jeudi 31 mai 2007

While Iraqis are left without medical care...

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty
Jalal Talabani at the White House on 31st May 2007
read transcript below
While Iraqis are left without medical care the "President of Iraq" is continuing his slimming treatment in the U.S.

Cancer on the Rise in the South
Roughly 20% Increase in Breast Cancer, Child Leukemia Since 2005

BASRA, 31 May 2007 (IRIN) - Recent studies by medical colleges, and statistics from local morgues and hospitals, have shown a higher than expected number of cancer-related deaths in Iraq's southern provinces. According to specialists, the main causes are the increased use of unsafe products in agriculture and the long-term effects of war on health.

Psychological stresses and strains engendered by years of conflict, violence, displacement and uncertainty have weakened people's natural resistance to disease. This has been compounded by the lack of skilled medical staff and poor facilities and equipment.

"Lack of treatment for cancer patients and outdated radiotherapy and chemotherapy techniques have led to lower survival rates of patients. The shortage of oncologists, who have fled to neighbouring countries, has worsened the situation," said Hussein Abdel-Kareem, an oncologist and senior official in the Basra Health Secretariat.

"Exposure to radiation from old cluster bombs, the high use of chemicals in agriculture as well as water contamination is having a serious impact on the health of local people, since these factors are important promoters of cancer related diseases. Many of the patients could have been treated but they died because of lack of facilities," Abdel-Kareem added.


According to a study entitled The Increase in Cancer Cases as Result of War Debris - published in early May by Basra University Medical College with input from researchers at the Ministry of Health - cancer-related diseases are now one of the main causes of a large percentage of deaths in the southern provinces.

"At least 45 percent of deaths in the southern provinces are caused by cancer. Some patients develop related diseases which worsen their condition, leading to a faster death. The statistics are having a serious impact on the health system and urgent funds are needed," said Imad Hassan, a health specialist and member of the commission which produced the study.

"Southern governorates have been seriously affected by wars, especially in the past 20 years and it is a region in which chemicals and pesticides are used in fishing and agriculture," Hassan said.

He added that in Basra, Muthana, Dhi Qar and Missan governorates, the drinking water has been found to be unsafe and in some places, especially in and near rural areas, the water was highly contaminated, including with pesticide residues.

Leukemia, breast cancer

More cancer-related deaths among women and children have been found in Basra and Missan governorates, where leukemia among children has increased substantially by 22 percent compared to 2005, and where a lot of women have developed breast cancer, with the figures showing an increase of 19 percent compared to 2005, the study said.

"Over the years the local population has been exposed to the most serious radiation and chemical factors resulting from war, including the use of unsafe and cheap pesticides, and now we see the results," Abdel-Kareem said.

A number of children - some say at least three per day - are born in hospitals in the southern provinces without limbs or without organs. The phenomenon, specialists say, is a result of years of war. "We have had cases of children who showed cancer-related diseases after only four weeks of life," he added.

Specialists and the provincial heath secretary have called on the central government to provide funds to improve health services in the southern provinces.

"We need funds, new equipment and availability of medicines to try to save the lives of hundreds of innocent indirect victims of the war," Abdel-Kareem said.

Bush Talks Oil
Submitted by davidswanson on Thu, 2007-05-31 Media
Bush Holds a Joint News Conference With Iraqi President Jalal TalabaniCQ Transcripts WireSPEAKERS: PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH IRAQI PRESIDENT JALAL TALABANI
BUSH: It is my honor to welcome the president of a free Iraq back to the Oval Office.
President Talabani, thank you for coming. I admire your courage. I admire your dedication to a united Iraq. I admire the leadership you have shown, and I welcome you.
We had a good conversation today about a variety of subjects. I told the president that I'm fully committed to helping the Iraq government achieve important objectives. We call them benchmarks, political law necessary to show the Iraqi citizens that there is a unified government willing to work on the interests of all people.
The president fully understands the need for the Iraqi government to meet certain benchmarks, and he is dedicated to achieving those benchmarks. We're working very hard, for example, on getting an oil law with an oil revenue sharing code that will help unite the country, working very hard on a de-Baathification law and on reform, as well as provincial elections.
We talked about a lot of issues and I want to thank you very much for your vision, Mr. President, and your willingness to take the hard steps necessary to get the job done.
I told the president of a decision I have made. I have asked one of my top aides, Meghan O'Sullivan, to return to Baghdad. Meghan has been an integral part of our team here at the White House. She has been in Iraq before. She's going back to serve with Ambassador Crocker to help the Iraqis and to help the embassy help the Iraqis meet the benchmarks that the Congress and the president expect to get passed, and I want to thank Meghan for her dedicated service to a free Iraq.
Mr. President, it is important that you succeed. Failure in Iraq would endanger the American citizens, because failure in Iraq would embolden the enemies of a free Iraq.
BUSH: David Petraeus said public enemy number one in Iraq is Al Qaida. Al Qaida happens to be public enemy number one in America, too.
And that should say, loud and clear, to citizens who still remember the lessons of September the 11th that it's in our interests to help the Iraqis defeat Al Qaida.
We must not let Al Qaida have a safe haven in Iraq. We must not retreat in the face of the unspeakable violence that they perpetuate on your citizens. We must help you prevail.
And if all Iraqis showed the same courage you show, we will prevail. And there's a lot of courageous Iraqis there. I'm confident we can succeed, Mr. President. And I want to thank you for coming here to the White House to join me.
TALABANI: I am pleased and honored to meet our great friend, whom we consider the hero of liberating Iraq, President George Bush, who was always with the Iraqi people.
Also, I must tell you that I am committed, as the president of Iraq, to benchmarks and to do our best to achieve some progress forward for national reconciliation, for passing the new oil law, de- Baathification, investment, and other laws which are now under discussion.
And I think we are due to finish all of it and send it to parliament to be achieved.
At the same time, we are committed to do our best to train our army and our forces to replace, gradually, the American forces in taking responsibility of the security of our country.
Of course, we are very grateful to the American people.
TALABANI: And I present my condolences to the sacrifice which this glorious people, America, has always presented for liberating peoples all all over history and for Iraqi people (inaudible) people and others.
We are always expressing our desire to strengthen the (inaudible) of Iraq and the unity of the national government, and to have the collective leadership in Iraq for dealing with all problems. And I've briefed His Excellency, Mr. President about what we have done and what we have achieved for this purpose.
I'm glad to have the support of President Bush and the Congress. I am grateful to Congress. I told President Bush that I'm grateful for the Congress for the last decision and for the (inaudible) decision, which a resolution was taken by Congress, the resolution of liberating Iraq at the time of President Bill Clinton.
So we are determined to succeed. Of course, you have problems. I don't think that everything is OK. Everything is (inaudible). We have problems. We have serious problems with terrorism. The main enemy of Iraqi people is Al Qaida and terrorist cooperating with them. But there are groups who are now raising arms against us. Now we are negotiating with them to get them back to the political process of the Iraqi people. And we have good achievements also. We hope that this will lead to more steps forward to national reconciliation in Iraq.
We are also determined to improve our political and economic life in Iraq. We achieved (inaudible) unfortunately, media only concentrating on negative sides of Iraq.
They're not concentrating on big achievements in Iraq, economic achievements, raising the (inaudible) of Iraqis, improving the social life and that all universities, schools, hospitals are working well in Iraq beside the problems which we have.
TALABANI: We don't deny it. We are trying to overcome these difficulties.
But we have some achievements. Thanks to United States of America and our great friend President Bush, we achieved some good, important success.
Besides some failure in the security, we have also successes in bringing democracy for the first time to Iraq. All kind of democratic rights are now available for Iraqi people. We have free election. We have now parliament elected by people. We have authorities, presidency, prime minister chosen by the people. This is happening for the first time in the history of Iraqi people.
Also, we have some kind of success in rebuilding our country. Not all parts of Iraq are terrible areas. We have in the north in Iraq, in Kurdistan, about 4 million Iraqis living in peace, security and prosperity. And also in the south we have about nine provinces now secured. And gradually, days ago, the American forces delivered the responsibility of security to the authorities in the Iraqi Kurdistan.
So we are going forward with difficulties. I don't deny difficulties. I don't deny (inaudible). I don't deny that still we are suffering from some problems.
But we are determined to benchmarks and we are determined to go forward and to achieve, as Mr. President mentioned, now we are due to (inaudible) the oil law, which will revenue sharing for all Iraqis, due to review the de-Baathification. We have a new draft for this. We have another (inaudible) draft for investment. We are encouraging investment from outside to Iraq. And we are going to renew the local elections (inaudible) in near future for this (inaudible).
And again I am grateful to American people, to the president of the American people for what they have done for my people, for Iraq. We are now living in much better situation than we had in the past. And we are facing common enemy, which is (inaudible) Al Qaida is the enemy, not only of Iraq and America, but all people of the world.
TALABANI: Look to the Arab countries. Everywhere, Al Qaida -- in Lebanon, in Algeria, in Morocco, in Saudi Arabia, in Egypt -- Al Qaida is starting to work against all peoples of the Middle East.
So we are fighting this enemy. And as President Bush said, there must be no place for Al Qaida in Iraq or in other places. Because if they can have such a kind of basis, they will threaten Europe and the United States of America.
Again, Mr. President, thank you very much...
BUSH: Thank you, sir.
TALABANI: ... for your time...
BUSH: Thank you.
TALABANI: ... and for what you said.
Talabani, the agent, is saying exactly what Bush wants him to say.
He should not be allowed to speak in the name of the Iraqis, Iraqis are not "his people", apart from the Kurdish and Green Zone agents no Iraqi can feel gratitude towards the American invaders who only brought death and destruction to their country.


AFI Flash n°72 - 31 mai 2007
Bulletin des Amitiés Franco-Irakiennes

Site: France-Irak Actualité

un peuple oublié ou marginalisé
par Gilles Munier

Depuis la fin de la Première guerre mondiale, le nombre des Turcomans (1) en Irak a été constamment minorée. Ils sont aujourd’hui - selon les dirigeants de cette communauté - entre deux et trois millions, répartis sur un territoire qu’ils appellent Turkmeneli, et qui s’étend en diagonal du sud de la Région autonome du Kurdistan près de la frontière syrienne, jusqu’à celle avec l’Iran. Des Turcomans, relativement nombreux, résident à Bagdad et à Erbil, ville turcomane octroyée aux Kurdes.

L’agression de l’Irak par les Etats-Unis a eu pour conséquence la réactivation du plan « Grand Kurdistan » avec Kirkouk pour capitale et le nettoyage ethnique des villages turcomans par les peshmergas. Leurs revendications identitaires réveillées, les Turcomans sont - comme les Arabes et certains Assyriens - en résistance ouverte contre l’occupant et ses alliés.

Les fils de la louve blanche

L’origine des Turcomans irakiens – anciens nomades venus d’Asie centrale - est entourée de légendes. Une des plus anciennes leur donne pour ancêtres – comme aux autres peuples turcs - les fils d’une louve blanche (2). Selon cette légende, une louve aurait recueilli et élevé un enfant, seul survivant du génocide d’un peuple appelé Hionh-nu. Plus tard, le jeune homme se serait uni à l’animal pour donner naissance à dix garçons. Devenus adultes, les enfants se seraient mariés à des femmes de peuples de la région. Leur descendance constitue les tribus connues sous le nom d’Oghouzes (3).

Selon une autre légende, les peuples turcs descendraient d’Oghuz Khan surnommé « le Père des Turkmènes ». Il aurait eu six fils de ses deux épouses, puis vingt-quatre petits enfants qui sont les ancêtres des différentes tribus Oghouzes. Les musulmans turcs expliquent la conversion rapide de ces dernières à l’islam par la filiation d’Oghuz Khan avec Abraham.

Originaires du royaume de Touran, selon ces légendes (4), les Turcomans s’installèrent en Mésopotamie, en Perse et en Anatolie, bien avant la conquête de l’empire byzantin par les Turcs en 1453. Ils y jouèrent partout un rôle essentiel jusqu’à la disparition de l’Empire ottoman.

La défense de l’islam et de l’Irak

Les premiers Turcomans sont arrivés en Irak au 7ème siècle. La première vague comprenait 4 000 guerriers et leur famille, originaires de la région de Boukhara en Asie centrale. Ils avaient été recrutés par Oubeydullah Bin Ziyad, gouverneur omeyyade de Bassora, qui appréciait leur courage au combat et leur habilité au tir à l’arc. Un second contingent les rejoignit pour protéger Wasit, la capitale de l’Irak fondée en 702 par Al Hajjaj ben Yusuf, demeuré dans les mémoires comme un des plus terribles dirigeants que l’Irak ait connu (5).

Les califes abbassides Abou Jaffar Al-Mansour (754-777), Haroun Al-Rachid (786 - 809) et Al-Maamoun (813-833) firent également appel à eux, et en plus grand nombre, pour constituer l’élite de leurs armées.

En 835, 40 000 Turcomans s’installèrent à Samarra, nouvelle capitale bâtie par le calife Al-Mu’tasim, pour fuir les troubles incessants qui secouaient Bagdad. A la mort de ce dernier, ils se fixèrent au sud de Kirkouk.

La seconde vague turcomane pénétra en Irak à partir de 1055 derrière Tugrul Bey « le Prince Epervier », chef des Turcomans seljoukides (6) qui libéra Bagdad de la domination bouyide (7). Tout en maintenant pour la forme le califat, il fonda une dynastie qui règnera sur l’Irak jusqu’à ce que le calife Al-Nasir s’en débarrasse en 1225.

L’atabeg turcoman – prince gouverneur - de Mossoul Imad ad-Din Zengi (1127-1146) conquit Alep et participa au djihad contre les Croisés. Après sa mort, son fils Nour-Eddine envoya en Egypte Salah-Eddine Al Ayoubi (Saladin), un des ses officiers kurdes. Il y prendra le pouvoir en 1169, renversera la dynastie fatimide, et reprendra Jérusalem aux Croisés le 2 octobre 1187. Au cours des 12ème et 13ème siècles, d’autres atabegs turcomans, à Erbil et Kirkouk, dirigeaient des Etats quasi indépendants.

La prise de Bagdad par les Mongols en 1258 mit fin au califat abbasside. Ibn Al-Alkami, le vizir d’Al Mouta’sim, le dernier calife, qui soutenait ces derniers dans l’espoir de voir accéder au trône un descendant de l’Imam Ali, fut nommé vizir du nouveau gouverneur d’Irak par Houlagou Khan. Il est l’archétype du « traître chiite » pour les Irakiens qui comparent son rôle à celui joué par les groupes chiites pro-iraniens dans l’agression américaine contre l’Irak, le renversement de Saddam Hussein, et leur collaboration avec les forces d’occupation.

La dynastie mongole Ilkhanide se maintint jusqu’en 1334, date à laquelle le général Hassan Burzug Al-Jalairi s’empare du pouvoir tout en continuant à considérer les Mongols comme les souverains légitimes du pays. Les Jalairides s’y maintiendront jusqu’en 1410. Sous leur règne, l’Irak fut envahi en 1474 par les Moutons Noirs (Qara-Koyunlu), une tribu turcomane venue de Van en Anatolie. Ils prirent Mossoul. En 1393, Timour–le-Boiteux (Tamerlan), prince turcoman de Samarcande, envahit à son tour le pays, détruisant Tikrit, Mossoul, puis Bagdad en 1401. Il permit aux Moutons Blancs (Aq-Koyunlu) - ennemis héréditaires des Moutons Noirs - de consolider leur implantation de Diyarbakir au nord de l’Irak. Les Moutons Noirs revinrent à la charge en Irak en prenant Bagdad en 1410, mais en furent expulsés en 1467 par les Moutons Blancs.

La troisième vague turcomane arriva sous l’Empire Ottoman, notamment avec la prise de Bagdad par Soliman le Magnifique en 1534, puis de Mourad IV qui mit les Perses safavides en déroute en 1638.

Les Turcomans irakiens sont principalement les descendants des deux premières vagues d’implantation. Ils se répartissent entre sunnites de rite hanafite, et chiites. On compte également parmi eux, notamment à Kirkouk, une petite communauté chrétienne qui résidait dans la citadelle, non loin du tombeau du prophète Daniel. Les Turcomans chiites qui seraient entre 30 et 40% se divisent en diverses sectes : les duodécimains majoritaires, les alévis, les qizilbaschs, mais aussi Ahl-al-Haqq, ou Disciples de la Vérité, des soufis qui déifient quasiment l’Imam Ali. Les Shabaks irakiens, autre minorité d’origine turque, seraient des Mongols « turquifiés » ou d‘anciens qizilbachs constituant les troupes d’élite d’Ismaïl 1er, le fondateur de la dynastie safavide perse.

Manipulations des statistiques ethniques

La situation des Turcomans changea du tout au tout à partir de la conquête de l’Irak par les Anglais. Ayant pris Bagdad, les Britanniques n’avaient plus qu’un objectif : s’emparer de la province de Mossoul - riche en pétrole - revendiquée par les Turcs comme faisant partie de leur territoire, et qui avait été attribuée secrètement à la France par les accords Sykes-Picot en 1916. Ils accusaient les Turcomans de pactiser avec l’ennemi ottoman (8), et plus tard de servir les visées expansionnistes de Mustafa Kemal Pacha qui avait mis fin au sultanat en 1922 (9). La Turquie avait envoyé à Rawanduz, au Kurdistan, un détachement militaire commandé par le Major Shefik Ozdemir pour aider les Turcomans et les Kurdes à résister à l’occupation britannique (10).

Malgré l’abandon des prétentions françaises sur Mossoul en 1920 (11) et l’obligation faite à la Turquie d’oublier ses revendications turques sur les wilayet de Mossoul et de Kirkouk lors de la Conférence de Lausanne en 1923, les Britanniques – qui voyaient des complots turcs et… français partout - placèrent la communauté turcomane sous haute surveillance. Afin de convaincre la Société des Nations (SDN) d’accepter l’annexion de la région de Mossoul à l’Irak en 1925, les services de renseignement anglais, suivis par les médias de l’époque, réduirent les Turcomans… à 2% de la population (12).

Depuis le mandat britannique, les recensements en Irak ont minoré le nombre des Turcomans, si ce n’est tout simplement oublié. Celui de 1957, le seul ayant permis aux Irakiens d’indiquer leur langue, donne 567 000 Turcomans sur une population de 6 300 000 habitants. Le «World Factbook 2007» de la CIA (13), référence des journalistes et des hommes politiques déférents, estime toujours que les « Turcomans, Assyriens et autres » ne sont que 5% en Irak (14). Paul Bremer s’est appuyé sur ce pourcentage pour ne leur octroyer qu’un seul représentant au CPA (Autorité provisoire de la coalition).

En 2004, des chercheurs turcomans, se basant sur le nombre d’habitants en Irak enregistré depuis 1921 et sur le pourcentage des naissances, affirmait au contraire qu’ils sont entre 2 500 000 et 3 200 0000 (15) soit entre 13 et 16% de la population ; 85% d’entre eux vivent dans les régions de Kirkouk, Erbil et Tel Afar. Ces chiffres ne sont pas vérifiables dans les circonstances actuelles : environ 5 millions d’Irakiens ont été forcés de changer de région ou sont réfugiés à l’étranger.

Pour faire accepter leur main mise sur l’Irak dans les frontières dessinées en fonction de leurs intérêts géopolitiques et économiques, et pour réduire les risques de conflits intérieurs, les Britanniques font accepter en 1925 une constitution qui autorise l’enseignement du Turcoman, son utilisation dans l’administration, et la publication de journaux dans cette langue. Leur objectif est également de remplir les conditions posées par la SDN pour accepter l’adhésion de l’Irak. En 1933, un an après son acceptation, les écoles turcomanes seront fermées et les arrestations et les déportations reprendront.

« Correction d’identité »

Le 14 juillet 1958, après le renversement de la monarchie par le Général Abdul Karim Kassem et le retour de Mustapha Barzani d’URSS où il était réfugié, la situation des Turcomans se détériora sérieusement. Le chef kurde exige Kirkouk et les régions peuplées de Turcomans. Exactement un an plus tard, à Kirkouk, en pleine célébration de la révolution, les milices communistes et kurdes massacrèrent 120 intellectuels et responsables politiques turcomans. La Turquie réagit en massant des troupes à la frontière irakienne tandis que l’armée soviétique se mobilise en Georgie et en Arménie pour répondre à une éventuelle intervention turque. Kassem calme le jeu en arrêtant les auteurs du massacre, en autorisant l’émission de programmes en turcoman sur radio Bagdad et la création d’un club turcoman à Bagdad.

Il faudra attendre la Révolution baasiste de juillet 1968, pour que soient enfin reconnus les droits ethniques et culturels des Turcomans (16). En novembre 1970, un décret du CCR (Conseil de Commandement de la Révolution) autorise l’enseignement en turcoman dans les écoles primaires. Une direction turcomane est créée au ministère de l’Education nationale. Le ministère de la Culture et de l’Information finance la publication d’une revue mensuelle et augmente le nombre d’émissions radio en turkmène. Une fédération des auteurs turcomans est constituée. Le ministère des Affaires religieuses prend en charge les besoins des institutions religieuses de la communauté.

Les Turcomans, qui n’ont jamais réclamé de région autonome, ni prit les armes contre la République irakienne, furent choqués trois ans plus tard que la Constitution provisoire ne mentionne pas leur existence. Leur situation se détériora: les combats avec les rebelles kurdes de Mustapha Barzani dans les années 70, puis la destruction des villages kurdes frontaliers pendant la guerre avec l’Iran, poussèrent vers la plaine de Kirkouk des milliers de montagnards à la recherche de travail et de terres à cultiver. La campagne d’arabisation, les « corrections d’identité » obligeant les Turcomans à s’identifier seulement comme Arabe ou Kurde (17), l’implantation d’Arabes chiites venus du sud à la place des Turcomans chiites expulsés vers l’Iran en raison de leurs affinités avec le régime khomeyniste, provoquèrent des rancoeurs qui déstabilisèrent un peu plus la région.

Pour l’intégrité et l’indépendance de l’Irak

Aujourd’hui, les Turcomans expulsés sont revenus avec la Brigade Badr, et les déplacés venus du sud soutiennent Moqtada Sadr ou la résistance. Les pershmergas ayant pris soin – dès le 10 avril 2003, lendemain de la chute de Bagdad - de voler ou de détruire les registres d’Etat civil et les plans du cadastre, des dizaines de milliers de Kurdes, pas tous Irakiens, présentent des documents falsifiés attestant qu’ils sont d’anciens habitants du gouvernorat de Kirkouk. L’Asayish, la milice du PDK de Barzani et le Dazgay Zaniary, celle de l’UPK de Talabani convainquent les Turcomans et les Arabes de quitter les lieux, à coup d’enlèvements et de confiscation de terre ou de maisons. Les récalcitrants sont arrêtés par le Parastin - le moukbabarat kurde – torturés ou assassinés dans ses prisons secrètes. Ces « mauvais traitements » ont été condamnés par le HCR et le CICR, sans résultat (18).

Le Front turcoman irakien (19), principale organisation les représentant, ne réclame pas la création d’un Etat turcoman. Il est opposé à la partition de l’Irak et milite pour le rétablissement de la souveraineté du pays. On rencontre néanmoins parmi les Turcomans des groupuscules soutenant l’Iran au nom d’une sorte de pan-chiisme ou jouant la carte de l’annexion dans le « Grand Kurdistan ». Lors des « élections législatives » de décembre 2005, les pro-iraniens ont voté pour l’Alliance irakienne unifiée d’Abdul-Aziz Al-Hakim et les pro-kurdes pour l’Alliance Kurde qui comprend un Parti de la confrérie turcomane. Ils ont participé, avec plus de 8500 soldats US et peshmergas, au siège et au massacre de Tel Afar en 2005.

Certains dirigeants turcomans, qui comparent les régimes qui se sont succédé depuis 1958, reconnaissent en Saddam Hussein le président qui a favorisé le plus l’octroi de droits aux minorités nationales. Ils regrettent que leur mise en application ne soit pas parvenue à terme. Ils disent que les Turcomans ont toujours été otages de la situation au Kurdistan. Bagdad qui avait déjà fort à faire avec les rébellions kurdes - soutenues par les Etats-Unis, le Chah d’Iran puis l’ayatollah Khomeiny – ne voulait pas s’embarrasser d’un nouveau front à Kirkouk.

Les Turcomans savent qu’ils n’ont rien à attendre des Américains, des chiites pro-iraniens et encore moins des Kurdes. Les Turcs – présentés comme leurs protecteurs - se taisent, ou presque. George Bush leur fait payer leur refus de laisser transiter les troupes d’invasion américaines en Irak. En juillet 2003, pour humilier la Turquie, les Forces spéciales US ont arrêté les membres de la mission militaire turque à Soulimaniya et les ont emmenés à Bagdad menottés, la tête couverte d’un sac comme de vulgaires terroristes (20). Depuis, Bush ferme les yeux sur les exactions des milices kurdes en territoire turcoman et la CIA soutient indirectement le PKK (21).

Les Turcomans veulent être reconnus demain comme un des trois principaux groupes ethniques irakiens. Ils demandent la création d’un Etat multiculturel où leur langue serait une des langues officielles du pays. La paix civile en Irak, disent-ils, passe l’indemnisation des victimes du nettoyage ethnique et par l’organisation d’un recensement permettant une juste représentation de la population irakienne dans les institutions du pays.

(31 mai 2007)

(1) Les Turcomans sont également appelés Turkmènes. Bien qu’ayant des ancêtres communs, ne pas les confondre avec les habitants du Turkménistan. Saparmourat Niazov (1995 – 2006), ancien président de ce pays qui faisait partie de l’URSS, s’était fait surnommer Turkmenbachi, le « Père des Turkmènes ». Il est l’auteur de Ruhnama (Livre de l’Ame) où il raconte l’histoire de ce peuple.
(2) Le loup est une des figures emblématique de la mythologie turque. Il symbolisait pour les tribus nomades la liberté, le courage et l’intelligence. Le signe dit du loup - index et auriculaire dressés, les autres doigts repliés – popularisé par Les Loups gris, organisation nationaliste turque, est devenu un référent identitaire pour beaucoup de turcophones - des Balkans à l’Asie centrale - quels que soient leurs engagements politiques. Kemal Atatürk, fondateur de la Turquie actuelle, avait fait graver un loup blanc sur la monnaie et les timbres.
(3) On traduit généralement « Oghouze » ou « Oghuz » par « tribu ». Ce nom serait composé de deux mots turcs : « ok » qui veut dire « flèche » et « uz » : « tribu. ». Les Oghouzes ont inventé une écriture de type runique dont on a retrouvé la trace sur une stèle découverte dans la vallée de l’Orkhon, en Mongolie. Chamanistes à l’origine, ils se sont convertis à l’islam à partir du 10ème siècle.
(4) Les Jeunes Turcs d’Enver Pacha rêvaient de constituer un Etat touranien regroupant tous les peuples turcs. Après l’effondrement de l’Union soviétique, une conférence s’est tenue à Ankara pour jeter les bases d’une union économique des pays turcophones. Elle réunissait l’Azerbaïdjan, le Turkménistan, l’Ouzbékistan, le Tadjikistan, le Kirghizistan et le Kazakhstan.
(5) Le Général omeyyade Al Hajjaj ben Yusuf, chargé d’éliminer les opposants au califat omeyyade, n’hésitera pas à détruire un partie de la Kaaba pour vaincre Abdallah Ibn Zoubayr – fils de Zoubeir, compagnon du Prophète mort à la Bataille du Chameauen 656 près de Bassora - qui s’était proclamé calife. Orateur hors pair, Al Hajjaj est connu pour avoir dit aux Irakiens qu’il accusait d’être des « hommes de révoltes et de perfidie» : « Par Dieu, je n’aperçois que têtes levées vers moi, cous tendus, têtes arrivées à maturité et bonnes à trancher. Si vous marchez droit, tout ira bien ; si vous prenez des chemins détournés, vous me trouverez en embuscade. Je ne pardonnerai aucune erreur, je ne tiendrai compte d’aucune excuse. Si je promets, je tiens. Si je rase, j’écorche. Plus de rassemblements, plus de bavardages inutiles. »
(6) Tribu originaire des bords de la mer d’Aral, les Turcomans seljoukides, convertis à l’islam sunnite, conquirent le Khorasan au 10ème siècle. Tugrul Bey est le petit fils de Seljouk, fondateur de la dynastie.
(7) Dynastie chiite originaire des bords de la mer Caspienne (945-1055). Les frères bouyides prirent le pouvoir à Bagdad après avoir jeté en prison et fait crever les yeux au calife Al-Moustakfi qui les avait appelés à l’aide pour rétablir l’ordre menacé par des généraux turcs.
(8) En juillet 1921, les Turcomans de Kirkouk avaient refusé l’instauration d’un royaume hachémite et leurs dirigeants avaient boycotté le sacre de Fayçal 1er.
(9) Le futur Atatürk – Père des Turcs – considérait la signature de l’armistice de Moudros (31 octobre 1918), comme une trahison du sultan Mehmed V. Ce dernier avait pris la succession d’Addul Hamid II, déposé par les Jeunes Turcs (Turkmens, Turkmeneli and the Musul Region, par Orhan Ketene).
(10) Pour Mustafa Kemal, la frontière sud de la Turquie était, faute de mieux, la ligne Alep- Kirkouk derrière laquelle étaient retranchées les troupes ottomanes lors de l’armistice de Moudros.
(10) Il y demeura jusqu’en avril 1923 après un retournement des tribus kurdes qui n’auraient pas accepté la décision du Parlement turc de mettre fin à l’Empire ottoman et d’exiler le sultan.
(11) La conversation entre Georges Clemenceau et Lloyd George qui règle l’affaire de Mossoul est célèbre. Dans son journal, à la date du 11 décembre 1920, Maurice Hankey, secrétaire du gouvernement britannique, écrit : « Clemenceau et Foch ont traversé [la mer] après l’armistice, et on leur a donné une grande réception militaire et publique. Lloyd George et Clemenceau ont été conduits à l’ambassade de France... Quand ils furent seuls... Clemenceau dit : "Bien. De quoi devons-nous discuter ?" "De la Mésopotamie et de la Palestine", lui répondit Lloyd George. "Dites-moi ce que vous voulez", demanda Clemenceau. "Je veux Mossoul", dit Lloyd George. "Vous l’aurez", répond Clemenceau. "Rien d’autre ?" "Si, je veux aussi Jérusalem", ajoute Lloyd George. "Vous l’aurez", dit Clemenceau… ». (Henry Laurens, La Question de Palestine – Tome 1 « L’invention de la Terre sainte, Ed. Fayard -1999).
(12) Exemple de manipulation: alors que la Turquie estimait le nombre des Turcomans dans le wilayet de Mossoul à 146 000 et les Arabes à 43 210, les Anglais ont inversé la tendance en les comptant respectivement 65 095 et 185 763 ! (Endangered community: the turcoman identity in Iraq, par H. Tarik Oguzlu (Journal of muslim minority affairs, 2/10/04)
(13) CIA: The world factbook 2007
(14) Communauté et minorité, par Marc de Chalvron (France 24 TV). Pour lui, qui cite la CIA en 2006, le pourcentage des Turcomans en Irak est de 3%. C’est plus que Carol Migdalovitz – spécialiste du Proche-Orient !– qui dans CRS Report for Congress du 31/10/02 affirme qu’ils sont 1,4% de la population, selon… « des sources ».
(15) Leur répartition serait approximativement la suivante : Province de Mossoul : 450 000 - Province d’Erbil : 215 000 - Province de Kirkouk : 700 000 - Province de Salaheddine : 300 000 - Province de Diyala : 220 000 - Ville de Bagdad : 300 000. (Endangered community: the turcoman identity in Iraq, par H. Tarik Oguzlu (Journal of muslim minority affairs, 2/10/04)
(16) Rapport de la Convention internationale sur l’élimination de toutes les formes de discrimination raciale (Nations unies – 11/2/99)
(17) Selon la constitution de 1990, la nation irakienne est composée de deux peuples, l’arabe et le kurde.
(18) Irak : contexte actuel dans la région du Kurdistan irakien (République française: Commission de recours des réfugiés, 16/12/05)
(19) Le Front Turcoman Irakien, fondé en 1995, qui regroupe une vingtaine d’organisations politiques et culturelles, est régulièrement la cible des peshmergas du PDK de Massoud Barzani. Son drapeau consiste en un croissant de lune blanc sur fond bleu ciel et six étoiles symbolisant les six Etats constitués au cours des siècles par les Turcomans en Irak.
(20) Début juillet 2003, 12 militaires turcs – selon Abdullah Gul, ministre des Affaires étrangères – ont été arrêté par un commando de 10 à 150 membres des Forces spéciales américaines et accusés d’ « activités suspectes », notamment de préparer un attentat contre le gouverneur kurde de Kirkouk. Ils furent interrogés pendant 48 heures à Bagdad, puis relâchés sans explication ni excuse quelques jours plus tard, à la demande de Dick Cheney inquiet des répercussions de cet événement en Turquie. Un film à succès : « La vallée des loups – Irak » a été tiré de cet événement.
(21) Le Parti pour une Vie Libre au Kurdistan (PJAK) est une branche du PKK basée au Kurdistan irakien. Il est soutenu par la CIA dans le cadre de son plan de déstabilisation de l’Iran via les minorités ethniques.

§ Autre source : Guide de l’Irak, par Gilles Munier (Jean Picollec Ed. - 2000)

Suite du dossier Kirkouk dans le prochain numéro d’AFI – Flash :
Main basse sur le pétrole irakien, par Xavière Jardez
Pétrole : Hold-up sur Kirkouk, par Gilles Munier

Site de l’ « European Turkmen Friendship Association »


Another detainee dies in Guantanamo concentration camp.

The U.S. military did not identify the detainee who died or describe the manner of death...

Another detainee, Omar Khadr, who was 15 when he was captured in Afghanistan has fired his American attorneys ahead of his trial because he (understandably) doesn't trust them...

"These men have been detained for five and a half years with no legal way out", said the President of N-Y based Centre for Constitutional Rights.

THREE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY (380) men are still illegally held in this U.S. concentration camp.

I agree with what Ms Astrid Essed, Human Rights Activist in the Netherlands, wrote in her article of January 2005 See:

The role of the European allies:

When the European allies are continuing to give only verbal criticism on the Guantanamo practices without taking political consequences, they not only show a great hypocrisy by allegedly defending ''western moral values'', but they are also morally co-responsible for the continued erosion of the American judicial system.

mercredi 30 mai 2007

BRussells Tribunal's detailed account of Journalists killed in Iraq since the invasion

Dirk Adriaensens, Member of BRussells Tribunal Executive Committee has been recording the names of ALL the media professionals killed in Iraq since the Anglo-American invasion. To-date 247 Iraqi and 24 non-Iraqi media professionals have been killed!

Hereunder is the e-mail I received from Dirk Adriaensens (with his comments to IraqSlogger) and the link to the full and detailed list he has made:-

They’re listed, Merry:
And again I read in this article: “So far this month, eight Iraqi journalists and a Russian photographer have been killed in Iraq, driving up the death toll for the most dangerous war in 25 years for journalists. Reporters Sans Frontieres latest count puts the toll of journalists and media assistants killed in Iraq at 177, while the Committee to Protect Journalists counts 104 journalists.”( And 39 support workers)

I react to every article I see that uses the wrong figures of RSF and CPJ.
I write to IraqSlogger:

247 Iraqi and 24 non-Iraqi media professionals have been killed since the invasion of Iraq. See full list with details at
Please use the correct figures. RSF and CPJ have the numbers wrong.

Dirk Adriaensens
Member BRussells Tribunal executive committee
Coordinator SOS Iraq

I never get any reaction.
It’s sad.
We list 90 % more media professionals killed than CPJ, and some 54% more than RSF.

Here’s a detailed account:

Link to the article from IraqSlogger: -

Qui détruit les ponts et les mosquées en Irak?

Two videos :
Deux vidéos:

Who is destroying bridges in Iraq?

Who is destroying Mosques in Iraq?


Open letter to the anti-war movement
By Hana Al-Bayaty
Global Research,
March 18, 2007
The national popular resistance in Iraq, in defending the whole of humanity against a culture of force, deserves our recognition and support, writes Hana Abdul Ilah Al-Bayaty .

The illegal invasion and destruction of Iraq is not only the biggest crime of recent history, it is the original sin of the 21st century, a depravity. In its war on Iraq, the United States has sought to destroy Iraq as both a state and a nation.

It has decimated an entire class — the progressive middle class of Iraq that had proven its capacity to manage Iraqi resources independently and to the benefit of all; it killed nearly a million while sending millions more into exile; it orchestrated death squads and looting and invented new horrors in torture and rape; in the name of bringing democracy, it brought material destruction on a mass scale to a people, aiming also to erase their identity, memory, culture, social fabric, institutions and forms of administration, commerce, and everyday life; it even attacked Iraq’s unborn generations with the 4.7 billion-year death of depleted uranium.It has engaged in civilisational genocide as well as its own moral suicide.

Force, however, does not dictate right. The brutality of power and imperialism has been definitively exposed while the project for a new American century has utterly failed. The consequences for American and international history are conclusive. The world order that formed around erstwhile US liberal values has evaporated.

The US invasion and occupation of Iraq is a military, economic, political, moral and cultural disaster for Americans and the world. US military failure has been demonstrated by the inability of the best funded and most sophisticated armed force in the world to defeat the resistance of a small country and its poor people tired of 13 years of sanctions, exposing war as useless.

While the Americans may attempt to secure their presence in Iraq, they cannot destroy the belief of Iraqis that they have the right to live as any other people in the world, free and independent and sovereign in their land and over their resources.

Occupying Iraq is an economic disaster because the costs of the war for the United States have increased beyond any economic gain it could have from controlling Iraqi oil. Politically, the occupation is a disaster for the United States because no one in the world can argue that it is playing a progressive role. The occupation is also a moral and cultural disaster for the US. Following the enormous human suffering of World War II, the world — Americans included — established international law and human rights law that set the standard for civilised societies.

US neoconservatives and imperialists are trying to destroy this civilisation, refusing to be subject to international law and replacing it with the law of the jungle. How can the world — Americans included — be identified with such a savage enterprise as the war on and occupation of Iraq?

Arabs are not strangers to neo-imperial attempts to prevent their development. They recall the systematic demonisation of their popular movements: the attempted toppling of the democratically elected Syrian government in 1956 for being “communist”, the characterisation of Nasser as a “fascist” when he nationalised the Suez Canal, the criminalisation of the Iraqi Baath Party, referred to as “Nazis”, when it refused to surrender control over Iraq’s resources. Even the Palestinian and Lebanese people who heroically struggle against occupation are considered “terrorists”.

We know well what are colonial policies in general and in this region in particular. The US always pretends to defend the rights of a minority — whether its demands are justified or not — in order to control the majority. In Iraq, since 1991, the US appealed to Kurds and Shias to rebel, trying to insinuate that those who govern them are Sunnis. Anyone with intellectual honesty knows that the Baath Party was neither sectarian in its thinking nor in its membership.

US-Israeli plans, based on creating divisions among Arabs in one country, or between countries, have failed. In Iraq, the policy of charming some groups of the Iraqi Resistance or their supporters in order to divide them and isolate the resistance has failed completely. Despite repeated declarations made by war criminal Jalal Talabani, resistance groups are united in their position.

Second, the policy of dividing Iraqi movements into Shia, Sunni and Kurd, is disintegrating: large movements of opinion insist on the unity of Iraq and the common interest of its people. Ever more groups in the south enter the struggle against the occupation and its local puppet government.

The unity of Turkomen, Assyrians and Arabs on the fate of Kirkuk is an example of underlying unity, as is the deepening of tribal solidarity, spreading demands for a large political national front, demonstrations in the north, and ever unifying positions concerning the future of Iraq’s oil wealth.

Iraq has been a socio-economic and geopolitical entity for more than 4000 years, it cannot be divided. It is the cradle of several civilisations. When united this entity has proven able to enhance human civilisation and be an engine for progress.

Where the Sumerians invented writing, the Babylonians invented law, followed by the Abbasid who introduced the idea of a state of all its citizens and of social solidarity in society, opening the path for the unifying Arab-Muslim civilisation that survives proudly to this day.

The Iraqi people are the expression of this heritage, regardless of their religion or ethnicity. Never in history could two states cohabitate the area that is now Iraq. It has always been in the interest of the peoples who settled in the Iraq basin to organise together a common geopolitical future. There have been many unsuccessful imperial attempts to divide this natural entity.

No form of aggression, regardless of how criminal or vengeful, can destroy the Arab-Muslim identity of Iraq or Iraq’s geopolitical unity. In its attempts to destroy this civilisation and reality, the US administration has thrown the entire idea of the so-called West into disarray. Definitively exposed are all the racist and condescending attitudes that had remained latent or covert.

The “West” — and the United States in particular — stands naked as a culture of force. The moral accounting, which will develop inexorably, will change world history. It is the resistance of the Iraqi people that demands it.

Attempts to choke Arab development cannot but fail. The three main socio-economic and political currents developed by Arab societies — nationalists, Islamists and leftists — are intrinsically anti-imperialist and therefore opposed to US-Israeli regional designs.

For nationalists, retaining control of national resources to serve the general interest is sacrosanct. For leftists, opposing the international chains of imperialism and globalisation is a baseline. For Islamists, resistance to foreign occupation, as written in the Quran, is a duty. Their interest lies currently in achieving unity in struggle. They are united by their Arabo-Muslim identity.

They share common principles and values as follows: natural resources, material heritage, and the riches of culture and civilisation are the property of the totality of the people; the totality of citizens constitutes the people; the people are the sole source of sovereignty and of constitutional, political and judicial legitimacy; government is responsible for and accountable to all citizens; solidarity between citizens — between generations, the able and ill, the elderly and young, the orphan and every human being who finds himself in a state of weakness — should form the basis of any government’s social policy.

The general interest is the justification and basis for the operation of the state, with every citizen, free of all forms of discrimination, sharing in the fruits of national wealth and social development.

The United States established a collision course confrontation with Iraqi society when it liquidated the Iraqi state, destroying its accomplishments and erasing its memory. It was oblivious to the simple truth that society is not a political movement or head of state that can be conquered, apprehended, bribed or killed; rather, it is all the living people in a given country. Like other live societies, Iraqi society possesses huge capabilities — a sophisticated legacy based on ancient civilisations and an experienced patriotic movement.

Occupation forces faced from the first day a resolute resistance, culminating in an uprising by all Iraqi movements and organisations, including those defending women or unemployed youth, human rights organisations, trade unions, professional syndicates, agencies defending Iraq’s environment and the rights of prisoners, and all other cultural and political organisations, side-by-side with provincial and tribal communities and peaceful and armed resistance groups. A national popular movement, opposed to occupation and sectarianism, developed taking various forms, from civil to armed resistance.

In struggling against military-imperial powers, Iraqis fight in defence of values around which a majority in the world gathers in consensus. In contrast, the sheer level of force to which Iraqis have been subjected by imperial powers — from systematic murder and rape, the desecration of religious and cultural sites and the destruction of Iraq’s historic heritage, the poisoning of Iraq’s landscape and rivers by radioactive weapons that will mark the lives of its future generations for hundreds if not thousands of years, the terrorising of a whole national population and its attempted division along lines leading to all out civil war, the plunder of its resources — prove the decadence and utter immorality of the neoliberal/neoconservative agenda.

The struggle of Iraq is a struggle for civilisation, for culture, for justice, and for not reducing human life to mere production and consumption or the conquest of others. Indeed, the present uprising of Iraqis is not only a part of the wider struggle against savage globalisation and “free” capital, it is its forefront battle. It is because the Iraqis refuse to surrender their sovereignty to multinational corporations that Iraq is being destroyed so viciously.

While the occupation is a disaster for the United States, for Iraqi society it is a catastrophe. With the aid of its allies, the US has destroyed all that Iraqis built in modern times. It should come as no surprise that Iraqis will continue struggling against the occupation in order to restore their society.

The large educated and marginalised middle class, along with the impoverished working class and unemployed youth deprived of state subsidies, have no interest in collaborating with the US policy of creating a class of blood-soaked feudal warlords.

Resistance is the only path for Iraqis to true liberty, democracy, peace, dignity and achieving their interests, both as individuals and as a people.

The US administration has succeeded in nothing but destruction, bloodshed and lies. The Iraqi Resistance is by definition democratic as it is the spontaneous expression of a people who took its destiny into its hands, and is by definition progressive as it defends the interests of the people.

While Western societies pose as being democratic, street action and popular consensus over the past four years has proven that Western structures of political governance are impervious to popular will. Despite its failure to solidify our trust in our ability to change history, the anti-war and anti-globalisation movement, in its various forms of expression, proves that the people understand the current divorce between their aspirations and the individuals, parties and institutions that are supposed to represent and defend them and their interests.

New ways of civil struggle must be found, and urgently.

While its failure is comprehensive, this US administration shows no sign of changing course. Iraq and the world cannot wait until November 2008, by which time this US administration and its local collaborators could have killed another one million Iraqis on top of the one million killed since 2003.

Rigorous action is needed, including the impeachment and prosecution of responsible state leaders and officials for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of genocide.

We should support the call of Tun Dr Mahatir Mohammed to criminalise war as a means of resolving disputes among nations. We should support this call not only because war is a crime, but also because war again has been proven useless.

Iraq cannot be broken and cannot be subjugated. The defeat of the United States and the occupation should be a lesson; that never again a military force tries to subjugate the people of another country. The US did not and cannot achieve its goals, even if it exterminates whole sections of Iraqi society.

To succeed in stopping this insanity, the anti-war movement must revise all its terminology and refuse the terms dictated by the occupation. We must condemn the ignorance that accepts the dehumanising of the other. We must refuse the word “insurgency” and substitute it for what exists in reality: legitimate and legal resistance against vicious foreign occupation.

Occupation is a de facto condition, not a de jure determination. With around 200,000 foreign forces on Iraqi soil, Iraq cannot be but described as an occupied country. Detainees in Iraq should thus be considered prisoners of war, with all the protected rights the Third Geneva Convention assures them.

We ought all to be humbled by the loses this people has been prepared to endure for our sake and demand the complete, unconditional and immediate withdrawal of occupation forces from Iraqi soil, along with the cancellation of any law, treaty, agreement or contract passed under occupation and the fair payment of reparations and compensations for the tragic human and material loses the Iraqis have suffered in defence of civilisation.

We must refuse in total the culture of the military-imperial state if we are to contribute to the wave of resistance rising worldwide in defence of civilisation, justice, independence and coexistence.

We must retrieve recognition from any entity imposed by the United States and that claims to represent the people of Iraq.

Long live the Iraqi people and its sole representative, the Iraqi Resistance.

The writer is a member of the Executive Committee of The BRussells Tribunal and a frequent contributor to Global Research.

mardi 29 mai 2007

Cindy Sheehan resigning as the "face" of the American anti-war movement

A disillusioned and exhausted Cindy Sheehan is resigning as the “face” of the American anti-war movement. She is also leaving the Democratic party saying:
You have completely failed those who put you in power to change the direction our country is heading. We did not elect you to help sink our ship of state but to guide it to safe harbor.
We do not condone our government's violent meddling in sovereign countries and we condemn the continued murderous occupation of Iraq.
We gave you a chance, you betrayed us
For the letters announcing her resignation see:

Turkmen journalist killed in Kerkuk

Gunmen Shoot Ethnic Turkmen Newspaper Editor-in-Chief Outside his Home

By Issam Tareq Kerkuk,
May 29, (VOI) –
Unidentified gunmen killed the editor-in-chief of a weekly newspaper published in Kerkuk in front of his house in the predominantly-Turkoman neighborhood of al-Musalla, northern Kerkuk, a police source said."Mahmoud Hassib al-Qassab, the editor of al-Hawadeth weekly, was an ethnic Turkoman and the fourth journalist to be killed in Kerkuk this month," the source told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).

Qassab was also the leader of the Movement to Rescue Turkomans.

Al-Hawadeth was the first newspaper published in Kerkuk in 1962.
It stopped for a while but Qassab had it re-issued after 2003.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said at least 104 journalists have been killed in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003, making Iraq the deadliest conflict for the press.

About four in five journalist deaths there have been Iraqis.

My comments to the Daily Star on an article by Safa Hussein


Dear Sir,

In his commentary about Kerkuk and its population the author undermines the importance of the Turkmens and their legitimate claims to the city of Kerkuk.

He writes that “the long-oppressed Kurds are thirsting for justice and power in post-Saddam Iraq” omitting to mention that the Turkmens were the most discriminated and oppressed community in the north of Iraq since the beginning of the Iraqi State in 1921 and especially for the past three decades under the Ba’ath regime.

Contrary to the Turkmens, the Kurds obtained an autonomous region in the north of Iraq under the Baath regime in 1970. Indeed, the Baath regime in order to put an end to the Kurdish rebellion in the north-east of Iraq sacrificed Erbil, a Turkmen city with its 250.000 Turkmen inhabitants, by offering it to the Kurdish rebellion leader Mustafa Barzani to become the capital of his autonomous region, in total denigration of the rights of the city’s Turkmen inhabitants!

It is important to remember that up to the middle of the 20th century the Turkmens constituted the majority in Erbil. The Kurds began to move into Erbil at the beginning of the 20th century and became the majority in the 1970s and the same applies to the other big Turkmen city Kerkuk.

Contrary to the Kurds and Arabs, the Turkmens do not have any armed militia and they never terrorized or harmed any of their Iraqi compatriots. Despite all their sufferings and killings at the hands of the Iraqi regimes and the Kurdish militia the Turkmens never sought revenge. Throughout their long history in Iraq the Turkmens always remained true Iraqi patriots.

Since the invasion of Iraq in 2003 the Kurdish parties who collaborated with the occupying armies have brought and installed not “nearly 100.000 Kurds” as mentioned in the article which was probably written some time ago, but over 600,000 Kurds in Kerkuk, in order to change the demography of the city in anticipation of the Referendum which the Kurds want to take place before the end of 2007.

Moreover, contrary to what Safa Hussein writes the great majority of these Kurds are not “returning” to Kerkuk, as most of them have never lived, worked or owned properties in Kerkuk.

It is a well known fact that after April 2003 the two Kurdish parties KDP and PUK organized the transport of Kurds from the Kurdish autonomous region and even from neighbouring countries such as Syria, Turkey and Iran and brought them to Kerkuk in order to Kurdify the city.

The US authorities have allowed the Kurdish militia to install their hegemony over the entire north of Iraq and especially in the Turkmen region, TURKMENELI, where they are imposing their authority by force on the Turkmen towns and cities.

As for property rights, it is clear that the Kurds will not hesitate to provide forged documents in an attempt to prove the legitimacy of their claims to Kerkuk, after all, it is THEY who looted and burned the city’s Land Registry and Population Registry Offices the very first day the Americans allowed them to enter and occupy Kerkuk on 10th April 2003.

The Americans put the Kurds in the most important positions in Kerkuk and even the Property Claims Commission’s Kerkuk Office was staffed mainly by Kurds. As a consequence, this Commission is refusing to return hundreds of thousands hectares of lands to the Turkmen owners, while tens of thousands of Kurdish families, who were brought in by the Kurdish militias are building houses on Municipality and Turkmen lands.

One must remember also that American authorities turned a blind eye when the Kurds manipulated the elections in the north of the country in order to win the majority in the Kerkuk Council.

In fact, since 2003, the Kurdish militia with the help of the American occupiers have managed to completely change the demography of the Turkmen region, what the Baath regime had not been able to achieve in thirty-five years!

The Turkmens - who are the third main ethnic group in Iraq alongside their Arab and Kurdish compatriots and the second main ethnic group in the north of Iraq - are not willing to accept this “fait accompli”, they do not want to be considered as ‘second class citizens’ in their own region in the north of Iraq.

The Turkmens want to be masters of their own destiny in Iraq, they refuse to be part of any Kurdish entity and refuse to be under Kurdish domination; therefore they will never give up their struggle to obtain their legitimate rights to govern their own towns and cities in the north of Iraq.

Merry Fitzgerald
Committee for the Defence of the Iraqi Turkmen Rights

Hereunder is the article published in the Daily Star

Reconciliation could reap greater rewards for Kurds
Commentary by Safa A. Hussein*
May 28, 2007

One might argue that the discovery of vast quantities of oil near Kirkuk in 1927 shaped the direction in which the process of the formation of the modern Iraqi state was heading. It provided the impetus for the United Kingdom to support the Kingdom of Iraq (which was under its mandate) in its dispute with Turkey over the former Ottoman wilaya of Mosul (of which the Kirkuk region was a part). With British support, that region was annexed to Iraq. It is striking that after 80 years there is a new process of "reshaping" the Iraqi state in which Kirkuk may play a significant, even the most significant, role.

Historically, the city of Kirkuk had a mixed population (now around 750,000) of Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians, Turkmen and Armenians who lived together in peace. This changed starting in the 1970s, when the Baath regime made continuous attempts to transform the ethnic make-up of the region. Kurds and Turkmen were forced out of Kirkuk to be replaced with Arab oil workers. These plans culminated in Saddam Hussein's "Arabization" plan and the anti-Kurdish Anfal campaign in 1988. After the 1991 Gulf war, the Iraqi government systematically expelled tens of thousands of Kurds, Turkmen and some Assyrians from Kirkuk and resettled Arab families from the south and center of Iraq in their place.

Soon after the United States-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, tensions surfaced between the different local ethnic groups. These tensions stimulated different responses from neighboring countries. Five factors may be behind these tensions.

First, the Iraqi insurgents, consisting mainly of people who lost their privileges after the collapse of the Baath regime, coordinated with international terrorists like Ansar al-Islam and Ansar al-Sunna, both Al-Qaeda-affiliated organizations. Attacks by these groups on the Kurds, Turkmen Shiites and Arab Shiites today threaten the ethnic balance. The successes of the security plans in Baghdad and Anbar may push more terrorists to Kirkuk to foment ethnic trouble, capitalizing on the divisions that already exist there.

Second, there is the threat of long-oppressed Kurds who are thirsting for justice and power in post-Saddam Iraq. Nearly 100,000 Kurds returned to Kirkuk in 2003 in an effort to reverse the Arabization of the city. As a result, many Arabs were forced to leave in what seemed a second wave of violence and ethnic cleansing. Kurdish leaders have appealed to their constituents to be patient and let the legal process determine property rights. For its part, the Iraqi government has endorsed a decision to relocate and compensate thousands of Arabs who moved to Kirkuk as part of Saddam Hussein's Arabization plan.

Third, Sunni Arabs, Turkmen and Turks fear the annexation of Kirkuk to the Kurdistan region. Article 140 of the Iraqi Constitution mandates a referendum scheduled to occur no later than December 31, 2007, on whether Kirkuk Province should become part of Iraqi Kurdistan. The Turkmen, who claim they were the majority in the city 50 years ago, believe that the annexation of Kirkuk by Kurdistan will further dilute their power and increase violence. The deputy head of the Iraqi Turkmen Front in Kirkuk recently said the implementation of Article 140 "will mean the total loss of the power of Turkmen." The local Turkmen believe that the solution to the Kirkuk problem mostly depends on what role Turkey plays. Meanwhile, Sunni Arabs have concerns about wealth-sharing after any annexation.

Fourth is the fact that Kurds are ignoring the concerns of the Sunni Arabs, the Turkmen and the Turks. The Kurds are moving systematically to guarantee Kirkuk's annexation into the Kurdistan Regional Government. Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih, a prominent Kurdish leader, recently said that Kurds have a "claim to Kirkuk rooted in history, geography and demographics. [But this] is a recipe for civil war if you don't do it right."

Fifth, Turkey has concerns that Kirkuk, with its over 10 billion barrels of proven oil reserves (as of 1998), will be annexed by the Kurdistan region. Turks believe that such annexation will provide the Kurdish region with the resources it needs to establish an independent Kurdish state. This in turn will create a security challenge for Turkey because of its Kurdish minority situation. Turkish officials have frequently expressed their concerns about the security of Turkmen in Kirkuk.

In the final assessment, the Kurds hold the wild card. The Turkmen are too fragmented politically and too weak militarily to stop the Kurds. Turkey can and will use the Turkmen card, but knows it is not a winning one. The Sunni Arabs will not be able to stop the Kurds democratically unless they align with the Shiites, which is unlikely. The insurgents can make life difficult, but they can't stop the Kurds. It seems the Kurds will go ahead and make Iraq pay a price of more violence and instability. This is unfortunate since the path of reconciliation could reap potentially greater future reward for Kurds.

* Safa A. Hussein is a former deputy member of the dissolved Iraqi Governing Council. Prior to joining the Transitional Government he served as a brigadier general in the Iraqi Air Force and worked in the military industry as director of a research and development center. Currently he works in the Iraqi National Security Council.
This commentary first appeared at, an online newsletter.

BASIC, British think tank says Bush cabal want a war with Iran

British think tank BASIC, says the Bush cabal want a war with Iran so bad, they are accusing Iran of bomb attacks in Iraq to strengthen their case for another Bush War.
The BASIC report is here in PDF...

News Report on this in The Independent:

Iran 'accused of attacks in Iraq to bolster US strategy'
By Anne Penketh and Eric Silver in Luxembourg

The Bush administration may be highlighting accusations that the Iranian government is behind attacks in Iraq in order to strengthen its hand in preparing for military strikes on Iran, according to a leading British think-tank.
In a report sifting the evidence produced by US authorities against Iran, the independent think-tank Basic cast doubt on the strength of the intelligence, saying that proved links between the Tehran regime and militia inside Iraq remained "sketchy".

Given the close ties between Shia Muslim Iran and Iraq, which has a dominant Shia population in the south, the report warned of the dangers of conflating "legitimate acts of foreign relations and cross-border movements of people" with the alleged Iranian involvement in violence.

The UK and US governments have frequently accused Iran of aiding militant groups in Iraq who are attacking coalition forces. However, the report said that "despite efforts by the Bush administration to confirm the strength of evidence presented, doubt still surrounds the case against Iran, particularly with regard to the degree of direct involvement of the Iranian leadership.

"Whatever the true extent and nature of Iranian military action in Iraq, few independent analysts believe Tehran is playing a decisive role in the sectarian warfare and insurgency," said the report.

Turning to the US strategic motivation for highlighting the Iranian role in Iraq, Basic (British American Security Information Council) suggested that Iran could be a "useful scapegoat to divert the blame" for failures in Iraq away from the occupying powers. But also, "if Tehran can be cast as a source of regional instability in the eyes of the international community, then the US administration's hand will be strengthened as it seeks support for stronger measures to oppose Iranian nuclear ambitions".

Iraq's Assyrians want an autonomous region on the Nineveh Plains

Iraq's Assyrians Need Their Own Region
Assyrian International News Agency
The sectarian violence and the general chaos in Iraq affects all Iraqis, regardless of their ethnicity. But the Christian Assyrians suffer the most, because they are Assyrians and Christians.

Besides the sectarian persecution which the Assyrians are subjected to, the KDP (Kurdish Democratic Party) led KRG (Kurdish Regional Government) is systematically persecuting and oppressing the Assyrians, which are the indigenous people of Iraq. The purpose of the actions of the KRG is the Kurdish nationalist ambition to take over all historically Assyrian territory in northern Iraq.

The Assyrians lack protection in today's Iraq and suffer non-proportionally, something that is affirmed by the fact that 40% of all Iraqi refugees are Christians, although their numbers only constitute 5% of the Iraqi population.

The Assyrians will never be able to live in peace, liberty and security as equal citizens in Iraq, not among Arabs nor Kurds. The oppression will continue until the last Assyrians have fled the country. The only way to prevent Iraq from being entirely drained of its indigenous people is to give the Assyrians the possibility to create an own autonomous region on the Nineveh plains, the historically Assyrian heartland, where the majority of the population is still Assyrian.

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lundi 28 mai 2007


In its communiqué dated 27th May 2007 the Turkmeneli Party reiterates its demand for KERKUK to be considered a "special territory" placed under the supervision of the UN Security Council and confirms its demand to cancel the referendum on KERKUK planned for the end of 2007:-

Turkmen Masses in Kirkuk appeal to the international community to cancel the referendum planned at the end of this year

It is well known that Turkmen constitute an essential part of the Iraqi people; they are deployed on the line near the Syrian-Iraqi-Turkish border; then extend eastward the Iraqi-Iranian border, along this line villages and towns inhabited by Turkmen people lies.

It seems evident from the foregoing that the demographic, geographical and the historical situations support the Turkmen ethnic background in Iraq alongside Arabs and Kurds; it obviously recognizing that the Turkmen issue is a key part of the Iraqi national issue. We all know what Iraqis suffered during the dictatorial regime within thirty-five years, but the Turkmen did not raise the banner of disobedience against the state even in earlier eras, as they did not create any organizations advocating independence or foreign association scuffle, Despite being subjected to massacres and ugly campaigns It did not happen that any Turkmen, killed or insulted Arab or Kurd citizens for political reasons, in other words, Turkmen who flouted their intercourse did not grasp the rights of others even where they were able to do so.

Turkmen masses have joined into political movements which sponsor Iraqi citizenship in the first place and uphold the unity of home soil, Iraqi citizens, and solidarity among Iraqis.
What happened after the formation of the Kirkuk Governorate exactly four years ago (this month from 2003): armed factions supported by occupation forces took the control of Kirkuk city, this made the Turkmen people and their city living again similar tragedy could even be more assertive and oppressive than what Turkmen people suffered during the rule of the former dictatorship.

Unfair Elections with overt bias of the American administration produced the following results:
Governor, President of the Council, Vice president of the Council, Mayor, Pro-governor, Vice Governor, Municipals Manager, Municipal Manager, director of the municipal water, director of the municipal sewer, police chief Director, Intelligence director, Security Commander, Army Commander, director of the Civil Defense, traffic Director, University President, Director of Agriculture Department, director of the Religion Affairs etc. under the control of the two main Kurdish parties (PUK, KDP).

The issue of Kirkuk is intractably held in Iraqi politics for more than 50 years; as successive governments pursued a chauvinistic fruit common to change the demography of Kirkuk governorate in favor of a certain nationality and still these attempts are in one way or another after the fall of the previous regime, has become the reality of Kirkuk as a result of too many immigrants and the collapse of the security situation and economic collapse completely.

The Turkmen people still exposed to all levels of intimidation and repression policies to force them to leave this city, where all Turkmen businessmen, physicians and Turkmen political officials have been threatened.

Turkmen youth are subjected to indiscriminate arrests by militias belonging to the two Kurdish parties (PUK, KDP).

The American administration in Kirkuk (Consulate and the army) did not take any clear stand against the two Kurdish parties attitude in Kirkuk, but there is a clear harmony between the American Administration and Kurdish parties regarding the future of the city, so we as Turkmen people and as Turkmeneli Party, confirm what we have previously said; that the only solution to Kirkuk city's issue is to be a special territory and under the supervision of the UN Security Council, the United Nations and cancels the referendum planned for the end of 2007

KHALIL AL-ZAHAWI, renowned Iraqi calligrapher shot dead

Khalil al-Zahawi, renowned Iraqi calligrapher shot dead

Another attack on culture and learning in Iraq
One of the Muslim world's leading calligraphers has been shot dead by gunmen in Baghdad.
Khalil al-Zahawi, shaykh al-khattatin, was killed outside his house in the New Baghdad district of the city.
Al-Zahawi had taught students from all over the Middle East and was highly regarded.
It is said that anyone in Iraq who wanted to be considered proficient in Arabic calligraphy had to have his seal of approval.

dimanche 27 mai 2007


By Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

05/26/07 "ICH"
-- -- -The concoction becomes lethal. America’s relentless drive to dominate the Middle East and its oil, blends well with Israel’s insatiable appetite for water and unstoppable expansion. It is said that oil and water do not mix – but when they do, it becomes a lethal concoction with no easy solution. The fatal blend engulfing the Middle East today seems to have no end in sight other than darker clouds showering more innocent blood.

The relationship between war and resources is nothing new. “One drop of oil,” said Georges Clemenceau, the Prime Minister of France in the second half of World War I, “is worth one drop of blood of our soldiers.” Today, the U.S. policy makers seem to think that one drop of oil is worth one drop of blood of soldiers and the slaughter of thousands of Arab and Muslim lives. However, to cover their racist ambitions, they disguise their greed as ‘war on terror’ or ‘democratization’.

Knowing that by controlling the world's energy resources in conjunction with the superiority of the U.S. military, the United States would be able to intimidate and coerce the world more effectively, oil policy--wars or covert actions -- have become the overriding determinant of the American foreign policy.

In a New York Times article on February 24, 2006, “Ted Koppel responded to what he described as the Bush administration's "touchiness" about the charge that we are in Iraq because of oil by stating the obvious, though often unsaid, truth, "Now that's curious. Keeping oil flowing out of the Persian Gulf and through the Strait of Hormuz has been bedrock American foreign policy for more than half a century."

Today control over the world's oil supply is at the forefront of Washington policy makers' thinking, even if the president and his team deny any such intent and talk publicly of reducing dependence on Middle East oil by three-quarters of present levels, an absurdly impossible goal. Two-thirds of the oil in the world is in the Middle East, much of it under Iraq and Iran, the axis of oil, the current targets of the U.S. War on Terrorism. Control of oil is integral to Washington's official goal of world domination, a goal stated this baldly in national security documents.”[i]

While oil is the primary motive for the United States, water ideology and expansion are Israel’s motives for giving the Bush administration reason for war, leaving Israel room to benefit from the Bush administration’s ambitions.

In an astonishing interview[ii], the world renowned Israeli military strategist, Martin Van Creveld, whose books are required reading for the U.S. Army officers, revealed that there was “no danger at all of having an Iranian nuclear weapon dropped on us. We cannot say so too openly, however, because we have a history of using any threat in order to get weapons. And it works beautifully: Thanks to Iranian threat, we are getting weapons from U.S. and Germany. I think some people in Israel are deliberately exaggerating our fears because it prompts the response, "Oh, those poor Jews. They're going to have the Holocaust again. Give them weapons"[iii].

Israel needs weapons for wars of aggression and expansion. In its nascent stages, Zionism not only advocated a return to Palestine, but also the redemption of the Jewish people through agrarian physical labor, “and the transformation and rebirth of the ‘wasteland’ of Palestine into a ‘land of milk and honey’”.

The goal of the early Zionist leadership became not only to secure all water resources, but control them at their sources.[iv] Following independence, the same doctrine continued. Israel continued its policy of establishing Jewish settlements in areas of Arab majority (e.g. Galilee) as well as peripheral areas alongside the borders of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and the Negev. Saul Arlosoroff, Chairman of the Israel-Water Engineers Association says:
“The whole philosophy of the Zionist movement was that you maintain control of the land, over your country, by working there and being there. There’s no doubt that if they move out of the border with Lebanon, somebody else will be there, and that somebody is Arabs, not Jews, and the government of Israel doesn’t want Arabs to be there on the border, because the border will move further and further south. The same is true in the Negev.”

Although today Israel imports most of its food staples from the US, and while agriculture is economically insignificant, in territorial-political terms it is of utmost importance. In July 2006, Israel bombed and destroyed Lebanon for 33 days as the world stood by. This was oil and water mixing. Israel did not want Arabs on the border, the United States wanted Hezbollah disabled, a fact readily admitted by then ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton[v].

In January the Jerusalem Post announced that Israel the Israeli Air Force had plans to buy military equipment from the United States that would help transform regular missiles into precision, satellite-guided weapons. Israel is busy bombing and destroying Palestine and the Gaza at the moment. While on the other hand, it would seem that even a year is too long for the people of Lebanon to recover from destruction and death.

Lebanon is being subjected to internal conflict; Arab is being set up against Arab. After the renowned investigative reporter Sy Hersh revealed that the United States, the Saudis, and the Siniora government are engaged in covert operations in funding and supporting the Jihadist movements in Lebanon in a fight against Hezbollah, the Bush White House had to reveal that it was sending military aid to the Lebanese army[vi].

Once the administration is assured of a full scale civil war which will no doubt engage Hezbollah, the U.S. will attack Iran.

The stage has been set. As nine more U.S. warships enter the Persian Gulf threatening Iran, and with news leaked (informative leak in this writer’s opinion) that the Bush administration has authorized new covert actions against Iran, it is undoubtedly a sign that Bush & Co. hope to provoke a strong reaction from Iran in an attempt to justify a military attack.

Having convinced the world that Iran’s nuclear program is an existential threat to Israel, and outrageous accusations abound, where even the once reputable paper The Guardian is repeating the warmongers allegations of linking Iran with al-Qaeda, the only enemy recognized by the less savvy global citizen, and those thought to have been responsible for 9/11- given that perhaps differentiating between Sunni and Shiite may be too much of a burden for some to consume,[vii] the U.S. seeks to commit mass murder for the sake of power and greed while Israel will expand unhindered.

One has to wonder how many more millions have to be slaughtered before the collective consciousness of humanity is stirred into action. Has the ongoing stench of the genocidal concoction obscured our compassion? Perhaps the fatal potion brings with it another message - shame? Or perhaps even a glimmer of hope that there is still time.

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich has lived and studied in Iran, the UK, France, Australia and the US. She obtained her Bachelors Degree in International Relations from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and she is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Middle East Studies concentrating in Political Science. She has done extensive research on US foreign policy towards Iran and Iran’s nuclear program.
[i] Tabb, William, K. “Monthly Review.” New York:Jan 2007. Vol. 58, Iss. 8, p. 32-42
[ii] Levin, R. “Reality Fights: The Future of War, A talk with military theorist Martin Van Creveld” Playboy Magazine. June 2007, pages 52-53
[iv] Selby, Jan. “Water, Power & Politics in the Middle East: The Other Israel-Palestinian Conflict” Palgrave & MacMillan NY:2003 pp65-69
[vi] UPI
[vii] Guardian

vendredi 25 mai 2007


Turkish PM would back Iraq incursion after suicide bombing

by Hande Culpan
May 24

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to support any Turkish military incursion in Iraq against Kurdish rebel bases there after a deadly suicide bombing in Ankara blamed on the militants.

Upping the pressure on its southern neighbour, Ankara urged Baghdad Thursday to act against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) holed up in northern Iraq.

"We expect urgent and resolute measures," foreign ministry spokesman Levent Bilman told reporters shortly after reports of more violence with a landmine explosion attributed to the PKK killing six soldiers in the southeast.

Erdogan said late Wednesday his government would secure parliamentary authorisation if the army sought to conduct a cross-border operation targeting PKK bases.

"It is out of the question for us to disagree on this issue with our... soldiers," he told the private ATV network. "When the time comes, we will take the necessary step, there will be no delay."

Officials said the method of Tuesday's suicide bomb attack in Ankara, which killed six people, and the type of explosives used tallied with past practices of the PKK, which has been fighting for self-rule in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast since 1984.

Ankara charges that the Iraqi Kurds who run an autonomous administration in northern Iraq tolerate -- and even assist -- thousands of PKK rebels who have found refuge in their region.
It says the PKK enjoys unrestricted movement in the mountain enclave and obtains weapons and explosives for attacks inside Turkey.

In a diplomatic note handed to Baghdad on April 9, Turkey demanded that Iraq capture and hand over PKK members, close down organisations linked to the group and put the group on its list of terrorist organisations.

Baghdad responded on May 17, voicing "its intention to cooperate on the issue of PKK terrorism," Bilman revealed in a statement later Thursday.
"We continue to closely follow up on our demands from Iraq... and cooperation opportunities in this field," he said.

Violence in southeastern Turkey increased after the army said last month that it had launched large-scale operations against the PKK in what has become an annual event as the spring thaw makes it easier for rebels to cross the frontier.

Local security sources said six Turkish soldiers were killed and 10 others wounded when PKK rebels set off a remote-controlled landmine during a security sweep in Sirnak province.
The explosion occurred about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the border with Iraq, the sources said.

The PKK has denied any involvement in Tuesday's bombing at a busy shopping centre in Ankara, which also left 121 people injured. But Turkish newspapers reported Thursday that the bomber was a former far-left militant believed to have joined the Kurdish insurgency.

Guven Akkus, 28, once affiliated to the ultra-leftist Union of Revolutionary Communists of Turkey (TIKB), switched to the PKK after he was jailed for two years pending trial over May Day violence in 1996, the reports said.

In a statement posted on a far-left Turkish Internet site, the TIKB denied any involvement with Akkus or the explosion.

Other than fighting Turkish security forces, the PKK, listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey and much of the international community, has also carried out suicide bombings.

The Turkish army regularly seizes from the PKK large amounts of plastic explosives it says militants bring across the border into Turkey from their bases in northern Iraq.
More than 37,000 people have died since the PKK picked up arms.


Iraqis are being left in the dark about the real consequences of the proposed oil law Maliki and Bush are trying to impose on Iraq, writes Nermeen Al-Mufti

The law of oil and gas, due for debate at the parliament, has caused much controversy outside the country. Unfortunately, the local media has treated it as routine news, failing to explain its full significance to the public. The forceful manner in which the occupation authorities keep pushing for that law is alarming, especially at a time when all construction work in the country has ground to a halt due to widespread disturbances. If the law is passed, experts argue, US and multinational companies would benefit at Iraq's expense.

Parliament is divided over the law. Those who don't mind a divided Iraq praise the law for its "fair" distribution of oil revenues. The Kurds, who were hoping to get the lion's share of oil revenues, oppose the law; so do others who believe that the law would lead to the partition of the country.

Most recent governments have promised a fair distribution of oil revenues. Every government had a plan, but none of them have been implemented. One plan was to give an allowance from oil money to employees along with their monthly salaries, but how would people not working for the government get their share? Iraq is now importing fuel from abroad, although it has the second largest oil reserves in the world. Iraq still suffers from fuel shortages, although the government has removed oil subsidies upon the advice of the World Bank.

Jenan Ali, an expert in Iraqi affairs, says that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asked Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki to pass the new law. President Bush has on more than one occasion expressed the same wish. All of this is indication, Ali says, that the US president wants oil as a trophy.

"The US president wants to feel that he won the oil, although he lost the war." Ali dislikes the obtuse phrasing of the law. "Concerning contracts with foreign companies, we don't know if the companies in question intend to operate the existing fields or develop new ones."

According to the draft law, the revenues of oil and gas would be distributed among the entire nation, in accordance with the population density of every region. The law gives the regions the right to negotiate and sign oil deals. But no agreement is final unless approved by the central government.

Issam Al-Chalabi was Iraq's petroleum minister from 1978- 1990. A much-respected expert both at home and abroad, Chalabi says that the law is a "ready-made recipe to divide Iraq." Speaking to Al-Ahram Weekly, he admits that the country needs an oil law. "It also needs to restructure the Ministry of Petroleum, but is this the right time?"

The government in Kurdistan has drawn up laws to attract investment and signed contracts to develop the petroleum industry. Such behaviour, Chalabi argues is "hasty". He calls on Iraqi oil experts to urge the postponement of the law. The law should be discussed only after constitutional amendments are approved, he says.

"The oil sector in Iraq needs maintenance. The petroleum industry is in a terrible condition as a result of the general situation in the country. Petroleum installations have been subject to a lot of sabotage, smuggling, and looting."

According to Chalabi, racketeers have sabotaged Iraqi pipelines to steal oil and smuggle it to neighbouring countries. The smugglers use small boats in the Shatt Al-Arab sea passage. There are seven docks on the Shatt Al-Arab, all controlled by politically-backed militias and racketeers, he says. "The losses exceed $1 billion a year." Chalabi fears that due to the vagueness of the law foreign corporations would exploit existing oil fields instead of developing new ones.

Following a symposium about the law, 61 Iraqi oil experts signed a petition to parliament in which they questioned the "timing" of the law, its "compatibility" with the constitution, and its "economic value" for the country as a whole.

Opposition to the law doesn't come solely from experts such as Chalabi. Prominent politicians also spoke out against the law. One is Abdul-Hadi Al-Hassani of Al-Daawa Party (the prime minister's party), who noted his objections to the law during a seminar he organised in London.

The law is supposed to set up a central body -- the Federal Council for Oil and Gas (FCOG) -- to draw up oil policies. The FCOG would ask "an office of independent advisers" to help out with technical details regarding concessions, contracts and production.

An Iraqi oil expert, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Weekly that the "office of independent advisers" could be just another name for giant US corporations. "The new law would place Iraq's oil fields in the hands of foreign companies for decades, and after the companies have their cut, the Iraqis would be left short, perhaps with as little as 14 per cent of the revenues," the expert said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Maliki has invited Iranian companies to build four oil refineries in south Iraq. The Iraqi Petroleum Ministry has confirmed that Iranian companies will be submitting bids for the refineries. If the Iranians have their way, they would seize a large portion of Iraq's oil, refine it and export it through a pipeline passing through Abadan, experts say.

A parliamentarian speaking to the Weekly on condition his name be withheld said that it would be a mistake to pass the law first and amend it later, as some are trying to do. That would leave the country in a debacle similar to the one created by the hastily-approved constitution, he remarked.

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