Iraq Inquiry publishes legal advice to Blair on War

June 30, 2010 at 10:53 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
 
 

 

 

Iraq War Legal Advice Published
Iraq
inquiry publishes legal advice to Blair on war

BBC News

June 30, 2010 “BBC” — The Iraq inquiry has released details of the legal advice given to Tony Blair prior to the invasion of Iraq after the documents were de-classified.

Copies of the draft legal advice given by former attorney general Lord Goldsmith was previously kept secret despite calls for it to be published.

The Cabinet Office said it had decided to de-classify now because of the “very exceptional” nature of the inquiry.

There has been long running controversy over whether the war was lawful.

In his evidence to the inquiry in January, Lord Goldsmith acknowledged he had changed his mind on whether a second UN resolution was needed ahead of military action in March 2003.

He had thought one was needed but had ultimately concluded, shortly before the war began, that military action was authorised by existing UN agreements dating back to 1991.

He denied that this came as a result of political pressure from No 10 or anyone else.

The government published the details of Lord Goldsmith’s final legal advice to the Cabinet – issued on 7 March – in 2005.
Washington visit

However, campaigners have long called for the release of details of the attorney general’s initial legal advice to the prime minister, provided on February 12, 2003.

In this published correspondence, he told Mr Blair that should military action be taken without further approval by the UN Security Council, he expected “the government to be accused of acting unlawfully”.

However, he said that following a visit to Washington in early 2003, he was “prepared to accept that a reasonable case” could be made that military action was authorised by existing resolutions, including resolution 1441 in November 2002.

He cited the fact British forces had undertaken military action in Iraq in 1998, and Kosovo in 1999, and in both cases his predecessors as attorney general had given the go ahead on the basis that doing so was “no more than reasonably arguable”.

But the documents also give further insight into Lord Goldsmith change of mind on the issue.

In a letter to the prime minister on 30 January, 2003, Lord Goldsmith said he “remained of the view that the correct legal interpretation of resolution 1441 is that it does not authorise the use of military force without a further determination by the Security Council”.

Several government lawyers have told the Iraq inquiry that they believed the invasion was unlawful without explicit UN authorisation.

Elizabeth Wilmshurst, a senior Foreign Office lawyer who resigned in protest at the war, told the inquiry earlier this year that she believed the way the government considered the legal arguments for war was “lamentable”.

‘Explanation’

In a letter explaining his decision to de-classify the documents, head of the civil service Sir Gus O’Donnell said it was a “long-standing convention” that legal advice to ministers was not published so as not to compromise their ability to provide “full, frank and candid advice”.

But he said arguments over the legality of the war in Iraq had a “unique status”.

“The government’s actions with respect to the decision to use military force in Iraq, have in party, contributed to a widely-held view that the public and Parliament are entitled to some explanation for the legal basis for the decision,” he said.

He added: “The Iraq inquiry was established with the purpose of learning lessons from how decisions were made and which actions were taken in the run-up to conflict, during the conflict and its aftermath.

“The question of the legal base for military action and how the advice that led to the government’s view on this developed is consequently a central part of the inquiry’s work….

“I have considered the matter carefully and believe that, given the very exceptional nature, of the Iraq inquiry, this particular material can be declassified without prejudice… to the convention in relation to the law officers’ advice.”
Documents frustration

The Iraq inquiry panel had copies of the declassified documents before Lord Goldsmith appeared before them.

The BBC’s World Affairs Correspondent Peter Biles said the documents “put on record” how Lord Goldsmith came to his final decision on the legality of the war but did not appear to shed new light on why he reached the decision.

Our correspondent said the former attorney general had already made it clear that his view on the issue had “evolved” and that he decided a further UN resolution, while desirable, was not necessary.

In January, inquiry chairman Sir John Chilcot expressed frustration that certain officials documents relating to the legality of the war could not be published.

 

 

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Iraqis seek out private schools to educate children

June 30, 2010 at 7:06 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Reuters

 

Students attend class at Mama Ayser, a private school in Baghdad June 28, 2010. Credit: REUTERS/Mohammed AmeenJune 29, 2010(Reuters) – Once banned under Saddam Hussein, private schools have flourished in Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion as Iraqis become increasingly frustrated with their government’s failure to provide basic services.Despite economic woes after seven years of sectarian warfare and insurgent attacks, Iraqi parents are forking out $1,500 a term to send their children to private schools in the hopes of giving them a better future.

There are now 201 private schools in Iraq, not including kindergartens, according to the Education Ministry.

“When I pay this money, I am quite confident that my son will gain a certain level of education in addition to social status,” said Sura Abdul-Hasan, whose seven-year-old son Mustafa is enrolled in a private school. “The money is nothing compared to the benefits my son gets.”

Under Saddam’s Baath party, education was viewed as the exclusive domain of the state and private schools, with the exception of kindergartens and universities, were forbidden.

Education was standardized and the curriculum tended to promote patriotism and one-party rule.

Now, as overall violence retreats despite continuing insurgent attacks, Iraqis are growing frustrated by the pace at which their country is trying to get back on its feet.

Jobs are scarce, bombings and assassinations remain a daily threat, and electricity, clean water, sewage treatment and other basic services are in short supply. Two people have been killed in violent protests over power shortages this month.

The failure of political parties since a general election in March to form a coalition government has cast further doubt over the ability of Iraqi leaders to deliver.

In education, some progress has been made.

Yet, one in five Iraqis over the age of 15 is illiterate, with illiteracy rates of 28 percent among women being double that of men, according to the United Nations.

Eighty-five percent of children aged from six to 11 years attended primary school in 2007, when the sectarian slaughter peaked, compared with 91 percent in 1990, the U.N. said.

The government has increased spending on education, but officials say they lack schools and teachers, many of whom fled abroad. Thousands of families have been driven from their homes by violence, interrupting their children’s schooling.

MORE MONEY

There is not enough money for new schools.

“Most of our budget is spent on salaries,” said Muhsin Abd Ali al-Furaiji, a senior advisor in the Ministry of Education.

Furaiji said only 35 percent of existing teachers in the country had been properly trained. In some of Iraq’s 18,000 government schools, there are up to 60 children per class.

Mama Ayser, a private school which caters for children from the age of four months to 12 years, has seen interest soar since it first opened in 2004 and is at full capacity with 500 pupils.

“I have a waiting list,” said headmistress Ayser Al-Azzawi. “I don’t want to take more because I want to give them good service.” There are no more than 20 children per class.

Azzawi said parents are turning to private schools because they want their children to learn English from an early age and be exposed to a broader curriculum than they would get in a public school.

Mama Ayser has running water and electricity — often a luxury in Iraq — as well as computer facilities.

Azzawi said private schools suffer from some of the same problems as government schools, particularly a shortage of teachers and buildings suitable to run schools in.

Safety also remains a big concern and many parents feel more at ease sending their children to private schools which they feel are better protected. Mama Ayser has hired three security guards to patrol its grounds.

For Iraqi parents who do not live near a private school, they are not always an option in these still troubled times.

University professor Hala Adnan enrolled her six-year-old daughter briefly in Mama Ayser before deciding the long commute was an unacceptable risk.

“I fear someone who knows that her father and I are university professors and that she is in a private school might kidnap her,” said Adnan. “Everything is possible, and of course there are the explosions which never stop.”

(Writing by Serena Chaudhry; Editing by Michael Christie and Samia Nakhoul)

 

www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE65S3B820100629

Turkey Forbids Israeli Military Overflights

June 30, 2010 at 6:53 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Posted on June 29, 2010 by Juan Cole

http://www.juancole.com/2010/06/turkey-forbids-israeli-military-overflights.html

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday in Toronto in the wake of the G20 conference that Turkey will no longer routinely give Israeli military aircraft permission to fly in Turkish airspace. The announcement came as Turkey forbade an Israeli military airplane (taking officers on a visit to the sites of Nazi death camps for Jews in Poland) to fly over its territory. The Turkish press denies that the destination of the plane influenced the decision.

Future Israeli military overflight permissions will be granted on an ad hoc basis.

From the Guardian: ‘Israel’s Ynet news website reported that other military flights had also been quietly cancelled. “Turkey is continuing to downgrade its relations with Israel,” an unnamed official told Ynet. “This is a long-term process and not something that began just after the flotilla incident. We are very concerned.” ‘

Israel should be very concerned, since it is significantly more isolated in the Mediterranean than it has ever been in its history. And this isolation derives from Israeli policies, of illegal blockades of, and systematic land theft and displacement of occupied civilians under its control, along with aggressive wars on neighbors, which target infrastructure and civilians and are clearly intended to keep neighbors poor and backward.

I do not know if the Turkish air force has “identify friend or foe” codes. But it is possible that it does, and that it gives the code to regional military allies. Thus, US planes flying out of Incirlik air force base in Turkey to Iraq could be putting out IFF codes that reassure Turkish fighter jets on patrol that they are friendly. US aircraft certainly use this system to reassure each other. Erdogan’s announcement may mean that the Israeli air force used to have the Turkish IFF codes, but that they have now been changed and have not been shared with Tel Aviv. As a result, every overflight would have to be individually authorized or risk being suspected of being hostile and shot down.

The change in policy is significant because the Israeli air force in the past has flown over Turkey without permission for military purposes. Thus, when Israel bombed a Syrian facility it claimed was a budding nuclear reactor in October, 2007, its fighter jets flew over Turkish territory. Erdogan is said to have been surprised when it was reported to him that jettisoned Israeli fuel tanks from the raid had been found inside Turkey. But if the Israeli air force had Turkey’s IFF codes, they would not have needed prior permission for that overflight and would not have needed to worry about being mistaken for hostiles by the Turkish air force. And, Israeli officers could have been confident that the Turkish generals or “pashas” in Ankara would hardly complain very much about a potential nuclear reactor in Syria having been taken out. Turkey and Syria for decades had bad relations.

But now things have changed radically. Erdogan has a policy of pursuing good relations with immediate neighbors. He takes this policy so seriously that he has just removed Iran and Greece from Ankara’s “Red Book” or classified list of security threats. Erdogan has also made friends with Syrian president Bashar al-Asad. In fact, he offered Ankara’s good offices for indirect Israeli-Syrian talks that may have been going somewhere when the Israeli leadership suddenly brutally attacked Gaza in December-January 2008-2009, shocking and dismaying Erdogan and so angering Damascus that the talks collapsed, perhaps for the long term.

The political culture of the Israeli elite, which tends to treat allies as patsies, has left Erdogan scarred and grouchy. After the Israeli commando attack on the Turkish Mavi Marmara aid ship on May 31, which left 8 Turkish citizens and one American dead, Erdogan demanded an apology from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. He has received none. He demanded an international investigatory commission. Israel rejected that request. He wants an end to Israel’s blockade of Palestinian civilians in Gaza. The Israelis announced they would let in a third more trucks, but even with that change only a fourth of the goods would go into Gaza this year as went in before the blockade.

Erdogan appears to have spent a lot of time at the G20 meeting in Toronto showing other leaders, such as Dimitry Medvedev of Russia and Barack Obama, the forensics reports on the Israeli commandos’ killing of humanitarian workers on the Mavi Marmara. He pressed on Obama the need for an Israeli apology, and Erdogan says that Obama agreed with him, and pledged to convey the message to Netanyahu when they meet in Washington on July 7.

Erdogan has been repeatedly sandbagged and played by Israeli decision-makers, presumably on the theory that with Turkey’s candidacy for the EU going nowhere fast, and Turkey’s relations with the Arab world and Iran traditionally poor, Ankara had nowhere to go for friends but Tel Aviv and Washington.

What the Israeli politicians do not seem to have realized is that with the repeated election of the Justice and Development Party in Turkey and the consolidation of power in Erdogan’s hands, Ankara has a new and robust foreign and commercial policy with several planks.

Turkey’s candidacy for the European Union gives it excellent access to European markets even while it waits for a decision. It does $20 billion a year in business with Germany, $5 billion a year with Holland, etc. This access to Europe from the late 1990s has helped spur a Turkish economic miracle. (In some ways, it matters less if Turkey is admitted to Europe than if it just manages to remain a candidate for decades). Turkey has already undergone a demographic transition, so ever-increasing population growth no longer blunts gains in economic growth. The country, now 72 million, will likely level off at 90 million. Even as Turkey maintains and strengthens its European links, it has been since the late 1940s a member of NATO and its troops fight in Afghanistan.

But Europe (to which the Islamically tinged Justice and Development Party is especially committed) is only one wing of Turkey’s foreign policy. It has two others– the United States, and the Middle East. Turkish exports to Iran in 2009 amounted to $2 billion, up from only $320 million in 2002. Turkey does $3 billion a year in trade with Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, more than the $2.5 billion it does with Israel. And the total Turkish trade with the Arab world is now a whopping $30 billion per annum–12 times its trade volume with Israel. Some 20 percent of Turkey’s exports go to the Arab world (up from 12% in 2004), while 50% of its exports go to Europe. And Ankara’s flag is following its trade.

Some Western observers misunderstand Erdogan’s foreign and trade policies as increasingly oriented to the Middle East rather than to the West. That interpretation is incorrect. Erdogan does not want to substitute the Middle East for Europe. He wants to add the Middle East to Europe as spokes in Turkish diplomacy and commerce. A Turkey nearly as big as Germany, with a rapidly growing economy, which can offer itself as a bridge between Europe, the Middle East, and the US, could emerge as an indispensable country in the 21st century.

Israel is therefore not, as Tel Aviv appears to have earlier imagined, the only regional game in town for Turkey. It is a source of military technology and tourism and a way of cultivating good relations with Washington. But if Israel is going to keep embarrassing Erdogan with one SNAFU after another, it just isn’t that important and can be jettisoned.

And one dimension of Israel-Turkish military relations has just been jettisoned.

Viêt Nam : Bébés monstrueux, cancers, pays dévastés, est-ce cela notre héritage ?

June 29, 2010 at 8:21 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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URL de cet article: http://www.mondialisation.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=19863

www.Mondialisation.ca

 

Viêt Nam : Bébés monstrueux, cancers, pays dévastés, est-ce cela notre héritage ?

L’Agent orange tue encore : entrevue avec André Bouny

par Silvia Cattori
Le 23 juin 2010
Hier, au Viêt Nam, en faisant usage d’armes chimiques dévastatrices, les États-Unis ont combattu le communisme – un régime qui incarnait alors la lutte pour l’indépendance nationale du peuple vietnamien qui s’opposait à leur domination. Aujourd’hui, les mêmes politiques aussi absurdes qu’injustifiables se poursuivent : de l’Afghanistan à l’Irak en passant par la Serbie, et du Liban à Gaza, des armes au phosphore, à fragmentation, ou à l’uranium appauvri sont déversées – par les États-Unis, l’OTAN, ou Israël – sur les populations civiles qui refusent de se soumettre à leurs diktats. Or, on sait que ces armes provoquent notamment des cancers et des malformations monstrueuses chez les nouveau-nés ; et qu’elles vont continuer à affecter la santé d’un nombre croissant de personnes. Dans son récent ouvrage « Agent Orange – Apocalypse Viêt Nam » (*),  André Bouny vient nous rappeler que, près d’un demi-siècle après la guerre, des mères vietnamiennes continuent de mettre au monde des bébés monstrueux. Il répond ici aux questions de Silvia Cattori.

Continue Reading Viêt Nam : Bébés monstrueux, cancers, pays dévastés, est-ce cela notre héritage ?…

2ND ROUND: BRIT IRAQ WAR INQUIRY BEGINS

June 29, 2010 at 6:30 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

http://iraqwarinquiries.blogspot.com/2010/06/2nd-round-brit-iraq-war-inquiry-begins.html

 

The second round of hearings will run from 29 June to 30 July 2010

Details announced of Iraq Inquiry meetings in the United States

The Iraq Inquiry has released the names of US officials and military officers it met during talks last week.

Members of the Iraq Inquiry Committee held a series of meetings in Washington DC and Boston from Monday 17 May to Friday 21 May with people from the current and former US administrations. The private discussions took place to allow the Committee to receive a wider international perspective on the UK’s involvement in Iraq over the period being examined by the Inquiry. The Committee also met the current French and Australian Ambassadors in Washington.

The people listed below have all agreed to have their names released publicly. As the meetings were not formal evidence sessions, records of the conversations are not being published. Ambassador Paul Bremer submitted a statement which has been published on the Inquiry’s website.

The Iraq Inquiry Committee met the following people during its visit to the USA: Continued
The Iraq Inquiry invites submissions from international lawyers

The Iraq Inquiry has asked international lawyers for their analysis of the arguments relied upon by the UK government as the legal basis for the military intervention in Iraq.

The invitation has been circulated through the website of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law and through the mailing list of the Oxford University Public Law Discussion Group. Submissions should be received by 14 July. Continued
Witnesses named for next round of public hearings

Updated: 28 June 2010

The names of witnesses who will appear before the Iraq Inquiry in public from the end of June have been released today. The hearings are expected to run from 29 June to 30 July 2010, at the QE II conference centre in London.

Since the last public hearing on 8th March, the Inquiry has been analysing the evidence it has received, including in areas which were not covered in the previous round of public hearings. It has also visited France and the US.

The Committee has now decided to call new witnesses to explore issues relevant to its remit. The initial list of witnesses is as follows: Continued
Additional witnesses named for the public hearings

28 June 2010

Eight additional witnesses have now been confirmed and will appear before the Iraq Inquiry in July, they are as follows: Continued
Sir John Chilcot, opening statement 29 June 2010

Good morning and welcome to the QEII Conference Centre for the first day of this phase of the Iraq Inquiry’s public hearings.

At the Inquiry’s launch on 30 July last year, we took on the task of establishing a reliable account of the UK’s involvement in Iraq between 2001 and 2009, and to identify lessons for British governments facing similar circumstances.

In the last 11 months, we have covered a great deal of ground. Continued

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Posted by James at 8:47 AM 0 comments

Britain’s Iraq War Inquiry: Petraeus

The Chilcot Inquiry restarts today, The second round of hearings will run from 29 June to 30 July 2010. Live streamed testimony once again when they do. No one knows if they’ll be releasing all or part of the transcripts etc. as to their visit here and talking to some of the previous administrations insiders, all lower level. Apparently they’re still talking to the Americans most close to the needs of the British Inquiry into Iraq.
Petraeus gives evidence to UK’s Iraq war inquiry

29 June 2010 The head of Britain’s inquiry into the Iraq war says his panel has held a private meeting with U.S. General David Petraeus.
John Chilcot leads a five-member panel appointed by the British government to examine the case made for the war and errors in planning for post-conflict reconstruction. Continued

Stanley McChrystal, “a fucking general”

June 29, 2010 at 5:54 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Gilles Munier

 http://www.france-irak-actualite.com/article-stanley-mcchrystal-a-fucking-general-52971986.html

Stanley McChrystal,

« a fucking general »

 Le général Stanley McChystal, commandant en chef des forces étasuniennes et de l’OTAN en Afghanistan, a été démis de ses fonctions par Barack Obama pour avoir critiqué sa politique et s’être moqué du vice-Président Joe Biden, lors d’un entretien avec un journaliste du magazine Rolling Stone (1).

Un ministre français

traité de « fucking gay »

   Le quotidien Le Figaro faisait de McChrystal un « nouveau Lyautey » (2), mais s’est gardé de rapporter les passages où le général exprime crûment son peu de considération pour la France. En visite à Paris, en avril dernier, pour expliquer sa nouvelle stratégie, McChrystal ne cachait pas qu’il détestait la capitale française et qu’il préférait « se faire botter le cul par une salle pleine de gens » plutôt que d’aller dîner avec un ministre français qui l’avait invité. A un colonel américain présent, qui lui faisait remarquer : « C’est ton job », il avait répliqué : « Et ça, ça va aussi avec le job ? », en le gratifiant d’un doigt d’honneur… Mais, ce n’est pas tout, au  journaliste de Rolling Stone demandant chez qui il se rendait, l’assistant de McChrystal avait répondu : « Un ministre français. Un enculé de gay ». De qui s’agit-il ? Peu importe. Les Français – à commencer par les familles des 44 soldats morts en Afghanistan (3) – ont matière à s’interroger sur la personnalité de l’homme à la tête des troupes de l’OTAN, et – au-delà de l’événement – aussi sur la façon dont Barack Obama conçoit la concertation entre alliés lors d’une nomination importante. Que penser de l’affront du Président afghan, Hamid Karzaï, à Hervé Morin – ministre de la Défense – le 22 juin, quand sans s’excuser, il a refusé de le recevoir à Kaboul? Trop, c’est trop… Dominique de Villepin a raison de réclamer le rapatriement des soldats français d’Afghanistan (4) et de condamner la réintégration de la France dans le commandement militaire intégré de l’OTAN.   

Du sang de civils sur les mains

   Parce qu’il a vu le film La bataille d’Alger, de Gillo Pontecorvo, et s’est imprégné des ouvrages du colonel Roger Trinquier et de David Galula sur la guerre anti-insurrectionnelle, le général Stanley McChrystal passe pour un intellectuel. Pour les Irakiens et les Afghans, c’est tout simplement un criminel de guerre, un des officiers américains ayant le plus de sang de civils sur les mains.

   En Irak, McChrystal a supervisé les activités du Camp Nama – Nasty Ass Military Area -, près de Bagdad, une prison interdite de visite à la Croix-Rouge, où l’unité secrète Task Force 6-26 expérimentait tous types de tortures (5). Ancien Béret Vert passé par Fort Bragg (6), ses 33 ans dans les forces spéciales sont classifiés. Nommé par Dick Cheney à la direction du Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), il chapeautait notamment les « brigades de la mort ». On lui attribue les trucages de l’arrestation de Président Saddam Hussein, qui aurait – dit-on – effectué un séjour à « l’infirmerie » du Camp Nama avant son incarcération au Camp Cropper.

   En Afghanistan, le séjour de McChrystal peut se résumer au bilan qu’il a dressé, en vidéoconférence, à un soldat qui l’interrogeait sur l’escalade militaire : « Nous avons tué un nombre impressionnant de personnes mais, à ma connaissance, aucune ne s’est révélée être une menace » (7).

   Barack Obama n’en a peut être pas fini avec Stanley McKrystal. Il craint que ce spécialiste des coups tordus, très populaire au sein du Parti Républicain, se présente à la prochaine présidentielle (8).

 

Notes :

(1) The Runaway General, par Michael Hastings (Rolling Stone- 8/6/10)

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/17390/119236

(2) McChrystal, l’anti-Rumsfeld, par Renaud Girard (Le Figaro – 4/12/09)

http://www.lefigaro.fr/international/2009/12/04/01003-20091204ARTFIG00011-mcchrystal-le-lyautey-americain-.php

(3) Huit soldats français ont été tués depuis le début de l’année 2010. Le 6 juin dernier, le nombre des soldats de l’OTAN tués depuis janvier dépassait les 300. Les victimes civiles afghanes « collatérales » se comptent par milliers.

(4) Conférence de Dominique de Villepin à Sciences-Po (Paris – 1/2/10)

http://2villepin.free.fr/index.php/2010/02/03/1395-dominique-de-villepin-a-sciences-po-paris-conference-sur-l-afghanistan

(5) In Secret Unit’s ‘Black Room,’ a Grim Portrait of U.S. Abuse, par Eric Schmitt et Carolyn Marshall (New York Times – 19/3/06)

http://uniset.ca/terr/news/nyt_blackroomiraq.html

(6) Le Fort Bragg, situé en Caroline du Nord, est la plus importante base de commandos spéciaux au monde.

(7) Tighter Rules Fail to Stem Deaths of Innocent Afghans at Checkpoints, par Richard A . Oppel Jr (New York Times – 26/3.10)

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/27/world/asia/27afghan.html

 (8) Cette hypothèse est évoquée depuis son limogeage. Jusqu’ici, son protecteur David Petraeus – 57 ans – passait pour un candidat républicain potentiel pour la présidentielle de 2012. L’opération d’un cancer de la prostate subie par Petraeus en 2009, et l’accident cardiaque dont il a été victime lors d’une audition au Sénat américain, le 15 juin, remettent en question cette éventualité.

Report: Situation of minorities in Iraq

June 29, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Although the overall security situation in Iraq has gradually improved, the conditions for minority communities of the country’s diverse population remain extremely distressing. Investigations throughout 2009 by Minority Rights Group International’s (MRG’s) partner in Iraq, Iraqi Minorities Organization (IMO), coupled with secondary research sourced from 2009 and the first half of 2010, lay bare the frequent bombings, torture, arbitrary arrest, intimidation, displacement and marginalization facing Iraq’s cultural and religious minorities.

Read full report

 

The research focuses on the Kurdistan Region; Kirkuk and Nineveh provinces in the north; and Baghdad, given the concentration of minorities in these areas, collecting accounts primarily from Christians, Faili Kurds, Shabaks, Turkmen and Yazidis. The report details evidence of violence against these communities, including targeted killings, gender-based violence and attacks on religious sites; arbitrary arrests and intimidation; political disenfranchisement; internal displacement and resulting loss of property; and discrimination in accessing public services. It finds that violence and marginalization has occurred for reasons ranging from territorial disputes between Arabs and Kurds, to religious bias, political representation and long-standing patterns of discrimination.

Although little disaggregated data is available for 2009 on minority women, research suggests that minority women and children represent the most vulnerable section of Iraqi society. The ongoing threat of violence has seriously restricted minority women’s freedom of movement and can inhibit their right to express their religious and ethnic identity through the way they dress. These limitations in turn restrict their access to health services, education and employment.

While levels of displacement in Iraq have stabilized, the report identifies how an estimated 2.8 million people remain displaced. A significant number of those people displaced internally in Iraq since 2006 — almost 250,000 — represents minority populations. Figures for November 2009 show that, for example, of the several thousand Christian families originally from Baghdad, just 60 currently reside there, the remainder of them having fled mostly due to attacks and intimidation. Meanwhile, internal displacement following violence in the run-up to the March 2010 elections has left internally displaced persons (IDPs) in critical need of humanitarian support.

The report highlights how property restitution following displacement needs to be addressed urgently. Though certain procedures and bodies are in place to deal with the issue, they have so far largely failed to deal with land and property disputes, including complaints of property destruction. For minorities, the difficulties can be compounded. A majority of IDPs surveyed in 2009 reported not seeking assistance from relevant institutions, as they lacked required documents, mistrusted state institutions, could not afford the required fees, or feared retribution.

MRG remains extremely concerned about the ongoing climate of impunity that exists in relation to attacks on minorities. Indeed, despite the extent of the atrocities committed against minorities in recent years, the victims see little evidence of investigations to identify and prosecute the perpetrators of these attacks. Even in cases where investigations have been conducted, they have generally been limited to those related to Christians and the conclusions, if any, have not been made public.

In looking to solutions, the report highlights the urgent need for legislation implementing minority rights, particularly those enshrined in Article 125 of the Iraqi Constitution, after a process of consultation allowing for effective and meaningful consultation with minority communities.

Other key recommendations of the report include:

  • The Iraqi government should draw up an implementation plan to accompany the current National Policy on Displacement which should comprise:
    1. greater resource allocation to female-headed IDP households;
    2. a focus beyond return which includes resettlement and reintegration policies.
  • The Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) should initiate independent investigations of all violence against minorities, including killings, random arrests and torture, and attacks on religious property, congregations and clergy. Results of the investigations should be made public, and those against whom credible evidence exists should be prosecuted in full compliance with fair trial standards.
  • The Iraqi government and the KRG should consult with minority representatives and should put in place protective measures for minority communities, STILL TARGETED: CONTINUED PERSECUTION OF IRAQ’S MINORITIES 3 particularly in Nineveh and Kirkuk. These measures should include the hiring of minority police officers.
  • The Iraqi government and the KRG should allocate resources to protect minority women and other victims of gender-based violence through the establishment of more women’s shelters, and through increased support to women’s NGOs and services.
  • The KRG should make revisions to Article 5 of the Kurdish Constitution to give legal recognition to Shabaks and Yazidis as distinct ethnic groups. Accordingly, Articles 35 and 36, which outline minority rights, should be extended to include Shabaks and Yazidis, and Article 14 should be extended to include the Shabak and Yazidi languages.
  • The KRG should enact legislation implementing Articles 35 and 36 of the Kurdish Constitution to ensure minorities’ cultural and administrative rights. The Kurdistan National Assembly should establish a committee on minority affairs that includes representatives of all minorities and that should be consulted during the drafting of such legislation.
  • In accordance with Article 19 of the Kurdish Constitution, the KRG should take immediate action against state officials and others who persecute members of minorities for choosing not to identify themselves as Kurds or affiliate themselves with Kurdish political parties.

 

Minority Rights Group International

TURKEY-IRAQ RELATIONS: History and Openings towards the Future

June 28, 2010 at 7:52 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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THE FINAL DECLARATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM TITLED TURKEY-IRAQ RELATIONS: HISTORY AND OPENINGS TOWARDS THE FUTURE http://orsam.org.tr/tr/etkinlikgoster.aspx?ID=175

 

The joint organizers of the international symposium titled “Turkey-Iraq Relations: History and Openings towards the Future” has decided on the following points.

1. Continuing bilateral scientific contacts between universities and research centers in regular intervals,

2. Reviewing the phrases in school textbooks and studying together in order to correct mistaken phrases, and establishing a joint commission for the task,

3. Publishing the symposium papers in Turkish, Arabic and English, and distributing them to the universities and research centers in the two countries,

4. Holding the following Turkey-Iraq relations symposiums in Baghdad and Mosul by expanding the subject and participation, under the Iraq Ministry of Higher Education hosting,

5. Promoting the widespread teaching and learning of Turkish and Arabic in our countries,

6. Spending efforts to make possible the mutually sharing of historical resources and archival materials by attaching the necessary importance to our common historical legacy,

7. Establishing contacts with the relevant authorities in order to start scientist exchange programs.

 

Prof. Dr. Cezmi ERASLAN

Director of Atatürk Research Center

 

Prof. Dr. Muhammed El-HAMDANİ

Iraq Cultural Attache in Ankara

 

Hasan KANBOLAT

Director of Center for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies
 

 
Metnin Tamamı
Ekli Dosya
TÜRKİYE-IRAK İLİŞKİLERİ TARİHİ VE GELECEĞE YÖNELİK AÇILIMLAR ULUSLARARASI SEMPOZYUMU SONUÇ BİLDİRİSİ AÇIKLANDI: “YENİ BİR TARİH YAZALIM”ORSAM, Atatürk Araştırma Merkezi ve Irak Büyükelçiliği Kültür Ataşeliği işbirliğiyle 9-10 Haziran 2010 tarihlerinde Ankara’da “Türkiye ve Irak İlişkileri Tarihi ve Geleceğe Yönelik Açılımlar” başlıklı bir uluslararası sempozyum düzenlendi. Sempozyumda Türkiye’den ve Irak’tan çok sayıda akademisyen, uzman ve stratejist sunum yaptı.

Bakan Mehmet Aydın: “Ortadoğu’nun Tarihini Beraber Yeniden Yazalım”

Continue Reading TURKEY-IRAQ RELATIONS: History and Openings towards the Future…

Write to the Forgotten Prisoners in Guantanamo

June 24, 2010 at 11:33 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Write to the Forgotten Prisoners in Guantanamo

Andy Worthington

Please see list of prisoners below

June 23, 2010

Sometimes the idea for a campaign arrives out of the blue, and this is the case with a project to write to all the remaining prisoners in Guantلnamo, which was launched last week by Shahrina Ahmed-Amatullah, a friend on Facebook.Shahrina had a list of 24 prisoners provided by Amnesty International (mirrored here), and approached me to ask if I had a list of all the prisoners still held. I explained that I didn’t have a specific list of the remaining prisoners, but that she could extract their names from my definitive prisoner lists (available here, here, here and here), which she then did, announcing the project via a Facebook note entitled, “What if YOU were tortured … and no one knew about it??!”

As Shahrina explained in her note, announcing a deadline of July 12 for writing to all the remaining prisoners, and asking her friends to nominate prisoners to whom they would write, “A single letter to these prisoners is a huge ray of light in their lives. Think about it — why can we not even do just that?! Is that how busy and occupied we are with life?”

As she also explained, “It will be nice if you could leave your name and address as you sign off the letter — as some brothers like to write back. This also gives the brothers hope that they do have support — and gives them the opportunity to talk about their lives to someone. It gives them the opportunity to lighten their hearts. You have the honour of lifting their weights and giving them the chance to speak about what it is REALLY like in there. If you still wish not to disclose any information — then please do not let this put you off. It’s not compulsory that you disclose such information — it is just comforting for the brothers to know they have someone else to communicate with — who really cares.”

Continue Reading Write to the Forgotten Prisoners in Guantanamo…

‘Mossad hit men targeted Erdogan’

June 24, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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‘Mossad hit men targeted Erdogan’

 

Thu, 24 Jun 2010, Press TV

The Israeli intelligence agency Mossad has failed in an attempt to assassinate Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a Jordanian weekly says.

Informed sources in Turkey say that the Mossad plot has been foiled by the country’s security forces, al-Manar quoted a report in the most recent edition of the Al-Majd weekly as saying.

There are also reports that Israel has been trying to incite violence inside Turkey by lending support to the militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Earlier in June, Sedat Laciner, the head of the International Strategic Research Organization — a Turkish think tank — said Mossad agents and Israeli military retirees had been sighted providing training to PKK militants in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Laciner said Tel Aviv does not have a positive perception of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party, which is led by Erdogan.

After an Israeli attack on a Gaza-bound flotilla that left nine Turkish citizens dead on May 31, Ankara drew up a roadmap to “completely” cut its ties with Israel.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul had earlier announced that a roadmap would be prepared on the issue of sanctions against Israel.

“The roadmap details a process through which Turkey will completely cut its ties with Israel” in several stages, Turkish daily Today’s Zaman reported on June 17.

According to the roadmap, the first step would be that Turkey’s ambassador to Tel Aviv, who had previously been recalled, would not be sent back unless Israel sends a member to a UN investigatory commission that aims to look into the Israeli attack on the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla.

The roadmap would also require all military training and cooperation with Israel to be halted and states that an internal Israeli inquiry into the attack would in no way be recognized by Turkey.

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