jeudi 31 janvier 2008

Kurds cry out against corruption (Part 2)

For Part 1 please see previous post

Comments: Hardi Shafiq's chauvinistic assertion that 'Kerkuk is the heart and Jerusalem of the Kurds' in the article below (published in Kurdish Aspect) is entirely false and unfounded. Every Iraqi knows that Kerkuk is the Iraqi Turkmens' capital city and their cultural centre. It was the capital of the Turkmen Iwak Atabegs in the 11th century. South of Kerkuk is the city of Tawuq or Daquq on the river of Tawuq Su, which was the first Turkish city, built in this area around 850 A.D. by the descendants of the Turkish troops placed in the Abbasid capital Samarra.

Kurdish Settlements
Originally, Kurds lived in mid-western Iran (Hamadan, Nahawand). The word “Curdestan” was officially mentioned for the first time by the Seljuk Turks in the 11th century.

The migration of Kurdish tribes westward into Eastern Anatolia, Syria and Northern Iraq was encouraged by the Turks (Seljuks, Atabegs, Ottomans, Safawids) throughout the second millennium. The history of Kurdish-Turkish cooperation could be summarized as follows:

1- Cooperation with the Atabeg Turks against the Crusaders. Salahaddin the famous Kurdish commander was sent by the Atabeg of Musul Imadeddin Zengi to liberate the Holy Land.
2- Cooperation with the Ilkhanid Sultan “Mahmud Ghazan” in 1295 to subdue Northern Iraq and western Iran.
3- Cooperation with Tamerlane in 1398-1401 in subduing northern Iraq and eastern Anatolia.
4- Cooperation with the Ottoman Turks (Sultan Selim-1508, Sultan Murad-1743) against the Shiite expansion in Eastern Anatolia that started by the Safawid Turks from Iran.
5- Cooperation with the Safawid Turkish Nadir Shah in 1734 to subdue northern Iraq to his rule.
6- Cooperation with the Ottomans (Sultan Mahmud-1843, Sultan Hamid-1894) to quell rebellions against the empire in northern Iraq and eastern Anatolia.

The Turks, (Seljuks, Atabegs, Tamerlane, Ottomans and Safawids) in return for this cooperation by the Kurds, allowed large numbers of Kurdish tribes from Iran to move and settle in northern Iraq and eastern Anatolia. They gave them vast lands as well semi autonomous status.
The city of Suleymaniya was built by Suleyman Pasha the Ottoman governor of Baghdad at the beginning of the 18th century, to be a major Kurdish city.

In the 20th century and before the start of the Kurdish revolts in the forties, Kerkuk and Erbil were considered as major Turkmen cities, but, due to economical and political reasons, large numbers of Kurdish peasants settled in Erbil and Kerkuk. Also, because of continuous revolts of Kurds against the Iraqi government, significant numbers of Kurdish villages in the mountains were destroyed by the troops and those peasants were forcefully settled by the Iraqi government around Erbil and Kerkuk to keep them under control.

Within time, in only two decades (from 1945 to 1965), two thirds of Erbil and one quarter of Kerkuk became Kurdish. The first large scale Kurdish settlement was a suburb called “Iskan”(meaning settlement), established in 1960 by the Iraqi Army General Abdul Kerim Qasim, who led the 14th July 1958 Revolution against the Monarchy and who was the leader of Iraq up to 8th February 1963. The second Kurdish quarter was Azadi established in 1970.

Kurds cry out against corruption
'We had only words and even these...'
By Hardi Shafiq

Translated by Dr Kamal Mirawdeli

If a whole country is afflicted by administrative and moral corruption, they can still find a remedy for it if law and the authorities in that country are not affected by that virus. And the opposite of this hypothesis is also true. Don’t be surprised when any individual in this country thinks about getting a post or a position, they do not think of it [as an opportunity] to serve their people but they think of buying villas, pleasure and selfish enjoyment. They will be happy to deprive poor people, martyrs’ children and labourers from their food and property in order to create paradise for themselves and hells for others!

The way children get their education in their homes and from their parents, it is the same in politics. Then God save a people like ours, who learn to honour promises from their leaders, who learn to have conscience from them! That is why it is not surprising to see the child that is born today will become a duplicate of the officials who have power today; those who have twenty air conditions in their homes while people use old lamps and candles, whose children study in the universities in US and Sweden, while the children of our people study in cold and the students stay in their hostels without water, electricity and fuel.

They study in classes of 60 students and brave cold and rain in the streets. Yet every year it is the same story. The same promises with rounds of applause and self-congratulations. The officials are drowned in pleasures and our people have nothing but prayers for them. They pray while shivering in cold, they pray while market inflation bites them, they pray for the leaders for making all these blessings available for them!

But those who are enjoying pleasures in their mansions, they do not have time to visit the poor and deprived families and workers in their country in order to let their consciences be hurt a bit. No what they think of is corruption and keeping the market prices high and pass a press law [to silence people]. They take half a city’s house rents for themselves but they pass a law to prohibit public smoking! The smoke of some factories is smothering the city but they think of improving the checkpoints. Half of the people in the city have salaries that are not sufficient for paying the rent of a room, but they allocate two and three acres of land to the officials, media people and artists instead of building residential flats. And when such flats are built they are more expensive than ordinary houses.

It is this morality that has made it normal that working for Kurdism [Kurdayati] in the city of Kirkuk, that is supposed to be the heart and Jerusalem of Kurdistan, becomes a fight over pieces of coloured cloths (shara paro). In this neighbourhood you read the name of a martyr written in yellow [for KDP] , in the other the name of another martyr written on a green cloth [for PUK]. In fact neither of these parties is concerned about their martyrs. They are never prepared to put their pieces of cloth away and introduce their martyrs as the martyrs of Kurdistan and Kurdism, which is a greater honour for the sacrifice of the martyr. But here the interests of the parties require them to behave in this way. That is why their officials are the biggest merchants of our country. When Jacques Chirac left the republican palace his country was at the top in civilization and progress but he had no personal property to move in. But when we compare Kurdistan to France they say: they have had government since old times. Then they claim that the Arabs, Turks and Persians are the reason for all our setbacks. But we know that politics is the art of winning bets and the trust of people through creating prosperity and ensuring freedoms and independence, not, as they do, owning dozens of villas and companies.

In spite of this, no one listens to the complaints and protests of our people who are exhausted, breathless and hopeless, without services, and are victims of the black hands of this and that country. What we see is corruption, money laundering, offering contracts as gifts, factionalisation, insulting the authority of government, occupation of seats of power, killing the sense of belonging and spirit of a nation. Yet no one is made accountable for all of this. Look! There is no law to put a limit to any of these. Yet they still do not tolerate the criticisms in newspapers at a time when it is corruption that has put this country on the road of destruction and desolation and not criticism, news and reports.

In spite of all the fighting pens who are busy repainting the majestic houses of officials in white, at last the syndicate of the journalists recreated themselves in the old 50/50 house. It is sad that our officials are fixed on the same world vision that when they reach the seat of power then they must mummify people, never think of leaving their chairs and kill all those voices that criticise them, they always see only those people whom they have brought up with their favours and applaud them with hands and dollars not with their hearts. They never see those people who should have been the real shield for their pains.

No one in life is as sacred as a person who sees the world from the angle of the suffering of all people.

It is time for our leaders to understand that crying with tears and crying with hearts are different. It is corruption that has endangered our national security and not journalism!

It is time that they changed their own media instead of changing the conditions in a way that they would create elites and shower them with favours and blessings. This will never be a solution because history is written by the collective conscience of people.

Published on

Kurds cry out against corruption (Part 1): Whoever not corrupted in government and parliament, raise your hands!

By Nabaz Goran

Translated by: Dr. Kamal Mirawdeli

General introduction

I dedicate these series of translations to George Bush and Gordon Brown personally and to British and US governments. It was a realization of every Kurd’s dream to see British and US carry the message of liberation and democracy to Kurdistan and Iraq. But in the last four years Kurdistan has been transformed into a jungle of corruption and violation of human rights. People can only cry aloud but no one listens to them and moreover their voices are suppressed.

PUK and KDP officials claim that they are supported by US and Britain and no one can challenge their corrupt rule. I will not comment any more about what is and has been happening in Kurdistan. Some Innocently ignorant Kurds blame me for publishing these facts and articles in English. They are ignorant that Britain and US governments receive hundreds of special reports and documents about the scale of corruption of PUK and KDP officials and their destruction of Kurdish society. These reports are usually confidential and publishable in 15-20 years time. But one of the main reasons that Kurdish leaders are not respected and neither British PM or George ever visited Kurdistan is the corruption that Kurdish leaders are personally involved in. The main question that should concern Kurdish intellectuals and patriots is how this corruption is destroying not only our chances for liberation and nationhood but also the very fabric of our society and the life chances and future of our young generations.

British and US government are as guilty and responsible for this corruption, which is happening in front of their eyes, as Kurdish officials. What is happening now is the embodiment of American and British gift of liberation that they brought to us four years ago. Unless they prove otherwise, we can assume that US and British officials are directly involved in this corruption or at least they encourage it. It is incredible to see all this happening and they fail to take any action.
At least, for history we can record some voices of truth. And it is up to the messengers of civilization and democracy how they react to them the way they like.

Kamal Mirawdeli
London 31 January 2008


Whoever not corrupted in government and parliament, raise your hands!

By Nabaz Goran

How much was the budget for 2007? How was it spent? How much did Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and how much did Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) take? Who knows how money, allocated for investment, is spent? Why haven’t peshmargas been paid for the last three months and people collect money for their families in mosques? How much is the income from Ibrahim Khalil [Turkish border point} , Bashmakh [Iranian border point]and other border points and who snaffles this money?

Who owns the aeroplanes that are landed in the [Arbil and Sulaymaniayh] airports and where did they get so much money to buy aeroplanes? What happened to cigarette, carpet and tiles factories [in Kurdistan]? Who took them away, whereto? Why are the journalists prohibited from visiting these factories? Why is, in the middle of the street , one square metre of land is sold to a party official for three dinars a metre and no one raises his voice about this? Why are the petrol stations owned by party officials? Where did they get money to buy so many villas for themselves? Whose money was used to build [popular Kurdish singer] Zakariya apartments? Why have they been sold to government officials for big amounts of money? Are government officials entitled to buy an apartment for 160,000 dollars from people’s money?

Is there any official in this country that does not own massive amounts of money, cars and villas? Where have you got this money? Which minister has rented out his house to another minister for 10,000 dollars per month? Which minister has turned his own house into a ministry building in order to pay himself the rent? Every minister has 5-10 million dinars allowances per month, what do they do with the money? Who was the minister who spent 10 million dinars one month for credit units for his mobile phone? How money ministers are in Arbil but registered Sulaymaniyah residential addresses to be entitled to an extra 500,000 dinars per month? Who was the minster who lost 10,000 dollars in a game of billiard? Which ministry registered a Mulla as a journalist in order to pay his pilgrimage costs?

Which ministry accepted to pay a tractor driver 4,800,000 dinars per month? Who was the official who usurped the kindergarten as his private property and no one dared to complaint?

Who is that commander of the army regiment who makes 20,000 dollars every night from illegal smuggling? How many MPs are driving without having driving licences and break law?

Can I mention their names? Who was the MP who had employed his own son as his guard to give him huge salary? Who was the Minister who received 350,000 dollars to spend for a two-day festival? How many MPs received 130,000 dollars each for purchase of home furniture?

Which director appropriated 60,000 metres of tourism land? Which official’s son was the man who opened a restaurant and then illegally supplied it with electricity from a surgery department of a hospital? The guard of which official was registered as a film director in order to obtain salary as an expert?

Who is the MP who speaks about corruption but he himself has appropriated a whole hill and built five houses on it? Who is the official who owns 60 projects in the city each under the name of a different person? Who was the minister who gave a 250 metre of land to a lady for a night of pleasure? Whose minster’s guard owns a three-floor restaurant?

Tell us how did you get all this!

These are the questions I can answer with evidence. But I leave it to the officials themselves to answer these questions.

Then whoever is not corrupt in government and parliament, please raise your hands and answer these questions!

Published on The Kurdish text as published on

Kerkükte Türkmenler silahlanma peşinde


KERKÜK - Irak’ın Kerkük kentinde yaşayan Türkmenler, silahlanmak için harekete geçti. Kürt basınında yer alan haberlere göre Türkmenler, güvenlik alanındaki boşluğu doldurmak ve saldırılardan korunmak için yerel halkın silahlandırılmasını talep ediyor.

Türkmenler, Irak’ın Sünni bölgelerinde ABD’nin desteklediği silahlı milis gruplarına benzer oluşumu özellikle kerkük ve Tuzhurmatu ile çevresinde oluşturulması için çalışıyor.

Türkmenlerin bu isteğine karşı çıkan Kerkük polisi ise, güvenliği sağlayacak güçleri olduğunu savunuyor. ABD ordusu, geçen aylarda Kuzey Irak’ta El Kaide ile savaşmaları için Arap aşiretlerinden 7 bin kişiyi silahlandırmıştı.

Türkmenler"in hayatı yıllardır tehlikede.

Ama şimdi daha çok tehlikede.Kürtlere karşı silahlanmaları gerekiyor.
Yoksa hepsi yok olacak.

Hiç değilse kendilerini korurlar.Menderes dönemindeki Türkmen kıyımını unutamıyoruz.Gene o boyutlarda olmaması için,Türkmen kardeşlerimizin de iyi silahlanmaları gerekiyor..


Turkmens need weapons to defend themselves!!!

A police source said that a police patrol found two heads of men near one of the factories in the city of Tuz south of Kerkuk today morning. The source said that the two heads belonged to two Turkmen men called Sabah Fadel and Mohannad Jum’a who were kidnapped a week ago.

Talabani: Kerkükte Türkmen İl Meclis Üyeleri ile görüştü ve Kerkük sorununa Türkiye karışabilir

Irak Cumhurbaşkanı Celal Talabani, "Türkiye´nin diyalog yolu ile Kerkük sorununa çözüm bulması için yapacağı girişimleri kabul ediyoruz." dedi.

Irak´ın kuzeyindeki Kerkük kentinde iki günden beri temaslarda bulunan Irak Cumhurbaşkanı Talabani, bugün Kerkük Türkmen İl Meclis Üyeleri ile görüştü.
Basına kapalı gerçekleşen toplantıda Talabani´nin Türkmen üyelere herhangi bir sorunda direk kendilerine gelmelerini istediği belirtildi. Talabani, görüşmede Türkmen yetkililere sorunlarının çözüme kavuşturmak için gerekenin yapacağını söylediği belirtildi. Talabani görüşmede ayrıca Türkmen meclis üyelerine Türkiye´nin Kerkük sorununa diyalog yolu ile karışmasında bir sorun görmediğini ve bundan memnuniyet duyacaklarını belirttiği ifade edildi.

Görüşme sonrası basın açıklaması yapan Kerkük Türkmen İl Meclis Üyesi Ali Mehdi ve Tahsin Sarıkahya görüşmenin olumlu geçtiğini söyledi. Mehdi, "Biz Kerkük´ün sorunu kendisine ilettik.
Sorunların çözüme kavuşmadığını söylediğimizde direk kendisi ile görüşerek çözüme kavuşması sözü verdi. Kerkük sorunun masada çözülebileceğini söyledi. Ayrıca bize Türkiye´nin Kerkük sorununa diyalog yolu ile karışmasında bir sorun olmadığını bundan memnuniyet duyacaklarını dile getirdi" dedi.

Turkey starts study on Iraq gas pipeline

30 January 2008, The pipeline will largely run along the same route as the twin oil pipelines from Kirkuk to the Mediterranean port of Yumurtalık in Turkey. The study will be sponsored by BOTAŞ, the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPOA) and the Iraqi oil ministry

Turkey has begun a feasibility study on a natural gas pipeline that will connect northern Iraq's fields to a Turkish port. The Turkish Pipeline Petroleum Company (BOTAŞ) announced that feasibility studies on the Turkish side have started, according to the Anatolia news agency.

The pipeline will largely run along the same route as the twin oil pipelines from Kirkuk to the Mediterranean port of Yumurtalık in Turkey. The study will be sponsored by BOTAŞ, the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPOA) and the Iraqi oil ministry. BOTAŞ will hold the right to put to tender the 30-40 inch pipeline and various pumping stations, and ask for bids from international markets.

Gas not consumed in Turkey will be loaded onto tankers in the form of liquefied natural gas and transferred to world markets. Once the northern Iraq gas fields are developed, 353 billion cubic feet of natural gas will flow to the port of Yumurtalık. The Turkey-Iraq Natural Gas Pipeline Project, developed to transport Iraqi gas to Turkey, comes after the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Turkish Energy Ministry and the Iraqi oil minister in Ankara on Aug. 7, 2007. The parties have declared their intention to transport Iraqi gas to Europe through Turkey and their decision to form a group composed of members from the Iraqi petroleum ministry, BOTAŞ and TPAO in order to initiate the related feasibility studies.

The project was also on the agenda during energy talks between the U.S. and Turkish presidents in Washington earlier this month. Abdullah Gül and George W. Bush agreed to work together with Iraq to develop its oil and gas sector during their meeting in Washington, Turkish Energy Minister Hilmi Güler told CNN-Türk. Turkey's Energy Ministry and the Iraqi petroleum minister first initiated the project studies through agreements that were signed in 1996. As a result of the sanctions imposed on Iraq by the United Nations, the project was delayed and therefore the investment phase of the project could not be initiated. Considering the developments in Iraq since that time and the increase in energy demand in Europe, the TPAO and BOTAŞ are currently taking the necessary steps in order to further the project. The ultimate purpose of the project is to transport Iraqi gas to Turkey at first and then on to Europe.
Iraq has 111 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves but the sector is underdeveloped. The country is also in talks to develop the Akkas gas field in Anbar province, which would send gas to Syria and possibly to Europe as well. Turkey is eyeing Iraq's gas as it further solidifies its role as a main transport hub for the world's hydrocarbon resources.

Turkish Daily News

Ergeç, Kerkük'e yasadışı yollardan göç devam ediyor

31 Ocak 2008, Perşembe

Irak Türkmen Cephesi (ITC) Başkanı Saadettin Ergeç, Mısır'ın başkenti Kahire'de açıklama yaptı. ITC Başkanı Saadettin Ergeç, Kerkük'e yasadışı yollardan göçün devam ettiğini ve bu durumun bölgede düzeni bozduğunu söyledi. Ergeç, "Kerkük'e Kürt grupların illegal göçleri sürüyor. Göçlerin, Irak'a da Kerkük'e de faydası olmaz.

Peşmergenin sinsi oyunu sürüyor...Peşmergelerin referandumla eline geçirmeye çalıştığı Türkmen kentine peşmerge göçü aralıksız sürüyor. Peşmergeler bu yolla kentin nüfusunu kendi lehlerine değiştirerek bir referandumda, Kerkük'ün kurulması öngörülen bir Kürt devletine bağlanmasının önünü açmayı planlıyor.

Irak Türkmen Cephesi (ITC) Başkanı Saadettin Ergeç, Mısır'ın başkenti Kahire'de açıklama yaptı. ITC Başkanı Saadettin Ergeç, Kerkük'e yasadışı yollardan göçün devam ettiğini ve bu durumun bölgede düzeni bozduğunu söyledi. Ergeç, "Kerkük'e Kürt grupların illegal göçleri sürüyor. Göçlerin, Irak'a da Kerkük'e de faydası olmaz. Biz bu durumu protesto etmek için 1 yıldan beri valilik ve il meclis toplantılarına katılmıyoruz. 2003 yılındaki göçler Kerkük'ün nüfus yapısını bozmaya yönelikti. Ancak tüm bunlara rağmen Kerkük, tarihi, hamamı ve camisi ile Türk şehridir. Irak'ın milli serveti olan Kerkük'ün Türkmen kimliği korunmalıdır" dedi.
Kürtleşme politikası2007 yılından sonra Irak Anayasası'nda yer alan 140. maddenin öldüğünü ve Kerkük için referandum yapmanın artık hayal olduğunu ifade eden Ergeç, "Birleşmiş Milletler de Irak Parlamentosu da anayasanın 140. maddesinde değişiklik yapamaz" dedi. Ergeç ayrıca, "Kerkük'te geçmişte Araplaştırma politikası izlenmişti, şimdi de bazı gruplar Kürtleştirme politikası izlemeye çalışıyor. Kerkük sonuçta normal bir Irak şehri olamaz; bu nedenle federatif bir yapı ya da ayrı bir statü ile yönetilmelidir." şeklinde ifadede bulundu.

Talabani Kerkük'teIrak Devlet Başkanı ve peşmerge reisi Celal Talabani, Türkmen kenti Kerkük'e gitti. Talabani'nin Irak anayasasının 142. maddesi üzerinde temaslarda bulunmak üzere Kerkük'e gittiği belirtiliyor. Celal Talabani'nin kentte yerel yöneticilerle ve yabancı diplomatlarla görüştüğü bildirildi. Talabani'nin görüşmelerde Kerkük'ün peşmergeye teslimini öngören referandumu masaya getirdiği belirtiliyor. Talabani Kerkük'e son bir ay içinde 3. kez gitti.

Yeni Çağ

Iraq's Turkmens of Kerkuk appeal for Government protection - AFP

Thursday January 31st, 2008 / 12h57

BAGHDAD (AFP)--Turkmens of Kirkuk, Iraq's northern oil hub which is riven with ethnic tension, called Thursday for the government to protect them and indirectly threatened to create their own militia.

"We once again urge the government to protect Turkmens who are victims of acts of genocide," said a statement by the Iraqi Turkmen Front, the main political party representing the country's Turkish-speaking minority. "Violence continues to harvest the lives of innocent Turkmen; their mosques, their cafes and the playgrounds of their children are all targets...abductions are continuing on the roads," the statement read.

The statement said the plight of the Turkmens is being ignored by the local and central authorities. It demanded the "formation of a Turkmen military force within existing Iraqi military units to protect Turkmen territories." If the demand isn't met, Turkmen may create their own militia to protect their communities, the statement implied, by quoting a verse of the Koran.

The statement was issued after the discovery Wednesday of the decapitated bodies of two young Turkmens near Tuz Khurmatou which lies on the main road between Baghdad and Kirkuk.

Four Turkmens were also kidnapped near the town of Amirly on Wednesday, police said.

mercredi 30 janvier 2008

Irak Türkmen Cephesı Lideri Ergeç Mısırın başkenti Kahirede açıklama yaptı


Irak Türkmen Cephesi (ITC) Başkanı Saadettin Ergeç, Mısır´ın başkenti Kahire´de açıklama yaptı. ITC Başkanı Saadettin Ergeç, Kerkük´e illegal yollardan göçün devam ettiğini ve bu durumun bölgede düzeni bozduğunu söyledi.

Ergeç, "Kerkük´e Kürt grupların illegal göçleri sürüyor. Göçlerin, Irak´a da Kerkük´e de faydası olmaz. Biz bu durumu protesto etmek için 1 yıldan beri valilik ve il meclis toplantılarına katılmıyoruz. 2003 yılındaki göçler Kerkük´ün nüfus yapısını bozmaya yönelikti. Ancak tüm bunlara rağmen Kerkük, tarihi, hamamı ve camisi ile Türk şehridir. Irak´ın milli serveti olan Kerkük´ün Türkmen kimliği korunmalıdır´´ dedi.

Kerkük İl Meclisi´ne Arap üyelerinin geri dönmesinin Türkmenlerin yalnız bırakıldığı anlamına gelmediğini söyleyen Ergeç, ´´Biz kendi davamızı savunuyoruz, işbirliği bizim için önemlidir. Araplar daha önce istekleri yerine getirilmediği için meclisten çekilmişti, şimdi isteklerinin yerine getirileceği umuduyla geri döndüler ancak eğer aynı durum tekrar yaşanırsa yeniden meclisten çekileceklerini ifade ettiler" şeklinde konuştu.

2007 yılından sonra Irak Anayasası´nda yer alan 140. maddenin öldüğünü ve Kerkük için referandum yapmanın artık hayal olduğunu ifade eden Ergeç, ´´Birleşmiş Milletler de Irak Parlamentosu da anayasanın 140. maddesinde değişiklik yapamaz." dedi.

Ergeç ayrıca, "Kerkük´te geçmişte Araplaştırma politikası izlenmişti, şimdi de bazı gruplar Kürtleştirme politikası izlemeye çalışıyor. Kerkük sonuçta normal bir Irak şehri olamaz bu nedenle federatif bir yapı ya da ayrı bir statü ile yönetilmelidir.´´ şeklinde ifadede bulundu.

Normalizing Air War from Guernica to Arab Jabour
posted January 29, 2008 3:34 pm
Tomgram: Bombs Away Over Iraq

By Tom Engelhardt

A January 21st Los Angeles Times Iraq piece by Ned Parker and Saif Rasheed led with an inter-tribal suicide bombing at a gathering in Fallujah in which members of the pro-American Anbar Awakening Council were killed. ("Asked why one member of his Albu Issa tribe would kill another, Aftan compared it to school shootings that happen in the United States.") Twenty-six paragraphs later, the story ended this way:
"The U.S. military also said in a statement that it had dropped 19,000 pounds of explosives on the farmland of Arab Jabour south of Baghdad. The strikes targeted buried bombs and weapons caches.

"In the last 10 days, the military has dropped nearly 100,000 pounds of explosives on the area, which has been a gateway for Sunni militants into Baghdad."
And here's paragraph 22 of a 34-paragraph January 22nd story by Stephen Farrell of the New York Times:
"The threat from buried bombs was well known before the [Arab Jabour] operation. To help clear the ground, the military had dropped nearly 100,000 pounds of bombs to destroy weapons caches and I.E.D.'s."

Farrell led his piece with news that an American soldier had died in Arab Jabour from an IED that blew up "an MRAP, the new Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected armored vehicle that the American military is counting on to reduce casualties from roadside bombs in Iraq."
Note that both pieces started with bombing news -- in one case a suicide bombing that killed several Iraqis; in another a roadside bombing that killed an American soldier and wounded others. But the major bombing story of these last days -- those 100,000 pounds of explosives that U.S. planes dropped in a small area south of Baghdad -- simply dangled unexplained off the far end of the Los Angeles Times piece; while, in the New York Times, it was buried inside a single sentence.

Neither paper has (as far as I know) returned to the subject, though this is undoubtedly the most extensive use of air power in Iraq since the Bush administration's invasion of 2003 and probably represents a genuine shifting of American military strategy in that country. Despite, a few humdrum wire service pieces, no place else in the mainstream has bothered to cover the story adequately either.

For those who know something about the history of air power, which, since World War II, has been lodged at the heart of the American Way of War, that 100,000 figure might have rung a small bell.

On April 27, 1937, in the midst of the Spanish Civil War (a prelude to World War II), the planes of the German Condor Legion attacked the ancient Basque town of Guernica. They came in waves, first carpet bombing, then dropping thermite incendiaries. It was a market day and there may have been as many as 7,000-10,000 people, including refugees, in the town which was largely destroyed in the ensuing fire storm. More than 1,600 people may have died there (though some estimates are lower). The Germans reputedly dropped about 50 tons or 100,000 pounds of explosives on the town. In the seven decades between those two 100,000 figures lies a sad history of our age.

Arab Jabour, the Sunni farming community about 10 miles south of the Iraqi capital that was the target of the latest 100,000-pound barrage has recently been largely off-limits to American troops and their Iraqi allies. The American military now refers generically to all Sunni insurgents who resist them as "al Qaeda," so in situations like this it's hard to tell exactly who has held this territory.

At Guernica, as in Arab Jabour 71 years later, no reporters were present when the explosives rained down. In the Spanish situation, however, four reporters in the nearby city of Bilbao, including George Steer of the Times of London, promptly rushed to the scene of destruction. Steer's first piece for the Times (also printed in the New York Times) was headlined "The Tragedy of Guernica" and called the assault "unparalleled in military history." (Obviously, no such claims could be made for Arab Jabour today.) Steer made clear in his report that this had been an attack on a civilian population, essentially a terror bombing.

The self-evident barbarism of the event -- the first massively publicized bombing of a civilian population -- caused international horror. It was news across the planet. From it came perhaps the most famous painting of the last century, Picasso's Guernica, as well as innumerable novels, plays, poems, and other works of art.

As Ian Patterson writes in his book, Guernica and Total War:
"Many attacks since then, including the ones we have grown used to seeing in Iraq and the Middle East in recent years, have been on such a scale that Guernica's fate seems almost insignificant by comparison. But it's almost impossible to overestimate the outrage it caused in 1937… Accounts of the bombing were widely printed in the American press, and provoked a great deal of anger and indignation in most quarters…"

Those last two tag-on paragraphs in the Parker and Rasheed Los Angeles Times piece tell us much about the intervening 71 years, which included the German bombing of Rotterdam and the blitz of London as well as other English cities; the Japanese bombings of Shanghai and other Chinese cities; the Allied fire-bombing of German and Japanese cities; the U.S. atomic destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; the Cold War era of mutually assured destruction (MAD) in which two superpowers threatened to use the ultimate in airborne explosives to incinerate the planet; the massive, years-long U.S. bombing campaigns against North Korea and later North and South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia; the American air power "victories" of Gulf War I and Afghanistan (2001); and the Bush administration's shock-and-awe, air-and-cruise-missile assault on Baghdad in March 2003, which, though meant to "decapitate" the regime of Saddam Hussein, killed not a single Iraqi governmental or Baath Party figure, only Iraqi civilians. In those seven decades, the death toll and damage caused by war -- on the ground and from the air -- has increasingly been delivered to civilian populations, while the United States has come to rely on its Air Force to impose its will in war.

One hundred thousand pounds of explosives delivered from the air is now, historically speaking, a relatively modest figure. During the invasion of Iraq in 2003, a single air wing from the USS Kitty Hawk, an aircraft carrier stationed in the Persian Gulf, did that sort of damage in less than a day and it was a figure that, as again last week, the military was proud to publicize without fear of international outrage or the possibility that "barbarism" might come to mind:
"From Tuesday afternoon through early Wednesday the air wing flew 69 dedicated strike missions in Basra and in and around Baghdad, involving 27 F/A-18 Hornets and 12 Tomcats. They dropped nearly 100,000 pounds of ordnance, said Lt. Brook DeWalt, Kitty Hawk public affairs officer."

As far as we know, there were no reporters, Iraqi or Western, in Arab Jabour when the bombs fell and, Iraq being Iraq, no American reporters rushed there -- in person or by satellite phone -- to check out the damage. In Iraq and Afghanistan, when it comes to the mainstream media, bombing is generally only significant if it's of the roadside or suicide variety; if, that is, the "bombs" can be produced at approximately "the cost of a pizza," (as IEDs sometimes are), or if the vehicles delivering them are cars or simply fiendishly well-rigged human bodies. From the air, even 100,000 pounds of bombs just doesn't have the ring of something that matters.

Some of this, of course, comes from the Pentagon's success in creating a dismissive, sanitizing language in which to frame war from the air. "Collateral damage" stands in for the civilian dead -- even though in much of modern war, the collateral damage could be considered the dead soldiers, not the ever rising percentage of civilian casualties. And death is, of course, delivered "precisely" by "precision-guided" weaponry. All this makes air war seem sterile, even virginal. Army Col. Terry Ferrell, for instance, described the air assaults in Arab Jabour in this disembodied way at a Baghdad news conference:
"The purpose of these particular strikes was to shape the battlefield and take out known threats before our ground troops move in. Our aim was to neutralize any advantage the enemy could claim with the use of IEDs and other weapons."
Reports -- often hard to assess for credibility -- have nonetheless seeped out of the region indicating that there were civilian casualties, possibly significant numbers of them; that bridges and roads were "cut off" and undoubtedly damaged; that farms and farmlands were damaged or destroyed. According to Hamza Hendawi of the Associated Press, for instance, Iraqi and American troops were said to have advanced into Arab Jabour, already much damaged from years of fighting, through "smoldering citrus groves."

But how could there not be civilian casualties and property damage? After all, the official explanation for this small-scale version of a "shock-and-awe" campaign in a tiny rural region was that American troops and allied Iraqi forces had been strangers to the area for a while, and that the air-delivered explosives were meant to damage local infrastructure -- by exploding roadside bombs and destroying weapons caches or booby traps inside existing structures. As that phrase "take out known threats before our ground troops move in" made clear, this was an attempt to minimize casualties among American (and allied Iraqi) troops by bringing massive amounts of firepower to bear in a situation in which local information was guaranteed to be sketchy at best. Given such a scenario, civilians will always suffer. And this, increasingly, is likely to be the American way of war in Iraq.

The ABCs of Air War in Iraq
So let's focus, for a moment, on American air power in Iraq and gather together a little basic information you're otherwise not likely to find in one place. In these last years, the Pentagon has invested billions of dollars in building up an air-power infrastructure in and around Iraq. As a start, it constructed one of its largest foreign bases anywhere on the planet about 80 kilometers north of Baghdad. Balad Air Base has been described by Newsweek as a "15-square-mile mini-city of thousands of trailers and vehicle depots," whose air fields handle 27,500 takeoffs and landings every month.

Reputedly "second only to London's Heathrow Airport in traffic worldwide," it is said to handle congestion similar to that of Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. With about 140,000 tons a year of cargo moving through it, the base is "the busiest aerial port" in the global domains of the Department of Defense.

It is also simply massive, housing about 40,000 military personnel, private contractors of various sorts, and Pentagon civilian employees. It has its own bus routes, fast-food restaurants, sidewalks, and two PXs that are the size of K-Marts. It also has its own neighborhoods including, reported the Washington Post's Thomas Ricks, "KBR-land" for civilian contractors and "CJSOTF" (Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force), "home to a special operations unit [that] is hidden by especially high walls."

Radar traffic controllers at the base now commonly see "more than 550 aircraft operations in just one day." To the tune of billions of dollars, Balad's runways and other facilities have been, and continue to be, upgraded for years of further wear and tear. According to the military press, construction is to begin this month on a $30 million "state-of-the-art battlefield command and control system [at Balad] that will integrate air traffic management throughout Iraq."

National Public Radio's Defense Correspondent Guy Raz paid a visit to the base last year and termed it "a giant construction site… [T]he sounds of construction and the hum of generators seem to follow visitors everywhere. Seen from the sky at night, the base resembles Las Vegas: While the surrounding Iraqi villages get about 10 hours of electricity a day, the lights never go out at Balad Air Base."

This gargantuan feat of construction is designed for the military long haul. As Josh White of the Washington Post reported recently in a relatively rare (and bland) summary piece on the use of air power in Iraq, there were five times as many U.S. air strikes in 2007 as in 2006; and 2008 has, of course, started off with a literal bang from those 100,000 pounds of explosives dropped southeast of Baghdad. That poundage assumedly includes the 40,000 pounds of explosives, which got modest headlines for being delivered in a mere 10 minutes in the Arab Jabour area the previous week, but not the 16,500 pounds of explosives that White reports being used north of Baghdad in approximately the same period; nor, evidently, another 15,000 pounds of explosives dropped on Arab Jabour more recently. (And none of these numbers seem to include Marine Corps figures for Iraq, which have evidently not been released.)

Who could forget all the attention that went into the President's surge strategy on the ground in the first half of last year? But which media outlet even noticed, until recently, what Bob Deans of Cox News Service has termed the "air surge" that accompanied those 30,000 surging troops into the Iraqi capital and environs? In that same period, air units were increasingly concentrated in and around Iraq. By mid-2007, for instance, the Associated Press was already reporting:
"[S]quadrons of attack planes have been added to the in-country fleet. The air reconnaissance arm has almost doubled since last year. The powerful B1-B bomber has been recalled to action over Iraq… Early this year, with little fanfare, the Air Force sent a squadron of A-10 ‘Warthog' attack planes -- a dozen or more aircraft -- to be based at Al-Asad Air Base in western Iraq. At the same time it added a squadron of F-16C Fighting Falcons… at Balad."

Meanwhile, in the last year, aircraft-carrier battle groups have been stationed in greater numbers in the Persian Gulf and facilities at sites near Iraq like the huge al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar continue to be upgraded.

Even these increases do not tell the whole story of the expanding air war. Lolita Baldor of the Associated Press reported recently that "the military's reliance on unmanned aircraft that can watch, hunt and sometimes kill insurgents has soared to more than 500,000 hours in the air, largely in Iraq." The use of such unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), including Hellfire-missile armed Predators, doubled in the first ten months of 2007 -- with Predator air hours increasing from 2,000 to 4,300 in that period. The Army alone, according to Baldor, now has 361 drones in action in Iraq. The future promises much more of the same.

(American military spokespeople and administration officials have, over the years, decried Iraqi and Afghan insurgents for "hiding" behind civilian populations -- in essence, accusing them of both immorality and cowardice. When such spokespeople do admit to inflicting "collateral damage" on civilian populations, they regularly blame the guerrillas for making civilians into "shields." And all of this is regularly, dutifully reported in our press. On the other hand, no one in our world considers drone warfare in a similar context, though armed UAVs like the Predators and the newer, even more heavily armed Reapers are generally "flown" by pilots stationed at computer consoles in places like Nellis Air Force Base outside Las Vegas. It is from there that they release their missiles against "anti-Iraqi forces" or the Taliban, causing civilian deaths in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

As one American pilot, who has fired Predator missiles from Nellis, put it:
"I go from the gym and step inside Afghanistan, or Iraq… It takes some getting used to it. At Nellis you have to remind yourself, 'I'm not at the Nellis Air Force Base. Whatever issues I had 30 minutes ago, like talking to my bank, aren't important anymore.'"

To American reporters, this seems neither cowardly, nor in any way barbaric, just plain old normal. Those pilots are not said to be "hiding" in distant deserts or among the civilian gamblers of Caesar's Palace.)

Anyway, here's the simple calculus that goes with all this: Militarily, overstretched American forces simply cannot sustain the ground part of the surge for much longer. Most, if not all, of those 30,000 troops who surged into Iraq in the first half of 2007 will soon be coming home. But air power won't be. Air Force personnel are already on short, rotating tours of duty in the region. In Vietnam back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, as ground troops were withdrawn, air power ramped up. This seems once again to be the pattern. There is every reason to believe that it represents the American future in Iraq.

From Barbarism to the Norm

The air war is simply not visible to most Americans who depend on the mainstream media. In part, this is because American reporters, who have covered every other sort of warfare in Iraq, simply refuse to look up.

It should be no surprise then that news of a future possible escalation of the air war was first raised by a journalist who had never set foot in Iraq and so couldn't look up. In a December 2005 piece entitled "Up in the Air," New Yorker investigative reporter Seymour Hersh suggested that "a key element of [any] drawdown plans, not mentioned in the President's public statements, is that the departing American troops will be replaced by American airpower… The danger, military experts have told me, is that, while the number of American casualties would decrease as ground troops are withdrawn, the over-all level of violence and the number of Iraqi fatalities would increase unless there are stringent controls over who bombs what."

After Hersh broke his story, the silence was deafening. Only one reporter, as far as I know, has even gone up in a plane -- David S. Cloud of the New York Times, who flew in a B-1 from an unnamed "Middle Eastern airfield" on a mission over Afghanistan. Thomas Ricks traveled to Balad Air Base and did a superb report on it in 2006, but no reporter seems to have bothered to hang out with American pilots, nor have the results of bombing, missile-firing, or strafing been much recorded in our press. The air war is still largely relegated to passing mentions of air raids, based on Pentagon press releases or announcements, in summary pieces on the day's news from Iraq.

Given American military history since 1941, this is all something of a mystery. A Marine patrol rampaging through an Iraqi village can, indeed, be news; but American bombs or missiles turning part of a city into rubble or helicopter gunships riddling part of a neighborhood is, at best, tag-on, inside-the-fold material -- a paragraph or two, as in this AP report on the latest fighting in an undoubtedly well-populated part of the city of Mosul:
"An officer, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information, said three civilians were wounded and helicopters had bombarded buildings in the southeastern Sumar neighborhood, which has seen frequent attacks on U.S. and Iraqi forces that have led to a series of raids."

The predictably devastating results of helicopters "bombarding" an urban neighborhood in a major Iraqi city, if reported at all, will be treated as just the normal "collateral damage" of war as we know it. In our world, what was once the barbarism of air war, its genuine horror, has been transformed into humdrum ordinariness (if, of course, you don't happen to be an Iraqi or an Afghan on the receiving end), the stuff of largely ignored Air Force news releases. It is as unremarkable (and as American) as apple pie, and nothing worth writing home to mom and the kids about.

Maybe then, it's time for Seymour Hersh to take another look. Or for the online world to take up the subject. Maybe, sooner or later, American mainstream journalists in Iraq (and editors back in the U.S.) will actually look up, notice those contrails in the skies, register those "precision" bombs and missiles landing, and consider whether it really is a ho-hum, no-news period when the U.S. Air Force looses 100,000 pounds of explosives on a farming district on the edge of Baghdad. Maybe artists will once again begin pouring their outrage over the very nature of air war into works of art, at least one of which will become iconic, and travel the world reminding us just what, almost five years later, the "liberation" of Iraq has really meant for Iraqis.

In the meantime, brace yourself. Air war is on the way.

Tom Engelhardt, who runs the Nation Institute's, is the co-founder of the American Empire Project. His book, The End of Victory Culture (University of Massachusetts Press), has been thoroughly updated in a newly issued edition that deals with victory culture's crash-and-burn sequel in Iraq.
[Note on Air-War Readings: The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) published a study in December 2007 on the air war in Iraq, which can be read by clicking here (PDF file). Figures on the rising intensity of air power in that country can be found there -- of a sort that the Washington Post only recently reported on. For some historical background on U.S. air power and the bombing of noncombatants, I suggest checking out Mark Selden's "A Forgotten Holocaust."
Those who, in these years, wanted to find out something substantive about the air war in Iraq had to look to independent sites on line. At Tomdispatch, I began writing on the air war in 2004. See, for instance, "Icarus (armed with Vipers) Over Iraq"; others have taken up the subject at this site since: See Dahr Jamail's "Living Under the Bombs"; Nick Turse's "Bombs Over Baghdad, The Pentagon's Secret Air War in Iraq" and "Did the U.S. Lie about Cluster Bomb Use in Iraq" (both of which involved the sort of reporting, long distance, that American journalists should have been doing in Iraq); and Michael Schwartz's "A Formula for Slaughter: The American Rules of Engagement from the Air," among other pieces. On the air war in Afghanistan, see my "'Accidents of War,' The Time Has Come for an Honest Discussion of Air Power."]

American Oil companies offered five million dollars to each Iraqi MP to pass the Oil law

Roads to Iraq:

January 29, 2008

Reported today on Akhbar Alkhaleej newspaper

An Iraqi MP preferred to remain anonymous told the newspaper that highly confidential negotiations took place by representatives from American oil companies, offering $5 million to each MP who votes in favor of the Oil and Gas law.

The amount that could be paid to pass the votes do not exceed $150 million dollars in the case of $5 million to each MP, pointing out that the Oil law requires 138 votes to pass, which the Americans want to guarantee in many ways, including vote-buying, intimidation and threats!

Focusing on the heads of parliamentary blocs and influential figures in the parliament to ensure the votes, the Americans guaranteed the Kurdish votes in advance but they are seeking enough votes to pass and approve the law as soon as possible.



President Bush Signs H.R. 4986, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 into Law

White House News
Today, I have signed into law H.R. 4986, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008. The Act authorizes funding for the defense of the United States and its interests abroad, for military construction, and for national security-related energy programs.

Provisions of the Act, including sections 841, 846, 1079, and 1222, purport to impose requirements that could inhibit the President's ability to carry out his constitutional obligations to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, to protect national security, to supervise the executive branch, and to execute his authority as Commander in Chief. The executive branch shall construe such provisions in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President.

January 28, 2008.

Over 2.000 peshmerga redeployed to Mosul

Iraq: US military extends its offensive into the northern city of Mosul
James Cogan,WSWS

30 January 2008

Since January 1, American and Iraqi government forces have been conducting a major offensive, codenamed Phantom Phoenix, against Sunni Arab-based resistance groups in northern Iraq. Operations have already been conducted in the province of Diyalah and in the Arab Jabour district to the south of Baghdad.
They have been characterised by some of the heaviest aerial bombardments of the war and the mass round-up of anyone accused of being members or sympathisers of the Sunni fundamentalist organisation which calls itself Al Qaeda in Iraq.

US authorities have seized upon the activities of this outfit to designate all Sunni-based resistance to the foreign occupation as terrorism. Rear Admiral Gregory Smith told the media on January 20 that the latest offensive had already resulted in the death of 121 "terrorists" and the detention of 1,023.
The killing and repression is now being extended to Mosul, an ancient metropolis on the banks of Tigris River and Iraq’s second largest city after Baghdad. Mosul is the capital of Ninevah province, which borders Syria to the west, the Kurdish autonomous region to the north and east and the predominantly Sunni Arab provinces of Anbar and Salah Ad Din to the south. It had an estimated pre-war population of 1.7 million.

Sunni Arabs comprised the majority, but lived alongside large Kurdish, Turkomen and Assyrian Christian communities.

The US occupation has faced continual resistance in Ninevah since the 2003 invasion.
A number of Sunni Arab resistance groups and tribes in Anbar province and Baghdad struck deals with the US military during 2007 and ended attacks on American and Iraqi government forces, but that has not taken place in Mosul. The predominantly Sunni districts of the city remain guerilla strongholds.

The US military alleges that many of the fighters in Mosul fled from the areas where American troop numbers were built up as part of the Bush administration’s surge, or where the Sunni "citizens groups" were established and began collaborating with the occupation.

Some 5,000 US troops and as many as 18,000 Iraqi government troops are expected to take part in securing Mosul. Over 2,000 predominantly Kurdish troops of the Iraqi Third Division, who have been fighting alongside American forces in Baghdad, have been redeployed to the area.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki declared last weekend: "Today our forces are moving towards Mosul. What we have planned in Nineveh will be final. It will be a decisive battle."
Difficult urban counter-insurgency fighting is being anticipated.

An American commander in the area, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Simmering of the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment, told journalists this week: "The thing about the insurgency in Mosul is that there are many different facets. This is going to be a long, protracted push by coalition forces and more importantly by Iraqi security forces to re-establish security. If you’re looking for one big culminating event, you’ll never see it. I call this the 'campaign for Mosul’."

The initial stages of the US push into the city began in the southern suburbs a week ago. On January 23, an insurgent arms cache hidden in an abandoned building in a residential area exploded as government troops closed in. The massive explosion, which left a 10-metre deep crater, devastated surrounding homes, killed at least 60 people and wounded more than 280.
Iraqi authorities immediately labelled it a terrorist atrocity, but its cause is not clear.
Locals appear to have blamed the government security forces.

The Ninevah provincial police chief, Salah Mohammed al-Jubouri, was stoned by a distraught crowd when he visited the site the next day and assassinated by a suicide bomber as he attempted to flee to his vehicle.

On Monday, five US troops were killed by a roadside bomb and the rest of their unit engaged by heavy small arms fire while attempting to secure an insurgent-controlled mosque in south-eastern Mosul. The guerillas retreated before they could be attacked by US air strikes and a ground assault on the mosque by government soldiers. The casualties pushed the US death toll for January to 36 and the overall number of American deaths since the invasion to 3,940.
Dozens of government soldiers and police have also been killed this month. A police patrol was ambushed on Monday, leaving two dead.

Over the coming days and weeks, US and government troops will have to move into areas in which insurgents have had years to entrench themselves, lay booby traps and conceal firing positions. A spike in US casualties is likely, particularly when Iraqi guerillas are forced to make a stand.

In Diyala province, however, the main insurgent tactic has been to avoid frontal clashes with the vastly better equipped and armoured American forces. Instead, they have sought to melt into the civilian population, relying on the popular sympathy to live to fight another day.
The result is a frustrating, nerve-wracking and never-ending war for the American forces.

In Diyala province alone this month, according to US general Mark Hertling, his troops have had to disarm 386 roadside bombs, 28 car bombs and 38 "house" bombs. Fifteen soldiers have been killed, including six who died when they entered a booby-trapped building.
In the Arab Jabour region south of Baghdad—an area of small villages, irrigation channels and orchards—the US air force is carrying out repeated bombardments to try and clear roadside bombs and mines.

Thirty targets were struck on January 20 with 20,000 pounds of high explosive bombs, following the pounding of 99 targets between January 10 and 16 with over 99,000 pounds of bombs
US tactics increasingly rely on massive air strikes, combined with the indiscriminate detention of suspected resistance fighters.
According to figures provided in the Pentagon press briefing by Rear Admiral Smith this month, the US military detained 8,800 alleged "Al Qaeda in Iraq terrorists" during 2007 and killed 2,400.

These figures do not include the thousands of alleged Sunni nationalist fighters or anti-occupation Shiite militiamen who were detained or killed. As many as 35,000 prisoners are being held in US-run camps inside Iraq and a similar number in Iraqi government facilities.

mardi 29 janvier 2008

Israel's Chief Rabbi calls for ethnic cleansing of non-Jews in Palestine

The Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel
Video Interview
Posted 28/01/08

Israel’s Chief Rabbi calls for ethnic cleansing of non-Jews in Palestine
From Khalid Amayreh
in occupied E. Jerusalem

"A leading Israeli rabbi has called for ethnic cleansing of millions of Palestinians who have been living in Palestine from time immemorial. The rabbi, Yona Metzger, who hold the official title of Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi in Israel, was quoted Monday as saying in an interview with the British Weekly, the Jewish News, that the Palestinian people could have a nice country in the Sinai desert.

“Take all the poor people from Gaza to move them to a wonderful new modern country with trains, buses and cars, like in Arizona. This will be a solution for the poor people-they will have a nice country, and we (the Jews) shall have our country and we shall live in peace.”

Metzger also reportedly said that he would discuss the “matter” with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, adding that he thought the idea would find popularity among Israelis.The rabbi also suggested that Muslims had no right to Jerusalem, saying that Muslims had Makka and Medina, and that Jerusalem belonged solely to Jews.

Metzger’s remarks were dismissed by Muslim scholars in the West Bank as “hateful, mendacious and racist.” “This Nazi-like rabbi should know very well that Palestine belongs to the Palestinians and that that he and other Zionists should return back to Eastern Europe and the Khazar region,” said Abdul Ja’abari, Professor of Sharia and Islamic studies at the Hebron University. “Those who seek to banish us from our motherland shall themselves be banished.” Ja’abari described Metzger’s remarks as “hateful, mendacious and racist.”

“If this man who calls himself rabbi had a modicum of morality and justice, he would call for the repatriation of these refugees back to their former homes and villages from which they were expelled when the hateful Israeli state was established.“He claims to be a follower of the Torah of Moses, but as far as I know the Torah prohibits oppression and prohibits injustice and prohibits stealing people’s land and property.”

Sheikh Mousa Hroub, another Muslim scholar from the Bethlehem region, called Metzger “ignorant of both religion and history.”“He should know that present-day Palestinians have more spiritual and biological connections with Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Ibrahim (Abraham). He should also know the Arab presence in Palestine preceded the Jewish presence by at least a thousand years. So what is that ignorant rabbi talking about?

Hroub also dismissed Metger arguments that Muslims have Mekka and Medina as holy places and that Jews had Jerusalem. “I am not against Jews praying in Jerusalem or San Francesco. This is not a problem. But to say that Muslims and Christians should be treated as second –class citizens and second-class worshipers is totally unacceptable. “This is like saying that the Christians had the Vatican and don’t need other places like Bethlehem and Nazareth. It is nonsense.”

Zionist rabbis in general normally hold radical and even racist views toward non-Jews in general and Palestinians in particular. A few weeks ago, an Israeli rabbi named David Batsri referred to Arabs as “donkeys” who he said were created by the Almighty in a human shape in order to work and carry out certain tasks.

Such blatantly racist remarks are made routinely by Zionist religious leaders in Israel where society continues to drift toward religious and nationalist chauvinism.Not all rabbis accept these extremist views, enforced by the persistence of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In fact, some rabbis spearhead the struggle for human rights in the occupied territories. They argue that Israel’s behavior are incompatible with the authentic teachings of Judaism."


The Great Iraqi Oud Master Munir Bashir and his son Omar Bashir playing in the Arabic scale of Rast

Please click on link below :

This clip shows Iraqi Oud master Munir Bashir (1930-1997) and his son Omar Bashir playing in the Arabic scale of Rast.

Munir Bashir had a doctorate in musicology from Budapest, and was in constant rebellion against the misinterpretation of this music and it's use for commercial ends. He has been credited with restoring credentials to a music that has become debased through bending to the tasters of colonial nostalgia.

Listen to more Oud players:

Irak Cumurbaşkanı Müsteşarı Muzaffer Arslan Türkmeneli Devletinin Haritasını Çizdi

Selda Öztürk Kay




Irak Türkmen Otonom Örgütü Genel Başkanı ve Irak Cumhurbaşkanı Celal Talabani’nin Türkmen İşleri’nden Sorumlu Müsteşarı Dr. Muzaffer Arslan, Türkmenlerin Irak’ın toprak bütünlüğünü savunmaktan vazgeçerek, Irak’ta giderek şekillenmeye başlayan “federasyon” modelinden pay kapmak için gayret sarf etmesi gerektiğini savundu.

Türkiye’den kendilerine bir “yol haritası” çizmesini isteyen Arslan, Türkmen Federe Devleti’nin, Irak’taki Türklerin yeni “kızıl elma”sı olması gerektiğini dile getirdi. Muzaffer Arslan, Cumhurbaşkanlığı Divanı’na ve Meclis’e sunduğu Türkmen Federe Devleti’nin haritasını Irak’tan önce Türkiye’de ortaya çıkardı:

“…Bir milletin ayakta durabilmesi için mutlaka toprağı, ülkesi ve örgütlenmesi olmak zorunda. Biz bugün Irak’ın toprak bütünlüğünü savunarak bir şey elde edemeyiz. Tam aksine, yarın Kerkük de Erbil gibi bizim elimizden çıkar gider. Türkmeneli Federe Devleti istiyoruz. O zaman biz erimeyiz. Ama bu olmadığı takdirde Irak’ta Türkmenler erir…”

Selda Öztürk Kay

Dr. Muzaffer Arslan, Irak Cumhurbaşkanlığı Divanı’nda Türkmen İşleri’nden Sorumlu Müsteşar olarak göreve başlamadan önce, işgalin hemen ardından oluşturulan Irak Ulusal Konseyi’nde Türkmenleri temsil ediyordu. Bugün Celal Talabani’nin danışmanlarından biri olan ve Irak Türkmenleri için çalışmaya devam eden Arslan, Irak Meclisi’ne Kerkük’ün başkent olduğu “Türkmen Federe Devleti” önerisiyle geldi. Ülkede büyük gürültü koparan projeyi Cumhurbaşkanı Talabani’ye de sunan Arslan, Türkmenlere “Artık bölünmek üzere olan Irak’ın toprak bütünlüğünü savunmaktan vazgeçip kendi devletimizi kuralım” çağrısında bulunuyor.

Siz Cumhurbaşkanlığı’ndaki göreviniz nedeniyle Talabani’ye en yakın Türkmen siyasetçi olarak biliniyorsunuz. Talabani’nin Türkmenlere ve Türkiye’ye bakışını nasıl değerlendiriyorsunuz?

Talabani, sürekli olarak Türkmenlere yakın olduğunu ifade eder. Türkiye ile dostluk içinde olmak gerektiğini söyler. Ama, çelişkiye düştüğü de bir gerçek. Kendi menfaatleri ve partisinin çıkarları için politika üretirken, bir taraftan da Türkiye’yi kazanma çabasına giriyor. Talabani, Türkmenler ve Kürtler arasında tarihten gelen bir yakınlık olduğunu biliyor. Türkiye’nin Avrupa’ya yakınlaşmasından memnun. ‘Biz Avrupa’nın komşusu olmayı yeğleriz’ diyor. Ayrıca ‘Çıkış kapımız Türkiye’ vurgusunu sık sık yapıyor. Tabii bunda samimiyet aramamak gerek. Siyasette menfaatler ön plandadır.

Talabani tarafsız bir Cumhurbaşkanı olmadığı için eleştiriliyor. Siz nasıl değerlendiriyorsunuz Talabani’nin siyasetini?

Irak’ta hiç kimse tarafsız değil. Olmaz da. Talabani bir konuda görüş bildirmese bile kendisinin Kürtlerden yana olduğunu biliriz. Herkes kendi milleti için milliyetçidir. Talabani Kürt, bizler de Türk milliyetçisiyiz. Talabani, Barzani’den daha kıvrak bir zekaya sahip ve daha yumuşak tavırlı. Siyaseti ve kendi milletinin menfaati için nelerin yapılması gerektiğini çok iyi biliyor. Türkmenler, Irak’ta Kürtlerden daha mağdur olmasına rağmen, bütün dünya Kürtlerin meselelerine yoğunlaştı. Talabani’nin de payı var bunda. Bütün Kürtlerin bir oldu bittiyle her şeyi ele geçirip, Irak’ı yönetmeye soyunmalarına da örtülü destek veriyor elbette.

Türkmenlerin, Irak’ın toprak bütünlüğünü savunmaktan vazgeçmesini öneriyorsunuz. Ancak Türkiye’nin bölgeye ilişkin siyaseti de Irak’ın birliğinin korunmasına yönelik.

Biz de Irak’ın toprak bütünlüğünü savunuyoruz aslında. Kurulacak tüm federasyonların merkezi hükümete bağlı olması gerektiğini söylüyoruz. Merkezi Hükümet ve gevşek bir federasyon öneriyoruz.

Irak’ta kabul edilen anayasa ile ülkede federasyonun temeli atıldı. Bu, yeni bir olay değil. 1970’li yıllarda yapıldı. Irak yönetimi Irak’ın kuzeyine, özerk bölge adı altında bir otonomi tanımıştı. Bundan geri adım atmayı hiç kimse istemiyor. Kürtler, bunu Anayasal hak olarak görüyor. Bu sürece Türkiye’nin de dolaylı bir desteği oldu. 1991 yılında 36’ncı paralel baz alınarak kuzeyde oluşturulan güvenlik bölgesi, Irak’ın Kürtlere tanıdığı bir hakkın haritasıydı. Amaç, Kürtleri koruma altına almaktı. Kürtlerin, özerklik talep ettikleri bölgeydi burası. Şimdi Kürtler, Irak’ın kuzeyinde kendilerine ayrılan bu bölgeyle yetinmek istemiyorlar. Musul’un büyük bölümüne göz diktiler. Kerkük’ü de içine alacak yeni bir bölge istiyorlar. Irak’ta özerklik isteyen sadece Kürtler değil. Güneyde de Şiiler var. Ama Türkmenlerden kimse bahsetmiyor. Biz Türkmenlerin siyasal haklarını yeni Irak Anayasasına, siyasal gerçekliğine yazdırmalıyız. Irak′ın kurucu unsurlarından birisi olarak, Türkmen illerinde bir Federal Otonom Bölge, yani “Federe Türkmeneli”ni talep etmeliyiz.

Türkiye’nin Irak ve Türkmenlere yönelik siyasetini de tasvip etmediğiniz anlaşılıyor. Türkmenlerin kendilerine ait bir coğrafyada bu duruma gelmesine neden bu sürece Türkiye’nin nasıl bir katkısı oldu?

Irak’a bir federasyon gömleği biçildi. Bu Iraklılara kabul ettirildi. Temeli Kürtler için atılan bir projeydi bu. Bu dönemde, Türkmenlere yol haritası çizilmedi. Bunu Türkiye’nin yapması gerekiyordu aslında. Ama Türkiye, Türkmenlere “Siz sadece Irak’ın toprak bütünlüğünü savunun” dedi. Gücümüz yeter mi bizim buna? Bütün etnik grup ve mezheplerin Irak’ı elbirliğiyle parçalamaya yöneldiği bir süreçte biz Irak’ın toprak bütünlüğünü nasıl koruyabiliriz? Bunu planlamamız gerekirdi bizim. Bugün Türkmenlere “ayakta durun, pes etmeyin” deniyor. Ama nasıl? Bir hedef, bir kızıl elma göstermek zorundasınız Türkmenlere. O kızıl elma için feda ederiz biz kendimizi.

“Türkmeneli Federasyonu” Projenizi anlatır mısınız?

Proje, Irak’ta eşitlik prensibine dayanan bir çözüm önerisi. Irak’ta, Türkmen, Arap ve Kürtlerin müşterek onay vermediği hiçbir proje başarılı olamaz. Aynı zamanda Irak’ın ve Türkiye’nin de onay vermesi gerekiyor.

Projede Kerkük ve diğer Türkmen bölgeleri için neler öngörüyorsunuz?

Biz yıllarca Türklüğüyle var olan Kerkük’ün bir oldu bittiyle Kürt bölgesine bağlanmasını istemiyoruz. Bu konuda çok hassasız. Projede, Kerkük için müşterek bir yönetim öngördük. Kerkük’ün il meclisindeki sandalyeler, yüzde 32 Türkmen, yüzde 32 Kürt, yüzde 32 Arap ve yüzde 4 Hıristiyanlara tahsis edilsin dedik. Valilik, İl Meclis Başkanlığı ve Kaymakamlık gibi makamlar eşit olarak dağıtılmalı. Ya da rotasyona tabii olmalı. Bölgelerdeki güvenlik mekanizması da aynı şekilde bölüşülmeli. Bölgeyi kalkındırmak için ayrılan maddi imkanlar ve projeler, Türkmen, Kürt ve Arap mahallelerine eşit şekilde dağıtılmalı.

Kerkük’e özel statü talebi dile getiriliyor. Bu da bir çözüm değil mi?

Bugünkü durumda özel statü istersek yine Kürtler kazançlı çıkar. Çünkü bugün Kerkük’te de hakimiyet Kürtlerin eline geçmiş durumda. Tüm aktif bakanlıklar, belediye, valilik, il genel meclisi onların elinde. Bu bir ‘zaman kazanma’ projesiydi, çözüm projesi değildi. Aslında Türkmenler bu konuda da yanlış yönlendirildi. Bugün Irak’ın 8 vilayetinde Türkmenler var. Ama tüm dünya, Kerkük’e odaklanmış durumda. Telafer’i unuttuk. Erbil elimizden gitti, Kürtlere mal oldu. Kerkük’ün Tuz Hurmatu’su, Salahaddin’in ilçesi haline geldi ve Kürt şehri oldu. Kısacası Türkmenler kendi kendini dar bir çerçeveye hapsetti.

Federe Türkmen Devleti’nin sınırları nasıl olacak?

Türkmen Devleti, Türkiye sınırından başlayacak. Telafer’i, Musul’un banliyölerini, Erbil’deki Türk bölgelerini, Kerkük, Altunköprü, Tuzhurmatu ve Diyala’yı içine alan bir bölge. Devletin başkenti de Kerkük olacak.

Kerkük’ün bir Türkmen Devleti’nin başkenti olarak sayıldığı bir projeyi Talabani nasıl karşıladı?

Bu projeyi, Irak’taki siyasi ortamda kabul ettirmek çok zor. Talabani de, Barzani gibi Kerkük’ü almak istiyor tabii.

Türkiye’deki siyasi iradenin böyle bir projeye destek vereceğini düşünüyor musunuz?

Irak’ın içinde, bir Türkmen bölgesi olmadığı müddetçe, Türkiye’nin başı terörden kurtulmaz. Bugün adı PKK ise yarın başka bir şey olur. Türkiye ile Irak’taki Türklerin bir sınır kapısı olması şart. Bunu Türkiye’nin de savunması gerekir diye düşünüyorum. Kendi menfaati için.

Türkmeneli Federe Devleti’nin kurulması için diplomatik temasların dışında lojistik bir takım ihtiyaçlar da söz konusu olacak. Öncelikleriniz nedir?

Türkmeneli bölgesi için öncelikle bizim kendi milis gücümüze ihtiyacımız var. Şu anda silahlı gücü olmayan hiçbir siyasi kuruluş Irak’ta söz sahibi değil. Pazarlık gücü yok. Bu bir anarşiyi körükleme planı değil. Tam aksine Irak’ta istikrar için gerekli. Türkmenlere yönelik katliamlar devam ediyor. Türkiye, Kerkük’teki bir katliama müdahale edemez. Zaten bu dönemde Türkiye’nin caydırıcı gücünü göremedik. Bu yüzden bizim kendi milis gücümüzü kurmamız şart. Çünkü Türkmenlerin etrafında kurtlar var. Her başımız sıkıştığında Türkiye’ye koşamayız. Türkmenler, Talabani’ye mi, Barzani’ye mi, Haşimi’ye mi yoksa El-Kaide’nin uzantısı gruplara mı sığınacak? Bunlar hesaba katılmalı.

Türkiye’nin başlattığı sınır ötesi operasyona ABD istihbarat desteği sağlıyor. ABD ile Türkiye arasındaki dengeler değişmeye başladı.

Bu olumlu bir gelişme. Bir ay içinde ibre Türkiye’den yana döndü. Türkmenler, Türkiye’nin bölgede güçlü olmasını, Irak’ta haklarımızı savunmasını istiyor. Bugünkü durum bizim için bir avantaj. Kerkük’ün pazarlık konusu olduğu bir dönemde Türkiye’nin Irak’taki gruplara gözdağı vermesi, Kürtlerin bağımsızlık hevesine karşı bir gövde gösterisi oldu. Çok da isabetli oldu. Artık görünen o ki Türkiye bölgede önemli bir rol alacak.

Türkiye’nin başlattığı sınır ötesi operasyon ile ilgili bazı iddialar var. Başbakan Erdoğan ile ABD Başkanı arasında bir mutabakattan söz ediliyor. Irak’ın kuzeyindeki yönetimin Türkiye tarafından tanınabileceği söyleniyor. Bu durum Türkmenleri nasıl etkiler?

Ben Türkiye’nin Kuzey’deki devleti tanımasını hiç temenni etmiyorum. Önce Türkmenlerin geleceği garanti altına alınmalı. Irak, uzun ama geçici bir süreçten geçiyor. Böyle devam etmeyecek. Günün birinde istikrar sağlanacak. Karşımızdaki insanlar kavga edecekse biz de ederiz. Ama sorunu çözmek için bir masaya oturmamız gerekiyor. Irak’ta Türkmenleri yok sayarak alınacak hiçbir karara yokuz.

Are American Indians Turkish?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

'This conference did not intend to make a statement. We are not suggesting that all Native Americans are of Turkish descent,' says Ali Çınar. 'However what came out of the conference is that the link between the groups needs to be studied in a more serious way'


NEW YORK – Turkish Daily News

On a quest to determine whether kinship exists between Turks and Native Americans, a New York-based Turkish group organized a conference last weekend searching for similarities between the two peoples.

The main question at the conference last weekend titled “Commonalities between Turks and Native Americans” dealt with the possibility of American Indians coming from a Turkish bloodline.

The Istanbul University Alumni Association (IUMEZUSA) organized the conference. Although the question might seem absurd to many, participation in the conference was very high.

Over 400 people, including the director of the Eastern Region Bureau of Indian Affairs of the U.S. Department of the Interior attended the conference. The panelists were Brian Paterson, United South and Eastern Tribes & Bear Clan representative to the Oneida Indian Nation's Men's Council and Clan Mothers, Professor Timur Kocaoğlu, visiting scholar at Michigan State University, Professor Türker Özdoğan, George Washington University, Professor Marjorie Mandelstam Balzer, Georgetown University's Anthropology and Archeology of Eurasia Department and Associate Professor Carol Chiago Lujan, Arizona State University's founding director of the American Indian Studies Program.

“This conference was an attempt both to strengthen our relations (as Turkish Americans) with the American Indians and also to call for furthering serious academic studies in the related area,” said Ali Çınar, the president of IUMEZUSA.

For many years, there were occasional stories related to the commonalities between Turks and Native Americans in the Turkish media. For example language similarities were always portrayed as the strongest link between the two groups' association. It is widely known in Turkey that French linguist Dumesnil found more than 300 Turkish words in native Indian languages: Türe and Töre (Tradition), Yanunda and Yanında (Near), Atış and Ateş (Fire) to name a few.

For some groups, the commonalities of Native Indian languages and Turkish are normal because some regard all human languages as descendants of one Central Asian primal language. One group supporting the Sun Language Theory are the ultranationalists. The theory further proposes that the only language remaining more or less the same as this primal language is Turkish. For others, the connection between Native Americans and Turks is far-fetched and they argue that these kinds of stories are stretching the imagination.

Although many Turks know these kinds of stories, they were quite surprising to many American Indians attending the conference. The Native American academics at the panel claimed that although there are several cultural and linguistic similarities between Turks and Native Americans it is not scientifically possible yet to say that Native Americans are of Turkish descent. The panelists also drew attention to a study that was undertaken by a leading Russian geneticist, Ilya Zakharov, who in his 1998 study claimed that he had taken a giant step toward identifying the precise origin of Native Americans, based on his genetic studies of the Tuvan people in Siberia. Zakharov, deputy director of Moscow's Vavilov Institute of General Genetics, said he found a DNA link between American Indians and the Tuvan people. He also pointed out that the Tuvans are mainly Turkic speaking nomadic farmers who herd camels, yak, sheep, goats, and reindeer. Academics said more work is needed in this area.

Paterson, on the other hand, claimed that maybe Turks are of Native Indian descent.
“This conference did not intend to make a statement. We are not suggesting that all Native Americans are of Turkish descent,” said Çınar. “However what came out of the conference is that the link between the groups needs to be studied in a more serious way.”

Çınar also mentioned the main purpose of the conference was to strengthen relations between Turkish Americans and Native Americans. “In the U.S. Senate there are 15 Native American senators. Therefore I see this conference also as an important element in strengthening the Turkish lobby and increasing its supporters in the U.S. Senate.”

© 2005 Dogan Daily News Inc.

Iraq keeps word, punishes Korea for oil contracts in Kurdish region

The New Anatolian / Ankara
29 January 2008

The Oil Ministry in Baghdad announced Tuesday it has halted oil exports to South Korea in protest over an illegal deal between Korean firms and the Kurdish regional government. Iraq last month warned South Korea to scrap the oil contracts with the Kurdish Regional Government or face a ban on oil,exports.

According to the Oil Ministry, Iraq suspended an annual contract with South Korea's top refiner SK Energy on January 1 to export 90,000 barrels per day. Iraq has given SK Energy until Jan. 31 to back out of the Kurdistan deal if it wants exports to resume.

Baghdad has warned other customers that they must cancel deals with the Kurdish region. A consortium of South Korean firms including SK Energy signed a deal in November with the Kurdish government to explore the Bazian field, which is estimated to hold 500 million barrels of crude oil. Iraq has demanded that the consortium led by state-run Korea National Oil Corp cancel the exploration project. The corporation has refused to abandon the deal.

Iraq has been at odds with regional governments over control of new exploration areas.

The dispute has not badly hit supplies because Iraq accounted for less then three percent of total crude imports last year, the Korean Energy Ministry said. The shortage was covered by purchases on the spot market, he said.

Seoul has about 600 troops stationed in the Kurdish region for reconstruction projects. Parliament voted in late December to keep them there for one more year.The extension was South Korea's fourth since 3,000 troops were deployed with a one-year mandate in 2004 at the request of the US government.

ORB polling firm reissues Iraq mortality estimate of one million dead

Stephen Soldz:

January 28, 2008

Last September, the British polling firm ORB issued a report estimating that 1.2 million Iraqis had died. After criticism, ORB announced that they would conduct additional surveys in rural areas to check their results. the implication was that they had undersampled rural areas, which might have inflated their mortality estimate. At that time, they stated that they expected the additional results to be available by early October. Well it’s now late January and they have just released their revised results. They now estimate that their estimate of 1.2 million deaths should be revised downward to 1,033,000 with a range of 946,000 and 1,120,000. Here is their press release:
New analysis 'confirms’ 1 million+ Iraq casualties
January 28th 2008
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Further survey work undertaken by ORB, in association with its research partner IIACSS, confirms our earlier estimate that over 1,000,000 Iraqi citizens have died as a result of the conflict which started in 2003.

Following responses to ORB’s earlier work, which was based on survey work undertaken in primarily urban locations, we have conducted almost 600 additional interviews in rural communities. By and large the results are in line with the 'urban results’ and we now estimate that the death toll between March 2003 and August 2007 is likely to have been of the order of 1,033,000. If one takes into account the margin of error associated with survey data of this nature then the estimated range is between 946,000 and 1,120,000.

Our revised estimate – which compares to a figure of 1.2 million published in August 2007 – is based on a representative sample of 2,414 adults aged 18+. They were asked the following question:-
How many members of your household, if any, have died as a result of the conflict in Iraq since 2003 (i.e. as a result of violence rather than a natural death such as old age)? Please note that I mean those who were actually living under your roof?




Four or more

Don’t know

No answer

* = figure more than zero but less than 0.5%
Note: Of the 251 people who declined to give an answer the large majority (66%) were interviewed in Baghdad.

Casualties Calculation:
Among the over 2,160 respondents who answered the question 20% said that there had been at least one death in their household as a result of the conflict which started in 2003. Within these households the average number of deaths was 1.26 people.
The last complete census in Iraq conducted in 1997 indicated a total of 4,050,597 households. Based on this our data suggests a total of 1,033,239 deaths since March 2003. Given that the statistical margin of error on a sample of approximately 2,160 people is +1.7% (for findings at or near 20%) the possible range of casualties implied by our data is:

(Please click on link below) lity-estimate-of-one-million-dead/

Base: 2,163 Iraqi adults answering question

Detailed analysis (which is available on our website) indicates that over two-fifths of households in Baghdad have lost a family member, higher than in any other area of the country. Meanwhile among those willing to declare their doctrine (and for quite obvious reasons about half those interviewed prefer to simply describe themselves as Muslims) those from Sunni households (33%) were significantly more likely to say the conflict had claimed a household member. The respective figure for Shias being half that figure (16%).

Research Methodology:
§ Results based on face-to-face interviews amongst a nationally representative sample of 2,414 adults aged 18+. Interviews conducted throughout Iraq - 1,824 in urban areas and 590 around rural sampling points.

§ The survey methodology utilized multi-stage random probability sampling and covers fifteen of Iraq’s eighteen governorates. Overall 112 unique sampling points were covered – 92 in urban areas and 20 in rural locations.

§ For reasons surrounding interviewer safety Karbala and Al Anbar were not included in this research. Irbil is also excluded as the local authorities refused our fieldwork team a permit to operate. We feel that the net result of these exclusions –two areas of relatively high volatility since 2003 and one relatively stable - is that the casualty estimates reported are unlikely to overstate the actual figure.

§ The first batch of interviews was completed August 12th – 19th 2007 with the 'rural booster’ conducted 20th – 24th September, 2007.

§ At the 95% confidence level the 'margin of error’ on the sample who answered (2,163) is +2.1%. This figure is applicable to findings at or near 50% while for findings in the region of 20% this margin drops to +1.7%

§ Full results and data tabulations are available at

§ IIACSS (Independent Institute for Administration and Civil Society Studies) is a polling/ research company established in Iraq in 2003 and which has a network of interviewers covering all regions of the country. Further information about IIACSS and its founding director Dr. Munqith Dagher can be found within the relevant news article in the Newsroom section of ORB’s website.

§ ORB is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

For further information please contact Allan Hyde on 020 7611 5270 or email
The Opinion Research Business
34 Bedford Row
Tel: 020 7611 5270
See also their:
New Casualty Tabs.pdfMRS story.pdf lity-estimate-of-one-million-dead/

lundi 28 janvier 2008

New pipeline to transport Iraqi gas via Turkey

The state-owned Turkish Pipeline Company (BOTAŞ) has launched feasibility studies for the Turkish segment of the planned Iraq-Turkey natural gas pipeline, to be built parallel to the existing Kirkuk-Yumurtalık oil pipeline. BOTAŞ will complete the segment of pipeline that crosses through Turkey's territory along a Silopi-Bismil-Şırnak-Diyarbakır-Yumurtalık line.

The project aims to transfer 10 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Iraqi natural gas annually to the Turkish and world markets. The project management will be carried out by the Iraqi Oil Ministry and the BOTAŞ-Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) joint initiative, according to a memorandum of understanding signed on Aug.17, 2007, between the Turkish and Iraqi energy ministers.

The project will be completed by private contractor Tekfen, TPAO and BOTAŞ according to projections as to developments in Iraq and the energy need in European markets.

The project is an integrated one covering the exploration, extraction, processing and transportation of natural gas in Iraq's northeast. Around 10 bcm of natural gas will be extracted from five different fields and then transported to world markets through Turkey.

The construction tender will be held by BOTAŞ, as was the case with previous projects, and the tender will be open to international bidders. The pipeline will be 30-40 inches wide and will include many pump stations, proportional to the amount of gas the line is to carry. A liquid natural gas (LNG) terminal will be established in Yumurtalık to process and transport a portion of the gas to world markets via supertanker.

Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Hilmi Güler previously said talks regarding the Iraq-Turkey natural gas pipeline were on track and that the estimated 280 bcm of natural gas in Iraqi reserves would be exported to European markets via Turkey.

Today's Zaman Ankara