The militant group has claimed responsibility for many, though not all, of the hundreds of attacks that have claimed more than 6,200 lives this year in Iraq, the worst violence since 2008.
Tags: Attacks in Tuz Khurmatu, Gilles Munier on Tuz Khurmatu
Par Gilles Munier
Depuis avril 2003, Tuz Khurmatu – à 175 km au nord de Bagdad - est le théâtre de tueries de masse continuelles à connotations religieuses ou ethniques. Al-Qaïda au Pays des deux fleuves classe ses habitants chiites parmi les mécréants et les suppôts de l’Iran, et les Kurdes les considèrent comme des gêneurs les empêchant d’annexer la ville et ses environs…
Comme son nom l’indique (1), Tuz Khurmatu est historiquement turkmène, c’est-à-dire peuplée de descendants des familles des guerriers musulmans recrutés par les califes abbassides et des tribus des Moutons noirs et des Moutons blancs (Qara Quyunlu et Aq Quyunlu) qui ont envahi et gouverné à Bagdad et à Mossoul au 15ème siècle. Rien à voir donc avec les Turcs Ottomans qui ont conquis la Turquie et englobé l’Irak dans leur empire, si ce n’est leurs origines mythiques communes en Asie centrale (2). Les Turkmènes d’Irak sont en fait de lointains parents des azéris de l’Azerbaïdjan actuel et de la région du même nom en Iran. Ils sont pour la plupart sunnites, mais dans certaines villes leur composante chiite l’emporte. C’est le cas à Tuz Khurmatu.
Après la révolution baasiste de juillet 1968 et jusqu’en 1976, la langue et la culture turkmène étaient enseignées dans les régions où ils sont majoritaires. Mais en 1991, avec la mise en œuvre d’une politique d’arabisation forcée, les cours ont été supprimés et la presse en langue turque interdite. Des familles turkmènes et kurdes ont été déplacées dans le sud du pays et leurs terres données à des cultivateurs arabes. Puis est venu le temps de la répression : accusés d’appartenir au parti chiite interdit Al-Dawa, des opposants turkmènes ont été emprisonnés, fusillés. Des jeunes, réfugiés en Iran, se sont engagés dans la Brigade Badr formée sous l’égide de l’ayatollah Khomeiny. Cela explique pourquoi l’« Etat islamique en Irak » – groupement comprenant Al-Qaïda au Pays des deux fleuves - qui voit dans tout chiite un mécréants à tuer, fait sauter des Husseiniya (lieu de culte chiite) remplies de fidèles, placent des bombes dans des marchés, déciment des cérémonies de mariage et des cortèges funéraires. Et explique aussi pourquoi Ansar al-Sunna, sa concurrente islamiste locale composée de Kurdes et d’Arabes, fait de même. Résultat : devant l’incapacité du Premier ministre Nouri al-Maliki d’assurer la sécurité à Tuz Khurmatu, des habitants se sont engagés dans les Sahwa – milices créées par les Américains, en partie récupérées par le régime de Bagdad – et d’autres ont fait appel aux peshmergas pour les protéger. Moqtada Sadr est un des seuls à se préoccuper sérieusement de la situation à Tuz Khurmatu. Début décembre, il a préconisé la création de groupes d’auto-défense citoyens pour lutter contre le terrorisme. A sa demande, le Parlement irakien devrait porter la question à l’ordre du jour. Affaire à suivre…
Massoud Barzani – président de la Région autonome du Kurdistan - ne demande pas mieux de protéger Tuz Khurmatu, car si ses troupes ont« libéré » la ville du régime bassiste en avril 2003 – pour ne pas dire occupé - c’était pour l’intégrer dans les frontières du Grand Kurdistan irakien ou, au pire, pour la rattacher à la région de Kirkouk qu’il revendique aussi. Il lui reste à réduire le nombre des Turkmènes qui y vivent. En effet, la présence de Kurdes à Tuz Khurmatu est récente. Ils ne s’y sont installés que dans les années 1970 pour fuir les combats opposant l’armée irakienne aux rebelles dirigés par son père Mustapha Barzani ou par Jalal Talabani(3) ! Comme si les attentats d’Al-Qaïda ne suffisaient pas, on soupçonne l’Asayish, le service secret kurde, d’en fomenter aussi pour terroriser un peu plus ses habitants et acheter à vil prix les terres de ceux qui s’en iraient(4). Quand on sait qu’elles sont gorgées de pétrole…
(1) Le nom de Tuz Khurmatu est formé de trois mots turkmènes signifiantSel-Dates-Mures (fruit du murier à soie).
(2) Lire : Les Turcomans, peuple oublié ou marginalisé, par Gilles Munier(mai 2007)
(3) A l’époque, les habitants de Tuz Khurmatu appelaient les réfugiés kurdes : les « jalali », en référence à Jalal Talabani, chef de l’UPK (Union patriotique du Kurdistan).
(4) En Syrie, on assiste au même cas de figure dans les villages turkmènes bordant la frontière avec la Turquie, au niveau de l’ancienne province d’Alexandrette (Hatay, pour les Turcs). L’Etat islamique en Irak et au Levant tente de contrôler la région en attaquant les brigades turkmènes sunnites, membres de l’Armée Syrienne libre (ASL), au nom de l’éradication du soufisme. Les Kurdes syriens du PYD, liés au PKK turc, font de même, avec un objectif plus conséquent. Là, ce n’est pas le pétrole qui est en jeu, mais la conquête d’un territoire qui donnerait un débouché sur la mer Méditerranée à la future région autonome kurde syrienne.
Tags: Ethnic cleansing of Turkmens in Iraq
Tags: ISIS, ISIS - Islamic State of Iraq
Next door to Syria, an al-Qaeda-linked group is also gaining ground in Iraq
By Ben Van Heuvelen, Published: December 7
The group’s latest major attack, in downtown Kirkuk this past week, lasted more than 12 hours and left at least 10 people dead, according to several local security officials, who insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to speak with the news media. The operation, for which ISIS has claimed responsibility, showcased extensive training, ruthless motivation and tactical sophistication.
The assault began at midday Wednesday, when an operative drove to the entrance of an intelligence headquarters and blew up his explosives-laden car. A second attacker followed on foot, spraying gunfire and then detonating a suicide vest.
As snipers fired from the roof of a nearby shopping mall, at least six attackers managed to breach a security cordon and enter the headquarters. The overwhelmed local police failed for several hours to gain control of the situation; televised footage showed officers peering around the corners of buildings and firing at the snipers without aiming.
When the fighting was finally finished, about 1 a.m. Thursday, the mall was engulfed in flames. In addition to those killed, at least 54 security personnel and 52 civilians were wounded.
The militant group refers to its would-be territory in Kirkuk as part of the “Daash Emirate,” which also includes neighboring Salahuddin and Diyala provinces. The campaign for the Daash Emirate has featured not only attacks on hard targets, such as the intelligence directorate in Kirkuk, but also a systematic program of intimidation against Iraqi security forces, government officials and their families.
Through late October and November, for example, militants launched several attacks against Iraqi army and police personnel in their homes around Kirkuk, according to Iraqi officers who declined to be named for security reasons. ISIS operatives have often spared their targets’ lives, the officers said, but have blown up their houses and warned their colleagues to leave the security forces.
Such attacks are part of a broader initiative that the group has dubbed “Soldiers’ Harvest,” Lewis said.
“Their goal is to get people to abandon the security forces,” she said. “Using their existing battalions, they can intimidate a lot of people with just a few bombs.”
As a result, some soldiers have left their posts and morale has suffered. With fewer men to guard checkpoints and patrol the provinces, militants from the group have been able to increase the pace and size of their attacks — and not just around Kirkuk.
Iraq’s western desert in Anbar province, which has a long and porous border with Syria, has been dubbed the “Jazeera Emirate.” Militants have launched an especially relentless wave of attacks on the city of Fallujah over the past two months, including the assassination of its mayor, Adnan Hussein, who was shot Nov. 13 by a rooftop sniper.
“Al-Qaeda controls 40 percent of the desert area of Anbar province,” said Sabah Karhout, the chairman of the Anbar Provincial Council.
Iraqi security forces have struck back, but — in a stark contrast to when they were working in concert with U.S. Special Forces — they have far less technological capacity to gather signals intelligence and less analytical capacity to assemble different bits of information into clear pictures that would help them plan operations.
Instead, they often appear to be relying on blunt tactics that threaten to alienate the local population. After the killing of Fallujah’s mayor, for example, police arrested about 400 people and held many of them for more than two weeks without charges, according to families of several of the detainees.
In Kirkuk, the security response has also been complicated by a long-standing dispute among several ethnic groups, including Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen, that lay competing claims to the same land. The deployment of security forces is influenced not only by imperatives of public safety but also by the political and territorial aspirations of their commanders.
On Wednesday, as it became clear the local police were overmatched, the Arab-majority 12th Division of the Iraqi army, stationed at the nearby Kirkuk air base, offered to respond, according to a member of the division. But Kirkuk Gov. Najmaldin Karim, a Kurd, declined, opting instead to bring a Kurdish special forces team from Sulaymaniyah, which had to travel about two hours to reach the scene.
Tags: Ersat Salihi in Ankara
Iraqi Turkmen leader fears assimilation of Turkmen
Arshad Al-Salihi, leader of the Iraqi Turkmen Front (Photo: Today’s Zaman, Mevlüt Karabulut)
6 December 2013 /AYDIN ALBAYRAK, ANKARA
Al-Salihi himself narrowly escaped a bomb attack against his life in Kirkuk when a roadside mine exploded on Sunday, while Salihi’s vehicle, along with other cars in the convoy, was passing by.
Salihi, who also miraculously escaped an assassination attempt in 2011, says that for the future of Turkmen identity in Iraq, the general elections to take place on April 30 are very important.
Underlining that in a country deeply divided along ethnic and sectarian lines, he said it’s essential for Turkmen to act together to be able to obtain more seats and be heard in the Iraqi parliament. He called on all Turkmen to come together for the elections under a common ITC list in Kirkuk, a city where Turkmen make up almost one-third of the population — the city’s demography having changed in favor of Kurds and Arabs with new settlements in past years.
Concerned that the Iraqi people may well vote based on their tribal identity, Salihi emphasized that they would have no discrimination towards any Turkmen based on sectarian belonging or political stance in the formation of the list. “We will announce a [common] Turkmen list in Kirkuk at the earliest time,” he said.
In an earlier attack against Turkmen, ITC Vice President Ali Haşim Muhtaroğlu and the former vice governor of Selahaddin province, Ahmet Koca, a Turkmen, were killed together with 13 people in bomb attacks in Tuz Khurmato, a Turkmen city in Iraq’s Selahaddin province.
In Kirkuk on Thursday, seemingly al-Qaeda militants positioned at the top of a shopping mall launched an attack against a police station. At the end of a standoff lasting about an hour, the police killed the terrorists, but the mall was also largely damaged.
Turkmen paid $55 million in ransom since 2009
Salihi, who met both with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu during his visit, strongly believes that as part of an effort to drive Turkmen out of the area they live, Turkmen are also targeted economically. Noting that the owner of the mall, most of those who owned a shop in the mall and owners of most houses around the mall were Turkmen, Salihi said: “The Turkmen economy is also being targeted.” Since 2009, abducted Turkmen business people, Turkmen with various professions, have had to pay in ransom a total of $55 million to have their freedom.
Most of the Turkmen population in Iraq live in areas known as disputed territory, a territory between Arab and Kurdish territories and claimed by both Kurds and Arabs. Turkmen, whom Salihi describes as the cement for Iraq to remain unified, favor the unity of Iraq, because otherwise they would have to be torn apart between Arabs and Kurds in a potential armed conflict between Kurds and Arabs over disputed territories that include cities such as oil-rich Kirkuk and Tuz Khurmato among others.
As the Turkmen in Iraq are the only major ethnic group that does not have an armed security unit of their own, they become easy targets in terrorist attacks. “These attacks aim to push Turkmen from the region,” maintained Salihi, who believes that a possible break-up of the country, which he fears may come to happen, would be easier when Turkmen are not around.
Following a number of attacks in Tuz Khurmato this year, at least several hundred families left the town to settle down in cities such as Najaf and Karbala in the south of Iraq, while some of the families went to Kirkuk or to Turkey, said Salihi. The attacks against Turkmen, he believes, are also connected with Turkmen deputies having raised their voices in Iraqi parliament for the rights of Turkmen.
Turkmen demand own security force and territory
It’s for this reason that Salihi thinks a security force composed of Turkmen, which neither the Iraqi central government nor the Kurds in the north of the country favor, is needed. “We would be suspicious of whoever is against the establishment of such a security unit,” Salihi said, underlining that Turkmen would never use the weapons either against the Kurds or the central government.
According to Salihi, Turkmen feel they have been denied their share in the government of the country and should have authority in the government of the region they live in. “A Turkmen region should be formed,” he said, citing Kurdish, Shia and Sunni regions in Iraq as examples. As to the Kirkuk province over which Arabs and Kurds nearly clashed in the past, the oil-rich city should, he believes, be granted a special, autonomous-like status whereby Turkmen, Arabs and Kurds jointly participate in the government of the province.
Erdoğan should visit Kirkuk
Salihi, who met for the first time with Erdoğan on the occasion of his visit, sounded a little reproachful towards Turkish officials for their apparent lack of attention towards Iraqi Turkmen’s problems. Although making a point of noting that Iraqi Turkmen are, in the first place, citizens of Iraq, he said, “I hope Turkey will establish closer ties with us [in the future].”
“We are meeting with Turkish officials less often than everybody,” added Salihi, implying that Turkish officials have in the past two years or so gotten together with Iraqi Kurdish officials more often than with Iraqi Turkmen.
Following a visit by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki to Turkey, Erdoğan plans to pay a visit to two capitals in Iraq, Bagdad and the Kurds’ capital Arbil. But Salihi thinks Erdoğan must visit Kirkuk if he goes to Iraq. “If Erdoğan visits both capitals, he should absolutely also pay a visit to Kirkuk. Otherwise, Turkmen would feel hurt,” he stated.
Tags: AHMET DAVUTOĞLU receives Arshad Al-Salihi
IRAQI TURKMEN FRONT PRESIDENT ARSHAD AL-SALIHI MET TURKEY’S FOREIGN MINISTER AHMET DAVUTOĞLU.
Posted 06.12.2013 14:09:32 UTC
Al-Salihi’s convoy came under a bomb attack on December 1 in Kirkuk, but he survived the attack.Davutoğlu called him immediately after the incident and expressed his get-well wishes.
Ahmet Davutoğlu told al-Salihi during their meeting that Turkey will always stand by Iraqi Turkmens.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan received Iraqi Turkmen Front President al-Salihi on Thursday in İstanbul.
Concerned over the escalating ethnic and sectarian tension in Iraq, Turkey makes an appeal to Iraqi politicians and people for unity and solidarity in the country.
Tags: Erdogan receives ITF
Erdoğan, Irak Türkmen Cephesi ile görüştü
Başbakan Erdoğan, Irak Türkmen Cephesi Yürütme Kurulu üyelerini kabul etti.
05 Aralık 2013 Perşembe 20:55
Erdoğan’ın, Irak Türkmen Cephesi Başkanı Erşad Salihi ve beraberindekileri Haliç Kongre Merkezi’nde basına kapalı olarak kabulü yaklaşık 1,5 saat sürdü.
Başbakanlık kaynaklarından edinilen bilgiye göre, Erdoğan, Irak Türkmen Cephesi yetkililerini kabulü sırasında, Türkiye olarak, Irak Türkmenlerini iki ülkenin ortak tarihinin canlı bir tezahürü olarak gördüklerini söyledi.
Görüşmede, 30 Nisan 2014′te yapılması planlanan Irak genel seçimleri de gündeme geldi. Erdoğan, Irak’ta yapılacak genel seçimlerin, bu ülkedeki siyasetin yanı sıra bölgesel istikrar açısından da büyük önem arz ettiğine değinerek, bu çerçevede Irak Türkmen Cephesi liderliğine de büyük bir sorumluluk düştüğüne dikkati çekti.
Erdoğan, Kerkük’te dün terör saldırısında hayatını kaybedenler için duyduğu üzüntüyü de dile getirdi. Türkiye’nin, Irak’ta güvenlik ve barışın tesis edilmesine büyük önem verdiğini belirten Erdoğan, son dönemde Tuzhurmatu başta olmak üzere, Türkmenlerin yoğunlukta yaşadığı bölgelerde terör saldırılarının artmasından büyük üzüntü duyduğunu ifade etti.
Türkmenlerin, güvenlik başta olmak üzere, her türlü hak ve menfaatlerinin korunmasının, Türkiye’nin Irak politikasının vazgeçilmez bir unsuru olduğuna işaret eden Erdoğan, hem Irak merkezi hükümeti hem de Irak Kürdistan Bölgesel Yönetimi ile yapılan görüşmelerde bu hususu net bir şekilde ifade ettiklerini vurguladı.
Tags: a, Attack in Kerkuk
A group of gunmen have attacked the Iraqi Intelligence Service building in Kirkuk following a car bomb blast in front of the building.
According to an article posted in Biz Türkmeniz at least 2 people were killed and 47 were wounded.
“This afternoon, December 4, a car bomb exploded in front of the building of the Iraqi Intelligence Service and after the blast, a group of gunmen attacked the building which is located on the Baghdad road in downtown Kirkuk.”
“The attackers were aiming to take control of the building but they were opposed by the security forces and there are dozens of casualties in the attacks,” the source added.
According to the local police source, the number of gunmen involved is not yet known but they had various light and heavy arms in their possession and there were also snipers at a distance targeting the building and the ambulances carrying the wounded to the hospital.
ITC Avrupa Birliği Temsilcisi, Dr Hassan Aydınlı, Irak Türkmenlerine yapılan İnsan Hakları ve mülkiyet hakkı ihlallerinin Avrupa Parlamentosunda tartışmasını ve durumun Türkmenler lehine düzeltilmesi yönünde Irak Hükümetine baskı yapılması için girişimlerde bulunmuştur.December 3, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
Tags: Dr Hassan Aydinli, Marino Busdachin Speech in Turkish
ITC Avrupa Birliği Temsilcisi, Dr Hassan Aydınlı, Irak Türkmenlerine yapılan İnsan Hakları ve mülkiyet hakkı ihlallerinin Avrupa Parlamentosunda tartışmasını ve durumun Türkmenler lehine düzeltilmesi yönünde Irak Hükümetine baskı yapılması için girişimlerde bulunmuştur.
Marino Busdachin, UNPO Genel Sekreteri.
Dr Hassan Aydinli ve Barbara Lochbihler hanımefendi AP’nun Insan Hakları Komitesi Başkanı
Dr Hassan Aydınlı ITC Avrupa Birliği Temsilcisi
Tunne Kelam AP’nun Dişişleri Komisyon üyesi
Tags: EEAS and Iraq
The EU continues to provide financial support to Iraq, amounting to almost one billion Euro since 2003, this includes both reconstruction and humanitarian assistance.
Now the EU is moving to medium-term planning through the first ever Joint Strategy Paper for Iraq for the years 2011-2013 [906 KB] + Annex [111 KB] , adopted in November 2010. The general focus of EU support is on helping Iraq to better use its own resources, through capacity building activities in the areas of good governance; socio-economic recovery through education and strengthening institutional capacity; water management and agriculture.
The EU has been one of the largest donors in the support of the Iraqi political and electoral process with over €94 m since 2004, including deployment of an Electoral Assessment Team for the general elections on 7 March 2010. Another focal sector of EU assistance is rule of law (€40 million in 2007-2009). The EU has also watched with concern the situation of refugees from Iraq and internally displaced persons within Iraq. So far total support to the refugee crisis has amounted to more than €188 million.
Tags: Ershad Salihi, Targeting Ershad Salihi
The Chairman of the Iraqi Turkmen Front survived an assassination attempt on Sunday.
Assassination attempt targeted the Chairman of the Iraqi Turkmen Front, Arshad al-Salihi in Iraqi province of Kirkuk on Sunday.
A land mine detonated while Salihi’s convoy was passing by en route to Taza district, 10 kilometers away from Kirkuk.
While there were no casualties, Salihi’s armoured vehicle was heavily damaged due to the blast.
Salihi told AA that they were to visit Taza, one of the most important settlements for Turkmens, and a land mine was detonated with remote control.
“The windows of my armoured vehicle were smashed due to the attack. The vehicles of my security staff were not armoured. If the land mine had detonated near them, casualties would have been high,” said Salihi.
Security forces continue to investigate the incident, noted Salihi.
Salihi stressed that the attack was organized to prevent Turkmens from pursuing their rightful causes.
Salihi said that they have made a proposal for Turkmens to establish their local security forces.
“They might have targeted us because of this demand, but we will insist on own security forces.” he said.