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Re: [casi] [Fwd: Harvest time: occupier vs. occupied

Dear List,

I am sorry that Peter has once again attributed to me
thoughts that I haven't entertained and put in my
mouth words I hadn't said.

Peter first accused me of denying the Kurds the right
to the land they lost through President Hussein's
Arabization policy. Now he has accused me of changing
the subject explaining that the issue is confusion
about the meaning of a word.
I think the issue is not the word itself, rather how
it is used and in what context.

I have not changed the subject at all, and I can't
help it if Peter thinks so. I don't think there is any
confusion, on my part, about the word "occupied".
Peter may understand Alexander's thought as he wishes,
but when one has followed Alexander's other posts, one
can only reach the conclusion that I and some others
have reached and which I openly stated: Alexander is
pro-sanctions and pro-war, and
it is my conviction that he is not an objective
arbiter in this matter, nor should his words be taken
as the absolute truth.

Peter says: "Alexander, as I understand it, was
talking about individual (Arab) farmers encouraged by
the government to occupy individual (Kurd) farmers'
land. Hassan was talking about occupation by one
people of another people's 'national territory'."

That is not my understanding of what Alexander meant.
In his post of 15 May 2003, Alexander Sternberg (who
is secretary to Dilšad Barzani) stated: "In 'old'
liberated Iraqi Kurdistan, occupier-Arabs left and
Kurds, and Assyrians, returned to the lands they were
earlier forced from." These are not words of someone
who is talking about individual "farmers", but of
"national territory". A "liberated" area is only one
which was "occupied" and that is not a reference to
"individual" occupation, but to "national territory"..

In 2001 Alexander Sternberg posted an article on CASI
"Lifting Sanctions on Iraq - dissident view", which
was criticized especially by Abi Cox and Peter
In fact, Peter had reached the same conclusion like I
have when in his reply of 30 Jul 2001 he stated the
"A further long article, * Lifting sanctions on Iraq:
Center-South vs.Kurdistan, by Alexander Sternberg will
be sent separately. It gives the best case I have yet
seen for taking the disparity between Kurdistan and
Iraq as proof that much of the suffering in
centre-south Iraq is due to lack of will, or
deliberate policy, on the part of the Iraqi

Peter had therefore believed that there was Kurdistan
and there was Iraq, and that Kurdistan was NOT being
considered by Alaxenader to be part of Iraq. My
conclusions have been partly based on such views and
partly on my readings of Alexander's posts.

If Alexander would be reflecting the views that the
land is Iraq, he wouldn't be talking about C-S Iraq
vs. Kurdistan; he wouldn't be talking about Arabs
occupying Kurdish land, rather "Arab farmers"
occupying "Kurdish farmers' lands"; he wouldn't be
working for a tribal separatist movement; and he
wouldn't be conducting a census on the territory of
the (KRG) whose purpose is to determine who will be
allowed to vote in elections for the KRG parliament...
Isn't that the attitude of one who believes in
"national territory"? Isn't the aim of the census to
determine who is to be "excluded" from voting, based
on ethnic background??

And we go back to another issue: Is Kirkuk and the
area round it 'Kurdish'? or 'Arab'? or 'Iraqi'?

It all depends on what you believe in. If one is to
think of a unified Iraq, then the area is Iraqi and
should be considered like any other part. If one is to
think of it on ethnic basis, then the area is
predominantly Turkoman, with a Kurdish and Arab
But the notion that areas where some ethnic group once
lived makes it its own forever, is not one accepted by
the west at all. Otherwise, we would see the Native
Amaericans returning to their lands, as would the
native inhabitansts of New Zealand, Australia,
Palestine and Northenr Europe.
I first presented the explanation that Arabs inhabited
what is now predominantly Kurdish, millennia before
the Kurds came to the area. Does that mean that Kurds
should leave to let the Arabs regain their land? I was
accused by Peter of denying the Kurds their rights...
The Arabs and Kurds lived in what is now Southern
Turkey for centuries before the Turkic tribes came to
the land. Does that mean that the Arabs and Kurds
should regain that land for themselves?

I do not approve of the policies of Arabization, but I
also refuse the principles of Kurdization.
Alexander talks at length of Arabization, yet he never
refers to Kurdization policies carried out in villages
and town that are NOT predominantly Kurdish. Kurds
have forced the Kurdization of Assyrian villages, even
though those people are not ethnically Kurds and have
been in the land BEFORE the Kurds came. The Kurds have
forced the Kurdization of the Yezidi people in north
Iraq, even though those people are Arabs and even
believe they are descendents of the Umayyad dynasty.
In short, the Kurdish leaderships believe that the
whole area should be 100% Kurdish and there should be
no place for other ethnic groups; a first step towards
an independent state, ethnically pure. Because the
area lacks any economic basis for survival, the
leaders of the Kurdish movements have demanded the oil
rich Kirkuk and Khanaqin, on the grounds that they are

Peter also accused me of thinking that Alexander
shouldn't be allowed to contribute to the list at all
because he has defended sanctions. I don't see how
such conclusion can be reached from my posts.
Alexander, for the information of list members, is an
employee of the Kurdish authority in Iraqi Kurdistan,
and his views reflect that of his employers. His views
are NOT one of an independent outsider as one would
like to imagine.
And although his views are irritating, I have never
thought of excluding him from the list. On the
contrary, I believe that posts like his would generate
discussions, something the group suffers from as it
has become a place mainly for posting articles.
Only once did I ask the moderator to exclude one
member, and that was because that member had promised
in one post to "prevent" anti-sanctions people from
expressing their views...

I hope that finally my views are clear and that I
would not be again accused of what I have not said.


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