vendredi 27 mars 2015



By Dr. Hassan Aydinli,
Iraqi Turkmen Front EU Representative
Brussels, 25th March 2015.

1- Above is a map where the sub-district of BEŞIR (Basheer or Bashir in Arabic) is indicated.
2-The area in green on the map is where the Turkmens have settled in Iraq 1000 years ago.
BEŞIR (Basheer) is the name of a large Turkmen agricultural sub-district situated 25 km south west of Kirkuk whose name has become famous as a symbol of the Turkmens’ sufferings in Iraq after it was mentioned in the Preamble of the new Iraqi Constitution in 2005, along with the names of the Arab sub-district Al-Dujail and of the Kurdish sub-district Halabja, whose populations have suffered the most in Iraq under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein.
Indeed, the ordeals of the Turkmens of BEŞIR (Basheer) under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein from 1980 up to 2003 have been acknowledged by the legislators and the authors of the new Iraqi constitution as ‘crimes of ethnic cleansing, racial oppression and massacres amounting to genocide, committed against the Turkmens of Basheer’.
The history of BEŞIR as a Turkmen agricultural settlement in the north of Iraq goes back to more than 1000 years and its first recorded history goes back to 1556, it is mentioned in the Ottoman registers (Dafter Tahrir of Kirkuk N° 111 of the year 1556 AC) dating back to the reign of the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and kept in the Turkish Archives in Ankara.
According to these registers there were 89 Turkmen families and 9 bachelors living in BEŞIR in 1556, all of them farmers who had been issued official deeds (certificates) registered in their names.
After WWI, when the new Iraqi state (the Kingdom of Iraq) was established the deeds and property certificates issued during the Ottoman era were renewed in 1936 and registered as deeds being issued by the Iraqi state.
The property ownership situation in Iraq remained unchanged until 14th July 1958 when the Monarchy was overthrown by a coup d’état and the Republic of Iraq was declared.
First genocide: Land confiscation, ethnic cleansing and racial discrimination
During the early years of the Republic the Iraqi Communist Party and their Kurdish leftist allies became predominant and they influenced the political and social orientation of the regime. The government issued many new laws, among them the ‘agrarian law’ which limited the land ownership to a maximum of 2.000 donums (500 hectares) per family.
Many hectares of land were taken from Turkmen families in BEŞIR to be distributed to landless Iraqis such as the Arab nomads and poor Kurds, to help them to settle around BEŞIR.
Furthermore in 1968, when the Baath party came to power in Iraq by a military coup, it embarked in a policy of arabization of the Turkmen region in Kirkuk Province, they issued new laws limiting the property ownership to 200 donums (50 hectares) per family (law number 117 of 1970) and more agricultural lands belonging to the Turkmen families living in BEŞIR and in the other Turkmen villages around Kirkuk were confiscated.
From 1970 to 1980 the Revolutionary Command Council of the Baath regime issued several decisions by which they confiscated lands belonging to Turkmens, supposedly for the purpose of general public interest (protection of oil fields, enlargement of the military installations, new air base, etc.), i.e. Decision Number 369 of 1975, Decision Number 824 of 1976, Decision Number 949 of 1977, Decision 1065 of 1978 etc... This is how 1.300.000 Donums (325.000 hectares) of agricultural land belonging to Turkmens of Kirkuk were confiscated (as indicated in the letter from the Judicial Adviser of the Ministry of Agriculture in Kirkuk to the Minister of Agriculture Ref 16784 dated 25/11/2010).
All these confiscated Turkmen lands have been registered as ‘lands belonging to the Iraqi state’ in the names of:  the Ministry of Finance or the Ministry of Local Administration.
In 1982 after the start of the Iraq-Iran war, and despite the enrolment of several hundreds of Turkmens from BEŞIR in the army to fight against the Iranians, the Iraqi security forces arrested hundreds of intellectuals from BEŞIR, accusing them of being opponents to the Baath party and affiliated to the forbidden Al-Dawa Party (Shi’a).
In 1984, after summary judgements by a revolutionary court,  93 intellectuals of BEŞIR were sentenced to capital punishment and were hanged  and 71 were sentenced to life imprisonment in Abu Ghraib prison, among them young boys  aged 16 and elderly men over 60.
In 1986 while the young men of BEŞIR, were still fighting on the front in the war against Iran, the Baath regime, not satisfied with the above mentioned unjust punishments of innocent Turkmens of BEŞIR, ordered the expulsion of their families, giving them 48 hours to pack their personal effects and leave their homes. They were forcibly moved to some communal compounds which had been built in a rush to serve as ‘transitional accommodation’ on the road to Tikrit. Their houses were razed to the ground and their agricultural lands were confiscated and were given to Sunni Arabs supporting the Baath regimein application of a policy designed to arabize Turkmen towns and villages in Kirkuk province.
Each of these Arab families were given 10.000 Iraqi Dinars in cash (equivalent of 33.000 USD) as incentive to build their house on Turkmen lands, while the unfortunate Turkmens were displaced without any valid reason or any legal justification and without receiving any compensation.
After a year spent in the communal compounds the Turkmen families from BEŞIR were dispersed to cities throughout Iraq: Nasseriyah, Diyala, Diwania, Kut and Erbil, without being provided with housing and without being compensated for the loss of their livelihoods, houses and agricultural lands.
From being landowners and farmers since centuries in Iraq, the Turkmens of BEŞIR became refugees in their own country and were left completely destitute.
Meanwhile the Baath regime had arabized the name of the village calling it “Al-Bashir” instead of BEŞIR.
After the regime change in April 2003, when the U.S. military occupied the north of Iraq they did not take control of the area around BEŞIR and the Arabs which had been installed there by the Baath regime remained in the area.  The original Turkmen inhabitants of BEŞIR came with tents and camped near the village, demanding the departure of the Arab settlers, they wanted to recuperate their agricultural lands and be compensated for the loss of their properties and loss of earnings since 1986.
A Turkmen NGO built 100 houses for the families of the martyrs, which became the nucleus of the new reconstructed sub-district of BEŞIR and little by little other Turkmen families returned and built their houses there.
In July 2003 the newly returned Turkmens from BEŞIR wanted to remove the Arab settlers by force, the U.S. occupation authorities intervened, they led and controlled a “mediation” in September 2003, but this mediation did not resolve the property dispute, it was only a ‘short-term agreement’ which allowed the Arabs who had settled in BEŞIR to stay on the land for the Winter agricultural season on a ‘non-renewable basis’, it granted them the Winter harvest. The requirement was that they would leave BEŞIR within one year of the signing of the ‘agreement’. After this one year period the Turkmens would be allowed to return on their ancestral lands.
Unfortunately, the Arab settlers did not respect this ‘agreement’ and they refused to leave BEŞIR, despite the new Iraqi government’s offer to give them a sum of money to help them return to the region they came from. To make things worse, they built more and more houses on Turkmen lands.
On 15th January 2004, the Coalition Provisional Authority issued Regulation Number 8, authorizing the Governing Council of Iraq to establish the Iraqi Property Claims Commission. Soon after its creation, the Commission created Tribunals to look at the claims presented by the Iraqis who had been unjustly dispossessed.
The Turkmens of BEŞIR followed the procedures set up by the Commission and in early 2005 they introduced 1.150 claims to the Tribunals set up by the Property Claims Commission in Kirkuk for their confiscated agricultural lands situated in BEŞIR which had been registered in their names in the official old Cadastral Sector of BEŞIR (Sector numbers 36, 38, 45, 46, 47 and 48).
In July 2005 the Tribunals examined these 1.150 claims introduced by the Turkmens of BEŞIR, they found them receivable and justified and they ordered the return of all the agricultural lands to their original owners.
Notwithstanding the decisions of the Tribunals being in favour of the Turkmens of BEŞIR, only 350 of the 1.150 claims have been finalized to-date. This shows that the discrimination against the Turkmens continues in Iraq, despite the regime change and despite a special decree (number 59 / 2088) on 3rd October 2005 from the President of the Republic ordering the central and local authorities in Iraq to execute the decisions of the Tribunals of the Property Claims Commission swiftly and without any further delay.
Regrettably, the Iraqi Ministers of Finance and of Local Administration, under the pressure of the Sunni Arab political parties, have appealed the decisions of the Tribunals for the remaining 800 claims,  arguing that they need these lands supposedly ‘for general public interest’. Consequently, the cases are still pending and the Arab settlers are still living around BEŞIR and exploiting Turkmen agricultural lands.
In 2006, under the government of Prime Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafary, the actual Prime Minister, Dr. Haidar Al-Ibadi, who was his adviser and was nominated the President of a Committee to investigate the Crimes committed against the people of BEŞIR (under the Baath regime) had asked (on 5th February 2006 in a letter ref.MRW/12/2006) the Governor of Kirkuk, Abdurrahman Mustafa, to update him about the progress of the local authorities of Kirkuk in helping the people of  BEŞIR  to recuperate their lands and to return to their homes He asked the Governor to send him a report about the problems still faced by the people of BEŞIR.
On 30th March 2006, the Iraqi Council of Ministers decided to reconstruct the sub-district of BEŞIR and it allocated 43 Billion Iraqi Dinars (about 32 Million USD) for this project and ordered the Finance Ministry (in a letter dated 2nd April 2006 ref. 8/1/5/4423) to allocate 14 Billion Iraqi Dinars to the Ministry of Reconstruction and Housing for the year 2006 to start the reconstruction.
Today, twelve years after the removal of the Baath regime and nine years after the decision of the Iraqi Council of Minister to reconstruct Bashir and despite the budget allocated in 2006 for its reconstruction, not a single house has been built by the Iraqi Government for the Turkmens of BEŞIR, the only realization by the Iraqi Ministry of Reconstruction and Housing and by the Governorate of Kirkuk is a publicity board at the entrance of Taza (near BEŞIR) announcing the ‘Project for the Reconstruction of BEŞIR’.
Second genocide: mass killings, rapes, ethnic cleansing and looting by ISIS terrorist groups
To make things worse for the Turkmens of BEŞIR, the Arab settlers who remained around BEŞIR welcomed the ISIS terrorists when these came to area and they supported them in the attacks on BEŞIR which started on 14th June 2014. BEŞIR inhabitants resisted ISIS attack during 3 days with their small weapons and only little ammunition. Unfortunately, because they did not get any help from the Iraqi forces or from the Kurdish peshmerga, they could not stop the invasion and occupation of BEŞIR by ISIS terrorists.
ISIS occupied BEŞIR on 17th June 2014 and expulsed its entire Turkmen population composed of about 1.500 families, totalising about 10.000 people. ISIS terrorists looted all the homes and properties.  A few days after they had occupied BEŞIR, they published some videos on their websites, showing the demolition of schools, offices, mosques, religious shrines and the libraryTo terrorize and humiliate the Turkmens, ISIS published photos of their unfortunate victims, some had been beheaded and their bodies had been left in the open to be eaten by wild animals, and some others had been tied to lamp posts.
ISIS has committed war crimes and ethnic cleansing in BEŞIR. During the first three days of their attack they killed 36 unarmed Turkmens. They kidnapped women and children, tortured, raped and savagely killed some of them.

A few days after the occupation of BEŞIR, a group of Turkmen volunteers composed of youths from other Turkmen localities (Taza, Tisin, Tuz Khurmatu and Kirkuk) came to help the people of BEŞIR, together they tried to dislodge ISIS terrorists. Unfortunately they failed, 21 were killed and many of them were injured by ISIS snipers positioned in strategic points in and around BEŞIR, armed with heavy long range machine guns. Their task was made difficult because ISIS had already planted explosive devices on the roads leading to BEŞIR and booby trapped buildings and houses in BEŞIR.
On 18th March 2015a Turkmen unit of the ‘Peoples’ Mobilisation to fight against ISIS’ (Hashd al-Shaabi) tried again to liberate BEŞIR, unfortunately they too failed,  because ISIS terrorists had time to reinforce their positions in and around BEŞIR, positioning many more snipers with long range machine guns in all the strategic high positions. The Turkmen unit managed to reach the Police Station but they were forced to withdraw after suffering many casualties (5 killed and 9 gravely injured).
It is clear that the Turkmen unit of the ‘Peoples’ Mobilisation to fight against ISIS’ with its present day capacity and weapons cannot liberate BEŞIR without reinforcement and support from the Iraqi and/or International Coalition air forces. Unfortunately, to-date, neither has come to their help.
During the 23rd March 2015 Meeting of the Iraqi Council of Ministers in Baghdad, it has been decided that the peoples who have suffered from ISIS terrorist attacks in the north of Iraq, i.e. the Christians, the Turkmens, the Yezidis, the Kurds and the Shabaks, exposing them to mass killings and to internally displacement, are victims of ethnic cleansing, amounting to genocides. Concerning the Turkmens, the Council of Ministers has specified that the Turkmens of TEL AFAR and the Turkmens of BEŞIR, have been victims of genocide by ISIS terrorist groups.
Thus, this is the second genocide committed against the Turkmens of BEŞIR in less than 28 years.
Therefore, we Turkmens of Iraq, call upon the Delegation for Relations with Iraq of the EU Parliament, to support our case and endorse the Turkmen demands stated in the Common Declaration of the indigenous non-ruling peoples of Iraq, (which we presented to the EU Parliament on 19th November 2014) and advocate our requests with the European Parliament, the EEAS, the European Commission and the EU Council.
The Iraqi Turkmens request the following help and support from the European Union authorities:
  • Provide humanitarian aid directly to the remaining 250.000 displaced Turkmens.
  • Provide military training and military equipment directly to the Turkmen units in order to enable them to liberate the sub-district of BEŞIR, the district of TEL AFER and the Turkmen villages around MOSUL which are still occupied by ISIS.
  • Provide material aid to rebuild the homes, properties and infrastructure damaged or destroyed by ISIS terrorist groups in the Turkmen region after it has been liberated.
  • Assist and support the Turkmens in their negotiations with the Iraqi Central Government and the KRG concerning their request for TEL AFAR and TUZHUMATU to be upgraded to the status of Governorates in Iraq.
  • Assist and support the Turkmens in their negotiations with the Iraqi Central Government and the KRG in order to achieve a special status for Kirkuk, whereby the power will be shared equally between the Turkmens, Arabs and Kurds (32% for each of the three main ethnic communities and 4% for the Christian minority of Kirkuk).
  • Assist the Turkmens in their negotiations with the Iraqi Central Government to obtain their fair share of power within the Central Government and their fair share from the Iraqi budget.
Thank you for your understanding and support.

lundi 23 mars 2015


As commented by Dr Hassan Aydinli, ITF EU representative, in Part 2 of the video, if Iraq's minority groups are suffering the most since 2003, the responsibility lies with the 3 main groups: Shia, Sunna and Kurds, who are governing Iraq. These groups have shared Iraq's wealth among themselves, and have not given the Turkmens, Christians, Yezidies and other groups who compose the Iraqi people, the opportunity to develop themselves, to form their own protection forces and to benefit from Iraq's wealth.

The three groups who are ruling Iraq are guilty of corruption, they have confiscated Iraq's oil revenues and have not used the money to build new projects, or to reconstruct and develop the country.

They have maintained the Turkmens, Christians, Yezidies and other groups who compose the Iraqi people poor and vulnerable.

Therefore, these indigenous non-ruling peoples of Iraq are asking the international community and human rights organizations to come to their help and insure that they get their fair share of Iraq's wealth in the future.

In February, ‪#‎UNPO‬ launched its joint report 'Between the Millstones: Iraq's Minorities Since the Fall of Mosul' with the Institute for International Law and Human Rights, No Peace Without Justice and Minority Rights Group.
See the videos of the report launch here:
Part 1:
Part 2:

Origins Of Iraq’s Ethnosectarian Quota System

Origins Of Iraq’s Ethnosectarian Quota System
interesting article posted in MUSINGS ON IRAQ in 2014

Many are wondering what a post-Nouri al-Maliki government will be like, but one thing that will stay the same are the ethnosectarian quotas. Many believe that the Americans created this system during the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). While the U.S. did institutionalize the concept, it actually came from the Iraqi opposition groups that were formed during the reign of Saddam Hussein. Starting in the 1990s a series of meetings were held in an attempt to unify the multiplicity of anti-Saddam organizations. Quotas were originally created to try to give proper representation to each one of the factions. Those quickly moved to be based upon sect and ethnicity, which was then taken up by the Americans in their attempt to build a new Iraq. Today these quotas continue to exist and are a major structural impediment to a healthy and functional government, because they create a divided administration that works at cross purposes with itself.

Left to right Jalal Talabani of the PUK, Zalmay Khalilzad of the U.S., Massoud Barzani of the KDP, Ezzidin Salim of Dawa and Abdul Aziz al-Hakim of ISCI at 1992 Salahaddin conference where ethnosectarian quotas were solidified amongst the Iraqi opposition to Saddam Hussein (Al-Ahram)

A series of meetings in the 1990s gave rise to quotas to incorporate the plethora of parties interested in removing Saddam Hussein from power. The first took place in March 1991 in Beirut, Lebanon, which was in part organized by Syria and Saudi Arabia, two of the major financiers of the Iraqi opposition. Over 300 delegates attended from 20 different parties. The result was the Free Iraqi Council headed by Saad Salih Jabr. Nothing much came of it however because the groups disagreed about who should have more influence, what percentage each party should have within the council, and voting rights. This reflected the fact that there were far too many organizations, many of which were personal vehicles for individuals with large egos. In June 1992 there was another conference in Vienna, Austria, which led to the creation of the Iraqi National Congress (INC) as an umbrella group. 160 delegates attended with the absence of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), and the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) and the Dawa Party only sent observers. What was important about the meeting was that after the disagreements in Beirut, a quota system was initiated to try to give each major group some type of say. Islamist parties were given 35.3% of the representatives, democrats, liberals and independents 35.3%, Kurds 23.5%, and Turkmen 5.8%. During the meeting a 17 member executive committee was then put together that included Muhsen Dazai and Hoshyar Zebari of the KDP, Latif Rasheed and Saadi Ahmed Pit of the PUK, Akram al-Hakim of the Supreme Council, Ahmad Chalabi, and others. The INC quickly fell to divisive politics, leading Massoud Barzani to call for another get together in October 1992 known as the Salahaddin conference. Again quotas were set up for representatives with Shiite Islamists getting 33%, Kurds 25%, Arab nationalists 16%, Iraqi tribes, democrats and liberals 4% each, Assyrians and Christians and Communists 3% each, and Sunni Islamists 2%. 234 figures ended up attending representing roughly 90% of the anti-Saddam forces, and a plan was made to reform the Iraqi National Congress.

First its National Assembly was expanded from 87 to 234, a 26 member executive council was formed, and a 3 man presidential council was made up as well. The latter two each had quotas. The presidential council was split between a Sunni a Shiite and a Kurd consisting of former general Hassan Mustafa Naqib, Mohammed Ibrahim Bahr Uloom, and Massoud Barzani, while on the executive committee a secular Shiite, Ahmed Chalabi was elected president, along with Hani Fakaiki a Sunni, Latif Rasheed a Kurd from the PUK, and Sheikh Human Hammoudi a Shiite Islamist of ISCI who were the vice presidents. Syria was not happy with the results of the meeting, and called its own in October 1992. Again a three man presidential council was formed made up of a Sunni, a Shiite, and a Kurd. Finally, in February 1993 another meeting of the INC was held in Irbil where a new consultative committee was created to represent the major groups. It originally had 10 people, but that was later expanded to 26. Once more quotas were implemented with Shiite Islamists getting 33% of the seats, Kurds 25%, Sunnis 7%, Turkmen 6%, Assyrians 3%, and the rest going to secular and liberal parties. What was originally created as a means to incorporate all the different anti-Saddam groups whether that was the religious parties or liberal ones or the communists or Kurds eventually became more and more based upon ethnosectarian categories. Hence in June 1992 only 29.3% of the representatives to Vienna were explicitly based upon ethnicity. That turned into 77% of the members of the Salahaddin conference in October, and 100% of the INC’s presidential council that was created there.

The eclipse of the secular, democratic, etc. parties was due to two factors. First, Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship had shut out and destroyed most of the Iraqi parties that had developed since the British Mandate and post-independence period. The Iraqi Communist Party for example went from one of the largest in the country to being hunted down by the Baathists in 1963 and 1968, and then being undone by an alliance with that very same party in 1973. With these traditional organizations being repressed more and more people began turning to ones based upon religion and ethnicity as two of the only avenues available within the country. This was spurred on by regional events and actors as well such as the Shah of Iran’s support for the Kurdish parties to pressure Saddam, the 1979 Iranian Revolution and Iran-Iraq War that gave rise to ISCI, Syria’s backing of factions within Dawa, and the growth of Islamism in general in the 1990s. By the time the 2000s rolled around those ethnosectarian parties were some of the main ones talking and working with the Americans.

When the Coalition Provisional Authority was created in April 2003 it believed in the necessity of creating ethnosectarian quotas as well to try to ensure all the various groups were represented just like the earlier opposition meetings had, as well as to ensure that the Shiite majority would finally have its fair share in the new Iraq. It set up the 25 member Iraqi Governing Council with 13 seats for Shiites, 5 for Kurds, 5 for Sunnis, and one each for Assyrians, Turkmen, and women. These positions were all filled by individuals who had taken part in the anti-Saddam movement such as Mohammed Uloom who had been on the INC’s presidential council, Ahmed Chalabi the head of the INC, Jalal Talabani the head of the PUK, Massoud Barzani the leader of the KDP, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim from ISCI, and others. More than that these council members were thengiven control of ministries, which allowed them to pack them with their followers and become the basis for their patronage networks.

This had the effect of institutionalizing the ethnosectarian system the Saddam opposition had already created on its own during the 1990s. Now it became expected that the top government positions would be handed amongst the major sects and ethnicities, and so would the government offices. This was a major cause for dysfunction as it created a government made of many parts that worked at cross purposes rather than committed to the prime minister. Hence there have been both opponents and supporters of the premier within each ruling coalition since 2005. It also meant government positions were distributed based upon party loyalty rather than competence. This trend continues to today. In July 2014 a new speaker of parliament and his deputies were elected. That followed the precedent set in 2005 when the first post-Saddam government was formed with the speakership going to a Sunni, Salim Jabouri of Mutahidun, while his deputies, Haidar Abadi of State of Law and Aram Sheikh Mohammed of Change were a Shiite and Kurd respectively. With the subsequent nomination of Abadi for premier he will have to put together a ruling coalition where the ministries will be split along ethnosectarian lines. It wasn’t the Americans who created these divisions, they just built upon what the anti-Saddam groups had been doing in the previous decade, and made it a practice that every Iraqi government would followed afterward.

Ethnosectarianism has become a dominant factor in Iraqi politics. It represents one of the main structural problems the Iraqi state faces, which constrains the development of democracy, and perpetuates divisiveness. It wasn’t just the Americans fault that the CPA came along and broke up offices and ministries in this way. It was the Iraqi opposition that originally came up with these quotas. The U.S. simply accepted this concept in 2003 and then used it itself. This system persists to this day and has become more entrenched. That doesn’t meant ethnicity and sect will always dominate Iraq as there have been times in Iraqi history where ideology was the driving force. It’s just that the major parties are now organized around identity politics. It will require them or a new political class to move away from these ideas for Iraq to change. Until then it will suffer through one dysfunctional government after another.


Al-Ahram, “Untying the knot,” 2/19/03

European Institute for Research On Mediterranean and Euro-Arab Cooperation, “Iraqi National Congress – INC”

Gunter, Michael, The Kurdish Predicament in Iraq: A Political Analysis, (St. Martin’s Press, 1999)

Katzman, Kenneth, “Iraq: U.S. Efforts to Change the Regime,” Congressional Research Service, 10/3/02

- “Iraq’s Opposition Movements,” Congressional Research Service, 6/27/00

Rabil, Robert, “Iraqi opposition: From conflict to unity?” Asia Times, 1/18/03

Al-Shamrani, Ali, “The Iraqi Opposition Movement: The Post-Gulf War Era 1990-1996,” Department of War Studies, King’s College, 2001

Special Inspector General For Iraq Reconstruction, “Hard Lessons,” 1/22/09

Tyler, Patrick, “Iraq pieces together its first postwar governing council,” San Francisco Chronicle, 7/13/03

dimanche 22 mars 2015

BODY COUNT - Casualty Figures After 10 Years of "The War on Terror"

Casualty Figures After 10 Years of "The War on Terror"


MARCH 2015

PSR - Physicians for Social Responsibility

First international edition - Washington DC, Berlin, Ottawa - March 2015 translated from German by Ali Fathollah-Nejad available from the editors: Internationale Ärzte für die Verhütung des Atomkrieges / Ärzte in sozialer Verantwortung (German affiliate), Berlin PSR: Physicians for Social Responsibility (US American affiliate), Washington DC PGS: Physicians for Global Survival (Canandian affiliate), Ottawa of IPPNW (International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War) hardcopies: (print on demand) ISBN-13: 978-3-9817315-0-7

Please see:

mardi 17 mars 2015



please see:

Clustered ID (Cont'd): SR right to food and on adequate housing - 17th Meeting, 28th Regular Session Human Rights Council
Clustered Interactive dialogue Item 3: 
- Special Rapporteur on the right to food A/HRC/28/65
- Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living A/HRC/28/62
- 17th Plenary Meeting 28th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council. 

Speaking for the Iraqi Turkmens: Dr. Elham Abbas – Al Khoei Foundation.   PLEASE SEE No 15 

dimanche 15 mars 2015

Iraqi Turkmens demand armed force of their own ahead of Mosul offensive against ISIL

Iraqi Turkmens demand armed force of their own ahead of Mosul offensive against ISIL

Iraqi Turkmens demand armed force of their own ahead of Mosul offensive against ISIL
A group of Turkmen soldiers are seen having conversation in inTurkmen town Amirli, north of Baghdad, in this file photo.(Photo: Sunday's Zaman)
March 14, 2015, Saturday/ 17:00:00/ AYDIN ALBAYRAK / ANKARA

As a coalition of countries prepares to launch an offensive to retake Mosul from the terrorist Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), turkmens in Iraq have demanded that they also be allowed to establish an armed force of their own, fearing they will have no voice in a country already divided on ethnic and sectarian lines. 

“Turkmens also want to take part in the Mosul operation, in the liberation of Tal Afar," Aydın Maruf Selim, an executive board member of the Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF), told Sunday's Zaman.

Turkmens have been heavily victimized by the ISIL advance in Iraq, as they are the only ethnic group with a substantial population that has no armed security unit of its own.

Hundreds of thousands of Turkmens, who are estimated to have a population of more than 2 million in Iraq, were forced to flee their towns because of the ISIL advance that started in June of last year.

According to Selim, preparations are under way for armed units composed of Turkmens to be established within the Kurdish peshmerga and the Iraqi army.

But it is doubtful that the project will bear any significant fruit, not only because the Kurds have previously opposed the formation of Turkmen military units, but also because of the fact that the operation against ISIL is imminent.

The Iraqi army and the Kurdish government's peshmerga forces, backed by coalition forces made up of countries including the US, France and Turkey, are expected, in a month or so, to launch an assault to drive the terrorist ISIL group out of Iraq.

Following the ISIL advance in Iraq, the country has been de facto divided into three parts based on ethnic and sectarian lines, across which the Turkmen population is dispersed.

The autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), which used to control the northeastern part of the country, has also taken control of Kirkuk after ISIL's capture of Mosul and Tal Afar.

Sunni Arabs will most probably control the areas that are currently controlled by ISIL after the terrorist organization is driven out of the country by the coalition, while the capital and southern part of the country will be under the control of Shiite Arabs.

The current Iraqi government is also largely controlled by Shiites, which make up more than 60 percent of the population of the country.

Turkmens expect Turkey to bring up the issue with Iraqi and Kurdish authorities, as they are concerned they may well be left out in the cold following the military operation against ISIL.

“The terrorist organization ISIL has brought a project to Iraq. ISIL has traced the contours of the Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish areas. But it has wreaked havoc on Turkmen areas,” ITC leader Arshad al-Salihi told the Turkish press at the beginning of the year.

Before the ISIL advance in Iraq, a stretch of land between areas where Sunni Arabs lived and areas populated by Kurds had a relatively dense population of Turkmens. But today, as Turkmens and other groups were forced to flee by the advancing ISIL group, most of the Turkmen areas are either controlled by ISIL -- which is also supported by some of the Sunni tribes in Iraq -- or by Kurdish forces.

Around 70 percent of the population of Tal Afar, a city in western Iraq near the Syrian border, was Turkmen before ISIL captured the city in June. Half of that 70 percent were Shiite Turkmens, most of whom have fled to the south of the country.

“Unfortunately, those who have guns and money are influential in Iraq. Turkmens have neither at the moment,” Salihi added, drawing attention to the situation of Turkmens.

According to Mahir Nakip, spokesperson for the İstanbul-based Kirkuk Foundation, Turkmens must have a military force of their own, as each ethnic group is fighting to protect its own land in the country.

Nakip, an Ankara-based Turkmen from Kirkuk, is concerned that when ISIL is driven out of Mosul, Turkmens may not feel as comfortable in the area as they did before ISIL occupation, as it would be Sunni Arabs -- and to an extent Kurds -- who will have the control of the area after the coalition's operation.

Tens of thousands of Turkmens used live in towns and villages around the city of Mosul before the ISIL occupation.

“Ninety-five percent of the Turkmens who used live in the province of Mosul have left the area,” Riyaz Sarıkahya, a Kirkuk-based leader of the Turkmeneli Party, told Sunday's Zaman.

“Tal Afar and Turkmen villages around Mosul should not be left to the control of other groups [following the military operation],” added Sarıkahya, who sees ISIL as an instrument used to get rid of Turkmens in Iraq.

A US Central Command official said at the end of February that an Iraqi and Kurdish military force of 20,000 to 25,000 troops is being prepared to recapture Mosul, probably in April or May.

Turkmens, frustrated by Turkey's failure so far to lend them an efficient helping hand, want Turkey to offer stronger support for the rights of Iraqi Turkmen as the chaos reigns.

Referring to the presence of Iranian officers fighting alongside Iraqi troops against ISIL, Nakip, who also teaches at Çankaya University, said: “Turkey should also throw its weight around more.”

“If Turkmens are not armed, Turkmens, particularly in Kirkuk, feel concerned that they may politically have no weight,” Nakip told Sunday's Zaman.

Turkmens pushed in the past for the formation of a Turkmen region in Iraq and a safe zone for Turkmens following the ISIL advance, but with no success.

Noting that Turkmens are against any project that ignores Turkmens in Iraq, Sarıkahya expressed Turkmens' disappointment with Turkey, saying, “Turkey did not offer support to Turkmens for them to get organized, for a Turkmen armed unit to be established.”

When Tal Afar faced ISIL occupation after Mosul fell into the group's hands, Turkey did not lift a finger to offer Turkmens protection from the terrorist organization. Turkey only provided humanitarian aid to Turkmens, who had to flee to the surrounding mountainous or desert areas out of fear for their lives.

Turkey has said it will only offer logistics and intelligence support to the coalition forces in the campaign against ISIL.

Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, the top US general overseeing the US-led military coalition in Iraq, paid a visit in last week to Turkey's Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel to discuss the anticipated operation to retake Mosul.

Have Pillaged Iraqi Artifacts Ended Up in a Museum in Israel?

Have Pillaged Iraqi Artifacts Ended Up in a Museum in Israel?

By Richard Edmondson

With ISIS carrying out rampages through archaeologically sensitive areas of Iraq, a pertinent question to ask now is what group’s cultural heritage in the Middle East is being preserved, and whose is being destroyed.
Over the past couple of weeks shocking reports have surfaced concerning mass destruction of Iraq’s cultural heritage at two locations–the museum in Mosul and the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud, located in northern Iraq. Both incidents were perpetrated by the so-called Islamic State. The one at the Mosul museum was recorded on video.

But destruction with sledge hammers, bonfires, and heavy equipment isn’t the only threat to priceless objects thousands of years old. Artifacts are also being illegally excavated and  pilfered on a massive scale. An enormous black market in stolen antiquities in fact has arisen in the last four years since the outbreak of the conflict in Syria, and the general rule of thumb seems to be if it’s small enough to be carted off, take it and sell it on the black market; if it’s too large to move, then smash it to pieces. This is what we’ve seen repeatedly in Syria and Iraq since ISIS took over large swaths of both countries.
By the way, the trade in looted antiquities seems to be quite lucrative, with some of these items fetching in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, while the total black market trade has been estimated at roughly $7 billion per year.

This is not just Iraq’s cultural heritage that is at stake, of course; it’s all of humanity’s. If we think of human history collectively as a lepidopteron, drifting lazily from the flower of the Neolithic past, into the age of proto-writing, and finally early recorded history, then Syria, Iraq and the Fertile Crescent stand out perhaps unique among regions of the earth. This is where human civilization got started, and the looting and destruction of these antiquities is a loss to all of us.

Interestingly, an exhibition entitled “By the Rivers of Babylon” has now opened at a museum in Israel, and among its exhibits are a large number of ancient Babylonian cuneiform tablets–110 of them altogether. These tablets belong to a London-based Israeli collector by the name of David Sofer, but a controversy has sprung up, since there seems to be some question about the provenance, or origin, of the artifacts.
The tablets are said to be some 2,500 years old and reportedly shed light on the biblical Israelites during their exile in Babylon (in what is, of course, today Iraq). Sofer claims he purchased the tablets in the 1990s from a person who supposedly obtained them through public auction some 20 years previous. However, he reportedly has refused to name the person he bought them from.

The rise of ISIS has made it extremely perilous for archaeologists to continue to work in Iraq and Syria, and most expeditions have in fact come to a halt. But in Israel these days things are a bit different.
Unhindered by ISIS marauders, the Israeli Antiquities Authority has undertaken archaeological excavations in numerous areas of the country, including one begun last yearin the occupied West Bank, where the objective is to recover artifacts dating back to the King David era. Finds of this nature would, by some views at any rate, help validate Israel’s “3000-year-old land claim,” as it’s been called, and thus you won’t be surprised to learn that this isn’t the only such archaeological dig going on–not by a long shot.
In fact, you can go to the website of the Israeli Antiquities Authority, where no less than 19 separate excavations are listed as currently active for the year 2015.

So what to make of it all? That’s a good question. All I can really say is that it seems  enormous efforts are being expended to recover and safeguard Jewish cultural heritagethis, ironically, as everyone else’s cultural heritage in the Middle East is being looted and destroyed.
At any rate, here is an article recently published about the museum exhibition in Israel featuring the artifacts in Sofer’s possession.

mercredi 11 mars 2015

Iraqi Kurdistan: Arabs Displaced, Cordoned Off, Detained - HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH

Iraqi Kurdistan: Arabs Displaced, Cordoned Off, Detained
Harsh Restrictions in Northern Iraq While Kurds Move Freely

FEBRUARY 26, 2015


Military vehicles pass as Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fighters man a checkpoint north of Mount Sinjar, Iraq on December 20, 2014.
© 2014 Reuters


World Report 2015: Iraq
JANUARY 11, 2015

Iraqi Kurdish forces have confined thousands of Arabs in “security zones” in areas of northern Iraq that they have captured since August 2014 from the extremist group Islamic State, also known as ISIS. Kurdish forces for months barred Arabs displaced by fighting from returning to their homes in portions of Ninewa and Erbil provinces, while permitting Kurds to return to those areas and even to move into homes of Arabs who fled. Some restrictions were eased in January 2015, after Human Rights Watch communicated with the Kurdish regional government about the issue, but others remain.

Local Kurds told Human Rights Watch that Iraqi Kurdish citizens or forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) have destroyed dozens of Arab homes in the areas, which the KRG appears to be seeking to incorporate into Kurdish autonomous territory. Arab residents in one cordoned-off zone said that KRG forces detained 70 local Arab men for long periods without charge.

“Cordoning off Arab residents and refusing to let them return home appears to go well beyond a reasonable security response to the ISIS threat,” said Letta Tayler, senior terrorism and counterterrorism researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The US and other countries arming the Iraqi Kurdish forces should make clear that they won’t stand for discrimination under the guise of countering terrorism.”

Human Rights Watch found no evidence of Kurdish forces imposing similar restrictions on movements of Kurds. The regional government is a key ally of the United States-led coalition fighting ISIS. The US has pledged $350 million to create three new brigades of the Kurdish military force, the Peshmerga.Germany, the UK, Italy, France, the Czech Republic, and Albania also are arming or training Peshmerga forces.

Human Rights Watch raised its concerns about ethnic discrimination with KRG authorities in December and in a January 20 letter. In a statement to Human Rights Watch, the regional government denied any ethnic discrimination but pledged to investigate the Human Rights Watch findings. In January, Kurdish military and intelligence forces eased several of the restrictions.

Human Rights Watch documented the apparently discriminatory acts in communities inSheikhan and Tilkaif districts and Zumar subdistrict, all in Ninewa province, and Makhmur district in Erbil province, while visiting these areas in December and January. The areas are part of the so-called disputed territories that both the regional government and Iraq’s central government in Baghdad claim.

With the exception of Sheikhan, which is governed by the KRG, the districts had been under the central Iraqi government’s authority until ISIS captured portions of them in mid-2014. Many of the districts’ residents – an ethnically diverse population of 600,000 – fled before ISIS captured their areas. Others stayed put because the fighting did not reach their towns, while others, primarily Sunni Arabs, were trapped or chose to stay inside ISIS-held territory.

Backed by US airstrikes, Kurdish forces wrested several communities in or near the districts from ISIS between August and October. Other parts of the districts remain under ISIS control and sporadic fighting has continued between ISIS and Peshmerga forces. Most of the towns and villages where Human Rights Watch found apparently unlawful conduct by Kurdish forces were directly behind or near the front line with ISIS.

Human Rights Watch has extensively documented crimes against humanity and other atrocities by ISIS in Syria and Iraq, as well as violations by the Syrian and Iraqi forces and allied militia.

In December Human Rights Watch saw Peshmerga and members of the KRG’s Asayish intelligence service turning away all civilians – including Arabs and Kurds – from some parts of these districts that they had captured, saying they were still too dangerous to resettle or visit because of the proximity of ISIS, ongoing fighting, and unexploded ordnance including booby-traps in homes. However Human Rights Watch found that Peshmerga and Asayish forces were allowing Kurdish residents who had fled the fighting to return to other towns and villages in these same districts that they deemed relatively safe, while denying displaced Arab residents re-entry to these same areas.

Local Asayish officials confirmed the bans at the time, telling Human Rights Watch at checkpoints into the four districts that “No Arabs are allowed.”

In its February 5 response to Human Rights Watch, which included comments from the Ministries of Interior, Peshmerga, and Asayish, the KRG said upholding human rights was a “main priority.” The statement said that regional government authorities have repeatedly instructed security forces, including immediately after receiving the Human Rights Watch letter, that “no one is above the law” and that all violators “will be held accountable.” In December, however, some Kurdish officials in meetings with Human Rights Watch defended restrictions singling out Arab residents, saying that many Arabs had assisted the ISIS advance and might again collaborate with the armed group, which is predominantly Sunni Arab.