Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Explosion in Largely Turkmen district of Musala in northern Kirkuk

A car bomb exploded beside a market and a suicide bomber struck a bus in separate attacks Monday that killed14 civilians and wounded at least 33.Three Iraqi children were killed and eight wounded when they were blasted by a roadside bomb on their way to school in the troubled northern oil hub of Kirkuk on Tuesday, a police officer said. The bomb exploded in the largely Turkmen district of Musala in northern Kirkuk shortly before 10:00 am (0700 GMT), said local official.Two boys and a girl were killed and eight children wounded by shrapnel from the explosion as they were walking to the primary school.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Turkey underscores importance of reaching solution to Kurdish rebels'' issue

Regarding Kirkuk, Erdogan described the situation in the majority-Turkmen city as a "timed bomb" following the changing of its demographic structure, calling for giving this city an exceptional status while taking into account its historic past. (end) tb. >>>>

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Turkmens to Boycott Kirkuk Referendum if Conditions Worsen

A Turkmen group said they were determined not to participate in a critical referendum in Kirkuk. With tense ethnic divisions and a Kurdish strategic national interest in the city, Kirkuk has the potential to be a major battlefield >>>>

Monday, December 18, 2006

Open Letter To The president of The United States Of America

Turkmen Komitê

Mr. George W. Bush
The president of The United States Of America
We as Turkmen living outside Iraq would like to express our appreciation regarding the ISG report.We find the ISG report realistic and a new hope for the future of Iraq and the region. Since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, Kurdish forces in northern Iraq have rallied to reverse what they claim to be an Arabization policy by Saddam Hussein, which purged Kirkuk and other oil-rich areas of Kurds and replaced them with Arab settlers. Thousands of Kurdish settlers from northern Iraq have flooded into Kirkuk and organized by the Kurdish administration, colonizing the city's desert outskirts. We believe the influx is a bid to change the city's ethnic balance ahead of a 2007 census and referendum that aims to decide whether Kirkuk will be annexed to Iraqi Kurdish region. Earlier this year as Turkmen politicians reported manipulations and irregularities conducted during the Iraqi Elections has created a falls administrative and representative composition especially in Kirkuk.We also mean that the Turkmens are not a minority ethnic group as mentioned in the report. n the map of report, The Turkmen people listed under Minority Groups. The word Turkmen means a an racial ethnic folk and not a religious sect as Shi'aa or Sunni or Yazidi. We request recurrence in this matter. We fully agree on the issue of delaying the 2007 referendum issued under recommendation 30 and willing to cooperate on all the issues for the purpose of democratisation of Iraq.
Savas Nurettin
The Secretary General of Turkmen Komitê

Sunnis, Shiites, Turcoman and Kurds have sat together

Arms remain silent for a football game

No exploding bombs, no drawn guns, no suicide attacks. A football game has done what Iraqi politicians couldn't do for years. Sunnis, Shiites, Turcoman and Kurds have sat together to support their national football team encountering Qatar in the Asian Games.

Qatar's capital city Doha is hosting the 15th Asian Games organization this year. The final game of the organization was between Iraq and the host team Qatar. This 90 minute game has united all enemies of Iraqi origin. Sunnis, Shiites, Turcoman and Kurds have sat together to watch the final game which ended with Qatar National Team's victory. Iraqis have supported their team with cheers and slogans until the 63rd minute when Iraqi goalkeeper conceded a goal. When the game was over, they have united once more, this time to share the disappointment of the defeat.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The killing of five of the family of one of the Turkmen in Tuz Khormatu

Iraqi national-WNA / Office of Kirkuk / A source in the police of Kirkuk said on Monday, that unidentified gunmen killed five members of a family in a village in the region of Tuz Khormatu in Kirkuk.The source explained that armed men broke into a house in the village (Enkejeh) and started firing, which resulted in the deaths of five people from one family, three women and a three-year-old boy with a man. The source pointed out that the family is "Turkmen Shiites."

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Iraqi Turkmens warn Baker-Hamilton commission over Kirkuk

Tuesday, December 5, 2006
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
Ahead the release of a key report this week by a top-level commission probing U.S. strategic options in Iraq, a senior Iraqi Turkmen leader has warned the commission of certain points in the current constitution of Iraq, particularly regarding the disputed northern Iraqi province of Kirkuk.>>>

Monday, December 04, 2006

Letter to Iraqi Study Group

kerkuk.net 04.12.2006

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Iraq Study Group

Mr. James BAKER


At the beginning of my letter I would like to express myself that the presence of two experts in politics in the Iraq study group is a great chance and a fortune in establishing peace in the world. I also strongly believe that the prepared report would truly contribute to restoring stability and bringing peace to the Middle East, and particularly to Iraq.

Truly, believing that you will consider all different concerns and views as you declared had encouraged me to forward this letter to your attention. However, the world awaits the result of your working group that will be presented on the 6th of December 2006.

As a leader of the Turkmen population in Iraq, I believe that this report will contain many virtual and cordial measures that will bring peace and stability to Iraq. Therefore I feel myself that it is my duty to contribute to your work.

As a matter of fact and after the passage of a certain time it is been indicated that the Turkmen were the only Iraqi segment who defended the land integrity and called for the unity of all Iraqi components under the superior of Iraqi identity. The Turkmen also claimed that the national resources should belong to all Iraqis.

The most important point in this dilemma is to ensure Iraq's stability and security. Many groups that have received the U.S. Administration support are trying irresponsibly to obtain boundless gains in Iraq. The unjust constitution, leading to dividing Iraq and causing to increase the resistance operations against the occupation, are among the causes that raised the sectarian war in Iraq.

Bringing together the Sunni and Shiite Clergies will have a good effect and influence on the nation to clarify the image and eventually prevent the sectarian war. Preventing and dismantling the influence of some militia groups supported from abroad, which have been penetrated into the army and security forces will help to solve this problem.

The stability in Iraq with the continuation of the current Iraqi constitution is not possible at the present. However, a new constitution must be constituted after taking into consideration the views and the concerns of the groups that always defended the unity of Iraq. The current constitution is the main source of all the problems which led the Kurds and certain Shiites groups to take some gains over the safety and security measures of Iraq.

Consequently, the constitution must accept Arabs, Kurds and the Turkmen as the main Iraqi components and Arabic must be the only official language in Iraq. However, the provincial federal system based on 18 provinces is highly recommended. Further more all natural resources should stay under the control of the central government.

The implementation of the Iraqi constitution articles on the issue of Kirkuk in the absence of stability opens a new arena of problems at present. In light of the changes that will occur on the constitution a joint management administration system in Kirkuk would be more realistic.

We must not forget that the Kurds in the north who constitute 18% of the population have occupied the presidency of the state and many other sensitive positions in a country where Arabs constitute majority. This will be always a source of lack of stability in Iraq.

Naturally, no one accepts his country to be an under occupation. The American forces longer remain in Iraq will raise the desire of the resistance among the population. The announcement of the withdrawal schedule after restoring stability and security in Iraq will reduce the people's support for organizations such as Al Qaeda and will marginalize the intensity of violence.

Consequently, benefiting from the natural resources under the supervision of the U.S. Administration and enhancing the economical situation will result in accelerating stability in Iraq.

Clearly, the term of the Turkmen has not been brought up in the American political agenda in Iraq. We in the Iraqi Turkmen Front have indicated through our attitude that we always demanded peace and stability in Iraq more than any other groups. Therefore, we are looking forward that our views and concerns would be taken into consideration in building the bright future of the new Iraq.

In addition to these opinions, I wish you all the best and the success in your work.

Dr. Sadettin Ergeç

Iraqi Turkmen Front


December 01, 2006

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Ceasefire Campaign: Stop the War

Dear friends,

The winds of political change are sweeping the United States. This month, the American people voted overwhelmingly to reject President Bush’s war in Iraq and the key architect of the war, US military chief Donald Rumsfeld, announced his resignation. This is the perfect time for a global public outcry to finally end this disastrous war.
To seize this opportunity, we are running an ad campaign in US and UK papers calling upon the US-led coalition to accept a larger role for the international community in finding a diplomatic solution, and a phased withdrawal of all its troops from Iraq. So far, almost 50,000 citizens from over 100 countries have signed on to the campaign – we need 100,000 signatures THIS WEEK so that our next round of ads can report a rising wave of global support. Please tell all your friends and family, and click below to the see the ad and endorse its call to action:

This is our chance to make sure the pressure of global public opinion is being felt by Coalition governments as they rethink their war in Iraq, pressing them to accept that they lack the legitimacy to bring stability and peace to the country, and that only a larger role for the international community in negotiating a political solution can stop the war.
We know why it’s so important to act. A shocking study released by Johns Hopkins University last month suggested that hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians have been killed in Iraq -- more than anyone thought -- and experts warn that the civil war is about to pass a point of no return. October was the worst month yet for civilian casualties, with death squads moving house to house. The killing could place Iraq alongside Darfur as one of the greatest human catastrophes of our new century.
We must not let that happen. And if we each act quickly this week, we can each play a role in stopping it.

We can reach our goal for this campaign by spreading the word. Please forward this email to as many of your friends and family as you can, and act now to add your voice to this urgent call for action:


This may be our best chance for peace yet. Let’s take it.

With hope,

Ricken, Rachel, Paul, Tom, Amparo and the Ceasefire Campaign team

Friday, October 27, 2006

As violence grows, oil-rich Kirkuk could hold key to Iraq's future

Tribal chiefs call for return of Saddam while Kurds eye a new federal state
Michael Howard in KirkukFriday October 27, 2006

An Iraqi police commando walks by a burning humvee at the site of a suicide car bombing in the northern Iraqi oil hub of Kirkuk. Photograph: Marwan Ibrahim/AFP/Getty images
The tribal chiefs, in traditional robes and chequered headdresses, emerged from the dust stirred up by their convoy of pick-up trucks and walked towards the big white tent, gesturing welcomes to each other as they sat.
Accompanied by about 500 clansmen and a gaggle of local journalists, the 35 Sunni sheikhs - from Mosul, Tikrit, Samarra and Hawija - converged last week on Hindiya, on the scrappy western edges of Kirkuk, to swear their undying opposition to "conspiracies" to partition Iraq and to pledge allegiance to their president, Saddam Hussein.
Under banners exalting the man now standing trial in Baghdad for war crimes and genocide, the gathering heard speeches from prominent northern Iraqi sheikhs, Sunni Arab politicians and self-declared leaders of the Ba'ath party calling for the former dictator's release.>>>>>>

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Conference; Kerkuk and reflections on the Turkmen situation and Iraq

Mondiaal centrum / Stichting Tanis
Lange Herenvest 122 2011 BX Haarlem Netherlands
Subject: Conference about the referendum in the city Kerkuk / Iraq
Date : 05-11-2006
Address : De Balie Kleine-Gartmanplantsoen 10 1017 RR Amsterdam

After the 2003 war brought an end to the despotic Ba’ath regime, the Turkmen as an indigenous people expected to see democracy, fairness, an end to discrimination, the right to self-determination and an end to violence. Unfortunately, the opposite has occurred regarding the human rights situation in Iraq, in particular concerning the Iraqi Turkmen.
The ocean of oil beneath its surface could be used to drive the economy of an independent Kurdish State, the ultimate goal for many Kurds. The Kurds hope to make the city of Kerkuk and its vast oil reserves part of an autonomous region whereas the Turkmen, Chaldo Assyrians and Arabs are fiercely opposing the inclusion of Kerkuk in an autonomous region. A Kurdish control over Kerkuk could fuel Kurdish nationalism in the region and undermine the rights of Turkmen, Arab and Chaldo Assyrian residents in Kerkuk and the city of Kerkuk itself has become almost synonymous with the abusive Kurdization campaign, which illustrates the persistency of the designs that the Kurds have on Kerkuk. This could lead to instability in the region and, possibly, civil war.
The Turkmen, as staunch believers in firm national principles, strongly reject article 58 and its clauses in the Iraqi constitution that are of great prejudice against the Turkmen and their national identity. The Turkmen, Arabs and Chaldo Assyrians are extremely worried over efforts aiming to make Kurds a majority in the northern Iraqi town of Kerkuk.
Due to the planned referendum to be held in Kerkuk late 2007, the issue of Kerkuk's status became potentially explosive for Iraq, and ethnic conflict over the city could spark violent clashes and even a civil war across Iraq, that could eventually lead to disintegration of the country.
Unless the international community acts soon to resolve mounting tensions in Kerkuk, the result could well be another violent communal conflict in Iraq, risking full-scale civil war and possibly outside military intervention. Thus a conference has been called by Iraqi Turkmen association “ Tanis” in Holland which would be held on the 5/11/2006 on the above subject.
Page 1
Gastes: Mr. Bertus Hendriks, World broadcasting in Amsterdam.
Prof. A. Bayat, chairman of Islamic university The Modern World (ISIM) in Leiden.
For further information on the above conference please contact us on the following email info@tanis-turkmen.nl
Mobl: 0640318673

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Taliban Of Afghanistan And Talabani Of Iraq-Kurdistan: The Stan Of American Quandary

By Ali Al-Hail
Al-Jazeerah, October 11, 2006
Recent frantic shift by the neocons in the US to negotiate with Taliban of Afghanistan, and to support demands from the Kurds led by Talabani, and Barzani of Iraq-Kurdistan conceivably, reflects the dilemmas they are facing in Afghanistan, and Iraq. Taliban forces in Afghanistan, after 5 years since the neocons’ war are stronger now than they have ever been, and in full intact. More significantly, inflicting high toll on the US-led NATO (IESAF) forces.
All the neocons’ reporting of quantifying killing of Taliban’s troops daily, has proved to be false, and is information withheld. Bombing Afghani civilians in thousands, including children, and women over the past half a decade has, for media consumption been perceivably, fabricated for killing Taliban fighters.
Strangely, enough in the last three months, American, British, Canadian, and now Nato sources have been alleging killing hundreds of Taliban fighters. Whilst field reports from Afghanistan show on daily basis Taliban frequent, and consistent attacks on Nato, American, British, and Canadian paratroops at the heart of Kabul, which is absolutely, incompatible with the Nato’s statistics. This situation has apparently, forced the neocons in the US to handle Taliban’s predicament to first the British, and Canadians, and lately, to the NATO.
As NATO forces have been facing fierce resistance from Taliban fighters, a good number of NATO countries were skeptical about sending troops to Afghanistan. Now there are confirmed reports by the NATO in fields that, three quarter of Afghanis are reported to have turned to Taliban, as their lives have drastically, been worsened, and not improved according to what they were promised 5 years ago.
The neocons have apparently, came to terms with the reality that, Taliban, like HizbullaH, the resistance in Iraq, the resistance in Palestine cannot be defeated, and the remaining way to deal with Taliban, is to negotiate with them.
As for Iraq, the neocons had it with their ‘opportunistic’ allies, the Shi’is, since they had completely, failed, among other issues to stop the resistance against the neocons-led coalition occupation. As a matter of fact, both the occupiers, and the puppet government headed by Nouri Al-Malki share this perceived failure. This harsh veracity has reportedly, pushed the neocons to direct the winds to the Kuds, further up in the North, accumulated by a visit recently, by Dr. Rice, the neocons’ secretary of state. A number of visits made by Talibani, and Barazani to the US has also, served this trend. Assuredly, is another quandary facing the neocons, and this time with Turkey.
The Iraqi- Kurd President, Talabani, and Barzani, the President of Iraq-Kurdistan eagerness for more autonomy, and for controlling the oil of Kirkuk, has allegedly, fallen upon listening ears of the neocons in the US.
Turkey does naturally, not seem to be pleased with the neocons’ closeness to the Kurds, who are edging their borders from the South. They already have a huge headache with the PKK inside their Southern-Eastern part of their country.
Since Turkey is a Nato member, and has always, been obedient to the neocons, since the first American Gulf war on Iraq in 1991, after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, Turkish government monitors this new development with extreme vigilance. If a full independent, sovereign Kurdish state has to be founded at Northern Iraq, as indications point at this way Turkey will certainly, have its panics, and legitimate fears.
As the Kurds of Turkey, who have for centuries been demanding a Kurdish state at Southern-Eastern Turkey without a potential prospect, would take up the opportunity, and would join the seemingly, Kurdish promised state. Since the Kurds have never hidden their bitter feelings about the Turks, and vice versa the new state could become a source of serious threat to Turkey. Especially, if Kurkuk will be given away to them, as part of their state, which would make the Kurds rich and upper handed only, a few miles from the borders with Turkey.
A question arises here, will the Arab World accept another Foreign state (Israel is the first to be imposed on the Arab World)?, or else the neocons will be able to make them approve of it, as they have approved of Israel. Is the new US-led 8-Arab-state-Axis, amongst its agenda, is to do this?
Though, there is no ‘official’ contact between Taliban of Afghanistan, and Talabani, and his Kurds, both are predominantly, Muslim-Sunni. As such, Muslim movements in Iraq-Kurdistan, as well as ordinary Kurds, do have sympathy with Taliban, and Al-Qaeda.
Moreover, amongst Kurds supporting both Talibani, and Barazani, the two main influential secular leaders in Iraq-Kurdistan also, have a degree of sympathy with Taliban, and Al-Qaeda. They however, by backing their secular leaders, look forward to having a state which enjoy the neocons’ support, as they are now in Iraq, are the main influence upon the puppet government of Al-Maliki. Thus, it’s a business bargain, and opportunistic relations between the Kurds, and the neocons in the US, albeit, the Kurds’ radical stand historically, against the West.
Despite the fact that, Salahuddin, the Muslim-Kurd leader liberated Jerusalem during the Crusade Wars in the 11th century, secular Kurds led by Talabani, and his ally, Barzani at present are loyal to the US, and Israel. Israel, and the West generally, however, wouldn’t forgive the Kurd nation, for Salahuddin, whose name, and deeds stand as a role model for Arabs, and Muslims.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Part of Iraq Intelligence Report Is Released

Part of Iraq Intelligence Report Is Released
'Political' Leaks of Paper Led to Decision, Bush Says

'Political' Leaks of Paper Led to Decision, Bush Says

By Michael A. Fletcher
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 27, 2006; Page A01

The Bush administration yesterday released portions of a classified intelligence estimate that says the global jihadist movement is growing and being fueled by the war in Iraq even as it becomes more decentralized, making it harder to identify potential terrorists and prevent attacks.

The war in Iraq has become a "cause celebre" for jihadists, breeding resentment of U.S. involvement in the Muslim world and drawing new adherents to the movement, the assessment says. The growth in the number of potential terrorists is also being fed by corruption, slow-moving political reform in many Muslim countries and "pervasive" anti-American sentiment, according to the report.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Results Notification of Consultation Meeting

ITF Press
The Results of the 2nd Consultation Meeting which was organized by the Iraqi Turkmen Front and the participation of Turkmen organizations outside Iraq was held in Ankara on the 22-23rd of August 2006 have been undersigned and a decision was taken to release them to the public: "The ITF, which was born from the bosom of Turkmeneli with the intent of uniting the Turkmen under one roof, has entered the politization process in its 11th year and starting from 2005. ......>

Saturday, August 26, 2006

'Iraq Undergoing a Critical Period', Says Turkish Iraqi Leader

Speaking at a meeting held on Tuesday in the Turkish capital Ankara, Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITC) chairman Sadettin Ergec has said that Turkomans were moving through a critical period.
Today's meeting which brought together representatives of Turkomans living outside Iraq took place at the Ankara Turkmeneli Culture Center. The ITC Chairman stated in his speech that the Iraqi Turkomans were struggling for their existence in the country.....>

Oil-rich Kirkuk must remain Iraqi city

ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
Turkmen groups have said the inclusion of the disputed northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk within the local Kurdish government in the north of Iraq cannot be accepted. “Under the current circumstances, a referendum slated for late 2007 will not solve the problem. In fact, decisions made on Kirkuk are contradictory and lack a legal basis,” said a draft summary issued yesterday after a two-day meeting of Turkmen groups in Ankara. .....>

ITC: Annexation of Kirkuk unacceptable

Friday , 25 August 2006
The Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITC) yesterday expressed its opposition to the oil-rich city of Kirkuk coming under the Iraqi Kurdistan regional government and called for a special status for the city.
The ITC and around 60 political groups and organizations from the Turkmen diaspora issued a final declaration yesterday following a two-day meeting in Ankara.
Underlining that the Kirkuk issue is the main priority of Iraqi Turkmens, the ITC expressed its support for Kirkuk being given a special status like Baghdad and not being controlled by any regional administration. It also warned that Turkmens will continue their struggle against injustices against Turkmens using all democratic means.

Iraq: Kirkuk Must Remain An Iraqi City

August 25, 2006 16 40 GMT
The oil-rich northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk must not come under the control of the regional government of Kurdistan, Turkomen groups said in a statement Aug. 25. The Turkomen added that if Kirkuk does not remain under Iraqi control, they will use every means within their rights to end injustices taking place in Turkomen-populated areas.

Three Turkmen shot dead in Kirkuk after Turkmen-Kurd fighting in nearbytown

Sat Aug 23, 6:20 PM ET
KIRKUK, Iraq (AFP) - Three Turkmen were shot dead by police in Iraq
(news - web sites)'s northern oil-rich city of Kirkuk, Kirkuk GovernorAbdul Rahman Mustafa said. The deaths came a day after fighting between Turkmen and Kurds in nearbyTuz Khurmatu left eight dead on both sides, while two more Turkmen werekilled by US soldiers as the US-led coalition faced the spectre ofgrowing ethnic fighting. The three Turkmen were gunned down after they opened fire on a policebuilding during a demonstration, Mustafa said. "Elements seeking to destabilize Kirkuk ... exploited the peacefuldemonstration and opened fire on the police building without anyjustification, prompting the police to return fire," Mustafa told AFP. "This led to the killing of three of the demonstrators," he said. Three policemen, including an officer, were also wounded. Irsan Kirkuly, a Turkmen member of the city's local council, earliertold AFP that three Turkmen were arrested during the protest. Three cars, including a police vehicle, were destroyed. Colonel Bill Mayville, commander of US-led coalition forces in Kirkuk,met with representatives of all communities in the multi-ethnic city --which is home to Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen and Assyrian Christians -- in aneffort to restore calm. "The situation is now secure in the town," Mustafa said, after mostresidents had rushed to their homes and shop-owners shut their stores. Demonstrators included residents of Tuz Khurmatu, where fighting betweenKurds and Turkmen on Friday left eight dead on both sides and anothertwo Turkmen were killed by US soldiers. According to Kahya Galib, a member of the Iraqi Turkmen Front, thefighting in Tuz Khurmatu, 60 kilometers (40 miles) south of Kirkuk,broke out after unidentified elements fired a rocket-propelled grenadeat a Shiite religious site revered by Shiite Turkmen residents. A town official told AFP that eight people, five Turkmen and threeKurds, were killed in the clashes, which he blamed on elements of thetoppled Baath Party of ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein (news - websites). Ten Turkmen and three Kurds were injured, said Tuz Khurmatu's Kurdishmayor Mohammad Rashid Mohammad. US soldiers also killed two Turkmen during a demonstration in TuzKhurmatu Friday, a US military spokesman said. Friday's fighting broke out amid deep tensions in the town between itsKurdish majority and Arab and Turkmen minorities. Tuz Khurmatu was sealed off by US troops Saturday, said an AFP reporteron the site. Lieutenant Colonel Bill MacDonald said 4th Infantry Division soldiersentered the town in response to reports of "Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence"erupting during what he thought was a Turkmen demonstration. Upon entering the town, a US military patrol was fired on by a group offour Turkmen, MacDonald said. The soldiers responded and "killed two of them and slightly wounded twoothers," he added. "Local leaders were able to calm down the situation and disperse thecrowd. An investigation is ongoing." Captain George Swenson, who heads coalition forces in Tuz Khurmatu, toldAFP that the town was "stable but still on knife" Saturday. Tensions have risen in Tuz Khurmatu as the Kurds have demanded that thetown be transferred to the Kurdish-majority governorate of Kirkuk fromthe Arab-majority province of Salahuddin, in which it currently lies. A Turkmen representative in the Kurdish city of Arbil, Jawdat al-Najar,said the clashes in Tuz Khurmatu were provoked by "those who don't wantstability in Iraq." Najar, who is president of the Turkmen cultural association, called onTurkmen and Kurds to avoid any further confrontation and find a peacefulsettlement. About 200 Kurds protested outside the Kirkuk government building lastSunday demanding that they be incorporated within the province. Arab police officers complained last week at a checkpoint outside thetown that Kurds were dominating life in Tuz Khurmatu, grabbing all keygovernment positions and businesses since Saddam's fall in April.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Maliki on United Iraq

"It's significant to note that the one thing he [Mr. Maliki] said was that Arabs, Kurds, Christians, Sunni, Shia, and Turkmen should be united with each other to form a country united to defeat terrorism." .......>

Call for release of newspaper editor kidnapped in Baghdad

Iraq 18.08.2006
Reporters Without Borders voiced concern today about the fate of journalist Seif Abd al-Jabbar al-Tamimi, who was kidnapped on 15 August in the Al Adil district of Baghdad. His abductors have not yet made any demands and it has yet to be clearly established whether his kidnapping is linked to his work as editor of Al-Akha, a newspaper that supports a party that defends Iraq’s Turkmen minority.
“We call for the immediate release of Tamimi and all the other journalists and media assistants held in Iraq,” Reporters Without Borders said. The organisation is still hoping for the release of three others who have been kidnapped.
Iraqi journalist Reem Zeid and her colleague Marwan Khazaal of Sumariya TV have been hostages for more than six months. They were kidnapped by four gunmen on 1 February as they left a news conference at the headquarters of the Iraqi Islamic Party in the west Baghdad district of Yarmouk. Sumariya TV is still without any word of their fate.
Salah Jali al-Gharrawi, an accountant working for the French news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) in Baghdad, was kidnapped on 4 April by gunmen in two vehicles with tinted windows and no licence plates. More than four months later, AFP is not aware of any claim of responsibility and still does not know who his abductors are.
A total of 49 journalists and media assistants have been kidnapped in Iraq since the start of the war in March 2003. Instead of being afforded a degree of security by the fact that they work for the media, journalists have been singled out as targets.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Turkmen of Iraq: Underestimated, Marginalized and exposed to assimilation Terminology

The Turkmen of Iraq: Underestimated, Marginalized and exposed to assimilation Terminology
Report of the SOITM on Turkmen of Iraq before the 11th session of Working Group on Minorities – United Nations - Geneva
WORKING GROUP ON MINORITIES11th session(30 May to 3 June 2005, Geneva, Switzerland)
The Turkmen of Iraq: Underestimated, Marginalized and exposed to assimilation Terminology
The term Turkmen, which first appeared in the 9th century, is used to describe the people of Turkmenistan and all the Turkic people in the west and southern west countries of the Caspian Sea: Turkey, Azerbaijan Republic, Azerbaijan of Iran, Arabic countries (Iraq, Syria and others) and the Balkan countries.
HistoryTurkic people were already in Iraq under the Sasanians.2 In the early Islamic era, the Turks arrival in Iraq started with the settlement of about 4000 Bukharan Turks under the Umayyad governor of Basra Ubeydullah Ibn Ziyad in 673 – 674.3 For most of the time when the Abbasids ruled from Baghdad (744 - 1258) the Turkish soldiers were figureheads of the army under Turkish commanders.4 In the Samanid (819 - 999) army the Turkish militia was an important element. In the Buyid (932-1062) army, the Turkmen element was the main military force.5 With the Seljuks the Turkmen became the real sovereigns in Iraq. The Turkmen, who were the second largest nationality in Iraq under the Buyids, had further increased in number during the Seljuk period.6 During the Atabeg era, a large gathering of Turkmen took place in Iraq.7 Other waves of Turkmen entered Iraq in the winter of 1231, when the Mongols defeated the Khawarazm Shah Jalal al-Din, they spread in al-Jazeerah cities: Sinjar, Khabur and Harran. The arrival of the Turkmen in Iraq reached its climax under the Mongols. Turkmen continued to arrive in Iraq at the time of the Qara Qoyunlu, the Aq Qoyunlu and the Ottomans. While the Shabaks (Qizilbash or Alawi) were the Turkmen soldiers of Shah Ismail who came to Iraq under the Safawis.
DemographyThe Turkmen of Iraq live mainly in a region, which stretches from Talafar in the Northwest to Badra and al-Aziziyya in the al-Kut province in mid eastern Iraq. They are found in the following provinces: Kerkuk,9 Mosul, Erbil, Salah al-Din, Diyala, Kut and Baghdad. The largest Turkmen population concentration is found in the city of Kerkuk whose linguistics, cultural and ethnic identity is distinctly colored by their presence.10Tavuk, Taza Khurmatu sub-districts and tens of villages in the Kerkuk province are Turkmen. The number of Turkmen in Erbil city is estimated to be no less than 250.000. Altun Kopri which was detached from Kerkuk in 1976 and annexed to Erbil is a large Turkmen sub-district. The Turkmen of Mosul are living in the large Talafar district (Population is 227,000), sub-districts of Iyadhiyya (11.000) plus 10 villages and Muhallabiyya (8.500) plus 7 villages, the large villages of Qara Qoyunlu (11.000), Rashidiyya (25.000), Shirikhan, Sallamiyya and in the Sinjar (about 20.000) city. There are a large number of Turkmen in Mosul city (about 30.000), the city’s largest area ‘Prophet Jonah’ is a Turkmen neighborhood. Heavily inhabited Turkmen Bayat and Duz Khurmatu districts were annexed to Salah al-Din Province in 1976. Bestamli, Amirli and Sulayman Pak are from the large sub-districts of the latter province. The biggest and heavily Kurdified and Arabified Turkmen cities are found in Diyala province: Kifri District, which was detached from Kerkuk province in 1976, Kara Tepe, Kizil Rabat, Shahraban, Mandali and Khanakin.11,12,13 The Turkmen speakers still constitute a considerable part of the population of Badra in al-Kut province. Those who forgot their mother language are still proud of their Turkmen origin as in al-Aziziyya. According to the Turkmen writers the Turkmen of Baghdad are estimated to be 50,000 families or 300.000 people.
Population sizeThe Turkmen of Iraq are considered the third largest ethnic group in Iraq. Due to the undemocratic environment, their number has always been underestimated. It was fixed at 2% of the total Iraqi population during the negotiations of the Mosul issue in the establishment of the Iraqi State after the World War I.According to McDowell14 the Turkmen outnumbered other nationalities in Kerkuk province as a whole in the 1950s. The population of Kerkuk province was 388,939 of 6.250.000 of the total Iraqi population. The population of Arabs and Christians did not exceed 20-30 thousand in Kerkuk province.15 There should have been at least 180,000 Turkmen in Kerkuk province alone making up 2.9% of the total Iraqi population, not taking into account other Turkmen living in Erbil, Mosul, Diyala etc.Despite missing Turkmen voters in Mosul (not less than half million Turkmen population), Diyala and Baghdad the number of the Turkmen in the present Iraqi National Council is 15, this makes 5.5% of the total.
Political Situation (Tragedy)Since the establishment of the Iraqi State in 1921, the Turkmen are living between the other ethnic groups who had developed high nationalist feelings. The Arabs possessed the power of governing and the Kurds received helps and supports (financial, moral and even weapons) from the international community, while the Turkmen remained helpless. Their Human rights were violated by successive Iraqi governments. Turkmen officials were reduced in the government offices. Study in Turkmen language was terminated in 1932.16. They were exposed to displacement and deportation, deprived from cultural rights, not permitted to register themselves as Turkmen in censuses and they were enforced to change their nationality. Meanwhile the neighboring countries and the international community were and are still unaware of/or indifferent to their lot.17 Unfortunately the Turkmen tragedy, continued after the occupation of Iraq in 2003. Most probably because of the non-cooperative Turkish policy toward the occupation of Iraq, the occupation policy aims to marginalize the Turkmen of Iraq as it happened when the Governing Council and the Temporary Government were constituted. The heavily populated Turkmen district of Talafar has been neglected for about a century: the majority of houses are still built of adobes, the schools and roads have not been renovated for several decades, it has repeatedly been deprived of electricity or water for several months. They had to use the unhealthy water of the small river for washing and drinking. At present piped water from the municipality is provided for only a few hours a week to the houses.Despite extremely sporadic attacks or insult were directed toward the occupying power in the district of Talafar, sub-district Iyadhiyya and recently the large village Rashidiyya are heavily and repeatedly exposed to the attacks of the American tanks and helicopters and of the National Guards, which are constituted mainly of Kurdish Pashmargas.
Distortion of the Demography of the Turkmen regionsArabification. The Arabification policies of Kerkuk City began as early as in the 1930s, when the cabinet of Yasin Al-Hashimi made 2 racist decisions: Termination of study in Turkmen language in 193216 and the huge al-Hawije project to cultivate the vast plain at the west of Kerkuk City to settle the Arab tribes of Al-Ubeyd and Al-Jubur. With the establishment of the Republic, appointment of Turkmen dropped off and the Turkmen were discharged from the important positions in the governmental offices. In the dictatorial Ba’ath period, the assimilation and forced deportation of Turkmen from Kerkuk City started. The Turkmen were not allowed to buy immovable proprieties. After 1970s, Arabs have enjoyed special incentives and rights, which encouraged thousands of families to obey the order of the Ba’ath Party and settle in the historically Turkmen area Kerkuk. In the 1970s, the names of tens of villages and districts in Kerkuk province were officially given Arabic names. Large numbers of Turkmen families were given deportation notification from Kerkuk at the end of November 1993.18 Kurdification. Erbil city was almost completely Turkmen at the turn of the 19th century.12 It is mainly Kurdified and now made the Capital of so-called Kurdistan. The main Turkmen city Kerkuk, which was almost completely populated by Turkmen, was exposed to the Kurdish emigration in the 1930s and 1940s.19, 20 While the reason of Kurdification was economical and social at the beginning, with the set up of Kurdish uprising in the beginning of 1960, it took the form of political trend. McDowall describes the Kurdish policy toward Kerkuk city as follows:“For both Arabs and Kurds the value of Kerkuk city had been greatly enhanced by the nationalization of the oil industry. At the beginning of 1974 oil revenue was expected to be ten times higher than in 1972. A huge resource was now at stake. Kerkuk accounted for 70 per cent of the state’s total oil output and Mulla Mustafa felt bound to claim both the town itself and a proportion of its oil revenue”21The most acute and heavy Kurdish movement into Kerkuk city started with the support of American authorities after the occupation of Iraq. Over a period of a few months about 200.000 Kurds entered Kerkuk. Today, the estimated number of the Kurds, which entered Kerkuk city after the fall of the previous regime is 350,000.22 Thousands of the governmental buildings, were occupied by the Kurdish families and Kurdish Pashmargas. Several Shanty houses, which include hundreds of houses, started to be built around the city.23
Manipulation in the recent general electionIt can be concluded that the manual manipulations are among the largest drawbacks of the preceding Iraqi election, see the reports of the Iraqi Turkmen organizations reference.241. According to UNICEF and the US Department of state the population of Iraq was 25.175.000 in 2003 and 24.011.416 in 2002, consecutively. The Population annual growth rate was 2.82%. Then the Population number at the end of 2004 should be 25.884.935 and 25.375.302. According to UNICEF the percentage of Iraqis above 18 years of age is 52.2%. The total number of voters at the end of 2004 should be 13.511.936 and 13.245.908, consecutively. The voters outside Iraq were 283.460. While the number which the Independent Iraqi Election Commission determined is 14.596.551. The surplus or not present vote number is 0.75 – 1 million.25,26 To whom were these votes counted?.The leading feelings or ideologies of the Iraqi people today are ethnical and religious. From whom the Prime Minister Allawi got 11.689.943.2. Duhok as almost purely Kurdish is one of the smallest provinces of Iraq. The population number of this province is 472.238. The number of voters is 378.990. This makes 80.3% of the population above 18. The percentage of turnout in Duhok was 92%, which is also impossible because there are hundreds of villages between the mountains. In this province the Kurdish alliance won 95%. This reminds that Saddam also won 97%!3. According to the census 1987 the population number in the three Kurdish provinces of Duhok, Sulaymaniyya and Erbil was 1.977.982. The Population annual growth rate from 1990 to 2003 was 2.9%.23 Then the population number in these three provinces should be 3.215.760 and the voters should be 1.678.626. The Kurdish regional government showed the number of voters to be about 2.030.411.4. The real total number of Iraqi voters is accounted as 13.511.936. The real total number of Kurdish voters is 2,243,268. The percentage of the Kurdish voters is 16.6%. According to the most reliable references the Kurdish percentage in Iraq is around 17%. This means that ALMOST ALL the Iraqi Kurds ALL OVER THE WORLD have cast their votes!5. Estimated number of Turkmen in Mosul is not less than 500.000. There cities were mentioned above. For all these Turkmen regions, for which should be instituted more than 30 boxes, there opened only 4 boxes in Talafar. To hamper the election processes, The American forces and the national guards started to bomb the citadel neighborhood of the city at the early morning. Showing the unsafe situation two of the four-election center was closed after a few hours. Despite being assigned previously, the voting boxes, ballots, the supervisors, and other election necessities did not arrive in the areas of both Turkmen sub-districts of Iyadiyyah and Muhallabiyya and the large village Sallamiyya, Kara Koyunlu and Rashidiyya with all the villages annexed.This happened also in the Christian regions of the plain of Nineveh: district of Al-Hamdaniyya, Karamlesh, Bartilla County, in Bashiqa, Bahzani, and the district of Al-Shaikhan. In the towns of Al-Qosh, Tel-Sqof, Batnaya, and Tel-Keif the voting ballots were not enough.6. Before the election about 2 weeks and after the visit of the Deputy of US Department of State (Armitage) to the Kurdish leaders Barzani and Talabani and to the President and Iraqi Prime Minister in Baghdad, The Independent Election commission in Baghdad called the head (Ali Abbus) and (Nihad Abbas) one of the staffs of Independent Election sub-Commission in Kerkuk. In a meeting attended by the former Prime Minister of Talabani, Bahram Salah and from the Kurdish politicians Adil Murat and several other Kurds. The orders were given to the Kerkuk Independent election commission to register any Kurd in Kerkuk city (while the registration period was ended). They appointed 3 inspectors and 10 staffs in Kerkuk commission almost all were Kurds or pro-Kurds. All the information about the new registered Kurds were kept in the newly opened centers and not given to the Election commission of Kerkuk: forms and the lists of the names.
Building of New IraqIn a country like Iraq with multiple ethnicities, religions and ideologies the Democratic System will be the best to construct the new state. A Decent Election and a Democratic Constitution are essential. Accurate Population Registration Records, Independent Election Commission and Reliable Election Registration constitute the basic factors to achieve a decent election.Whereas census and then the election are from the extreme necessities in Iraq, the obstacles are great and numerous: Insecurity, occupation troops, insufficient knowledge of Democracy by the Iraqis, huge psychological demands of the Iraqi to get their cultural rights, unreliable population registration data and insufficient experience of election procedures.The Kurds and the occupation authorities played the leading role in all the processes of Election in the Northern provinces: preparing the election forms and boxes and distributing to the election centers, watching the voting processes, collecting and transportation of the boxes from election centers and guarding centers which continued for about a week.
Unfortunately, there were NO international election observers or any other independent observers in the Northern provinces.To achieve reliable elections:- The European council, the European countries, the United Nations and International Human Rights representatives should participate actively and directly in all stages of the Election, particularly in the Northern Provinces where the Kurds dominate the ruling system.- Collecting and guarding of the boxes should never be given to the American army and national guards. A well known neutral international organization or a consortium of international organizations should be chosen to prepare a scientific method to perform the first fair census in Iraq. So that the facts be established.- The European council should have several representatives appointed in High Election Commission.- The population registration data of the Northern provinces, which the Kurdish parties present, should be checked by the specialists for accuracy.- The automated electronic system should be used in voting and accounting.

Saturday, August 12, 2006


Iraqi Government Seeks Extended United Nations Presence,
Says World Body Vital to Transition from ‘Tyranny to Democracy’

Welcoming a request from the new Iraqi Government that the United Nations continue helping the war-torn country build peace and security and restore its shattered physical and economic infrastructure, the Security Council today extended for 12 months the world body’s Mission in Iraq.Adopting resolution 1700 (2006), the Council again unanimously extended the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) through 10 August 2007, reaffirming the United Nations lead role in assisting the Iraqi people and Government in strengthening institutions and promoting national dialogue and unity.In a 3 August letter to Secretary-General Kofi Annan (document S/2006/609), Iraq’s Foreign Minister had requested the further extension, saying that his Government was mindful of UNAMI’s historic role in Iraq’s transition from “tyranny to democracy”. He believed that the Mission had an ongoing vital role to play in helping “build a productive and prosperous Iraq at peace with itself and its neighbours”.The Secretary-General had earlier requested the extension (document S/2006/601), warning the Council that Iraq “continued to face formidable political, security and economic challenges” and still needed the support of the international community. Insurgent, militia and terrorist attacks had continued unabated in many parts of Iraq, with sectarian violence posing an increasing threat to its people, he added.The Council’s action allows the Mission, whose mandate was set to expire tomorrow, to continue helping Iraq in key areas identified by the Secretary-General, such as drafting a constitution, setting up an elected Government and providing social services and humanitarian assistance. UNAMI was also helping to rebuild the country, reform its legal and judicial systems, promote human rights and organize a census.Also according to the resolution, the Iraqi Government could ask the Council to review the Mission’s mandate at any time before it expiration in August 2007.

Turkey seeks pre-referendum deal on Kirkuk's status

The priority of the talks in Istanbul is now on a consensus among Kirkuk groups on what the status of the city should be. If no consensus emerges, then the focus may again shift to the delay of the referendum ....>

Gunmen storm Kurdish offices in southern Iraq

KERBALA, Iraq (Reuters) - Gunmen angered by criticism of a Shi'ite cleric ransacked offices of President Jalal Talabani's Kurdish party in southern Iraq on Friday after a newspaper claimed the cleric was fanning sectarian tensions.
Jameel Zangana, a senior official with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan in Kerbala, said gunmen smashed windows and doors of the PUK office in the city.
In the nearby city of Kut, police said one guard was injured during a similar attack by about 50 men on the PUK office.
The attacks came after Fadhila -- a Shi'ite party powerful in the southern Iraqi city of Basra -- demanded an apology from Talabani for an article in a PUK-owned newspaper accusing its top cleric, Sheikh al-Yaqoubi, of "pouring oil on fire to inflame a war between Arab Shi'ites and Kurds" in Kirkuk......>

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The End of Iraq

Kurdish Delight
A flawed case for an independent Kurdistan.
By Michael Hirsh

Criticizing George W. Bush for his mistakes in Iraq nowadays is the authorial equivalent of taking on the Washington Nationals. As a challenge, it's just too easy to be interesting, or sporting. While commentators still squabble over the details--which was worse, Rumsfeld's decision to put in too few troops or Bremer's decision to disband the Iraqi army? Yada yada yada--the disastrous errors made in invading and occupying Iraq are already confirmed historical fact. They are disputed by no responsible or knowledgeable person, outside of a small circle of Kool-Aid sippers in the White House. Some new books, like Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, by The Washington Post's Thomas Ricks, have supplied a wealth of fascinating new detail, but for the most part, the critics have had their day. continue

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Iraq Turkmen Front local leader shot dead

FACTBOX-Developments in Iraq on July 24
24 Jul 2006 20:33:37 GMT24 Jul 2006 20:33:37 GMT
Source: Reuters
MOSUL - Gunmen killed Wathiq Yunis, the local head of the Turkmen Front, a small political party, along with his three bodyguards in Mosul, police said.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Iraq and the Kurds: The Brewing Battle over Kirkuk

Middle East Report N°56 18 juillet 2006
As all eyes are turned toward efforts to stabilise Iraq, the conflict that has been percolating in Kirkuk remains dangerous and dangerously neglected. That struggle is equal parts street brawl over oil riches, ethnic competition over identity between Kurdish, Turkoman, Arab and Assyrian-Chaldean communities, and titanic clash between two nations, Arab and Kurd. Given the high stakes, the international community cannot afford to stand by, allowing the situation to slip into chaos by default. It needs to step in and propose a solution that addresses all sides’ core concerns without crossing their existential red lines. The most viable negotiated outcome, which a special UN envoy should mediate between leaders of Kirkuk’s communities as well as representatives of the federal government and the Kurdish federal region, would rest on the following provisions:

Click here to view the full report as a PDF file in A4 format.For more information about viewing PDF documents, please click here. This document is also available in MS-Word format

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Kirkuk: Kurdish Police shoot two Turkmen protesters

Turkmeni cafe in Kirkuk hit by suicide bomber; at least 25 killed

Hürriyet 18.07.2006

A cafe frequented by ethnic Turkmeni citizens 80 kilometers to the south of Kirkuk was hit yesterday by a suicide bomber. Initial estimates are that 25 Turkmeni were killed in the attack. Ahmet Muratli, a representative from the Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITC), said there was worry that the death count from the bombing, which took place Sunday evening around 18:00, could go higher. Muratli reported that the suicide bomber entered the Aksu Cafe, a popular site for Shiite Turkmeni along the Tusurmati River, and asked for a glass of water before pulling the pin on his bomb. Work aimed at pulling the bodies of the dead out of the cafe was still going on last night at 22:00. The Turkish Foreign Ministry is following the situation closely, with special head advisor Altay Cengizer reporting on developments in the region to Foreign Ministry Abdullah Gul. Just two days ago, the president of the Iraqi Turkmen Front, Sadettin Ergec, narrowly escaped an assassination attempt on him in Kirkuk.

Terrorists aimed Dr. Sadeddin Ergec, the Iraqi Turkmen Front leader

kerkuk.net 16.07.2006

Once again terrorism aimed at the Iraqi Turkmen Front parade presented by Dr. Sadeddin Ergec, yesterday afternoon of the 15th of July 2006 in the Turkmen city of Kirkuk. This action was part of the new terrorist series targeting Turkmen leaders and intellectuals in Kirkuk and the rest of Turkmen regions (Turkmeneli). While the convoy of the ITF leader was heading to the Baghdad Street region in Kirkuk, a booby-trapped car exploded when the procession passed, wounding four members of the protection personnel of the Turkmen Front. A number of Turkmen citizens at the same location were also injured during the explosion and they were all transferred to Kirkuk General Hospital to receive treatment. It should be noted that this is similar to the first attempt to assassinate the President of the Iraqi Turkmen Front since he assumed the leadership of the ITF. In a television interview conducted by the Turkmeneli TV with Dr. Sadeddin Ergec after the assassination attempt, President of the Front declared that: “Such operations will not fear, and it will not prevent us from the service of Iraq and all Iraqis. The Iraqi Turkmen Front will remain conservative and insisting on the unity of Iraq's territory and people. Moreover, such operations will not stop us from striving, but on contrary, it would strengthen the determination in achieving our demands and rights. We know very well that such operation is only part of intimidation to force the indigenous people of Kirkuk to migrate. The terrorists in Kirkuk will be defeated and the Turkmen would remain stronger than ever before and they remain in their city”. The same day a bomb was exploded in one of the Internet libraries in Khalil Agha shopping centre in Kirkuk, killing the shop owner and wounding a number of Turkmen civilians.Iraqi Turkmen FrontUK RepresentationInformation Office15 July 2006

Monday, July 17, 2006

40 killed in Iraq market massacre

(AP)17 July 2006
The death toll from the Tuz Khurmatu suicide bombing on Sunday rose to 28, according to the latest toll from the police.
A suicide bomber walked into a cafe in the town about 75 kilometres (50 miles) from the oil city of Kirkuk and reportedly asked for a glass of water before blowing himself up, police said.
“Of the dead, 25 were Turkmen Shiites and three others were Kurds,” said Colonel Abbas Mohammed Amin, police chief of Tuz Khurmatu. ....>

Iraq market attack kills 55

Monday 17 July 2006, 13:37 Makka Time, 10:37 GMT
Worst attack
It was one of the worst attacks in the country in recent months and came on the anniversary of the coup that brought Saddam Hussein's Baath party to power in 1968.
On Sundday, a suicide bomber killed at least 20 people in a cafe outside the capital, and the head of the country's North Oil Company was kidnapped in Baghdad....>

26 die after a suicide bomb attack on Iraq café

AT LEAST 26 people were killed and 25 others injured when a suicide bomber targeted an Iraq café yesterday.
Witnesses said the bomber asked for a glass of water before detonating himself. The blast was so powerful that it collapsed the ceiling of the one-storey building, burying many of the victims.....>

Twenty dead in north Iraq suicide bomb

Sunday, 16 Jul 2006 20:12

More than 20 people are thought to have been killed after a suicide bomber detonated himself in a bustling cafe in northern Iraq this evening.

Scores of people were injured in the blast, which occurred in a popular coffee shop in the majority-Turkmen town of Tuz Khormato, which is 120 miles north of Baghdad. ....>

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

ITF at Canadian national day reception

Among the guests were National Security Council (MGK) Secretary-General Yiğit Alpogan and his wife, Ankara Chamber of Commerce (ATO) Chairman Sinan Aygün, True Path Party (DYP) Deputy Chairman and former Ambassador Nüzhet Kandemir, former president of the Higher Education Board (YÖK) Kemal Gürüz and Iraqi Turkmen Front's (ITC) Turkey representative Ahmet Muratlı as well as the ambassadors of Australia, Oman, Belgium, Bangladesh, Egypt, Slovenia, South Africa, Croatia, China, Israel, Argentina, Poland, Tunisia, Slovakia, Albania, Venezuela, Iraq, Lithuania, Estonia, Jordan, Japan, the Czech Republic, the United States, Germany, Finland, Macedonia, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Italy and a number of guests, including military attachés.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Zabari: We Need Turkey in Iraq

By Fatih Atik,
Published: Tuesday, July 04, 2006 zaman.com

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiar Zabari, meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday, asked him to lead initiatives to end the Sunni-Shiite tensions in his country.
Claiming that the tension is dragging Iraq into a civil war, Zabari said, “Iraq needs Turkey in all areas, including security. Help us.”
In response, Erdogan highlighted the importance of territorial unity and promised Iraq can always count on Turkey for support.
Erdogan had invited Iraq’s new Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to Turkey and had communicated Ankara’s expectations to fight the terror network PKK (Kurdish Workers’ Party), the situation in Kerkuk (Kirkuk) and the opening of the second border gate.
In a closed-door meeting held at the Prime Minister’s Office, Zabari asked Erdogan to “personally make efforts and to lead” initiatives to establish security in Iraq.
Zabari asked Erdogan to step in and help prevent a possible civil war.
“You have made important contributions in the establishment of domestic security and in easing the Sunni-Shiite tensions in Iraq. However, we need your leadership to help end this conflict. We are keeping a close eye on your activities to prevent the ‘clash of civilizations’ and for global peace. We expect you to conduct similar activities for the establishment of domestic security in Iraq, too.”
‘Turkey will pull its weight’
Zabari brought greetings from Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister al-Maliki to Erdogan and informed him that the majority of Iraqis think fondly of Turkey.
“Iraq needs Turkey. We need cooperation in all fields including security, economy, energy, and commerce. Please give them a helping hand.”
In reply, Erdogan said, “The most important problem in Iraq is security at the moment and Turkey is prepared to pull its weight in this issue. It is difficult to cooperate in other areas without first establishing security. We appreciate the Maliki government’s efforts to establish security.”
The PM stressed that Iraqis should have a common understanding and emphasized the importance of national consensus.
Erdogan sent the message that “All Iraqis should strive for unity. Their basic needs, especially the security, should be met. It is important for all Iraqis to act in unity and not succumb to external pressures in order to secure tranquility.”
For the Kerkuk (Kirkuk) issue, Erdogan said that consideration should be given to the region’s Turkmen population and recommended measures to prevent the migration of other ethnic groups to the region.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


New York, Jun 28 2006 11:00 AM
The recent upsurge of violence in Iraq over the past four months has uprooted a further 150,000 people across the war-torn country, bringing the total of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to 1.3 million, according to the United Nations mission there.“Displacement is not a phenomena exclusive to any specific region, ethnicity or creed. Indeed, displacement since the 22 February bombing of the (Shiite) Samara shrine has equally affected all of Iraq’s diverse communities on a nationwide basis,” the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (<"http://www.uniraq.org/">UNAMI) said in a <"http://www.uniraq.org/get_article.asp?Language=EN&ArticleID=179">statement.“While addressing the immediate needs of Iraq's internally displaced is critical, UNAMI stresses the need to focus on developing mechanisms to allow for the safe and dignified return of displaced Iraqis to their homes. Achieving this will be central to Iraq's long-term stability,” it added.In an effort to support the Iraqi government in meeting the emergency needs of these people, the UN and its partners have distributed assistance to over 12,500 of the most vulnerable recently displaced families.It is estimated that there are 1.3 million IDPs in Iraq, nearly 5 per cent of the total population. While many were displaced as long ago as the early 1980s, the last four months of increasing violence and relentless sectarian tensions have resulted in the sudden mass increase. In the last fortnight alone, 3,200 families have fled Ramadi to neighbouring towns as a result of the military operations there. 2006-06-28 00:00:00.000

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Status of Kirkuk is for Iraqis to decide

US insisting on hands-off policy on Kirkuk
Friday, June 23, 2006
WASHINGTON -Turkish Daily News

Despite warnings by Turkey that an ongoing Kurdification of northern Iraq's oil-rich and multiethnic city of Kirkuk would likely lead to a major conflict, the United States has said it would not intervene.
Asked to comment on remarks made by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that Kirkuk should be given a special status within Iraq, U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli made it clear at his daily press briefing on Wednesday that Washington at this point would continue with its hands-off policy on the matter. "The status of Kirkuk is...contınue

Croatian ambassador hosts national day reception

ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Croatian Ambassador to Turkey Gordan Bakota hosted a reception on Tuesday celebrating Croatian national day at the Ankara Hilton Hotel.
The ambassador personally greeted each guest at the door.
Among the guests were Air Forces intelligence chief Gen. Erol Özgil, Iraqi Turkmen Front's (ITC) Turkey representative Ahmet Muratlı and Foreign Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Ahmet Acet as well as the ambassadors of Iraq, Japan, Estonia, Bangladesh, China, Libya, Greece, Uzbekistan, Belgium, Belarus, France, the Czech Republic, Turkmenistan, Israel, Serbia, Hungary, Slovenia, Albania, Sudan, Romania, Slovakia, Yemen, Germany, Spain, Canada, Palestine, Lebanon, Tunisia, South Africa, Macedonia, Algeria, Moldova, Argentina, Egypt and Brazil and a number of guests including military attachés.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

ITF's suggestion of Turkmen Federation

Yeniçağ 21.06.2006

Mr. Ahmet Muratlı who says that they are spending great efforts to prevent Kirkuk from falling into the hands of the peshmerge, revealed they had a “Turkmen Federation” proposal ready in their bags After articles were appended to the Iraqi Constitutional Law restricting the rights of the Turkmen, it is a matter of further concern for the Turkmen that efforts to increase the peshmerge population in Kirkuk in readiness for the referendum to be held next year is carried out with international support. The peshmerge who claim to consist of up to 17 percent of the population of Iraq demand a federation to pave the way for a Kurdish state.
We will not divide Iraq
Mr. Ahmet Muratlı, who says that the Turkmen might also request a federation, explained that they did not defend the unitary structure of Iraq and the ITF Chairman had a proposal for a “Turkmen Federation” in his bag. Although Mr.Muratlı claimed that the first steps to divide Iraq would not be taken by the Turkmen, he said, “the ITF would never cease to defend the freedoms and legal rights of Iraqi Turks”.
Mr.Muratlı explained that the activities carried out recently to target and kill the Turkmen in the Turkmeneli region had been victimized according to a specific plan and continued by saying “The target is to intimidate the Turkmen of Kirkuk and turn the Turkmen population into a minority group”.
The Peshmerge’s deceitful plan.
Mr. Muratlı explained the plans to decrease the Turkmen population until the referendum to be held in 2007 by saying: "Firstly the peshmerge who had been persuaded to migrate in accordance with article 58 will be resettled in their previous domains. According to official records this total does not exceed 11.000 persons. However, 350.000 persons have settled in Kirkuk. The region is being populated from other countries." Mr.Muratlı reminded that the subject of the boundaries of the region depicted in the Iraqi Constitutional Law as “Kurdistan Regional Administration” was debatable and within this scope not only Kirkuk, but Mosul as well would become a matter of dispute. Efforts are carried out to turn Kirkuk into TelafarITF Turkey Representative Ahmet Muratlı explained, “Attention must be paid to Kirkuk. In order to form a state in the north, there are plans to further decrease the Turkmen population in the region” and to this end policies to incept massacres and exile according to the example of Telafar will start in Kirkuk.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Acts of terror in Iraq are directed at the Turkmen and Kirkuk.

kerkuk.net 19.06.2006

Necdet Ata Kerküklü
After the massacre of 20 Turkmen students in Karatepe district located between Kifri and Hanekin 100 km north of Baghdad on June 4th, more attacks were made in 5 different Turkmen regions in Kirkuk killing 13 and seriously wounding 41 people. Looking at the method and timing of the terrorism activities, it can be observed that these acts are spreading into the Turkmen region, starting from the south and climbing towards the north, especially targeting Kirkuk and Mosul. I fear that at this rate every city in Turkmeneli will be remembered for the atrocities committed there while the world merely stands by and observes.

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Iraq gets 'coalition of the reluctant' as allies retreat

By Guy Dinmore in Washington and David Pilling in Tokyo
Published: June 20 2006 03:00
Last updated: June 20 2006 03:00

The shrinking US "coalition of the willing" in Iraq has come to resemble more a coalition of the reluctant, as allies weigh up the costs of continued involvement in an unpopular war against the benefits of backing President George W. Bush for the rest of his second term.
Japan is expected to become the latest coalition member to announce a schedule for its withdrawal in a public statement today. Italy's new foreign minister, Massimo D'Alema, met Condoleezza Rice, US secretary of state, last week to discuss the Italian pullout by the end of the year, meaning in effect an end to operations by September.
Spain withdrew its 1,300 soldiers from Iraq in 2004 after a change of government. The Netherlands, Ukraine, Nicaragua, the Philippines and Honduras have also pulled out. Only several thousand foreign troops remain alongside some 130,000 US soldiers.
The UK yesterday confirmed that Iraqi security forces would take over responsibility for security in the southern Muthana province, where Japanese forces were based. British and Australian troops - who provided security for the Japanese as they carried out reconstruction projects - will be redeployed....continue

Monday, June 19, 2006

No change expected

Iraqis are not fooled by the hype as the brutality of the occupation grinds on regardless of Zarqawi, writes Nermeen Al-Mufti from Baghdad

The death of Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi has not alleviated tensions in Iraq. US and Iraqi troops still patrol main city roads as well as various highways. The roads linking Baghdad to Diali, the province in which Zarqawi was killed, and Al-Ramadi, a city still under attack, are being heavily patrolled. Al-Fallujah, Al-Ratba and Al-Qaem, all to the west of Baghdad, have been under siege for weeks. The only good news in the war-torn country is that the Shia militia in Basra have declared a cease-fire until the World Cup is over.
Iraqis have been in two minds about the death of Zarwaqi. Iraqi resistance brigades described him as a "brother" in Islam and jihad, but when a phone-in radio programme in Baghdad invited response from the public several callers voiced joy at the death of "the terrorist" while others voiced sympathy.
Reprisals were not long in coming. Fifty college students have been shot dead within a week. "Al-Qaeda in the Land of the Two Rivers," the group once led by Zarqawi, is thought to be behind the killing. Among the dead were 20 Turkoman Shias and students whose clothes violated the dress code Al-Qaeda is trying to enforce. Iraqis may have grown used to their countrymen getting killed by booby-trapped cars and "friendly" US fire, but the killing of students was received with a mixture of shock and alarm.
Political analyst Raad Al-Hodeithi was not optimistic. "Zarqawi's death might give President Bush a chance to boost his fortunes ahead of the half-term elections in November, but it will not increase his popularity. The Americans started a wide-scale attack against Ramadi on 10 June, following a siege in which the city's roads to Baghdad and other towns were cut off. This suggests that the White House intends to destroy Iraq and undermine the political process."
President Jalal Al-Talabani has told the nation that an agreement between the government and the resistance was expected soon and that acts of violence would subside by the end of the year. But Abu Ali, who is close to the Islamic Army, is doubtful: "The factions that have opened dialogue with the Iraqi government are not the same ones resisting the occupation. These are factions that search for political posts and perhaps financial interests. The factions of the true resistance have not started and will not start a dialogue unless US forces declare a timetable for withdrawal. We said were weren't going to talk to the government, because we don't recognise it."
Abdel-Aziz Al-Hakim, leader of the Iraqi Alliance, has once again called for a federal system in the south and centre of the country. Speaking in Al-Najaf to a gathering of Shia parties, Al-Hakim pledged to "work through all means to achieve this objective and complete the journey we've started". The gathering was attended by members of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and Iraq's Hizbullah. Al-Sadr supporters didn't attend the meeting.
This was not the first time Al-Hakim has called for federalism. In a speech delivered in Al-Suleimaniya late last year, Al-Hakim proffered that, "Federalism is the right choice for the Kurdistan of Iraq. It is also the right choice in the centre and south of Iraq, as well as in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities."
It is noteworthy that a substantial proportion of Iraqis object to Kurdish-style federalism because they don't want to see a regional government having defence and foreign ministers and talking to foreign powers independently from the central government. Many Iraqis see such federalism as a first step towards the partition of Iraq.
As political uncertainty continued, the Association of Muslim Scholars said that various militia and unidentified death squads were still murdering Sunni individuals, including clerics. Meanwhile, the Islamic Party, which takes part in the current political process, expressed satisfaction that Prime Minister Nour Al-Maliki's government freed dozens of Iraqi detainees.
Concerning the political process, the Arab League has postponed a national dialogue conference slated earlier for 22 June without setting a new date for its convocation. Several Iraqi politicians had said that they wouldn't attend the conference if it were held in the Green Zone, calling for the gathering to be held outside the country for security reasons. Masoud Al-Barzani has called for the conference to be held in Arbil, a venue unacceptable to many.
As chaos and mayhem continued unabated, Friday preachers advised relatives of the dead not to claim their remains from the morgue. The reason: four individuals have been abducted and killed when they went to claim the body of a relative.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Iraq's Kirkuk rocked by bombings

The wounded were rushed away for treatment following the attacksAt least 16 people have been killed and dozens wounded in a series of bomb attacks on police in Iraq's northern oil city of Kirkuk.
A police patrol was targeted in the first blast in the city centre at about 0730 (0330 GMT), leaving at least 10 dead, a police official said.
About half an hour later, a suspected suicide car bomber tried to ram the main police headquarters, killing five.
The offices of President Talabani's Kurdish party were also targeted.
In another attack, a district police chief was wounded and his bodyguard killed when two bombs went off outside his house.
Confusion surrounds the exact number of attacks. There are fears the death toll could rise.
The attacks may be part of the revenge promised by al-Qaeda in Iraq for the death of their leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, in a US air strike last week, the BBC's Hugh Sykes in Baghdad says.
Ordinary guerrilla insurgents would not have the resources to organise such a co-ordinated attack, one experienced observer told the BBC.
Attack foiled
In the first attack, eight civilians and two policemen were killed when a bomb exploded in a parked car, Brig Gen Sarhat Qadir was quoted by the Associated Press news agency as saying. Another eight civilians and a police colonel were wounded.
In the second attack, a suicide car bomber attempted to ram into a checkpoint at the police headquarters. Police opened fire and the car exploded. Two policemen and three civilians were killed, Brig Gen Qadir said.
An attempted car bomb attack on the office of President Jalal Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party was also foiled. Police opened fire on the car, causing it to explode.
Kirkuk, some 250km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, is home to a mix of Arab, Kurdish and Turkmen inhabitants, all of whom claim ownership of the city and the oil-rich territory around it.
The city has been spared some of the large bombings suffered by other Iraqi cities.
But it has been the scene of frequent attacks on police by insurgents waging war on US-led multinational forces and their Iraqi allies.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Turkey-Iraq discuss Kirkuk status

15:28 - 09 June 2006
"Kirkuk should be given special status," Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said during a meeting with Iraqi Deputy Premier Barham Salih. Erdogan put down Turkey's expectations over establishment of stability and security atmosphere in Iraq after formation of new government in that country and particularly reiterated Turkey's known views pertaining to status of Kirkuk. Erdogan also pointed to the risks in Iraq caused by ethnical structurings [as received], and noted that territorial integrity and unity of Iraq were very important for Turkey. Erdogan and Salih also discussed improvement of commercial relations between Turkey and Iraq as well as the problems in border passes. Salih in his part said Iraq's territorial integrity would definitely be protected, stating that, "Kirkuk is also the problem of Iraq. It will absolutely reach a fair solution." Erdogan also explained Turkey's uneasiness over the PKK issue. Salih in his part said, "PKK is a threat also for us. Turkey's security is our security. Necessary measures will be taken."

Turkish PM says Kirkuk should be given special status

ISTANBUL - Turkey’s Prime Minister has said the oil rich city of Kirkuk in northern Iraq should be given a special status, rather than come under the control just of local Iraqi Kurdish authorities. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan floated the suggestion during a meeting with Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Behram Salih late on Thursday, at which he warned of the risks of establishing a sectarian state in Iraq. Erdogan stressed the importance Ankara gave to the territorial integrity of Iraq and its unity.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Gunmen Attack Bus Near Baghdad, At Least 19 Killed

Raising the specter of further ethnic killings, the Associated Press reported that the gunmen dragged the students out of the bus. The A.P. put a higher death toll on the attack, saying that 19 of the dead were ethnic Turkmen and two were Kurds. Four Sunni Arabs were spared by the gunmen, it reported. full story

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Swiss Canton Model Is Perfect for a Federated Iraq

by John R. Thomson and
Hussain Hindawi
Posted May 17, 2006

Human Events Online this March, John Thomson reiterated the compelling case for a decentralized Iraq ["America in Iraq: These Colors Must Not Run"], which we had originally proposed in articles published in February and June 2004. We therefore welcome the recent publication by Sen. Joseph Biden (D.-Del.) and Leslie Gelb in the New York Times of their article, "Unity Through Autonomy in Iraq." Our only question to them and others is "Gentlemen, what took you so long?" ...read article

''Iraq's Impending Fracture to Produce Political Earthquake in Turkey''

17 May 2006
nusual political stability in Turkey faces upheaval from Iraq's impending fracture along sectarian lines. The birth of an independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq will end Turkey's E.U. accession hopes. The collapse of the accession process will strongly undermine the legitimacy of the ruling Justice and Development Party (A.K.P.), making it increasingly vulnerable to political attacks from Turkey's secular establishment. These attacks could prompt the disintegration of the Erdogan government as soon as the end of 2006. ....read article

Iraq sensitivity

ARTICLE SUMMARYReports from Iraq are not in any way comforting for the Turks, who are very much worried about the possible disintegration of our neighboring country. Continued insurgency on the one hand, failure to forge a national unity government though five months have passed since elections, signs of growing tensions along religious lines, increased cross-border violence from outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terrorists inside Turkey and the failure of Iraqi government troops and U.S. forces to take action against the PKK presence in northern Iraq remain serious irritants for the policy-makers in Ankara. Contrary to public disclosures, however, Ankara's attention is not focused solely on how to .....read article

Talabani slams Iran, Turkey interference

BEIRUT, Lebanon, May 16 (UPI) -- Iraqi President Jalal Talabani lashed out at neighbors Iran and Turkey for interfering in Iraq's domestic affairs, warning Baghdad could reciprocate.
Talabani was quoted as saying Tuesday in Saudi daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat that "Iraq is not a weak country. The neighbors can create problems for us and we also are capable of causing problems for them."
He said, "if Iran allows itself to interfere in Karbala because it is a Shiite city and Turkey feels it can interfere in Kirkuk, that will open the way for very dangerous consequences."
"In that case," he added, "Iraq will also have the right to interfere in Khozestan in Iran on the grounds that it has an Arab population and the same applies to Alexandrite in Turkey which has an Arab population."
Talabani stressed, however, that Iraq and Iran have had historic relations which were both positive and negative "but there is always room for agreement and also between Iraq and Turkey agreement is possible."
He acknowledged that the two countries have plausible reasons to interfere in Iraq since the Kurdistan Labor Party attacks Turkey from Iraq's Kurdish north; a Kurdish group in Iran has done the same, taking refuge in northern Iraq.
"Nevertheless, we need to find a solution in order to eliminate all the pretexts used by Iran and Turkey to hit Iraqi territories," he added.

U.S.-Iran dialogue

By Tulin Daloglu
May 16, 2006
ANKARA, Turkey. -- Much speculation surrounds the letter Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent to President Bush. Could he be trying to prevent a pre-emptive strike against his country with pro-active diplomacy? "It really was a kind of philosophical and indeed religious attack on U.S. policies," said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, brushing aside any suggestion that it could start a direct U.S.-Iran dialogue. But Iran's desire to engage speaks more loudly than the letter itself. read article

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The U.S.A. is establishing peshmerge suburbs overnight in the areas vacated by our slain Turkmen brothers and those forcibly expelled from Telafar.

Yeniçağ 16.05.2006

The U.S.A. is establishing peshmerge suburbs overnight in the areas vacated by our slain Turkmen brothers and those forcibly expelled from Telafar.The U.S.A. is killing our Turkmen brothers in Iraq and stroking the Kurds’ backs. There are claims that the Arabs in Telafar City which has been recently bombed by the U.S. military, are migrating to the southern part of Iraq, while the Kurds are establishing suburbs in Northern Iraq’s Kirkuk and Telafar cities overnight. ...read

Monday, May 15, 2006

ICG Urges US to Take Active Role in Kirkuk Issues

Posted GMT 5-11-2006 15:17:17

Ankara -- A leading Brussels-based think tank urged the U.S. yesterday to immediately take active measures to prevent the city of Kirkuk, Iraq from potentially escalating into ethnic clashes, reported news channel NTV.
Joost Hiltermann, the Middle East project director from the International Crisis Group (ICG), said in an address at the Middle East Institute in Washington that Iraqi Kurds are determined to include the oil-rich city under the authority of the Kurdish regional government. He added that these efforts will receive a harsh response from both Arabs and Turkmens.
"The U.S. should stop leaving this issue to Iraqis. This is a mistaken policy," stressed Hiltermann. Recalling next year's planned referendum on the future status of Kirkuk, and mentioning his fears of a possible increase in tension in the near future as Kurdish groups change the demography of the city, Hiltermann suggested that Washington should become actively involved with the issue rather than leaving it for the Iraqis to deal with. The ICG expert also criticized the U.S. for sending mainly Kurdish security officials to Turkmen-dominated cities like Tal Afar.
During his speech, Hiltermann also said that the strong Turkish military and the Turkish government have differing views about relations with Iraqi Kurds. He said that the military looks upon the Iraqi Kurdish political groups more harshly than ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, which has been in favor of developing economic links and investments in northern Iraq.

Barzani’s speech: Discrepancy between words and reality

Saturday, May 13, 2006
KurdishMedia.com - By Shakhawan Shorash

.....Barzini underlines the importance of freedom of speech and individual freedom, but neither exists in Kurdistan. All is controlled by the ruling party and everyone has to do what the ruling party appreciates. This has been the daily reality for the past 14 years. If journalists and writers criticize a negative phenomenon, they have to respect the party’s unwritten limits and censorship. No direct criticisms toward the party leaders are tolerated. Even indirect or general critics risk punishment, besides encountering sanctions and ill treatment in different ways. Consequently those who prize the party and its historical “victories” are increasing in number, while realistic and honest people are decreasing in number. .... read

Patronage roils Iraqi unity

By Dan Murphy Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor BAGHDAD – Five months after Iraq's last election, the effort to create a national unity government to reconcile warring factions by sharing cabinet posts among Kurds and Shiite and Sunni Arabs is foundering. The latest impediment is squabbling among the dominant Shiites parties.
The country's new Shiite prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, was expected to unveil his cabinet Sunday. Instead, a member of the Shiite Islamist United Iraqi Alliance confirmed it was pulling out of the government, angry at the way seats are being distributed.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Three Iraqs Would Be One Big Problem

Published: May 9, 2006
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Readers’ Opinions
Forum: The Transition in Iraq

SOME pundits and politicians have been floating the idea that America consider dividing Iraq into three ethno-religious entities, saying this would not only stem the insurgency but also allow our troops an earlier exit. They are wrong: fracturing the country would not serve either Iraqi or United States interests, and would make life for average Iraqis even worse.
The first problem is that Iraq does not have a neat set of ethnic dividing lines. There has never been a meaningful census of Iraq showing exactly how its Arab Sunnis, Arab Shiites, Kurds and other factions are divided or where they live. The two elections held since the toppling of Saddam Hussein have made it clear, however, that Iraq's cities and 18 governorates all have significant minorities.
Thus any effort to divide the country along sectarian and ethnic lines would require widespread "relocations." This would probably be violent and impoverish those forced to move, leave a legacy of fear and hatred, and further delay Iraq's political and economic recovery.
Moreover, Iraq is heavily urbanized, with nearly 40 percent of the population in the multiethnic greater Baghdad and Mosul areas. We have seen in Northern Ireland and the Balkans how difficult it is to split cities, and with Iraq's centralized and failing services and impoverished economy, violence and economics cannot be separated. Deciding where Kirkuk, a key oil city, belonged would pit the Kurds against all the rest of Iraq's factions. Basra, the nation's port, is already under the sway of Shiite Islamist militias and could lose all of its secular character if the nation divided. In addition, the nation could not be partitioned without dividing the army, the security forces and the police. The regular military is largely Shiite with a significant number of Kurds. The Ministry of Interior forces are largely Shiite, and the police are hopelessly mixed with militias and local security forces that split according to local tribal, sectarian and ethnic ties. Dividing the country essentially means dividing the army and security forces and strengthening the militias — all of which would lead to more violence.
And of course, there is no way to divide Iraqi that will not set off fights over control of oil. More than 90 percent of Iraq's government revenues come from oil exports. The Sunni Arab west has no developed oil fields and thus would have no oil revenues. The Kurds want the northern oil fields, but have no legitimate claim to them and no real way to export the oil they produce (their neighbors Iran, Syria and Turkey have restive Kurdish populations of their own and thus no interest in helping Iraq's Kurds achieve self-sustaining freedom). Control of Basra would also be an issue, with various Shiite groups looking to separate and take control of the oil in the south.
Dividing Iraq would also harm regional stability and the war on terrorists. Sunni Islamist extremist groups with ties to Al Qaeda already dominate the Sunni insurgents, and division would only increase their hold over average Iraqis. And with Iraqi Sunnis cut out of oil money, Arab Sunni states like Egypt and Saudi Arabia would be forced to support them, if only to avoid having the Islamist extremists take over this part of Iraq.
Iran, of course, would compete for the Iraqi Shiites. The Kurds have no friends: Turkey, Iran and Syria would seek to destabilize the north and exploit the divisions between the two main Kurdish political unions. In the end, these divisions could spill over into the rest of the Middle East and the Arab world, creating a risk of local conflicts and the kind of religious tension that feeds Islamist extremism.
Washington has made serious mistakes in Iraq, and they may lead to civil war. Dividing Iraq, however, is virtually certain to make things worse. It would convey the message that America has been defeated and abandoned a nation and a people. Even if one could overlook the fact the United States effectively broke Iraq and has a responsibility to its 28 million people, it is impossible to deny that leaving behind a power vacuum in an already dangerous region is hardly a viable strategy.
Anthony H. Cordesman, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, is the author of "The Iraq War: Strategy, Tactics and Military Lessons."
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