vendredi 31 octobre 2008
FRANK JORDANSAP News
Oct 30, 2008 15:55 EST
An Iraqi opposition lawmaker claimed Thursday that thousands of his countrymen are being mistreated in detention centers outside the official prison system.
Sunni legislator Mohammed al-Daini claimed the government and paramilitary groups control 420 unofficial detention centers to hold people without legal justification.
Speaking through an interpreter, al-Daini told reporters in Geneva he had gained access to 13 such prisons and obtained government reports that proved the existence of a secret detention network.
He offered no proof for his claim that prisoners are executed or raped in the centers, but said he would provide evidence to U.N. human rights officials and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Calls to Iraqi government representatives in Geneva were not returned.
According to a United Nations report, some 51,000 people were detained by U.S. forces and the Iraqi government at the end of last year. The report said some abuse had reportedly taken place during initial interrogations when detainees were held at unacknowledged locations before transfer to official detention facilities.Source: AP News
jeudi 30 octobre 2008
(AINA) -- Iraq's mainly Kurdish second army unit has been ordered out of Mosul and to Anbar for training after accusations were made that some of its members carried out the violence against the Assyrians of Mosul in the past four weeks (AINA 10-22-2008, 10-16-2008). The violence against the Christian Assyrians (also known as Chaldeans and Syriacs) of Mosul has claimed 14 lives and caused 15,000 Assyrians to flee the city, mostly to the Nineveh Plain, east of Mosul.
Iraqi PM Confirms Kurdish Involvement
Five days ago, Iraqi Parliament member Osama Al Najifi said to the Iraq News Agency on Saturday that Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki has confirmed that Kurdish political parties are carrying out the violence against Mosul's Assyrian community. "The prime minister showed me a document which he said proves the involvement of Kurdish militias in threats and killings against the Christian Assyrians in Mosul," stated Al Najifi, and said the prime minister told him "Your accusations against the Kurds have proven true." He notified the Iraqi News Agency that the committee charged with investigating the attacks on Assyrians in Mosul has clear proof of Kurdish involvement.
A source who was present at the meeting between Maliki and Al Najifi, and who has seen the documents, has confirmed to AINA that the documents show Kurdish involvement in the campaign against the Assyrians of Mosul. The documents show Kurdish Peshmerga forces were perpetrating the attacks on Assyrians.
Reports from Baghdad also say the Peshmerga in the Iraqi army are refusing to take orders from Iraqi central command and are taking orders only from Kurdish officials.
mercredi 29 octobre 2008
Iraqi MPs ask government to investigate child-trafficking
BAGHDAD- An Iraqi MP stirred controversy during a Parliament session last week when he asked Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki to investigate the illegal activities of an international organization operating in Iraq which is said to be selling Iraqi children to Israelis to be used as laborers.
Although the government-owned television censored the parliament member’s remarks, the issue was shocking to all parties, the government, the parliament and ordinary people.
In fact it was not a total surprise to the media. The issue came to light a few days ago when a Swedish television channel aired a report featuring a market for selling children in the heart of Baghdad.
The film also showed a number of people in the market speaking in a foreign language. It did not reveal their nationality nor interviewed any of them but they are believed to be Americans and Israelis working for suspicious organizations operating in Iraq. They are allegedly involved in the trafficking of Iraqi children to be sold to Israelis.
Human rights activists have already warned that the number of children in Iraq is decreasing and the government is showing no interest. The Iraqi government has done nothing to protect the children from the spiralling violence in the country because government officials are indulged in other issues such as power sharing, distributing oil revenues and contending for top posts, they said.
Until now, there is no law in Iraq to guarantee the rights of children although the country is a signatory to a number of international charters on child rights. It is also a member of UNICEF and UNESCO.
UNICEF itself said Iraqi children are paying a high price. Two million children in Iraq are facing threats including poor nutrition, lack of education, disease and violence, it said.
Hundreds were killed in violence during 2007, while 1,350 were detained by the authorities, it said in a new report.
Some 25,000 children and their families have had to leave their homes each month to seek shelter in other parts of Iraq
In a report entitled “Little Respite for Iraq’s Children in 2007”, UNICEF said Iraqi children continued to pay too high a price for their country’s turmoil and that this year things had gotten worse.
The report said that about of 25,000 children per month were being displaced from their homes as their families fled violence or intimidation. By the end of the year, 75,000 children had resorted to living in camps or temporary shelters.
The disruption led to extreme hardship for many children and eroded access to education and healthcare, UNICEF said.
Many of the 220,000 displaced children of primary school age had their education affected in a country where around 760,000 children (17%) were already absent from primary school. Only 28% of 17-year-olds sat for their final exams.
UNICEF said children in remote and hard-to-reach areas were frequently cut off from healthcare and that only 20% outside the capital, Baghdad, had working sewerage in their communities. Access to safe water was also a serious issue.
According to a study conducted by an Iraqi NGO, there are more than 100,000 children working in the streets and they are vulnerable to immense dangers threatening their future. Street children have become a familiar phenomenon in Baghdad and other cities.
A study by the Iraqi organization, Child Care and Rehabilitation, said that children are being made to work for long hours and some are used by criminal syndicates for trickery and pick pocketing.. The study found that many of these children were thrown into the streets by their parents who have lost their jobs and earn a living through their children.
mardi 28 octobre 2008
The Washington Post Undercounts Iraq Deaths
Paper's feature low-balls Iraqi casualties
The Washington Post's weekly Saturday feature on "Iraq War Casualties" has consistently listed a "maximum count" of Iraqi civilian deaths that is dramatically lower than the likely civilian death tolls assessed through surveys of the Iraqi public.
In the most recent edition of this feature (10/25/08) which the Post has been publishing as a chart in the Saturday newspaper since August 2, the Post offers a "maximum count" of 96,719 Iraqi civilian deaths. Yet as the Post itself acknowledged in a footnote to its chart on June 15, 2007, there are studies that put the Iraqi death toll much higher: A 2006 survey by Iraqi physicians and overseen by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health estimated over 600,000 killed at the time.
The source the Post cites for its "maximum count" of Iraqi civilian deaths is based on casualty reports from the group Iraq Body Count, which bases its figures on violent civilian deaths that are reported in media outlets and, when possible, by other NGO and official sources. While the group's figures represent a serious effort to document reported Iraq deaths, they are much lower than the death tolls assessed through surveys of the Iraqi public--the standard method for assessing casualties of large-scale wars or disasters.
Both the 2006 Johns Hopkins study and an earlier study conducted by Johns Hopkins (both published in the peer-reviewed British medical journal Lancet, 10/28/04, 10/11/06) estimated a death toll several times larger than that of Iraq Body Count; the more recent Lancet estimate found 601,027 "excess" deaths from violence in Iraq. A more recent survey conducted in August 2007 by the British polling firm Opinion Research Business (ORB) estimated 1.2 million excess violent deaths in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion. And an investigation by the U.N.'s World Health Organization and the Iraqi Health Ministry found, as the Washington Post reported (1/10/08), that "151,000 Iraqis died from violence in the three years following the U.S.-led invasion of the country.
"These estimates do not distinguish between civilians and combatants, but given that the U.S. government estimated that the U.S. and its allies had killed 19,000 insurgents by September 2007 (USA Today, 9/27/07), it's clear that civilians make up the vast bulk of the deaths found in these surveys. And these surveys are all at least a year old; the WHO survey in particular was conducted before the most violent extended period of the war.
It's hard to see why you wouldn't include both civilian and combatant deaths when attempting to measure the effects of a war. But even if the Post wanted to count only civilians, the surveys indicate that 88,000-96,000 is almost certainly a very serious underestimation.
Why, then, does the Post opt to refer only to the lowest figures available for Iraq casualties? And why does the paper use the misleading label "maximum count" to refer to the 96,719 deaths recorded by Iraq Body Count? Iraq Body Count used to label the top of its range of reported deaths as its "maximum" number, but no longer seems to do so; its website notes, "Gaps in recording and reporting suggest that even our highest totals to date may be missing many civilian deaths from violence."Given that over a year ago, the Post mentioned the Lancet’s death toll estimate of over 600,000, it should stop referring to a figure six times lower as the “maximum count.”
If the Post insists on relying on the Iraq Body Count’s admitted underestimate of Iraq deaths, it should convey the statistical differences between the different estimates with a sentence to the effect of, "Household surveys in Iraq suggest likely Iraqi death tolls 2 to 10 times greater than this count." Instead, the paper seems to be opting to use the lowest range it can find.
Ask the Washington Post to clarify its "Iraq War Casualties" feature to convey the true range of estimates of Iraqi deaths since the invasion.
Deborah Howell, Ombud202-334-7582
Scott Wilson, Foreign Editor
lundi 27 octobre 2008
Latest accusations include the forcing of 13,000 Arab families to flee the restive Province of Diyala of which Baaquba is the capital.
Kurdish militias are present in larges numbers in the provinces of Diyala, Nineveh, of which Mosul is the capital, and Tameem of which Kirkuk is the capital.
These three provinces are now among the most restive in the country. Many in Iraq now openly blame the Kurds for the rise in the tide of violence in them.
"Kurdish Peshmerga (militias) are supposed to preserve security in these areas but they have forced 13,000 Arab families to flee Diyala," said Mohammed al-Dayni, an Arab parliamentary deputy.
He said Kurdish militias were in control of government buildings in the three provinces and were determined to bring about "demographic changes" in them.
He said conditions were precarious in the three provinces particularly in Nineveh where thousands of Christian families have fled the provincial capital Mosul.
Most Arab deputies in the parliament oppose Kurdish practices and Dayni said "a broad coalition" is gathering momentum in the parliament to force Kurdish militias to leave the three provinces.
Kurds are adamant to add the oil-rich Kirkuk to their areas and have sent their militias into the city of Mosul and large swathes of Diyala.
Kurdish politician and Deputy Fouad Maasoum denied the accusations.
He said the Kurds were part of the ruling coalition "and it is not logical for us to carry out actions that will be embarrassing for us and distance the Iraqi people from us."
By Mustafa Amara
dimanche 26 octobre 2008
“Kirkuk in northern Iraq has some 10 billion barrels of oil. Both the Kurds and the Arabs claim ownership of the city. MME looks at the struggle for Kirkuk.” “For the Kurds, it’s about regaining lands Saddam’s regime took from them, for the Arabs its about keeping control over what they call “the breadbasket” of Iraq — which also has some 10 billion barrels of oil buried in Kurdish soil. With no political resolution in sight, MME looks at the struggle for Kirkuk. “
My comments re CNN’s programme Marketplace Middle-East, ”The Struggle for Kerkuk” Arwa Damon reporting from Kerkuk and Erbil on October 23, 2008
In the programme “The Struggle for KERKUK” Arwa Damon describes KERKUK as “an ethnically mixed city “, she mentions the Arabs and the Kurds but not the TURKMENS despite the fact that the TURKMENS are the city’s original inhabitants and the north of Iraq’s second main ethnic component.
She interviewed several Arab and Kurdish politicians, allowing them to say “what they want or don’t want”, but it is quite shocking that she did not give the Turkmen politicians the same opportunity to express their views. Consequently, her report gives those who watched the programme a false picture of the situation in Kerkuk.
Interviewing representatives of the two ethnic groups who have armed militias, the Arabs and the Kurds, and ignoring the unarmed Turkmens is a strange conception of “democracy” and “fair reporting”.
KERKUK is the Turkmens’ capital city and main cultural centre in Iraq, therefore THEY are the first to be concerned with the fate of THEIR city and ignoring them proves once again that CNN reporters in Iraq due to their lack of objectivity and professionalism are misinforming their viewers.
Senior Iraqi politicians have warned that a crucial deal between Baghdad and Washington governing the presence of American troops in the country is doomed to failure after eight months of talks.
“The Sofa [Status of Forces Agreement] is dead in the water,” said one Iraqi politician close to the talks.
He added that Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, believed that signing it would be “political suicide”.
The collapse of the deal would severely undermine American policy. An agreement is needed to put America’s presence on a legal basis after the United Nations mandate for its 154,000 troops in Iraq expires on December 31.
Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, claimed last week that the deal was “mostly done”.
The draft pact, painstakingly negotiated in Baghdad by Ryan Crocker, the American ambassador, and US generals, calls for a withdrawal of American forces from Iraq’s main cities by the end of 2009 and a complete withdrawal by 2011.
The Americans made what they considered to be a significant compromise by agreeing to Iraqi jurisdiction over any troops who committed “serious crimes” while off duty.
They also agreed that American soldiers acting on their own would no longer be able to arrest suspected insurgents. They would need Iraqi permission to make arrests.
Despite the concessions it emerged this weekend that Maliki, who has grown in stature as the Iraqi armed forces have taken control of security in the main cities of Baghdad, Basra and Mosul in the past year, would block the deal.
Two other serving members of Maliki’s government confirmed his view. Iraqi politics is focused on the forthcoming provincial elections, due early next year. Maliki also faces a general election in a year’s time.
Open support for the American presence is seen as a vote-loser, even though most Iraqis tacitly acknowledge the need for troops to remain in the country until their own army can enforce order.
An unofficial poll of MPs last week revealed that the deal would fall far short of gaining majority support in parliament.
“It is absolutely impossible under any circumstances that we will accept this booby-trapped agreement,” said Nasser al-Rubaie, a spokesman for the opposition group of Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shi’ite cleric.
“This is an agreement which takes Iraq out of direct occupation and puts it under colonialism with the help of the government of Iraq. It only serves the occupier,” said Rubaie, who is also an MP.
That view was echoed across the political spectrum. Politicians also pointed out that they saw no reason to sign such a contentious accord with the lame duck administration of President George W Bush.
“From a political point of view, how is it possible to sign an agreement with an administration which only has a few days left in power, taking into consideration the changes that will possibly take place if the Democrats were to come to power?” said Hussein al-Falluji, an MP for Iraqi Accord, a Sunni party.
If the deal fails the Americans may be forced to ask Iraq to return to the UN security council for a temporary renewal of their mandate, but the legal status of many of their actions will become uncertain.
Additional reporting: Ali Rifat in Amman
samedi 25 octobre 2008
By Roy Gutman McClatchy Newspapers
BAGHDAD — Fearing political division in the parliament and in his country, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki won't sign the just-completed agreement on the status of U.S. forces in Iraq, a leading lawmaker said Friday.
The new accord's demise would be a major setback for the Bush administration, which has been seeking to establish a legal basis for the extended presence of the 151,000 U.S. troops in this country, and for Iraq, which won notable concessions in the draft accord reached a week ago.
"No, he will not" submit the agreement to the parliament, Sheikh Jalal al Din al Sagheer, the deputy head of the Shiite Muslim Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, told McClatchy. "For this matter, we need national consensus."
Instead, Sagheer said, Iraq's political leaders are considering seeking an extension of the United Nations mandate for the presence of U.S. troops, which will expire on Dec. 31. Russia, a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, has assured Iraq that it wouldn't veto an extension, he said, adding that one was likely to last between six months and a year.
Ali al Adeeb, the chief of staff of Maliki's Dawa party, said Wednesday that the Iraqi parliament "cannot approve this pact in its current form."
Top U.S. military officials have warned of serious consequences if the agreement isn't signed. Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said earlier this week that Iraq's forces "will not be ready to provide for their security" after the current U.N. mandate runs out. "And in that regard there is great potential for losses of significant consequence," Mullen said.
Army Gen. Ray Odierno, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, told USA Today: "Without (a security agreement), we would potentially have to cease all operations."
Iraqis, however, are adamant that the accord must be open to further amendments if they're to approve it.
"The problem is that when we were given the latest draft, we were told the American negotiators will accept no amendments to it, and the Iraqi government has more requirements," said Sagheer, an Islamic cleric who later led the Friday prayers broadcast on national television.
He said that Maliki had come to the Political Council for National Security, a top decision-making body, and said the new accord was the best he could obtain, but it didn't include everything that Iraq wanted.
If Maliki signed the accord and turned it over to the parliament, "I'm sure that the agreement will not be approved for 10 years," Sagheer said.
The cleric said the draft accord was "good, in general," but its timing was bad. If an Iraqi negotiator accepted the agreement, "he will be taken as an agent for the Americans," and if he were to reject it, "he will be taken for an agent for Iran."
A second factor is that the accord comes just before the U.S. elections, and an Iraqi negotiator had to ask whether it was best to negotiate with the lame-duck Bush administration or wait for its successor. More important, Sagheer said, are the approaching provincial elections in Iraq, which could be held early next year.
"Iraqi politicians don't want to give their competitors the chance to use this agreement to destroy them," he said.
The accord contains a number of American concessions, calling for U.S. troops to withdraw to their bases by June 2009 and to leave Iraq by the end of 2011 — both dates subject to extension, but only if the Iraqi government requests it.
The accord also would allow Iraq to prosecute U.S. troops except when they're on U.S. bases or on military operations, strips private military contractors of U.S. legal protection and reclaims control over Baghdad's "Green" zone, the location of the U.S. Embassy and military headquarters and much of the Iraqi government's headquarters.
Sagheer said that setting a timetable for a U.S. troop withdrawal was a "historic" accomplishment.
He also acknowledged that an extension of the current U.N. mandate might not reflect the gains made in the status of forces draft.
"For everything there is a price," he said. "And although (the accord) has many advantages, it also has many disadvantages, as it does for the coalition forces."
The problem for Iraqis, he said, was "the feeling with some of the parties that America has no intention of withdrawing within the timetable." Iraqis, he said, had so many negative experiences while a British mandate under the League of Nations from 1920 to 1932 that they fear a written agreement. "We have the feeling that if the Iraqi government accepts the demands, it will give a legal right to be occupied, so we don't have any kind of sovereignty."
Other politicians said that if Washington agrees to extend the negotiations, the talks will never end.
"This is all a game to win time. When the current issues are settled, they will just find new ones. . . . They are delaying to appease Iran," said Mithal al Alusi, a secular Sunni legislator whos' critical of the current Shiite-led government.
(Corinne Reilly of the Merced, Calif., Sun-Star, and McClatchy special correspondents Hussein Kadhim and Mohamed al Dulaimy contributed to this article.)
jeudi 23 octobre 2008
تؤكد الجبهة التركمانية العراقية بأنها مع التصريح الذي ادلى به دولة رئيس الوزراء نوري المالكي بأن ما يحدث ضد اخوتنا في الله و الأرض و الوطن المسيحيين و الذي جاء فيه ان " ما تعرض له المسيحيون في الموصل هو جزء من مخطط سياسي". و تطالب الجهات المختصة بكشف المخططين لهذه الجريمة و المنفذين لها، خاصة و انها اعلنت في تصريح اعلامي سابق معرفتها بالجهة المخططة و المنفذة و بأنها ستكشف عنها. و تشير الى ان هذه الجريمة السياسية انما بدأت بعد الضجة التي احدثتها الغاء المادة 50 من قانون انتخاب مجالس المحافظات و الموافقة على المادة 24 منه لخلق قضية في العراق تبعد المسؤولين عن هذه المادتين
اذ تستنكر الجبهة التركمانية العراقية استهداف الأخوة المسيحيين في الموصل تطالب في الوقت نفسه بحمايتهم و اعادتهم الى مناطقهم السكنية و تؤيد البيان الذي اصدره ممثلو الطوائف المسيحية بشأن موقف الكنيسة من مشروع اقامة حكم ذاتي للمسيحيين في الموصل يرتبط بادارة الشمال و الذي جاء به " نحن نريد العيش الى جانب اخواننا في كل مكان في العراق من الشمال وحتى البصرة فكيف يمكن ان نعيش في منطقة صغيرة، هذا لا نريده ونريد ان نتواصل مع الحكومة المركزية دوما ونحن دائما مرتبطون بها ولا نريد ان نعيش داخل قفص"
ان في العراق الحق للجميع بمختلف اديانهم و طوائفهم و مذاهبهم و قومياتهم، حق يكفله الدستور، و على الجيمع ان يتعاونوا لأجل ان ينالوا حقوقهم، و في الحقوق لا توجد اقلية او اكثرية فالكل متساوون امام الله و الدستور و القانون
و عاش العراق موحدا ارضا و شعبا
Adres:Kerkük. Bağdat yolu. Valilik binası yanında
mercredi 22 octobre 2008
أكبر عملية نهب لأموال العراق تمارسها شركة (دانه غاز) بتواطؤ شخصية كردية نافذة وأخرى (رفيعة المستوى) في بغداد (كولبنكيان
Article in Arabic posted on:
mardi 21 octobre 2008
Türkmen eğitiminin bugün karşılaştığı sorunlar ve bu sorunların giderilmesi için yapılabilecek çalışmalar görüşmenin ana gündem maddesini oluşturdu. Irak Türkmen Cephesi Başkanı ve Türkmen Milletvekili Dr.Sadettin Ergeç Irak Türkmen Cephesi eğitim ve Kültür dairesi üyelerini kabul etti.Türkmen Eğitim Meclisi üyelerinin de yer aldığı kabul sırasında Türkmen eğitiminin gidişatı ve karşılaşılan sıkıntıların çözüm yolları üzerinde duruldu.
Kabul sırasında Türkmen eğitim üyelrine konuşan Ergeç, Türkmen okullarının Türkmen halkının geleceğini garantileyen ve Türkmen halkının umut kaynağı oldğunu dile getirerek Türkmen eğitiminin daha da ilerlemesi için her türlü desteğe hazır olduklarını dile getirdi.
lundi 20 octobre 2008
1. The agreement that American armed forces and civilian personnel working for the U.S. Government in Iraq can be prosecuted when they are off duty is a lie!
All members of American armed forces and contractors working for the U.S. Government, are considered “on duty” 24/7, 365 days a year.
How do I know? I am retired U.S. military and during my time in the military, especially during Vietnam, they always made sure to tell us of that fact.
Comment by Al — October 20, 2008
dimanche 19 octobre 2008
IRAK TÜRKMEN CEPHESİ
Uzlaşı çerçevesi dahilinde siyasi güçler tarafından Kerkük'ü oluşturan bütün asil unsurlarının haklarını koruyan çözüm aranmakta olan Kerkük problemi her çözüme yaklaşıldığında Kürt tarafından sarsıntılara uğratılmaktadır .
İl Meclisleri Seçim Kanununun 24. maddesinin çıkması ve problemi çözümü için çalışılırken , Kürt Demokrat Partisi'nin Kerkük'teki 3. şubesi , Irak Devletinin genel müesseselerinde ikamet etmenin yasal olduğu bir raporunda , şu şekilde ifade etmiş ( soykırıma uğrayan ve enfal operasyonlarına maruz kalan asil Kerkük halkının , yer altı ve yer üstü devlet mülkiyetinde hiç bir izin almadan istila edebilir ) .
Bu gibi açıklamalar , devletin yüksek makamları ve başkanlık meclisi tarafındankabul edilen kanunun 24. maddesine bir tecavüzdür .
Bu gibi açıklamaların hedefi nedir ve ne gibi neticeler verebilir ?
Irak Türkmen Cephesi'nin değişmeyen ve değişmeyecek hedefleri şunlardır : Kerkük bir Irak şehridir kültürü Türkmencedir , idaresinin paylaşılması , gerçek göçmenlerin haklarının savunulması ve Kerkük için son ve genel bir çözümün bulunmasıdır ki bu çözüm Irak genel problemlerinin çözümüdür aynı zamanda Irak Türkmen Cephesi , Irak Savunma Bakanlığını kendine ait olan arazilerin boşaltma konusundaki kararını destekliyor .
Son olarak Allah'ın izniyle Kerkük bir Irak şehri kalacak .
Irak Türkmen Cephesi
ـالعنوان: كركوك- طريق بغداد- قرب بناية المحافظة Adres:Kerkük. Bağdat yolu. Valilik binası yanında
Tel: 00946050. 221462 E.mail:ITC_media@yahoo.com
October 18, 2008 -- -
October 17, 2008 -- (AP) - Excerpts from the draft U.S.-Iraqi security agreement meant to replace the U.N. mandate for American-led forces in Iraq, which expires on Dec. 31. The Associated Press obtained a copy and translated the material from Arabic._
U.S. armed forces personnel and civilian elements commit to respect Iraqi laws, customs, traditions and charters during the execution of military operations under this agreement, and they refrain from any activity that does not agree with the spirit and text of this agreement, and the United States is obliged to take all the necessary measures in this respect.
___For the purpose of deterring internal and external threats against the Republic of Iraq and to cement cooperation to defeat al-Qaida in Iraq and other outlawed groups, the two parties agreed on a temporary basis on the following:
_ The Iraqi government requests the temporary assistance of U.S. forces for the purpose of supporting its effort to safeguard security and stability in Iraq including cooperation in carrying out operations against al-Qaida, other terror groups and outlawed groups, including remnants of the former regime.
_ All military operations under this agreement are carried out with the agreement of the Iraqi government and full coordination with Iraqi authorities. Supervising all these military operations will be a joint committee to coordinate military operations (JMOCC), which will be set up under this agreement. Issues related to the proposed military operations that the joint committee cannot resolve are referred to the joint ministerial committee.
_ All these operations must be executed with full respect to the Iraqi constitution and Iraqi laws and in line with Iraq's sovereignty and national interests as outlined by the Iraqi government. It is the duty of the U.S. forces to respect Iraq's laws, customs, traditions and international law.
_ The two sides agree to continue their efforts to cooperate on bolstering the security capabilities of Iraq according to what they agree on, including training, equipping, support, supply, building and modernizing logistical structures (transport, housing and supplying troops).
___The control and monitoring of Iraqi air space is handed over to Iraqi authorities once this agreement is in force.
___The United States has the primary right to exercise judicial jurisdiction over (U.S.) military personnel and civilians (contracted by the U.S. Defense Department) as far as incidents that take place inside the agreed facilities and areas and in the case of missions outside the agreed facilities and areas and under conditions not covered by the text of the second clause of this article.
_Iraq has the primary right to exercise judicial jurisdiction over (U.S.) military personnel and civilians (contracted by the Defense Department) in respect of premeditated and gross felonies mentioned in clause 8 of this article and which are committed outside the agreed facilities and areas and when not on a mission.
_ Iraq has the primary right to exercise judicial jurisdiction over those contracted by the United States and their employees.
_ The two parties agree to offer assistance to each other at the request of one of the two in regard to investigations, gathering and sharing evidence to safeguard due process.
_U.S. forces are not authorized to arrest or detain anyone (except when that person is a U.S. service member or from the civilian component) except with an Iraqi order issued under Iraqi law.
_In the case that U.S. forces arrested or detained persons as authorized under this agreement or under Iraqi law, these persons must be handed over to Iraqi authorities within 24 hours of their detention or arrest.
_ U.S. forces are not authorized to search homes or other properties without a judicial order issued for this purpose except in cases when actual fighting is taking place under article 4 and in coordination with relevant Iraqi authorities.
___U.S. forces withdraw from Iraqi territory by Dec. 31, 2011, at the latest.
_ U.S. forces withdraw from Iraqi cities, villages, areas on a date that is not later than the date in which Iraqi security forces take full responsibility for security there, provided that U.S. forces pull out from the above mentioned areas by June 30, 2009, at the latest.
_ U.S. combat forces withdrawn under clause 2 are based in agreed facilities and areas outside the cities, villages and areas that will be designated by the joint committee for military operations before the date set in clause 2.
_ The two parties review progress made toward meeting the deadline mentioned in clause 2 and the conditions that could allow both parties to ask the other either to bring forward or extend the timeframe mentioned in clause 2. Accepting to extend or bring forward the timeframe is subject to the approval of both parties.
_ Before the expiry of the deadline mentioned in clause 1 and on the basis of Iraq's assessment of conditions on the ground, the Iraqi government can ask the U.S. government to keep forces for the purposes of training and supporting Iraqi security forces. In that case, a special agreement will be implemented and be negotiated and signed by both parties under laws and constitutional procedures applicable in both countries.
_U.S. forces can withdraw by dates that are before the dates designated in this clause at the request of either party. The United States acknowledges the Iraqi government's sovereign right to request the departure of U.S. forces from Iraq at any time.
_ This agreement is in force for three years unless terminated before that under clause 3 of this article or if the two parties have not agreed in writing to extend it under clause 2.
_ This agreement comes into force Jan. 1, 2009, after the two parties exchange diplomatic notes supporting the completion of the necessary measures to bring the agreement in to force under the constitutional provisions in each party.
samedi 18 octobre 2008
The punctuation does not appear as in the original text of the ITF communiqué.
This problem occurs when I copy an Arabic text. Sorry.
IRAK TÜRKMEN CEPHESİ الجبهة التركمانية العراقية
(GENEL MERKEZ) (المقر العام)
الدائرة الإعلامية ENFORMASYON DAİRESİ
العدد: 75 SAYI: 75
التاريخ: 18\10\2008 TARİH:18.10.2008
تبدو ان مشكلة كركوك التي تسعى القوى السياسية الى حلها في اطار توافقي يحمي حقوق جميع مكونات كركوك الاصليين , تتعرض كلما اقتربت من الحل الى هزات من الجانب الكردي لعرقلته
فبعد اقرار المادة 24 من قانون انتخابات مجالس المحافظات وبوادر انفراج الازمة قام الحزب الديمقراطي الكردي من خلال فرعه الثالث في كركوك الى شرعنة الاستيلاء على الاراضي والممتلكات العامة للدولة العراقية في كركوك في سابقة خطيرة بعيدة عن الدستور والقوانين . وكان هذا الفرع قد اصدر بيانا جاء فيه "من حق اهالي كركوك الاصليين والمتضررين من عمليات الانفال والتطهير العرقي ان يستولوا على الاموال العامة للدولة العراقية الموجودة تحت لارض وة فوق الأرض "
ان هذه التصريحات خرق صارخ للمادة 24 وتتعارض مع القانون الذي وافقت عليه كافة الجهات التشريعية والقانونية العليا بما فيها مجلس الرئاسة
فما هو الهدف من هذه التصريحات ؟ وما هي نتائجها ؟
ان ثوابت الجبهة التركمانية العراقية التي لم ولن تتغير هي : عراقية كركوك مع المحافظة على ثقافتها التركمانية , وتقاسم السلطة تماما و رفع كافة التجاوزات على الممتلكات العامة و التأكيد على حقوق المرحلين الأصليين و الأصليين فقط و الاعلان عن حل نهائي و حاسم لكركوك التي تشكل مفتاح الحل لجميع مشاكل العراق
و تؤيد الجبهة التركمانية العراقية وزارة الدفاع في جهودها لإخلاء كافة المواقع التابعة لها في كركوك و المحافظات الأخرى من المتجاوزين عليها
و ستبقى كركوك بإذن الله مدينة عراقية في عراق موحد ارضا و شعبا
الجبهة التركمانية العراقية
ـالعنوان: كركوك- طريق بغداد- قرب بناية المحافظة Adres:Kerkük. Bağdat yolu. Valilik binası yanında
Tel: 00946050. 221462 E.mail:ITC_media@yahoo.com
An estimated 50,000 protesters chanted slogans such as "Get out occupier!".
Iraqi and US negotiators drafted the deal after months of talks but it still needs approval from Iraq's government.
Under the agreement US troops would withdraw by 2011, and Iraq would have the right to prosecute Americans who commit crimes while off-duty.
The UN mandate for US-led coalition forces expires at the end of this year. About 144,000 of the 152,000 foreign troops deployed there are US military personnel.
The BBC's Jim Muir in Baghdad says Moqtada Sadr's militant opposition to the US presence has strong grassroots support among many Shias - and this was a physical manifestation of that opposition.
He says leaders of the 30-strong Sadr bloc in the Iraqi parliament will have expressed that rejection at a meeting of Iraq's Political Council for National Security late on Friday.
The meeting of top political leaders and the heads of parliamentary factions was convened to discuss the draft agreement covering the US military presence after its mandate expires.
No decisions were taken but the Council is to meet again to hear back from military experts on what is a very complex and detailed document.
Our correspondent says its passage through parliament may follow naturally if it is approved by the Council, but this is by no means assured and a tough political battle is already shaping up.
In Washington, US defence chief Robert Gates has been courting support for the deal from key members of Congress - although their approval is not mandatory.
Story from BBC NEWS:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/middle_east/7677551.stmPublished: 2008/10/18 08:38:05 GMT
There aren’t many things that a confidant of Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, a council of Iraqi Sunni religious leaders and the followers of firebrand Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr can all agree on, but they seem to have found common ground on one thing: they all oppose the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the United States.
Imam al-Qabanji told a crowd of hundreds in the Shi’ite holy city of Najaf today that the Shi’ite clergy is “very worried” about the SOFA. A Sunni council issued an anti-SOFA fatwa, and followers of al-Sadr are planning a massive demonstration tomorrow to call for the withdrawal of US forces.
Earlier in the week the SOFA was reportedly finalized, though White House Press Secretary Dana Perino insisted today that this was not the case. She anticipated a final agreement “soon.” It is unclear what if any terms remain to be hashed out, and details of the finished or nearly-finished deal have yet to be made public. The question of US troop immunity was among the last contentious issues.
Even once the terms are finalized, the agreement will face several stages of review in the Iraqi government, culminating with what is expected to be a very difficult vote in the Iraqi parliament. Given the ever-widening array of forces united against the pact, it is unclear whether the Maliki government will even submit it for a vote. In the past Maliki has said he would only submit the draft to parliament if he was confident of two-thirds support.
compiled by Jason Ditz
vendredi 17 octobre 2008
Mosul, Iraq (AINA) -- The continuing attacks on Assyrians in Mosul have been followed by a string of accusations from different sources claiming Kurdish involvement in the events that has forced 15000 Assyrians to flee the city of Mosul. Iraqi MP Osama Al Najifi, a native of the Mosul area, was the first high ranking official to point to Kurdish involvement in the attacks (AINA 10-12-2008). More recently a spokesman from Iraq's interior ministry said there is no evidence of Al Qaeda involvement (AINA 10-16-2008), and a high ranking Assyrian leader, Mr Yonadam Kanna, also a member of parliament, confirmed to reporters the assailants were wearing army uniforms. Adding to the suspicion, five known Sunni insurgent groups, including Al Qaeda, issued statements denouncing the attacks and denying involvement in them.
Several observers have noted the attacks, which started two weeks ago, have occurred in the eastern side of the city, which is controlled of Kurdish forces. Assyrians (also known as Chaldeans and Syriacs) living in the western part have not been harmed, but on Tuesday a bomb went off in front of a church in the western, Arab dominated part of the city -- only after accusations of Kurdish involvement started being made.
Condemnations of the violence were issued by Kurdish leaders only after growing accusations in Iraq against the Kurds. The extensive measures taken by the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in ordering its ministries and departments to provide aid to the affected Assyrian families, according to a KRG press release, could reflect a growing Kurdish desperation to divert attention from the mounting accusations it is facing. The KRG has not bothered to help Assyrians during previous periods of attacks against them.
Some media reports have described the recent attacks as retaliation by Islamic groups because of Assyrian demonstrations against the removal of their quota seats in the provincial councils (AINA 10-6-2008). Assyrians have, however, protested and taken to the streets several times since the war started and some 50,000 Assyrians take to the streets each year on April 1st, celebrating the Assyrian New Year, without any retaliation by terrorist groups.
Suspicions of Kurdish involvement are also strengthened by the unspoken aim of the Kurdish leadership of annexing large parts of the Nineveh province into their semi-autonomous region. The two main Kurdish parties, the KDP and PUK, hold 32 of 41 seats in the Nineveh Provincial Council and dominate its executive council. Police and army units in Mosul are comprised mostly of ethnic Kurds, and the Kurdish intelligence service the Asayesh, has been confirmed to operate in the Mosul area. Kurdish political and military control in the Nineveh province and its capital Mosul are considerable.
The Assyrians, who together with other non Muslim minorities dominate the Nineveh Plain area east of Mosul, have found themselves stuck in the midst of a power struggle between Arabs and Kurds. Attempts to provide adequate security for the minorities in the Nineveh Plain have been obstructed by the Kurdish majority in the Nineveh Province Council. The Kurds have stopped the implementation of a government order from June 2006 calling for the establishment of a local (Assyrian) police force for the Nineveh Plain (AINA 5-1-2008).
The Kurdish leadership has announced it aims to annex the Nineveh Plain into its semi-autonomous region. The obstruction of the local police force is believed to be a result of this. While hindering a legitimate police force from providing much needed security for the minorities in the Nineveh Plain, the Kurdish political parties are ushering in armed groups, under the disguise of "Christian defense committees," into the Nineveh Plain. The goal is to maintain Kurdish control in the area and coerce the inhabitants into voting for annexation to the KRG in future referendums.
mardi 14 octobre 2008
Friday 10 October 2008
by: Nick Mottern and Bill Rau, t r u t h o u t Report
lundi 13 octobre 2008
October 13, 2008
Edited transcript of interview between Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister, and The Times on October 11
Deborah Haynes and Richard Beeston
Do you think that the "Status of Forces Agreement" between Iraq and America will be decided by the end of the year?
The agreement is important to us and necessary and signing it before the expiry of the international resolution that covers the legal side for the presence of the coalition forces on December 31, 2008.
We want to sign such an agreement so that we don’t go to the Security Council (for an extension of the mandate) ... You know that the Security Council is now going through crisis. There are differences among the members. Our desire is to sign the treaty but this desire is also governed by the national will, which are represented by demands that are still the point of dialogue between us and the American side.
We have made clear advances in many demands ... We reached agreements, that are considered important and crucial in Iraq, for the final withdrawal (of all US forces) by the end of 2011, and the withdrawal from (Iraqi) cities by June 30, 2009. Laying down rules for the movement of the forces and their activities and not to carry out military operations or arrests unless they have permission from the Iraqi Government ...
Like I said yesterday after I met Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani, there are obstacles along the road before signing the agreement in the near future.
We have presented a full view to the American side about these obstacles, which include the issue of legal sponsorship (Iraqi jurisdiction over US soldiers) and the issue of the inspection of weapons and machinery that come into Iraq to ensure that they are suitable for the security mission.
By responding to the Iraqi demands we will be very close to signing the treaty, but if they (Americans) do not respond to them I believe that the treaty will go through difficult circumstances and may not get the approval of the Parliament. Any agreement must be approved by Parliament, which has the final decision.
Is the biggest obstacle America's demand for immunity for its forces when they are not on duty?
Yes, yes definitely. If Iraqi and American soldiers move in an operation that is pre-agreed by both sides then they have the immunity unless he (an American soldier) commits a deliberate crime during the operation. He is just like the Iraqi solider in the operation. He has immunity...
The sticking point is about if the American soldier was not on a mission and commits a crime that is accountable to the Iraqi judicial system, whether small or big. The Iraqi judicial system should have jurisdiction over the American soldier. This is the point of difference.
Is Iran's open opposition to the agreement complicating the situation? Would you prefer if they did not interfere?
The Iranians have their own interests. They think that the agreement is a danger to their national security. So when they make a statement they do it to defend their interests and their policies. Also Syria, Saudi Arabia and other countries ? This does not affect much the pace of negotiations. In the first place, we do not want to jeopardise the security of these countries. The Iraqi constitution does not allow the Iraqi Government to grant permission to use Iraqi territory to harm the interests of neighbouring countries. Among the contents of the agreement is a specific section that prohibits interference in the interests of the neighbouring countries either politically or militarily. Therefore it is true that the Iranian statements may complicate, but this is an Iranian issue that has nothing to do with our decision as Iraqis in accepting or rejecting the agreement.
If the issue of immunity is not resolved how concerned are you that the treaty will not be signed by the end of the year?
Definitely if the Parliament rejects it then we will have to go to the United Nations which is a not a great choice for us or the Americans under the circumstances of the crisis at the Security Council. But we would have no choice because the American forces will lose their legal cover on December 31st. If that happens, according to the international law, Iraqi law and American law, the US forces will be confined to their bases and have to withdraw from Iraq. We always say that a sudden withdrawal may harm security.
Which is more likely an extension by the Security Council or a Status of Forces Agreement?
I think the most likely thing is that the American side will respond positively to the modifications asked for by the Iraqi side, because they are realistic modifications that do not harm the existence of the forces but achieve important national interests for the Iraqi side.
What is the situation like in Basra? Is it stable are you happy with the arrangement?
Definitely the situation is very good in Basra at the moment. The security forces and the people of Basra are restoring life to the city. It is under full control. The process of reconstruction and the return to normal life has started ... Basra was almost out of Iraqi control had it not been for the efforts of the Iraqi forces. It was a risky mission but indicated the ability of the Iraqi army and police to plan and carry out big and successful operations.
Did you fear that it might not work, it would have been a blow to you as a leader? The stakes were very high.
The state is not defeated by gangs or militias. Maybe the battle will be take a long time with them. We planned for a long battle to drain their energy. But the quick and consecutive blows quickened the pace to end the battle in nine days. But it is not possible for a government with national and political will to be defeated by gangs and militias.
Were you disappointed that the British did not move faster to help? The Americans moved faster but the British took a week to join the fray.
What did you feel about the state that Basra had fallen into under Britain’s watch?
The British were not able to resolve all of these issues or deal with them in a clear manner. Therefore when we entered Basra, we entered in many directions, we held reconciliations with the tribes, won the tribes to our side in the battle, which was not possible for the British.
At the time Basra was not under control of the local government, but in the hands of the gangs and militias. The local government was just a screen. And didn’t have the ability to move or solve any security issue.
The British forces withdrew from the confrontation from inside the city to the area of the airport. They stayed away from the confrontation, which gave the gangs and the militias the chance to control the city.
At the time we were strongly pre-occupied with Baghdad and some other provinces, therefore our presence in Basra was not strong.
But when the British forces withdrew and the situation deteriorated so badly that corrupted youths were carrying swords and cutting the throats of women and children, the citizens of Basra called out for our help and we moved to regain the city.
The British forces did not have the capacity to do what the Iraqi forces did. For example, the British side found it absurd. They asked: 'Do you really want to go into this neighbourhood?'. And the military commanders answered yes. They said that this is insanity, because these neighbourhoods had lots of gangs and bombs and explosives. But the Iraqis are owners of the case and they did enter these neighbourhoods which were colonies for the militias.
In one neighbourhood they removed 730 roadside bombs.
The British military doctrine could not take such a risk and this is the difference between he who is fighting when he is the son of the neighbourhood and the country and those who are not from the area.
This did not happen in Basra alone. When Iraq’s sons intervened to confront (the militias) in al-Amara, the city was totally under the control of the militias and neither the British forces in the past nor the American forces later could take back the city until the Iraqi forces arrived. Also, in Sadr City in Baghdad and Sholia. For years the American forces were in charge of the security there. But they were unable to retrieve Sadr City. But when the Iraqi forces were determined they were able to do that.
That doesn’t mean that the coalition forces, Americans and the others, did not provide any help. They did provide help and their help was important. Especially in airplanes because we do not have fighter jets.
How did it make you feel when you heard about the deal that the British cut with the militias (in 2007)?
Of course we were not comfortable and we conveyed our discomfort and regarded it as the start a disaster. The disaster would have materialised, if we had not made the sacrifices. Had they told us that they wanted to do this [cut a deal] we would have consulted with them and come up with the best possible decision. But when they acted alone the problem happened.
Do you think the British withdrew from the city prematurely?
Why did Britain behave in this way?
I told you this was their military doctrine. Every army has a military doctrine.
How would you describe your relations now with the British, are they improved or are they still strained?
From our side what happened before will not affect a positive relationship between us and Britain or our desire is to have good relations in various fields, political, reconstruction, economic...
What happened does not affect Britain's positive role in participating in the downfall of (Saddam's) dictatorship. We recognise Britain's role in this.
Our relationship now is good and we are working to improve it further in other fields as we take over responsibility for security.
The Iraqi arena is open for British companies and British friendship, for economic exchange and positive cooperation in science and education.
We desire that our relationship with the countries that had a role in bringing down the dictatorship has a priority over those countries that supported the dictatorship.
Britain has a difficult legacy in Iraq. It established a Sunni monarch in Iraq, it put down a Shia revolt in the 1920s. I believe your grandfather was involved?
He was jailed twice by the British. He wrote important poetry about Britain, criticising British policy.
We should not allow ourselves to be controlled by what happened in the past ...Today people are motivated by common interest. And we do have common interests with various countries around the world, including Britain. We can correct the past with mutual interests and dialogue... Iraq is an old, civilised country and Britain is also a country well known for its long civilisation and democracy. This history can cooperate between the two countries to make a good relationship based on common interests.
British major-general is rewriting counter-insurgency strategy, what lessons can be learnt from Basra, what are the biggest mistakes that happened?
The lesson is that military force cannot resolve civilian and political problems ? Frankly we could not resolve the battle in Basra militarily alone but we used other factors that the British could not use. Like tribes. The relationship between the British and the tribes was not good. Or they had not paid attention to the tribes. The political powers and the parties also joined us in the battle. Before they had not supported the British side.
Also, from a military standpoint we were prepared to take risks and make big sacrifices. Perhaps the British forces were not as prepared to make such sacrifices. We did not want to kill the other side, even the militias. We want to control the situation. Our principle is not to use deadly force because killing leaves orphans and widows and social problems...
For the first time the militias saw a true force confronting them. Before, the British forces would confront them (the militias) with sophisticated technology, like satellites, automatic weapons, aircraft and other advanced equipment. These are designed for confronting armies but not militias and people hiding in houses. Therefore the difference between what the Iraqi Army and the British Army did was that Iraqi soldiers entered the houses and entered small neighbourhoods and alleys and did not rely on technology and guided missiles, which had previously caused harm but not killed the gangsters.
What is security like in Iraq? Is al-Qaeda still active? Are there new forces trying to destablize the country?
Yes, the operations are going on and will keep going on. Iraq has inherited problems from the former Baathist regime that has social troubles and gangs that work in kidnapping and robbery. There are also cases of tribal revenge between the people, and activities by al-Qaeda and the Baath party.
In our latest report today attacks in Baghdad and the provinces are down 90 % on last year. The question we ask ourselves is: ‘Is the situation now in most of the provinces an internationally acceptable norm?' The answer is 'yes’, except for Mosul which is still above the average and in some areas of Diyala (province)...
We have liberated the land from the control of al-Qaeda and the militias. Entire cities, provinces, and districts were under the control of the gangs, the militias, and al-Qaeda. The roads that connected Baghdad to the rest of the country were all under the control of the gangs, al-Qaeda, and the outlaws. This is over now. There remains al-Qaeda gangs in hiding, but they are very weak ? We concentrate on intelligence work. The raids on terrorist elements and the gangs are based on intelligence information. This needs time to wear them out and dismantle their cells that have started breaking down gradually.
Maybe there is a noticeable escalation in the recent period, involving sticky (magnet) bombs on the cars of some citizens or officials. This is connected to the atmosphere of the [status of forces] agreement and the dialogue. It is also connected to the US elections, and the upcoming Iraqi elections.
We have laid down security plans and measures to confront it and reduce its impact so that it doesn't go beyond the accepted limit.
Generally, the security situation is satisfactory and under control and is improving. Improving the security situation, is not only connected to the military and intelligence work, but also improving the economic side, the turn of the reconstruction wheel in Iraq, the national reconciliation that took place between the components of the Iraqi people. This is advancing in big steps and is the biggest of the factors supporting the security, military, and intelligence effort. So we have many factors moving in one direction. We believe that security is not achieved only by weapons and security forces, army, and police.
What about the talks about the status of forces agreement with the British?
Why haven't those talks started yet?
When Gordon Brown came here, he mentioned that there will be working groups to look at this issue.
That is what we agreed. May be the situation in Britain is one of the issues. Now that there are changes and political movement, which may have an effect. There are ministerial changes, elections, the international financial crisis, maybe they are connected.
The agreement was also that there would be a presence of British companies in Iraq across a broad scale which also did not happen. Today or tomorrow we are expecting a British power company to approach us on how to solve our electricity crisis. We welcomed them.
Is the presence of the (4,100) British troops no longer crucial for security in the south?
Definitely, the presence of this number of British soldiers is no longer necessary. We thank them for the role they have played, but I think that their stay is not necessary for maintaining security and control.
There might be a need for their expertise in training and some technical issues, yes, but as a fighting force, I do not think it is necessary.
What about Kirkuk, is this a serious problem facing your Government? The area is controlled by Kurdish militias, can you ever imagine re-imposing Government authority by force?
Kirkuk is a city that belongs to the federal government and is outside the boundaries of the Kurdistan region. The existence of any force that is not formal and governmental is considered, as you said, outside the legal rules and goes by the principle of militias.
The different ethnic groups accuse each other of bringing in people from outside the province and granting them residency. The province is under Kurdish control at the moment. The others, the Turkomans and the Sunni Arabs, accuse the local government of manipulating the census and the figures. It is better to have a solution between the groups based on consensus.
Do you have any information about the fate of the 5 British hostages?
We had some information earlier, which was not certain, but now this source has dried up. We tried to follow up our lead with the British Embassy and the Coalition Forces, but it did not lead to any result. The search is still going on.
What is going to happen at the end of the year if the talks on a status of forces agreement between Iraq and Britain aren’t finished?
Either the resolution will be extended by the Security Council, so they will have legal cover according to international law – and this seems to be unlikely at the moment. Or they lose will their legal cover and they have to leave Iraq.
What is the message you would like to give to the British Government? You said that you are ready to start talks but they have not started yet.
It’s a message of friendship and desire for cooperation in civilian, political, economic fields.
As for the British forces, to avoid reaching the critical deadline I wish for the negotiations between the two sides to start quickly to determine what elements of the force should remain and their specialities.
Do you think the British should reduce the size of their 4,100-strong force?
Definitely, there will not be any need for 4,000 troops. The size of the need is determined by the size of the required tasks. For example to train the naval force, how many forces do we need? I don’t know. Also, to train the 14th Division in Basra, how many do we need? (Training on) some technical issues about how to use weapons and equipment. This will be determined in the negotiations.
The Americans plan to leave the Republican Palace by the end of the year. Will you move your office there?
The palace will need more than a year for refurbishment. Our intention is that this will become the headquarters of the Government, the Cabinet and the offices attached to it. The Cabinet now is divided among many buildings. They will all gather in this palace when it is finished in a year or more.
Will the green zone be opened up?
Yes and we have a definite desire that the green zone at the beginning of next year will be open, but security precautions will be taken to guarantee continuing security. Keeping a green zone in Iraq and a red zone in Iraq is finished. The whole of Baghdad must be green.
What about you personally, do you intend to stand for re-election next year?
I did not nominate myself previously so I won’t be doing it now. They chose me for this post.
If they chose you again would you accept?
It would be easier not to accept, but if the national interest requires, then I have to serve Iraq.
Do you enjoy this job?
What do you do for entertainment or relaxing?
Entertainment is rare in our lives in Iraq. I only do some light sports [at the gym].
A documentary will be broadcast this weekend about the execution of Saddam. It alleges that you pushed hard for a guilty verdict and the death sentence. You allegedly changed a judge at the last minute and then signed the death warrant. Are the allegations fair and do you have any regrets?
My signature to the death warrant was a legal procedure. The Prime Minister has to sign after the ruling of the court. My signature came after the court gave its ruling and was approved by the supreme appeal court. It has to be signed to be carried out.
I would like the documentary to bring a document or a witness saying that the Prime Minister has interfered or exercised pressure on a judge or a court.
In this place, the whole court committee was here at the night before they issued the sentence. They spoke a lot about the trial. When the meeting ended, before they stood to leave, they said that you have not asked about the sentence that will be issued to Saddam. I said that I will find out at the same time as all the other Iraqis tomorrow.
What happened after the execution should not have happened. But these are people who do not have experience in carrying out executions. This was a speciality of the Baath Party. His men were good at executing people quietly.
We were not happy with the way the sentence was carried out. Those who chanted were punished. There was no major violation apart from the chanting... We have punished those who chanted and they are now in jail.
The Turkmen of Erbil: captives in their city
Iraqi Turkmen Human Rights Research Foundation
Date: October 08, 2008
William R. Hay, an English political officer, ruled the Erbil region from 1918 to 1920. He commented on the population of the city as follows:1
“The only two Turkish speaking populations which concern us closely are Erbil and Altun Kopri”. “One mahalla or quarter of the town (Erbil) is purely Kurdish, and in the rest the lower classes resemble the Kurds in appearance and dress. All can speak Kurdish fluently, but the language of their homes is Turkish. In the upper town which contains 6000 inhabitants, the purest Turkish element is found” “Starting from with the Nebi Yunus on the bank of the Tigris opposite Mosul, and running down through Erbil, Altun Kopri, Kerkuk, Kifri and Kizil Rabat to Mendeli we find a line of towns with Turkmen speaking inhabitants”
The Kurdish arrival to the region is portrayed by Hay on several occasions:2, 3
“Dizai tribe descended from the hills about 3 centuries ago, and occupied a few villages round Qush Tappah. In the middle half of the 19th century they started to expand, and rapidly covered the whole country up to Tigris. In the late 1920s, they constitute one third of the Erbil district population.” “It is reported that less than a century ago trees and shrubs were plentiful on the slopes of Qara Choq Dagh; when the Kurds came, however, they were quickly taken for fire woods and no trace of them now remains”
Today Erbil is a heavily populated city and has been declared capital of the Kurdish region. No less than one third of the city’s population is Turkmen. Under the aggressive hegemonic policy of Kurdish tribal parties, the Turkmen of Erbil are marginalized, intimidated and exposed to suppression and assimilation.
The Turkmen parties got only 2000 votes in the Iraqi general election in Erbil. Seats in the city council are shared between members of two Kurdish parties; the KHP & KUP. Policy dictates that appointment of governmental offices and positions are to be made to members of Kurdish political parties only, thus depriving the Turkmen who are not members of Kurdish parties from governmental posts. The estimated number of employees in Kurdish region is about a million.4
Turkmen are being discriminated against and are seldom appointed to hold governmental offices or in the university in Erbil. Those who want to be appointed must show allegiance to the Kurdish parties and support their party’s ideology.
In April 2005, Kurdish security agents broke in to Turkmen institutions and took over 24 buildings: Nine primary and four secondary schools, the buildings for education, health, information, Turkmen Unions and syndicates, Turkmen House, Shifa dispensary, the Turkmen Radio and Television, Turkmeneli print house, the building of headquarters of the Iraqi Turkmen Front in Erbil, the building of Iraqi Turkmen National Party and the building of the Turkmeneli party.
The educational quality in the Turkmen schools was deliberately worsened which lead to a decrease in the number of students; the student registration have been stopped in 2008. The name of the Turkmeneli Television and Radio were changed and are now used as propaganda instruments by those Turkmen that work for the Kurdish parties and whom are paid by the Kurdish authorities. The Turkmeneli newspaper has not been published in Erbil and the Turkmeneli print house has been out of use. The Turkmen department of the Institution for Teachers was closed. Turkmen publications are not allowed to be sold in shops and put in the libraries. Cafés and public houses can not operate Turkmen TV and radio and can not keep the Turkmen publications, such as newspapers in their premises.
Suppression and intimidation
The suppressive policy of the Kurdish administration hinders the appearance of Turkmen civil society activists and stall establishment of Turkmen civil society and political organizations. The Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF) is the only Turkmen organization which could resist the suppressive policy of the Kurdish authorities, but its functioning is severely restricted. The ITF is not allowed to realize political, social and cultural activities only inside the small buildings of the organization. Governmental buildings cannot be rented. Those who present logistic support to Turkmen organizations will be intimidated. During election campaigns Turkmen were allowed hang their posters and flags only on their own buildings.
The daily critics to the Turkmen organizations, by the newspapers of which the majority are controlled by the Kurdish political parties puts continuous psychological stress on the Turkmen of Erbil and particularly, on the small numbers of the politicians and activists who could resist the suppression.
Mr. Nadhim Abd al-Karim al-Saig was the chief of the news division of the Turkmeneli Radio and television which was taken over by Barzani’s administration. Resisting the intimidations and threats of the Kurdish authorities, he is active in different fields: media, politics and civil society. He was arrested by Kurdish Peshmerge militia on 30 Augustus 2008 in the center of Erbil city, when he photographed the entrance of the Erbil citadel, which is located in the center of the city and officially considered a historical landmark. When they found a number of Turkmen newspapers with him, he was taken to a center of Peshmerge militia. There he was exposed to a harsh interrogation. He was accused of spying and taken to the inspection department of the Peshmerge headquarters. The authority which received him asked those who brought him if any one knew of his arrest. They answered that his son was with him. It is worth noting that there are thousands of missing persons in the vast regions which controlled by KDP and KUP. The investigation continued for 2 hours and the investigators were a colonel and other with higher rank. He was cursed at, insulted, harshly beaten and accused of different charges. He was put in a prison, where about 40 other prisoners were being detained and he was threatened to be questioned even more harshly. In contrary, the second interrogation was much calmer and he was asked to abandon writing against the Kurdish administration. Later on, he was released and asked not to talk to any one and write about his arrest.
This is one of the many suppressive methods, which the Turkmen of Erbil are exposed to since the institution of the Save Haven in 1991, to intimidate the Turkmen of Erbil. These have decreased severely the engagement of the Turkmen of Erbil in the cultural, social and political activities. The small number of the Turkmen activists who resists the intimidation of the Kurdish authorities lives in fear of arrest, exposure to persecution, disappearance and assassination.
1. William R. Hay, “Two Years in Kurdistan 1918 – 1920”, (William Clowes and Sons, Limited, London and Beccles 1921), P. 81 – 83
2. Ibid., P. 77
3. Ibid., P. 19
4. Judit Neurink, “another copy of Saddam Regime”, July 2007,
Baghdad (AINA) -- Osama Al Najifi, a member of Iraq's parliament, told the Iraqi Independent Press Agency on Sunday he holds the Iraqi government responsible for what is happening to the Assyrian Christians in Mosul, and accused the "Kurdish militias" for carrying out the acts of ethnic cleansing.
Al Najifi, a native of Mosul, claimed the Kurdish Peshmerga forces and the Kurdish Asayesh intelligence service are carrying out the attacks under the cover of the Iraqi military.
Osama Al Najifi is a Sunni Arab and has a long record of defending the rights of the minorities in the Iraqi parliament.
He emphasized that the Kurdish parties have had de facto control over Mosul for more than one year and are trying to control the city and change its demographic identity to serve Kurdish interests.
Al Najifi also blamed the Iraqi government for being absent from Mosul, accusing the "big parliamentary groups" of making political agreements which are preventing the national government from having control over the province of Nineveh and its provincial capital Mosul.