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Kurdish supplement, 3-10/11/01 * Iraqi Kurds' story of expulsion [Arabisation policy in region of Kirkuk] * Iraqi Kurds Get New Assurances From Washington [Flurry of diplomatic activity in the autonomous Kurdish zone. Washington ticks the KDP off for cosying up to Iran (and perhaps Baghdad). PUK cozies up to the Turks. Am I not right in thinking it used to be the KDP who were pro-Turk and the PUK who were pro-Iran?] * Rival Kurdish groups clash in north Iraq [Further PUK/Islamist confrontations] * Kurds facing acute fuel shortages [The Iraqi government has radically cut back on oil supplies to the Kurdish autonomous region] * Iraq Says United Nations Squandering Its Money In Kurdish North * PKK: We Will Not Leave Iraqi Kurdistan * Iraq and counterterrorism [PUK leader tells Washington conference what it wants to hear: the Kurds want to remain in Iraq and feel they¹ve got a lot in common with the Arabs, no threat to turkey, Iraqi children dying because of Saddam, the Oil-for-Food program ... assures Iraqi citizens resources that were never available to them before because it compels the Iraqi government to spend the money on them¹ (where have we heard that one before?), Jund al-Islami was set up by OBL 9without denying this we remind readsers of the article in Kurdish Supplement, 21-27/10/01 in which Nechirvan Barzani said The KDP had no evidence proving the claim that the Jund-ul Islam group was being directed by Osama Bin Laden¹] http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle_east/newsid_1614000/1614239.st m * IRAQI KURDS' STORY OF EXPULSION BBC, 3rd November Iraq's Kurdish region is dotted with refugee camps and collective towns created over years of expulsion and mass deportation. In the last of four features, BBC journalist Hiwa Osman reports on the situation in the camps. Binaslawa is a collective town outside the city of Arbil in the Kurdish region. It is a hot, dusty pile of grey cement houses and tents for more than 50,000 displaced people. The Iraqi Government created many "modern villages" like Binaslawa in the 1980s to remove the Kurdish rural population from the countryside into camps near the major cities. Hamid, a Kurd from the city of Kirkuk, has been living with his family in Binaslawa since 1997, when they were expelled from their home by the Iraqi Government. He had received a visit from a security official who told him that he had to leave and go to the Kurdish-controlled area. His house, appliance shop and farm were confiscated. He was not given a reason for his expulsion by the security official, but didn't have to ask. As a Kurd, he knew it was his turn to join perhaps 100,000 others who had been forced out of the oil-rich areas in and around Kirkuk. Hamid's scenario is a typical one for Kurds, Turkomans and Assyrian Christians who have lived under the control of the Iraqi Government. But recently, a new deportation method has been put in place. Any non-Arab who needs to have any official dealings with the Iraqi Government - whether property conveyance, vehicle registration, or enrolling children in schools - has to fill in a form that says: "I wish to correct my ethnic origin into Arabic." Those who refuse to sign the form are automatically expelled to the Kurdish-controlled area. Those who "correct" their ethnic identity are told that "since they are Arabs," they should move to the south of Iraq. Al-Ta'mim (nationalisation in Arabic) is the new name of the traditionally Kurdish governorate of Kirkuk. It is also the name of a government newspaper published in Kirkuk, which carries regular reports about "the leader president's gifts to the people". President Saddam Hussain's "gift" for new Arab settlers is a plot of land in Kirkuk, a lump sum of money, and arms for "protection". Hamid's shop, farm and house are amongst these gifts. Shorish is another former "modern village" not far from Kirkuk inside the Kurdish region. The people who live there tell a different story of forced expulsion. The majority of Shorish's inhabitants are what Kurds call "Anfal widows". Anfal, (spoils in Arabic), was a campaign of mass displacement and disappearance conducted by the Iraqi Government in the waning days of the Iran-Iraq war in the late 1980s. Using a scorched-earth policy that included chemical bombing, thousands of villages were depopulated and razed to the ground. Anfal's goal was to prevent Kurdish opposition parties from relying on the Kurdish villages. Eyewitness accounts, documents seized from Iraqi security during the Gulf War uprising and international organisations estimate that 182,000 people, mostly men, were forced from the Kurdish areas and buried alive in mass graves in the southern deserts. The Iraqi Government refuses to confirm the fate of those who were taken, despite repeated requests from Kurdish officials. The social, economic and psychological impact of this issue is enormous. Without a death certificate, women with missing husbands cannot remarry and their children cannot inherit family property. Without a working head of household, women are sometimes forced into the smuggling trade or worse. House after impoverished house in Shorish is filled with women and children. The Anfal and Arabisation campaigns are "acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing", says Bakhtiar Amin, head of the Washington-based Coalition for Justice in Iraq (CJI), which includes more than 260 non-governmental organisations from 120 countries. The 14 tonnes of security documents seized in the uprising, make "Iraqi genocide, in which one million Iraqis were killed, the most documented case since WW II," Amin said in an interview with BBC News Online. The CJI is calling for an expert commission under a UN mandate to study the available evidence and decide whether there is a case for crimes against humanity in Iraq. "Unaccountability means a continuation of violence and encouraging other dictators to commit similar crimes," Amin said. "In this era of globalisation, justice should also be global." http://mywebpage.netscape.com/kurdistanobserve/6-11-01-tdn-kurds-reassured-u sa.html * IRAQI KURDS GET NEW ASSURANCES FROM WASHINGTON by Ilnur Cevik Kurdistan Observer [from Turkish Daily News], 6th November The Iraqi Kurds, who felt that Saddam Hussein's administration may try to exploit the current international situation to move into northern Iraq and restore its own administration, have received new assurances from Washington that the United States will not hesitate to use all of its resources to prevent such an outcome. The assurances were given to both Kurdistan Democracy Party (KDP) top official Necirvan Barzani andBarham Saleh of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) during their successive visits to Washington recently. Barzani came to Ankara and had "very frank" discussions where Turkish officials voiced serious concerns about the conduct of the KDP, which has been seen to be moving away from Turkey in recent months. Later he went off to Europe and the United States where he held intensive high level contacts. Barzani was in Washington this week and American officials reportedly raised concerns about the recent visits of KDP officials to Tehran while the party has started to distance itself from Ankara. Barzani was urged to revive closer ties with Ankara. Turkish officials said Barzani had time to "reflect" on the relatively cooler relations with Ankara and the issue would be taken up with him when he returns here soon on his way back to northern Iraq. Barzani has traveled twice to Iran recently. He was there just before he came to Ankara about two weeks ago and spent a whole week there. Meanwhile, there are also unconfirmed reports that the KDP has had some important contacts with Baghdad directly in recent weeks. It is claimed that the Russians mediated these contacts. In Washington, Barzani was given assurances at the highest level that the United States would not allow Saddam's forces to enter northern Iraq. Similar assurances were given to Saleh of the PUK when he was in Washington a week earlier. Iraqi Kurdish sources said their impression was that while Washington would not allow Saddam to touch the north the Americans are undecided on whether Iraq should be a target in the worldwide fight against terrorism. Some Washington sources apparently say an intervention against Iraq is on the cards and it is only a matter of "when and how" while others feel only strong proof that Iraq is a part of the current international terrorist offensive will push Washington to act. Saddam Hussein's latest statements "advising" the United States to halt attacks in Afghanistan and continuing an anti-American rhetoric has angered American officials who feel that the United States simply cannot live with the current administration in Baghdad. Ankara has already advised Baghdad not to antagonize the Americans while it also opposes Western military intervention against Saddam which will further complicate the delicate balances in region. Meanwhile, Barham Saleh arrived in Ankara last week and held a second round of intensive talks with the Turkish military and Foreign Ministry officials. His first round of talks in Ankara was held a few weeks ago when Saleh stopped over in Ankara for two days on his way to Washington. He later returned to northern Iraq to meet PUK leader Jalal Talabani and assess the outcome of his contacts in Ankara and Washington. Meanwhile, a high powered Turkish military delegation met with Talabani earlier this week. The PUK administration has reportedly received assurances that Ankara will extend every possible help to Talabani. http://mywebpage.netscape.com/kurdistanobserve/6-11-01-upi-fighting-resume-p uk islamic-g.html * RIVAL KURDISH GROUPS CLASH IN NORTH IRAQ Kurdistan Observer, 6th November SULAIMANIYA, Iraq (United Press International via COMTEX): Fighting has resumed between Islamist militants and regional authorities in Northern Iraq after a two-week lull, according to a well-informed Kurdish source on Tuesday. Mohammed Haji Mahmoud, leader of the Kurdistan Socialist Party, told United Press International that violent clashes broke out over the weekend between the Islamist Kurds of the Jund al-Islam (Soldiers of Islam) and forces of the governing Patriotic Union of Kurdistan near the villages of Tawila and Biyara on the border with Iran. Mahmoud said the PUK forces gained control of a number of Jund positions but sustained a number of fatalities, mostly from land mines placed by the Jund. Iranian sources put the number of PUK killed at at least 30. Iran keeps a close watch on this part of Iraqi Kurdistan and has put pressure on the PUK to allow other Islamist Kurdish groups to remain in the area. The PUK, headed by Jalal Talabani, has reported that the Jund includes a number of Afghan Arabs and is linked to Osama bin Ladin's al Qaida organization. The Jund first appeared as a threat to PUK rule early in September. Jund Kurdish members include disaffected former supporters of the Islamic Movement of Kurdistan and other local Islamist groups. The Jund has declared an Islamic emirate in the villages it controls. Its practices are like those of the Taliban. Women are required to be completely covered when in public, and worship at a local holy man's tomb is forbidden, as is the display of photographs and listening to music, the PUK has reported. The renewed fighting came after calls by the PUK to the Jund to surrender and give up its weapons. Observers saw the outcome of the conflict as important for determining whether Islamist influence would grow in the region. While the PUK controls the eastern part of Iraqi Kurdistan, the northern area, that borders on Turkey, is ruled by the Kurdistan Democratic Party, headed by Masud Barzani. Islamists have carried out terrorists attacks in the KDP area but not mounted guerrillas operations. The PUK and KDP areas have enjoyed virtual autonomy from rule from Baghdad over the past decade after the United States made much of Iraqi Kurdistan a safe haven under the protection of the U.S. and British air patrols. http://mywebpage.netscape.com/kurdistanobserve/7-11-01-ip-kurds-intensify-co ntacts tension.html * KURDS FACING ACUTE FUEL SHORTAGES Kurdistan Observer [from Iraq Press], 7th November Arbil, Nov. 7: Fuel is in short supply in Iraqi Kurdistan following a government decision to boost oil exports to neighboring Syria. Informed Iraqi sources told Iraq Press that the Iraqi government has slashed the amount of fuel allocated for the region's 3.5 million inhabitants from 7 million liters a day to around 400,000. The drastic cut could not have come at a worst time for the region's 3.5 million inhabitants who are preparing themselves for a harsh winter this year. The sources said the sharp decline in fuel supplies for the Kurds has been met with a surge of illegal oil by-products exports to Syria. They said at least 12 million liters of diesel fuel now go to Syria via a fleet of truck tankers. Iraq is trying to boost its trade with neighboring countries particularly outside the scope of the U.N.-supervised oil-for-food program, which regulates its trade with the outside world. Iraq supplies Jordan will all its oil and last week it agreed to boost exports of crude oil and products to 5.2 million tons a year from 4.8 million. Iraq is also believed to be pumping up to 150,000 barrels a day to Syria via a joint pipeline. The cut in fuel supplies and the latest buildup of troops by the Iraqi government have raised fears in the enclave, which the Kurds administer away from the control of the central government in Baghdad. Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is said to have tightened security along the enclave in a bid to crack down on smuggling particularly of fuel supplies. The Kurdish region relies on the Iraqi government for all its energy needs. http://mywebpage.netscape.com/kurdistanobserve/7-11-01-reu-irq-says-un-squan dering money-n.html * IRAQ SAYS UNITED NATIONS SQUANDERING ITS MONEY IN KURDISH NORTH Kurdistan Observer, 7th November BAGHDAD, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraq accused the United Nations Wednesday of squandering money allocated to the Kurdish north of the country under the U.N. oil-for-food program, the state news agency INA said. INA said Iraqi officials had demanded a halt to practices it said represented "a serious danger to the reputation of the world body and its ability to administer financial resources." "The U.N. office of Iraq's oil-for-food program is committing financial violations that have resulted in an unacceptable waste of the money allocated to the north from oil revenues generated by the program," said the officials. The report gave no details of the alleged violations. The officials, members of an Iraqi delegation to meetings of a committee assigned to monitor the program, said Iraqi audit bodies should be involved in the activities of the U.N office. In New York, the U.N. Office of the Iraq Program declined comment on the Iraqi allegations. But U.N. officials said the program's books were audited twice a year -- once by U.N. auditors and once by outside accountants -- and the audit findings shared with Iraq. Concerning the request that Iraq join in the audits, the officials said U.N. rules bar member nations from participating in audits in order to prevent political interference in program activities. [.....] http://mywebpage.netscape.com/kurdistanobserve/9-11-01-ip-pkk-says-will-not- leave skurdistan.html * PKK: WE WILL NOT LEAVE IRAQI KURDISTAN Kurdistan Observer, 9th November Sulaimaniya, Iraq Press, Nov. 8 - The Kurdistan Workers Party or PKK has said it has not intention of abandoning its strongholds in Iraqi Kurdistan. However, Ali Mohammed, a senior PKK leader, said his group was ready to negotiate with the Kurdish parties administering a semi-independent enclave in northern Iraq. PKK insurgents, fighting for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey, have sought refuge in Iraqi Kurdistan's inaccessible mountains following mounting military pressure by Turkish army. Their presence has been a source of instability for the region. Both the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) of Masoud Barzani and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) of Jalal Talabani have occasionally used force to drive the rebels from their areas. But Mohammed's remarks point to a shift in PKK policy whose influence and military prowess have weakened since the Turkish authorities captured and imprisoned its leader Abdullah Ocalan who is now facing a death sentence. PKK has for long been on the U.S. list of groups sponsoring terrorism. It is not clear what prompted PKK to call for a peaceful settlement of outstanding issues with both KDP and PUK. Mohammed said his group would preferably hold talks with Talabani's PUK which many see as more sympathetic PKK than its rival the KDP. Mohammed said he foresaw an improvement in conditions for the 3.5 million Kurds in the enclave. He said Iraq was a possible target after the current war in Afghanistan and PUK ''needs to utilize the situation and start talking to PKK.'' http://mywebpage.netscape.com/kurdistanobserve/31-10-01-opinion-salih-kurdis tan future-irq.html * IRAQ AND COUNTERTERRORISM by Dr. Barham Salih Kurdistan Observer, 9th November On October 11, 2001, Dr. Barham Salih, prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Sulaymania and former spokesman for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) in the United Kingdom and North America, addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks. Iraqi Kurdistan and the Future of Iraq Ten years after the Gulf War, much of Iraqi Kurdistan is free from Baghdad's control and is busy trying to build a civil society in a very difficult region. Out of the ashes of tyranny, the Iraqi Kurds have built something tangible: a free, liberal society by Middle Eastern standards, if not by higher standards. Basic human rights are assured: for example, in Sulaymania there are some fifty-five newspapers, many of which are very critical of the government and the PUK. And much has been done to develop the local economy through governmental and tax reforms, and the UN Oil-for-Food program. There have been setbacks, especially regarding the eruption of violence between the two major Kurdish organizations, the PUK and the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP), six years ago. However, relations have stabilized and the two have learned to coexist -- even work together -- on a variety of regional and international issues, such as Oil-for-Food and U.S. relations. Ten years into self-governance, Iraqi Kurds understand the limitations of nationalism. Iraqi Kurdistan will have no future unless it becomes part of a wider Iraqi framework to bring about fundamental political reform in Baghdad. Iraqi Kurds want to be seen as Iraqis, not defined and limited by their Kurdishness. Democratic, liberal minded Kurds and Arabs have a lot in common. Iraqi Kurdistan is an Iraqi issue, not a Kurdish nationalist project. That message should reassure those in Turkey who have some fundamental anxieties about Iraqi territorial integrity. Iraqi Kurds can be good partners with the United States in bringing about a better Iraq -- one that is an ally of the democratic powers of the West, not a source of instability. The Kurdish Regional government in Sulaymania is committed to bringing about an Iraq that is at peace with its people and at peace with the world at large. The Kurdish regional government in Sulaymania has no evidence linking Iraq to the September 11 events. However, even if one decides to ignore the Iraqi problem, it will come back: Saddam Husayn will not let the international community alone. On that count, it was appalling to see Osama bin Laden cite the suffering of Iraqi children as a cause for justifying the heinous crime in New York. Iraqi children have nothing to do with this crime. They are not dying because of sanctions, they are suffering because of Saddam's policies. The option to save the children of Iraq is open. Iraqi citizens have an opportunity to maintain a very good quality of life, through the Oil-for-Food program. It assures Iraqi citizens resources that were never available to them before because it compels the Iraqi government to spend the money on them. The Islamic Threat to Iraqi Kurdistan In the past few months, we have been plagued by a terrorist threat ourselves. Around September 1, a group by the name of Jund al-Islam was established, a group that we have verified to be part of the Al Qaeda network. According to our information, this organization was formed around June of this year by the unification of two groups, Hamas and Tawhid, under the auspices of bin Laden's leadership in Afghanistan. They returned to our region, set up bases, and joined forces with one of the military wings of the Islamic Union (the main Islamic organization operating in Iraqi Kurdistan, which is also a member of our coalition government), creating Jund al-Islam. In their declaration, they cite two reasons for setting up this organization and for choosing Iraqi Kurdistan as a site for jihad. First, the terrain of Iraqi Kurdistan is conducive to jihad. Second, the "seculars," referring to the mainstream Iraqi Kurdish leadership, have turned Iraqi Kurdistan into a haven for Jews, Christians, and American influence. We have verified that thirty-four Iraqi Kurdish people have received training at Al Qaeda bases in Afghanistan, and four of the senior leadership of Jund al-Islam are Afghani Arabs. One of the members, Abu Abed-a-Rahman, was said to be a personal envoy of bin Laden. According to our reports, he was killed three days ago in a battle with PUK forces. Another point of interest is the group of the Iraqi Sunni Arabs who are affiliated with Jund al-Islam and are working with them primarily from the area of Mosul. The PUK has tried, by various political means, to dislodge this group which was based in an area near the Iranian border. But they ambushed a PUK "pesh merga" contingent, slaughtering forty-two of men ritualistically. In February, they assassinated a senior KDP leader, Francois Hariri, in Arbil. The PUK therefore had no choice but to confront them militarily by taking the town of Halabja. Fortunately, both parties, the PUK and the KDP, cooperated closely in finding and apprehending the people responsible. The departure of Afghani Arabs from Kurdish territory is a top priority. U.S. Policy With the inauguration of the Bush administration, PUK leader Jalal Talabani and KDP leader Masud Barazani wrote a joint letter to President George W. Bush explaining the concerns of the Kurdish people, and Secretary of State Colin Powell was gracious enough to respond with some very specific language on Kurdish security and economic concerns. In addition, the U.S. mission to the UN sent the Iraqi government a warning about taking advantage of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and causing trouble. To build on these important initiatives, the United States could work to improve the implementation of the Oil-for-Food program. Baghdad has been interfering with the implementation of the program; after all, Saddam has a vested interest in seeing the program fail. This Special Policy Forum Report was prepared by Natan Sachs. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com CASI's website - www.casi.org.uk - includes an archive of all postings.