vendredi 30 novembre 2007



Grim warnings
While Iraq's historical sites have largely slipped from the headlines, an international meeting was held this month in Paris to try to save them, writes David Tresilian


On 14 November this year, a meeting of the International Coordination Committee for the Safeguarding of the Cultural Heritage of Iraq ended in Paris with a grim warning about the challenges still facing Iraq's heritage.
At the meeting, organised by UNESCO, the United Nations agency responsible for education, science and culture, it was reported that more than 4,000 Iraqi antiquities had been seized between 2004 and 2007, most of them on the Iraqi-Jordanian border, with other objects seized elsewhere in the region. In Italy, 86 clay tablets bearing cuneiform writing had been seized, with a further 21 tablets and other items seized in Spain.

The illicit excavation, theft and export of antiquities from Iraq was a problem even before the 2003 invasion, as the impoverishment of the Iraqi population during the decade-long sanctions imposed on the country after the 1991 Gulf War had exacerbated attacks on archaeological sites.

Since the war, however, the situation has worsened despite the passage of UN resolution 1483 in 2003 banning international trade in Iraqi antiquities, and the Paris meeting ended with an appeal to the international community to step up its vigilance in this regard.

It was known well before the 2003 US-led invasion that should government authority collapse in Iraq as a result of war, museums, sites and monuments, usually heavily guarded, would be defenseless against the chaos that could follow.
with the existence of an international agreement on the protection of cultural heritage in wartime, the 1954 Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict managed by UNESCO, to which Iraq, though not Britain or the United States was party, led to the belief that in the event of invasion steps would be taken to protect Iraq's heritage.
Nothing, however, could have been further from the case: as is now well known, following the sudden fall of Baghdad in April 2003, waves of looting hit the country, with museums, libraries, universities, heritage sites and other institutions being among the targets.

Reports circulating after the invasion spoke of 170,000 objects looted from the Baghdad Museum following the entry of US troops into the city.
The Iraqi National Library and Archives was also burned, destroying records from the country's Ottoman and post-Ottoman periods, as was the library of Islamic manuscripts attached to the Ministry of Awqaf, or religious endowments, and the Iraqi Museum of Modern Art.

TERRIBLE HISTORY: In an interview with the Weekly in 2003, Mounir Bouchenaki, UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Culture at the time, spoke of his horror at the destruction following the US- led invasion.
What had befallen the country was a "real cultural disaster," he said, the situation at the Baghdad Museum in particular being "really terrible".
"There is not a single door or cupboard that has not been opened or smashed," Bouchenaki said. "Every single piece of equipment has disappeared, even chairs and computers... when you see this terrible situation, you feel people are still in shock."
At the National Library and Archives, the situation was even worse. Virtually the entire collection had been destroyed by fire, including archive material relating to the establishment of the modern Iraqi state in the 1920s, and Bouchenaki spoke of his pain at crunching across the 20 or 30cm of ash from the burnt collections.

UNESCO sent the US government a map of key archaeological sites in Iraq before the conflict started, together with a list of museums and other institutions, asking that these be protected in the event of invasion. The American Archaeological Association also supplied information on Iraq's heritage sites in order that these might be avoided in the event of conflict.
However, US soldiers stood by as the looting took place following their entry into Baghdad on 9 April, having moved swiftly to secure strategic locations such as the Ministries of Oil and Information. Cultural institutions, banks, homes and businesses, were left unprotected in the chaos and waves of looting.
Though the scale of the destruction at the Baghdad Museum was later scaled down, with 170,000 stolen items -- virtually the Museum's entire collection -- being reduced to some 35 to 40 major objects missing, and some 15,000 others smashed or unaccounted for, nothing can erase the memory of the failure to safeguard the Iraqi Museum and National Library, described by scholars as perhaps the greatest cultural disaster to hit the country since the Mongol invasions in the 13th century CE.

THE ANCIENT SUMERIAN, Babylonian and Assyrian civilisations once based in Iraq, making it the Middle East's "cradle of civilisation," are perhaps the best known of the many that have flourished in the country, and they have received the lion's share of archaeologists' attention.

However, Iraq also has some of the world's most important Islamic sites, the country having been the seat of the Abbasid caliphs from the 8th to 13th centuries CE, among them Harun al-Rashid (reigned 738-809) who figures in the tales collected in the Thousand and One Nights (the Arabian Nights).
Ruling from their capitals at Baghdad and Samarra, the Abbasids presided over a vast empire, a sort of Islamic golden age, that stretched from what is now Iraq and Iran down through the Levant and far across North Africa.

They built cities that rivaled those anywhere in the world, and the civilisation that flourished under their rule is remembered in the work of the many scientists, philosophers, theologians and literary writers that lived in the period, among them the poet Abu Nuwas.

However, despite their great interest Abbasid sites have never been completely excavated, and it seems that one of them, the city of Samarra founded by the caliph al-Mu'tasim in 836 CE and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is being damaged by military operations.

Photographs posted on the Internet by American journalist Jeff Emanuel show construction work at an Iraqi police barracks at Samarra in the shadow of the famous spiral minaret built by the caliph al-Mutawakkil, apparently supervised by US forces.

The Samarra site, stretching 50km along the Tigris river and over an area of 150 square km, has already been damaged at least twice since the US-led invasion in 2003, once when a surrounding earth wall was created by US forces, and once when the minaret became a target for military operations, having apparently been used as a look-out post by the US military.

According to Alistair Northedge, professor of Islamic Art and Archaeology at the University of Paris I, Panthéon-Sorbonne, and an expert on Samarra, Emanuel's photographs show an area to the north of the modern city, home to the shrine complex of the 10th and 11th Shia imams that was itself bombed in 2006, and towards the centre of the site of the ancient city.

Speaking to the Weekly in Paris, Northedge explained that he had stayed at the barracks site, then a government campsite, when excavating at Samarra in the early 1980s.

The great interest of Samarra lay in the fact that it is "the largest archaeological site in the world where you have the details, where you have the plan, and where the heaps of earth surviving at the site can be identified as the palaces of specific people and attached to specific historical figures," he said.
"Its cultural importance can hardly be overstated," Northedge said , emphasising both the scale of the remains and the city's enduring place in Arab history, with much Abbasid poetry, for example, having been composed at Samarra.

In Northedge's view, a police barracks on the site of the Abbasid city is "quite unnecessary" and risks destroying material that, once gone, can never be regained.
Contacted by the London-based Art Newspaper earlier this month, a spokeswoman for UNESCO's office in Amman said that the organisation had not been consulted on the construction of the barracks.
"To our knowledge, the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, which manages the site and is UNESCO's main partner in Iraq, was not consulted either," she said.

Al-Ahram Weekly Online : Located at:

Violence is up writes Nermeen Al-Mufti

No calm in sight

Violence is up, Al-Qaeda is adapting to new security measures and parliament is at loggerheads, reports Nermeen Al-Mufti

Just as the US occupation authorities expected, violence has surged once again in Iraq. Special units, supposedly Tehran-backed, bombed a pet market in central Baghdad on Friday, killing and wounding 70 people. A US official said that four people were detained in connection with the bombing. Rear Admiral Greg Smith, spokesman for the US army, said forensics, intelligence, and confessions of the detainees all point to a cell affiliated with Iranian-backed groups.

Abdul-Aziz Al-Hakim, leader of the Higher Islamic Council in Iraq, said that the US would need more evidence to prove that Iran is fomenting violence in Iraq. Al-Hakim made this remark after returning from Iran, where he receives periodic treatment for lung cancer. The American and Iranian ambassadors are preparing for talks in Baghdad. "We will try to make the talks successful, for good results would be beneficial for all, primarily the Iraqi people," Al-Hakim said.

Clashes between the Awakening Councils and the Al-Qaeda fighters resumed in Samaraa and Diyali, where 19 people were killed, including children. Iraqi officials warned that Al-Qaeda was changing its tactics to adapt to the new security measures and may have infiltrated security services and even the Awakening Councils. A video showing the execution of nine Iraqi policemen was released on the Internet. In that video, Al-Qaeda warned the public not to cooperate with the Americans, and issued threats to the Awakening Councils, formed by the US to fight Al-Qaeda operatives.

According to the police chief of Karbala, Shaker Gawdat, over 25 girls have been raped by officials and armed groups. The families of the victims have filed lawsuits against the presumed perpetrators. The police chief didn't give details on the timing of the crimes or the identity of the perpetrators, but he said that one of the perpetrators confessed.

Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki came under attack as well. Leaders of the Sadr Current met Vice-President Tareq Al-Hashimi to complain that Al-Maliki ordered police to arrest followers of the Sadr Current in Baghdad and the southern governorates. Sadr supporters gave the vice-president evidence of several crimes committed by close associates of Al-Maliki. Iraqi websites also carried documents said to be incriminating to Al-Maliki.

The family of a journalist known for his opposition to the prime minister was attacked last Sunday. According to the local newspaper Az-Zaman, unidentified gunmen in a truck shot dead 11 members of the family of Dia Al-Kawwaz, the editor-in-chief of Akhbar Al-Iraq who emigrated recently to Germany.

In parliament, a draft of the Accountability and Justice Law, now being debated in parliament, intended to replace the Eradication of Baath Law passed by former US civilian administrator Paul Bremer, is facing difficulties. Parliamentary speaker Mahmoud Al-Mashhadani reacted angrily to Falah Shanshal, a senior official at the Sadr Current, who accused the speaker of trying to push the law through too soon.

Deputies of the Sadr Current banged on their chairs to disrupt the reading of the draft law. At one point, Al-Mashhadani threatened to expel the Sadr supporters from the session. Since Prime Minister Al-Maliki proposed the law last June, several deputies voiced reservations, including the 30 deputies of the Sadr Current.

If ratified, the new law would allow many former Baath Party members to go back to their jobs and receive pensions. Falah Shanshal, who is also the chairman of the Eradication Committee in parliament, said that political parties agreed on 27 articles of a total of 30, but disagreed over the remaining three. The Accordance Front, the National Dialogue Front and other politicians maintain that the abolition of the Eradication of Baath Law is a prerequisite for national unity.

Another governmental conflict is between the Ministry of Petroleum and the regional government of Kurdistan are at loggerheads over the recent decision by Petroleum Minister Hussein Al-Shahrestani to cancel contracts signed by the Kurds with foreign companies. Petroleum Ministry spokesman Assem Jihad said the entire government supports the minister's decision to abrogate the said contracts. "The contracts signed by the Kurds with foreign companies are void and illegal because petroleum production must be supervised by the Iraqi national company SOMO," he added.

Al-Ahram Weekly Online : Located at:

jeudi 29 novembre 2007

Misinformation by a pro-Kurdish journalist

In an article published on 28th November in ‘The Independent’
Patrick Cockburn writes:

“In addition to the 2.2 million Iraqi refugees who have fled to other countries, a further 2.4 million are displaced inside Iraq. Of these, one million, mostly Kurds, were compelled to leave their homes under Saddam Hussein before 2003, but 1.2 million fled after the bombing of the Shia shrine in Samarra in February 2005. People are still leaving their homes inside Iraq and 28,000 more people were displaced in October.”

This is a piece of misinformation written by a biased, pro-Kurdish journalist. How can a so-called “professional journalist” unashamedly write such nonsense! No one who follows the news in Iraq will swallow such a blatant lie.

Firstly: it is since 2003, since the occupation of Iraq by the US-UK-AU that over 2.4 million Iraqis are internally displaced (while more than 2.2 million are displaced outside Iraq according to the UN). *

Secondly: these are not “mostly Kurds” .

Thirdly, since 2003, the Kurds have not only recuperated all the lands and properties from which they were expelled under the former regime, but they are now occupying the lands and properties of Turkmens and Chaldo-Assyrians, in their respective regions in the north of Iraq, namely Turkmeneli and the Nineveh Plains.

Fourthly: since 2003, the Kurdish parties of Messrs Barzani and Talabani have brought over 600.000 Kurds not only from outside Kerkuk province but also from Syria, Turkey and Iran and have settled them in Kerkuk in order to change the demographics of the region in view of the upcoming census.

Journalist Cockburn fails to report that these "newly arrived" or "imported" Kurds are now occupying lands and properties belonging to the Turkmens.

Conclusion: Cockburn is another of these 'Kurdish-embedded' journalists.

* According to the Iraqi Red Crescent there are well over 4 million displaced Iraqis around the world.

mercredi 28 novembre 2007

'Memorandum of understanding' is a blueprint for a long term occupation of Iraq

Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that the Sadr Movement and the Sunni Iraqi Accord Front both rejected the 'memorandum of understanding' between the US and Iraq signed by PM Nuri al-Maliki and US president George W. Bush two days ago.

They complain that neither leader has the constitutional authority to make such an agreement without involvement of the legislature.
They also complained that the document does not specify a timetable for withdrawal of US troops.
One Sadrist called it a blueprint for a long-term civil Occupation of Iraq.

Iraqi Refugee Trafficking

Swedish Media Shines Spotlight on Iraqi Refugee Trafficking
GMT 11-28-2007
Assyrian International News Agency

Stockholm (AINA) -- The plight of Iraqi refugees in Sweden was the main story in the Swedish press yesterday. Göran Johansson, mayor of the second largest city in Sweden, has suggested that all refugees that have been smuggled to Sweden should be deported. The issue of Iraqi refugees and human trafficking was exposed in a three-part documentary series aired in Swedish Radio investigative program Kaliber. According to the Kaliber report:
At least 30 Swedish-based groups smuggle Iraqis to Sweden from Syria and Jordan
More than 200,000 valid Swedish passports that in circulation amongst smugglers
Iraqi G-passports and modern EU-passports from Sweden are skillfully forged
The turn-over for the networks behind the trafficking of Iraqis to Sweden this year will be 200-300 million dollars.

According to UNHCR, the flow of Iraqi refugees to Syria has reversed in the last few weeks; more are going back to Iraq now

Working both in Damascus and Sweden, the Swedish Radios program for investigative journalism, Kaliber, has been able to unveil how the Iraqi refugee trafficking business works.

In Damascus the Assyrian-Swedish investigative journalist Nuri Kino and his colleague Marie-Jeanette Löfgren were offered 10,000 dollars for their Swedish passports. Names of Swedish cities like Södertälje and Boden were common knowledge in refugee circles. For 10-20,000 dollars people are offered a passage from Syria to Sweden, normally via Turkey and Greece. The conditions are often dangerous. One couple the reporters met in Sweden had been forced to walk for many hours one night with the risk of drowning in mud and then put in a reefer truck, where 25 other people were crammed; the refugees were in danger of being suffocated. A man in Damascus planned doing the journey with his 3-year-old in the tank of a tanker truck.

Nuri Kino posed as wanting to help a relative get from Iraq to Sweden and was thus able to contact a smuggler in Sweden who assured him to help.
The Swedish Migration Board estimates that 20 000 Iraqis will come illegally to Sweden this year. Being smuggled here costs 10-15,000 dollars, with false identification and travel documents costing extra. The trafficking business is estimated at 200-300 million dollars this year.

Sweden receives most of the Iraqis that come to Europe. According to UNHCR statistics more Iraqis have applied for asylum in Sweden than in the rest of EU combined, 13,989 compared to 13,473 during the period January-September 2007.


The first new Iraqi passports introduced after Saddam Hussein, the so called S-series passports are not recognized anymore since they are too easy to forge. However both the Swedish Embassy in Damascus and the Swedish Police confirm that the widely used, newer G-passports are also being forged. Partly the forgery is made on stolen blank stocks for real passports.

The Swedish Police also state that the Swedish EU-passports produced since 2003 are forged. These are supposed to be safe. The page which describes the holder consists of seven layers, each with different types of hidden information eg holograms or information that must be read with UV-light. The plastic layers should not be possible to separate. Police have not been able to understand how the forgers do it. The few forgeries on the latest generation of biometric passports have so far been easily detected.

Nuri Kino and Marie-Jeanette Löfgren have also been able to establish that all types of documents can be forged; marriage certificates, driver's licenses, army books, stamps, residential permits etc. So sometimes the passport may be real but the residence permit false.

Refugees Going Back

The Kaliber documentary also reported that the European Commission two weeks ago decided to allot half the refugee fund to Sweden, 3.5 million Euros. Four million Iraqis have fled their homes. Most of them to neighboring countries where approximately 2.5 million stay in Jordan and Syria. Until October about 2,000 Iraqis came into Syria every day. Andrew Harper, head of the UNHCR's Iraq Support Team, told the Swedish Radio the situation has completely changed since the last days of October.

Hardly any Iraqis are let into Syria now, perhaps 100 per day. At the same time Iraqis have increasingly started to go back to Iraq. For every Iraqi coming to Syria, two are returning to Iraq, not because it is safe, but because of higher costs in Syria, depletion of refugees' money and the prohibition on Iraqis to work. Syrian authorities have also proclaimed their intent to send Iraqis with expired permits back to Iraq. Mr. Harper criticizes the world community for not helping Syria and says "It [Syria] has cried for help for some time now, and when there has been absolute silence from the international community, they have basically said 1.5 million Iraqis is enough."

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Copyright (C) 2007, Assyrian International News Agency.

Iraq's puppet leaders have signed over Iraq to the U.S.


By Damian Lataan

November 27, 2007

I’m not sure that I’ve read a more sickening document than the one that was released by the White House yesterday entitled 'Declaration of Principles for a Long-Term Relationship of Cooperation and Friendship Between the Republic of Iraq and the United States of America’.

Encapsulated in this document is the geo-political reality of what the Bush/Cheney administration and their neoconservative and Likudnik supporters had set out to achieve since the day George W. Bush became President of the US.Far from 'liberating’ the Iraqi people from the 'yoke of tyranny’ for them to become a 'free and democratic’ model to which all other Middle Eastern states could aspire, which was the propaganda and rhetoric used by the neoconservatives that convinced the Coalition of the Willing that Iraq was a 'noble and righteous cause’, the declaration instead condemns Iraq to an endless occupation designed to enhance the power of the elite puppets of Iraq, and to ensure that Iraq’s resources remain firmly under American control and enriching American controlled oil companies.

In short, the document is the instrument by which Iraq has effectively become a colony of the US.

There are several iniquitous points made in the document that betray the real intent of the administration but, in particular, point five of the second principle relating to 'the economic sphere’ which says: "Facilitating and encouraging the flow of foreign investments to Iraq, especially American investments, to contribute to the reconstruction and rebuilding of Iraq," and point eight which says: "Supporting the Republic of Iraq to obtain positive and preferential trading conditions for Iraq within the global marketplace including accession to the World Trade Organization and most favored nation status with the United States," says it all.

Iraq’s puppet leaders have signed over Iraq to the US.

A lire! Interview de Gilles Munier.

La première partie de l'interview de Gilles Munier, Secrétaire général des Amitiés franco-irakiennes.

Prière de cliquer sur les liens suivants:

Blog de Shyankar

Blog de Gilles Munier

mardi 27 novembre 2007

Hassan AYDINLI calls on the EU to intervene in favour of the Turkmens of Iraq


Today, four and a half years after the invasion and the occupation of Iraq by the US-UK forces, the 3 million Turkmens of Iraq who constitute the third main ethnic group of the country, representing 12% of its population, continue to suffer from discrimination, marginalisation, ill-treatment and basic human rights violations.

Indeed, the Turkmens continue to be constitutionally discriminated, institutionally marginalized and ill-treated as a community in Iraq by the political parties, supposedly representing the Arabs and the Kurds of Iraq, who have been promoted and brought into power by the occupation forces.

These political parties which are dominating Iraqi politics since the occupation of the country in April 2003, have agreed - for strictly partisan reasons - to continue suppressing the Turkmens’ rights and their true representation in Iraq, to continue considering the Turkmen community as a ‘small minority’ and not as the third main community of Iraq, to continue denying the Turkmens the constitutional rights to be recognised as a main community of the country with rights equal to those granted to the Arab and the Kurdish communities in the new constitution of Iraq.

The Turkmens have rejected the new regime’s discriminatory policy, they have called for the boycott of the parliamentary elections under the occupation, they have called to vote against the new constitution as it did not recognise the Turkmen community as the third main community of Iraq along with the Arab and the Kurdish communities and because it did not give the Turkmens rights equal to those granted to the Arabs and the Kurds of Iraq.

For all the above reasons the Turkmens have persistently called for the revision of the new Iraqi Constitution in order to obtain the constitutional rights for their community to be recognised as the third main community of Iraq as well as for the recognition of the Turkmen citizens’ basic human rights in Iraq as citizens of a multi-ethnic country with rights equal to those granted to the Arabs and the Kurds.

This is why the Turkmens are constantly targeted in Iraq by the Kurdish militias belonging to Messrs. Barzani and Talabani, by the militias belonging to some extremist Arab parties, by the foreign terrorist groups operating in the north of Iraq and by the U.S. occupation forces. The Turkmens have suffered a great number of casualties as a consequence of attacks on their community in Amirli, Altun Kopru, Beshir, Kerkuk, Tavik, Taza, Telafer, Tisin, Tuz Hurmato, etc.
Furthermore, in order to silence them the Turkmens are now being subjected to death threats, property and land confiscations, imprisonment, torture, kidnappings and assassinations. Hundreds of Turkmens have been arrested and thousands of them have been killed.

Due to the fact that the Turkmens are the only community in Iraq without weapons and militias the existence of their community is contested and its future in Iraq is seriously endangered.

The Turkmens call on the international community, the United Nations and especially on the European Union not to remain silent regarding the flagrant violations of the Turkmens’ human rights in Iraq, they ask the European Union’s policy and decision makers to do their utmost to stop the exactions, discriminations, ill treatments and marginalization of the Turkmens and to support them in their just cause to be recognized as the third main community of Iraq, with rights equal to those granted to the Arabs and the Kurds in the new Iraqi constitution.

Dr Hassan Aydinli,
Iraqi Turkmen Representative in Europe

Brussels, 27th November 2007.

lundi 26 novembre 2007

Debate at the European Parliament: The situation of Iraqi Refugees in the Mashreq

Delegation for relations with the Mashreq countries
Tuesday, 27 November 2007, 15.00 to 17.00
Brussels, Room ASP 5G2
Iraqi refugees in the Mashreq: a major challenge to Europe

1. Welcome and introduction by the Chairwoman of the delegation, Mrs Béatrice Patrie
2. Outline of the situation in the region
 UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), Ms Judith Kumin
 Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Ms Lisbeth Pilegaard
 International Rescue Committee (IRC), Ms Shannon Meehan
 Amnesty International, Mr Carsten Jürgensen
3. How the European Union is currently responding
 ECHO humanitarian aid and structural aid, in the presence of representatives of the European
4. Conclusions of the meeting by the Chairwoman of the delegation, Mrs Béatrice Patrie

ERŞAT SALİHİ Abu Zabi Uydu Kanalın

Erbil'de Türkmen Cephesi resmi bir kuruluş olmasına rağmen, faaliyet yapılmasına izin verilmiyorLondra'dan Arapça yayınlanan Abu Zabi Uydu Kanalın büro müdürü, Irak Türkmen Cephesi Suriye ve Lübnan temsilcisi ERŞAT SALİHİ ile yaptığı telavizyon görüşmesi metni:

Soru: Türkiye ve PKK arasından çıkan krizden sonra Irak Türkmenlerine yapılan tehditleri nasıl değerlendiriyorsunuz?

Erşat Salihi: PKK bir terörist örgütü olduğu her kese bellidi, bu örgütün Kerkük'te var olması Türkmenlere karşı yapılan kompolunun bir parçasıdır. Türkmenleri tehdit etmek için dağıtılan bildiriler, hangi grup ve hangi taraftan olursa önem vermeyeceğiz. Bu tür tehditler bizi korkutmayacaktı.

Soru: Kerkük meselesini uzlaşma ile halledilmesi için Türkmen Cephesi, Ankara ile Washinton'la diyalog ve görüşmeleri nereye vardı?

Erşat Salihi: görüşmeler devam ediyor, sadece Türkiye ve Amerika ile değil, bütün taraflar, Irak'a komşu ülkeler ve Arap devletleriyle görüşmeler yapılıyor, Irak'ta Türkmenlerin durumunu, sadece Kerkük'te değil, Talefer, Erbil ve Tuzhurmatu'da Türkmenlere yapılan haksızlıkları dile getirmeye çalışıyoruz. Bu devletler, Türkmenler Irak'ta hedef heline geldiğini kanaatine varmışlardı.

Soru: bazı Türkmen ve Arap gruplar Kerkük'ü, Irak kürdistan bölgesine bağlanmaksızın özel bir bölge olmasını iddia ettiler, siz ne diyorsunuz?

Erşat Salihi: bazı ulusal ve siyasi taraflar Kerkük'ün özel ve bağımsız bir bölge olmasını istediler, emirvaki de doğru çalışmalar yapılması gerekiyor, 2003 tarihinden sonra Kerkük'e giren Kürtlerin çıkarılması, ayrıca Irak'ın merkezi hükümeti ile Kürt yerel yönetimi arasında Kerkük'ü siyasi bir çıkar olarak kullanmamaları, bu durum gerçekleşmezse, Kerkük özel bir bölge olamaz. Kerkük'te çıkan bütün problamlar gerçekçi ve mantıklı bir şekilde çözülmesi gerekir. Ayrıca Kerkük bir grubun kontrolünde olmaması, nasıl Basra Arap Süleymaniye Kürt ise Kerkük'ünde Türkmen özelliği olduğunu göz ardı edilmemelidir.

Soru: Erbil'de Türkmen Cephesinin çalışmasını neden kabul etmiyorlar, ama buna karşı Kuzey Irak ve Erbil'de Suriye, Türkiye ve İran Kürt siyasi partilerin özellikle PKK faaliyetlerini serbestce yapıyorlar? Bu yönde Kürt partiler niye size karşı çıkıyorlar?

Erşat Salihi: her kese bellidiki Irak Türkmen Cephesi Erbil'de kuruldu ve siyasi bir kuruluş olarak Irak muhalefet partilerin bütün toplantılarına katıldı. Ama neyaziki bugün Türkmen Cephesi'nin siyasi görüş ve önerleri bazı Kürt siyasi partilerle zid olduğu için kabul edilmiyor ve karşı çıkıyorlar, bu nedenle bazıları Erbil Kürt emniyet güçleriyle işbirliği yaparak, Erbil'de Türkmen Cephesi'nin bürolarını işgal ettiler. Türkmen Cephesi, Türkmenlerin iradesini temsil ediyor, Irak hükümetinden resmi olarak izinli, Irak Ulusal Meclisinde milletvakilisi var, bunlara rağmen Türkmen Cephesinin faaliyetlerini engelleniyor ve kabul edilmiyor, ama PKK bölgede serbestce faaliyetlerini sürdürmektedir.

Irak Türkmen Cephesi
Suriye ve Lübnan Temsilciliği
Basın Bürosu


"S’il n’y a pas de solution au problème de Kerkuk, elle sera la ville la plus dangereuse d’Irak", a averti Hadi al-Ameri, député chiite du Conseil suprême islamique irakien (CSII).

Dans un entretien à l’issue d’une séance difficile à la chambre des députés, il a mis en garde contre tout emportement des partis kurdes, qui forment avec le CSII la majorité parlementaire du gouvernement de Nouri al-Maliki.

"Il y a deux approches au problème de Kerkuk", a-t-il averti : "La première est l’usage de la force et cela ouvrira les portes de l’enfer. La deuxième est le dialogue et la négociation sous la surveillance de l’Onu".

La Constitution irakienne a prévu un recensement pour déterminer la composition ethnique de la ville, où vivent des Turkmènes, des Kurdes et des Arabes. Il doit être immédiatement suivi, avant fin 2007, d’un référendum pour proposer aux 1,3 million d’habitants un éventuel rattachement de leur ville, riche en pétrole, au Kurdistan irakien. Pour le moment, rien n’indique que ce referendum pourra se tenir dans les délais.

"Le recensement est un devoir du gouvernement", a lancé en séance le député kurde Fouad Massoum. "Si les autorités ne se conduisent pas de manière responsable, les partis kurdes trouveront une autre manière d’agir", a-t-il déclaré, sans préciser les moyens qu’il avait à l’esprit.

Le problème de Kerkuk est considéré comme un des plus épineux en Irak, avec le pouvoir central, dominé par les chiites, peu enclin à laisser cette ville et ses ressources passer sous le contrôle du gouvernement régional kurde.

Les Turkmènes et les Arabes qui vivent à Kerkuk refusent que la ville soit rattachée au gouvernement régional kurde, ils assurent qu’ils sont déjà victimes de discriminations.

"Le problème de Kerkuk va déclencher une guerre civile s’il n’est pas réglé", a prévenu Abbas al-Bayati, un Turkmène chiite. Les Turkmènes proposent une solution fédérale avec une représentation égale de 32 pc pour les trois principales communautés et une représentation résiduelle de 4 pc pour la communauté chrétienne.

Pour Hadi al-Ameri, "il faut un recensement et un référendum, mais pour que tout le monde respecte le référendum, il faut qu’il se tienne dans des conditions acceptables de transparence". Or, a-t-il ajouté, les "conditions de sécurité actuelles ne permettent pas de tenir un referendum".

M. al-Ameri a également souligné que les limites de toutes les provinces irakiennes, qui ont fait l’objet de changements durant le règne de Saddam Hussein, devaient être révisées et que chaque modification devait être soumise à un vote populaire.


Puppet police round up 153 "suspects" in day of mass raids, searches, arrests in KERKUK.

In a dispatch posted at 6:37pm Baghdad time Saturday night, the Yaqen News Agency reported that the puppet police had arrested 153 "suspects" in mass raids, searches, and arrests that took place while the city of Kirkuk endured a total lockdown for 12 hours Saturday.

Yaqen reported Major General Jamal Tahir of the puppet police told a press conference after the lifting of the lockdown imposed on the city for 12 hours until about 5pm local time Saturday afternoon that during the curfew regime forces had rounded up 153 "suspects" and had seized 26 "suspicious cars."

Province of at-Ta’mim locked down by puppet regime authorities as Kurdish separatist drive to annex Kirkuk accelerates.
In a dispatch posted at 2:19pm Baghdad time Saturday afternoon, the Yaqen News Agency reported that the puppet police imposed a total curfew banning pedestrian and vehicle traffic throughout the entire province of at-Ta’mim beginning Saturday morning and until further notice. The curfew in the end lasted about 12 hours.

Yaqen reported Lieutenant Colonel Khalil al-'Ubaydid of the Kirkuk puppet police as saying that the regime had changed its plans and was now imposing a total lock down on the whole province.

The lockdown is believed related to accelerating efforts by the Kurdish separatist political forces to implement Article 140 of the American-imposed "Constitution" – an article that allows the Kurdish separatists to annex the oil-rich, predominantly Arab and Turkoman city of Kirkuk to the Kurdish enclave in northern Iraq.

The lockdown imposed on the province is designed to block demonstrations by the majority of the population, which is opposed to the Kurdish land grab.

dimanche 25 novembre 2007

Iraqi among pope's new cardinals

Emmanuel III, who is 80, said that the honour was for 'all Iraqis' [AFP]

Pope Benedict XVI has elevated 23 prelates from around the world to the position of cardinal and delivered a pressing appeal for an end to war in Iraq.

One of the new cardinals is Emmanuel III Delly, the Baghdad-based Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans.

During a ceremony in St Peter's Basilica on Saturday, the pope said Christians in Iraq were "feeling with their own flesh the dramatic consequences of an enduring conflict".

The Chaldeans are Iraq's biggest Christian group and the Chaldean rite is one of the oldest in the Catholic Church.

Saddam protection
Many Iraqi Chaldeans have emigrated since the war started in 2003 and the Vatican has expressed concern that a country with one of the most ancient Christian traditions could be depleted of its faithful.

Protected under Saddam Hussein, there were 700,00 Christians in Iraq.
It is now thought that only half that number remain.

The pope said: "Let us together reaffirm the solidarity of the whole Church with the Christians of that beloved land and invoke from the merciful God the coming of longed-for reconciliation and peace for all the peoples involved [in the conflict]."

He said in his sermon that he had chosen the Iraqi patriarch as a cardinal to express his spiritual closeness to suffering Iraqis.

Other new cardinals came from Germany, Poland, Spain, Ireland, France, Brazil and Kenya, Senegal, India, Mexico, Italy, Argentina and the US.

'All Iraqis'

Emmanuel III, who is 80, said that the honour was for "all Iraqis".
He said: "The title of cardinal that the pope has accorded me is not for my poor self alone but for all Iraqis, both those who still live in our tortured country and those who have emigrated.

"I will continue to serve Iraq and all the ethnic and religious groups of the country who should be united. I will serve my country, Iraq, to the last drop of my blood." He said the pope had referred to his nomination as a "sign of reconciliation... between Christians and all the Muslims, whether Sunni or Shiite".

The pope has repeatedly called for dialogue between Christians and Muslims to combat intolerance and violence.

Bir Ocak Türkmen Kültür Merkezinin Kerkük’teki etkinlikleri

Kerkük’te bulunan Bir Ocak Türkmen Kültür Merkezi tarafından İlk Okul - Türkçe 5 ders kitabı yardımcı kılavuzu hazırlanmıştır. 234 sayfadan oluşan bu kitap Bir Ocak Türkmen Kültür Merkezi üyelerinin büyük özveri çalışmaları neticesinde bastırılarak Türkmen bölgelerinde bulunan bütün okullara karşılıksız olarak dağıtılmıştır.

Ayrıca, bu kitap 7000 kelimeyi aşkın zengin bir sözlük içermektedir. Biz bu arada bütün bu olumlu çalışmaların arkasında olan değerli aydın insanlarımıza sonsuz teşekkürlerimizi bildiriyoruz.

Kitabın üst kapak fotoğrafını ve daha önce yayınlanan diğer okul kitaplarını aşağıda görebilirsiniz. Ayrıca, bütün bu yayınlar Türkmen Eğitim Şura Meclisi tarafından incelenip onaylandıktan sonra yayınlanmıştır.

Ali S. Yılmaz
Bir Ocak Türkmen Kültür Derneği / Chicago

John Howard OUT, Well done Australia!

Exit warmonger John Howard

Berlusconi: out
Aznar: out
bLIAR: out
Kaczynski: out

One more warmonger and war criminal to go:

Americans, EMPEACH BUSH!

KIRKOUK: 45 membres présumes d'al-Qaïda arrêtes

Au moins 45 combattants présumés de la branche irakienne d'Al-Qaïda ont été arrêtés au cours des dernières 24 heures dans la ville de Kirkouk (nord de l'Irak) au cours d'une opération menée par les forces américaines et irakiennes, a annoncé samedi la police locale.

Plus de 3.500 militaires irakiens, appuyés par des centaines de soldats américains, ont lancé vendredi une vaste opération dans Kirkouk (255 km au nord de Bagdad), a indiqué le général Torhan Youssef.
"Quarante-cinq militants d'Al-Qaïda ont été interpellés et la police a imposé un couvre-feu sur la ville", a déclaré le général Youssef.

Plusieurs raids ont également eu lieu dans la localité voisine de Hawija, à l'ouest de Kirkouk. Capitale de la province éponyme, Kirkouk, au coeur d'une région riche en pétrole, est une ville multiethnique où se côtoient Kurdes, Arabes et Turkmènes. Elle est l'enjeu d'une vive rivalité ethnique et son contrôle suscite à l'échelle nationale un intense débat entre acteurs politiques irakiens et kurdes.

Sous la pression de l'armée américaine, de nombreux partisans d'Al-Qaïda ont été chassés ces derniers mois des quartiers sunnites de Bagdad, dont ils avaient fait leur bastion, pour se réfugier plus au nord dans le pays, selon le commandement américain. L'armée américaine et les troupes irakiennes ont lancé le 5 novembre une vaste opération conjointe contre les partisans d'Oussama ben Laden dans quatre provinces: Salaheddine, Ninive, Kirkouk et Diyala. Trois brigades de combat de l'armée américaine et trois divisions irakiennes participent à cette offensive, baptisée "Marteau de fer".

(belga) 24/11/07 15h25

samedi 24 novembre 2007


Photo Ali Shatti/Reuters
A woman and her children mourn near the coffin of her husband who was killed by al-Qaeda insurgents in Baghdad, November 22, 2007.
Une femme et ses enfants pleurent auprès du cerceuil de son mari, tué par des militants d'al-Qaeda à Bagdad le 22 novembre 2007.
Remember: There were no al-Qaeda terrorists in Irak before the US-UK invasion!

Rapellez-vous: Il n'y avait pas de terroristes d'al-Qaeda en Irak avant l'invasion américano-britannique!

Their life was already a misery, but try to image what it will be like in warn-torn Iraq now that they have no longer a husband and a father to protect them.

Leur vie était déjà misérable mais essayez d'imaginer ce qu'elle sera sans mari et sans père pour les protéger dans un Irak dévasté par les hordes barbares américano-anglo-australiennes.
A ceux qui me disaient hier encore, "que les journalistes dans leurs articles ont tendance à exagérer le chaos et la misère qui règnent en Irak", je dis: regardez bien cette photo qui nous montre la douleur d'une famille, elle est à l'image de celle de milliers de familles en Irak!

Inutile de faire semblant d'ignorer, inutile de nier les faits: tous les dirigeants politiques et tous ceux qui étaient pour cette guerre illégale en Irak sont coupables de GENOCIDE et de CRIMES CONTRE L'HUMANITE
et aucun Irakien ne vous croira lorsque vous oserez lui dire: "Je ne savais pas!"

KERKUK: Curfew imposed as Iraqi forces launch major offensive

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Associated Press reports that Authorities imposed a daylong curfew in Kerkuk and surrounding areas on Saturday as Iraqi security forces launched a major offensive against militants amid rising violence in the oil-rich area.

Acting on intelligence, more than 1,000 Iraqi police and army soldiers poured into the streets of the violence-plagued city "We have begun Operation Revolutionary Eagle to get rid of terrorism in our city, to detain terrorists and lawbreakers, to control the car bombs and the roadside bombs, and to achieve security in this province," said Maj. Gen. Jamal Tahir Bakir, the chief of police for the surrounding Tamim province.

Authorities said the curfew would last from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. as security forces went house-to-house, seizing weapons and searching for militants and signs of car bombs believed to have been smuggled into the city.

The local police chief in the provincial capital of Kerkuk, Maj. Gen. Torhan Abdul-Rahman, said 22 wanted militants and 11 other suspects had been detained late Friday in Hawija, which is south of Kerkuk.
Abdul-Rahman declined to discuss results from Saturday's operations until it was finished.

Kerkuk has seen a recent rise in violence that authorities have blamed in part on insurgents who fled security crackdowns in Baghdad and surrounding areas as well as an argument over the city's status.


Q&A: ‘U.S. Politics Turning Communities Against Each Other’
Interview with Gilbert Achcar

ATHENS, Nov 23 (IPS) - "As long as the U.S. troops stay in Iraq there will be violence," warns Gilbert Achcar, Professor of Development Studies and International Relations at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies.

Achcar -- a vehement critic of U.S. policy in the Middle East since Sep. 11, 2001 -- was born in Senegal and lived in Lebanon until moving to France in 1983.

He has served as professor of politics and international relations at the University of Paris VIII, and has written many books about the impact of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East during the post Sep. 11 era.

Achcar spoke with IPS correspondent Apostolis Fotiadis about the current state of the war and what the future might hold.

IPS: Would the absence of U.S. forces in Iraq result in an interethnic conflict of total annihilation?

GA: There are many signs to the contrary. Civil conflict has been going on anyway. It peaked some months ago and has subsided recently, but still the U.S. politics of turning the communities against each other has sharpened tensions between ethnic and sectarian groups. The only undisputable fact is the correlation between the occupation and the level of violence.

As long as the U.S. troops stay in Iraq there will be violence in this country. The announcement of a date of departure would exert pressure on the various factions in Iraq to reach a consensus. In that case people will know they are facing a deadline for finding a way to co-exist or lose control.

IPS: What would a withdrawal without first establishing effective control in the country mean for the U.S.?

GA: To withdraw from Iraq without securing control over the country and the area would result in a loss of credibility. The credibility of U.S. deterrence and power has already suffered a lot. Look at Iran now -- it is clear that they are not intimidated by the U.S. threats. Iraq has paralysed them to such an extent that they are unable to turn against other threats. It has also exposed the Achilles heel of the U.S. -- which is the Vietnam syndrome. The population does not want the country to be involved in dirty wars and this creates a serious human resource shortage for the military.

IPS: Could the increasing scale of militarisation and violence in the region be connected with the declining hegemony of the U.S.?

GA: We do not deal here with some kind of a beast that instinctively produces aggression. The war drive that has been going on since 9/11 is obviously motivated by U.S. strategic interests and it is designed according to two main concerns. One is to control the major world oil reserves. We have entered into the last few decades of cheap oil . . . the strategic importance of oil is increasing. The second is that the U.S. military presence in the heart of Eurasia -- especially in areas of interest for Russia and China -- is important because they fear an alliance of both at the expense of U.S. hegemony in the region.

IPS: What is the extent of the failure of the George W. Bush administration’s foreign policy?

GA: It is a disaster. It is a total mess for U.S. foreign policy. Apart from Iraq - - where they also face a contradiction between their Turkish and Kurdish partners, which could cost them a lot politically -- it is becoming clear that the operation in Afghanistan is a total disaster and the Taliban are back and are quite strong. You take Pakistan, the situation is destabilising. Washington fears [President Pervez] Musharraf and their fears are compounded by the fact that Pakistan is a nuclear power. I hope for some compromise in Lebanon but that might turn very serious there as well. And there are efforts of the Bush administration to do something about the Israel-Palestinian conflict in order to say they are achieving something. But there are no real conditions for a compromise or any concessions made by the Israelis.

When this administration leaves the scene the political and strategic capital acquired from the U.S. after the collapse of the Soviet Union will have been completely wasted and it will only be left with a very bad imperial reputation.

IPS: Is there a downplayed aspect of the U.S. foreign policy relationship with Islamic Fundamentalism throughout the last 20 years that this administration has made use of as well?

GA: People see all the time that Iran is some kind of ‘Evil’ to put in Bush’s terms . . . However, the fact is that the most fundamentalist state in the world, the Saudi kingdom, is the closest ally of the U.S. This state is much more reactionary in terms of religion, women rights, and politics. This is pure hypocrisy. One should not forget that from the 1950s the U.S. has nurtured and used Islamic fundamentalism against the Soviet Union. After the defeat of nationalism and the collapse of the Soviet Union the popular protest against corrupted despotic regimes backed by the U.S. shifted to Islamic fundamentalism.

This is like a Frankenstein tale -- they produced a monster, used it for a while, and now it has turned against them. But, not all of it -- they still have a lot of fundamentalism on their side. Even inside the same factions. Take the Islamic Brotherhood -- Hamas is a wing of it against the U.S., but its Jordanian wing backs the U.S. supported monarchy, and the Syrian wing is part of an opposition coalition backed by the U.S.

Reality is much more complicated than it is reflected in any of the media.

IPS: What do you think the future will be like?

GA: To be frank I have been pessimistic about this area for over a quarter of the century. Unfortunately reality has always been worse than my pessimism. In my heart I will try to remain optimistic and hopeful because the suffering of the populations concerned is absolutely terrible. We talk about the part of the world with the highest unemployment, disastrous economic conditions, and huge inequalities, facing a prospect of explosion. Still, there is potential for positive social movement, the question is if a political force able to build upon this potential will appear.

vendredi 23 novembre 2007

Kerkuk tops the agenda in Iraq writes Nermeen al-Mufti

Nation at stake

Kirkuk tops the agenda in Iraq as political forces vie for and against de facto national partition, writes Nermeen Al-Mufti

Last month was the least violent in Iraq in two years. In Baghdad, 10 streets that had been closed by concrete barricades for months at last opened to traffic. One is Abu Nawwas, a riverside street that used to be lined with trees, restaurants, cafés and parks. Now the trees are gone, having been cut down for security reasons. So finally a ray of hope for Baghdad, but caution is in order. A US official recently warned in a television interview that Al-Qaeda could unleash another wave of terror in the Iraqi capital.

The hunt for militia members continues in various parts of southern Iraq. Operation Lion, now in full swing in Al-Diwaniya, 180 kilometres south of Baghdad, aims to arrest militiamen and gain control over the surrounding region. Its target is mostly the Mahdi Army. The Sadr Group, meanwhile, accused the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) of involvement in the hunt of its members in Al-Diwaniya. In a related development, the Sunni Endowments group, led by Ahmed Al-Samaraai, decided to close down the offices and radio facilities of the Association of Muslim Scholars. The decision came after the expulsion of Al-Qaeda members from Al-Azamiya. The Samaraa Revival Council, accused by some senior Sunni officials of being a pawn for the occupation authorities, is also said to be hunting down Al-Qaeda members in Samaraa.

Kirkuk is once again a matter of heated public debate. Turhan Ketene, political adviser of the Turkomen National Movement, told Al-Ahram Weekly that, "the formation of the so-called region of Kurdistan was done without holding a referendum. No Iraqi official asked himself why Mosul, which is within parallel 36, and should have been part of the safe haven area, was excluded from that area while northern Kurdish areas that were outside that parallel were included in the safe haven area. The aim, obviously, was to form a Kurdish region and divide the country. The Kurds always wanted Kirkuk. Barzani's father once said that Kirkuk must be included in Kurdish areas, even if it only had one Kurd living in it."

Last week's parliamentary session featured a fierce debate over Kirkuk. Osama Al-Nojeifi, deputy for the Iraqi List of Iyad Allawi, said that the committee the government formed to normalise the situation in Kirkuk was actually trying to change the identity of the city. The committee, he said, ignored evidence that hundreds of thousands of Kurds, people who were not originally from Kirkuk, were moved into the city.

Aydin Aksu, leader of the Baghdad branch of the Iraqi Turkomen Front, told the Weekly that "Article 140 of the [Iraqi] constitution is unconstitutional, simply because it includes a date. Constitutions are not supposed to have dates. Constitutions are supposed to act as social contracts. So what happens once this article is implemented? Are we supposed to strike it out from the constitution?"

Mohamed Al-Deini, deputy for the National Dialogue Front of Saleh Al-Mostalek, told the Weekly that his group wants Kirkuk to be run by a strong central government. "The issue of Kirkuk is very major. We cannot allow one political group to integrate Kirkuk in its region." Al-Deini said that 600,000 Kurds have been moved into Kirkuk since 2003.

Addressing the Iraqi parliament, Abbas Al-Bayati from the Iraqi Alliance Bloc said, "as Turkomen, we know that Kirkuk belongs mainly to the Turkomen. But we need to take into account the various circumstances surrounding the city." Al-Bayati suggested that Kirkuk be declared an independent region, run jointly by Arabs, Kurds and Turkomen.

Adnan Al-Duleimi, leader of the Iraqi Accordance Front, agrees. He proposed that Kirkuk become an independent region run jointly by resident communities. "Kirkuk is an Iraqi problem, and the implementation of Article 140 would be inappropriate," he said.

Hadi Al-Amiri, leader of the Badr Organisation, formerly the military wing of SCIRI, told AFP "unless there is a political agreement on Kirkuk, this city will turn into a powder keg. The Kurds have only two options. One is military action, which would open the door to endless domestic problems. The other is to be patient and hold a UN- sponsored referendum."

Steven de Mistora, envoy of the secretary-general of the UN to Iraq, said that the UN is encouraging dialogue among Iraqis, and with Iraq's neighbouring countries, on the fate of Kirkuk. His remarks are reminder of the regional aspect of Kirkuk's problem. Meanwhile, Kurdish officials maintain that their only aim is to comply with the constitution.

Al-Ahram Weekly Online : Located at:

jeudi 22 novembre 2007

Naomi Wolf Warns That The End of America is Near

Naomi Wolf Warns That The End of America Is Near
Even though her message is frightening, Naomi Wolf wants to assure people that there can be a light at the end of the tunnel. The YouTube video to your right is a terrific speech by Wolf (at Kane Hall on the University of Washington campus) about her provocative new book "The End of America" which talks about the parallels between the Bush Administration's tactics and those of fascist dictatorships of the last century.

The same language, images, manipulation that would-be despots have used in the past to break down existing democracies are being employed now. From Italy in the 1920s, Germany in the 1930s, and on and on, Wolf finds that all these despots do that same things. Mussolini created the blueprint, Hitler followed suit, Stalin studied Hitler and these methods just get passed down to the next generation of dictators throughout the world. Wolf has summarized their method is ten points:

1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
2. Create a gulag
3. Develop a thug caste
4. Set up an internal surveillance system
5. Harass citizens' groups
6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release
7. Target key individuals
8. Control the press
9. Dissent equals treason
10. Suspend the rule of law

View this story online at:

The End of America? Naomi Wolf Thinks It Could Happen
If you think we are living in scary times, your worst fears may be confirmed by reading Naomi Wolf's newest book, The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot. In it, Wolf proves the old axiom that history does repeat itself. Or more accurately, history occurs in patterns, and in order to understand where our country is today and where it is headed, we need to read the history books.

View this story online at:

Holocaust Denial, American Style

Mark Weisbrot, AlterNet
Posted November 21, 2007.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad's flirtation with those who deny the reality of the Nazi genocide has rightly been met with disgust. But another holocaust denial is taking place with little notice: the holocaust in Iraq. The average American believes that 10,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed since the US invasion in March 2003.

The most commonly cited figure in the media is 70,000. But the actual number of people who have been killed is most likely more than one million.

This is five times more than the estimates of killings in Darfur and even more than the genocide in Rwanda 13 years ago. The estimate of more than one million violent deaths in Iraq was confirmed again two months ago in a poll by the British polling firm Opinion Research Business, which estimated 1,220,580 violent deaths since the US invasion. This is consistent with the study conducted by doctors and scientists from the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health more than a year ago.

Their study was published in the Lancet, Britain's leading medical journal. It estimated 601,000 people killed due to violence as of July 2006; but if updated on the basis of deaths since the study, this estimate would also be more than a million. These estimates do not include those who have died because of public health problems created by the war, including breakdowns in sewerage systems and electricity, shortages of medicines, etc.

Amazingly, some journalists and editors - and of course some politicians - dismiss such measurements because they are based on random sampling of the population rather than a complete count of the dead. While it would be wrong to blame anyone for their lack of education, this disregard for scientific methods and results is inexcusable. As one observer succinctly put it: if you don't believe in random sampling, the next time your doctor orders a blood test, tell him that he needs to take all of it. The methods used in the estimates of Iraqi deaths are the same as those used to estimate the deaths in Darfur, which are widely accepted in the media. They are also consistent with the large numbers of refugees from the violence (estimated at more than four million).

There is no reason to disbelieve them, or to accept tallies such as that the Iraq Body Count (73,305 - 84,222), which include only a small proportion of those killed, as an estimate of the overall death toll. Of course, acknowledging the holocaust in Iraq might change the debate over the war. While Iraqi lives do not count for much in US politics, recognizing that a mass slaughter of this magnitude is taking place could lead to more questions about how this horrible situation came to be. Right now a convenient myth dominates the discussion: the fall of Saddam Hussein simply unleashed a civil war that was waiting to happen, and the violence is all due to Iraqis' inherent hatred of each other. In fact, there is considerable evidence that the occupation itself - including the strategy of the occupying forces - has played a large role in escalating the violence to holocaust proportions. It is in the nature of such an occupation, where the vast majority of the people are opposed to the occupation and according to polls believe it is right to try and kill the occupiers, to pit one ethnic group against another. This was clear when Shiite troops were sent into Sunni Fallujah in 2004; it is obvious in the nature of the death-squad government, where officials from the highest levels of the Interior Ministry to the lowest ranking police officers - all trained and supported by the US military - have carried out a violent, sectarian mission of "ethnic cleansing." (The largest proportion of the killings in Iraq are from gunfire and executions, not from car bombs).

It has become even more obvious in recent months as the United States is now arming both sides of the civil war, including Sunni militias in Anbar province as well as the Shiite government militias.

Is Washington responsible for a holocaust in Iraq? That is the question that almost everyone here wants to avoid. So the holocaust is denied.

IRAQ-SYRIA: Lack of money, visa problems prompting Iraqi refugees to return home

DAMASCUS, 22 November 2007 (IRIN) - Lack of funds and the Syrian government’s refusal to renew their visas, more than the perception of improved security in Iraq, are prompting some Iraqi refugees in Syria to return to Iraq, according to personal refugee accounts and figures from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

The Iraqi government recently announced that 46,000 refugees returned to Iraq in October, mostly from Syria, while a Syrian immigration source said that between 1 October and 19 November 60,000 people had returned to Iraq.

Some media reports and Iraqi government officials have suggested the refugees are returning because of improved security following the US military “surge” earlier this year.

However, in a report released on 22 November, the UNHCR - which interviewed 110 Iraqis in Syria this week - found that only 14 percent of respondents said they were returning to Iraq because they believed the security situation had improved, as opposed to 70 percent who cited financial and visa reasons.

“I have no money because I’m not allowed to work,” said an Iraqi man waiting by the Iraqi embassy in Damascus, and who wished to remain anonymous. He and his family are planning to leave Syria for Iraq on 26 November. “Also my official visa has run out and the Syrian government won’t renew it.”

The majority of the estimated 1.5 million Iraqi refugees in Syria are not allowed to work legally and, with the price of basic commodities and rent soaring, many who have used up their savings in Syria are now unable to afford to stay any longer.

Exit stamps

In October, the Syrian government introduced new regulations preventing refugees from renewing their three month visas upon expiry. Refugees say they are now being given exit stamps when they try and renew their visas and are unwilling to risk imprisonment by staying illegally.

“People are running out of savings and they’re just not seeing how they can make ends meet this winter in Syria,” said Sybella Wilkes, a UNHCR spokesperson in Syria, told IRIN. “When they are trying to renew their visas they get an exit stamp in their passport and they assume they can’t stay.”

The Iraqi refugee planning to return home on 26 November said: “Security is getting slightly better, but there are still huge problems, especially with the militias.” He said most of the people he knew returning were doing so because their visas had expired, not because of perceived improvements in security.

UN dismisses newspaper report

The UNHCR dismissed as “exaggerated” a report in UK newspaper The Times on 21 November that described Sayeda Zeinab, the southern Damascus suburb where most Iraqi refugees live, as “almost deserted,” saying UNHCR field staff had reported the area still “overcrowded with Iraqis”.

The Iraqi government has been keen to capitalise on the news that refugees are returning, saying it is connected with the improved security situation. The US military says attacks across the country have fallen to their lowest level since February 2006, attributing this partly to the additional nearly 30,000 US troops earlier this year.

Free convoy

“People are leaving [for Iraq] because the security situation is much better than before,” said a source at the Iraqi embassy in Damascus who wished to remain anonymous.

The embassy is now planning to sponsor a free bus and plane convoy carrying refugees back to Iraq, the embassy source added, saying: “Thousands of people will be transported back to Iraq.”

Posters advertising improved security and the free convoy, initially planned for 26 November, have been plastered across Damascus’s refugee quarter of Sayeda Zeinab.

An Iraqi diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Iraqi Finance Minister Bayan Jabr was expected in Damascus in the coming days with $15 million in aid to assist the Syrian government in helping Iraqi refugees.


mercredi 21 novembre 2007

IRAQ: Children with serious illnesses abandoned

This in a country where medical treatment was free before the Anglo-saxon illegal wars and criminal economic sanctions!!
And yet they dare call it 'liberation', 'democratization'...

BAGHDAD, 21 November 2007 (IRIN) - Nine-year-old Faleh Muhammad was abandoned by his family in April 2006. He was left to fend for himself in the streets of Baghdad, and later he was diagnosed with leukaemia.

“I miss my mother… in the last days before they left me, she was very sad. One day I woke up in the morning to find my father and mother had disappeared,” Faleh said. “We were living in an abandoned building near Hay Jamia’a District with three other families. I asked them about my parents and they told me they had left. So I had to work to be able to eat because those families couldn’t feed me,” he said. Faleh said he started begging in the streets of Baghdad and one day he had a serious headache and fainted. Helped by passers-by, he was taken to Yarmouk hospital and after two days diagnosed with leukaemia.

“I remember my father saying I was useless because I was rotten from the inside and I never understood why, but now I know that the reason for abandoning me was my disease,” Faleh said, adding that his father was poor and could not afford the treatment. Faleh, who is now receiving treatment, is being looked after by a local non-governmental organisation (NGO) Keeping Children Alive (KCA), which estimates that in Baghdad alone over 700 children have been abandoned by their families since January 2006.

However, the KCA lacks the resources to help him to get proper treatment. “The problem is even more serious among new-born babies and there are many cases of children aged 1-12 abandoned,” said Mayada Marouf, a spokesperson for KCA. “Most of them have a life-threatening disease and their families cannot afford treatment.”

Long-term psychological effects

“All children whose parents have left them are suffering from serious psychological disorders, and the youngest urgently need a family to take care of them,” Marouf said. “Poverty and violence have also forced parents to abandon a son to save the lives of their other children.”

Specialists said the greatest concern is the long-term effect on an entire generation: the trauma of what is happening to those children is enormous.

All children whose parents have left them are suffering from serious psychological disorders, and the youngest urgently need a family to take care of them.
“Abandoned children carry long-term psychological effects. There is a strong possibility that they could change their behaviour after feeling ostracised,” Dr Ibrahim Abdel-Rahman, a psychiatrist at the Iraqi Aid Association (IAA), another NGO, said.

The KCA has a department that works with vulnerable children. It also has three psychologists - two from Jordan and one from the United Arab Emirates. “In some cases they keep to themselves and don’t want to speak to professionals or any other person. They feel they are on their own although there are people who want to help them,” Abdel-Rahman said.

Iraqi Red Crescent concerned

The Iraqi Red Crescent (IRC) told IRIN the rise in the number of abandoned children was alarming, the result of sectarian violence and drastic socio-economic problems. An IRC employee, who preferred anonymity, told IRIN many parents leave their children with relatives who already have over 20 children to look after and are later abandoned or forced to work in the streets to supplement the household income. It is not uncommon to see a houses teaming with children.

Over 1.6 million children under the age of 12 have become homeless in Iraq, according to the country’s Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. That's almost 70 percent of the estimated 2.5 million Iraqis who are homeless inside the country.

“There are no reliable estimates of how many orphans and abandoned children are in Iraq today but we believe, according to some data collected by local NGOs, that over 8,000 children are in the same or a similar situation to that of Faleh,” Mayada said.


Türkmen şehri Kerkük'ün feryadı - VIDEO

21 Kasım 2007

Petrol zengini Türkmen kenti Kerkük, ABD işgali sonrası bir korku tüneline dönüştü. Patlamaların ve saldırıların ardı kesilmiyor. Yaklaşan refarandum işleri iyice karıştırdı.

Kaos ve istikrarsızlık Kerkük'ün kaderi oldu. Bir de Kerkük'ün statüsünü belirleyecek refaerandum tarihininin yaklaşması bütün olumsuz tablonunu tuzu biberi heline geldi. Saldırı tehlikesine karşı kentteki tüm resmi daireler parti merkezleri sıkı bir şekilde korunuyor.

Bariyeler kentin olağan dokusu olmuş. Çelik yelekli güvenlikçiler geçit vermiyor. Ancak Türkiye'nin K.Irak'a yönelik sınır ötesi operasyon ihtimaliyle Kerkük'teki gündem de değişti.

Türkmen Cephesi lideri Saadettin Ergeç Kerkük'te geçiçi bir rahatlama olduğunu ancak PKK'nın Türkmenlere yönelik tehditlerinin arttığına işaret etti.

Ergeç Türkiye'nin PKK ile Kerkük sorununu yaqn yana koymaması gerektiğine işaret ediyor.

Türkmen lidere göre referandum yapılma ihtimali çok zayıf. Kerküklülerin gündeminde ise referandum ve sınır ötesi operasyontartışmalarından ziyade yaşam kavgası var.

Kuzey Irak şantiye haline gelirken, Kerkük'e hala bir çivi bile çakılmamış. Yollar çamur ve pislikten geçilmiyor. Elektrik ve temiz içme suyu sorunu had safhada. Dünyanın en zengin petrol rezervlerine sahip kentte fırtına öncesi sessizlik yaşanırken, halk biran önce istikrar ve refaha kavuşmak istiyor.
Haber 7

One child dies every five minutes in Iraq because of the conflict


Cesar Chelala, Gulf Times

Tuesday, 20 November, 2007
Looking at photographs of Iraqi children maimed by the war makes the conflict unforgettable.
Reflecting on the causes that led to that war makes it unforgivable.
Slowly but steadily new information is coming out on the effects of the war on children, and how it has affected not only their health but also their quality of life and prospects for the future.
The International Children's Day is celebrated throughout the world today, but certainly not in Iraq, where children have become the most tragic victims of the conflict.One child dies every five minutes because of the war, and many more are left with severe injuries.
Of the estimated 4mn Iraqis who have been displaced in Iraq or left the country, 1.5mn are children. For the most part, they don't have access to basic health care, education, shelter or water and sanitation. They carry on their shoulders the tragic consequences of an uncalled for war."Sick or injured children, who could otherwise be treated by simple means, are left to die in the hundreds because they don't have access to basic medicines or other resources.
Children who have lost hands, feet and limb are left without prostheses. Children with grave psychological distress are left untreated."This is the assessment of 100 British and Iraqi doctors.
Never mind that according to UN Security Council Resolution 1483, both the US and Britain are recognised as Iraq's occupation powers and as such are bound by The Hague and Geneva Conventions that demand that occupying powers are responsible not only for maintaining order but also for responding to the medical needs of the population.
In the meantime, malnutrition levels among children continue to increase, and they are now more than double of what they were before the US led invasion. Iraq malnutrition rates are now on a par with Burundi, a central African country torn by a brutal civil war, and higher than Uganda and Haiti.
The number of Iraqi children who are born underweight or suffer from malnutrition continues to rise, and is now higher than before the US-led invasion, according to a report by Oxfam and 80 other aid agencies.
Almost a third of the population -" 8mn people - needs emergency aid, and more than 4mn Iraqis depend on food assistance.
The collapse of basic services affects the whole population.
For example, 70% of Iraqis lack access to adequate water supplies and 80% lack effective sanitation, both conditions breeding grounds for a parallel increase in intestinal and respiratory infections that predominantly affect children.
"Children are dying every day because of lack of essential medical support. The bad sewage system and lack of purified water, particularly in suburbs, has been a serious problem which might take years to solve,"‌ warns Ahmed Obeid, an official at the ministry of health.
At the same time, a variety of environmentally-related chronic diseases are emerging among children due to their exposure to environmental contaminants. Many cases of congenital malformations and cancer among children are believed to be the consequence of exposure to chemicals and radioactive materials that have significantly increased during the war.
And this without counting what is euphemistically called "collateral damage"‌, the hundreds of children killed by roadside bombs, during suicide attacks or attacks by the occupation forces.
I look again at the face of an anonymous child, a photograph by Dan Chung for The Guardian, his features burned almost beyond recognition, whose sad eyes seem to be telling the viewer, "What did I do to deserve this?"‌ And I cannot but think how miserable those adults are who destroy children's lives with total impunity.

EU Foreign Ministers warn Talabani and Barzani on PKK terror

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

EU Foreign Ministers have officially called on Baghdad and the regional Kurdish leadership in northern Iraq to take precautions against PKK terror.

Meeting yesterday in Brussels, EU Foreign Ministers listened to statements from Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, calling later on Baghdad to take more precautions against infractions on Turkish soil being made from the Iraqi borders.
The Brussels meeting yesterday also focused on results from the early November summit held in Istanbul by Iraqi's neighboring countries.

mardi 20 novembre 2007


Please check BIZ TÜRKMENIZ

for article by ALİ KERKÜKLÜ:



Radioactive Ammunition Fired in Middle East May Claim More Lives Than Hiroshima and Nagasaki

November 19, 2007
by Sherwood Ross

By firing radioactive ammunition, the U.S., U.K., and Israel may have triggered a nuclear holocaust in the Middle East that, over time, will prove deadlier than the U.S. atomic bombing of Japan.

So much ammunition containing depleted uranium(DU) has been fired, asserts nuclear authority Leuren Moret, “The genetic future of the Iraqi people for the most part, is destroyed.”

“More than ten times the amount of radiation released during atmospheric testing (of nuclear bombs) has been released from depleted uranium weaponry since 1991,” Moret writes, including radioactive ammunition fired by Israeli troops in Palestine.

Moret is an independent U.S. scientist formerly employed for five years at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and also at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, both of California.

Adds Arthur Bernklau, of Veterans For Constitutional Law, “The long-term effect of DU is a virtual death sentence. Iraq is a toxic wasteland. Anyone who is there stands a good chance of coming down with cancer and leukemia. In Iraq, the birth rate of mutations is totally out of control.”

Moret, a Berkeley, Calif., Environmental Commissioner and past president of the Association for Women Geoscientists, says, “For every genetic defect that we can see now, in future generations there are thousands more that will be expressed.”

She adds, “the (Iraq) environment now is completely radioactive.”
Dr. Helen Caldicott, the prominent anti-nuclear crusader, has written: “Much of the DU is in cities such as Baghdad, where half the population of 5 million people are children who played in the burned-out tanks and on the sandy, dusty ground.”

“Children are 10 to 20 times more susceptible to the carcinogenic effects of radiation than adults,” Caldicott wrote. “My pediatric colleagues in Basra, where this ordnance was used in 1991, report a sevenfold increase in childhood cancer and a sevenfold increase in gross congenital abnormalities,” she wrote in her book, “Nuclear Power is not the Answer”(The New Press).

Caldicott goes on to say the two Gulf wars “have been nuclear wars because they have scattered nuclear material across the land, and people---particularly children--- are condemned to die of malignancy and congenital disease essentially for eternity.”

Because of the extremely long half-life of uranium 238, one of the radioactive elements in the shells fired, “the food, the air, and the water in the cradle of civilization have been forever contaminated,” Caldicott explained.

Uranium is a heavy metal that enters the body via inhalation into the lung or via ingestion into the GI tract. It is excreted by the kidney, where, if the dose is high enough, it can induce renal failure or kidney cancer. It also lodges in the bones where it causes bone cancer and leukemia, and it is excreted in the semen, where it mutates genes in the sperm, leading to birth deformities.
Nuclear contamination is spreading around the world, Caldicott adds, with heaviest concentrations in regions within a 1,000-mile radius of Baghdad and Afghanistan.
These are, notably, northern India, southern Russia, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Tibet, Pakistan, Kuwait, the Gulf emirates, and Jordan.

“Downwind from the radioactive devastation in Iraq, Israel is also suffering from large increases in breast cancer, leukemia and childhood diabetes,” Moret asserts.

Doug Rokke, formerly the top U.S. Army DU clean-up officer and now anti-DU crusader, says Israeli tankers fired radioactive shells during the invasion of Lebanon last year. U.S. and NATO forces also used DU ammunition in Kosovo. Rokke says he is quite ill from the effects of DU and that members of his clean-up crew have died from it.

As a result of DU bombardments, Caldicott writes, “Severe birth defects have been reported in babies born to contaminated civilians in Iraq, Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan and the incidence and severity of defects is increasing over time.”

Like symptoms have been reported among infants born to U.S. service personnel that fought in the Gulf Wars. One survey of 251 returned Gulf War veterans from Mississippi made by the Veterans Administration found 67% of children born to them suffered from “severe illnesses and deformities.”
Some were born without brains or vital organs or with no arms, hands, or arms, or with hands attached to their shoulders.

While U.S. officials deny DU ammunition is dangerous, it is a fact Gulf War veterans were the first Americans ever to fight on a radioactive battlefield, and their children apparently are the first known to display these ghastly deformities.

Soldiers who survived being hit by radioactive ammunition, as well as those who fired it, are falling ill, often showing signs of radiation sickness. Of the 700,000 U.S. veterans of the first Gulf War, more than 240,000 are on permanent medical disability and 11,000 are dead, published reports indicate.
This is an astonishing toll from such a short conflict in which fewer than 400 U.S. soldiers were killed on the battlefield.

Of course, “depleted uranium munitions were and remain another causative factor behind Gulf War Syndrome(GWS),” writes Francis Boyle, a leading American authority on international law in his book “Biowarfare and Terrorism,” from Clarity Press Inc.

“The Pentagon continues to deny that there is such a medical phenomenon categorized as GWS---even beyond the point where everyone knows that denial is pure propaganda and disinformation,” Boyle writes.
Boyle contends, “The Pentagon will never own up to the legal, economic, tortious, political, and criminal consequences of admitting the existence of GWS. So U.S. and U.K. veterans of Gulf War I as well as their afterborn children will continue to suffer and die. The same will prove true for U.S. and U.S. veterans of Bush Jr.’s Gulf War II as well as their afterborn children.”
Boyle said the use of DU is outlawed under the 1925 Geneva Convention prohibiting poison gas.

Chalmers Johnson, president of the Japan Policy Research Institute, writes in his “The Sorrows of Empire”(Henry Holt and Co.) that, given the abnormal clusters of childhood cancers and deformities in Iraq as well as Kosovo, the evidence points “toward a significant role for DU.”

By insisting on its use, Johnson adds, “the military is deliberately flouting a 1996 United Nations resolution that classifies DU ammunition as an illegal weapon of mass destruction.”

Moret calls DU “the Trojan Horse of nuclear war.” She describes it as “the weapon that keeps killing.” Indeed, the half-life of Uranium-238 is 4.5-billion years, and as it decays it spawns other deadly radioactive by-products.

Radioactive fallout from DU apparently blew far and wide. Following the initial U.S. bombardment of Iraq in 2003, DU particles traveled 2,400 miles to Great Britain in about a week, where atmospheric radiation quadrupled.
But it is in the Middle East, predominantly Iraq, where the bulk of the radioactive waste has been dumped.

In the early Nineties, the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority warned that 50 tons of dust from DU explosions could claim a half million lives from cancer by year 2000. Not 50 tons, but an estimated two thousand radioactive tons have been fired off in the Middle East, suggesting the possibility over time of an even higher death toll.

Dr. Keith Baverstock, a World Health Organization radiation advisor, informed the media, Iraq’s arid climate would increase exposure from its tiny particles as they are blown about and inhaled by the civilian population for years to come.

The civilian death toll from the August, 1945, U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has been put at 140,000 and 80,000, respectively. Over time, however, deaths from radiation sickness are thought to have claimed the lives of another 100,000 Japanese civilians.

#(Sherwood Ross is a Miami, Florida-based free-lance writer who covers military and political topics. Reach him at Ross has worked as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News and several wire services and is a contributor to national magazines.)

Sherwood Ross has worked in the civil rights movement and as a reporter for major dailies and wire services.