dimanche 17 janvier 2016

Twenty-five Years Ago: Remembering the Night “Operation Desert Storm” Was Launched on Iraq

Twenty-five Years Ago: Remembering the Night “Operation Desert Storm” Was Launched on Iraq


In-depth Report: 
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‘Operation Desert Storm’, the massive air and missile aggressionon Iraq was launched on January 17, 1991 at 2:30 a.m. local time.
That night as we were watching the TV, the programme was suddenly interrupted and we saw pictures of the Baghdad sky illuminated with what seemed to be anti-aircraft fire;  we realized with horror that the war on Iraq had started. We stayed up all night, terrified, watching with dismay how beautiful Baghdad, the city of One Thousand and One Nights, was being massively bombarded.
Our thoughts and prayers were for our relatives and friends and for all Iraqis who could not escape from this hell. How many would die under the bombs and missiles which were falling ‘at random’ on residential areas all over Baghdad and other Iraqi cities?
I still shudder when remembering that awful night and all the other terrible nights of the ‘First Gulf War’, there was no possibility to communicate with our loved ones in Iraq, the U.S.’s first targets had been the telecommunication centres and electrical grid on which they had dropped Tungsten bombs. Iraqis were completely isolated, alone, desperately alone…in the dark…in the chaos, amidst the destruction caused by these brutal attacks from the air.
We watched in dismay how the beautiful country that many generations of Iraqis had worked so hard to build and develop was being destroyed. We watched with horror how the American and British ‘boys’ cheered whenever their bombs hit some ‘target’, killing Iraqis. No doubt that George Bush was enjoying it too, ‘bringing Iraq back to pre-industrial era’.
USAF F-117 : vampire in the Iraqi sky
USAF F-117 : vampire in the Iraqi sky
Many Americans thought it was right to attack Iraq, they had no qualms that the country’s civil infrastructure was being purposely destroyed and that many thousands of Iraqis were dying. They believed the coalition troops were attacking Iraq to ‘liberate’ Kuwait* and to prevent an Iraqi attack on the zionist entity.
Some westerners who had never met an Iraqi and who could not even locate Iraq on the map, were filled with hatred towards the Iraqi people, because they had been told ‘how Iraqi soldiers were taking premature babies out of incubators in Kuwait’ !!! (1) and some other terrible stories fabricated by the western media,. Others were so gullible that they really believed there was such a thing as the ‘Iraqi Super canon’!!!
The western media were the accomplices of the warmongers, continuously diffusing their lies and propaganda. According to Fair,the US media allowed less than 1% of their space to those who were opposed the war. Day after day they repeated George Bush’s mantra: ‘about establishing a New World Order’ and many people in the west believed that the destruction of Iraq was worthwhile to establish this so-called ‘New World Order’.
Seventeen years have passed, but the pain and outrage I felt that night have not diminished, neither has my resentment towards all those who participated in this criminal aggression on Iraq.
George Bush, Dan Quayle, James Baker, Dick Cheney, William Webster, Colin Powell, Norman Schwarzkopf and many others who share responsibility in attacking and destroying Iraq still remain to be judged for crimes against peace, for war crimes, for crimes against humanity and for other criminal acts committed in violation of the Charter of the United Nations, in violation of the international law, in violation of the Conventions of Geneva and The Hague, in violation of the Charter of Nürenberg and in violation of the laws regulating armed conflicts. By waging this illegal war on Iraq George Bush also violated the Constitution of the United States.
Bush’s imperialist ‘New World Order’ was based on the capitulation and submission of the people in the Middle East, principally on the surrender of oil-rich Iraq.
On this sad seventeenth anniversary of the launching of the criminal aggression on Iraq my thoughts are with all Iraqi patriots who are fighting to free their country from the foreign occupiers.
On this day, one of the beautiful Irish patriotic song comes into my mind (I have substituted the name Ireland with Iraq)
Come the day and come the hour
Come the power and the glory
We have come to answer
Our Country’s call
From all the provinces of Iraq
Iraq, Iraq,
Together standing tall
Shoulder to shoulder
We’ll answer Iraq’s call
Hearts of steel
And heads unbowing
Vowing never to be broken
We will fight, until
We can fight no more
From all the provinces of Iraq

Merry Fitzgerald
(1) It was the daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador in the US who made these false accusations in front of the cameras, pretending to be a Kuwaiti nurse who had witnessed these barbaric acts!!!
*Kuwait: an invention of the British Foreign Office ‘around an oil well ‘ to deny Iraq access to the sea and so limit its influence in the Gulf and maintain it under British dependence.

jeudi 17 décembre 2015

Iraqi Turkmen representatives invited at the 6th European Parliament – Iraq Interparliamentary Meeting (VIDEO)

Iraqi Turkmen representatives invited at the 6th European Parliament – Iraq Interparliamentary Meeting (VIDEO)

Iraqi Turkmen representatives were invited at the 6th European Parliament – Iraq Interparliamentary Meeting  – on 3rd December 2015.

photo above: the Chair of the Delegation for relations with IRAQ, Mr. David Campbell Bannerman MEP – Iraqi Turkmen Front EU Representative Dr. Hassan Aydinli, and the President of Human Rights Commission at the Iraqi Parliament and ITF President, Mr. Arshad Salihi.

Introduction by the Chair of the Delegation for relations with IRAQ, Mr. David Campbell Bannerman MEP and by the Chair of the Iraqi Parliamentary Delegation, Mr. Dhafer Salman (see photo above) also on this photo H.E. the Ambassador of Iraq to the Kingdom of Belgium.

The President of Human Rights Commission at the Iraqi Parliament and ITF President Mr. Arshad Salihi
The recording of this event is available on:  our multidevice player.
For Mr. Arshad Salihi’s speech please see at 2:10

Key speakers :
Mr. Elmark Brok, AFET Chair and AFCO Member
Mr. Yousif Mohammad Sadiq, Speaker of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Parliament
Mr. John O’Rourke, Head of Division Arabian Peninsula, Iran and Iraq at the European External Action Service
Mr. Struan Stevenson, former Chairman of the EP Delegation for Relations with Iraq.

ITF EU representative Dr. Hassan Aydinli and Mr Ayden Hilmi Aksa, Foreign Relations Advisor Republic of IRAQ Council of Representatives.

Mr. William Spencer, Intl. Institute for Law and Human Rights, Executive Director, Iraqi Turkmen Front EU representative Dr. Hassan Tawfiq Aydinli and the President of Human Rights Commission at the Iraqi Parliament and ITF President Mr. Arshad Salihi

please find the links to the web-streaming recording hereunder:
This event is also available on our multidevice player.

mardi 3 novembre 2015

Stalemate, Not Statehood, for Iraqi Kurdistan

Stalemate, Not Statehood, for Iraqi Kurdistan

 Sunday, November 1, 2015, 10:11 AM

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry chats with President Masoud Barzani upon arrival at the Kurdistan Regional Government Presidential Compound in Erbil, Iraq, on June 24, 2014. [State Department photo/public domain]
Editor’s Note: The Kurds are the largest nation in the Middle East without a state of their own and their quest for more rights and at times independence has led to civil wars, unrest, and near-genocidal levels of killing. Iraq has often been the center of the Kurdish struggle, and the decline of the Iraqi state since 2003 – and the latest dysfunction manifest in its efforts to fight the Islamic State – seems to offer opportunities for Iraqi Kurds to carve out their own state. Denise Natali, an expert on the Kurds at the National Defense University, challenges this claim. She argues that the Iraqi Kurds’ current in-between status is likely to endure and, indeed, offers benefits for Kurdish leaders.
Since the creation of a weak federal Iraqi state a decade ago, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has moved toward what many analysts, pundits, and Kurds consider a desired end state: independence. Taking advantage of the ambiguous 2005 Iraqi constitution, disfranchised Sunni Arab community, sectarian conflicts, and dysfunctional Iraqi government, the KRG has developed its own energy sector; assumed de facto control over disputed lands; and created a cohort of influential supporters to lobby Kurdish interests in Washington and abroad. These trends have been further bolstered by the Islamic State threat, which has allowed the KRG to access U.S. and coalition military support, further expand its territorial reach, and challenge Baghdad with “independent” oil exports.
Yet a deeper look into the Iraqi Kurdish trajectory reveals a more complicated and interrupted scenario defined by legal, economic, and geopolitical constraints. The KRG may have created new “facts on the ground” that strengthen its internal sovereignty and international recognition, but it remains a landlocked, quasi-state entity lacking external sovereignty.
This condition means that the degree and nature of Kurdish autonomy, including any potential for independence, is not determined by unilateral decisions made by Kurdish elites but rather by the demands, deals, and incentive structures brokered by powerful regional states and non-state actors. These influences have not only checked Kurdish leverage and kept Kurds within the Iraqi state, at least nominally, they have also created necessary political ambiguity that benefits KRG officials. Maintaining the status quo has allowed the KRG to realize rights, revenues, and recognition as part of aweak federal Iraqi state while also pursuing a nationalist agenda based on victimization, struggle, territorial expansion, and opaque, oil-based economic development, supported by external networks.

Iraq’s Turkmen on their own By Nermeen Mufti

Turkmen are Iraq’s third largest ethnic group but they remain un­derrepresented in politics and their plight is largely ignored.
Baghdad - Iraq’s Turkmen are the coun­try’s third largest ethnic group after Arabs and Kurds but the community of nearly 3 million people has endured displace­ment, isolation, discrimination and violence throughout its history.
Today, the Turkmen remain un­derrepresented in Iraqi politics and their plight is largely ignored. 
Please click on the link hereunder:

lundi 2 novembre 2015

The Kurdish Terror Campaign in Turkmen Eli (video) by Salman Mofak

To watch the video please click on the link below:

After the fall of Saddam Hussein government the Turkmen, Arabs, and Chaldo Assyrians had high expectations of the interim administration established after 9th April 2003.

The Turkmen expected to see democracy, fairness, an end to discrimination, the right to self-determination and an end to violence. Unfortunately, the opposite has occurred regarding the human rights situation in Iraq, in particular concerning the Iraqi Turkmen. After the toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003, hundreds of Kurdish militia poured into the Turkmen city of Kirkuk. 

The Kurdish militia ransacked the municipality buildings in Kirkuk, government offices and military buildings.
The land deeds belonging to the Turkmen were deliberately taken from the Registry Office making it difficult for the Turkmen to establish themselves as original inhabitants of the province. 

Large hotels, hospitals and a historical military barracks in the city (at that time used as a museum), which was built in the Ottoman era, along with Turkman shops and houses, including the land registry office were set alight by the Kurdish militia.

The invasion of Kirkuk in 2003 by the Kurdish militia was a mirror image of the events from 1991 during the uprising against Saddam Hussein after Operation Desert Storm.

Thousands of internally displaced Kurds and Turkmen returned to Kirkuk and other Arabised regions to reclaim their homes and lands that had been occupied by Arabs from central and southern Iraq. These returnees had been were forcibly expelled from their homes by the government of Saddam Hussein during the 1980s and 1990s. 
The majority of the returning Kurds were not originally from Kirkuk but were brought to Kirkuk with the help of the two Kurdish parties and they were housed in the vacant Turkmen and Arab houses.

The reasoning behind this was that they wanted to change the demography of the city and win the referendum that was planned to be carried out by 31 December 2007 to determine whether Kirkuk could formally join the Kurdish administered region, an outcome that Arabs and Turkmen in Kirkuk staunchly opposed.

Salman Mofak.

samedi 24 octobre 2015

Dr. Hassan Aydinli, ITF EU Representative and Mr. Niyazi Mimar Oğlu, Member of the Iraqi Council of Representatives at the European Parliament

Dr. Hassan Aydinli, Iraqi Turkmen Front EU Representative and Mr. Niyazi Mimar Oğlu, Member of the Iraqi Council of Representatives were invited as guest speakers at the Delegation for Relations with Iraq Meeting at the EU Parliament in Strasbourg.

Hereunder the official Minutes of the Meeting:


of the meeting of 10 June 2015, 15.00-17.00
The meeting opened at 15.00 on Wednesday, 10 June 2015, with David Campbell Bannerman (Chair) presiding.

1.         Chair’s announcements

Mr Brian Hayes (EPP - IRELAND), welcomed guest speakers from the Yazidi, Turkmen and Chaldean/Syriac/Assyrian communities in Iraq. He reminded the audience that the EU supports those actors who promote national reconciliation processes in Iraq, including Iraqi institutions promoting the creation of an inclusive Iraqi National Guard. In this regard, he announced that he recently met with the Speaker of the Iraqi Council of Representatives, Mr Al-Jabouri, at a joint AFET-DEVE meeting dedicated to the humanitarian response plan for Iraq. The outcome of this meeting was positive.

2.         Adoption of draft agenda (PE 553.741)

The agenda was adopted.

3.         Adoption of minutes of the Delegation meeting of 29 April 2015 (PE 553.735)

The minutes were adopted.

4.         Exchange of views with the Representatives of the 'Yazidi Democratic Movement' in Sinjar, created for the fight against Daesh:

Mr. Said Hassan, a representative of the 'Yazidi Democratic Movement', argued that the different peoples living under dictatorships in the MENA region were forced to protest against their respective regimes, a phenomenon commonly known as the Arab Spring. Unfortunately, this phenomenon, he explained, generated a situation in Iraq that threatens the survival of Iraqi minorities. Subsequently, he called upon EU institutions and the UN Security Council to focus on Iraqi minorities under risk of disappearing, particularly the Yazidi community.

In August 2014, DAESH killed thousands of Yazidi men in Sinjar. This massacre, among others, is part of DAESH' destruction of Iraqi heritage, an action that will result, in his opinion, in a major cultural loss. In this regard, he thanked the Kurdish people for helping the Yazidi community, which, he claimed, might face extinction. In order to avoid such extinction, a constituent assembly has been established to govern the Yazidi community in Mount Sinjar and the surrounding territories. Another governing body has been established outside of Iraq to support Yazidi efforts inside Iraqi territory, he explained.

Then, he argued that the Yazidi community has had to resort to the creation of its own forces, as Iraqi forces do not guarantee their security. In March 2015, the Yazidi community formed its own forces, which now operate in Sinjar. According to him, if they had had more weapons and military backup, they could have hired more people to fight against DAESH. He called upon the international community and the EU to support the Yazidi forces, as it is not acceptable to permit the extinction of ancient minorities such as the Yazidi community.

Mr. Nouri Mirza, a member of the 'Yazidi Democratic Movement', thanked the EU for inviting Yazidi representatives to speak about their current situation in Iraq. He argued that the international community is paying little attention to the Yazidi community, which is suffering DAESH' atrocities, among them the Sinjar massacre. As a board member of the Yazidi Democratic Movement, he stated that the conditions faced by the Yazidi community are severe. He explained how this community has been displaced through Iraq, Syria and Turkey. According to statistics, more than 5.000 Yazidi people have been kidnaped by DAESH; most of them women and children. Also, 11 massive graves have been found containing bodies of Yazidi people, and the holy places of this community have been destroyed by DAESH.

He then provided an example: in August and September 2014, DAESH militants in northern Iraq perpetrated a massacre in the village of Kocho, and abducted women and children. Before said event, there were 344 Yazidi families living in Kocho, that is 1738 Yazidi people. From this amount of people, over 450 were killed by DAESH militants.

He called upon the international community to help Yazidi refugees. He thanked the Iraqi Kurdistan for hosting the Yazidi community, which has been settled in camps. The conditions in these camps are not proper; he argued. Refugees lack access to medical health care, being diseases common. Also, over 10.000 people are hiding in the Sinjar Mountain receiving no help from the international community. They have no water, tents, weapons, nor clothing.

5.         Exchange of views with the representatives of minority communities in Iraq:

Mr David Campbell Bannerman (ECR-UK, Delegation Chair), resumed his role as Chair of the Delegation.

Dr. Hassan Tawfiq Aydinli, Iraqi Turkmen Front EU Representative, thanked the EU for inviting Iraqi representatives to speak for an EU audience. He focused his contribution on two of the main problems faced by Turkmen in Iraq. Turkmen have been twice internally displaced people: first under Saddam Hussein, and now under DAESH. This has led to the loss of property. Reclaiming this property is difficult. There is a Commission in charge of handling confiscations, properties and related topics. Nevertheless, due to administrative difficulties and the advance of DAESH, it has proven almost impossible for Turkmen to regain their property. The other problem is the following: 300.000 Shia people belonging to the Turkmen community have been forced to leave the community, as DAESH attacks the Shia community. Defending the Shia Turkmen community is causing the death of Turkmen, who receive no help from the Iraqi government nor the Peshmerga.

Mr. Niyazi  Mimar Oglu, a member Iraqi Council of Representatives who has been targeted 28 times, also thanked the EU for inviting Turkmen representatives to discuss the concerns of this community. This community, he explained, is composed of over 2 million people. It faces DAESH, and the differences between the government in Baghdad and that in the Kurdish region. Many people have been killed, and many others have been forced to flee. Others have been kidnapped.

The Turkmen believe in diplomacy, in formal negotiations, he argued. However, given the circumstances, the Turkmen have been forced to fight. The international community has ignored the difficulties faced by this community, he emphasised. Also, the rights of this community have been violated, and their territory -under the umbrella of the central government-, reduced.

He sought to obtain international support for the Turkmen community, and explained the need for stronger military action against DAESH. Also, he stated that, from the entire EU funding to Iraq, the Turkmen did not receive an euro.

Mr. David Campbell Bannerman (ECR-UK, Delegation Chair) thanked the Turkmen guests for travelling to EU and for their contributions. 

Above: with Mr. Brian HAYES, Fine Gael MEP for Dublin, Ireland.
Member of the European People's Party.

He then gave the floor to Assyrian representatives.

Mr. Sharbil Hanna Matty, General of the Assyrian "Nineveh Plain Forces", thanked the EU for the invitation to participate in the meeting. He referred to the Assyrian people as a Christian nation looking for co-existence in Iraq, partnership and equal rights. He thanked the Kurdistan region for hosting all types of refugees, and urged the EU to support the Kurdish government and to implement all the measures promised by the EU. They have received no military support. The Peshmerga is currently training Christian Assyrian forces, yet this is not enough. They need weapons; vehicles and clothing.

Furthermore, he stated that the Assyrian community seeks to become an independent administration within the Kurdistan region. Also, he expressed his support to other minorities and the willingness of the Assyrian community to work with other communities towards a common project, that is, a unified and democratic Iraq. In order to achieve this project, he explained, the support of the European Union is needed. The EU needs to be involved in the negotiations so that minorities are conceived of as equal partners, and so that displaced people feel like returning to their homes.

MPE Mr. Gérard Deprez (Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, Belgium) welcome the willingness of the different minorities to work together towards an end of the conflict. He then requested a clarification on whether these minorities are seeking any sort of political or territorial autonomy. Also, he noted that, despite the fact that all minorities feel part of Iraq, all the representatives thanked the Peshmerga or the Kurdistan region rather than the Iraqi forces or the central government. He asked what the Iraqi government could do for these minorities; and whether the Iraqi government can guarantee their security.

MPE Mr. Afzal Khan (Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, United Kingdom) asked the representatives of these minorities about the emergence of DAESH.  Other MPE enquired about the deplorable situation in Kurdistan, and, in line to Mr. Khan's question, asked about the emergence and success of DAESH, which is seen as a protector of the Sunni people.

The representatives argued that their demand for autonomy was not new, but a demand that was formulated in 2004 following the fall of the Saddam regime. This autonomy is supported by the Iraqi constitution, they explained, and does not imply the division of Iraq, but the creation of autonomies within Iraq. The representatives of these minorities argued that minorities look forward to have their own administrations and to achieve equality, and that they support each other in their aspirations. They also asserted that, when it comes to autonomy, all the difficulties faced by the different communities in Iraq are rooted in the creation of Iraq following World War I. They argued that if one part of Iraq is allowed to have its own autonomy, so do other parts.

Furthermore, they argued that the Iraqi government does not have the capacity to rule the country, and that minorities do not receive help from the central government. These minorities are settled between DAESH and the Kurdish region. Consequently, following the fall of the Saddam regime, the Kurdish region became the ally of these minorities, who ask for equal access to help.

In regard to the emergence of DAESH, they argued that it is an organisation that rose in a space where it could expand itself. Also, there is a theory that DAESH has been created in order to design a new Middle East map. Anyway, they argued, the different parties in Iraq were not able to coordinate themselves, particularly with the Iraqi government, making it difficult to act cohesively against DAESH. Moreover, they underlined that people joining DAESH do so because they have not been able to find a place within their respective countries, from Saddam's former military heads in Iraq to European militants joining the ranks of DAESH.

Finally, the called upon the EU to support internally displaced people as well as the reconstruction of Iraq. They called for resolutions to be implemented. They argued that people is losing hope in the international community.

A representative from the Iraqi Embassy argued that Iraq is a democratic country, since all minorities do have representatives in the central government. He argued that these representatives should express their concerns to their elected members of parliament. Iraq has financial issues, and this has to be taken into consideration.

6.         Any other business


7.         Date and place of next meeting

The meeting closed at 17.00.

The following MEPS attended the meeting:
David Campbell Bannerman, Brian Hayes, Javier Couso Permuy, Joëlle Bergeron, Gérard Deprez, Ana Gomes, Michel Reimon, Afzal Khan, Branislav Škripek, György Hölvényi, Bas Belder