırdı.'



28.03.2009 tarihinde Zaman Gazetesine konuşan Irak Türkmen Cephesi Almanya Temsilcisi Sayın Ganim Authman ‘’ Türkiye’nin aktif dış politikası Kuzey Irak’ta farklı grupları birbirine yaklaştırdı.

Türkiye’nin girişimleri ile kuzey Irak’ta çözüm sürecinin hızla ilerlediğini söyledi. Bölgeyi yakından takip eden Authman son dönemde artan siyasi ilişkiler hakkında ,’’Türkiye’nin aktif dış politikası Kuzey Irak’ta farklı gruplar birbirine yaklaştırdı. Türkiye Bölgede ekonomik olarak son yirmi yıldır etkinliğinin giderek zaten arttırıyor. Bölgeye Türkiye’nin ekonomi açılımına ek olarak siyasi açılımlar yapması da kalkınmaya ek olarak siyasi açılımlar yapması da kalkınmaya ek olarak istikrarı getiriyor. 33 yıl aradan sonra ilk defa bir Türk Cumhurbaşkanı Irak’ı ziyaret etti.’’ dedi. Ekonomik ve siyasi gelişmelere ek olarak sivil girişimlerin de önemine değinen Authman, ‘’ Türkler Tarafından Açılan okullara Barzani ve Talabani başta olmak üzere önemli siyasetçilerin yakın akrabaları okuyor. Okullara Türkmen, Kürt, Arap, Süryani ailelerin çocukları okuyor.

Önümüzdeki günler kuzey Irak’ın çoğunlukta Kürtlerin yaşadığı üç vilayetinde de mahalli seçimler olacak. Bunlar Süleymaniye. Erbil. Dohuk. Irak’ta mahalli seçimler 31.Ocak 2009’da yapılmış olmasına rağmen üç vilayet seçimleri Türkiye ile yapma kararı aldı. Kerkük’te ise seçimler 29 Mart’ta da yapılmayacak. Bunun sebebi hakkında Authman şunları söyledi: ‘’Amerika’nın Irak’ı işgalinden sonra Kerkük’e Kerküklü olmayan yaklaşık 600 bin kürt yerleşti. Bu ise asıl nüfus yaklaşık 1.milyon olan şehrin yapısını ciddi oranda değiştirdi. Bu şartlarda seçim yapılması doğru netice vermez dedi.

INFO.ITC.BERLİN

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Monsanto's seeds are being forced on Iraqi Farmers by law!

Oct 15 08 - First, it forces Iraq’s commercial farmers to use registered terminator seeds (the “protected variety”). Then it defines natural seeds as illegal (the “infringing variety”), in a classic Orwellian turn of language.

This is so incredible that it must be re-stated: the exotic genetically scrambled seeds are the “protected variety” and the indigenous seeds are the “infringing variety.”

As Jeffrey Smith explains, author of Order 81: Re-Engineering Iraqi Agriculture:
“To qualify for PVP [Plant Variety Protection], seeds have to meet the following criteria: they must be ‘new, distinct, uniform and stable’… it is impossible for the seeds developed by the people of Iraq to meet these criteria. Their seeds are not ‘new’ as they are the product of millennia of development. Nor are they ‘distinct’. The free exchange of seeds practiced for centuries ensures that characteristics are spread and shared across local varieties. And they are the opposite of ‘uniform’ and ’stable’ by the very nature of their biodiversity.” (3)

Order 81 comes with the Orwellian title of “Plant Variety Protection.” Any self-respecting scientist knows, however, that imposing biological standardization accomplishes the exact opposite: It reduces biodiversity and threatens species. So Order 81 comes with an Orwellian title and consists of Orwellian provisions.

Please see:
http://morris108.wordpress.com/2008/10/24/shareholders-ask-monsanto-to-defend-us-constitution-iraqi-farmers-legally-forced-to-use-monsanto-seeds-ex-director-advises-obama/

Friday, 27 March 2009

A Sad New Record for Iraq

According to an UNHCR report, published March 24 2009, Iraqi refugees are heading the list of asylum applications worldwide for 2008: “For the third consecutive year, Iraq was the leading country of origin. The number of Iraqi claims is almost twice as high as those submitted by Somali asylum-seekers, the second most important source country. Other important source countries are the Russian Federation, Afghanistan, China, and Serbia.

Iraqis lodged some 40,500 new asylum claims during the year, or roughly every tenth application in the industrialized world. This figure is a 10 per cent decrease compared to 2007 (45,100 claims). The 2007 and 2008 levels are still below the ones witnessed between 2000 and 2002 when, on average, 50,000 Iraqis sought international protection in the industrialized world.” (http://www.unhcr.org/statistics/STATISTICS/49c796572.pdf)

It proves that it is not an overstatement to say that the sanctions, the invasion and the occupation of Iraq constitute one of the largest humanitarian disasters of our time. And yet the press does not recognize it as such and world public opinion is unaware of it. And this in spite of the many shocking reports (like the recent Oxfam report on the situation of Women). One can consider this fact as nothing less than a form of collective negationism. We have to break the silence!


Lieven De Cauter

philosopher/writer
Department of Architecture and Urban Planning, Kuleuven
Mediaschool Rits, Brussels
Berlage Institute, Rotterdam
BRussells Tribunal

www.brusselstribunal.org

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Gül, Türkmen milletvekillerini kabul etti



Gül, Türkmen milletvekillerini kabul etti


24 Mart 2009, Salı


Cumhurbaşkanı Abdullah Gül, Irak ziyaretinin ikinci gününde başkent Bağdat'ta Iraklı Türkmen milletvekillerini kabul etti.


Cumhurbaşkanı Gül'e tahsis edilen Devlet Konuk Evi'nde yerel saatle 09.00'da başlayan görüşme sürüyor.


Cumhurbaşkanı Gül'ün kabul ettiği milletvekilleri arasında Irak Türkmen Cephesi Başkanı Saaddettin Ergeç, Şii İttifakından Abbas Beyatlı, Sadr grubundan Fevzi Ekrem ve Hüseyin Şerif ile bağımsız milletvekili İzzettin Devlet yer alıyor.


Can Turkey bring hope to the Iraqis?

Gul and Talabani Met in Baghdad: Can Turkey Bring Hope to the Iraqis?

An interview with Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ihsan Bal, the director of the USAK Centre for International Security, Ethnic Studies and Terrorism, regarding Turkish President Abdullah Gul's visit to Iraq.

Q: What is the importance of Turkish President Abdullah Gul's Visit to Iraq?

Bal: Turkish President Abdullah Gul's two-day visit to Iraq has great importance for four reasons. First of all, Turkey's probable contribution to the development of Iraq is very essential. Iraq has been in an uncertain and instable period for many years, and the attempt to establish a democracy needs serious assistance/contribution from outsiders.

There are many problems that need to be solved: the instability in the region since 2003, the lack of military foundations to provide security in Iraq, state organizations' inability to work efficiently, and some resistance movements' use of Iraq as battleground and training field. Turkey has solutions for these questions. Turkey is visiting Iraq as a regional power who could make a huge contribution to Iraq and find constructive solutions for its problems.

While in Iraq, Turkey has an agenda for the investments of TIKA (Turkish International Cooperation & Development Agency), promoting Iraq's natural resources to the world market, and re-strengthening Iraq's economy. Building trust between the two countries and removing suspicion, especially with the Iraqi Kurds, promotes Turkey and presents it as model country for Iraq's reconstruction and democratization.

The ongoing negotiations between Iraq and Turkey addressed Turkey as the only country with which all parties/groups in Iraq could cooperate to reach a common point by bringing the Kurdish population into the existing peace between the Arabs and Turkmens.

Therefore, Turkey is warmly welcomed by Iraq

Q: What about the security issues and agreements between the two countries?


Bal: Besides all these negotiations and warm welcomes, there are definitely proposals regarding the security issues. There are especially two important things that Turkey wants to realize. The first one is to sign joint security cooperation agreements with Iraq and the second one is that Turkey would train the Iraqi security forces if needed.

The Turkish Minister of the Interior is attending this visit with President Gul. This shows the seriousness of Turkey and makes the previous security proposals more visible and tangible. Another important point is that the parties are going to make an agreement which will benefit everyone, not damage them. In this process, nobody will lose. Iraqi President Talabani and Turkish President Gul have said similar things during the 5th World Water Forum: "If we all use our minds, there is a chance for everybody to win and we can build a peaceful future."

Q: Is it possible to make economic agreements as well during the visit?

Bal: President Gul was also accompanied by the state minister responsible for exports. This is important for the region, because the agreements will help Iraq to market their natural gas and oil to the world. The visit also aims to support the Iraqi entrepreneurs/investors and provide the basic necessary items and goods for the development of Iraq. Turkey, as an ally of the US, is an important regional power that could support the region's global integration. From this perspective, Turkey is important for the Iraqi people, who were crushed during the Saddam era and experienced major trauma in the occupation period, in terms of the construction of psychological will and the help that they need to save them from the mental trauma based on long and severe experiences, rather than the financial help that they need for establishment of Iraq's future.

It is obvious that Turkey could give Iraq much more than it requests in return. Turkey's most important gain would be a democratic and wealthy neighboring Iraq that could solve its problems and secure itself.

Iraq, which has reached a specific level of development in the southeastern region, has an increasing level of belief in democracy and law day-by-day, and could use its wealth of gas and oil in this framework, has a great importance for Turkey in terms of Turkey's border security, the liquidation of the PKK terrorist organization, a more peaceful environment with the Kurds, avoidance of radical movements based in Iraq, and the solution of the Kirkuk issue. Turkish President Gul's two-day visit to Iraq will contribute to all these problems and is important in terms of the region's security, peace, and stability.

Edited by Kaitlin MacKenzie


www.usak.org.trwww.turkishweekly.netwww.usakgundem.com

KERKÜK’ süz IRAK ziyareti….!?


KERKÜK’ süz IRAK ziyareti….!?
Uzun zamandır beklenen ziyaret nihayet geçekleşiyor..!
Otuz yılı aşkın bir süredir ilk defa Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Cumhur Başkanı Irak’ ı ziyaret ediyor.

Öğrendiğim kadarıyla programda Kerkük ziyareti yok.
Çocukluğumu hatırlıyorum, Türk Devlet büyükleri her Irak ziyaretlerinde mutlaka Kerkük’ e uğralardı…
Türkiye’ den, Anadolu’dan selam getirirlerdi ve bizler de o manevi destekle o ruhla yıllarca yaşardık .. taa ki yeni bir selam gelinceye kadar.! Ayakta durduk, durabildik hem de dimdik.. selamdan selama…

Kerkük, Irak Türklerinin kalbidir..neden ne olursa olsun (bahane üretmek çok, yanlış akıl ve yol gösterenlerde çok ) bu yüce Türkmen şehri ziyaret edilmeliydi.
Oradaki soydaşlarımıza paha biçilmez muhteşem bir armağan olurdu. Her zamanki gibi yine pırlanta bir fırsatı yanlış hesaplar ve bilgiler yüzünden kaçırdık.

Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Hükümeti ve Devleti Gazza‘ da gösterdiği hassasiyetin çok azını bile maalesef Irak Türkleri için gösteremiyor, göstermiyor.
Sizleri bilmiyorum, ama benim yüreğim acıdı…sızlıyor….sızlıyoooor….!!

Atasözü ( Türkmence ) : ( ayag nece varsın gevil getmiyen yere = ayak nasıl gider gönül gitmeyen yere…!? )

Dr. Ferid Müftü
23. Mart. 2009

Sunday, 22 March 2009

IRAQ - A Forgotten Humanitarian Disaster

A Forgotten Humanitarian Disaster
By Lieven De Cauter


March 20, 2009 "BRussells Tribunal " --- The sixth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq is a sad occasion for the balance sheet: during six years of occupation 1.2 million citizens were killed, 2,000 doctors killed, and 5,500 academics and intellectuals assassinated or imprisoned. There are 4.7 million refugees: 2.7 million inside the country and two million have fled to neighbouring countries, among which are 20,000 medical doctors. According to the Red Cross, Iraq is now a country of widows and orphans: two million widows as a consequence of war, embargo, war again and occupation, and five million orphans, many of whom are homeless (estimated at 500,000).

Almost a third of Iraq’s children suffer from malnutrition. Some 70 per cent of Iraqi girls no longer go to school. Medical services, not so long ago the best in the region, have totally collapsed: 75 per cent of medical staff have left their jobs, half of them have fled the country, and after six years of “reconstruction” health services in Iraq still do not meet minimum standards.

Because of the use of depleted uranium in ammunition by the occupation, the number of cancer cases and miscarriages has drastically increased. According to a recent Oxfam report, the situation of women is most worrisome. The study states that in spite of optimistic bulletins in the press, the situation of women keeps deteriorating. The most elementary supplies are still not available. Access to drinkable water is for large parts of the population a problem and electricity is functioning only three to six hours a day, and this in a state that was once a nation of engineers.

More than four in 10 Iraqis live under the poverty threshold and unemployment is immense (28.1 per cent of the active population). Besides 26 official prisons, there a some 600 secret prisons. According to the Iraqi Union of Political Prisoners, over 400,000 Iraqis have suffered detention since 2003, among which 6,500 minors and 10,000 women. Torture is practiced on a large scale, and some 87 per cent of detainees remain uncharged.

Corruption is immense: according to Transparency International, Iraq, after Somalia and Myanmar, is the most corrupt country in the world. The American Foreign Affairs journal calls Iraq “a failed state”. This is symbolised by the fact that Iraq, a state that has the third largest oil reserves in the world, must import refined oil on a massive scale. Authorities are on the verge of giving oil concessions for 25 years to international (also European) oil companies, though they have no mandate or legal authority to do so. Instead of being paid reparations for the enormous destruction wrought on the infrastructure of the country, entailing billions in oil revenues lost, Iraq is again in line to be robbed.

There is large scale ethnic cleansing going on against the Turkmen, the Christians, the Assyrians and the Shebak. Kirkuk is being “Kurdicised” by massive immigration and illegal settlements (of Israeli inspiration) and its history falsified.

This data, referenced in numerous reports, was presented during an information session in the European Parliament organised by the BRussells Tribunal on 18 March by a panel of Iraqi specialists. On 19 March, there was a session in the Belgian Parliament where a national representative after the statement of Dr Omar Al-Kubaissi, a renowned Iraqi cardiologist and expert on health, frankly admitted that he had no idea of the scale of the humanitarian disaster. Who can blame him? In the European press we hear little or nothing concerning this humanitarian disaster. In the newspapers there is talk of elections, of an occasional bomb attack, of the political process, of the positive results of the “surge”, etc, but concerning the suffering the Iraqi people … next to nothing. We have fallen asleep and we console ourselves: Obama plans the retreat American troops; therefore the issue of Iraq is off the agenda. The truth is that we want to forget this humanitarian disaster, because the West is responsible. Of course, in the first and last instance the administrations of Bush and Blair, but also the Netherlands, Denmark, Hungary, Poland and Italy were part of the coalition and hence accessory while Antwerp was a vital transit port for the invasion. Therefore also Europe bears a heavy responsibility. How is it possible that we can dissimulate the impact of the war, which initially stirred world public opinion, in spite of the flow of shocking reports? “Darfur” sounds a bell meanwhile (and correctly so) as a sort of African holocaust, but the crimes against the humanity of a near “genocidal” scale in Iraq are swept under the carpet. If the press does not do its job, how can public opinion be touched? Even activists and well meaning politicians are not on the level. This type of disinformation, and the indifference that comes with it, one could call a form of negationism, or at least a type of immoral ignorance. Wir haben es nicht gewusst, we will say. But the people of the Arab region will not forgive us. Let this be clear.

Lieven De Cauter
philosopher, initiator of the BRussells Tribunal
20 March 2009

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OPINION: Post-Sectarian Strategies for Iraq, by Reidar Visser

Post-Sectarian Strategies for Iraq
By Reidar Visser (www.historiae.org)
18 March 2009

It is becoming increasingly unfashionable to think long and hard about Iraq. In Washington, a great intellectual trek from Iraq to Afghanistan is already well underway. Despite the increasing similarity between Obama policy on Iraq and priorities defined by the Pentagon in the latter part of the Bush presidency, critical Democratic voices on Iraq policy are gradually becoming something of a rarity, with growing support for a narrative to the effect that “the peaceful conduct of the January 2009 local elections represented a transformation of the military gains during ‘the surge’ to political gains in the shape of a more mature form of politics in Iraq.” In the capital of other countries of the world, including many Arab states, there are increasing signs of willingness to accept the Iraqi transformation process as something that is now more or less complete.

But if the fundament – the 2005 constitution Iraqi political more generally – is in itself unsecure and disputed, is it really such an excellent idea to focus only on the surface of Iraqi politics and to ignore the deeper questions? Is it a sound strategy to reduce national reconciliation issues to the question of Kirkuk, where a “grand bargain” logic would simply mean the perfection of the bazaar-style carve-up of Iraq seen since 2003, and not its much-needed antidote? Is it wise to call for a “regional role” for Iran at a time when many Shiites in Iraq, Iran and elsewhere consider this to be nothing but a cave-in to a particular Khomeinist current that has sought to dominate Shiism globally since the late 1970s even though it is still rejected by many members of its targeted constituencies across the Middle East, including in Iran and Iraq?

Two recent reports on Iraq policy issues address these and other questions. The first one, More than “Shiites” and “Sunnis”: How a Post-Sectarian Strategy Can Change the Logic and Facilitate Sustainable Political Reform in Iraq (available as PDF) has been prepared by a group of prominent Iraqi academics and professionals in cooperation with the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) and explains how institutional reform and constitutional revision are the keys that can guard Iraq against many of the threats that historically have been at the forefront of the minds of Western policy-makers – including excessive Iranian political interference, the dangers of a relapse into authoritarianism, and/or renewed attempts by jihadist groups to turn Iraq into a sectarian battlefield and a central front against the West.

The Iraqi group singles out the December 2009 parliamentary elections as the most promising vehicle for bringing political change to Iraq, and asks for the support of the international community so that these elections can be not only free and fair but also generate a serious debate about the basic framework of Iraq’s political system itself.

The report facilitated by NUPI concludes with 18 specific recommendations as to how the outside world can regain leverage in Iraq while at the same time aligning itself with broad national and “post-sectarian” Iraqi agendas rather than sectarian ones. Among the key proposals are the following:

• The United States should officially acknowledge that, between 2003 and 2008, US strategy in Iraq has not always been sufficiently appreciative of the desire of the majority of Iraqis to live as one nation, and at times has directly been at odds with the vision of a unified state. President Barack Obama’s emphasis on Iraqi national unity in his recent policy speech was a step in the right direction, but more of this is needed so that those Iraqis currently on the sidelines of politics can feel that even if Washington does not want to interfere in the constitutional process anymore, the US at the very least would not try to prevent them from working for a non-sectarian Iraq (as some conspiracy theories have it). Simply refraining from uncritically reproducing sectarian categories in policy declarations on Iraq would send a positive signal; an official statement to the effect that the United States is looking forward to the day when merit alone should determine the identity of Iraq’s top political leaders would be even better, and would resonate with important forces in Iraq that still feel alienated in a system where an ethno-sectarian logic continues to prevail in many arenas.

• While “unconditional engagement” by the Arab states with the new Iraq to some extent may serve as a counterweight against Iranian influences, it seems unwise that the entire Arab world should give up all its leverage at once. Thus, at least some Arab states should try to keep Iraqi constitutional issues on the agenda by linking debt cancellations and full restoration of normal relations to progress in the constitutional revision process in whatever direction the next Iraqi parliament wants to take it. Again, a promise of reform – or simply making it legitimate to talk about reform – could be sufficient to induce broader participation in the 2009 parliamentary elections. This would appeal to and galvanize both the vast masses of voters whose ballots in the last local elections were “wasted” (in the sense that they did not elect any representatives), as well as important segments of the resistance that are currently on the sidelines (who would be more responsive to carrots framed in “Iraqi” rather than in “Sunni” terms). The degree of leverage that actually exists at this level was revealed quite spectacularly in recent meetings between Iraqis and the Secretary-Genera of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, as both Sadrists and Daawa elements (in this case Ibrahim al-Jaafari) indicated an interest for an Arab League role (in facilitating national reconciliation or achieving debt relief respectively).

• President Obama is also on the right track with his focus on refugee return, but the US government could improve its chances of success if a deliberate attempt were made to talk about the Iraqi exiles as a great resource and an asset to the future government of the country rather than only as a problem. In other words, they are much more than “a challenge to the stability of the region” – a phrase that occurred in Obama’s policy speech at Camp Lejeune in February.

• To open negotiations with Iran about everything except Iraq (which would not be up for negotiation) would send a reassuring signal to many Iraqis, the Arab world at large, as well as Iranian oppositionists and reformists. Not only is fear of horse-trading about Iraq between Washington and Tehran the most recurrent nightmare scenario among Iraqis who are critical of the post-2003 political process. Many reformist Iranians, too – and Shiites critical of Khomeinism generally – would welcome an end to the idea of an “active regional role” for Iran. That sort of role would only give hardliners an excuse for disregarding reform at home, whereas US willingness to negotiate on nuclear energy and resumption of bilateral diplomatic relations between Iran and the United States would resonate with Iranian demands in areas where the regime in Tehran appears to enjoy more widespread popular backing for its positions.

• The group of Iraqis agrees that some kind of grand settlement on Kurdistan issues would have a beneficial effect on the atmosphere of Iraqi politics more generally (hence, the report is not titled More than "Shiites" and "Sunnis" and "Kurds"), but strongly recommends a search for a solution that would bring closure rather than create domino effects. This is why the group has not embraced the International Crisis Group proposal of “oil for soil” (which would create a federal region of Kirkuk) or UNAMI’s piecemeal demarcation project (which adopts an ethnic logic that could ultimately tear Kirkuk apart and open ever more “disputed territories” dossiers). Instead, it has proposed that international recognition of the autonomy of the three current Kurdistan governorates could provide unique depth to the Kurdish autonomy while at the same time allaying the fears of the neighbours (this proposal is inspired by ideas previously put forward by Liam Anderson), whereas a 10-year transitory regime for Kirkuk could provide the breathing space needed to move away from the destructive Balkans logic that currently prevails.

Another policy paper, Iran’s Role in Post-Occupation Iraq: Enemy, Good Neighbor or Overlord? (by Reidar Visser and published by The Century Foundation, available as PDF) shares some of these perspectives, and adds some discussion of the relationships between Iran and the various Shiite Islamist factions in Iraq after a year which US policy-makers often portray as a bad one for Tehran as far as the Iraq situation is concerned. Here are some of the main findings:

• While the common notion of Iraqi Shiites as Iraqi nationalists appears to be true with regard to the Shiite population of the country as a whole, it is not historically correct with respect to the pro-Iranian exiled Shiite Islamists that were installed as leaders of Iraq by the United States since 2003, such as ISCI and at least some of the Daawa factions.

• The irreducible minimum of Iranian desiderata in Iraq appears to be the maintenance of a system in which politics remains defined on the basis of sectarian identity, regardless of state structure more generally. Thus, whilst Tehran may be only experimenting as far as territorial partition in the shape of federalism is concerned (confer the increasingly ambiguous position of ISCI), psychological partition in the shape of ethno-sectarian quotas and power-sharing seems to be a more permanent goal. For this reason alone, a post-sectarian agenda seems the most promising avenue for a counter-strategy against excessive Iranian influence in Iraq.

• Accordingly, the reconstitution of the United Iraqi Alliance – possibly dressed up as a “national” and more centralist alliance under the leadership of the Daawa and the Sadrists but still a clearly Shiite Islamist project – could be a natural priority for Tehran when faced with ISCI’s declining popularity.

• Whilst Nuri al-Maliki has taken a number of valuable steps towards emphasising the virtues of a functioning centralised state (rather than abstract project of new federal regions), as well as professionalism as the number one criterion for recruitment to high-level jobs, only institutional change and constitutional revision can consolidate these positive tendencies in a way that would make Iraq more corrosive against external influences. Today, the Washington narrative of Maliki as an Iraqi nationalist and even secularist with widespread popular appeal remains problematic in many ways – including the continued importance of some pro-Iranian elements within his electoral coalition, his poor performance in Sunni areas north of Baghdad in the recent local elections, as well as renewed flirtation even inside his own Daawa branch with policies that can only benefit Iran in the long run (like pursuing a sectarian logic in the appointment of the next parliamentary speaker, or working to reconstitute a broader Shiite sectarian alliance).

• The United States seems to underestimate the scenario that a future pro-Iranian Iraqi regime may elect to (or feel pressured to) speak a perfectly Iraqi nationalist language on issues such as complete withdrawal of foreign troops (including “advisers” etc.) while at the same time coordinating pragmatically with Tehran for the long term. By way of example, for decades, Syria’s government has been impeccable in its ideological attachment to Arab nationalism but without jeopardising its long-standing ties to Iran.

Perhaps what many Iraqis now want from the outside world is most of all that these issues that relate to Iraq’s political system are allowed to remain on the agenda and are not swept under the carpet in uncritical jubilation for the drop in violence (and the new attention to Afghanistan). They continue to feel that the current system is biased against them, and that only systemic change can produce a level playing field. It may be tempting for the outside world to try to polish the facades in Iraq and then move on as if everything is normal, but that kind of approach also involves turning a blind eye to more profound issues that may well continue to haunt the region for decades unless they receive proper attention.

While American policy-makers are increasingly reluctant to have a wide-ranging debate on these questions, the Iraqis themselves continue to speak with a clear voice: for the sixth consecutive time since 2004, a majority of respondents in the ABC/BBC poll of Iraqis recently produced an overwhelming majority (this time 70%) in favour of a centralised state structure, hence effectively rejecting aspects of the 2005 constitution. While the federalism question in the poll is awkwardly framed (among other thing it does not do justice to the potential for asymmetrical federalism in the constitution), the result nonetheless speaks for itself: It shows the need for the international community to continue to ask tough questions about Iraq and its post-2003 system of government.

Irak Anayasası ve Türkmenler



Irak Anayasası ve Türkmenler
Dr.İsmet A. Bekir






1925 ila 1970 yılları arasında kalan dönem içerisinde beş anayasa hazırlanmış ve yürürlüğü konulmuştur. Bunlar; Irak Kanun-i Esasisi (1925 Yılı Krallık Anayasası), 1958 Yılı Irak Geçici Anayasası, 1964, 1968 ve 1970 yıllarına ait anayasalardır. Bunların yanında 1990 yılında da bir anayasa projesi hazırlanmıştır. Ancak bu anayasaların hiç biri, Türkmenlerin, Irak’taki varlığına ve haklarına değinmemiştir. Sadece 1970 Anayasası, Irak toprak birliği kapsamında bütün azınlıkların meşru haklarını tanıyan bir hüküm içermiştir. Söz konusu hüküm, 1990 yılı anayasa projesinde de yer alıyordu. 1970 Anayasası ve 1990 yılına ait Anayasa projesi sadece bu hükme yer vermekle yetinip “azınlık” ve “meşru haklar” kavramının açıklamasını içermemiştir. (Meşru haklardan bahsederken acaba gayri meşru haklar da mı vardı?). Bütün bu anlatılanların yanına, Irak Cumhuriyeti’nin kuruluşundan beri Türkmenlere uygulanan mezalim ve haksızlıkları da ekleyebiliriz. Yıllar geçtikçe ve yöneticiler değiştikçe, bu baskıcı ve zalimce uygulamalar da artmıştır ve 09 Nisan 2003 tarihinde dikta rejimin sona ermesine kadar devam etmiştir. 8 Temmuz 2004 tarihinde yayımlanan Irak Geçiş Dönemi Yönetimi Kanunu, Türkmenlerin varlık ve haklarını tanıyan, yönetim, siyasi ve kültürel haklarını güvence altına alan ve Türkmence dilinde eğitim olanağını tanıyan ilk yerel anayasa niteliğindedir. Irak Geçiş Dönemi Yönetimi Kanunu ve Irak’ın 2005 Yılı Anayasasını incelersek Türkmenleri ilgilendiren konuları aşağıdaki gibi sıralayabiliriz:




1. Kerkük Meselesi



Irak’ın Geçiş Dönemi Yönetimi Kanunu’nun 53. maddesinin (c) fıkrası, Bağdat ve Kerkük illeri dışında herhangi üç ilin (üç ilden fazla olmamak kaydıyla) birleşerek kendi aralarında bir bölgesel yönetim kurma hakkını tanımıştır. Görüldüğü gibi Kerkük, herhangi bir bölgesel yönetime ilhak edilememektedir. Bununla birlikte 58. madde, Irak’ın birçok bölgesinde özellikle de Kerkük’te gerçekleştirilen demografik değişiklikleri yok etmek için alınması gereken önlemlerden (referandum, sayım ve normalleştirme gibi) bahsetmektedir. Bütün bu işlemlerin, adalet ilkelerine uygun bir şekilde ve daimi anayasanın onaylanmasına kadar yapılması gerekir.



Irak’ın 2005 yılı Anayasası, 20 Mayıs 2006 tarihinde yürürlüğe girdiğinde, sadece Bağdat’ın kurulacak olan bölgesel yönetimlere katılamayacağı hükmü vardı. Bu Anayasa, sadece Bağdat’ı istisna kabul ederek Kerkük’e değinmedi ve Geçiş Kanunu’nun 58. maddesi hükümleri, Anayasa’nın 140. maddesine yerleştirildi ve 58. maddenin hükümlerinin yerine getirilmesi ve gereken işlemlerin (normalleştirme, sayım ve referandum) Kerkük’te en geç 31 Aralık 2007 tarihine kadar gerçekleştirme yetkisi yürütme erkine verildi. Peki, bu tarih geldiğine ve işlemler tamamlanamadığına göre, 140. maddenin geçerliliği sona ermiş olmaz mı?



2008 yılına ait 36 numaralı Yerel ve İl Meclisi Seçimi Kanunu’nun 23. maddesi, söz konusu seçimleri, idari, güvenlik yetkilerinin ve kamu görevlerinin paylaştırılmasını takip eden evreye erteledi. Söz konusu paylaştırma eşit bir şekilde olacaktır ve 7 kişiden oluşan bir komisyon oluşturulacaktır. Bu üyelerin 2’si Türkmen, 2’si Kürt, 2’si Arap ve 1’i Hıristiyan olacaktır. Bu üyeler, Temsilciler Meclisi üyeleri arasından seçilecektir. Söz konusu Komisyon’un en geç 31 Aralık 2008 tarihine kadar oluşturulması gerekiyordu. Gerçekten de bu komisyon kurulmuş ve Temsilciler Meclisi’ne aşağıda sayılan hususları içeren bir rapor sunmuştur:



a- Kerkük’te yetkilerin paylaştırılması mekanizması



b- Kerkük’te 9 Nisan 2003 tarihi öncesi ve sonrası gerçekleştirilen kamu ve özel mülkiyetlere tecavüzlerin belirlenmesi ve bunların geçerli olan kanunlara uygun olarak düzeltilmesi ve kaldırılması.



c- Kerkük nüfusu ile ilgili (seçmen kütüğü dahil) sicil ve verilerin incelenmesi ve gözden geçirilmesi ve bununla ilgili öneri ve tavsiyelerin Yüksek Seçim Kuruluna sunulması.



d- Komisyon, oluşturduğu raporunu, en geç 31 Mart 2009 tarihine kadar Temsilciler Meclisi’ne sunmalıdır. Temsilciler Meclisi de Komisyon’un işleyişini izler. Seçimler, Temsilciler Meclisi’nin hazırlayacağı özel kanuna uygun olarak yapılır; bu kanun, tek bir seçim dönemi için geçerli olacaktır. Böyle bir kanun çıkarılamazsa, Başkanlık Konseyi, Başbakanlık ve Temsilciler Meclisi Başkanlığı, Birleşmiş Milletler’in yardımıyla Kerkük’te seçimlerin yapılması için uygun koşulları belirler. Bütün bunlar, şimdiden söz konusu özel kanunun projesini hazırlamayı gerektirir. Bizim kanaatimize göre bu kanun şu hususları içermelidir: İdari ve güvenlik yetkileri ve kamu görevleri, %32’si Türkmenlere, %32’si Kürtlere, %32’si Araplara ve %4’ü Hıristiyanlara olmak üzere paylaştırılmalı ve güvenlik dosyası orduya teslim edilmelidir. Bu mecliste, Türkmenlere, Kürtlere ve Araplara onar sandalye ve Hıristiyanlara iki sandalye verilmelidir. Bu dağılım, ilçe ve bucak meclislerinde de geçerli olmalıdır.



2. Türkmence Eğitim Hakkı



Irak’ın Geçiş Dönemi Yönetimi Kanunu, ilk bakışta, Türkmence dili ile eğitim hakkı tanıyan ilk kanun olarak görülebilir. Ancak bu hakkı tanıyan ilk kanun, 1931 yılına ait 74 sayılı kanun olmuştur. Bu kanun; Kerkük, Kifri ve birçok ilçe ve bucak mahkemelerinde dilin, Türkçe olduğuna hükmetmişti. Dava dilekçeleri Türkçe sunulabilirdi ve mahkeme kararlarından Türkçe nüsha alınabilirdi. Bu kanunda ayrıca, Kerkük ve Kifri’de resmi dil Türkçe olarak tanımlanıyordu. Ancak bu hükümlerin uygulama alanı daha sonra sınırlandırıldı. En sonunda, Türkçe dili, sadece okullarda okutulan tek bir ders haline geldi. Bu kanunun hükümlerinin uygulanmasına, 1937 yılında son verildi; ancak yaptığımız araştırma ve incelemeler neticesinde, bu kanunun iptal edildiğine ilişkin hiçbir resmi gazete bulamadık. Dolayısıyla bu kanun geçerli olmakla birlikte uygulanmamaktadır. 1970 yılında ise, dağılmış olan Devrim Konseyi tarafından çıkarılan 89 sayılı karar, eğitimin sadece ilkokullarda Türkmence olacağı hususunu düzenledi. Bu karar uygulamaya konularak okullar açıldı. Ancak hükümet kısa bir sürede bu kararı inkâr edip Türkmenlere kötü muamele ve zarar vermeye başladı; diğer yandan Türkmen okullarını da kapattı.



Irak’ın Geçiş Dönemi Yönetimi Kanunu yayımlandığında, söz konusu kanunun 9. maddesi, Irak halkına, kamuya ait eğitim kurumlarında, ana dillerini öğretme ve öğrenme hakkı tanıdı. Bu hüküm daha sonra, “eğitim kurallarına uygun olarak” ibaresi eklenerek 2005 Anayasası’nın 4.maddesinin 1. bendine yerleştirildi. Kanaatimize göre, Arapça ve İngilizce’yi öğretmekle birlikte, eğitimin dilinin tüm aşamalarının Türkmence olması gerekir.



3. Resmi Dil Olarak Türkmence



2005 Anayasası’nın 4.maddesi, Türkmen nüfusunun yoğun olduğu idari birimlerde resmi dilin Türkmence olduğuna hükmetmektedir. Ancak bu madde nüfus yoğunluğu kavramına ve bu dilin kullanma alanları konusuna bir açıklık getirmemiştir. Bu nedenle bu hükmü daha etkin bir hale getirmeliyiz. Şahsi görüşüme göre bu hüküm, resmi dilin resmi kamu işlerinde, mahkemelerde, kamu dairelerinde kullanılması anlamına gelmektedir. Türkmence isimlerin mağazalara, sokaklara ve semtlere verilmesi, şikâyet ve başvuru dilekçelerinin Türkmence yazılması buna örnek olarak verilebilir.



4. İdari, Kültürel, Siyasi ve Eğitimsel Haklar



Irak’ın Geçiş Dönemi Yönetimi Kanunu’nun 53/d maddesi, Türkmenlerin idari, kültürel ve siyasi haklarını güvence altına alıyordu. Ancak bu madde bu hakların ne anlama geldiğini açıklamamıştı. 2005 Anayasası yürürlüğe girdiğinde 125. madde Türkmenler, Keldaniler ve Asurlular gibi çeşitli milletlerin kültürel, idari, siyasi ve eğitimsel haklarını güvence altına alıp bu hakları daha sonra çıkarılacak bir kanun ile düzenleyecekti. Ancak bu kanun şimdiye kadar çıkmadı. Biz kendi açımızdan bu hakları inceledik ve bunlarla ilgili düşünce ve önerilerimizi sunduk (Beşir Gazetesinin 20 numaralı ve 29/03/2004 tarihli sayısında yayımlanan “Türkmenlerin Hakları ve Yayımlanan Anayasa” başlıklı makaleme ve Bağdat’taki Baba Gürgür araştırmalar Merkezinin 2005 yılında yayımladığı Avrak Turkmaniyye dergisinin 93-112 sayfalarında “Irak Anayasalarında Türkmenlerin Hakları” başlıklı raporuma bakınız). Anayasa’daki madde hükmünün uygulanmasını sağlamak için bu hükmü düzenleyen kanunun çıkarılmasında katkıda bulunmalıyız. Bu nedenle de bu kanunla ilgili bir hazırlık çalışması niteliğinde olan bir proje sunduk ve Avrak Turkmaniyye dergisinin Temmuz 1006 sayısında yayımladık. Çalışmada sunduğumuz düşünce ve planlardan yararlanılabilir.



Sonuç

Sunduğumuz projede en önemli düşüncemiz, Tuzhurmatu ve Telafer’i birer ile dönüştürme fikridir. İle dönüştürülen Telafer ve Tuzhurmatunun valisi ve ayrıca Kerkük’ün valisi Türkmen olacaktır. Diğer Türkmen ilçelerinde de kaymakamlar ve mahkeme başkanları Türkmen olmalıdır. Kentler, ilçe ve bucaklar, köyler yeniden adlandırılmalı, daha doğrusu 1920 yılında taşıdığı isimler geri getirilmelidir. Devlet makamlarında ve önemli kamu kurumlarında Türkmenlerin de yeri olmalı ve devlet, Türkmence eğitime ve Türkmen kültürüne maddi ve manevi destekte bulunmalıdır. Son olarak, siyasi alanda çalışmalara ve siyasi teşekküllere fırsat verilmelidir.


Irak Danıştayı Eski Başkanı

The Mandeans, one of Iraq's most ancient sects

By Kareem Zair, Azzaman

March 21, 2009
One of Iraq’s most ancient sects is on its way to become extinct after nearly 2,000 years of existence.The Mandeans, the world’s only surviving representatives of Gnosticism, have been living in southern Iraq since the 1st century A.D. But their existence is under serious threat.

Prior to the U.S. invasion, more than 30,000 lived in Iraq, mainly along the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and their tributaries."We fear for our lives particularly following several fatwas in which we are denied the status of the People of the Book," said Sheikh Sattar al-Hilou, the Mandeans’ chief in Iraq.

The term 'the People of the Book’ refers to non-Muslims who have been accorded special protection under Islamic Jurisprudence. The Koran calls them Ahl al-Kitab, a term, which besides Christians and Jews has historically covered the Mandeans.

Religious militias are using these fatwas, or religious decrees, against the Mandeans to force them to enter Islam, Hilou said.

He said he was not aware of anyone of his people converting to Islam despite threats of death."As a result more than 22,000 of my community have fled the country," he added.

He warned the Mandeans would cease to exist as the country’s most ancient sect if the government fails to protect them.The Mandeans are called in Iraq Subbas and for centuries they have been Iraq’s best goldsmiths and canoe makers.They are strongly pacifist and are not known to have ever resorted to violence.Former leader Saddam Hussein was very fond of the sect and had constructed a modern shrine for the Mandeans on the banks of the Tigris River in Baghdad.

The sect’s rituals, all of great antiquity, cannot be performed without flowing water, hence their preference to live close to rivers and streams.

Hilou said he believed less than 8,000 Mandeans were still living in Iraq and most of them away from their ancestral habitat.The Mandeans have extensive religious literature. Most important are their Ginza Raba (Great Treasure) and Drasha ed Yahia (Book of John).

John the Baptist is their most revered saint and they date their religion to him but historians believe their faith is of much older antiquity.


Friday, 20 March 2009

To free Iraq, resistance must bridge the sectarian divide

‘As anti-occupation leaders recognise, the US could still exploit their divisions in an effort to offset its strategic defeat’, writes Seumas Milne.


In a last-ditch attempt to rescue some wafer of credibility from the west’s most catastrophic war of modern times, the story is taking hold in Britain and the US that after six years of horror Iraq is finally coming good. So quickly has this spin become accepted truth that politicians and pundits now regularly insist that if only General Petraeus is allowed to work his surge magic on Afghanistan, all could be well in that benighted land as well. One recent report in the Sunday Telegraph even claimed that the 4,000 British troops still in Basra are regarded as “heroes and liberators” by Iraqis now that their £8bn mission has at last been “accomplished”.

As the seventh year of the US-led occupation of Iraq begins tomorrow, facts on the ground tell a very different tale. Last week more than 60 people were killed in two suicide attacks on Iraqi police and army targets in Baghdad, while on Monday a 12-year-old girl was shot dead by American troops in a checkpoint incident in Nineveh province. It’s true that violence is well down on its gory peak of a couple of years ago and the power supply is edging up - to the level the US promised to achieve five years ago, at about 50% of demand. But a US soldier is killed on average every other day, Iraqi police and soldiers are dying at a much higher rate, and reported Iraqi civilian deaths are running at over 300 a month.

But so entrenched has the new narrative of success and wind-down to withdrawal become that such events are barely reported in the occupying states. The western media mostly long ago wearied of Iraq and its western-inflicted travails. Meanwhile, the US and its dependent Iraqi administration still hold tens of thousands of prisoners without trial; corruption and torture are rampant; the position of women has sharply deteriorated under US and British tutelage; and more than 4 million Iraqi refugees are still unable to return home - or vote in the less-than-free elections.

No wonder, according to the latest opinion polls, most Iraqis don’t share the Sunday Telegraph’s rose-tinted view of the role of British troops; they also show that Iraqis continue to oppose the original invasion and want all foreign troops to leave. But under President Obama’s plan, US withdrawal is far from assured: up to 50,000 troops will stay on after August next year (not counting contractors and mercenaries), and there is no guarantee of a full pull-out even by the end of 2011. And while resistance attacks are down - partly because of the creation of the US-sponsored Awakening Council Sunni militia, partly due to the reduction in US street patrols, and partly as a result of the demobilisation of the Shia Mahdi army - many expect that decline to be transitory.

A few days ago in the Middle East I met the leader or “emir” of one of the largest mainstream Iraqi resistance groups, the Sunni-based Islamic army. In his first interview with a western journalist, Sheikh Abu Yahya argued that the US had “suffered a historic defeat in Iraq, not only militarily, but also politically and morally”. There was no question, he said, of the resistance following the path of collaboration taken by the highly unstable Awakening Councils, most of whose members only joined because of poverty and unemployment: “We will continue fighting until the last American soldier leaves Iraq, however long that takes.”

But he accepted that the full-scale sectarian war unleashed in 2006-7, which he blamed on the US and Iran, had undermined the resistance and “reduced the scale” of America’s defeat. “The mutual sectarian cleansing only happened after Negroponte arrived,” Abu Yahya said, referring to the US ambassador to Iraq from 2004-5 who attracted notoriety as envoy to Honduras during the dirty war against the Sandinistas in the 1980s. “We think that when the US failed to beat the Sunni resistance, it decided to let the Shia wage war on us to neutralise the threat.”

Describing how US troops would come to a resistance stronghold, search for arms, encircle the area with tanks and then allow government-armed Shia militias to infiltrate and kill, Abu Yahya remarked: “When the jihad started, we only fought the Americans - but when the militia came, we had to fight on two fronts.” The creation of the Awakening Councils had caused even greater problems “because they came from within and were able to pass on details about the resistance”.
The truth is that the US played the sectarian card from the first days of the occupation, creating an administration and constitution based on a Lebanese-style confessional and ethnic carve-up of government jobs - which, in the context of Iraq’s complex and already damaged social fabric, laid the ground for a national maelstrom. That was fed by the vicious anti-Shia sectarianism of al-Qaida, brought to Iraq courtesy of the US invasion. The virus of Sunni-Shia confrontation then spread throughout the region, feeding the Arab “cold war” that now splits Lebanese, Palestinians and states across the Middle East.

This was a classic colonial divide and rule strategy that bought the US occupation time and brought Iraqis misery. Now there are signs that the sectarian and inter-ethnic fever in Iraq is subsiding. In January’s limited regional elections, several of the most sectarian and federalist parties - such as Abd al-Aziz Hakim’s US- and Iranian-backed Supreme Islamic Council - were cut down to size, while secular and nationalist forces made significant advances.

But like other resistance groups, Abu Yahya’s Islamic army will not take part in a political process it regards as “illegitimate and corrupt” unless there is reform of the sectarian structures as part of a negotiated US withdrawal. So far the US shows little interest in rewarding the people who fought it to a standstill over the past six years - but any pullout without such a deal is a recipe for renewed conflict.

There is no question that the US has suffered a strategic defeat in Iraq. Far from turning the country into a forward base for the transformation of the region on western lines, it became a global demonstration of the limits of American military power. But the failure of the resistance to bridge the sectarian divide and become a truly national movement is, as Abu Yahya acknowledges, an achilles heel that could yet allow the US to salvage long-term gains from the wreckage. If Iraq is to regain its sovereignty and control of its resources, and the US is to leave the country altogether, that weakness will have to be overcome.

s.milne@guardian.co.uk

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Iraqi Government "looking to bring in former Baathists"

From Monsters and Critics.com
Middle East NewsIraqi government "looking to bring in former Baathists" (Roundup) By DPAMar 14, 2009, 13:02 GMT


Baghdad - The Iraqi government is seeking to bring former members of the ousted Baath Party into the process of national reconciliation, an Iraqi newspaper reported Saturday.

In remarks published in Baghdad's al-Sabbah daily, Minister of State for National Dialogue Akram al-Hakim urged former members of the Iraqi Baath Party to sign off on the government's draft plan for national reconciliation.

He also called on them to help identify those responsible for abuses under ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's regime, regardless of their party affiliation.

Former Baathists should 'move quickly to sort out the criminals who committed heinous crimes against the Iraqi people, regardless of their political party or rank in the previous government,' al-Hakim said.

The Iraqi government has lately been trying to bring into a 'national reconciliation' process former members of the Baath Party, who accounted for approximately 10 per cent of the population before the party was banned after US-led forces toppled Saddam Hussein's government in 2003.

Vice-President Adil Abdel-Mahdi last week met with Mohammed Rashad al-Sheikh Radi, formerly a senior member of the Baath Party, in the first public meeting between a senior figure from the new government and a senior member of the former ruling party.

'We need the goodwill and integration of all parties if we're going to successfully reconcile the country and build a national consensus,' Abdel-Mahdi said at the time.

Abdel-Mahdi, a Shiite Muslim, is a member of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, which was based in Iraq's old rival, Iran, during Saddam Hussein's rule. He spent most of the years of Baath rule in exile in France.

The attempts to include low-ranking members of the Baath Party in the national reconciliation process have touched a raw nerve among many who suffered under Baath rule.
On Saturday, Abbas al-Bayati, a Shiite member of parliament from the ruling United Iraqi Alliance, defended the project as 'crucial to putting an end to sectarian strife.'

'The Baath Party and its ideology will not return to power or the political process,' he stressed. 'Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is committed to the...ban on the Baath Party.

'But engaging with Iraqis who once were Baathists, and who today want to return to dialogue with the rest of the country as Iraqi citizens, is the way to build the country democratically.
'The government has raised this issue from a position of strength, not weakness,' al-Bayati added.

The new Iraqi government is dominated by Shiite and Kurdish political parties that opposed the Baathist government which ruled Iraq from 1963 until the 2003 invasion.
In January 2008, the Iraqi parliament passed the 'Accountability and Justice Law,' which eased a ban on former Baathists' holding public sector jobs, including at schools and universities, while condemning the crimes of the Baathist government.

The number of people who lost their jobs in the subsequent purge is subject to dispute, but since a de-Baathification committee began work in 2004, more than 100,000 former low-ranking party members have been allowed to return to work.

© Copyright 2007 by monstersandcritics.com. This notice cannot be removed without permission.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Islamic Finance may be cure for crisis, Vatican suggests

14 March 09
http://www.todayszaman.com/

By HAKAN KALAYCI

As world markets suffer under the weight of the ongoing global financial crisis, the Vatican has put forward a new suggestion, arguing that the principles of Islamic finance may represent a possible cure for ailing markets.

The Vatican’s official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, recently published an article titled “Islamic finance proposals and ideas for the West in crisis,” prepared by Italian economists Loretta Napoleoni and Claudia Segre, in which it was suggested that the basic rules of Islamic finance could relieve suffering markets and particularly international financial systems. Noting that Islam prohibits “riba,” Arabic for the usurious loaning of money, the article argued that “sukuk bonds,” securities that comply with Islamic law, may be an alternative to interest. The article stressed that sukuk bonds are always real investments and never speculative.

The article said that in this atmosphere of crisis banks should take Muslims as an example and that the Islamic finance system may pave the way for the establishment of new rules in the Western world. The Vatican has suggested that the current capitalist system has failed. Pope Benedict XVI recently harshly criticized the capitalist system and the greediness of bank owners in the West. In the meantime, the Vatican itself has been badly affected by the crisis. It had recorded an 18 billion euro budget surplus in 2007, but this number had declined to 6 billion euros by the end of 2008 and is expected to fall further in 2009.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Turkish military launches air operation on PKK bases in N. IRAQ

Turkey launched an air strike on bases of the terror organization, PKK, in northern Iraq, military said on Friday.
Turkish warplanes bombed Thursday PKK hideouts in the Zap-Avashin region in northern Iraq, army spokesman Brig. Gen. Metin Gurak was quoted by Turkish TV channels as telling at a weekly press briefing.
He said the fighters were careful to select their targets to avoid harming any civilians in the operation.
There were no reports of casualties.
It is the latest of a series of Turkish strikes against terrorist hideouts in northern Iraq, from where the PKK have staged hit-and-run attacks on Turkish targets for decades.
http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/english/domestic/11202098.asp?gid=244

Erbil - Photos by Ferid Muftu

Erbil Fortress


Photos by Iraqi Turkmen photographer Ferid MUFTU


Memo told Blair Aides Saddam Hussein posed no imminent threat

Paul Waugh
http://informationclearinghouse.info/article22198.htm

March 12, 2009 "This Is London" -- Intelligence experts explicitly warned Tony Blair's aides that Britain was not in "imminent danger of attack" from Saddam Hussein, a confidential memo revealed today.

The row over claims that the Government "spun" its way into war with Iraq is likely to be reignited after the release of the document by the Cabinet Office.

The memo, released after a long-running Freedom of Information battle, shows Mr Blair's officials knew seven years ago that the threat from Saddam was not immediate.

Despite the warning, the Government's dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction included a claim that Baghdad was ready to launch an attack within "45 minutes".

Lord Hutton cleared the Government in 2004 of the charge that it tried to manipulate intelligence to pave the way for war.

But today Whitehall released a memo from former Cabinet Office defence expert Desmond Bowen, who later won promotion to policy director at the Ministry of Defence, which shows he disagreed Saddam posed an immediate threat.

The September 2002 memo, written to then Joint Intelligence Committee chairman John Scarlett and copied to Alastair Campbell, provides comments on an early draft of the government dossier on Iraq.

Mr Bowen wrote: "The question which we have to have in the back of our mind is 'why now?' I think we have moved away from promoting the idea that we are in imminent danger of attack and therefore intend to act in a pre-emptive self defence."
Another email published today underlines ministers' focus on how to get their message across in the media.

A memo from then Foreign Secretary Jack Straw's office stresses the dossier had to be shown on the Sky News video "wall".

The email from Mr Straw's private secretary Mark Sedwill suggests the dossier needed a "very simple table".

Mr Sedwill wrote: "This should be brief enough to get onto the Sky wall ie no more than 5 bullets."

Another email, apparently from an intelligence official, says a part of the dossier on chemical and biological weapons would be "likely to give a misleading impression".

A further email, from unnamed officials, says "there is nothing we can point to that we know for sure is going to the BW [Biological Weapons] programme".

Mr Blair published the WMD dossier in September 2002, which critics believe paved the way for war the following spring.

An inquiry by Lord Butler found blunders in its compilation, with the "45 minutes" claim based on unreliable evidence.

A separate "dodgy dossier" was published in early 2003. It was discovered to have sections copied off the internet.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Talabani leaves Tehran for Iraq

March 12, 2009
BAGHDAD / Aswat al-Iraq: Iraqi President Jalal Talabani left Tehran on Thursday, heading for Iraq after his participation in the Economic Cooperation Organization summit as a guest of honor, read a presidential statement.

“The Iraqi ambassador to Iran and a number of Iranian officials saw off the President at the airport,” said the statement received by Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

The summit was held on Wednesday (March 11) with the participation of the presidents of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Talabani, the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad Khalifa al-Thani; the Syrian vice president, Farouk al-Shara were guests of honor at the summit.

The Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) is an intergovernmental international organization involving ten Asian nations. It provides a platform to discuss ways to improve development and promote trade, and investment opportunities. The common objective is to establish a single market for goods and services, much like the European Union.

SH (S)/SR http://en.aswataliraq.info/?p=109676

FREE AL-ZAIDI !

Cartoon by Ben Heine


Al-Zaidi : "This is your farewell kiss, you dog! This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq."

SHOCKING NEWS!

Iraqi journalist Muntadher al-Zaidi has been sentenced to three years in prison for throwing his shoes at war criminal bush during a press conference in Baghdad.

If there was any ‘Justice’ it is bush who should be behind bars and who should be put on trial for committing genocide on the Iraqi people.

The brave Muntadher al-Zaidi should be freed immediately!

Shame on the judge who has passed this sentence!

Muntadher al-Zaidi should be congratulated for expressing his contempt at US terrorist and war criminal bush, the evil butcher of over one million Iraqis.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Şam'da Türkmen ve Aşuri Görüşmesi


10 Mart tarihinde ITC Suriye ve Lübnan temsilci yardımcısı Aydın Maruf, Aşuri Demokrat Hareketi siyasi büro üyesi Şimail Nino ve Aşuri Hareketinin Suriye sorumlusu Yunan İşo Kilyana'dan oluşan heyeti, ITC Şam temsilciliğinde karşıladı. Görüşmede Irak ve Türkmenlerin son siyasi durumu, Türkmen ve Aşurilerin arasındaki tarihi ilişkileri ve Irak'ta 31 Ocakta yapılan yerel seçimlerin sonucu değerlendirildi.

Ayrıca görüşmede ITC Şam temsilci yardımcısı Aydın Maruf, Musul ve Talefer bölgelerinde Türkmen seçmenlerine haksızlık yapıldığını söyleyen Maruf, Talefer bir Türkmen şehridir, bu şehirde 92 bin seçmenin isimleri Yüksek Seçim Komiserliğinde resmi kayıtları olmasına rağmen, yaklaşık 50 bin seçmen seçim gününde oy kullanma hakkı bazı gruplar tarafından engellendiğini ve yüksek seçim Komiserliğinde tarafsız davranmadığını ifade etti. Ayrıca görüşmede bir açıklama yapan Aşuri Demokrat Hareketi siyasi büro üyesi Şimail Nino, Musul'un bazı bölgelerinde özellikle Tilkef, Sincar ve Şeyhan'da aşırı bir şekilde seçim hilesi ve ihlaller yapıldığını vurguladı.

Irak Türkmen Cephesi
Suriye ve Lübnan Temsilciliği


http://bizturkmeniz.com/tr/index.htm

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Alan Greenspan vs. Naomi Klein on the Iraq War


Illustration by John Blackford. By Peter van Agtmael/Polaris (desert), Konstantin Inozemtsev/Alamy (money).


FLASHBACK
September 24, 2007
Excerpt:


AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to go back to Iraq and ask you about, well, a piece by Jim Steele and Don Barlett that came out in Vanity Fair, where they’re talking about the billions lost in Iraq. And they begin their piece by saying, “Between April 2003 and June 2004, [$12 billion] in US currency—much of it belonging to the Iraqi people—was shipped from the Federal Reserve to Baghdad, where it was dispensed by the Coalition Provisional Authority. Some of the cash went to pay for projects and keep ministries afloat, but, incredibly, at least $9 billion has gone missing, unaccounted for, in a frenzy of mismanagement and greed.”


Alan Greenspan, when you were head of the Federal Reserve, how much knowledge do you have of this? And did you investigate this? Were you aware of this at the time?

ALAN GREENSPAN: Well, let me say that what we were involved in was essentially endeavoring to create a viable currency for the central bank of Iraq. And what we did do was—I think very successfully—create what is a viable financial system, even under the circumstances that currently exist. There was, as far as I can judge, a huge drain of the resources into areas which nobody to this day can understand or follow. It had nothing to do with the central bank. In our relationships with them, we were merely acting as an intermediary to assist them in creating a system, which they now have, which is working reasonably well, despite all of the problems that are going on. The issue which you are referring to had nothing to do with the Federal Reserve in any of our relationships with the central bank.


AMY GOODMAN: Well, they are talking about, in one day, for example, the East Rutherford operation center of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 100 Orchard Street in East Rutherford, a tractor-trailer truck pulling up, and though accustomed to receiving and shipping large quantities of cash, the vault had never before processed a single order of this magnitude: $2.4 billion in $100 bills. But ultimately, again, $9 billion of $12 billion gone missing in Iraq.


ALAN GREENSPAN: I am not familiar with any such evidence. And it was certainly not brought to my attention. I, frankly, find it very unlikely that those orders of magnitude were involved in any of the numbers that we were dealing with. You have to make certain that—there’s been a lot of confusion about losses, and people have used the dinar, the basic currency unit of Iraq, and assumed they were American dollars. And, of course, that gives you a highly distorted view. There’s been, I’ve seen, several reports fairly recently in which that sort of mistake was being made. But what I can tell you is that no such numbers of any order of magnitude of the type you are discussing came to the attention of the Federal Reserve.


AMY GOODMAN: This is based on that award-winning article in Vanity Fair, or the team who have won—
ALAN GREENSPAN: Let me put it this way, award-winning doesn’t necessarily—
AMY GOODMAN: Well, no, no. I mean Don Barlett and Jim Steele, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists. I’m sure you know their work. But Naomi Klein?


NAOMI KLEIN: Well, I would just add that it’s quite surprising, actually, that Mr. Greenspan is unaware of this scandal around Iraq’s missing billions, because Paul Bremer had to testify before Congress and was asked directly about those missing billions. It’s been the subject of very high-level investigations. There is a huge paper trail around it. So this is hardly a secret, and it’s hardly just a matter that’s confined to Vanity Fair.

Please see:

http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/10/iraq_billions200710



Iraqi Women suffering "silent emergency" survey finds


Nawal al-Samaraie (right), Iraq's former minister for women’s affairs
Photo: UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office/Flickr



BAGHDAD, 8 March 2009 (IRIN) - Marking International Women’s Day on 8 March a new survey has painted a grim picture for Iraqi women who it says are suffering a “silent emergency” as they endure insecurity, poverty and a lack of basic services.

Entitled “In Her Own Words: Iraqi women talk about their greatest concerns and challenges”, the survey was conducted in 2008 by aid agency Oxfam International in cooperation with the Iraqi women’s NGO al-Amal. It surveyed 1,700 women from five provinces: Baghdad, Ninevah, Basra, Kirkuk and Najaf.

The survey found that continuing insecurity has devastated women’s physical wellbeing and greatly restricted their day-to-day lives. About 60 percent of respondents said security was their number one concern, despite an improvement in security since mid-2007. Some 55 percent said that they were directly or indirectly victims of violence since the US-led invasion in 2003 that toppled the government of former president Saddam Hussein.

Fifty-five percent also said that they were displaced at least once since 2003. A third said they had received no humanitarian assistance over the past five years while 76 percent of those who were widows said they had received no governmental support. “Incomes have disappeared, poverty has deepened, (and) the Iraqi government has not been providing sufficient financial assistance to vulnerable groups, such as widows, and at-risk women are in need of humanitarian aid,” the 19-page survey said in one part.

It also found that a quarter of the women surveyed had no daily access to potable water while half cited difficulties in getting access to quality healthcare in 2008 compared to 2006 and 2007. Forty percent of those interviewed who were mothers said their children were not going to school. Nearly 36 percent said they were the head of household, primarily for violence-related reasons. “Countless mothers, wives, widows and daughters of Iraq remain caught in the grip of a silent emergency,” the report stated. “They are in urgent need of protection and – along with their families – are in desperate need of regular access to affordable and quality basic services, and urgently require enhanced humanitarian and financial assistance.”


Report recommendations

In light of the report, Hanaa Adward, head of Baghdad-based al-Amal, called on the government to adopt an immediate and effective strategy for women to save “the country’s future generations”. “The Iraqi woman is still suffering from an acute and harsh situation and daily circumstances and marginalization in her own society,” Adward told IRIN. “She is missing the minimum basics of life, whether she lives in the city or the countryside.”

She suggested that the strategy include finding jobs for unemployed young women and for widows so that they can be productive and active elements of society.

Most importantly, Adward said, would be the establishment of a higher women’s commission with sufficient state financial support to identify and resolve women-related problems. “We are determined to push for this strategy with all decision-makers in the government,” she said. “If the government wants a healthy society, then it must start with women.”

On 3 February, Nawal al-Samaraie resigned as minister of women’s affairs, protesting a lack of resources to implement her plans to help improve women’s lives. Al-Samaraie accused the government of ignoring what she called an “army” of uneducated women, widows, victims of domestic violence and female internally displaced persons who were in dire need of assistance.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki accepted her resignation but the post is still vacant. sm/ar/ed
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=83361

Sunday, 8 March 2009

On American crimes and the International Criminal Court

Khalil Bendib
Excerpts:
....

The U.S. is all over the place, with both covert and overt military programs. France, England, Canada, Belgium, Libya, Israel and China are all involved. All these conflicts are intertwined, and the targeted populations have allegiances and alliances that are dictated by the pre-colonial boundaries and trade that existed prior to the demarcation of colonial interests that occurred at the Berlin Conference of 1885 under the imperial doctrine of divide and conquer.

....
There are claims in the Arab community that Israel provides military training to Darfur rebels from bases in Eritrea, but insiders in Eritrea dispute this. However, Israel has a deep history of intelligence and military relations with both Eritrea and Ethiopia, and Israel reportedly has a naval and air base on Eritrea’s Dahlak and Fatma islands, from which German-made Dolphin-class submarines patrol the Red Sea with long-range nuclear cruise missiles. Eritrea reportedly serves as Israel’s outpost for spying on enemies Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Sudan.
…..

Africa Research Bulletin in 1998 reported that Israel had military bases in Eritrea on the Dahlak islands and in the Mahal Agar Mountains near Sudan. They also reported a communications listening station and that Mossad, the Israeli secret service, "is operating a string of previously top secret outposts in the Horn of Africa" used to monitor hostile states and service Israeli submarines operating in the area. Israel has strengthened ties with the regime in Chad, from which more weapons and troops penetrate Darfur. The refugee camps have become increasingly militarized. There are reports that Israeli and U.S. military and intelligence operate from within refugee camps in Darfur. Israel is all over the Sahara, from Burkina Faso to Ethiopia and Uganda. Israel’s clandestine actions are partly funded by Israeli-American diamond magnates involved in Angola, Sierra Leone, C.A.R. and Congo, especially Dan Gertler (G.W. Bush’s unofficial Ambassador to Congo), Beny Steinmetz, Nir Livnat, Lev Leviev and Maurice Tempelsman.
…..

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum furthered the establishment narrative about Darfur in keeping with the genocide theme; no one ever examines the interests behind the Holocaust Memorial Museum (e.g. Bob Dole), it is merely some apolitical institution with the championing of supposed "universal" human rights of all people everywhere as its raison d’etre. The new political and propaganda doctrine that uses "genocide" as a political tool is morally ambiguous, it attacks the crimes of some and passes over the crimes of others. It uses as its universal principle the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its complementary covenants and proclamations. On the one hand, however, this involves genocide inflation, and on the other hand genocide denial. But the USA—with good Christian and Jewish foot soldiers—is always the final arbitrator: global cop, judge, jury, executioner, surgeon and savior all in one.
…..
http://bodyontheline.wordpress.com/2009/03/06/on-american-crimes-the-international-criminal-court/

Saturday, 7 March 2009

UN: Iraqis resilient but mental health care lacking

Iraqis resilient but mental health care lacking: U.N.
2009 March 7
by kanan48


BAGHDAD Reuters - Iraqis have displayed surprising resilience to years of bloodshed but mental health problems often go untreated in Iraq the World Health Organization WHO said in a study released on Saturday.

A mental health survey published in the journal World Psychiatry found mental disorders amongst Iraqis are no more prevalent than in peaceful countries contrary to what might be expected given the violence unleashed by the 2003 U.S.-led invasion and years of war before that. “Stress levels are high while mental disorders are comparable to other countries.

This suggests Iraqis have had to develop coping strategies to survive during the past few decades of unrest ” Naeema Al Gasseer the WHO s representative to Iraq said in a statement.

“Stress has had an impact on the entire population and conflict has become almost a normal occurrence.”

The sectarian violence that nearly tore Iraq apart in 2006-2007 has largely subsided but many Iraqis remain traumatized by those years. Despite a steep drop in violence militants still carry out devastating bomb attacks especially in the volatile north.

The study which surveyed 4 332 adults found that 16.5 percent of Iraqis have mental health problems but only 2.2 percent of those had received medical treatment. “This is a matter of great concern…when you consider the emotional distress experienced by so many during the recent past ” Iraqi Health Minister Saleh Al Hassnawi said. “In Iraq there is considerable stigma attached to having a mental illness. We must encourage people to come forward and seek the treatment they need ” The survey also found anxiety and behavioral disorders had afflicted Iraqi women more than men.

Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by Angus MacSwan
via Reuters. http://kanan48.wordpress.com/2009/03/07/iraqis-resilient-but-mental-health-care-lacking-un/