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Kurdish supplement, 3-10/11/01

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
*  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, Œthe 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 ŒThe KDP had no evidence proving the claim that the
Jund-ul Islam group was  being directed by Osama Bin Laden¹]

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

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

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."

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

The PUK administration has reportedly received assurances that Ankara will
extend every  possible help to Talabani.
uk islamic-g.html

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

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

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

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.
ntacts tension.html

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

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.
dering money-n.html

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.

leave skurdistan.html

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.''
tan future-irq.html

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.

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.

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