dimanche 31 mars 2013

More evidence emerges of torture by Spanish troops in Iraq

More evidence emerges of torture by Spanish troops in Iraq

By Alejandro López 
28 March 2013
A video posted by the daily El País provides more evidence of the involvement of Spanish troops in torture and mistreatment of detainees during the Iraq war. It shows soldiers beating up two men in the detention centre in Al Diwaniyah in 2004, shortly before the newly elected Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) government pulled out of Iraq that year.

Five soldiers are shown entering a cell and shouting, “Get up, get up” in Spanish. When the men don’t move, in all probability because they have no knowledge of Spanish, three soldiers begin kicking and insulting them while two others observe from the door. One of the Spanish soldiers can be heard saying off camera: “Wow! They have killed that one already”, whilst the other laughs at his companion’s joke. The men on the floor can be heard gasping, coughing and moaning.

Spanish troops were deployed in Iraq in August 2003 as part of the US-led coalition forces that former Prime Minister José Maria Aznar agreed with US President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Spain also was given the command of troops from Honduras, El Salvador, Dominican Republic and Nicaragua.

A total of 1,300 troops were deployed in Najaf, south of Baghdad, one of the holiest cities in Iraq and a pilgrimage centre for the world’s Shi’ite faithful. Some idea of the mind-set drummed into the troops was indicated by the use of a new arm badge incorporating the Cross of St. James of Compostela—a symbol of the liquidation of the Muslims who were driven out of Spain after centuries of fighting in 1492. This was also the start of the period of colonialist expansion by Spain’s Catholic monarchy.

Even the centre-right newspaper El Mundo was forced to remark, “To put the Cross of St. James of Compostela on the uniforms of Spanish soldiers demonstrates an absolute ignorance of the psychology of the society in which they will have to carry out their mission”. And it added, “It would be difficult to come up with any symbol more offensive to the Shiite population than this cross”.

The Ministry of Defence has admitted the authenticity of the video and that, “In accordance with the instructions of Defence Minister Pedro Morenés, the army has placed in the hands of a military judge in Madrid the first conclusions of a summary of information in relation to a video recently published regarding a case of alleged mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners by Spanish soldiers”.

Nevertheless, the essential purpose of this investigation will be to whitewash the role of top policy-makers in encouraging and sanctioning the use of torture. This was not the first time torture was used on detainees by Spanish soldiers and nothing has happened to the perpetrators.

According to the Spanish journalist Olga Rodriguéz, “[In] Diwaniya, in 2004, it was not difficult to find local people who knew that Spanish troops mistreated prisoners. ‘It is an open secret’ said an Iraqi whom I had known for some time”.

In March 2004, US troops detained Flayeh al Mayali, an Iraqi translator who helped journalists and the Spanish intelligence service CNI, accusing him of helping insurgent forces murder seven CNI agents in Iraq. Mayali spent four days in Spanish custody where he says he was hooded, tied up and beaten and deprived of sleep. He then spent a year in the detention camp at Abu Ghraib and Camp Bucca, after which he was released without charge. No investigation took place. Even National Court Judge Fernando Andreu, who opened an inquiry into the deaths of the agents, was not informed of Mayali’s detention.

In another instance, a Spanish intelligence officer admitted that the Spanish army used US “enhanced interrogation” methods that included prolonged stress positions, exposure to harsh elements, waterboarding and other examples of physical and mental torture. The officer claimed, “we Spanish do not torture or humiliate, but we put pressure. We follow the North American operating manual: we placed sandbags on the heads of those who did not collaborate to make them lose their sense of direction. For the more stubborn we would put on a heavy metal Metallica CD [...]. We also injected a syringe with liquid up their noses, it does no permanent damage and leaves no marks, but [the victim] spends ten minutes squealing like a pig”.

samedi 30 mars 2013

5 killed, 80 wounded in Kirkuk explosion

5 killed, 80 wounded in Kirkuk explosion

On March 29, 2013 a car exploded in Kirkuk. 

At least 5 people were killed and 80 have been injured. 

The car exploded in one of the neighbourhoods of Kirkuk targeting a Shi'ite Hussainiya. 

The government fails to give protection to the Turkmens..

“Liberating” Iraqis, Limb by Limb, Life by Life, Home by Home, Gene by Gene

“Liberating” Iraqis, Limb by Limb, Life by Life, Home by Home, Gene by Gene

Why should we hear about body bags and deaths … I mean, it’s not relevant, so why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that …
— Former First Lady, Barbara Bush, Good Morning America, 18th March 2003
In these days of the tenth anniversary of the illegal invasion and near destruction of Iraq, answers are owed not alone for the dead, but to the cancer stricken, the deformed, to their parents, their siblings and all Iraqis. They were left with a land poisoned by depleted uranium in 1991, the burden ever building over twelve more years of (illegal) US and UK bombings, then the enormity of 2003.
Fallujah’s victims have rightly come under medical and media scrutiny since the US military onslaught of April and November 2004, but throughout Iraq, there have been no reports of areas unaffected.
In context, Dahr Jamail writes from Fallujah:
Official Iraqi government statistics show that, prior to the outbreak of the First Gulf War in 1991, the rate of cancer cases in Iraq was 40 out of 100,000 people. By 1995, it had increased to 800 out of 100,000 people, and, by 2005, it had doubled to at least 1,600 out of 100,000 people. Current estimates show the increasing trend continuing.
As shocking as these statistics are, due to a lack of adequate documentation, research, and reporting of cases, the actual rate of cancer and other diseases is likely to be much higher than even these figures suggest.
He also cites:
… a dramatic jump in miscarriages and premature births … particularly in areas where heavy US military operations occurred …”  as Fallujah.
Jamail cites the study by Dr Chris Busby, Malak Hamdan and Entesar Ariabi,“Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth-Sex Ration in Fallujah, Iraq 2005-2009.” Of it, Dr Busby’s opinion was that the Fallujah health crisis represented “the highest rate of genetic damage in any population ever studied.”
There were numerous reports during the 2004 April and November-December US assaults on Fallujah of, in addition to DU – three times unanimously designated a weapon of mass destruction by UN Sub-Committees – illegal, experimental chemical weapons and napalm being used in the decimation of this city of about three hundred thousand people.
After the second assault, Dr. Saleh Hussein Iswawi of the Fallujah General Hospital told the BBC:
About sixty to seventy percent of the homes and buildings are completely crushed and damaged, and not ready to inhabit … Of the thirty percent still left standing, I don’t think there is a single one that has not been exposed to some damage.
Charred bodies and those half eaten by stray dogs littered the streets. One resident, Yasser Sattar said:
This is the crime of the century. Is this freedom and democracy that they brought to Fallujah?
What happened in Fallujah was a pogrom.  It was by no means the only one.
People leapt into the Euphrates river to put out their burning flesh – it continued to burn in the water. Dead were described as “caramelized”. Other bodies were described as melting, disintegrating, but their clothing staying intact, by doctors who have seen much in Iraq in 1991 and since, but never this.
“All forms of nature were wiped out”, stated the (pro-American) Iraqi Health Minister, Dr. ash-Shaykhli.

Dünya Türkleri Avrupa Platformu DÜTAP yöneticilerinden ziyaretler.

BELÇİKA : Dünya Türkleri Avrupa Platformu Dünya Türkleri Avrupa Platformu DÜTAP yöneticilerinden ziyaretler. / 29-03-2013
Büyütmek için tiklayin

Dünya Türkleri Avrupa Platformu DÜTAP yöneticilerinden ziyaretler.

Kısa bir dönem önce Türk Dünyasının avrupa yaşayan vatandaşlarının kurmuş olduğu derneklerin bir araya araya gelerek oluşturdukları DÜTAP (Dünya Türkleri Avrupa Platformu), Belçika’nın Antwerpen şehrinde yapmış olduğu Nevruz Şöleni programından sonra Kenan Dağgün, Hasan Aydınlı, Abdumutalip İmirov ve Evren Atlın'dan oluşan bir heyetle bugünde T.C. Brüksel Büyükelçisi Mehmet Hakan Olcay ve T.C. Brüksel Başkonsolosu Ali Barış Ulusoy'u makanlarında ziyaret etti.

Gayet samimi bir havada geçen görüşmede DÜTAP hakkında bilgi veren dernek yöneticileri aynı zamanda kurucu üye dernekler listesinide sundular. Görüşmelerden gayet memnun olarak ayrılan platform yöneticileri kendilerine zaman ayırarak, görüşme imkanı sunan sayın Büyükelçimize ve sayın Başkonsolosumuza teşekkür edip beraberce hatıra resmi çekindiler.


DÜTAP heyeti daha sonrada Brüksel’de Schaerbeek belediyesinde sergilenen ATEP (Avrupa Türkiye Emirdağlılar Platformu) Köklere Dönüş Resim Sergisini gezdiler. Sergideki resimleri teker teker dikkatle inceleyen Dütap heyeti sergiyi çok güzel ve çok başarılı bulduklarını, sergiyi düzenleyen ATEP yöneticilerinede teşekkür ettiler.


Iraq official fears split as Kurdistan-Turkey oil trade grows

March 30, 2013 – REUTERS – LONDON : Rising oil trade between Iraqi Kurdistan and Turkey threatens to split Iraq in two, a senior Iraqi official said, as the autonomous Kurdistan region ignores Baghdad’s threats of tough action against what it terms illegal exports.

Oil lies at the heart of a long-running feud between the central government and the autonomous Kurdistan region. Baghdad says it alone has the authority to control exports and sign contracts, while the Kurds say their right to do so is enshrined in Iraq’s federal constitution.

“If oil from Kurdistan goes through Turkey directly, that will be like dividing Iraq. This is our big concern,” Iraq’s Deputy National Security Adviser Safa al-Sheikh Hussein said on the sidelines of an Iraq conference.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) started on the path towards economic independence early this year by exporting small volumes of crude oil by truck to Turkey. The move further angered Baghdad, which threatened action against the region and foreign oil companies working there to stop the exports, which it says are illegal. KRG crude used to be shipped to world markets through a Baghdad-controlled pipeline running from Kirkuk to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, but exports via that channel dried up in December due to a payment row with Baghdad. The northern region is now pushing ahead with plans to build its own oil export pipeline to Turkey, despite objections from the United States, which fears the project could lead to the break-up of Iraq. KRG Energy Minister Ashti Hawrami has said a gas pipeline now being laid can be converted to ship up to 300,000 barrels per day of crude by June.

“Kurdistan is almost independent and they want more gains now,” said Hussein, deputy of the National Security Council, created in 2004 as a forum for security decision-making. “They are a little over-confident and overly ambitious.”


For its part, energy-hungry Turkey has increasingly courted Iraqi Kurds as relations with the Shi’ite-led central government in Baghdad have soured and it now ranks as a major trading partner for the autonomous region.

A broad energy partnership between Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan ranging from exploration to export has been in the works since last year. Though steadily developing more energy autonomy, the region still relies on the central government for a share of the national budget from oil revenues. “There’s a lot of tension with the Kurds,” said Hussein. “I don’t think it can be resolved this year, but maybe we can contain it.” Kurdistan’s exploration contracts with oil majors like Exxon Mobil and Chevron are a further source of friction that have prompted Baghdad repeatedly to warn companies they risk losing their assets in the south of the country.

Exxon has been weighing whether to sell out of the giant, southern West Qurna-1 oilfield, but industry sources say Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki offered the company substantially improved terms in January to keep it at the $50 billion project.

Since then, Iraqi and Kurdish officials have both suggested Exxon will side with them.Hussein said that if Exxon were to start to drill in territories disputed with Kurdistan, “there will be a legal response … to end all (of Exxon’s) work in the rest of Iraq.”

“We are determined to resolve our problems peacefully, but this can influence the integrity of Iraq,” he said.

Officials from Exxon and Iraqi Kurdistan last month visited the Qara Hansher oil exploration block that lies in disputed territories where both regions claim jurisdiction and discussed building a camp there. And industry sources said the U.S. major has drilled three water wells at the al-Qush block, also in the disputed zone, in preparation to start drilling by early June. The oil dispute has been accompanied by an increase in military tension between the two regions.

“Neither side wants to end this militarily,” said Hussein, a former Brigadier General in Iraq’s Air Force.

mercredi 27 mars 2013

ITF EU representative Hassan Aydinli attended the Iraq Delegation Mtg at the EU Parliament

ITF EU representative Dr. Hassan Aydinli and MEP Struan Stevenson, Chair of the Iraq Delegation at the EU Parliament

ITF EU representative showing the Chair Mr. Struan Stevenson some documents in preparation of the next meeting.

ITF EU representative Dr Hassan Aydinli and Mr Tahar Boumedra, former senior official with
 UNAMI in Iraq 

The meeting was chaired by MEP Struan Stevenson and was attended by several MEPs. namely Ms. Ana Gomez, Mr. Vytautas Landsbergis and  Mr.Tunne Kelam. 

About 50 people attended the meeting.

Mr. Vladimir Janecek, Desk Officer Iraq, European External Action Service (EEAS).
Mr. Tahar Boumedra, former advisor to Mr. Martin Kobler 
Colonel Wes Martin of the U.S. Army and former commander of Camp Ashraf
Mrs. Elham Zanjani, former resident of Camp Ashraf
Representatives of the Iraqi Embassy in Brussels
Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF) EU representative Dr Hassan Aydinli 
Mrs. Merry Fitzgerald of Europe-Turkmen Friendships
Mujahedin-e Khalq (MeK) representatives
Kurdish representatives
Assistants of several MEPs

The situation in Camp Liberty was discussed in the shadow of the recent attack on the Camp on 9th February 2013.

The Chair Struan Stevenson strongly condemned the missile attack on Camp Liberty on 9th February 2013, saying that the Iraqi government had failed in ensuring the security of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MeK) residents. He deplored the fact that Mr. Martin Kobler, Special Representative for the United Nations Secretary General for Iraq,  and United Nations Assistance for Iraq (UNAMI) have not fulfilled their role in Iraq.

A former resident of Camp Ashraf, Mrs. Elham Zanjani, of Canadian nationality, who had been seriously wounded during the Iraqi military attack in 2011 was invited to the meeting to testify, she explained how 8 residents were killed and how she and 90 residents had been injured during the attack.  As she had suffered grave wounds she had to be repatriated to Canada to get proper medical treatment. 

Mr. Vladimir Janecek, said that half of the residents of Camp Ashraf have already been recognized as refugees, they are now waiting to be resettled outside Iraq. He reminded that the EU has already provided 12 million Euros as help to the camp Ashraf residents.

Mr. Tahar Boumedra, former advisor to Mr. Martin Kobler, explained why he resigned from his post in protest of the handling of the situation by Mr. Kobler. 

Colonel Wes Martin of the U.S. Army and former commander of Camp Ashraf, said that Al-Maliki has become a dictator, he blamed the attack on Camp Liberty on the Iraqi government, saying that Al-Maliki and Ahmadinejad had coordinated the attack. He said that a lot of things have been said about MeK being terrorists but that the Ashraf people did not shoot US soldiers and that they had surrendered their weapons. 

MEP Ana Gomez intervened and put the following question to Mrs. Elham Zanjani: "As a Canadian and Canadian educated, when did you go to Iraq, and what was the relationship of the Mujahedin with Saddam Hussein, didn't the MeK work with him?"
Mrs. Elham Zanjani replied that the MeK were completely independent from Saddam Hussein.

MEP Ana Gomez then addressed to Mr. Boumedra, asking him: "who is employing you today?"
To which Mr. Boumedra replied that he had resigned and that Martin Kobler was happy to see him go, he said that nobody is employing him, that he is self-sufficient.

MEP Ana Gomez said, addressing to the Chair Mr. Stevenson: 'very serious indictments have been made here about the U.N., the UNHCR, Mr. Martin Kobler and Ms. Jana Hybášková, did you invite these people to give their facts?
The Chair answered that he had invited Baroness Ashton, but that she could not come.

The representative of the Iraqi Embassy commented that Prime Minister Al-Maliki had condemned the attack on Camp Liberty and that it is the UN's responsibility to relocate the residents outside Iraq. He also commented that the Iraq Delegation Meetings should not be a forum for criticising the Iraqi government only.

The Chair insisted on the urgency to move the residents of Camp Ashraf outside Iraq, either to the U.S. or to Albania while they are waiting to obtain refugee status. He said that in the meantime the MeK people should be moved back to Camp Ashraf, where they will be safer than in Camp Liberty.

At the end of the meeting ITF EU representative spoke to the Chair Mr. Struan Stevenson about the problems the Turkmen are still facing in Iraq today and he showed him some documents in preparation of the next meeting.

Turkmen Demands are Key to Protecting Syria’s Territorial Integrity Oytun Orhan ORSAM Middle East Specialist

Turkmen Demands are Key to Protecting Syria’s Territorial Integrity
Oytun Orhan ORSAM Middle East Specialist

One of the consequences of the single party regime that has lasted for more than
four decades in Syria is that no social or ideological groups in the country have had
an opportunity to organize.

The authority gap caused by the events that emerged in Syria in March 2011
made it possible for the aforesaid groups, which had been excluded from the power
domain, to organize in a short period of time. One of these groups was the Syrian

Since they were unable to organize under the President Bashar al-Assad regime,
they lacked a tradition of political opposition, a situation that changed due to the
relatively recent upheaval in Syria.

Starting in March 2012, the Syria Turkmen Bloc and the Syrian Democratic Turkmen Movement began engaging in political activities on behalf of Syrian Turkmen.
Those two groups differ with regard to areas of influence, ideology and Turkmen
troops they are affiliated with. The Syrian Turkmen Platform, which originated in
Turkey, also started to conduct activities as a non-political party initiative to take
on the leadership of the Syrian Turkmen movement. Thus, there are three different “groups/political parties/power groups that are trying to assume the leadership of
and to become the representative of Syrian Turkmen.

The Syria Turkmen Bloc was created as a result of efforts of Syrian Turkmen living
in Turkey. The bloc is a Latakia-based movement, and it is mostly influential and
active in Bayır-Bucak; the majority of its administrative body is composed of people
from this area. Yusuf Molla, who has been living in Turkey for many years, has led the movement.

The bloc thinks the biggest problem of the Syrian Turkmen is that they don’t reside
in a single area. They believe that a post-Assad regional federation is not possible
and that Syria must be ruled according to a citizenship-based approach. The slogan
of the bloc is “One Syria!” and it is working for Turkmen to have political, social,
economic and cultural rights in the new Syria, living as equal Syrian citizens without
any discrimination. The bloc is against the splitting up of Syria. They demand a
civilized, democratic state where the central authority is protected, but local
authority is reinforced. However, they want to limit the strengthening of local
authority to prevent a federal system.

The bloc has a close relationship with the Turkmen soldiers in Bayır-Bucak. Some
12 Turkmen soldiers, who are active in Latakia province, are close to the Brigade
of Turkmen Mountain, an umbrella organization of the aforesaid troops. In military
terms, the bloc is not active in Aleppo. They can only send humanitarian aid to
Aleppo. However, they strive to be active in military terms in Aleppo.

The Syria Democratic Turkmen Movement was created following the start of the
uprising when Syrian Turkmen felt they needed to organize and unite. Syrian
Turkmen in Turkey have also supported this group. The movement has a results-
oriented approach: It carries out activities in the field. Due to its renewed
administrative structure, the movement has started to a great extent to come to
the fore as an Aleppo-based movement. It carries out almost all political, civilian
and military activities in Aleppo.

Since the very beginning, the movement has focused its attention on establishing
diplomatic relationships with Turkey and the Syrian opposition, besides establishing
direct relations with the Syrian regime. Within this framework, through the efforts
of the Movement, 16 Turkmen representatives were chosen to the Syrian National
Council. The movement’s perspective on solving the problems of Syrian Turkmen is
as follows: They believe that since Syrian Turkmen are dispersed all across the
country  this can be a major danger for them. Therefore, their primary objective
is to maintain the unity and territorial integrity of Syria by establishing a new
system based on citizenship in a new Syria. They also ask that free elections be
held under the supervision of world bodies, that a new constitution in line with
globally accepted standards is prepared and that all groups constituting Syrian
society be provided with cultural, political and citizenship rights.

The relationship between the Movement and Turkmen soldiers is limited to Aleppo.
Ali Basher, coordinator of Turkmen Brigades in Aleppo, states that they act in unison
with the movement.

The Syrian Turkmen Platform was founded in 2012. The first meeting had 42
participants, and a five-person committee was formed. The first goal was to create
public awareness of Syrian Turkmen around the world. It emerged as a civilian
 initiative. There are Syrian Turkmen within the Platform initiative that climbed the
ladder of success in business and trade while living in Turkey.

The objective of this initiative is to form a delegate assembly to be elected in Syria,
and for this assembly to designate a committee to speak for and represent Syrian
Turkmen. What is wanted is for the aforesaid two Turkmen parties to join in a
supra-political parties structure to take part in this initiative. Thus, the first meeting
of the Syrian Turkmen Platform was hosted by the Turkish Foreign Ministry in İstanbul
on Dec. 15, 2012, with the support of the Prime Ministry.

The platform seeks the creation of a Turkmen Assembly. It is projected to bring 350 delegates from Syria. After the election of those delegates, a nine-person committee
will be formed to be the decision-making body for Syrian Turkmen. The Platform
considers it to be a joint supra-parties initiative, not as a third alternative political
party to the Syria Turkmen Bloc and Democratic Turkmen Movement. This decision-
making body will represent Syrian Turkmen in every platform and will conduct all
negotiations on behalf of Syrian Turkmen.

The Syrian Turkmen population is of a key importance not only for Turkey, but
also for the democratic future of Syria. If a future Syrian regime wants to build a
country where all ethnic and sectarian groups within its borders can live in peace
together, then it must recognize the presence of Turkmen and provide an
environment for Turkmen to be equally represented in the political field with other communities. Syrian Turkmen, who have courageously stood against authoritarian
 practices since the very beginning of the democratic demonstrations in Syria, are
as committed as any other community to maintaining the territorial integrity of the
country, and thus, the Syrian opposition should enable Turkmen to come into their
own. It is critically important for both Syria and the region that Turkmen, who have
suffered from the oppression of the Assad regime and human rights violations,
equally take part in political and social life in the country in a new Syria with
Sunni Arabs, Arab Alawites, Christians, Kurds, Druse and Shiites.


mardi 26 mars 2013


26 March 2013

MHP Party Leader Devlet Bahçeli received Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF) Turkey Representative Dr. Hicran Kazancı in his office.
The status of the Iraqi Turkmen and the developments in the region were discussed at the meeting which took place in the MHP Headquarters.
In addition the economic development and security status of the Iraqi Turkmen which have been affected by the escalating political crisis in the area were discussed at the meeting.

samedi 23 mars 2013

Search and Destroy: The rape of Iraq, by Pepe Escobar

Mar 20, '13


Search and Destroy: The rape of Iraq
By Pepe Escobar 

First thing we do, let's kill all mythographers (lawyerly or not): the rape of Iraq is the biggest, man-made humanitarian disaster of our times. It's essential to keep in mind this was a direct consequence of Washington smashing international law to pieces; after Iraq, any freak anywhere can unleash preemptive war, and quote Bush/Cheney 2003 as precedent. 

And yet, 10 years after Shock and Awe, even so-called "liberals" have been trying to legitimize something, anything, out of the "Iraq project". There was never a "project"; only a dizzying maze of lies - including a posteriori justifications of bombing the Greater Middle East into "democracy". 

I've been thinking about The Catalyst lately. The Catalyst was the
tank I had to negotiate every time in and out of my cramped digs on the way to the red zone, in the first weeks of the US occupation of Baghdad. The marines were mainly from Texas and New Mexico. We used to talk. They were convinced they hit Baghdad because "the terrorists attacked us on 9/11". 

Years later, most Americans still believed The Outstanding Lie. Which proves that the cosmically arrogant and ignorant neo-cons at least got one thing right. The Saddam Hussein-al-Qaeda connection may not have been the prime piece of the puzzle in their "project" of invading and remaking Iraq from Year Zero (there were also the non-existing WMDs); but it was immensely effective as a brainwashing technique for rallying the galleries. 

When the torture porn spectacle of Abu Ghraib was revealed in the spring of 2004 (I was driving through Texas on an assignment, and virtually everybody deemed the whole show "normal") The Outstanding Lie still ruled. Ten years on, after Abu Ghraib, the destruction of Fallujah, the widespread "dead-checking" (killing wounded Iraqis), "360-degree rotational fire" (target-practice on scores of Iraqi civilians), calling air strikes on civilian areas, not to mention "killing all military-age men"; after US$3 trillion, and counting, spent (remember the neo-cons promised a short, easy war costing no more than $60 billion); after over 1 million Iraqis killed directly or indirectly by the invasion and occupation, the maze of lies still engulf us all like a giant Medusa. 

Oh yes, and the Oscar-winning CIA - true to character - continues to cover it all up

Faster, counter-insurgent, kill, kill
Iraq Year Zero lasted roughly 10 days. I watched the official birth of the resistance; a mass rally in Baghdad, starting in Adhamiya, uniting Sunnis and Shi'ites. Then came the exploits of that Stooge Central called the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), "led" by the ghastly Paul Bremer, unfailingly displaying interplanetary ignorance of Mesopotamian culture. And then a sort of larger than life search and destroy offensive, deployed as a "tactic", masquerading as counter-insurgency. No wonder this quickly turned into a sandy Vietnam. 

The Sunni resistance drove the Pentagon literally crazy. This is how the "triangle of death" looked like in the summer of 2004. And this is the Pentagon's response four months later, applying what I called "precision-strike democracy." 

In the end, the triangle of death won - sort of. Fast forward to Dubya's "surge". Gullible millions in the US still believe Horny General David Petraeus's narrative of the surge. I was there at the beginning of the surge, in the spring of 2007. The horrendous US-engineered civil war - remember, it's always about divide and rule - was only subsidizing because Shi'ite commandos - Badr Corps and Madhi Army - had managed to conduct a devastating ethnic cleansing of Sunnis in what used to be mixed neighborhoods. Baghdad, once a slightly predominantly Sunni city, had turned predominantly Shi'ite. This had nothing to do with Petraeus. 

As for the Awakening Councils, they were essentially Sunni militias (numbering over 80,000), organized by clans, who became fed up with al-Qaeda in Iraq's gory tactics, mostly in the very same triangle of death, including Fallujah and Ramadi. Petraeus paid them with suitcases full of cash. Before that - when, for instance, they were defending Fallujah in November 2004 - they were branded as "terrorists". Now they were duly reconverted into Ronald Reagan-style "freedom fighters". 

I had met some of those sheikhs. Their wily plan was long-term; instead of fighting the Americans, we take their money, lay low for a while, get rid of those al-Qaeda fanatics, and later attack our real enemy; the Shi'ites in power in Baghdad. 

That's exactly the next step in Iraq, where yet another civil war is slowly brewing. And by the way, some of these former "terrorists" - with ample battleground experience - are now the key commanders in that alphabet soup of Syrian "rebel" units fighting against the Assad regime in Syria. And yes, they remain "freedom fighters". 

Balkanize or bust
Americans obviously don't remember that Joe Biden, when still in the senate, eagerly campaigned for the balkanization of Iraq into three sectarian parts. Considering that he is now one of the Obama 2.0 administration's point man for Syria, he may even end up having it both ways. 

True, Iraq is the first Arab nation ruled by a Shi'ite government since fabled Saladin got rid of the Fatimids in Egypt way back in 1171. But this is a nation on the way to total fragmentation. 

The Green Zone, once an American town, may now be Shi'ite. But even Grand Ayatollah Sistani - the top Shi'ite religious leader, who actually broke the back of the neo-cons and the CPA in Najaf in 2004 - is disgusted with the mess orchestrated by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. And even Tehran is caught in a bind. Contrary to think tank belief in the Beltway - do these people ever get anything right? - Iran does not manipulate Iraq's politics. Above all, what Tehran really fears in Iraq is a civil war not quite dissimilar to what's happening in Syria. 

Patrick Cockburn's coverage of Iraq for these past 10 years as a foreign correspondent is unrivalled. This is his current evaluation

Important facts are that kingmaker Muqtada al-Sadr - remember when he was the most dangerous man in Iraq, on the cover of every American magazine? - may have criticized Maliki for his Shi'ite hegemony bias, but he does not want regime change. Shi'ites have the numbers, so in a still unified Iraq there's bound to be a Shi'ite majority government anyway. 

The overwhelmingly Shi'ite south of Iraq remains very poor. The only possible source of employment is government jobs. Infrastructure, all over, remains in tatters - direct consequence of UN and US sanctions, then the invasion and occupation. 

But then there's the shining city on a hill; Iraqi Kurdistan, a somewhat warped development of Pipelineistan. 

Big Oil never had a chance to fulfill its 2003 dream of lowering the price of a barrel back to $20 - in line with Rupert Murdoch's wishful thinking. But there's a lot of action all over the place. Greg Muttitt has been unmatched following the new Iraq oil boom

Yet nowhere else the action is more convoluted than in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), where up to 60 oil companies - from ExxonMobil to Chevron, Total and Gazprom - are in play. 

Corrections needed in article about Iraqi Turkmens published in Azzaman

Some corrections needed in the article published in Azzaman:

1) It is incorrect to say that Turkmens are a 'minority' in Iraq. On 28/07/2012 the Iraqi Parliamentarians unanimously recognized and voted that Turkmens are one of the three main ethnic components of Iraq, alongside the Arabs and the Kurds.

2) The following statement is incorrect: "Turkmen are part of large waves of emigration and settlement by Turks during the Ottoman Empire" because The Turkmen presence in Iraq pre-dates the Ottoman rule in Iraq.

The Turkmens came to Iraq from Turkestan (Central Asia) and particularly from today’s Turkmenistan, in successive waves.
The first recorded document of their existence as “Turks” in Iraq was in 632 AD in a peace treaty of “Banuqia”, between the Turkish prince Bozbörü Sülübay and Khalid Bin Walid, mentioned in the book of “Mu’jamul Buldan- Dictionary of the Countries” written by the Muslim historian Yaqut Al-Hamawi who mentioned about the existence of several Turkish principalities in Iraq and emphasized on two of them in central Euphrates called the Banuqlu and Batuqlu which were allied with the Sassanid Persian Empire.
Turks took high positions up to the level of prime ministry in the Sassanid Empire and portrayed the fiercest resistance against the Islamic Arab conquest of Iraq.

The high military capabilities of the Turkish soldiers attracted the attention of the muslim Arabs, so, the Umayyad Arab Empire recruited large numbers of Turkish military experts from Turkestan (Central Asia).
They became highly influential in the army and the administration of the Abbasid Empire which followed the Umayyads.

The Abbasid Caliph of Baghdad asked for the help of Tughrul Beg, the chief of the Seljuk Turks to remove the Persian Buwaihids who dominated Baghdad for a century. In 1055 the Caliph of Bagdad declared Tughrul Beg as a “Sultan” (the master of power) and from that day on, the Turkish era began and the Turks became the rulers of the Middle East.

The Turkish Era in Iraq
The word Turk and Turkmen became synonymous in the Middle East, one means the other.
The Turkmens established 6 states in Iraq:
1- The Seljuk Empire: 1055-1149                                    94 years
2- The Atabegs (of Musul, Erbil and Kerkuk): 1149-1258 109 years
3- The Ilkhans (Mongol and Turkish mix): 1258-1336       78 years
4- The Jalairids (Mongol and Turkish mix): 1336-1360     24 years
5- The Barans (Qara Qoyunlu) : 1360-1469                     109 years
6- The Bayindirs (Aq Qoyunlu): 1469-1508                       39 years

The Safawid Turks of Azerbaijan ruled Iraq:
1508-1534   26 years
1623- 1638  15 years 
Total :                                                                            41 years

Ottoman Turks ruled Iraq until the end of WW1: 
1534-1623      89 years
1638- 1918   280 years
Total:                                                                           369 years

Total Direct Turkish/Turkmen rule:                              863 years

3) It is not true that Turkmens are mostly Shiites. In reality approximately half of the Turkmen community is Shia while the other half is Sunna. It is quite common for Turkmen Shiites and Turkmen Sunna to intermarry.  

Article published in Azzaman: 

Iraqi minority asks for international protection

Azzaman, March 20, 2013

Iraqi Turkmen say they are not being treated properly and equally and have asked the United Nations and the European Union for protection.
In a statement, the head of a coalition grouping the various Iraqi Turkmen factions Arshad al-ٍSalehi said his people in the country were denied equal rights like other sections of the society.
He asked both the U.N. and the E.U. to exert pressure on the regional Kurdish government in the north and the central government in Baghdad to do more for granting equal rights to his minority.
Turkmen are members of a Turkish-speaking minority in Iraq and part of large waves of emigration and settlement by Turks during the Ottoman Empire which ruled the country for nearly 400 years.
Iraqi Turkmen mainly inhabit the oil-rich Province of Kirkuk but they also have large representation in the provinces of Mosul, Diyala and Salahudeen.
“The U.N. and the E.U. are required to pressure the central government (in Baghdad) and the (Kurdish) regional government to guarantee the protection of Turkmen,”said Salehi.
Most Turkmen in Iraq are Shiite-Muslims and their areas have been repeatedly targeted by deadly car bombings and violence by insurgents and members of al-Qaeda group in Iraq.
In Kirkuk, where most of them live, the Turkmen, like other minorities, complain of pressure and marginalization by Kurds who control most of the province through their militias and security forces.

Cancer Birth Defects, Depleted Uranium, 2012, Fallujah, Iraq, Europe FILM



jeudi 21 mars 2013

Citizens' campaign to arrest Blair continues


It is a well known fact that the number of Iraqi deaths due to the US - UK invasion and occupation of Iraq is greatly underestimated on Iraq Body Count website.

Gabriele Zamparini wrote: 'A propaganda train called 'Iraq Body Count' and friends'

IBC is actively helping the Bush junta to carry on this genocidal carnage because it actively helps the huge propaganda campaign aimed at making people ignore the scale of that carnage.
Every time you find an Iraq Body Count counter on the Web, write to the website’s editor and webmaster to inform them and kindly ask them to replace it with the Just Foreign Policy counter

Citizens' campaign to arrest Blair continues

Citizens band together to arrest former British prime minister over involvement in Iraq's invasion a decade ago.
Simon Hooper Last Modified: 21 Mar 2013 08:07

Blair's schedule is now a closely guarded secret to avoid protesters who stalk his public appearances [AFP]

London, United Kingdom - It was only as David Cronin saw Tony Blair and his entourage striding towards him that he finally plucked up the courage to go through with his plan to attempt to arrest the former British prime minister over his role in the invasion of Iraq and claim a bounty on his head.

"I walked up to him very briskly and managed to put my hand on his arm and say, 'Mr Blair, this is a citizen's arrest,'" Cronin told Al Jazeera of the 2010 encounter at the European Parliament in Brussels, where he worked as a journalist.

"I didn't have time to say anything else before his bodyguards pushed me away, so I just shouted at him, 'You are guilty of war crimes!' He looked at me for a split-second before I was bundled off. I can only describe it as a look of puzzlement and contempt."

"It's a complete joke that a guy who had helped to start two wars in the wider Middle East region is now swanning around posing as a peace envoy."

- David Cronin, Blair-arrest attemptee

Wist je dat? Onwaarschijnlijke cijfers over de georganiseerde vernietiging van Irak

Wist je dat? Onwaarschijnlijke cijfers over de georganiseerde vernietiging van Irak

De invasie in Irak tien jaar geleden veroorzaakte de ergste humanitaire crisis ter wereld. Het land werd, zoals vooraf was aangekondigd, systematisch vernietigd. De rauwe realiteit overtreft datgene wat je voor mogelijk acht. Niet geschikt voor gevoelige lezers. Met als bijlage het volledig hoofdstuk over Irak in het boek 'Het Midden-Oosten', exclusief voor de lezers van DeWereldMorgen.be
Wist je dat? Onwaarschijnlijke cijfers over de georganiseerde vernietiging van Irak
us war crimes
De lezers van dit artikel krijgen ook exclusieve toegang van uitgeverij EPO tot het hoofdstuk 'Na de doelbewuste vernietiging van Irak, een lente?' uit het boek 'Het Midden-Oosten - The times they are a-changin'.Je kan het bestellen hier in de webshop en de boekrecensie vind je hier.
“De weg naar Jeruzalem loopt via Bagdad”. Henry Kissinger

Doden, vermisten, vluchtelingen

Volgens de UNICEF verloren tussen 1991 en 2003 één miljoen Irakezen het leven, waaronder de helft kinderen, als gevolg van de economische sancties tegen het land. Dat was nog maar een prelude. Tussen de VS-invasie in maart 2003 en maart 2013 werden nog eens tot 1,5 miljoen Irakezen gedood.[1]
Het aantal vermiste personen wordt vandaag geschat op 250.000 tot meer dan één miljoen. Alleen al bij de ontheemde gezinnen worden bijna 100.000 kinderen vermist.
De invasie en bezetting achteraf waren de oorzaak van de grootste door conflict geïnduceerde volksverhuizing [p. 10] in de geschiedenis van het Midden-Oosten. Een VN rapport van 2008 rapporteerde 2,8 miljoen binnenlands ontheemden in Irak. Het Irakese Rode Kruis rapporteerde in juli 2007 dat er minstens 2,5 miljoen Irakezen naar het buitenlandgevlucht waren. Samen ging het dus om 5,3 miljoen vluchtelingen op een bevolking van 31 miljoen. Dat is één op zes.[2] Van de ontheemden in Irak zijn 80% vrouwen en kinderen jonger dan 12 jaar.
"Tussen de VS-invasie in maart 2003 en maart 2013 werden tot 1,5 miljoen Irakezen gedood. Eén op zes van de Irakezen is op de vlucht"

Terrorisme, marteling, opsluiting, trauma’s …

Irak was gedurende jaren het meest gewelddadige [p. 4] en minst veilige land ter wereld. In 2011 werd het voorbijgestoken door Somalië... Omwille van de vele bomaanslagen en het religieus geweld van diverse milities is het een gevaarlijker plaats dan Afghanistan. Meer dan één op drie slachtoffers van het mondiale terrorisme is een Irakees.