mercredi 27 juin 2012

Brüksel’de Azerbaycan Silahlı Kuvvetler Günü kutlandı

Brüksel’de Azerbaycan Silahlı Kuvvetler Günü kutlandı

Azerbaycan NATO büyükelçisi ekselans Hazer İBRAHİM ve eşi , Azerbaycan Belçika büyükelçisi ekselans Emin AYYUBOV ve eşi, Azerbaycan NATO Askeri Temsilcisi General Hüseyin MAHMUTOV ve eşi, Brüksel’de düzenlenen ‘Azerbaycan Silahlı Kuvvetler Günü’ dolayısıyla Brüksel’in Sainte-Anne kalesin’de bir resepsiyon verdiler.

Resepsiyona ITC Avrupa Birliği Temsilcisi Dr. Hassan AYDINLI ve eşi davetli olarak katıldılar.

Azerbaycan Milli Marşı’nın birlikte dinlenmesinden sora kısa bir sinevizyon gösterisi birlikte takip edildi.

Bir az sonra büyükelçi Hazer İBRAHİM ile General Hüseyin MAHMUTOV, konuklara dünden bugüne gelişen ve gelişmekte olan Azerbaycan’ı anlatarak Azerbaycan’ın bağımsızlığını korumada önemli görev üstelenen ordusunun teşkil edildiğini ve ordunun Azerbaycan’ın  bağımsızlığını koruyacak güce eriştirildiğini bildirdiler.

Brüksel’de diplomatik erkanın yanı sıra NATO mütefiki ülkelerinin delegasyon temsilcilerinin hazır bulunduğu resepsiyon, Azerbaycan mutfak ürünlerinin ikramı ile mutlulukla devam etti.

ITC Avrupa Birliği Temsilcisi Dr. Hassan AYDINLI  respsiyona  katılan büyükelçiler ve NATO mütefiki ülkelerinin delegasyon temsilcileri yle tanışırken Irak’ta  siyasi gelişmeleri ve Irak Türkmenlerin bugünkü drumunu anlatı.

ITC Avrupa Birliği Temsilciliği

On the occasion of the 94th Anniversary of the Armed Forces, 
the Head of the Mission of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the NATO,
the Ambassador and Mrs. Khazar Ibrahim,
the Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the Kingdom of Belgium,
the Head of the Mission to the EU and Mrs. Emin Eyyubov,
the Military Representative of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the NATO,
Major General and Mrs. Huseyn Mahmudov

invited ITF EU Representative Dr. Hassan Aydinli and Mrs. Merry Fitzgerald at a reception at the Château Sainte-Anne in Brussels

The reception was attended by a great number of Ambassadors and diplomats accredited in Belgium, as well as Heads of Military delegations from NATO member countries.

At the reception ITF EU representative, Dr. Hassan Aydinli, established contacts with members of the NATO delegations and with foreign diplomats and gave them his views about the actual political crisis in Iraq and explained the situation of the Turkmens in Iraq.

mardi 26 juin 2012

ITF EU Representative Dr. Hassan Aydinli attended the farewell reception for the Consul General of Turkey Mr. Mehmet Poroy in Brussels

H.E. Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey in Belgium Ismail Hakki Musa and Mrs. Tülay Musa
Consul General of Turkey Mr. Mehmet Poroy and Mrs. Ayşegül Poroy 

invited Dr. Hassan Aydinli, ITF EU Representative and Mrs.Merry Fitzgerald, Europe-Turkmen Friendships

to attend a farewell reception on 25th June 2012 at the Yunus Emre Cultural Centre in Brussels on the occasion of mission completion of Consul General Mr. Mehmet Poroy and Mrs. Ayşegül Poroy 


Consul General Mr. Mehmet Poroy and Mrs. Ayşegül Poroy;  H.E. Ambassador Mrs. Tülay Musa

 Dr. Bahadir KALEAGASI, International Coordinator and EU Representative TÜSIAD 
Mr. Emir KIR,  Minister and Secretary of State for BRUSSELS-CAPITAL Region
Dr. Hassan Aydinli, IRAQI TURKMEN FRONT EU Representative 

Dr Hassan Aydinli with the Turkish Military representative to NATO and the Military Attaché at the Turkish Embassy in Brussels

The reception was attended by representatives of the Belgian government and by many representatives of foreign embassies in Brussels.

This was an opportunity for ITF EU representative to exchange views with several guests at the reception regarding the political process in Iraq in general and the situation of the Turkmens in particular.

Dr. Ali Al-Dabbagh, Iraqi Government Spokesman at Chatham House (Video)



19th June 2012 Meeting

Dr. Ali Al-Dabbagh, Iraqi Government Spokesman
Toby Dodge, LSE
Emma Sky, KCL
Chair: Sir Jeremy Greenstock

dimanche 24 juin 2012


Dr Hicran Kazanci


The news carried by some internet websites that the Iraqi Turkmen Front Turkey Representative has been relieved of his duties is unfounded.

This subject has been presented by the Head of ITF to MYK which is the authorized board for discussions. The MYK has not discussed the subject or taken any decision. For this reason the Turkey Representative Dr. Hicran Kazancı continues in his regular capacity.

Ali Mehdi SADIK
ITF Official Spokesman


vendredi 22 juin 2012

The EU27 Member States granted protection to 84 100 asylum seekers in 2011 - Largest groups were Afghans, Iraqis and Somalis


19 June 2012

EU Member States granted protection to 84 100 asylum seekers in 2011

The EU27 Member States granted protection to 84 100 asylum seekers in 2011 compared with 75 800 in 2010. The largest groups of beneficiaries of protection status1 in the EU27 were citizens of Afghanistan (13 300 persons or 16% of the total number of persons granted protection status), Iraq (9 000 or 11%) and Somalia (8 900 or 11%).

These data2 on the results of asylum decisions in the EU27 are released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union on the occasion of the World Refugee Day3 on 20 June 2012

For New Release (including charts)  please see:

Campbell: Israeli PM Sharon Threatened Bush with Nuking Iraq (Mearsheimber & Walt vindicated)

Campbell: Israeli PM Sharon Threatened Bush with Nuking Iraq (Mearsheimber & Walt vindicated)

Posted on 06/21/2012 by Juan Cole - Informed Comment

Alastair Campbell’s serialized memoirs contain a bombshell that is largely being ignored in the Western press, the revelation that in conversations with President George W. Bush in late 2002, then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon threatened to nuke Baghdad if Saddam Hussein hit Israel with rockets again. (Campbell was then British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s communications director).

It is an astonishing threat. The Iraqi SCUDs that hit Israel during the Gulf War of 1991 were primitive and hardly the sort of threat to Israel that would trigger a nuclear response among sane people.

It is also clear that the threat was intended to force George W. Bush to act aggressively against Saddam:

“Campbell also relays another nuclear threat a year later when George Bush told Blair he feared that Ariel Sharon, the former Israeli prime minister, was planning to launch a nuclear attack against Iraq. In an account of a conversation with Bush at a Nato summit in Prague in November 2002, as diplomatic pressure intensified on Saddam Hussein, Campbell writes: “[George Bush] felt that if we got rid of Saddam, we could make progress on the Middle East. He reported on some of his discussions with [Ariel] Sharon, and said he had been pretty tough with him. Sharon had said that if Iraq hit Israel, their response would ‘escalate’ which he took to mean go nuclear. Bush said he said to him ‘You will not, you will not do that, it would be crazy.’ He said he would keep them under control, adding ‘A nuke on Baghdad, that could be pretty tricky.’”

That the threat was made so cavalierly can only provoke some speculation as to whether current Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is behind the scenes once again playing this bargaining chip with regard to Iran. I have long wondered why Western leaders pay so much attention to Netanyahu, the leader of a small country of 7.5 million with a gross domestic product only a little bigger than that of Portugal. Is it because, behind closed doors, they still talk the way Sharon did? Does Israel regularly use its nuclear warheads to blackmail the US and the West more generally?

In their pathbreaking book, The Israel Lobby, John Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt argued that among the more important impetuses for George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 was the Israel lobby. Important evidence for this allegation was the central role played in propagandizing for the war by Neoconservative figures such as Richard Perle (chair of the Defense Advisory Committee), Paul Wolfowitz (deputy Secretary of Defense), Douglas Feith (undersecretary of Defense for planning, and himself more or less a militant West Bank settler); along with other officials such as Irv Lewis “Scooter” Libby (convicted of perjury), David Wurmser and John Hannah– all high-ranking members of Israel lobbies at one time or another.

The response to Mearsheimer and Walt’s closely reasoned book was an unseemly food fight. They were denounced as anti-Semites (mostly by bigots who themselves hold racist views of Arabs) on the one hand and accused of presenting insufficient evidence on the other. A chorus of important political figures went so far as to deny that there even is an Israel lobby. (Just as NYT poobah David Brooks had denied that there were any Neoconservatives, provoking Michael Lind and others to some amusement).

Given that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee vigorously pushed Sharon’s policies in the US Congress, it is impossible that Sharon’s alarm about Iraq did not animate their lobbying efforts in fall of 2002, when US politicians were inveigled into giving Bush carte blanche to attack Iraq.

Campbell’s revelation is not only support for the Mearsheimer/Walt thesis, but it actually goes much beyond their analysis. They probably hadn’t dreamed that Sharon was wielding nuclear blackmail to get Bush to go after Iraq!

I myself think that the Iraq War was overdetermined, i.e. that there were multiple motivations for it, and I include oil. But that the Israel lobbies were central to it seems an inescapable conclusion.

At a time when a US war on Iran is building, under the pressure of the same Israel lobbies and the Likud Party in Israel, the American people deserve to know from President Obama whether Netanyahu has threatened to nuke Iran. We have been bamboozled into too many ruinous wars, and the health of our society, values and economy won’t survive another such catastrophe.

Juan Cole further comments:

I agree Turkey is the elephant in the room here.

It is very hard to discern exact Turkish policy given the multi-layered character of its influences and ambitions in northern Iraq. There is the historical claim on the former Ottoman province of Mosul. There is support and active investment in the KRG. And there is talk about Turkish support for Kirkuk as a standalone federal-entity.

In all of this, I am not sure whether Maliki can realistically expect Turkey to act as a check on Kurdish tendencies of going it alone, perhaps in everything but the name. I mean, lately the Turks even had bilateral meeting with Iraqi Kurds on pipelines and border crossings – the kind of issues that even in Iraq are seen by many as within the prerogatives of the central govt. In this case the schizophrenic policy may perhaps be intended, and maybe Turkey would be happy to cede influence in southern Iraq to Iran.

 I think given the strategic value of southern Iraqi oil, I am not sure the USG would be ready to consciously cede control in southern Iraq to Iran, which will almost inevitably follow if the central govt gets very weak.

jeudi 21 juin 2012

Human Rights Situation In Iraq Remains Poor

Recently, the United Nations and the State Department issued reports on human rights within Iraq. Both said that the country had a poor record. Freedom of the press, assembly, and expression, along with women and minority rights were all threatened, and the country lacked a functioning justice and prison systems. This was due to not only the on going violence within the country, but corruption and government dysfunction. Both organizations believed that the situation would continue. Not only has the government’s promises of improving its human rights situation proved hollow, but no official has ever been punished for their actions, while insurgents still carry out their daily terrorist attacks. These are all threats to not only the average Iraqi, but to the country’s nascent democracy, because without these basic freedoms, a society will not develop that can sustain its new political system.


Iraq remains one of the deadliest countries in the world, despite the drastic decline in violence. In 2011, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) recorded 2,771 civilian deaths. That was down from 2,953 in 2010. The Human Rights Ministry counted 2,781 deaths last year, and 10,386 wounded. In comparison, Iraq Body Count had 4,087 casualties in 2011, which was a slight increase from 4,045 in 2010. Both were far below the civil war years when the organization had 15,755 killed in 2005, 28,621 in 2006, and 25,129 in 2007. Despite the decline in attacks, Iraq still ranks as one of the highest civilian casualty counts per capita in the world according to the United Nations. Violence is also not evenly distributed throughout the country. Most attacks occur in the central part of Iraq with Baghdad being the deadliest. The north and south are relatively quiet in comparison. The reason for the continued attacks is that the insurgency has proven to be very resilient. Despite its setbacks, militants have been able to adapt to their losses, and sustain their operations into the present day. With the Americans having withdrawn their military, the Iraqi security forces have also reverted back to more traditional military tactics. They now are mostly reactive, arresting people after an attack hoping to catch the culprits, because they no longer have the support necessary from the U.S. to conduct counterinsurgency operations. That means that security is likely to remain at the current levels into the foreseeable future. The insurgency has learned to operate in their new environment, while the police and army no longer have the means to roll them back. Iraqis will continue to die in the hundreds each year as a result.

Legal System

Another major problem in Iraq is the lack of due process. People are routinely picked up without warrants, held incommunicado, and for long periods without trials or charges, and abused. In January 2011, there were reports that the Defense Ministry was holding suspects in Camp Honor in Baghdad’s Green Zone by the Defense Ministry for over two years without ever being told why. UNAMI found two women in Kirkuk who were detained for a year with no lawyers, and waiting for a court date. Parliament’s human rights committee went to Diyala in March 2011, and discovered three-quarters of the prisoners in a jail were there for two years without going to court. In May and June, over 100 people were picked up by the 2nd Army Division in Mosul, charged with terrorism, but never appeared before an investigative judge, and were never allowed to contact anyone. People have also complained about being arrested for political and sectarian reasons. In September, police in Diyala arrested the head of the Iraqi National Movement, and held him for three months before being released. This was the second time he was detained and released that year. In October, another arrest campaign was conducted by the government with over 900 people being picked up for being alleged Baathists in Baquba, Mosul, Kirkuk, Karbala, Baghdad, Najaf, and Basra. Their family member said that they didn’t know where their relatives were being held, lawyers couldn’t get access to them, and many were forced to sign confessions, without knowledge of what was in them. A third problem was that there were cases of people being detained or held in jail, because the police wanted bribes. Fourth, lawyers have difficulties talking with their clients. There have been court proceedings with no attorneys present. Finally, the justice system is based upon confessions. That leads to abuse to obtain one. UNAMI said this arose from the fact that Iraq had a “culture of abuse” dating back to the Saddam times. Many of Iraq’s leaders grew up under dictatorships either with Saddam or in neighboring countries such as Iran or Syria. They therefore, have no idea what a fair and equal justice system is. The public has grown so use to these events that there is no pressure to change the system form them either. Being treated fairly before the law is the basis of due process. Iraq sorely lacks that with the government having the power to arrest anyone it wants, and holding them for as long as they feel. Not only that, but many innocent people are picked up, and held for extended periods of time simply because the system is so dysfunctional. This undermines a basic tenant of a democratic society.


Iraq’s prisons are in poor condition as well. They are often overcrowded, unsanitary, and dens of disease and sickness. Several different groups run the facilities including Defense, Interior, Justice, and the Kurdish Labor Ministry. The Interior and Defense Ministries have admitted that their prisons are bad. UNAMI found the counterterrorism force in Diyala holding 500 people in three rooms with no water, and only two bathrooms. Abuse and torture in them were common, and pre-trial and convicted prisoners were usually mixed together. The central government said that it held 35,653 prisoners in 2010. That didn’t change much in 2011 with 35,205. The Justice Ministry had the majority with around 26,000 detainees. Their facilities were better than the rest, but still suffered from overcrowding. That’s not to say that all of Iraq’s prisons were the same. There were some modern ones in Nasiriyah, Basra, Susa, and Chamchamal that were in a good state. These problems were all well known, but there was no evidence that the government was trying to solve them. In early 2011 for instance, the Defense Ministry claimed that it would no longer hold civilians, but it didn’t stop. In December 2010, UNAMI halted its inspections of Interior and Defense Ministry run prisons, because they heard that the authorities were threatening and abusing prisoners who talked with U.N. personnel. The Interior Ministry also often turned down inspections by international and domestic organizations. With no internal impetus to reform, and human rights groups only being able to gain limited access made this another institutional problem that was likely to fester.

There were also a series of secret prisons run by the government. There were stories of at least 10 such facilities in the Green Zone alone. In February 2011, Human Rights Watch found one in Baghdad, but the authorities denied that it existed. In April, human rights groups reported a secret prison in the Green Zone where 400 Sunni prisoners were being held, 100 of which said they were tortured. The government later said it would close the facility, but it never did. Human Rights Watch found another prison in northwest Baghdad later in the year as well. These facilities were another sign of the lack of due process in Iraq. Secret detention centers are a way to keep prisoners out of the legal system, and provide ample opportunities to abuse them. They were another sign that the government was following the practices of Saddam rather than a democracy.

Prisoners have not always accepted their situation. There have been several escapes, riots, and hunger strikes in the last year. In January 2011, twelve Al Qaeda members on death row got out of a prison in Basra. The next month, prisoners at Rusafa prison in Baghdad went on a hunger strike over their conditions. Others in Hillah and Mosul started supporting strikes. In the former, 1,500 people were being held in a facility meant for only 750. Lawmakers from the human rights committee tried to visit the prison, but were not allowed in. In February and March there were separate strikes at Taji and Rusafa with a riot at the latter. There were also uprisings in Tikrit in March and in Hillah in August. In September 35 prisoners escaped from Mosul, with 2 being killed, 21 being caught, and 12 remaining free. The escapes point to the corruption in Iraq, because in each case, prison officials were implicated. The hunger strikes and riots showed that the conditions were so poor within many of Iraq’s facilities that the prisoners wouldn’t put up with them.

Kurdistan was an exception. There the United Nations found that prisoners were generally better off. Some people were held for long periods, but that was usually because of a lack of judges or interpreters. There was still overcrowding however in Irbil and Sulaymaniya provinces. Most importantly, torture was rare in the north, and the authorities actually followed up on cases that did come to light. That being said, the Asayesh and the intelligence services of the two ruling parties in Kurdistan were known for abusing people when they picked them up.

Freedom Of Assembly

Protesters, human rights groups, and non-government organizations were all mistreated by the security forces. At the beginning of last year, Iraq was struck by a wave of protests that affected just about every major city in the country. The government cracked down on the demonstrators. In February, the National Police killed six protesters and wounded ten in Kirkuk and Hawija. That same month, thugs attacked people in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square who were holding a sit in. The police withdrew from the area during the attack showing official complicity. The security forces also went after the Iraqi Communist Party and the Iraqi Nation Party for supporting and organizing demonstrations by confiscating their offices. Activists from the Federation of Workers’ Councils and Unions in Iraq were detained in April by the Baghdad Operations Command, and members of the Where Is My Right were arrested in May. The government also tried to set up restrictions to shut down the protests. By the middle of the year they were successful as the daily marches disappeared. The Iraqi constitution guarantees the right to assemble, but the government was only willing to grant that freedom so much. The authorities carried out the exact same set of tactics in 2010 when people’s anger swelled up, and they took to the streets over the lack of electricity. The squelching of the 2011 protest movement was just the most public expression of the limits that the Iraqi government placed on people’s rights.

Freedom Of The Press

The media has come under pressure from both militants and the government. Journalists said that they were pressured by politicians, officials, the security forces, tribes, and businesses to stop reporting on certain issues. Many media outlets were sued for libel to stop their work. In August, the founder and editor of an independent newspaper was beaten in Sulaymaniya. That same month, authorities banned reporters in Kirkuk from talking about schools after a documentary was released criticizing the Ministry of Education’s work there. During the protests, government forces tried to block coverage of them. In February, the TV station Diyar was raided, its employees were beaten, and its offices were shut down by the security forces after it showed a demonstration in Tahrir Square. The next month, the Kurdish Asayesh kidnapped two TV reporters for their coverage of the protests in Sulaymaniya. The press was also under attack with eight journalists killed last year. Insurgents were the most likely culprits. There were reports of possible political killings as well. In February, a reporter who wrote about corruption and the lack of services in Mosul was shot and killed outside his house. The end of Saddam Hussein’s regime opened the door to dozens of new papers and magazines being started in Iraq. At the same time, officials have not adapted to this plethora of media outlets, hence their lawsuits and use of the security forces against ones they didn’t like.

Labor Rights

Collective bargaining and union rights are not protected by law, and therefore have struggled to establish themselves in the new Iraq. There have been cases where the government has tried to interfere in labor groups. In April 2011, Baghdad tried to take over the General Federation of Iraqi Workers. First, it tried to influence the union’s election, and when that failed, the authorities derecognized it. Ministries and state-run companies have used fines and transfers to punish union members as well. In one case, a labor organization claimed that the Interior Ministry threatened to arrest its members for terrorism if it wen on strike. Some union leaders have accused the government of attempting to kill them also. Unions in Iraq are small, and suffer from a lack of legislation to regulate them. The working class was devastated by the destruction of most of its industry after the 2003 invasion as well. Together that has left Iraq’s labor organizations to be at the whim of others.


Iraq’s diverse population was put at risk by the violence that consumed the nation when the old regime fell. During the heyday of the country’s civil war, militants routinely targeted minorities. Those days are over, but attacks continue. The Ministry of Human Rights recorded 16 Yazidis, 14 Christians, 12 Shabaks, and 2 Sabeans killed last year. Minorities were also victims of kidnappings where they were held for ransom. In September, three Christians and a Turkmen were taken in Kirkuk, and their families had to pay $150,000 to obtain their release. These incidents were far below previous levels, but were still unacceptable. There were repeated reports of the Kurds discriminating against Turkmen, Yazidis, and Christians in the disputed territories that cross Ninewa, Salahaddin, Tamim, and Diyala provinces. They cut services, arrested people, held them in secret prisons, and pressured minority schools to teach Kurdish. Islamists have gone after minorities, because they are not Muslims, and in some cases, such as for Christians, are seen as being allies of the West. Al Qaeda in Iraq has specifically gone after that community, because it gains international press coverage, which they then use for fund raising. Minorities in the disputed territories on the other hand, find themselves pawns in the conflict between Kurdistan and the central government for control of those areas. The pressure that the Kurds have imposed on them is an effort to get minorities to side with them. Both of these situations are going to continue into the future since their causes are not going to be solved any time soon.

Women’s Rights

Women in Iraq are constrained by traditions that place them as secondary citizens. Rape and domestic abuse were serious problems in both reports, which the government was doing little about. Most cases were never reported, because of the culture and the shame it might bring to the family. Female genital mutilation was still common in both Kurdistan and southern Iraq. Honor killings were also an issue with relatives murdering female relatives who they think had acted dishonorably. When it came to day-to-day activities, conservatives tried to pressure women to wear headscarves. Female students reported that they were questioned about why they did not have their heads covered at Baghdad University for instance. Women who worked for the government were criticized for their dress. This was another issue that will not be solved soon. Neither the government nor society feels that it is a problem, and it is compounded by the fact that there are many Islamic parties in the ruling coalition who are pushing these ideas.

The major problem facing Iraq is that it lacks rule of law. Freedom of the press and assembly might be protected, but if the government doesn’t want to enforce those rights there’s nothing for people to do. That doesn’t mean that the independent media is about to be shut down in the country, but they work within defined limits set by the powerful. If they ever cross those lines, they know that they can expect a visit by the security forces. Many of these boundaries are shaped by the fact that the country’s politicians grew up under the dictatorship of Saddam, and have not freed themselves from that mindset. The fact that Iraq is an oil rich country also makes leaders unresponsive to the needs and demands of the public. With almost all of the nation’s income coming from petroleum, the elites only need the people for their votes. That doesn’t mean they don’t try to improve the country, but when it comes down to it, the ruling class will serve its own interests first. That’s what’s led to the constant abuses of the judicial system, the prisons, the media, etc. It’s for all of these reasons that Iraq is not yet a full democracy.


Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011,” State Department, 2012

Iraq Body Count

Knights, Michael, “Iraq – The Past, The Future, And Why it Matters To You,” London Business School Energy Club, 4/24/12

UNAMI Human Rights Office and Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, “Report on Human Rights in Iraq: 2011,” May 2012

This article was published in Musings on Iraq

mardi 19 juin 2012

Iraq asks Obama to halt Exxon’s Kurdish deal

BAGHDAD/LONDON (Reuters) – 20.6.2012 - Iraq has asked U.S. President Barack Obama to stop Exxon Mobil exploring for oil in its autonomous Kurdistan region, saying the U.S. company’s actions could have dire consequences for the country’s stability.

An aide to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told Reuters of a letter the premier had sent, seeking Obama’s intervention, as Kurdistan said on Tuesday it would sign more deals with majors to raise its output five-fold. Turkey also signaled it was prepared to import oil directly from Kurdistan, potentially defying Baghdad, which has a long-running dispute with Kurdistan over oil export controls. Exxon angered Baghdad last year by signing an exploration deal with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in the north, which the central government deemed illegal.

“Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki explained to President Obama in the letter sent this month the dire consequences of the Exxon deal and its negative impact on Iraq’s stability,” Maliki’s media adviser Ali al-Moussawi said.

Since the last U.S. troops withdrew from Iraq in December, disputed areas between Kurdistan and Baghdad have been seen as a potential flashpoint for conflict as tensions between the two regions rise, without the buffer of a U.S. military presence.Iraq’s oil minister said in April that Exxon had written to Baghdad informing it that it had suspended work in the Kurdish region.

“Despite Exxon’s letters about the freezing of their work in the region, we still receive information that suspicious work is going on relating to their exploration activities,” Moussawi said.

“The point of the message was clear. The U.S. administration must intervene,” he added. Kurdistan announced in November the signing of a deal for six exploration blocs with Exxon, the first major oil company to deal directly with the Kurds in northern Iraq. Iraqi Kurdistan, which has its own government and armed forces, has already clashed with the central government over autonomy and oil rights, and halted its crude exports in April after accusing Baghdad of not making due payments.

On Tuesday, Kurdistan’s natural resources minister said it expects more oil majors to follow Exxon in the next few months and that oil shipments would resume.”The market is very buoyant in Kurdistan. We have a lot of majors circling around looking at new PSCs (production-sharing contracts) and certainly mergers and acquisitions,” Ashti Hawrami told an energy conference in London.

“So in the next few months, we expect to see another two or three major companies coming and working in Kurdistan.”

Exxon is one of the oil majors participating in massive projects in central Iraq, which is due to become the biggest source of additional oil for world markets in the next decade. But as exploration terms with the central government look less and less attractive, companies begin to look at Kurdistan. Exxon is keeping a low profile in Kurdistan but industry sources said the company had already issued a tender for drilling rigs while French rivals Total and Norway’s Statoil are also looking at exploration blocks there.

Exxon was not available on Tuesday to comment on Maliki’s letter. Total and Statoil have previously declined to discuss their plans in Kurdistan.

The KRG halted oil exports in April due to a payment dispute with Baghdad. Before then, contractors in Kurdistan were producing and exporting about 200,000 barrels per day (bpd).”The oil will flow … regardless of an agreement, and I infinitely prefer an agreement,” said Hawrami. By 2014 to 2015, output should grow to 1 million bpd, he said.

“When you have 1 million barrels a day stranded, it will find its way to the market despite the political haggling.” “We expect more discoveries this year to bring us to our new target of 2 million barrels per day by 2019.” Turkey signaled on Tuesday that was prepared to import oil directly from Kurdistan despite Baghdad’s stance that it has the sole right to exports.

“Turkey cannot stay indifferent to developments in the energy sector of Iraq, including those in the KRG,” Berris Ekinci, Deputy Director General for Energy, Water and Environment at Turkey’s ministry of foreign affairs, told the London conference. “The most important thing will be the market drivers,” she said in reference to Turkey’s potential purchases of Kurdish oil.Small scale deliveries are expected to commence in coming weeks, when Kurdistan starts up a crude-for-products swap with Turkey, she told Reuters.

Industry sources say the KRG is gearing up to move crude by tanker truck to Turkey – possibly as part of the arrangement. Kurdistan is short of key products, including diesel and kerosene. It receives only 15,000 bpd of fuel from southern Iraq.

“The volume (from Turkey) will increase incrementally,” said Ekinci. “But neither the start date nor the volume has been set yet.”Turkey, which shares a border with Kurdistan, has increasingly courted Iraqi Kurds as its relations with the Shi’ite-led central government in Baghdad have soured. Turkey is a major investment and trading partner for Iraq, especially for Kurdistan.–finance.html

Iraq: Lies and Statistics

Iraq: Lies and Statistics
By Felicity Arbuthnot

'A rock,
Breathing with the lungs of a lunatic,
That is it,
This is the twentieth century.' -- A Mirror for the Twentieth Century: Adonis – Ali Ahmad Said.

Recently a contradictory, but in important areas, remarkably sunny opinion poll on “progress” in Iraq, conducted in April, was released.
It was, it has to be said, a divide and rule sort of survey as it split respondents in to Shia, Sunni, Kurdish – the Shia, obviously were largely supportive of Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki, from the Iranian backed Dawa Party.

However, for those in the West wishing a phoenix to rise from Iraq’s ashes - the illegal invasion, occupation, destruction, resultant mass graves of maybe one and a half million beings, the million orphans, the over four million displaced, the unimaginable, near industrial scale, often daily carnage, nearly a decade on – incredibly, things are looking up.

Around half the respondents thought Iraq was going in the right direction and that Nuri al Maliki was OK at the steering wheel. (Don’t mention torture, secret prisons, hasty swathes of executions and a largely more than questionable judiciary.)

Near three quarter polled said it: “… was more important to have a strong leader to keep Iraq stable, even if it meant giving up some freedoms.”
Arguably then they would have done better with President Saddam Hussein. He even managed to keep the lights and water on for longer, the streets safe and grenade and car bomb free (with the exception of the occasional car bombs, allegedly courtesy of CIA-backed, former post-invasion, interim, allegedly British passport holding “Prime Minister” Iyad Allawi’s Iraq National Accord’s handiwork.)

Seemingly, if an election were held immediately, al Maliki’s Dawa Party would be a popular choice. An unasked question was whether that would be because of the cited fraud, death threats, confiscation of the life-line ration cards until people voted the “right way”, as in previous “free and fair”, post-invasion elections.

In questions on key issues, fifty nine percent opined that security had improved and - fifty percent that basic services had. Both starkly contradict reality.
Here is the current British Foreign and Commonwealth overview on security in Iraq:
“We advise against all but essential travel to the whole of Iraq … terrorists and insurgents maintain the ability to conduct attacks throughout Iraq, including regular attacks in Baghdad, Basra, Mosul and Kirkuk. Major attacks within the last six months include:
• On 13 June 2012, a series of car bombs detonated across Iraq, including Hilla, Kirkuk, Karbala and 8 bombs in Baghdad, killing over 80 people and injuring nearly 300.
• On 19 April 2012, a series of car bombs detonated across Iraq, killing 34 people and injuring 120.
• On 20 March 2012, a series of car bombs detonated across Iraq, including in Hilla, Kirkuk, Karbala, and Baghdad, killing at least 40 people and injuring more than 100.
• On 4 March 2012, gunmen attacked police check-points around the town of Haditha in Anbar province, Western Iraq. 27 policemen, including two senior commanders were killed and several others wounded. Al Qaeda-Iraq claimed responsibility for the attacks.
• On 23 February 2012, a series of coordinated attacks across Iraq, including in Baghdad, Salah al-Din, Kirkuk, Anbar and Babil, killed at least 50 people and injured hundreds more.
• On 27 January 2012, a suspected car bomb attack in the Zafaraniya district of Baghdad killed and injured a large number of people.
• On 24 January 2012, a number of suspected car bomb attacks in the Sadr City area of Baghdad killed several people and injured many more.
• On 5 January 2012, 45 pilgrims died in a suicide attack in Nasiriya and 27 people died as a result of bombings in the Sadr City and Kadhimiya areas of Baghdad. More than 130 people were reported wounded in these attacks.
• On 22 December 2011, a series of co-ordinated bomb attacks in Baghdad killed and injured a large number of people.
• On 5 December 2011, bomb attacks against Shi’a pilgrims marking Ashura in al-Hilla and Baghdad killed and injured over 70 people.
• On 28 November 2011 in Baghdad international zone, a car exploded near the Council of Representatives VIP entrance which killed one person and injured several others.
• On 26 November 2011 in Baghdad, three improvised explosive devices in Rusafa district killed 8 and injured 13, and an attack on the Abu Ghaib-Fallujah road to the west of Baghdad killed 7 and injured 28.
• On 24 November 2011, three improvised explosive devices exploded in a Basra marketplace killing 19 people and injuring 65.”
Further, foreigners in Iraq are: “ … high value targets to terrorists, insurgents and criminals who conduct frequent and widespread lethal attacks …”
The Foreign Office also advise seeing their “Terrorism Abroad” page.
Their web page is clearly not updated regularly.

On 16th June, fifty one people were killed and one hundred and fifty four injured in attacks across Iraq. On 17th June nineteen were killed and fifty three injured in further violence.
In 2011 Iraq had second highest death toll in the world for deaths resulting from terrorism, just behind liberated Afghanistan which topped the list, according to a US study.

The US State Department: “warns U.S. citizens against all but essential travel to Iraq given the dangerous security situation. Civilian air and road travel within Iraq remains dangerous. (There are) ongoing security concerns for U.S. citizens in Iraq, including kidnapping and terrorist violence.”
Threats of attack … throughout Iraq continue, including in the (super fortified) Baghdad International Zone.

“(Attacks include) roadside improvised explosive devices (IEDs), Explosively Formed Penetrators; magnetic IEDs placed on vehicles; human and vehicle-borne IEDs, mines placed on or concealed near roads; mortars and rockets, and shootings using various direct fire weapons. Numerous insurgent groups remain active throughout Iraq.”
So who conducted a survey painting such an optimistic picture? (Though even the most committed fantasist has had trouble in some areas.)

None other than the National Democratic Institute (NDI), whose “Chairman” (sic) is Madeleine K. Albright, former US Secretary of State and who, as former US Ambassador to the UN, thought the price of the lives of half a million Iraqi children were a: “price … worth it.”
The NDI has even: “established the Madeleine K. Albright Grant, to recognize the contribution she has made in … improving the lives of women across the globe.”
Tell that to the mothers of her child sacrifices across Iraq.

The Institute describes itself as: “a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government.”
For a “nonpartisan” open and accountable Institute their supporters include a remarkable array of governments, arguably partisan Foundations and multi-lateral institutions. For a “non-profit” it seems eye wateringly well financially backed.
Earlier this year NDI employees in Egypt were accused of being spies and working to destabilize Egypt, with the authorities placing a travel ban on them and others connected with a case which is ongoing.

An illuminating insight is that: “NDI began working with reform-minded Iraqi politicians in 1999 and established an in-country presence throughout Iraq in June 2003.” (Thus: “in-country” a month after George W. Bush declared “Mission Accomplished.”)

Since the US had no diplomatic or any other presence in Iraq since, as the British, they fled ahead of the missiles and bunker busters of Desert Storm in 1991, an educated guess would be that they were working with the likes of “reform minded” foreign passport holders such as convicted embezzler and CIA funded beneficiaries Ahmed Chalabi, Iyad Allawi and their ilk.

The link above has a helpful “Select a Country” facility for the NDI’s other areas of operation. To paraphrase William Blum: No oil, mineral producing or strategically useful country too small, too far away not to be apparently reform-mindedly involved in.

The heartening survey on Iraq’s progress since its 2003 destruction, was carried out by Greenberg, Quinlan Rosner Research. Their website makes further enlightening reading.

Stanley B. Greenberg, Chairman and CEO: “has served as polling advisor to presidents and prime ministers, CEOs … in the US and around the world, including President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, President Nelson Mandela, as well as the national leaders in Israel, Europe and Latin America.”

Greenberg’s corporate clients include Boeing, Microsoft and other global companies.

Also, in 1999 Greenberg co-founded Democracy Corps, an organization: “born out of outrage over the impeachment of President Clinton … the leading organization providing in-depth research and strategic advice to progressive groups, candidates and leaders.”
When Karl Rove listed in the Wall Street Journal ten steps to regain the Republican majority, step one was to create a Democracy Corps.”

When Greenberg’s (clearly non-partisan book) “Dispatches from the War Room: In the Trenches with Five Extraordinary Leaders”, was published, George Stephanopoulos concluded: “No single strategist has done more to lay the foundation for modern progressive politics - across the globe.”
Stanley Greenberg: “conducts polls for the Israel Project in the US, Europe and the Arab world …”
“The New Yorker reported Ehud Barak’s victory in 1999 as … just another Greenberg client taking his place as the head of state."

Apart from 1999 clearly being an auspicious year for the forward march of US manipulation of the aspirations of other far away countries, careful reading of the background to the optimistic Iraq poll, is dazzlingly illuminating in a far wider context.

- Felicity Arbuthnot is a journalist with special knowledge of Iraq. Author, with Nikki van der Gaag, of Baghdad in the Great City series for World Almanac books, she has also been Senior Researcher for two Award winning documentaries on Iraq, John Pilger's Paying the Price: Killing the Children of Iraq and Denis Halliday Returns for RTE (Ireland.) She contributed this article to

dimanche 17 juin 2012

Fresh Bloodshed Leaves 19 Iraqis Killed, 53 Wounded

Fresh Bloodshed Leaves 19 Iraqis Killed, 53 Wounded

Sunday: 19 Iraqis Killed, 53 Wounded

by Margaret Griffis, June 17, 2012

 As Shi’ite pilgrims return home, violence against them has tapered, but attacks against other targets continued. At least 19 Iraqis were killed and 53 more were wounded in attack that focused on west and northern Iraq. Also, Anbar police have imposed a cycle ban after receiving information about more potential attacks.

Two people were killed and 26 more were wounded in Shirqat when a bomb exploded in a petrol queue near a police station.

In Falluja, a car bomb killed two soldiers and wounded four more; three bystanders were also wounded. A child was killed and three others were wounded in a second bombing. A car bomb killed two civilians and wounded one more. A dumpster bomb killed a child and wounded a woman.

In Mosul, a roadside bomb killed four soldiers and wounded two more. Gunmen killed a civilian and wounded his brother.

The bodies of two young people were discovered near Samarra.

A roadside bomb north of Kirkuk killed a contractor and wounded three more; the Iraqi trio was working for a Turkish company.

A bomb killed a police officer and wounded five more in Tuz Khormato.

A roadside bombing in Saqlawiya killed a driver and wounded a passenger.

A body was discovered in Sharezoor.

Three policemen were wounded in a Tikrit blast.

samedi 16 juin 2012

Talabani’s threat of resignation

Iraqi Head of State Celal Talabani threatened to resign if the leaders who had united against Maliki continued to insist that Maliki leaves.

Iraqi President Celal Talabani warned that he would resign if the parties which had united against Prime Minister Nuri el-Maliki would continue to change their attitude towards Maliki.

According to the news provided by the Arab el-Hurra television channel, Talabani’s warning was issued in reply to a letter forwarded from Iraqi List Party Leader Eyad Allavi, Head of the Kurdish Region Mesut Barzani and leader of the Sadr Movement Mukteda es-Sadr.

According to allegations, the leaders demanded that Talabani instruct parliament to take action against Prime Minister Maliki who they define as a dictator.

The television channel which claims to hold a copy of the letter reports that Talabani demanded that the leaders stop aggravating and accusing him and threatened to resign if they continued to insist that he change his position regarding Maliki.

The reply Talabani gave to the leaders regarding their demand concerning Maliki was, ”the only way that I will ask Parliament to withdraw the vote of confidence from Maliki is if the National Union Alliance or Maliki is not in compliance with previous agreements and principles.”

Maliki had denied the former allegations made by Barzani, Sadr and Eyad Allavi claiming he was acting outside the law. In addition, the National Union Alliance had emphasized that their only candidate for the Prime Ministry was Maliki and called the other parties for negotiations.

Talabani repeated his desire for the parties to convene for negotiations by saying, “If the National Union Alliance and the Prime Minister do not comply with previous agreements I shall withdraw the vote of confidence without the need of acquiring signatures from the members of parliament”.

Published in Irak Türkmen Cephesi

Iraqi Kurdistan president’s son Mansour Barzani reportedly loses $3 million in a Casino

Iraqi Kurdistan president’s son Mansour Barzani reportedly loses $3 million in a Casino

By Karim Ismaeel -

May 15, 2012

DUBAI, — The son of Iraq's Kurdistan region president, Massoud Barzani, Mansour has lost the amount of three million dollars in a Dubai casino, the Qatar's trade and business magazine reported. Adding that Mansour has been advised by his friends who are present with him to stop playing, but he continued playing until dawn with his loss amounted to $3 million US dollars, the magazine added.

Massoud Barzani’s sons run intelligence and the militia in autonomous region of Kurdistan in Iraq's north.

According to sources said that Massoud Barzani, has cut his talks in Erbil and visit the UAE, he reached the UAE in the fastest possible time to heal the scandal that took place their.

The sources also said that the gambling loses of Barzani's eldest son, Masrour Barzani, who heads the Kurdish security apparatus in the Kurdistan region have surpassed his brother Mansour squandered public money, whether in Switzerland or USA. Masrour had bought (Villa) in the US for 10 million dollars and this was confirmed by the American researcher (Michael Rubin). Rubin describes the ruling family by saying "Massoud has become Saddam; his sons Masrour and Mansour act like Saddam’s sons Qusay and Uday"

According to (New Iraq) daily newspaper, the Barzanis smuggle the oil from Kurdistan region to Iran and Afghanistan and the shift the money to his previous bank account in Germany before transferring it to Switzerland bank. The newspaper reported that Germany gave Barzani a deadline of 3 months to reveal his calculations.


Copyright © 2012 All rights reserved

vendredi 15 juin 2012

Death of French philosopher ROGER GARAUDY on 13th June 2012

Roger Garaudy: 17th July 1913 -13th June 2012

Garaudy, who was born into a Protestant family before converting to Catholicism and later to Islam, joined the French resistance and was held in Algeria as a prisoner of war of France's collaborationist Vichy regime. He joined the French Communist Party after the war and was elected to the French parliament and became a member of the Senate. He was expelled from the Communist Party in 1970 after he criticised the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.

Roger Garaudy sur le nouveau désordre mondial [Vidéo en 2 parties] + [Livre PDF Les Mythes fondateurs de la politique israelienne]

The philosophical itinerary of Roger Garaudy

By: Neal Robinson

His anti-Zionist work “Les mythes fondateurs de la politique israélienne "The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics”

see :

Les Mythes fondateurs de la politique israélienne, de Roger Garaudy, été édité d'abord par la Vieille

Taupe, puis, ensuite, dans une version corrigée, par Samiszdat Roger Garaudy, en 1996, ISBN: 2-951-

000-5. On peut le trouver à la Librairie du Savoir, 5 rue Malebranche, 75005 Paris, Tel 01 43 54 22 46,

Fax 01 43 26 07 19 ou à l'Association Roger Garaudy pour le dialogue des civilisations, 69 rue de

Sucy, 94430 Chennevières sur Marne. Cet ouvrage a été condamné en première instance, en janvier

1998, par la justice politique française. Mais il n'est pas interdit en France.

Après avoir, pendant plus d'un demi-siècle, publié mes ouvrages chez les plus grands éditeurs français,

je suis contraint d'éditer aujourd'hui en samizdat, à compte d'auteur, cette anthologie de l'hérésie

sioniste, parce que j'ai, depuis 1982, violé un tabou: la critique de la politique israélienne, défendue

désormais par la loi scélérate Gayssot-Fabius du 13 juillet 1990, qui restaure en France le délit

d'opinion du Second Empire, en suppléant par une loi répressive à la carence des arguments.

C'est pourquoi les libraires qui entendent continuer à faire leur métier doivent passer leurs commandes

à la Librairie du Savoir, Librairie Roumaine de Paris, qui a accepté le dépôt de ce samizdat comme elle

le faisait au temps de Ceaucescu où régnait déjà - mais ailleurs qu'en France - la pensée unique et le

terrorisme intellectuel.


Iraqi Turkmen Front: We have a positive project to resolve the problems of Kirkuk


Arshad Salhi, chairman of the Turkmen Front says they have prepared a positive project to resolve the problems of Kirkuk, which they will hand to the Iraqi representatives in the Iraqi Parliament.

Arshad Salhi who is also an Iraqi MP said, "We have a special project consisting of 10 points which we will hand to the Iraqi Parliament after the weekend.”

He added, "Our project considers all the differences which have halted the elections in Kirkuk, and that's why we think it's a positive project to resolve the problems,” Salhi said.

The chairman of Turkmen Front believes the current projects prepared by Arabs and Kurds are ‘not realistic' and do not solve the problems. "The Kurdish project is oriented in a way where Kurds take the position of governor again, which has a political motive.”

Salhi also criticizes the project prepared by the Arabs, saying that "There are some contradictions in the project, for example they ask for provincial elections with the Kurdistan Region's elections which are unacceptable.”

Salhi says they do not have serious conditions on elections, "We should solve negativities, and fix post-2003 changes, and then we can agree on elections.”

Posted in Turkmen Aspect

jeudi 14 juin 2012

Iraqis Not Feeling Well Psychologically

Gallup recently released the results of two public opinion polls it conducted that included Iraq. The two were on people’s feelings about their health, and were conducted at the end of 2011. “Middle East Leads World in Negative Emotions” discovered that Iraqis had the most stress out of 148 countries around the world. “Iraqis’ Views of Their Health Worst in MENA” found that people in the Middle East and North Africa had high levels of anger and sadness, with Iraq being at very bottom. Both showed that even though violence is down, Iraqis still have many things to worry about like their government, work, family, and basic living.

According to Gallup, Iraq had the lowest scores on how people felt about their health in the Middle East and North Africa. At the end of 2011, Gallup polled 17 countries, Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen for its Physical Wellbeing Index. 1,000 people aged 15 or older were asked five questions about whether they had any health problems, were well rested, had physical pain, worried, or were sad. Iraq got a score of 47, which placed it at the bottom of the region by far. It was eleven points lower than the next country Egypt, and also the worst that Iraq had done since Gallup started doing the survey in 2008. In 2009 for instance, it had a score of 60. Gallup’s poll was on how people felt, rather than how they actually were, which could be determined by statistics about life expectancy, infant mortality rates, etc. The company thought their results were important, because people who felt better about themselves had better views of their future. The figures for Iraq showed that its populace was deeply troubled about their situation, which could mean they were pessimistic about what was going to happen to them later on as well. Iraq’s security situation has greatly improved from the civil war years of 2005-2008. Its political system has become completely deadlocked since the 2010 parliamentary elections however, and the economy, while improving in the aggregate, still has major structural problems with unemployment and poverty. Those could be reasons why Iraqis felt so bad about their situation, compared to countries like the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Morocco that were well off, stable, and at the top of the Index.

Gallup Physical Wellbeing Index – Middle East and North Africa

1. United Arab Emirates 80

1. Kuwait 80

3. Morocco 78

4. Saudi Arabia 75

5. Qatar 73

5. Algeria 73

6. Yemen 72

7. Oman 71

8. Lebanon 70

9. Jordan 70

10. Turkey 68

11. Israel 67

12. Tunisia 66

13. Iran 65

14. Palestine 62

15. Bahrain 60

16. Egypt 58

17. Iraq 47

Breaking down some of the questions asked of people showed that most Iraqis had slipped back to how they felt when the survey first started in 2008 or even thought of themselves as being worse off. When questioned about whether they felt physical pain the day before the survey for example, in 2008 54% said yes, and 41% said no. That dropped down to the 40s for yes in 2009 to early 2011, before returning to 54% yes at the end of 2011, and 42% no. When it came to whether Iraqis had worried, things had declined. In 2008, 54% said yes, and 41% said no. By late 2011, 62% said yes, and 35% said no. That was the highest percentage of people saying no in four years. From the three questions that details were provided, it was apparent that Iraqis felt like things had changed for the better after 2008, but then they had gone back to just as they were before, or gotten worse by last year. 2008 was when the civil war ended, and 2009 was when provincial elections were held, and it seemed like more people were buying into the political system. That hopeful attitude changed with the 2010 parliamentary vote, and could be a driving force for the change in attitudes shown in the poll.

3 of 5 Questions From Gallup Physical Wellbeing Index – Middle East and North Africa

Did you experience physical pain yesterday?

2008 54% Yes, 41% No

Early 2009 61% Yes, 38% No

Mid 2009 48% Yes, 49% No

2010 42% Yes, 53% No

Early 2011 48% Yes, 47% No

End 2011 54% Yes, 42% No

Did you worry yesterday?

2008 54% Yes, 41% No

Early 2009 49% Yes, 50% No

Mid 2009 54% Yes, 42% No

2010 44% Yes, 51% No

Early 2011 56% Yes, 40% No

Late 2011 62% Yes, 35% No

Did you feel well rested yesterday?

2008 56% Yes, 40% No

Early 2009 60% Yes, 39% No

Mid 2009 50% Yes, 46% No

2010 52% Yes, 45% No

Early 2011 40% Yes, 54% No

Late-2011 40% Yes, 54% No

Gallup conducted another very similar poll at the end of 2011, its Negative Experience Index, which placed Iraq in last place. Gallup asked five questions of 1,000 people 15 years or older in 148 countries last year. The survey asked whether people felt anger, stress, worry, sadness, and physical pain. The higher the score a country received, the more negative feelings they had. Iraq came in dead last with 59. Palestine was second to the bottom at 43, followed by Bahrain at 41, the Philippines at 40, and Togo and Egypt both at 39. The countries with the best scores were Somaliland with 11, Uzbekistan at 12, and Thailand and Kyrgyzstan at 13 each. Overall, Gallup found that the nations included in the poll were feeling worse off in 2011 than 2010. All the countries in the Middle East and North Africa with the exception of Yemen had some of the worst rankings in the world. Gallup believed that the countries at the bottom like Iraq faced economic hardships, and political protests last year, causing people to feel worse about their situation.

Gallup Negative Experience Index – 10 Worse Countries

1. Iraq 59

2. Palestine 43

3. Bahrain 41

4. Philippines 40

5. Togo 39

5. Egypt 39

7. Turkey 38

7. Greece 38

9. Armenia 37

10. Pakistan 36

10. Serbia 36

10. Bolivia 36

10. Iran 36

Both polls by Gallup revealed that psychologically, Iraqis were not well off. The country ranked dead last in both surveys about how they felt. Not only that, but the Well Being Index showed that many people believed that their situation had been reversed in the last year or two. One would think that with violence down, and many going back to the regular routines would lead many to feel better. The two surveys showed the opposite has happened. That could mean that the political and economic situations were weighing down the public. Other recent opinion polls show a similar level of unhappiness as well. Rather than enjoying their new lives, Iraqis appear to be feeling rather pessimistic mentally.


Clifton, Jon, “Middle East Leads World in Negative Emotions,” Gallup, 6/6/12
Ott, Bryant, “Iraqis’ Views of Their Health Worst in MENA,” Gallup, 6/1/12

This article was published in: Musings on Iraq

mardi 12 juin 2012

Officials from the Iraqi Turkmen Front asked the United Nations to help ease tensions in Kirkuk.

article published by Al Monitor:

Arshad Salhi, head of the Turkmen Front in Iraq (established in 1995 as a movement which seeks to represent the Turkmen people in Iraq), demanded that the United Nations deploy neutral forces to Kirkuk and other disputed territories for the safety of the area’s residents. He warned of a potential bloody conflict between the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), and that Kirkuk may end up as the battlefield.

In a statement to Al-Zaman, Salhi said, "The political crisis is still ongoing. The withdrawal of confidence [from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki] cannot be done based on the MP's signatures. This matter must be solved in parliament where the MPs will vote by raising their hands. We, as a front for Turkmen, believe in the higher interest of our nation. Therefore, the issue of Kirkuk and other disputed territories cannot be resolved by agreements signed between the central government and the province. Withdrawing the confidence from the current government is not the answer as well ... The solution lies in the agreement between all the concerned parties in these regions."

He added, "Whoever is willing to play Kirkuk's card in the negotiations will certainly fail. Article 140 [of the Constitution, which states that before a referendum to consider Kirkuk part of Iraqi Kurdistan takes place, measures must be taken to reverse Sadam Hussein’s Arabization policy in the region] is not the answer. Amending the Constitution is the only way to find compromise solutions in the issue of Kirkuk and the disputed territories."

Talabani in discussion with PKK for cease-fire


Iraqi President Talabani holds negotiations with the outlawed PKK to urge the organization to declare a cease-fire, according to the president’s party spokesman. ‘The results of this effort will soon emerge,’ he says

Iraq’s Kurdish-origin president has been holding negotiations with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to urge them to declare a cease-fire, an official from the leader’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) said yesterday.

“[Jalal] Talabani is holding talks with PKK to convince them to declare a cease-fire,” Azad Jindyani, a PUK spokesman, was quoted as saying on the party’s website. “His initiative will continue until the clashes between Turkish army and the PKK have ceased. The results of this effort will soon [emerge],” he said. “The president believes peaceful means will bring the two sides closer,” he was quoted as saying by Anatolia news agency.

The spokesman said he thought clashes between Turkey and the PKK would have a negative influence on northern Iraq and Iraq as a whole if they were not dealt with soon. His comments followed statements by Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay on June 8 in which he said, “There are ongoing talks which even include the laying down and handing over of arms by the PKK.” Atalay also said terror was an international problem, adding that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq was at a “crossroads” and must “do something” against the PKK based on its territory.

Efforts ‘just started’

Meanwhile, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s opponents insisted their efforts had “just started” after they failed to collect enough votes to oust the premier. “Those who met today insisted that they will continue their efforts and the steps to achieve their goal,” a statement issued on the website of KRG president Masoud Barzani said of the gathering. The parties “will continue to call on parliamentary powers by legitimate means to face one-man rule ... and to condemn pressures exerted on members of Parliament.”

“It just started,” Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said when asked by a follower if the issue of withdrawing confidence from al-Maliki was over.

Haidar al-Mullah, a leading Iraqiya MP, told Agence France-Presse that “we are working to end the dictatorship” and that the required votes could be secured “in half an hour” if needed. There “were clear Iranian pressures” on the president and some MPs, Mullah added.


Explosions in two petroleum wells in Kirkuk

It was stated that explosions went off in two petroleum wells in Kirkuk.

Explosions, the reasons for which remain undetermined, took place in the petroleum pipeline in northern Iraq this morning. The regional administration made an explanatory statement on the subject.

An official from the Northern Iraq Regional Administration’s Petroleum Ministry made a statement saying, ”Explosions occurred in two petroleum wells near the Nehru Zaab region of Kirkuk yesterday morning. Sabotage is a possibility”.

lundi 11 juin 2012

Annual Report of UN Human Rights mentions the targeting of Turkmens in Iraq

The Annual Report of UN Human Rights to assist Iraq of the year 2011mentions the process of targeting Turkmens in Iraq

Due to the exceptional efforts made by the workers of human right office of Turkmen Front and the positive

contribution of the officials of the Front branches and offices in the governorates and all regions of Turkmen

Elli, through their follow up of the infringements files of Turkmens in all Turkmen areas. In addition to

participation of the active to defend Kirkuk and the continuous coordination with UN offices in Iraq, the

rights of Turkmen inside and outside, the UN delegate to assist Iraq listed the subject of targeting Turkmens in number of paragraphs of its annual report of the year 2011, issued on 20th of May 2012.

The process of listing Turkmen targeting in the annual report of UN delegate to assist Iraq for the first time in its work history is considered as an important achievement for Turkmens.

From another side, the active Turkmen and the head of Turkmen aspect edition, Ahmed Alhurmezi, send a letter to UN human rights and a copy UN Baghdad office requesting them to unite the name (Turkmen) in international reports that are written in English, especially in the last report of human rights in Iraq, three formulas were used in writing the name (Turkmen): Turkoman, Turkman and Turkmen) in the English copy.

He mentioned in his letter that the difference in writing the term Turkmen will lead to inaccuracies in the report and readers confusion who are interested in human rights cases, so he requested to write Turkmen in the formula used by Turkmens and that is 'Turkmen' for singular and 'Turkmens' for plural.

Published in Turkmen Aspect.

dimanche 10 juin 2012

A NEW CEASEFIRE ? : Talabani mediates between Turkey and PKK

Jalal Talabani Iraqi president attempts to start a new ceasefire between Turkey and PKK. - PKK has stepped up the attacks inside Turkey as the country has launched its military operations in Qandil Mountains where the group’s hideouts and strongholds exist.

Jalal Talabani Iraqi president and Secretary General of Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) has expressed his concerns of the ongoing conflicts and that he intends to maximize his efforts to conciliate between the two sides involved in a deadly war, source inside PUK leaked to the press on Saturday.

He is attempting to persuade the two sides to hold “a new ceasefire”, the source added.

samedi 9 juin 2012

Iraq Kirkuk students complain of delays in allowances distribution

Iraqi Kirkuk students are still waiting for the execution of governmental promises to dedicate 100 thousand dinars from Petrodollar allocations to every university student in the province.

Kirkuk students welcomed, in the beginning of the year, Kirkuk local government resolution to dedicate 100 thousand dinars to every student, these same students wonder presently if this promise will ever be fulfilled.

“They registered our names, a year ago, to grant us these allowances that could help students with transportation expenses at least,” a student said adding that some are quitting universities because they cannot afford such expenses.

Kirkuk University presidency declared it is not responsible for delays while Kirkuk provincial council blamed operations routines.

“More than 10 thousand students registered their names for allowances and a special committee was formed for distribution purposes,” Abbas Hassan, assistant of Kirkuk University President, advanced.“Students have no reasons to be worried, we will be distributing retroactive allowances,” Head of Kirkuk provincial council Hassan Turan said.

This is the first initiative of its kind in Iraq which according to students might remain unexecuted referring to different unachieved promises so far.

THE IRAQ WAR READER: A History of War Crimes and Genocide. The Unleashing of America’s New Global Militarism

THE IRAQ WAR READER: A History of War Crimes and Genocide. The Unleashing of America’s New Global Militarism


by Michel Chossudovsky and Finian Cunningham

vendredi 8 juin 2012

IRAQ: Two new border gates

The Kurdish administration in the northern part of Iraq announced that an understanding had been reached with Turkish authorities regarding two new border gates.

An announcement was made by the press office of Prime Minister of the Kurdish administration in the northern part of Iraq Neçirvan Barzani as follows, “It has been decided to open two new border gates at the Turkey-Northern Iraq border to strengthen relations with Turkey. The relevant authorities of both parties will get together next week”.

The announcement also included the information that Mr.Barzani and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had discussed the Turkey-Northern Iraq border and transporting crude oil to the refineries in Turkey at the World Economic Forum held in Istanbul.

It was indicated that approximately 12 billion dollars worth of exports was realized through the Habur gate between Iraq and Turkey annually.

Baghdad and Erbil Clash Over Oil ‎

By Denise Natali – Al Monitor – 7.6.2012 -Denise Natali is the Minerva Fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University and the author of The Kurdish Quasi-State: Development and Dependency in Post Gulf War Iraq.

The Iraqi energy sector is more divided than ever. While Baghdad insists on central government control of the country’s natural resources, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is autonomously developing its own oil market. Underlying these differences is a brewing cold war between Baghdad and Erbil, particularly as Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki consolidates power and the Kurds attempt to check it.

Still, Baghdad is regaining leverage over Iraq’s energy arena. Increased state oil production and revenues, despite the mediocre results of the fourth bidding round, have reinforced central government authority and the means by which it can appease and control challengers. This trend, along with the absence of a cohesive anti-Maliki block and the unlikelihood of a direct KRG pipeline deal with Ankara, will further frustrate negotiation of a national hydrocarbons law and keep Kurdish crude in political and economic limbo.

Baghdad’s energy ambitions reflect the larger goal of reaffirming central authority in Iraq. Despite the ongoing chaos, security threats, administrative bottlenecks and the KRG’s “export embargo,” the central government has increased oil production to nearly 3 million barrels per day. Last April, it realized its highest export level since 1990.

These developments, alongside improved economic relations with regional and international actors, have strengthened Baghdad’s sense of resource nationalism and state control of energy management. Even though major international oil companies (IOCs) showed little interest in Iraq’s fourth energy auction, Turkey’s state-run oil company TPAO secured another contract with a Kuwaiti consortium, marking its fourth investment in Iraqi fields that border or are near Iran. These regional interests may not raise Iraqi reserves to the levels planned, but they affirm important state-to-state energy-sector ties.

Indeed, if Baghdad wants to further expand Iraq’s oil and gas reserves and increase production and export levels, then it will have to modify its contracts and entice major IOCs to its energy sector. Plans are already underway for a fifth bidding round, which could be another litmus test for potential compromise between the central government and IOCs. Still, even if Baghdad renegotiates profit margins it will be unlikely to cede full ownership of oil and gas to foreign firms. This issue remains a red-line for Baghdad, and is embedded in the commitment to Iraqi sovereignty and assuring “Iraqi oil for Iraqis.”

How will these trends impact the Kurdish energy sector and Baghdad-Erbil relations?

In the short term, hardly at all. The KRG will continue to sign its own production-sharing contracts and attempt to bring in more oil majors to its market. In fact, as long as the KRG can profit from higher sign-on bonuses, partially pay IOC costs by securing undisclosed revenues for the region through domestic crude sales and smuggling to Iran and continue to receive its annual multi-billion-dollar budget from Baghdad, then it has little to lose from the current impasse.

It is more likely that political obstacles will emerge as the KRG attempts to navigate around Baghdad’s payment and export constraints. Not only has the KRG’s ExxonMobil deal exacerbated tensions with Baghdad, but it has caused a backlash from Iraqi Arab populations that could undermine the Kurds’ longer-term energy interests. Although some Sunni Arab elites currently support the KRG in an anti-Maliki alliance, local Sunni Arab groups and Iraqi officials in southern and central Iraq have turned toward Maliki against the Kurds. Their goal is to protect Iraqi unity from what they perceive as Kurdish land grabs and an over-reaching Kurdistan Region, tied to KRG oil deals in the disputed territories.

These challenges are particularly important because the KRG has no viable alternative in which to operate its energy sector other than with Baghdad. The recent Kurdish proposal to build a direct pipeline to Turkey may have stimulated a media frenzy and investor confidence, but it offers no real guarantee for independent Kurdish exports. The verbal agreement between Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz and Kurdish Oil Minister Ashti Hawrami to pursue shared energy interests does not translate into official Kurdish oil sales to Turkey. Not only is there no signed agreement, but the Turkish minister affirmed that any pipeline plan would require Baghdad’s approval. Yildiz also was careful not to endorse a separate Kurdish line but rather to fill the “current Iraqi line to a higher capacity.”

Moreover, despite the KRG’s potentially cheap energy — or easy transshipping profits for Turkey — Ankara has serious border-security concerns that will ultimately shape the deals it makes with the KRG, and the degree of Kurdish autonomy it permits. As the PKK issue heats up in Turkey and Syria, and as long as the PKK base remains in Iraqi Kurdistan, this tension will become increasingly salient. Nor are neighboring states likely to further empower the KRG, particularly with expanding trans-border Kurdish nationalisms and an unstable Syrian situation.

These geopolitical realities leave the KRG, which is fully dependent upon Baghdad for its budget, with two viable options. It can continue to sell its crude to local markets and truck it across borders, or export its oil through the official Iraqi line. The first option allows the KRG to remain largely in control of its oil and revenues, although at about half of official market prices and at a reduced level. The second option could lead to larger output and revenues, but would require some concessions on KRG control of its energy sector and its nationalist and territorial claims. The latter may be the least palatable choice for the KRG at the moment, but it has the most realistic chance of leading to a national oil law, maximizing Iraqi energy potential and enabling the KRG and its IOCs to fully monetize production.