dimanche 30 septembre 2007

Lost in Translation: AHMADINEJAD and The Media

By Ali Quli Qarai

09/28/07 "ICH" -- - First I want to make some remarks about that now world-famous statement of President Ahmadinejad at Columbia: “We do not have homosexuals in Iran of the kind you have in your country.” The American media conveniently ignored the second, and crucial, part of his sentence as something redundant.

Obviously he was not saying, We don’t have any homosexuals whatsoever in Iran—something nobody in the world would believe, not even in Iran. And by implication, he was not telling his audience, I am a plain liar! —something which his audience at Columbia and the American media construed him to be saying.

What he was saying is that homosexuality in the US and homosexuality in Iran are issues which are as far apart from one another as two cultural universes possibly can be. They are so dissimilar that any attempt to relate them and bring them under a common caption would be misleading. “Homosexuality is not an issue in Iran as it is in present-day American society.” This was, apparently what was saying in polite terms.

Homosexuality in the US is a omnipresent social and political issue which crops up in almost every discourse and debate pertaining to American society and politics. So much so that I think it was a major issue, if not the deciding factor, in the last two presidential elections which paved Bush’s way to the White House and saddled the Democrats with defeat, because a large so-called conservative section of the American public (the red states) felt wary of the pro-gay liberalism of the Democratic Party.

By contrast, homosexuality is a non-issue in Iran and is considered an uncommon perversion (except as an occasional topic of jokes about a certain town). Prom the viewpoint of penal law, too, it is does not receive much attention as the requirements for a sentence (four eye-witnesses, who have actually seen the details of the act) are so astringent as to make punishment almost impossible. (It would be interesting to know how many have been accused of it during the last two decades)

By contrast adultery and homosexuality are legalized forms of behaviour in most of Europe and America, and regarded not as criminal acts but as perfectly acceptable forms of sexual behaviour and as legitimate natural human rights which need to be taught even to all Asian and African societies as well.

There was also a subtle hint in his remark that he wanted to move on from this topic to more serious and relevant matters, a point which would be obvious to anyone conversant with Persian language and culture (like his another hint concerning the disgraceful conduct of Columbia president, when, while formally inviting Columbia academics to Iran, he added that “You can rest assured that we will treat you in Iran with hundred percent respect.”

Iranians, being linguistically a very sophisticated people, speak a lot in hints which are invisible to outsiders. Americans in comparison tend to be straightforward and often as primitive. (In general the Persians, like other civilized societies, have developed the art of making and responding to harsh remarks in soft and friendly words. Americans, as Prof. Bollinger proved, have still much to learn from civilized nations concerning the civilities of civilized hostility.)

Mr Bollinger’s hostility towards President Ahmadinejad had obviously been fed by devious translations and interpretations of his earlier—also world-famous—remarks about Israel and the Holocaust. As if, as one commentator has remarked, the professor had been watching only CNN and Fox News. ·

Unfortunately for more than an year these remarks have given a ready-made excuse to his critics to demonize him and attack Iran’s foreign policies. Although he has made some attempts (unjustifiably belated, I think, and not quite adequate) to clarify himself, we who hear these remarks have also an intellectual duty to ourselves and others to see exactly what he exactly meant.

It is a basic linguistic principle of civilized discourse that so long as there is an acceptable and upright interpretation for someone’s remark, it should not be given a devious meaning. Moreover, as one of my teachers often says, it is easy to reject and denounce the statements of others, but the worthy task of every intelligent seeker is to try to understand people who hold different opinions.

This is particular necessary when such statements originate in a different linguistic and cultural domain.When Ahmadinejad repeated Ayatullah Khomeini’s words that “Israel baayad az bayn beravad,” (which literally means that Israel should cease to exist), what is critically important for understanding is to see how Iranian people understand these words of their president. I don’t think any mature Iranian with some awareness of regional politics has ever thought that the late Leader of Iran, or the present president of the country, were advocating some kind of military objectives against Israel.

By citing the example of the Soviet Union and the Apartheid regime in South Africa Ahmadinejad, too, has clarified what he meant by ‘Israel ceasing to exist.’ By the rules of civilized discourse, every speaker’s clarification concerning what he means is authoritative as he is entitled, before all others, to state and clarify what he means by his statements.

In this case, Ahmadinejad has also clarified as to how he thinks that my happen: a general referendum in undivided Palestine with the participation of its Arab, Jewish and Christian population.

As for his statement that the Holocaust in a myth, we all know that the word “myth” has several meanings in the dictionary. One of its meanings is “A fiction or half-truth, especially one that forms part of an ideology” (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language). Thus a myth is not something necessarily untrue and Ahmadinejad has not denied outright that the Holocaust did occur, although he seems to have—what he considers to be legitimate—doubts about its exact extent, doubts which are prone to be strengthened, rightly or otherwise, by attempts to persecute or prosecute scholars whose research leads them to conclusions different from main-current historiography.

What he basically appears to question is that the Holocaust should be made an ideological tool for the pursuit of unfair and inhuman objectives—something which most of us acknowledge has happened in the case of Palestine.

Why should the people of Palestine be made to pay the price for the guilt and failings of Europe? He asks. I think that is a legitimate question.The savants of the media are free to interpret Ahmadinejad’s statement with the purpose of demonizing him and excoriating Iran, but there are better and alternate paths for those who strive for understanding and peace between nations, and to an objective like this should institutions like universities, including Columbia, contribute.

I hope that Mr Bollinger will advance a courageous apology to Mr Ahmadinejad and take advantage of his standing invitation for continuing the exchange of ideas with academic circles in Iran. Iranians generally are a large hearted people, like most Americans, and I hope the bitterness which has arisen from the unfortunate event of the past week will soon be forgotten with the sincere efforts of well-meaning intellectuals and officials on both sides. I cannot think of any other way in which good will between these nations as well as the good repute of an outstanding institution of higher learning such as Columbia can be salvaged.

Ali Quli Qarai is an Iranian scholar. He has published several books, including a translation of the Quran. He can be reached at altwhid@gmail.com

The insidious American implanting of sectarianism - through corruption

http://abutamam.blogspot.com/2007/09/insidious-american-implanting-of.html

(Extract)
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED Not for distribution to personnel outside of the US Embassy in Baghdad IraqWorking Draft
From an email by a close friend:"Note, in pages 14 and 15 [of the above U.S. Embassy report] how Corruption cases are divided into Shia/Sunni/Kurd.

Since when do belief and ethnic background make a difference when it comes to stealing? Perhaps this demonstrates how the State Dept is preparing for partitioning Iraq?

"As for the the Democratic US Senator Joseph Biden who championed partitioning Iraq into three separate regions — Kurdish, Shiite and Sunni — with a central government in Baghdad since May 1, 2006 and whose bill was passed by the Senate on September 27, 2007:.""I am a Zionist," stated Senator Biden. "You don't have to be a Jew to be a Zionist." (emphasis added)....

Senator Biden further stressed that without Israel, one could only imagine how many battleships and troops America would have to station in the Middle East.Meeting with Shalom TV President Rabbi Mark S. Golub in Washington, DC, the candidate for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination said that it's insulting for any American to suggest that Israel is somehow the cause of the war in Iraq."Exclusive network interview of Senator Joe Biden March 28, 2007 ."

In 1982, Oded Yinon [see FLASHBACK: A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties June 13, 1982], an official from the Israeli Foreign Affairs office, wrote, "To dissolve Iraq is even more important for us than dissolving Syria. In the short term, it's Iraqi power that constitutes the greatest threat to Israel. The Iran-Iraq war tore Iraq apart and provoked its downfall. All manner of inter-Arab conflict help us and accelerate our goal of breaking up Iraq into small, diverse pieces.""Rogue U.S. Troops Knowingly Bombed British In Iraq January 31, 2007
./...

Please click on link below to read full article in Free Iraq:
http://abutamam.blogspot.com/2007/09/insidious-american-implanting-of.html

Reconstruction work on the al-Askari shrine in Samarra

Iraqi sacred site to be rebuilt
Reconstruction work will begin next month on a revered shrine in the Iraqi city of Samarra blown up in the current conflict, UN cultural body Unesco says.

The al-Askari shrine, one of Iraq's most sacred Shia sites, was partly destroyed in two attacks over two years by suspected Sunni militants.
Thousands have died in sectarian violence triggered by the first attack.

The rebuilding work will be carried out by a Turkish company, and is being funded mostly by the EU and Unesco.

Officials said the work would begin after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ends in the middle of October.
The project is expected to cost $16m (£7.9m), of which $8m will come from the EU, $5m from Unesco and $3m from the Iraqi government.

Haqi al-Hakim, an aide to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, told the Associated Press news agency the initial phase of clearing the site could take 10 months.
The February 2006 attack on the shrine, in which its golden dome was destroyed, sparked violence which has led to thousands of deaths over the past 18 months.
A second attack, in June 2007, saw its ancient minarets destroyed.
Both attacks were blamed on Sunni militants.

Story from BBC NEWS:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/middle_east/7020221.stm
Published: 2007/09/29 18:27:10 GMT© BBC MMVII

Iraq's WMD Myth - Why CLINTON is culpable

September 29 / 30, 2007
By ANDREW COCKBURN

A former senior UN diplomat has revealed to me details of how, just over 10 years ago, the Clinton administration deliberately sabotaged UN weapons inspections in Iraq.

American officials were fearful that Iraq would be officially certified as weapons-free, a development that was seen as a political liability for Bill Clinton. Thus the stage was set for the manufacture of the Iraqi WMD myth as the excuse for George Bush's catastrophic invasion of Iraq.

It was March 1997. For six years the UN inspectors had been probing the secrets of Saddam's weapons programs, in the process destroying huge quantities of chemical munitions and other production facilities. To enforce Saddam's cooperation, Iraq was subject to crushing sanctions.

Now, Rolf Ekeus, the urbane Swedish diplomat who headed the inspection effort, was ready to announce that his work was almost done. "I was getting close to certifying that Iraq was in compliance with Resolution 687," he confirmed to me recently.

At the time, he declared that although there were some loose ends to be cleared up, "not much is unknown about Iraq's retained proscribed weapons capabilities."
For the Clinton administration, this was a crisis. If Ekeus was allowed to complete his mission, then the suspension of sanctions would follow almost automatically.
Saddam would be off the hook and, more importantly for the Clintonites, the neo-conservative republicans would be howling for the president's blood.

The only hope was somehow to prevent Ekeus completing his mission.

Enter Madeleine Albright, newly appointed Secretary of State. On March 26, 1997, she strode on to the stage at Georgetown University to deliver what was billed as a major policy address on Iraq. Many in the audience expected that she would extend some sort of olive branch toward the Iraqi regime, but that was far from her mind.

Instead, she was set on making sure that Saddam effectively ended his cooperation with the inspectors. "We do not agree with the nations who argue that if Iraq complies with its obligations concerning weapons of mass destruction, sanctions should be lifted," she declared. Sanctions, she stated without equivocation, would remain unless or until Saddam was driven from power.

Ekeus understood immediately what Albright intended. "I knew that Saddam would now feel that there was no point in his cooperating with us, and that was the intent of her speech."

Sure enough, the following day he got an angry call from Tariq Aziz, Saddam's deputy prime minister and emissary to the outside world. "He wanted to know why Iraq should work with us any more."
From then on, the inspectors found their lives increasingly difficult, as Iraqi officials, clearly acting under instructions from Saddam, blocked them at every turn.

Ekeus resigned in July 1997, to be replaced by the Australian Richard Butler. Butler was soon embroiled in acrimonious confrontation with the Iraqis. Later the following year, all the inspectors were withdrawn from Iraq and the US mounted a series of bombing raids.

Clinton's strategy had been successful. Iraq remained under sanctions, while in Washington the neo-conservative faction spun the wildest conjectures as to what evil schemes Saddam, unmolested by inspectors, might be concocting with his weapons scientists.

In fact Saddam had long abandoned all his WMD programs, but as the CIA had no sources of intelligence inside Iraq, no one in the West could prove this.
Finally, following 9/11, the war party in George Bush Jr's administration was able to make the case for invasion on the grounds that Saddam had refused to comply with UN resolutions on disarmament by refusing to grant access to the weapons inspectors. The Iraq disaster has many fathers.

[Footnote: Ekeus knew from the mid-l990s on that Saddam Hussein had no such weapons of mass destruction. They had all been destroyed years earlier, after the first Gulf war.
Ekeus learned this on the night of August 22, l995, in Amman, from the lips of General Hussein Kamel, who had just defected from Iraq, along with some of his senior military aides. Kamel was Saddam's son-in-law and had been in overall charge of all programs for chemical, biological and nuclear weapons and delivery systems.
That night, in three hours of detailed questioning from Ekeus and two technical experts, Kamel was categorical. The UN inspection teams had done a good job. When Saddam was finally persuaded that failure to dispose of the relevant weapons systems would have very serious consequences, he issued the order and Kamel carried it out. As he told Ekeus that night, "All weapons, biological, chemical, missile, nuclear, were destroyed." (The UNSCOM record of the session can ne viewed at http://www.fair.org/press-releases/kamel.pdf).

In similar debriefings that August Kamel said the same thing to teams from the CIA and MI6. His military aides provided a wealth of corroborative details. Then, the following year, Kamel was lured back to Iraq and at once executed. Editors.]
Andrew Cockburn is the author of Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall and Catastrophic Legacy.

Interview with investigative journalist Seymour HERSH

SPIEGEL ONLINE - September 28, 2007 URL: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,508394,00.html

'The President Has Accepted Ethnic Cleansing'
Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has consistently led the way in telling the story of what's really going on in Iraq and Iran. SPIEGEL ONLINE spoke to him about America's Hitler, Bush's Vietnam, and how the US press failed the First Amendment.
AFP
For now, American troops are on the Iraq side of the border with Iran. Might that change?
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was just in New York for the United Nations General Assembly. Once again, he said that he is only interested in civilian nuclear power instead of atomic weapons. How much does the West really know about the nuclear program in Iran?

Seymour Hersh: A lot. And it's been underestimated how much the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) knows. If you follow what (IAEA head Mohamed) ElBaradei and the various reports have been saying, the Iranians have claimed to be enriching uranium to higher than a 4 percent purity, which is the amount you need to run a peaceful nuclear reactor. But the IAEA's best guess is that they are at 3.67 percent or something. The Iranians are not even doing what they claim to be doing. The IAEA has been saying all along that they've been making progress but basically, Iran is nowhere. Of course the US and Israel are going to say you have to look at the worst case scenario, but there isn't enough evidence to justify a bombing raid.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is this just another case of exaggerating the danger in preparation for an invasion like we saw in 2002 and 2003 prior to the Iraq War?

Hersh: We have this wonderful capacity in America to Hitlerize people. We had Hitler, and since Hitler we've had about 20 of them. Khrushchev and Mao and of course Stalin, and for a little while Gadhafi was our Hitler. And now we have this guy Ahmadinejad. The reality is, he's not nearly as powerful inside the country as we like to think he is. The Revolutionary Guards have direct control over the missile program and if there is a weapons program, they would be the ones running it. Not Ahmadinejad.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Where does this feeling of urgency that the US has with Iran come from?

Hersh: Pressure from the White House. That's just their game.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: What interest does the White House have in moving us to the brink with Tehran?

Hersh: You have to ask yourself what interest we had 40 years ago for going to war in Vietnam. You'd think that in this country with so many smart people, that we can't possibly do the same dumb thing again. I have this theory in life that there is no learning. There is no learning curve. Everything is tabula rasa. Everybody has to discover things for themselves.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Even after Iraq? Aren't there strategic reasons for getting so deeply involved in the Middle East?

Hersh: Oh no. We're going to build democracy. The real thing in the mind of this president is he wants to reshape the Middle East and make it a model. He absolutely believes it. I always thought Henry Kissinger was a disaster because he lies like most people breathe and you can't have that in public life. But if it were Kissinger this time around, I'd actually be relieved because I'd know that the madness would be tied to some oil deal. But in this case, what you see is what you get. This guy believes he's doing God's work.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: So what are the options in Iraq?

Hersh: There are two very clear options: Option A) Get everybody out by midnight tonight. Option B) Get everybody out by midnight tomorrow. The fuel that keeps the war going is us.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: A lot of people have been saying that the US presence there is a big part of the problem. Is anyone in the White House listening?

Hersh: No. The president is still talking about the "Surge" (eds. The "Surge" refers to President Bush's commitment of 20,000 additional troops to Iraq in the spring of 2007 in an attempt to improve security in the country.) as if it's going to unite the country. But the Surge was a con game of putting additional troops in there. We've basically Balkanized the place, building walls and walling off Sunnis from Shiites. And in Anbar Province, where there has been success, all of the Shiites are gone. They've simply split.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is that why there has been a drop in violence there?
Hersh: I think that's a much better reason than the fact that there are a couple more soldiers on the ground.

SPIEGEL ONLINE:So what are the lessons of the Surge?

Hersh: The Surge means basically that, in some way, the president has accepted ethnic cleansing, whether he's talking about it or not. When he first announced the Surge in January, he described it as a way to bring the parties together. He's not saying that any more. I think he now understands that ethnic cleansing is what is going to happen. You're going to have a Kurdistan. You're going to have a Sunni area that we're going to have to support forever. And you're going to have the Shiites in the South.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: So the US is over four years into a war that is likely going to end in a disaster. How valid are the comparisons with Vietnam?

Hersh: The validity is that the US is fighting a guerrilla war and doesn't know the culture. But the difference is that at a certain point, because of Congressional and public opposition, the Vietnam War was no longer tenable. But these guys now don't care. They see it but they don't care.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: If the Iraq war does end up as a defeat for the US, will it leave as deep a wound as the Vietnam War did?

Hersh: Much worse. Vietnam was a tactical mistake. This is strategic. How do you repair damages with whole cultures? On the home front, though, we'll rationalize it away. Don't worry about that. Again, there's no learning curve. No learning curve at all. We'll be ready to fight another stupid war in another two decades.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Of course, preventing that is partially the job of the media. Have reporters been doing a better job recently than they did in the run-up to the Iraq War?

Hersh: Oh yeah. They've done a better job since. But back then, they blew it. When you have a guy like Bush who's going to move the infamous Doomsday Clock forward, and he's going to put everybody in jeopardy and he's secretive and he doesn't tell Congress anything and he's inured to what we write. In such a case, we (journalists) become more important. The First Amendment failed and the American press failed the Constitution. We were jingoistic. And that was a terrible failing. I'm asked the question all the time: What happened to my old paper, the New York Times? And I now say, they stink. They missed it. They missed the biggest story of the time and they're going to have to live with it.

Interview conducted by Charles Hawley and David Gordon Smith SEYMOUR HERSH
AP
Seymour Hersh began his career as a police reporter. But since then, he has risen to become one of the most important investigative journalists in the history of American journalism. Hersh first made a name for himself in 1969 by uncovering the My Lai Massacre during the Vietnam War, for which he won the 1970 Pulitzer Prize. Hersh has worked for the New Yorker since 1992 and in 2004 was instrumental in uncovering the US military's abuses of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Hersh was in Berlin this week to accept the Democracy Prize handed out by the political journal "Blätter für Deutsche und Internationale Politik."


© SPIEGEL ONLINE 2007

samedi 29 septembre 2007

Iraqi media professionals killed in Iraq under US-Occupation

LIST UPDATED : 270 Iraqi and 24 non-Iraqi media professionals killed until 29/09/2007

The betrayal of Iraq’s media professionals.
(Dirk Adriaensens, member BRussells Tribunal executive Committee, 29 September 2007)

A new landmark in the Iraq catastrophe, and a new landmark in history altogether: at least 300 media professionals have died in Iraq.

Suhad Al-Khalidi, reporter for Iraqi Media Network, was killed by US troops on 4 February 2007 when their patrol passed by her car in Hilla. Three guards working for the government funded al-Iraqiya TV were killed by fire of foreign security guards in central Baghdad on 7 February 2007. Foreign security guards accompanying a delegation shot and killed the three guards. Rasoul Abdul Hussein, a reporter, was killed together with his wife in Diwaniya on 21 February 2007. Hamid Mohammed Salih, a program director for the Dijlah radio station, was assassinated in the Jami'a district 0n 19 March 2007. Mohammed Jassim Yousif, a reporter for the Iraqi Media Network, was assassinated west of Baghdad on 31 March. An unknown correspondent for the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram was killed in a car bomb explosion targeting the Shi’ite Khillani mosque in a crowded area of central Baghdad on 19 June 2007. Abdul Khaliq al-Habir al-Anbaki, a caricaturist in al-Mutamar newspaper, was killed along with his 11-member-family in the car bombing attack that took place on 27 July 2007 in Karrada, central Baghdad.

The two things these murders have in common is that these persons were Iraqi media professionals and that their assassination, which occurred in 2007, went unreported by CPJ (Committee to Protect Journalists), and RSF (Reporters Without Borders). These casualties are listed on the BRussells Tribunal website (http://www.brusselstribunal.org/JournalistKilled.htm) and their cases were taken from different press reports.

What’s happening with the Western journalist ethics? What’s happening with the solidarity between Western media professionals and their Iraqi colleagues? The above mentioned killings, did they not take place? Were they not mentioned in one or another press report? Why are they not listed then?

Different journalists organisations defend the interests of their colleagues and/or compile lists of killed media professionals in occupied Iraq: CPJ (Committee to Protect Journalists), RSF (Reporters Without Borders), INSI (International News Safety Institute) – closely linked with the IFJ (International Federation of Journalists), ICasualties (Iraq Coalition Casualty Count), (IFEX) International Freedom of Expression Exchange - who collect most of their data from RSF-, and others, like UNESCO.

CPJ considers a journalist to be killed on duty if the person died as a result of a hostile action—such as reprisal for his or her work, or crossfire while carrying out a dangerous assignment. CPJ does not include journalists killed in accidents, such as car or plane crashes, unless the crash was caused by aggressive human action (for example, if a plane were shot down or a car crashed trying to avoid gunfire). Nor does CPJ include journalists who died of health ailments. They list only 26 Media professionals killed in 2007, of which 5 in a list of pending investigations into suspicious deaths, called Killed: Motive Unconfirmed.

The Freedom Forum Journalists Memorial (Newseum) staffers claim to compile their list from information circulated by the Committee to Protect Journalists, the International Press Institute, the International Freedom of Expression Clearing House, Reporters Sans Frontières, the International Federation of Journalists, the Inter American Press Association, news stories and other sources. A whole lot of sources, it seems. They list only 28 journalists killed in Iraq in 2007.

Reporters without Borders lists only 50 killed media professionals in 2007. INSI lists 57 casualties in 2007.

The BRussells Tribunal lists 300 deceased media professionals since the illegal invasion until now, of which 271 are Iraqi Nationals. 6 died of “non-violent” causes. All the others are violent deaths. The number for 2007 stands at 72 killed media professionals, of which 71 are Iraqis. The latest casualty being an Iraqi newspaper correspondent who was fatally wounded in a rocket attack in Mosul on 28th September 2007.

All the mainstream media worldwide take over the ridiculous figures of CPJ and RSF. Here’s what one usually reads in an article about yet another killing of a media professional:
“According to Reporters Without Borders at least X journalists and media assistants have been killed in Iraq since the start of the war in March 2003; two are missing and 13 are currently being held hostage. Their number may be higher than the CPJ figure quoted above because it includes media assistants as well as journalists.”
“The CPJ count is the most widely cited number in reporting on journalist deaths in Iraq. But the CPJ tally of 61 is misunderstood and incomplete because it excludes dozens of journalists and news organization employees killed or who otherwise died on assignment in Iraq.”, Eason Jordan writes in the IHT on 08 February 2006.

The US Administration, the Brookings Institution, you name it, they all use CPJ, RSF and ICasualties figures of killed media professionals. One would expect that lists of murdered colleagues are compiled with the greatest care, given the importance official bodies attach to these figures. That is not the case. The negligence with which the lists are compiled is revolting. It is another sign of either self-censorship or deliberate downplaying of casualties, something we’re seeing happening with the surveys of civilian casualties in Iraq. The media don’t use the scientific studies of the Lancet or the credible polls of ORB, the media use the ridiculous figure of Iraq Bodycount, an organisation that lists only what the Western media reports. A clear case of inbreeding. A clear case of imitating “His Master’s Voice”.

Please have a look at some figures. These include Journalists, Media workers and unconfirmed cases.

SINCE 2003:
CPJ
Committee to Protect Journalists
Not reported: 132 violent deaths
RSF
Reporters Without Borders
Not reported: 92 violent deaths
INSI
International News Safety Institute
Not reported: 68 violent deaths
ICAS
Iraq Coalition Casualty Count
Not reported: 163 violent deaths
NEWSEUM
Freedom Forum Journalists Memorial
Not reported: 170 violent deaths

In 2007: (until 29 September)
CPJ
Committee to Protect Journalists
Not reported: 45 violent deaths
RSF
Reporters Without Borders
Not reported: 20 violent deaths
INSI
International News Safety Institute
Not reported: 14 violent deaths
ICAS
Iraq Coalition Casualty Count
Not reported: 42 violent deaths
NEWSEUM
Freedom Forum Journalists Memorial
Not reported: 44 violent deaths

Al-Iraqiya director general Habib al-Sadr told AFP last month that at least 75 members of his staff have been killed since he took over the channel in 2005 and another 68 wounded. The BRussells Tribunal list of killed media professionals has less than 1/3rd of this number in its database. So by extrapolation we could conclude that we have listed only about 1/3rd of the real casualties of media professionals in the Iraq war. Why is this claim not being further investigated? Habib al-Sadr’s words are meant for sceptic people who think that the BRussells Tribunal figures have been artificially inflated.

Do I sound too harsh for the Western media organisations? I don’t think so. I’ve written to CPJ and received a meaningless answer. I wrote to RSF and received no answer. I’ve written to many media outlets and received no reaction. I’ve also sent them a previous article: “At least 78 media professionals killed in Iraq in 2006.”, dated 21 February 2007. No reactions, no comment.

By the way: after further research, I discovered that at least 90 media professionals have been killed in 2006, not 78.
Here is the number of killed media professionals by year, according to different press accounts.

Please click on the link below for full article:
http://brusselstribunal.org/

STOP THE WAR March in London on 8th October 2007

STOP THE WAR COALITION
28 September 2007
Email office@stopwar.org.uk
T: 020 7278 6694
Web: http://www.stopwar.org.uk/
IN THIS NEWSLETTER:
1) URGENT - ATTEMPT TO BAN STOP THE WAR MARCH
2) DEMONSTRATE: PARLIAMENT MONDAY 8 OCTOBER
3) NOT ONE MORE DEATH POSTCARD
4) GORDON BROWN OPEN LETTER PUBLISHED 3 OCTOBER
****************************************
1) URGENT - ATTEMPT TO BAN STOP THE WAR MARCH On Monday 8 October the Stop the War Coalition will be marching from Trafalgar Square to Parliament calling for all troops in Iraq to be brought home immediately.
After a series of relatively co-operative meetings, the police now say they have been instructed not to allow the march to take place and that all demonstrations are banned within a mile of Parliament whilst in session.
This is a new development which threatens our democratic rights.

When Gordon Brown became prime minister he promised to liberalise the laws on protest, saying that one of his principles would be, "civil liberties safeguarded and enhanced".

Government ministers, including Gordon Brown, have lined up to support the right to protest in Burma. It is important that these same ministers also defend the rights of people in this country to protest peacefully.

We are determined to march to make our views known to parliament on 8 October, when Gordon Brown will make his long awaited statement on Iraq. We urge everyone who opposes the war policies of our government to join the call for all British troops to come home immediately and to help defend our civil liberties now under attack. We have produced a petition calling on the authorities to review the decision to ban the march.
SIGN THE PETITION ONLINE aimed at defending our right to protest peacefully. You can do this here: http://www.stopwar.org.uk/
DOWNLOAD AND PRINT THE PETITION
Collect as many signatures as you can and send filled petition sheets to Stop the War Coalition, 27 Britannia Street, WC1X 9JP Download for printing here: http://www.stopwar.org.uk/
Please spread the word as widely as you can about the demonstration on Monday 8 October (full details below).
****************************************
2) DEMONSTRATE: PARLIAMENT MONDAY 8 OCTOBER NOT ONE MORE DEATH - BRING ALL THE TROOPS HOME NOW ASSEMBLE FOR RALLY 1.0 PM TRAFALGAR SQUARE Speakers include:
TONY BENN
MARK STEEL, comedian and writer
BEN GRIFFIN, ex-soldier who served in Iraq BOB WAREING MP GEMMA TUMELTY, president, National Union of Students LINDSEY GERMAN, national convenor, Stop the War BILLY HAYES general secretary, Communication Workers Union For more details, see: http://www.stopwar.org.uk/
****************************************
3) NOT ONE MORE DEATH POSTCARD
The Stop the War Not One More Death postcard, designed by eminent artist David Gentleman, is now available from the Stop the War office. The postcard is being used in a write-in campaign to Gordon Brown, calling for a change in government policy, to break Britain's subservience to George Bush's warmongering. Stop the War local groups plan to distribute the postcard at every tube station, bus terminal, train station, in workplaces and community centres, churches and mosques.
Contact the Stop the War Office to order postcards in bulk. If you would like to distribute the postcards in your local community, college, school or workplace or among friends and relatives, please contact us.
Phone: 020 7278 6694
Email: office@stopwar.org.uk
SEE THE POSTCARD DESIGN HERE:
http://www.stopwar.org.uk/
****************************************
4) GORDON BROWN OPEN LETTER PUBLISHED 3 OCTOBER Stop the War's open letter to Gordon Brown calling for the withdrawal of all British troops from Iraq will be published in a full page advert, funded by supporters of Stop the War, in The Guardian on Wednesday 3 October (See http://tinyurl.com/3xafku).
Among the hundreds of signatories are:
Tariq Ali, Iain Banks, Tony Benn, Ian Brown, Caryl Churchill, Harry Cohen MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Bob Crow (Gen Sec RMT) Brian Eno, George Galloway MP, Rose Gentle (MFAW) David Gentleman, Lindsey German, (Convenor STWC), Bill Greenshields (National VP, NUT), Ben Griffin (ex SAS soldier), Kelvin Hopkins MP, Kate Hudson (Chair CND), Jean Lambert MEP, Dr Caroline Lucas MEP, Alice Mahon, Prof Kamil Majid, Miriam Margolyes, John McDonnell MP, Adrian Mitchell, Greg Mulholland MP, Andrew Murray (Chair STWC), Michael Nyman, Adam Price MP, Sami Ramadani, John Rees (Sec Respect Coalition), Yvonne Ridley, Paul Rowen MP, Mark Rylance, Prof David Seddon, Alan Simpson MP, Linda Smith, Chair Respect Coalition, Prof Andrew Spencer, Hans von Sponeck, Prof Phil Taylor, Mark Thomas, UNISON (London Fire Authority), Walter Wolfgang, Tony Woodley (Joint Gen Sec UNITE), Cllr Salma Yaqoob, Susannah York, Haifa Zangana, Benjamin Zephaniah

U.S. soldiers shooting and bombing unarmed civilians in Iraq

Soldier: Sgt. ordered me to shoot Iraqi man

By Katarina Kratovac - The Associated Press
Thursday Sep 27, 2007

BAGHDAD — A U.S. soldier broke down in tears Thursday as he testified that he was ordered to shoot an unarmed Iraqi man, and that his sergeant, a North Carolina man, laughed and told the trooper to finish the job as the man convulsed on the ground.

Sgt. Evan Vela’s testimony came during the court-martial of Spc. Jorge G. Sandoval, of Laredo, Texas. Sandoval is on trial for allegedly killing Iraqis and trying to cover up the deaths by planting weapons at the scene.
Vela, Sandoval and Staff Sgt. Michael Hensley of Candler, N.C., are all charged in the case.
Vela testified that Hensley told him to shoot the Iraqi man, although he was not armed and had his hands in the air when he approached the soldiers.

“He asked me if I was ready. I had the pistol out. I heard the word ‘shoot.’ I don’t remember pulling the trigger. It took me a second to realize that the shot came from the pistol in my hand,” he said, crying and speaking barely above a whisper.

Vela said that as the Iraqi man was convulsing on the ground, “Hensley laughed about it and hit the guy on the throat and said shoot again.”

“After [the Iraqi man] was shot, Sergeant Hensley pulled an AK-47 out of his rucksack and said, ‘This is what we are going to say happened,’” Vela said. He was dismissed from the witness stand to compose himself.

Vela said Sandoval, who was nearby providing security, was not present during the killing outside Iskandariyah, a mostly Sunni Arab city 30 miles south of Baghdad.

Sandoval faces five charges, including an April 27 murder of an unknown Iraqi male, placing a detonation wire on his body, premeditated murder of the Iraqi on May 11, placing an AK-47 rifle on his body and failing to ensure humane treatment of a detainee — the victim.

He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted. He has pleaded not guilty.
Vela, of Rigby, Idaho, was flown from Kuwait to testify under a deal that would bar his words from being used against him when he stands before a court-martial.
The investigation began after military authorities received reports of alleged wrongdoing from fellow soldiers, the Army has said. Sandoval was arrested in June while on a two-week leave visiting his family.

Vela’s defense attorney, Gary Myers, claimed earlier this week that Army snipers hunting insurgents in Iraq were under orders to “bait” their targets with suspicious materials, such as detonation cords, then kill those who picked up the items. He said his client was acting on “orders.”

The Washington Post, which first reported the “baiting” program, said it was devised by the Army’s Asymmetric Warfare Group, which advises commanders in unconventional conflicts.

Within months of the “baiting” program’s introduction, Sandoval, Vela and Hensley were charged with murder for allegedly using those tactics to make shootings seem legitimate, according to the Post.
The Army has declined to confirm such a program existed.

The Iraq war has seen U.S. service members face prosecution in several high-profile incidents, including abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison, the killings of 24 civilians by Marines in Hadithah, and the rape and killing of a 14-year-old girl and the slaying of her family south of Baghdad. Iraqis have accused American soldiers of unnecessary killings or abuse.

http://www.armytimes.com/news/2007/09/ap_iraqsoldiertrial_070927/


Note: The U.S. Army Sniper/killer Jorge G Sandoval has been acquitted !
A Military Panel has found him Not Guilty of Murder and has convicted this killer of Planting Evidence only!

The New York times reports:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/28/world/middleeast/28iraq.html?_r=4&oref=slogin&ref=world&pagewanted=print&oref=slogin

American forces said Thursday that they were investigating the deaths of nine civilians in a village about 60 miles southwest of Baghdad. The bodies — five women and four children — were found after a raid in Babahani village by American forces on Tuesday, according to a news release.

“Coalition Forces conducted operations in the area using ground and air assets prior to the discovery of the bodies,” the release said.
According to Iraqi military sources, the American raid began around 11 p.m. when a bomb was dropped on one of the houses in which the women and children apparently were staying. Shortly afterward, a second house was struck, killing two men and wounding two others, according to an officer from the Iraqi Army’s Eighth Division, First Brigade. Soldiers then entered a mosque and detained the imam, Mohammed Hassan al-Janabi, the officer said, and the operation was over by 1 a.m.

vendredi 28 septembre 2007

Blackwater Guards Killed 16 as US touted progress

By Leila Fadel McClatchy Newspapers
Thursday 27 September 2007

Baghdad - On Sept. 9, the day before Army Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. military commander in Iraq, and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker told Congress that things were getting better, Batoul Mohammed Ali Hussein came to Baghdad for the day.

A clerk in the Iraqi customs office in Diyala province, she was in the capital to drop off and pick up paperwork at the central office near busy al Khilani Square, not far from the fortified Green Zone, where top U.S. and Iraqi officials live and work. U.S. officials often pass through the square in heavily guarded convoys on their way to other parts of Baghdad.

As Hussein walked out of the customs building, an embassy convoy of sport-utility vehicles drove through the intersection. Blackwater security guards, charged with protecting the diplomats, yelled at construction workers at an unfinished building to move back. Instead, the workers threw rocks. The guards, witnesses said, responded with gunfire, spraying the intersection with bullets.

Hussein, who was on the opposite side of the street from the construction site, fell to the ground, shot in the leg. As she struggled to her feet and took a step, eyewitnesses said, a Blackwater security guard trained his weapon on her and shot her multiple times. She died on the spot, and the customs documents she'd held in her arms fluttered down the street.

Before the shooting stopped, four other people were killed in what would be the beginning of eight days of violence that Iraqi officials say bolster their argument that Blackwater should be banned from working in Iraq.

During the ensuing week, as Crocker and Petraeus told Congress that the surge of more U.S. troops to Iraq was beginning to work and President Bush gave a televised address in which he said "ordinary life was beginning to return" to Baghdad, Blackwater security guards shot at least 43 people on crowded Baghdad streets. At least 16 of those people died.

Two Blackwater guards died in one of the incidents, which was triggered when a roadside bomb struck a Blackwater vehicle.

Still, it was an astounding amount of violence attributed to Blackwater. In the same eight-day period, according to statistics compiled by McClatchy Newspapers, other acts of violence across the embattled capital claimed the lives of 32 people and left 87 injured, not including unidentified bodies found dumped on Baghdad's streets.

The best known of that week's incidents took place the following Sunday, Sept. 16, when Blackwater guards killed 11 and wounded 12 at the busy al Nisour traffic circle in central Baghdad.

Iraqi officials said the guards were unprovoked when they opened fire on a white car carrying three people, including a baby. All died. The security guards then fired at other nearby vehicles, including a minibus loaded with passengers, killing a mother of eight. An Iraqi soldier also died.

In Blackwater's only statement regarding the Sept. 16 incident, Anne Tyrell, the company's spokeswoman, denied that the dead were civilians. "The 'civilians' reportedly fired upon by Blackwater professionals were in fact armed enemies," she said in an e-mail, "and Blackwater personnel returned defensive fire."

A joint commission of five U.S. State Department officials, three U.S. military officials and eight Iraqis has been formed to investigate the incident, though almost two weeks later, the commission has yet to meet. A U.S. Embassy statement on Thursday, the first official written comment from the embassy since the al Nisour shooting, said that the group was "preparing" to meet.

Blackwater and the U.S. Embassy didn't respond to requests for information about the other incidents.
But interviews with eyewitnesses and survivors of each incident describe similar circumstances in which Blackwater guards took aggressive action against civilians who seemed to pose no threat.

"They killed her in cold blood," Hussein Jumaa Hassan, 30, a parking lot attendant, said of Hussein.
Hassan pointed to the bullet-pocked concrete column behind him. He'd hidden behind it.
"I was boiling with anger, and I wished that I had a weapon in my hands in those minutes," he said. "They wanted to kill us all."
Anyone who moved was shot until the convoy left the square, witnesses said. Also among the dead was Kadhim Gayes, a city hall guard.
It took two days for Hussein's family to retrieve her body from the morgue. Before they could, her sister signed a sheet acknowledging the contents of her purse, which had been collected by security guards at the Baghdad city hall - a Samsung cell phone, a change purse with six keys and 37,000 Iraqi dinars ($30), gold bracelets, a notebook, pens, and photos of her and her children.

Three days later, Blackwater guards were back in al Khilani Square, Iraqi government officials said. This time, there was no shooting, witnesses said. Instead, the Blackwater guards hurled frozen bottles of water into store windows and windshields, breaking the glass.

Ibrahim Rubaie, the deputy security director at a nearby Baghdad city government office building, said it's common for Blackwater guards to shoot as they drive through the square. He said Blackwater guards also shot and wounded people in the square on June 21, though there are no official reports of such an incident.

On Sept. 13 - the same day Bush gave his "ordinary life" speech - Blackwater guards were escorting State Department officials down Palestine Street near the Shiite enclave of Sadr City when a roadside bomb detonated, ripping through one of the Blackwater vehicles.

The blast killed two Blackwater guards. As other guards went to retrieve the dead, they fired wildly in several directions, witnesses said.

Mohammed Mazin was at home when he heard the bang, which shattered one of his windows.
Then he heard gunfire, and he and his son, Laith, went to the roof to see what was going on.
What they saw were security contractors shooting in different directions as a helicopter hovered overhead. Bullets flew through his home's windows, he said.
No civilians were killed that day, but five were wounded, according to Iraq's Interior Ministry.
The following Sunday, Blackwater guards opened fire as the State Department convoy they were escorting crossed in front of stopped traffic at the al Nisour traffic circle.
While U.S. officials have offered no explanation of what occurred that day, witnesses and Iraqi investigators agree that the guards' first target was a white car that either hadn't quite stopped or was trying to nudge its way to the front of traffic.

In the car were a man whose name is uncertain; Mahasin Muhsin, a mother and doctor; and Muhsin's young son. The guards first shot the man, who was driving. As Muhsin screamed, a Blackwater guard shot her. The car exploded, and Muhsin and the child burned, witnesses said.

Afrah Sattar, 27, was on a bus approaching the square when she saw the guards fire on the white car. She and her mother, Ghania Hussein, were headed to the Certificate of Identification Office in Baghdad to pick up proof of Sattar's Iraqi citizenship for an upcoming trip to a religious shrine in Iran.

When she saw the gunmen turn toward the bus, Sattar looked at her mother in fear. "They're going to shoot at us, Mama," she said. Her mother hugged her close. Moments later, a bullet pierced her mother's skull and another struck her shoulder, Sattar recalled.

As her mother's body went limp, blood dripped onto Sattar's head, still cradled in her mother's arms.

"Mother, mother," she called out. No answer. She hugged her mother's body and kissed her lips and began to pray, "We belong to God and we return to God." The bus emptied, and Sattar sat alone at the back, with her mother's bleeding body.
"I'm lost now, I'm lost," she said days later in her simple two-bedroom home. Ten people lived there; now there are nine.

"They are killers," she said of the Blackwater guards. "I swear to God, not one bullet was shot at them. Why did they shoot us? My mother didn't carry a weapon."
Downstairs, her father, Sattar Ghafil Slom al Kaabi, 67, sat beneath a smiling picture of his wife and recalled their 40-year love story and how they raised eight children together. On the way to the holy city of Najaf to bury her, he'd stopped his car, with her coffin strapped to the top. He got out and stood beside the coffin. He wanted to be with her a little longer.

"I loved her more than anything," he said, his voice wavering. "Now that she is dead, I love her more."
--------
Special correspondents Mohammed al Dulaimy, Hussein Kadhim and Laith Hammoudi contributed to this report.

Go to Orignal

KERKUK IS NOT IN KURDISH TERRITORY



Letter to: NBC Middle-East Correspondent Mr. Richard Engel

Dear Sir,

Subject: Misinformation about Kerkuk in your presentation

In your presentation “Fighting for Iraq: A regional power playhttp://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17722026
you state that Kerkuk is in ‘Kurdish territory’, this is false, Kerkuk province is not part of the Kurdish Autonomous Region and Kerkuk city is not and has never been a Kurdish city.

Moreover, you do not mention the Turkmens despite the fact that they are Iraq’s third most important ethnic community together with the Arabs and Kurds and northern Iraq’s second main ethnic community alongside the Kurds.

You have completely ignored the existence of these 3 million Turkmens who represent 12% of the Iraqi population (see text below by Dr. Hassan Aydinli, ITF Europe Representative and President of the Committee for the Defence of the Iraqi Turkmens’ Rights).

Please consult reliable sources before making a presentation about Iraq’s ethnic and religious communities. As it is, your presentation is erroneous, incomplete and biased, surely you readers deserve better.

Yours truly,

Merry Fitzgerald
Committee for the Defence of Iraqi Turkmens’ rights – Belgium
THE TURKMENS
The Turkmens are the third main ethnic group in Iraq and the second main ethnic group in the north of Iraq. Their population is estimated at 3 million (12% of the Iraqi population).

Northern Iraq has been the homeland of the Iraqi Turkmens for over a millennium. The Turkmen region TURKMENELI lies between the Arab and Kurdish regions of Iraq, it stretches from Tel Afer in northern Iraq near the Syrian border to Mendeli near the Iranian border. The Turkmen population in Iraq is concentrated in the Provinces of Musul, Erbil, Kerkuk, Salaheddin, Dyala and Baghdad. Their biggest concentration is in Kerkuk, their capital city and main cultural centre since more than 800 years. Turkmens have played a constructive and important role in Mesopotamia (Iraq) where they established states and principalities and governed the region during centuries.

Since the creation of the Iraqi State in 1921 as a consequence of World War One which caused the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire and the inclusion of the actual north of Iraq (Musul Vilayati) into the Iraqi State, the Turkmens are systematically discriminated, marginalized and oppressed in Iraq for geopolitical and economical reasons as the Turkmen region contains huge oil and gas reserves, concentrated around Kerkuk and Khanaqin. For these economical and geopolitical reasons the successive Iraqi governments have tried to assimilate the Turkmens and purposely underestimated their number and true representation in Iraq, considering them as a small minority.

Since the occupation of Iraq by the Anglo-American forces on 9th April 2003 the situation of the Turkmens has deteriorated even more and more dramatically as a result of the U.S. decision to allow the Kurdish parties (KDP and PUK) and their militia to penetrate, occupy and control Kerkuk and all other important Turkmen towns and cities of the Turkmen region, as a reward for their collaboration during the invasion of Iraq. Since then, the Turkmens are subjected to even harsher policies of discrimination, marginalization and oppression, but this time by the Kurdish Parties which are now controlling the entire north of Iraq and for the same economical and geopolitical reasons.

The Kurds claim that Kerkuk is a Kurdish city; they are now actively busy kurdifying it, their aim is to annex Kerkuk to the Kurdish Autonomous Region in order to benefit alone from its oil and gas wealth. To achieve this goal the Kurdish parties have brought over 600.000 Kurds from the Kurdish autonomous region as well as from Syria, Iran and Turkey and settled them in Kerkuk and its surroundings, some of them in the houses vacated by fleeing Arabs, some others in government buildings, military camps, military personnel housing and compounds in and around Kerkuk and the remaining are still waiting in their makeshift houses and slums established on the lands belonging to the Turkmens. All of this is in preparation to annex Kerkuk to the Kurdish region through a referendum at the end of 2007 called for by the infamous Article 140, which was conceived and written by the Kurds and which has been incorporated under the pressure of their lobby in the “New Iraqi Constitution”.

For the above reasons, Turkmens denounce the Kurdish hegemony in the north of Iraq as well as Kurdish influence and manipulations of Iraqi politics since 2003, they reject Article 140, they are against the annexation of Kerkuk and other Turkmen town and cities to the Kurdish Autonomous Region, they demand the revision of the New Iraqi Constitution in order to be recognized as the third main community in Iraq, with rights equal to those obtained by the Arabs and the Kurds.
Dr. Hassan Aydinli
ITF Europe Representative
President of the Committee for the Defence of the Iraqi Turkmens’ Rights - Belgium



Attachments:

1) Map of Iraq showing TURKMENELI, the region where the Turkmens are the majority.
2) “Turkmens, Turkmeneli and the Musul Region” by Orhan Ketene


For further information about the Turkmens please see:

http://turkmenfriendship.blogspot.com/2007/08/appeal-from-iraqi-turkmen-front.html

http://www.turkmen.nl/

http://www.turkmeninstitute.org/


Nermeen Al-Mufti: The privatisation of security in Iraq threatens more than innocent civilians

Nermeen Al-Mufti, Iraqi Journalist


'We'll revoke Al-Maliki's licence first'

The privatisation of security in Iraq threatens more than innocent civilians, reports Nermeen Al-Mufti

The killing of 11 civilians in Baghdad two weeks ago has once again put Blackwater on the spot. The US security firm first came into the public eye in early April 2004, when four of its personnel were killed and mutilated by mobs in Falluja. Although Iraqi religious parties denounced the attacks at the time, Bush gave the town four days to deliver the perpetrators before ordering an all-out attack, one in which thousands of Falluja inhabitants perished.

The Iraqi government would like to see Blackwater brought to account. But that is not going to be easy. The spokesman for the Iraqi Interior Ministry, Abdul-Karim Khalif, says that the ministry provided Iraqi courts with evidence against Blackwater concerning other shootings over the past seven months.
In one shooting last February, three of the guards of Al-Iraqiya television were killed. On 9 September, five Iraqis were killed when Blackwater personnel fired at them near the municipality building in Baghdad. Three days later, five other citizens were wounded in another shooting on Palestine Street.
Blackwater, the Iraqi Interior Ministry maintains, is also involved in the killing of an Iraqi journalist near the Iraqi Foreign Ministry building in Baghdad in February, as well as the killing of a citizen near the Iraqi Interior Ministry building in Baghdad in May.

"Most of the laws passed by Paul Bremer, the civilian administrator of Iraq under US occupation, remain in force. Some of these laws violate Iraqi sovereignty, including a law that prevents Iraqis from prosecuting any American or any individual who cooperates with America or the coalition authorities, whether civilian or military," Abu Abdullah, an Iraqi lawyer, told Al-Ahram Weekly.

Following the recent incident in Baghdad, Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki threatened to revoke Blackwater's licence. What he later discovered was that the company was working in Iraq without a licence.
The Americans weren't impressed by Al-Maliki's uncharacteristic boldness. "We'll revoke Al-Maliki's licence before he revokes Blackwater's licence," a US official quipped.

Within four days of the incident, Blackwater was back in operation. A spokesman for Operation Imposing Law said that the services of private contractors in Iraq cannot be discontinued without creating a security vacuum.
According to media reports, the Iraqis and Americans have formed an eight-member committee to investigate the Blackwater incident. The committee is co-chaired by a top US diplomat and the Iraqi defence minister.

Blackwater has over 20,000 personnel in Iraq, all well- armed and backed with armoured vehicles and aircraft. The company has military equipment comparable to that used by the US army and its pilots fly reconnaissance missions over Baghdad on a daily basis.
Last April, one of its helicopters was shot down during clashes in Al-Fadl district of Baghdad.

According to press reports, about 34 per cent of the budget the US government initially allocated for the reconstruction of Iraq has been diverted to private security firms.
The "privatisation" of the war in Iraq is well underway, The Los Angeles Times reported. In his book, Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army, American investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill links the modern security firm to the Knights of Malta, an offshoot of the Knights Templar. Blackwater's employees, he argues, share the same religious zeal of ancient crusaders.
"Private security companies -- whether American, British, or South African -- do not differ much from Iraq's sectarian militias. These companies act as if they were entitled to commit any crime on the pretext of self-defence," Abu Abdullah said.
US federal authorities are currently investigating the involvement of Blackwater employees in smuggling weapons into Iraq.

Meanwhile, US airborne troops shot dead seven Iraqi civilians in the predominantly Sunni town of Al-Mahmoudiya, 20km south of Baghdad. Little else is known about the operation. But US authorities regularly claim that such attacks are part of their offensive against Al-Qaeda. Similar operations take place in Sadr City frequently, the target in that case being the Mahdi Army.

Prime Minister Al-Maliki is in New York for the meetings of the UN General Assembly. He is expected to meet with the foreign ministers of countries neighbouring Iraq as well as with US President George W Bush.
In Baghdad, Al-Maliki's government continues to operate with 16 ministers, down from 30, after the resignation of the ministers representing the Sadr Group, the Accordance Front, and the Iraqi List. The latter groups are planning to form a united front and challenge Al-Maliki's government in a parliamentary vote of confidence. Al-Maliki's supporters have asked Ayatollah Al-Sistani to intercede with the withdrawing parties and get them back into the government.
According to the Iraqi Red Crescent, over two million Iraqis have left their homes due to sectarian violence. About 250 Sunni families were forced out of Al-Washwash section of Baghdad in the past two weeks.

Four cholera cases have been reported in Baghdad this week, amid fears of an epidemic. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 1,500 cholera cases have been discovered in the country since 20 August. Polluted water supplies and poor sewage facilities are blamed for the spread of the disease.
Iraq has no health minister, its last minister having fled to the US in June after being accused of involvement in sectarian violence.

© Copyright Al-Ahram Weekly. All rights reserved
Al-Ahram Weekly Online : Located at: http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2007/864/re71.htm

Dis Mona et parle d'insécurité

26-09-2007
Jeudi dernier à Vienne, les pays arabes ainsi que d’autres pays musulmans ont proposé à la Conférence de l’AIEA une résolution appelant en faveur de la dénucléarisation de tous les pays du Moyen et Proche-Orient.

Elle a été adoptée par 53 contre deux. Les deux contre, faut-il le préciser ayant été les US(a) et Israël, mais cette motion non contraignante a mérité l’abstention de 47 nations- essentiellement occidentales et développées. Parmi les européennes, seule l’Irlande s’est distinguée en sa faveur.

Le jeu de l’ambiguïté sur la possession d’armes nucléaires par Israël n’est plus de mise quand Yahud Olmet a affirmé, comme piqué au vif, à l’automne 2006 lors de sa visite en Allemagne que la dissuasion nucléaire est bien entre les mains de son pays juste au lendemain de son revers militaire infligé par le Hezbollah.

Les Britanniques ont fourni dans les années cinquante le minerai enrichi et les Français ont donné l’assistance technologique pour la construction de la centrale et la mise au point de la bombe atomique. Une partie du personnel du CEA résidant sur le site de Dimona en Israël et Saclay offrant des laboratoires privilégiés à des Israéliens, initiant ainsi le début d’une coopération scientifique franco-israélienne à sens unique, non démenti depuis (voir le budget CNRS INERM en accroissement continu voué à Israël).

Une résolution de ce type a été proposée l’année dernière lors de l’assemblée générale de l’AIEA par les pays du Moyen Orient qui voulait contraindre tous les pays de la région de se soumettre aux principes de sauvegarde du Traité de Non Prolifération des armes atomiques, votée par une majorité écrasante moins les deux, US(a) et Israël.

Deux nouvelles ont été rajoutées cette année, l’une exigeant que le Moyen Orient devienne une zone sans armes nucléaires (nuclear weapons free-zone), c’est-à-dire interdite de fabriquer, tester ou de les déployer sur son sol, l’autre requérant des grandes puissances nucléaires de ne pas déjouer cette démarche.

L’ambassadeur égyptien a plaidé pour que les membres de l’AIEA se rangent autour d’un consensus afin que la compliance vis-à-vis du TNP soit universelle et que le Moyen-Orient ne subisse pas la loi d’airain du double standard.
La Chine, l’Inde, la Russie, le Japon, les pays d’Amérique latine et des pays africains se sont accordés en faveur d’un Moyen-Orient dénucléarisé, ce qui valide une fois de plus que le conflit israélo-palestinien n’existe pas.

Ce qui existe bel et bien, c’est une agression et une mainmise continue de l’Occident sur les pays de la région, Israël ayant été une invention sioniste et une création mises en œuvre par l’Occident.

Encore une fois, une résolution de l’AIEA n’a rien de contraignant, et l’occasion était trop belle pour l’Égypte de Moubarak héritée de Sadate, responsable de la brisure définitive du front arabe en 1979 et factotum d’USraël dans la région, de jouer sans risque au champion de la cause arabe.

Les menaces très activement entretenues contre l’Iran, aux prétextes alternatifs ou concomitants qui lui sont attribués, vouloir développer un armement nucléaire et/ou fournir assistance à la résistance irakienne, tiennent en un seul argument, aucune puissance d’aucune sorte ne doit poindre dans la région qui puisse concurrencer l’hégémonie israélienne.

L’Irak est la preuve agonisante de cette axiomatique sioniste, au travers de la guerre Iran-Irak fournie clés en mains par la stratégie USraélienne, de l’invasion du Koweit d’abord autorisée puis punie par la Tempête du désert et 13 ans d’embargo et maintenant le génocide qui l’anéantit depuis avril 2003.

À cet Occident qui usurpe le titre de l’universel pour dominer le reste du monde, Ahmadinajad a raison de dire que le point de vue de l’Occident n’est pas celui du Monde.

Le régime sioniste fondé sur la discrimination ethnique, l’occupation et la spoliation des terres, la menace et l’agression constante sur ses voisins en vue d’un expansionnisme dont le but avoué est l’annexion de toute la zone entre le Nil et l’Euphrate n’a pas à être le standard imposé à l’humanité.

La campagne électorale présidentielle aux US(a) toujours en cours en raison d’un mandat de brève durée est l’occasion d’une surenchère des candidats à propos du seul sujet qui ne les divise pas, leur soutien inconditionnel au régime sioniste. Cette exceptionnalité va jusqu’au point de modeler la quasi entièreté de la politique étrangère étasunienne.

C’est dire que le monde est de moins en moins sûr, de plus en plus exposé aux guerres, aux bains de sang, à l’injustice et à l’insécurité.

Convergence des Causes 26 septembre 2007
http://www.convergencedescauses.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1022

Security Company Death Squads Timeline

Italian Squadristi
There is an uncanny resemblance between the the WW2 Italian Squadristi [1], Blackwater and the thousands of other “security” forces.
By Dirk Adriaensens and Sarah Meyer


SECURITY, OED. "The condition of being protected from or not exposed to danger; freedom from doubt; Now, chiefly, well-founded confidence, certainty; freedom from care, anxiety or apprehension."
There is no such thing as "security". "Security" companies were formed to make money on our anxieties, just as pharmaceutical companies financially thrive on anxiety about health and have a vested interest in illness.
Dirk Adriaensens has been involved with Iraq for 17 years. He is on the executive committee of the BRussels Tribunal and is the coordinator of SOS Iraq.
He writes:"Security guys and gals don't have to abide by the Geneva Conventions. They do as they wish. No rules, no regulations. They can operate with impunity.
As such these "security companies" can be called "death squads". Not "Angels of Death" but "Devils of Death". For this, they make a lot of money. Privatization of war is big, big business."
The documentation by The BRussells Tribunal in The Salvador Option Exposed asks "Who is Blowing up Iraq?"
There is a full list of articles concerning death squads published on The BRussells Tribunal website.We have to ask what is the motive for violent occupation, for violence in one's own country as well as in another's country. Security Company Death Squads Timeline is a follow - up to Sarah Meyer's original article, Iraq Security Companies and Training Camps (17.05.06).
This first research contained the history with lists of security companies.
The present article is resource material which has been collected since May 2006.
Please see BRussells Tribunal website to read complete article:
http://www.brusselstribunal.org/

jeudi 27 septembre 2007

Many Iraqi Arabs paid to leave Kerkuk

Around 2,000 Arabs agree to leave current homes after receiving compensation of $15,000 each.

KIRKUK, Iraq - Thousands of Iraqi Arabs have accepted financial compensation to leave the northern city of Kirkuk, which leaders of the autonomous Kurdish region are seeking to control, a minister said Thursday.

Around 2,000 Arabs living there had agreed to leave their homes and return to their original provinces under an initiative launched by the committee in charge of overseeing relations in Kirkuk, Environment Minister Nermeen Othman said.

"The supreme committee... finished approving 2,000 applications submitted by Arab residents in Kirkuk who want to receive compensation of 15,000 dollars (10,600 euros) to return to their original residence places," she said.

Technical problems related to changing ID registers had prevented the payment of cheques so far, but the applicants had been approved and would be paid in the next few days, she said.

According to Othman, herself a Kurd, a budget of 200 million dollars has been allocated by the Iraq government to pay the compensation packages of those willing to leave the city.

Many of the Arabs have been subjected to violence by Kurds in order to force them to leave the oil-rich city.

Tensions between Kirkuk's Kurdish, Arab, and Turkmen communities have risen ahead of a constitutionally mandated popular referendum on the oil-rich city's future, which is supposed to be held this year.

One million Arabs, Kurds and Turkmens live in Kirkuk although the exact split between the communities is not officially known.

Kirkuk's Kurds would like to see it join the Kurdish Regional Government.
The new Iraqi constitution adopted after the US-led invasion in March 2003 stipulates that Kirkuk's status must be sorted out before the end of 2007 by a referendum.

No date has been fixed for the referendum, which the Kurds have been strongly encouraging as they are confident of winning a majority, but which Baghdad says cannot be held until after a proper census.

Kirkuk's Sunni Arabs and its centuries-old Turkmen community want to postpone the vote until the dust of war clears.

http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=22389

The U.S. imperialist plan to divide Iraq

The neo-con Zionists Senate in the U.S. planning to carve up Iraq in three semi-autonomous regions.

Senate Endorses Plan to Divide Iraq
By Shailagh Murray
The Washington Post
Wednesday 26 September 2007
(Excerpt)
Action shows rare bipartisan consensus.
Showing rare bipartisan consensus over war policy, the Senate overwhelmingly endorsed a political settlement for Iraq that would divide the country into three semi-autonomous regions.

The plan, conceived by Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.), was approved 75-23 as a non-binding resolution, with 26 Republican votes. It would not force President Bush to take any action, but it represents a significant milestone in the Iraq debate, carving out common ground in a debate that has grown increasingly polarized and focused on military strategy.

The Biden plan envisions a federal government system for Iraq, consisting of separate regions for Iraq's Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish populations. The structure is spelled out in Iraq's constitution, but Biden would initiate local and regional diplomatic efforts to hasten its evolution.

"This has genuine bipartisan support, and I think that's a very hopeful sign," Biden said.

Juan Cole on causes for Cholera outbreak throughout Iraq

A frightening spread of cholera and cholera-like symptoms up and down Iraq is now being reported, with cases in Basra in the deep south and also in the north.

The outbreak is rooted in the breakdown of water purification plants and possibly in an interdiction of chlorine trucks by the US military, for fear the guerrillas will take them over and use them for truck bombings (it has happened).

But at some point the US military will have to choose between the risk of chlorine truck bombs and the deaths or illness of thousands of Iraqis.

Little relief in sight for millions of displaced Iraqis by Nir Rosen

http://www.chris-floyd.com/content/view/1296/135/

If you would like a glimpse of the raging, death-clotted hell that George W. Bush and his willing executioners in the bipartisan American Establishment have created in Iraq, then steel yourself and plunge into Nir Rosen's shattering report in the latest issue of Boston Review: No Going Back.

Rosen, long one of the most dogged and fearless truth-tellers about Iraq, portrays a reality light-years away from the obscenely mendacious and ignorant American "debate" over Bush's rapine and its consequences. He takes as his theme the millions of Iraqis driven from their homes by the invasion and occupation – and by the Iraqi "government's" own "security forces." These ruthless militias – armed, trained, funded and empowered by the United States – are, as Rosen rightly terms them, death squads, carrying out a savage ethnic cleansing – with American connivance – while waging a multi-sided civil war, again with the eager assistance of the White House and its myrmidons.

You should read the whole piece – a deftly-woven tapestry of individual stories of the actual human beings whose lives and families have been ravaged by this war crime carried out in your name – but below are some excerpts, mostly drawn from Rosen's devastating conclusion:

For the U.S. to acknowledge the size and seriousness of the humanitarian disaster in Iraq would be to admit that the recent troop “surge” is not working. According to a senior UN official, “the U.S. government doesn’t want to admit there is a refugee problem because it is a sign of failure.” It would also mean acknowledging that a massive process of ethnic cleansing has taken place under the watch of the U.S.-backed government—indeed, that it has been perpetrated by the Iraqi government’s own security forces....
What will happen to Iraq?
Think Mogadishu, small warlords controlling various neighborhoods, militias preying on those left behind, more powerful warlords controlling areas with resources, such as oil fields, ports, and lucrative pilgrimage routes and shrines. Irredentist Sunni militias will attempt to retake their lost land, but they will be pushed into the Anbar Province, Jordan, and Syria, where they may link up with local Islamist militants to destabilize Amman and Damascus. Some will look to fight elsewhere; unable to continue the jihad in Iraq they will find common cause with Palestinians, Lebanese, Syrians, and others alienated from their societies and hateful of Shias. The new rump Shia statelet, including Baghdad and the South, will be quarantined by the Sunni states in the region and pushed inexorably into Iranian hands whether Shia Iraqis want this or not. It will be isolated and radicalized, and Shia militias loyal to Muqtada al Sadr, Abdul Aziz al Hakim, Muhamad al Yaqubi, and others will battle for power.

There is no “surge.” At best it can be called an ooze, a slow increase of American occupying forces by a mere 15 percent, consisting of few new soldiers and many whose terms of service have been merely extended. Yet the U.S. has doubled the size of its mission, announcing it will also take on the Shia militias as well as the Sunni ones. On the ground, that means American soldiers secure areas and then hand them over to Iraqi security forces who impose a reign of terror on the inhabitants. In the Iraqi civil war the army and police are not the solution; they are combatants, fighting on behalf of Shia-sectarian Islamist parties. The vaunted efforts to train Iraqi security forces have merely trained better death squads.

The Americans continue to imprison thousands of Iraqis, and kill many others. Meanwhile, humanitarian organizations that would normally demand that the United States comply with international law and hand over imprisoned Iraqis to the “sovereign” Iraqi government are not doing so, knowing that their treatment at the hands of the government would be far worse than anything they would endure while in American captivity.

The occupation is not benign. It is profoundly painful, humiliating, and lethal.

An American withdrawal would certainly lead other countries in the region, whether Turkey, Jordan, Iran, Syria, or Saudi Arabia, to increase their involvement in Iraq. It would also mean an expedited removal of Sunnis in Baghdad. But all this is happening anyway, so it doesn’t make much difference in terms of the fate of Iraq whether American military forces stay or leave.

The truth is that the American military will remain in Iraq for a long time. The large bases in Anbar Province, such as al Assad and Taqaddum are built to last, “an enduring presence,” as one Marine officer told me. Located in the remote desert, impregnable and only occasionally targeted by mortars, these bases will remain for decades.

The Americans may eventually withdraw from the urban areas of Iraq, but full withdrawal, through the treacherous roads of the Anbar to Jordan, through the south past Shia militias on the way to Kuwait or even through the so-called Sunni Triangle, Samarra, and Tikrit or through Mosul to Kurdistan or Turkey, would be a withdrawal under fire and involve slaughter for the Iraqis.

The American occupation has been more disastrous than the Mongols’ sack of Baghdad in the 13th century. Iraq’s human capital has fled, its intellectuals and professionals, the educated, the moneyed classes, the political elite. They will not return. And the government is nonexistent at best.

After finally succumbing to Iraqi pressure, the Americans submitted to elections but deliberately emasculated the central government and the office of the prime minister. Now Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki is the scapegoat for American failure in Iraq, and there are calls to remove him or overthrow him. But talk of a coup to replace Maliki fails to understand that he is irrelevant.

Gone are the days when Baghdad was the only major city in Iraq, and whoever controlled Baghdad controlled the country. The continued focus on the theater in the Green Zone ignores the reality that events there have never determined what happens outside of it. Iraq is a collection of city states such as Baghdad, Mosul, Basra, Ramadi, Erbil, and others, each controlled by various warlords with their own militias. And the villages are entirely unprotected.

Maliki will be the last prime minister of Iraq. When he is run out there will be no new elections, since they can’t be run safely and fairly anymore, and the pretense of an Iraqi state will be over.

It has become popular with former supporters of the war to blame the Iraqis for the Americans’ failure. The Iraqis did not choose democracy or the Iraqis did not choose freedom, Americans like to say, or the Iraqis have to decide to stop killing each other or Iraqis have to “step up.” But such complaints misplace the blame. Sunni and Shia Iraqis protested the American occupation as soon as it began, and demanded elections and sovereignty. The U.S. ignored their demands and instead imposed a dictator on them, Paul Bremer, hoping he would pave the way for an Iraqi strongman to rule in our stead.

Other former supporters of the war, echoing the simplistic sentiments heard during the Balkan wars, now blame the alleged “ancient hatred” between Sunnis and Shias, who have been fighting each other for “thousands of years.” But Iraq had no history of civil war or sectarian violence even approaching this scale until the Americans arrived.

Iraq is not Rwanda, where Hutus and Tutsis slaughtered each other and America could pretend it had no role.
We did this to Iraq. And it is time the U.S and the international community “step up” to the resulting humanitarian nightmare.

***One follow-up note. As Arthur Silber has noted, Hillary Clinton is prominent among those "former supporters of the war [who] blame the Iraqis for the Americans’ failure." As Arthur puts it:
Consider the unforgivable inhumanity of Hillary Clinton proclaiming:
Our troops did the job they were asked to do. They got rid of Saddam Hussein. They conducted the search for weapons of mass destruction. They gave the Iraqi people a chance for elections and to have a government. It is the Iraqis who have failed to take advantage of that opportunity.

Inhumanity indeed. This astonishing statement bespeaks a depraved and dangerous mind, addled by long exposure to imperial power and privilege.

Read the stories that Rosen tells of ordinary people being chewed to pieces by the engine that Clinton helped set in motion, then see if you too, like the honorable senator from New York, believe they are just ungrateful wretches "who have failed to take advantage" of the wonderful opportunity Bush and Clinton have given them:

No Going Back
Little relief in sight for millions of displaced Iraqis Nir Rosen

Please click on link below:
http://www.bostonreview.net/BR32.5/rosen.php

mercredi 26 septembre 2007

Les chefs de guerre kurdes veulent annexer le Djebel Sinjar, par Gilles Munier

Sinjar: les Yézidis dans la tourmente

LES YÉZIDIS DANS LA TOURMENTE
Les chefs de guerre kurdes veulent annexer le Djebel Sinjar
par Gilles Munier

http://gmunier.blogspot.com/2007/09/sinjar-les-yzidis-dans-la-tourmente.html

Le 14 août 2003, quatre camions-citernes ont explosé à quelques minutes de distance à Qahtaniya, Al-Jazeera et Tell Uzair, gros villages situés au nord ouest de l’Irak, dans le district de Sinjar, près de la frontière avec la Syrie. Les déflagrations ont fait près de 500 morts et plus d’un millier de blessés, en majorité des Yézidis, adeptes d’une religion les plus anciennes de l’humanité.

Ces attentats, les plus meurtriers depuis le 11 septembre à New York, n’ont pas été revendiqués. Comme ceux qui visaient Tell Afar le 27 mars dernier – 152 morts, 347 blessés - et le village turcoman d’Amirli le 7 juillet – 140 morts, plus de 250 blessés - l’ « Etat islamique en Irak » – regroupement comprenant Al-Qaïda en Irak (AQI) – a aussitôt été accusé du massacre par les Américains et Nouri Al-Maliki, « Premier-ministre » irakien.

Selon l’armée US, le cerveau des attentats anti-yézidis serait un certain Abou Mohammad Al-Afri, présenté comme un proche d’Abou Ayyoud al-Masri, le chef d’AQI. Mais beaucoup de gens dans le Sinjar pensent qu’il s’agit d’une provocation du Parastin, le terrible service secret kurde. De toutes manières, l’accusé ne parlera pas. Il a été tué le 3 septembre dans un bombardement US. En Irak, c’est toujours ce qui arrive au suspect désigné après des attentats d’origine controversée.

Crime d’honneur et vengeance

Les seuls indices accréditant l’hypothèse salafiste sont des tracts distribués dans la région de Sinjar une semaine plus tôt. Ils accusaient les Yézidis d’être des « adorateurs du Diable », des « infidèles », des « anti musulmans », et les prévenaient de l’imminence d’un attentat. Le texte était signé « Etat islamique en Irak ».

L’AQI s’était déjà manifestée dans la région, le 7 avril 2007, après la lapidation de Doua Khalil Aswad, une Yézidie de 17 ans, par un groupe de Yézidis opposés à son union avec un Irakien sunnite. Les deux amants résidaient à Bahzani et Badhiqa, deux villages au nord-est de Mossoul. La police, présente sur les lieux, n’était pas intervenue, considérant qu’il s’agissait d’un « crime d’honneur » !

L’assassinat de la jeune fille, filmé avec un téléphone portable, avait été diffusé sur Internet et retransmis par plusieurs chaînes de télévision. Le Prince Tahsin Beg – chef spirituel des Yézidis - avait condamné le meurtre et déclaré que la lapidation n’existe pas dans les textes sacrés yézidis. Selon lui, Doua n’avait pas été assassinée parce qu’elle allait se convertir à l’islam, mais simplement parce qu’elle aimait un jeune homme, issu d’une autre communauté que la sienne. Et dans ce secteur, il y en a plusieurs : kurde, chaldéenne, jacobite, shabak… Qu’à cela ne tienne : la résidence du Prince et le centre culturel yézidi d’Aïn Sifni dans le Cheikhan ont été attaqués par des Kurdes musulmans déchaînés, et brûlés.

Al Qaïda en Irak avait averti qu’elle vengerait la jeune fille, au nom de l’islam. Mais est-ce bien un de ses commandos qui, le 22 avril, a stoppé un minibus ramenant à Bashiqa les ouvriers d’une usine de textile mossouli ? Après avoir effectué le tri des passagers, des fanatiques – ou des agents provocateurs - avaient fait descendre les musulmans et les chrétiens. Vingt trois Yézidis qui s’y trouvaient avaient été emmenés près de Mossoul, alignés le long d’un mur et assassinés. Selon les passagers descendus, les terroristes n’étaient pas arabes, mais kurdes.

Jésus et les guerriers aux yeux bleus

Les Yézidis qui ont manifesté leur colère quelques jours plus tard à Khana Sor et à Al-Jazeera – où a eu lieu un des attentats du 14 août – auraient pu conspuer des villageois arabes ou accuser Ansar Al Sunna (1) d’avoir commis les meurtres. Non, ils ont brûlé des drapeaux kurdes et attaqué les bureaux du Parti Démocratique du Kurdistan (2). Ils accusaient le Parastin d’avoir commis les assassinats.

Karim Sinjari – chef du Parastin depuis 1992, « ministre » de l’Intérieur du Gouvernement régional kurde - est bien connu des montagnards du Djebel Sinjar. Il a été un des chefs de la rébellion barzaniste des années 70 dans la région. C’est aussi lui qui a organisé, avec la CIA, l’accueil des troupes américaines à Sinjar en 2003, en faisant croire à ses habitants qu’une vieille prophétie yézidie allait se réaliser : Jésus, accompagné de guerriers aux yeux bleus , arrivait pour les libérer ! Selon le Colonel MacFarland qui commandait la Task Force 1-37 Bandits, les GI’s y ont été fêtés « comme à Paris en 1944 ».

Il fallait bien connaître les Yézidis pour savoir que Qahtaniya, Al-Jazeera et Tell Uzair, les villages choisis pour les attentats, étaient habités par de nombreux Faqirs, la caste des prêtres et donc qu’ils auraient des répercussions importantes dans la communauté. Il fallait aussi savoir que les terres des familles yézidies qui avaient participé à la rébellion barzaniste avaient été confisquées en 1976 et attribuées à des paysans arabes de la région de Qahtaniya et d’Al-Jazeera. Ces terres ont, bien sûr, été récupérées en 2003 par leurs anciens propriétaires et les Arabes expulsés à Ba’aj, un village du désert alimenté en eau par un oléoduc contrôlé par les peshmerga. Aucune compensation ne leur a été versée.

A qui les attentats ont-ils profité ? Au Gouvernement régional kurde. Le massacre n’a pas grand chose à voir avec le yézidisme. Il est lié au « référendum » qui doit être organisé d’ici la fin décembre dans la région de Kirkouk et dans un certain nombre de « territoires disputés » - et pétroliers - pour les rattacher à la Région autonome.

Comme prévu, le massacre a jeté les Yézidis dans les bras de Massoud Barzani. Désormais, selon un sondage, 80% d’entre eux opteraient pour l’annexion du Sinjar à condition que la Région autonome respecte leurs droits et les protège. Le chef kurde a aussitôt envoyé 350 peshmerga assurer la sécurité des villages martyrs, ce qui a contraint le Prince Tahsin à dire que les « terroristes islamiques veulent faire couler des rivières de sang yézidi » et que « la seule protection possible pour les Yézidis est de faire partie de la zone autonome kurde » (3).

Israël, le pétrole, l’eau

La revendication du Sinjar par les chefs de guerre kurdes ne repose sur aucune base historique sérieuse. La région n’a été incorporée dans une province kurde qu’au Moyen Age et très brièvement (4). Après la Première guerre mondiale et la création de l’Irak, le Sinjar s’est révolté pour échapper à la conscription, et non pour aider les nationalistes kurdes. A l’époque, les Yézidis soutenaient le projet d’« Etat libre non-musulman » dans le nord de l’Irak rejeté par la SDN, proposé par l’Iraq minorities rescue comittee de l’archéologue assyrien Hormuzd Rassam.

Le Sinjar est revendiqué parce qu’il est - comme Tell Afar – sur le tracé d’un nouveau projet d’oléoduc Kirkouk-Haïfa (5) et en bordure des régions syriennes peuplées de Kurdes et de Yézidis qui, de ce fait, font partie du « Grand Kurdistan » (6). Les grandes manœuvres ont débuté le 22 mai, quand les « guerriers aux yeux bleus » de la Task Force Bandits ont quitté la région, laissant les Yézidis en tête à tête avec les séparatistes kurdes. On a appris le 22 septembre, grâce au quotidien israélien Haaretz que le ministère israélien des Affaires étrangères avait reçu un télégramme du Pentagone demandant à Tel-Aviv de relancer le projet de pipeline Kirkouk-Haïfa.

Yosef Paritzky, ministre israélien des Infrastructures, va se rendre à Washington pour en discuter. L’idée de réparer l’ancien oléoduc semble pour l’instant abandonnée. Il voudrait construire un pipeline de plus gros diamètre, passant inévitablement dans le Sinjar, qui longerait la frontière syrienne et traverserait la Jordanie.

Le Mossad est-il déjà à pied d’œuvre ? La résistance irakienne le dit. Elle lui impute les attentats du 14 août. Toujours selon Haaretz, mais du 2 septembre dernier, 250 israéliens se rendraient tous les ans en Irak depuis 2003, via l’aéroport d’Amman. Ces « hommes d’affaires » - parmi lesquels des représentants du ministère israélien de l’Armement - et ces « touristes » avaient une nationalité autre qu’israélienne pour passer la frontière sans se faire remarquer.

Que font certains d’entre eux, depuis quelques mois au bord de l’Euphrate, près de la frontière syrienne ? Le Cheikh Ahmad Al-Khandjar, qui dirige une confédération de 13 tribus, en a vu – en tenue civile et sous protection américaine - à Hadittah, Al Qaïm, Jubbah. Est-ce un hasard s’ils s’activent dans la région que devrait traverser le nouveau pipeline ?

(25 septembre 2007)

Notes:
(1) Ansar Al-Sunna (Partisans des préceptes du Prophète) est un groupe de résistance kurdo-arabe islamique radical issu de Ansar Al-Islam, organisation djihadiste kurde basée dans la région de Halabja jusque fin mars 2003. Abou Musab Al Zarqaoui en était membre.

(2) Yazidi rioters attack KDP offices, Iraq News Monitor, 2/5/07
http://iraqnewsmonitor.blogspot.com/search/label/Yazidi%20Reform%20and%20Progress%20Movement

(3) They won't stop until we are all wiped out, par Michael Howard, The Guardian (18/8/07)

(4) La ville de Sinjar est une ancienne place forte du limes romain. Elle a fait partie de la province du Kurdistan créée en l’an 1150 par le Sultan turcoman Sandjar, souverain de la dynastie seldjoukide.

(5) Lire: L’oléoduc kurde, par Gilles Munier http://gmunier.blogspot.com/2006/01/loleoduc-kurde.html

(6) Massoud Barzani a accusé les « services secrets de pays voisins », d’être derrière les attentats du 14 août, laissant à ses proches le soin de préciser – selon Al Qods Al Arabi du 20 août – que la Syrie est impliquée dans le carnage. Selon eux, Damas cherche à vider le Sinjar irakien de ses habitants. Cela ne tient pas debout.