Deputy: Iraq lost much money due to corruption of the Central Bank. There is a clear failure by the Administration
Date: 2012-11-08 08: 50: 41 Thursday
Baghdad (newsletter) ... Economic Committee decision said a Deputy from the coalition of Kurdish blocs//mohama Khalil, Iraq lost money as a result of breaches of recent Central Bank action specifically to the sale of hard currency, noting the report of the investigative Committee of the Bank problem underscored a clear failure by the Administration, including the Governor of the Central Bank.
Khalil (News News Agency): the investigative committee composed by the first Deputy Speaker of Parliament and the Chairmen of the representative economic and financial read the report on the work of the Central Bank for members of the House and it turns out that there is a default and financial corruption by administrators to manage the Central Bank including Governor Sinan Al-Shabibi.
He noted that the report had been prepared professionally and efficiently by the investigative Committee and develop the details and evidence of financial violations, corruption in sale of hard currency, but they should be prepared in advance to preserve the value of the dinar and foreign currency basket and now Iraq, who lost money as a result of those suspicious processes. http://www.microsofttranslator.com/b...w%26id%3D62680
Osama Jamil: there is a parliamentary majority to approve the law specify three presidencies to two terms
Date: 2012-11-08 08: 38: 29 Thursday
Baghdad (newsletter) ... The Attorney for the Kurdistan Islamic Union/Osama Jamil, a parliamentary majority in the House of representatives to approve the proposed Act mandates the three presidencies (President, Prime Minister, Parliament) mandates.
A beautifully told (News News Agency): there was a majority to approve the proposed Act mandates the three presidencies, within the House, and lawmakers would vote on the law, adding: the State of law Coalition deputies and some blocks may not vote.
Beautiful, emphasized that the Kurdish blocs to vote on any bill that would prevent the birth of a new dictatorship in Iraq, noting the law mandates presidencies in line with the Constitution and the Iraqi situation.
The legal Committee of the Chamber of Deputies, voted by majority proposed Act mandate the three presidencies, which contains the mandate any President from the three presidencies may more than two sessions, and the alaknoun have messengers to the Presidium of the House of representatives of the parliamentary agenda and subject for adoption. http://www.microsofttranslator.com/b...w%26id%3D62678
National Deputy for likely House recess next week and postpones the broken laws
Date: 2012-11-08 08: 16: 40 Thursday
Baghdad (newsletter) ... Likely a cluster member Deputy citizen/National Alliance/Aziz Al-igaily, holiday house in days (14) this month, and postpones the broken laws of the next legislative term.
In a statement, said Al-igaily (News Agency news): the package of laws broken in the House has gone to the next legislative credited near the holiday house, likely to begin on holiday (14) this month, because the budget bill requires financial consultations and discussions drag on for more than a month, and the postponement of the Board for a month holiday may be insufficient to approve the budget.
The national Deputy, noted that some blocks you want to pass laws broken in voting on this Bill for a vote the other bloc, and so on.
House works, the week includes meetings of the parliamentary committees, we have another week in their provinces to see the reality of their constituents, the Council recently saw many differences on a series of laws (infrastructure, Amnesty, oil and gas, Federal Court, judicial Council) and most recently the proposed Act mandates the three presidencies to two terms. http://www.microsofttranslator.com/b...w%26id%3D62670
Member: free block with the adoption of the amnesty law without inclusion of murderers and thieves of public money
Date: 2012/11/08 11: 02: 05 Thursday
Baghdad (newsletter) ... She is a member of the Liberal MP from block/National Alliance/Iqbal Olaya, resolutely mass adoption of the amnesty law and not carried over to the next parliamentary session.
Olaya said in a statement received (News Agency news) on Thursday: there are blocks seek to obstruct the adoption of the amnesty law on the grounds of incompatibility of some paragraphs contained in this law, and that the bloc is seeking to modify the contested paragraphs for inclusion in the agenda at future meetings for the purpose of voting.
She said: the coming days will see the vote on the law, after several proposals that would end all differences on the contested material.
Explained: most of the detainees were arrested for political motives, according to the release, particularly as they have not been convicted of any offence, uncertain, rejection of mass coverage of murderers and thieves of public money by the amnesty law. http://www.microsofttranslator.com/b...w%26id%3D62693
Kurdish Delegation Makes Headway in Visit to Baghdad
07/11/2012 04:03:00By HEVIDAR AHMED
Head of the Kurdish delegation Barham Salih (left) meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Photo: Rudaw.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – After eight months of sour relations between Erbil and Baghdad, a senior delegation from the Kurdistan Region visited Baghdad on Oct. 21.
Led by Barham Salih, deputy secretary of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the delegation held 10 meetings in Baghdad, seven of which were with non-Kurdish parties.
Abubakir Haladni, a political bureau member of the Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU), was among the delegation members, and described the “dangerous” period of tense relations between Kurdistan and the federal government.
“Many developments took place in this period,” Haladni said. “Maliki visited Russia and the Czech Republic to buy weapons. The Tigris Operations Command entered Kirkuk and the disputed regions. These developments made the Kurdish delegation visit Baghdad to say that this situation cannot be tolerated."
Haladni told Rudaw that the visit to Baghdad was a Kurdish initiative and that the Kurdish delegation focused on three points before their departure: the national partnership, Iraq’s security system and its economic system.
According to Haladni, the delegation’s first meeting in Baghdad was with President Jalal Talabani. "Sit with all the parties and start your discussions in a friendly manner,” Haladni said Talabani told the delegation. “Keep away from tense language and convey your points in a diplomatic way. Let your grievances and proposals be national and not restricted to the Kurdistan Region."
The Kurdish delegation was welcomed by members of the Iraqi National Alliance (INA) and their visit was described as positive. The INA, which is the biggest Shia bloc in Iraqi Parliament, told the Kurdish delegation that they would not accept any allies except the Kurds.
Muhammad Haji Mahmud, secretary of the Kurdistan Socialist Democratic Party (KSDP), said, "The INA addressed six points during their meeting with the Kurdish delegation, which were coexistence, confirming their alliance with the Kurds, emphasizing the constitution, implementing the Erbil Agreement, continuing to hold meetings and setting a timetable for solving the issues."
The Kurdish delegation also met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. This meeting lasted more than two hours.
"Our meeting was very candid and we conveyed all our concerns to Maliki," said Haladni, who mentioned that Maliki admitted in the meeting that problems exist in Iraq.
"He asked all the parties to cooperate in solving the issues, and that otherwise the issues would further escalate," added Haladni.
According to Haladni, the delegation asked Maliki "whether buying weapons was currently more important in Iraq than providing social services and electricity for the people of Iraq amidst lack of trust and instability.”
“We also asked him about why it was necessary to mobilize the Tigris Operations Command to Kirkuk and the disputed areas. In response, Maliki said that the Tigris Operations Command was a coordination force and constitutional and that the PM had the right to mobilize them," Haladni added.
Maliki also told the Kurdish delegation that "Kurds should not feel insecure about the weapons Iraq is purchasing, and should be happy because Iraq is getting stronger and these weapons are needed to protect the sovereignty of Iraq against Turkish and Syrian breaches of Iraqi air space," Haladni reported.
He added, "Our delegation told Maliki that in Iraq democracy is not established yet, and that the Kurdish ratio in the Iraqi army decreased to 4 percent, and that buying weapons at this stage was a dangerous signal of war.”
Maliki and the INA had criticisms of their own of some Kurdish policies, especially those related to Kirkuk. Maliki asked the delegation if Kirkuk was a Kurdish region or a disputed region, and said that according to the existing agreement, the Kurds should have 12 checkpoints, but they actually have 26 checkpoints and interfere in the affairs of the city.
“The Kurdish delegation told him that the presence of Kurdish Peshmerga in Kirkuk began after the liberation of Iraq, not after the agreement between Erbil and Baghdad," Haladni said.
Regarding other meetings the delegation had in Baghdad, Haladni said, "Some groups, especially the Islamic Supreme Council and the Sadr Movement, raised some issues regarding the Kurds. Adil Abdulmahdi [senior official with the Islamic Supreme Council] told the Kurdish delegation that the Kurds in Baghdad only talk about their 17 percent share in the Iraqi budget and do not care about Iraq."
The Kurdish delegation also met with the American and Iranian ambassadors in Baghdad.
"When the Iranian ambassador, Hassan Danaifar, met with the Kurdish delegation, he said that they have been trying to arrange this visit by the Kurdish delegation to Baghdad for six months,” Mahmud said.
He added that Danaifar told the Kurdish delegation that their visit to Baghdad was a big change and proved that the Kurds had good and peaceful intentions towards Baghdad.
Haladni also noted that the Iranian ambassador commended the visit of the Kurdish delegation and said it showed maturity on the part of the Kurds and that they depended on dialogue and negotiations.
"We told the Iranian ambassador that the current system in Iraq was an Iranian example, because the Iraqi government is Shia as well, and that if the Iraqi government failed it would have consequences for Iran too,” Haladni said. “The Iranian ambassador told us that if the issues in Iraq were not solved, then it was obvious disaster would occur."
The rapprochement between the Shia and Kurds stimulated the United States to make a statement and ask both sides not to marginalize Sunni groups.
"The American ambassador said that the Sunnis in Iraq are worried that an agreement between the Shia and the Kurds might lead to their marginalization. He said that all groups, including the Sunnis, must have a role in Iraq. The Kurdish delegation told him that the Kurds would choose neutrality in this situation," said Haldani. http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurds/5392.html
I AM NOT SURE WHETHER THIS ARTICLE IS FROM JULY OR NOVEMBER
The Return of the Obama Administration ( POSTED FOR CONTENT RELATED TO IRAQ / THE MIDDLE EAST )
08/11/2012 03:31:00By DAVID ROMANO
The American election is finally over. As supporters of candidate Mitt Romney rend their clothes and writhe in the post-election dust, they look around for explanations for the Republican defeat. Many Republicans feel that so many factors had aligned in their favour that the U.S. presidency should have fallen into their laps. The American economy continues to struggle, President Obama failed to deliver on many of his promises of 2008, the presidential debates seemed to tilt in Mitt Romney’s favour, and not since 1936 has any U.S. president won re-election while unemployment in the United States remained over seven per cent.
Judging from commentaries in the media and the halls of U.S. political strategy rooms, demographic change stands out as the most popular explanation for Mr. Obama’s reelection. America is steadily becoming less “white” as immigration and higher birth rates of some minority groups change the face of the country. Whereas white voters accounted for some 90% of the American electorate in 1980, this year that ratio had dropped to just over 70%. Hispanics and blacks account for the lion’s share of the non-white vote, and the vast majority of these voters voted Democratic. Since the non-white make-up of the American population is only expected to grow in the future, the Republicans now face the stark challenge of finding a way to appeal to them and lure them away from the Democratic Party.
The challenge may prove daunting because of the second most commonly cited explanation for Mitt Romney’s loss: the growing extremism of the Republican Party itself. Although Republican strategists initially mapped out an election strategy that focused on the poor state of the American economy and the country’s growing debt burden, they failed to stick to that strategy. The Republican primaries – those internal party contests to determine who will win their party’s nomination to represent Republicans in the general election against Democrats – turned into contests to demonstrate how uncompromisingly conservative each candidate is. From tough stances on immigration, anti-abortion platforms, complete rejection of gay marriage rights, reduced public health care, reduced minimum wages and a refusal to contemplate tax increases on even just the wealthiest Americans, the Republican primaries staked out positions that an otherwise fairly moderate Mitt Romney had to move towards the right to adopt and commit himself to.
Because the other Republican candidates espoused policies even further removed from the center of American political preferences, Mitt Romney represented the best chance the Republicans had of winning this general election. Slate magazine described the other contenders in the Republican primaries: “Rick Santorum rejected the separation of church and state. Newt Gingrich challenged the notion of judicial supremacy. Michele Bachmann claimed the government had been infiltrated by radical Muslims. Donald Trump refused to recognize the validity of Obama’s birth certificate. Rick Perry wanted to take down more parts of the federal government than he could successfully name. In the debates, the country saw the GOP talking to itself and sounding like a bizarre fringe party, not a responsible governing one.”
In short, the political positions necessary to win the Republican primaries these days repel the independents and other non-Republican voters necessary to win general elections in America. For the moment, a time when American Republicans could describe themselves as simply fiscal conservatives and moderates on a whole array of issues seems a distant memory.
What does all this mean for American foreign policy and people of the Middle East? Not that much, frankly. This American election was fought over domestic American political and economic issues rather than wars abroad, the Arab Spring or the rise of China. On all these issues, today’s Democratic and Republican political establishments in the U.S. advocate very similar positions. Of course, the return of the Obama administration for another four years does still offer a bit more continuity in American foreign policy than the introduction of a new administration would have.
Since President Obama can not seek reelection at the end of his second term, however, some observers speculate that he may adopt policies a bit more in line with his personal convictions and preferences. This might include greater determination to complete the withdrawal from Afghanistan on time, avoid new military entanglements in places like Syria, and apply stronger pressure on Israel to reasonably and sincerely address Palestinian aspirations. Particularly on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, Mr. Obama might have a score or two to settle given that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu embarrassed him on several occasions and supported Romney and the Republicans fairly openly. That much said, no one should expect too revolutionary a change in the U.S. relationship with Israel or any other Middle Eastern state. One man can not change the course of a ship as large as the United States single-handedly, even if he wants to.
* David Romano has been a Rudaw columnist since August 2010. He is the Thomas G. Strong Professor of Middle East Politics at Missouri State University and author of The Kurdish Nationalist Movement (2006, Cambridge University Press). http://www.rudaw.net/english/science...ists/5393.html
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s visit to Russia received a lot of attention from the media as well as in diplomatic, military and political circles.
Some have interpreted the visit as Iraq becoming a replacement for Syria, and Maliki stepping into the shoes that used to be filled by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
A lot was said about Maliki’s visit and his supposed cooperation with Russia in forming a triangle in the region that includes Syria and Iran. This, some have said, would help Russia regain some of the influence it lost after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
But the main focus has been on the military aspect of Maliki’s visit, especially because it followed a preliminary visit by Iraq’s acting defense minister, Saddun Dulaimi, and an agreement with Russia to buy $4 billion worth of weapons. The deal included helicopter gunships and anti-aircraft missiles.
Following a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Maliki said that some of the weapons were for self-defense and some were to combat terrorism. Nonetheless, the deal Iraq made with Russia is worth much less than other weapon deals it has inked with the United States.
Immediately following the meeting between Maliki and Putin, Victoria Nolan, a spokesperson for the White House, said that Washington and Baghdad had signed $12 billion worth of weapon deals. She stressed that the relations between Iraq and the U.S. are wide and deep. The deal between Moscow and Baghdad was not a cause for concern for the U.S.
While it is obvious that Iraq does not have a problem finding weapons to buy, the question remains why they are buying them from Russia when the consensus is that the quality of American weapons is better.
Since its formation, the Iraqi army has used Russian and Eastern European weapons. It was only during the rule of Saddam Hussein that Western weapons were added to Iraq’s arsenal, such as arms from France and Brazil.
It seems that the officers today, most of whom belonged to the former army, are used to working with Russian weapons. They might have persuaded Maliki to procure Russian weapons. Additionally, some Iraqi government officials find it easier to do business with Russia.
Alongside the weapon deals, there are certainly other business interests that Russia pursues in Iraq and President Putin emphasizes on his end. Foremost of which is strengthening the foothold of Russian oil companies in Iraq. On top of that, Russia hopes to replay its old Soviet role in the fields of agriculture, railway construction and electricity where Russian companies have previous experience in Iraq.
But describing Russia as trying to revive Iraq’s oil industry is a bit of an exaggeration. Russia itself is seeking the help of the West for its own oil sector thanks to a lack of necessary technology. In Russia and Iraq, the advance of the oil sector still relies heavily on advanced Western technology.
Russia sees the business and economic potential in Iraq, especially since its interests in Syria and Libya have been terribly damaged. Russia’s efforts to revive its economic interests in Iraq also indicate that Moscow knows that, sooner or later, the regime of Bashar al-Assad will collapse. Therefore, an analysis of Maliki’s visit with regards to any Iran-Iraq-Syria triangle envisioned by the Kremlin doesn’t make much sense. Russia is bracing itself for the fall of the Syrian regime.
On the other hand, there was a political agenda behind Maliki’s visit to Russia. Perhaps he believes that by building relations with Moscow, he will be able to maintain a balance in Baghdad’s relations with Washington. Tehran may also be able to take advantage of this balance with Moscow in its own dealings with the U.S. But this could be a naïve line of thought.
First and foremost, Russia focuses on its own security and therefore sees no need to stand behind an axis that is headed by Iran for a Shia-Sunni fight. Russia has its own 20 million Sunni Muslims, and borders many Sunni states. http://www.rudaw.net/english/science...ists/5394.html
The formation of the Dijla Operations Command is yet another indication of Maliki’s inability to solve problems and his lack of vision for doing so through diplomatic or political means.
It also indicates his lack of interest in the talks being held between Baghdad and Erbil and in any real rapprochement between Kurds and Arabs.
Since 2003, the Kirkuk situation, and that of the other disputed areas, has been extremely delicate and an issue that all parties have handled with care. Almost all decisions about the disputed areas and security arrangements concerning them have been conducted with consensus between the various parties involved -- the KRG, Baghdad and the U.S.
After the U.S. withdrawal, and just like with the Hashimi case, Maliki seems to have the disputed areas portfolio in mind and wants to take control of it in his own way.
The disputed areas were supposed to be handled by agreement from both sides. But this did not last. With complete disregard to the fact that the disputed areas issue cannot be solved by military means, Maliki resorted to setting up the Dijla forces.
While he is trying to gain popular Arab support, this behavior poses a greater threat to Arabs than to Kurds. It militarizes their communities further, and creates another arm for the prime minister who is growing obsessed with having direct military and security control over many issues.
But the Arabs of Iraq are supportive of the step, and it feeds into the anti-Kurdish campaign.
This makes the Kurdish task harder. They need to assess the real potentials of the issue and act according to a coordinated plan at every level -- in Kirkuk, in Baghdad and in the region. They need to demonstrate to others that, although this act appears to be against the Kurds, it actually affects others more.
The Dijla forces could also create potential local military complications as it will be seen as a force that bypasses the army, the police and the Peshmerga, and in these situations there are many who will try to prove that it is a failure at the expense of local stability and security.
This dangerous game that Maliki is trying to play in Kirkuk indicates his political recklessness and lack of interest and skill to settle disputes through political means. It also reveals his inability to see who his real allies and enemies are by trying to create a pressure card in the talks with Erbil.
The creation of the Dijla forces adds another layer of complication to the political scene by a prime minister who is supposed to provide leadership and settle issues at times of crisis.
Commander of Dijla Forces: We Only Take Orders From Federal Government
06/11/2012 05:19:00 RUDAW EXCLUSIVE
Abdulamir Zaidi, commander of the Dijla Operations Command, recently formed on orders from PM Nuri Maliki.
Abdulamir Zaidi is the commander of the Dijla Operations Command, a controversial unit formed by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to combine forces from the Ministry of Interior and police in Kirkuk and Diyala provinces. Provincial officials have opposed the establishment of the unit, and Kurdish politicians have argued that the forces will impede the implementation of Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution which aims to resolve the issue of disputed territories, including Kirkuk, Nineveh and Diyala provinces. Abdulamir Zaidi sat down with Rudaw to discuss the purpose of the Dijla forces and address the concerns of its critics.
Rudaw: What was the goal behind the formation of the Dijla Operations Command?
Abdulamir Zaidi: The goal was to combine the security, police and military forces and to control the security branches in the three provinces.
The name has changed from Diyala to Dijla operations. In the beginning, the command was expected to only operate in Kirkuk and Diyala. However, the Council of Ministries decided to extend its operations to Salahaddin province as well.
Each of the three provinces has its own security units. Before, there was the 12th brigade in Kirkuk and the 4th brigade in Salahaddin, but they did not have any coordination. The 12th brigade was linked to the infantry unit while the police are connected to national intelligence. So the security units lacked coordination and this couldn’t continue. The security units must complete one another. Without a top command to direct them, they will fail.
For example, when I was sent to Salahaddin to contain the prison situation, I noticed there was a huge gap between the security units in the city. The police didn’t know the military’s plan and vice versa. Having an operations command to coordinate the security units will make it a lot easier to eradicate terrorism and restore law and order.
Having administrative boundaries between these provinces created a safe haven for terrorists. Some of those who carry out terrorist activities in Kirkuk are from Salahaddin, and some of those who carry out terrorist attacks in Diyala are from Kirkuk. They carry out their attacks in a different province and return to their own without being pursued. If intelligence information is exchanged and security units are combined, the situation can be contained with a smaller force. So the goal of this command is to restore order and stability.
“The security units must complete one another. Without a top command to direct them, they will fail.”
Rudaw: So your duty is to make sure the security and police have limited power in these areas, right?
Abdulamir Zaidi: No, we only coordinate their efforts. For example, in Kirkuk, the 12th brigade is deployed southwest of Kirkuk. The police department is responsible for the security of the cities and towns in Kirkuk, and the Peshmerga forces are to the north of Kirkuk.
In 2009, a joint committee from the Ministry of Defense was established to monitor the security situation in these areas through a coordination office. Peshmerga forces should be part of this. This coordination office must report to the operations command. So police, military and Peshmerga must be coordinated. The police will still be responsible for the security of the city, but they must report to the operations command now, as must the 12th brigade.
A lack of coordination between the security units led to the issues we have today. The Dijla Operations Command will make sure the security units are coordinated and intelligence information will be exchanged between them. In each province, an office will be established to gather intelligence information from the security units and forward it to the operations command. U.S. troops used the same method when they were here.
Rudaw: The formation of the Dijla forces has angered Kurds. What do you think about that?
Abdulamir Zaidi: It really surprises me. However, I don’t think it is the Kurds. It is more the political parties and it is an issue between the political factions. The military carries out its duties professionally and doesn’t want to get involved in political matters. I personally will not allow any politicians to interfere in military affairs. Nor will I allow any security or police units under my command to get involved in politics. We know our duty, which is to enforce the law.
Political factions have disagreements today and they reconcile tomorrow. This is the nature of politics. So we don’t want to be involved in these matters as our duty is to provide security for all citizens, including Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen.
Rudaw: But some Kurdish military commanders, such as Mahmoud Sangawi, a senior commander in the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), say that you participated in the Anfal campaign. What do you say about this?
Abdulamir Zaidi: First of all, my unit was not an infantry unit so we didn’t participate in the fight, which took place in the mountains. In 2006 and 2007, a list of Iraqi officers who participated in Anfal was released. Why was my name not on that list? But suddenly, after the formation of the Dijla forces, I participated in Anfal and this should be used against me. You must have concrete evidence when you accuse people of such a thing. The archives of the Ministry of Defense still exist. They can go and take a look.
Rudaw: The governor of Kirkuk is against the Dijla forces. He said that, as long as he is governor, he will not allow this force to move.
“The goal of this force is to provide security for the provinces. Is there really anyone who rejects help, especially when it comes to a security situation?”
Abdulamir Zaidi: To perform our duty we take orders from the federal government. Since Kirkuk is a province of Iraq, the governor must implement the same rules, especially those that come from the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Defense.
The governor is an advisor who handles the administrative units in Kirkuk. As for authority, only the commander in chief has power to direct the Dijla forces. The military has a law. If someone rebels against it and refuses to implement it, he will face charges and be sent to the court. Security units have laws and disciplines that apply to all Iraqis.
Rudaw: The governors of all three provinces are against your intervention in their affairs. Will you be able to fulfill your duty under such circumstances? Don’t you think this might cause disputes between you and finally lead to instability in the provinces?
Abdulamir Zaidi: I am sure that will not happen. The goal of this force is to provide security for the provinces. Is there really anyone who rejects help, especially when it comes to a security situation? Aren’t they fed up with killings, car bombs and bloodshed?
This is about stability and security and they shouldn’t intervene in our affairs. As politicians, their job is to work hard to rebuild this country and provide a better future. Our job is to protect citizens and provide safety for them. We are not there to interfere in their service projects.
Rudaw: What about the absence of the security officials from Kirkuk at your meeting?
Abdulamir Zaidi: They will attend future meetings. We will hold a large meeting for all three provinces in the near future. We are currently preparing to perform our duties. We already started in Kirkuk and Diyala. We expect to start in Salahaddin as soon as we receive the order from the Council of Ministries next week.
Rudaw: The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Ministry of Peshmerga said that if the Dijla forces move forward, the Peshmerga will confront them. What do you say about this?
“We will not confront our own people. That era has passed.”
Abdulamir Zaidi: As I said before, cooperation and agreement about conducting operations in these areas has been discussed in the ministerial committee established in 2009. Iraqi military and Peshmerga have joint patrols. We also exchange intelligence information.
Rudaw: Then why did the Ministry of Peshmerga say that?
Abdulamir Zaidi: The operations command is not a military force. It is only command headquarters. It is the same force, but the name has changed from Diyala to Dijla. We will not increase our forces. We have Kurdish officers in this unit working with us. We don’t have a military unit.
They spread these rumors that we are a large military force and are moving forward. This is not true. What we have now is only an operations command. These rumors have also affected some politicians.
Working in Kirkuk for the past two years, I have built a good relationship with the Kurdish tribal leaders there. They also asked me this question -- why are we bringing in these forces? Even some of the politicians asked that question. I told them the same thing I told you: we have not added one soldier to the old unit. We want to increase coordination between the Peshmerga and Iraqi forces.
I contacted Mahmoud Sangawi myself about a group of people who attacked a military base and then fled to the Garmiyan area. Sangawi cooperated with us and handed them over to us.
Rudaw: Can you assure the minister of Peshmerga that you will not confront them?
Chomsky On The Prospect of Kurdish Independence
27/02/2011 07:47:00 By NAMO ABDULLA
Noam Chomsky, one of the world’s most influential and sought-after thinkers, recently agreed to an interview with Rudaw English’s editor-in-chief, Namo Abdulla, on the longstanding Kurdish question in the Middle East and the prospect of an independent Kurdish state in the north of Iraq. Abdulla here introduces Chomsky and discusses the significance of the man and his work:
Five months ago, I sent Noam Chomsky an email asking if he was interested in giving an interview on the Kurdish question in Iraq and Turkey. Chomsky’s reply indicated that the 84-year-old American philosopher and political activist was still closely following the Kurdish issue.
“Just back from Istanbul, a conference on freedom of speech, concentrating mostly on the Kurds,” he wrote. “I wish I could manage another interview. I'm afraid I've had to turn down all requests until at least January. Just not a moment free before that, hard as it may be to believe.”
Chomsky’s first interest in the Kurdish issue perhaps dates back to 1975, when he joined a group of some of the world’s most renowned thinkers in signing an open letter to the international community entitled “Plight of the Kurds,” which strongly condemned the Iraqi government’s atrocities against the Kurds and called for the Kurd’s right to self-determination.
Although I have often read Chomsky’s political writings with great interest, it has always been a difficult task for me to try and say who Chomsky is. Actually, I don’t think anybody could do that in a few lines, or even a few paragraphs. Although he is perhaps beyond conventional description, Chomsky has been described as a thinker, linguist, philosopher, anarchist, anti-American, anti-West activist, and a supporter of the oppressed. “Judged in terms of the power, range, novelty and influence of his thought,” wrote the New York Times, “Noam Chomsky is arguably the most important intellectual alive today.” He has written over 150 books and hundreds of articles.
The following interview was conducted by phone on February 15th, with Chomsky speaking from Boston, United States, where he now lives:
NAMO ABDULLA: In my last interview with you, we focused on the Kurdish question in Iraq, but this time, I want to be broader and talk to you about Iraqi as well as Turkish Kurds. Given all the changes we are seeing in the Middle East, and what happened in Egypt and Tunisia, I am interested in having your thoughts on the Kurdish situation in general, especially in Turkey and Iraq?
NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, it is not just Turkey and Iraq. It is also Syria, Iran, parts of Russia. Kurds, you know – I don’t have to tell you – are the largest national, cultural group that has never been able to achieve a national territory. There are steps forward. So, for example, in northern Iraq, there is a degree of autonomy that never existed before, and also a security. There is a question of how the Kurds there will be able to exploit this opportunity to create a really decent society for themselves and a model for others.
"There is a question of how the Kurds there will be able to exploit this opportunity to create a really decent society for themselves and a model for others."
In Turkey, where actually I just was a few weeks ago, the situation has improved. First time I was there, over 10 years ago, it was pretty awful. It was right at the end of the period of extreme violence, repression and destruction. People were afraid to use Kurdish colors and could not talk their language except in secret, and so on. So that’s improved slowly. So now, there is some recognition by the government, and by a large part of the population, of the legitimacy of Kurdish identity. Kurds no longer have to be identified as “mountain Turks,” just speaking some strange dialect. So now, Kurdish is recognized to an extent. There are options for a Kurdish broadcasting of radio and television. There is a promise about teaching Kurdish in schools – [an issue] that has not been resolved. And there are steps backward. When I was there in October, there were trials coming up of 150 Kurdish leaders, including some well-known ones, like Osman Baydemir, the mayor of Diyarbakir. [They were] non-violent activists and the charges were completely frivolous, but they were there, and I think they have been delayed. The government likely doesn’t want to pursue them. In general, there are steps forward, there’s some degree of progress. But, I think over time that could and should unify somehow with the Iraqi Kurds, and then there is a serious problem [about] what happens elsewhere.
Turkey has improved its government-to-government relations with Syria and with Iran, but, as far as I know, it has not affected the status of the Kurdish minorities in these countries. So there is a long distance to go, but I think there are…steps forward, and the relative autonomy in northern Iraq has given many impetuses to this, and opened up opportunities that can be pursued.
NA: As you said, there are definitely developments happening in Turkey, but, it seems that the Kurds are not happy with those developments, especially the BDP [the Peace and Democracy Party] and the PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party].
CHOMSKY: In fact, the current trials are about organization of political party. It still has not been possible for a legitimate Kurdish political force to be recognized within the country [Turkey], and that is a struggle that is going on. But there are possibilities I think. I mean, the conference I was [at] in Istanbul just in October, was a conference of mostly Turkish journalists, artists, intellectuals, activists, and some foreigners were there, like me and others. There is a growing recognition, considerably more than in earlier years, that the suppression of Kurdish identity is illegitimate, and will have to be overcome.
It is true the Kurds have a lot to be dissatisfied with, like the persecution of the political party and these completely frivolous trials that are coming. They may or may not happen, I don’t know; they are being delayed. But still, overtime, there is progress that I think we should be encouraged by and regard it as an opportunity, as a kind of legacy that you can build on to proceed further.
"The end result could be that a move for an independent Kurdistan in northern Iraq...could lead to a country with no access to the outside world. That would be devastating."
NA: Do you think these developments that you mention in Turkey are a result of the fact that an Islamic party is in power, that is the Justice and Development Party [AKP], under the leadership of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan?
CHOMSKY: I mean, it’s complex. You can’t sort of give it a grade. But there have been some positive developments. And in general, I think the policies of the Erdogan administration have been pretty sensible, like the policy of opening toward the East and having no enemies. That is in general a sensible policy, I think, and has improved things. For example, Erdogan is now the most popular figure in the Arab world, in recent polls. If you take a look at the Egyptian uprising in the last few weeks – a spectacular uprising in Egypt – Erdogan is about the only political leader who has given a very strong support from the beginning. Everyone else was isolated, and that has an impact on the region.
NA: But recently, [Abdullah] Ocalan, the imprisoned leader of the PKK, called on the Kurds to just do what the Egyptians did to get rid of Hosni Mubarak, their president. He said the Kurds could only be free if they pour on to the streets and call for their rights in the Kurdish cities, like Diyarbakir. Is that a reasonable thing?
CHOMSKY: They should call for their rights, but you have to have goals. In the case of Egypt for example, there was a very narrow but explicit goal: get rid of Mubarak. Then there was a broader goal: get rid of the ruling elite. They are just now beginning to formulate broader goals. In fact, just yesterday, or a few days ago, I think for the first time, the coalition of human rights and activist groups [in Egypt] came out with a longer-term program for civil and political rights that they want to see achieved. That is actually the first time that was done since January 25th. That makes sense and they have got to do. It is going to be a struggle to achieve those rights. There’s plenty of established power that is not going to give it up easily. But what they are doing in Egypt is kind of an inspiring model, but you can’t duplicate it elsewhere. So for example, what is happening in Tunisia is not identical to what is happening in Egypt. They have different circumstances and different problems. The same is true with the Kurds. They have to consider carefully what the circumstances are they are facing, and ask, what are the right tactics in these circumstances? I mean that is an old problem. It goes back to the origins of the revolutionary or even reformist movements in the nineteenth century, and think of, say, what Marx wrote about revolutions. Karl Marx was in favor of socialist and communist-socialist revolutions, but he had a pretty nuanced view about it. For example, he said that, in England, where there was more or less a functioning parliamentary system, he believed that it would be possible for the workers to gain their rights, including control over production, industry establishment, the socialist state and society, through parliamentary measures. There are now other places that would take popular revolutions. He may have been right, or he may have been wrong, but his general attitude was correct: you have to adjust tactics to existing circumstances and situations. There is no mechanical rule as to what the right tactics are.
"What is called the “embassy” in Baghdad is a city, basically, within a city. There is no embassy like it in the world, and it has not been built in order to be abandoned. It’s actually increasing in size under Obama."
NA: But as far as I know, sir, you are an anarchist and a great supporter of civil disobedience. Don’t you think it’s time for the Kurds in Turkey – whose political parties are still banned, and they still can’t study in Kurdish in schools – to just do what the Egyptians did to have a more democratic state?
CHOMSKY: Take civil disobedience: I have often participated in it and been in jail or faced long jail sentences, but it is a tactic; it’s not a principle. You do it when you think it is going to be effective. Civil disobedience’s main goal typically is to try to arouse and inspire others to join and do something. Well, sometimes that is a good tactic, sometimes not. As for the Kurds, the Kurds cannot demonstrate on the streets of Diyarbakir and say get rid of the president. That is not a sensible tactic. But it was a sensible tactic in Egypt, in Cairo. But it is not a sensible tactic in Diyarbakir, because the circumstances are different. And, remember that the Egyptian protest – while quite spectacular and [it showed] courage and dedication – right up until the present has had a pretty narrow goal: Mubarak must leave. That was the goal and there is no comparable goal for the Kurds in Turkey, northern Iraq, or Syria – or anywhere else. I mean the goals are broader. Again, a much broader range of civil rights, and you have to ask yourself what tactic would be useful for that: would civil disobedience be helpful or are there better ways? That is a delicate problem. I would not even try to give any advice from the outside. It needs careful evaluation of the circumstances and the likely consequences.
NA: Talking about Iraqi Kurds here: as you said, there has been a lot of economic prosperity, and massive oil reserves have been discovered here in Iraqi Kurdistan, and it is much safer than the rest of Iraq. You know, many Iraqi Kurds, especially in the Kurdistan region itself, are now saying that is time for them to secede from Iraq, a country that is still war-torn and volatile. They say it is the best time – after what happened in the broader Middle East – for them to breakaway from Iraq. What do you make of that?
CHOMSKY: I think there are a lot of questions to think about seriously. For one thing, Arab Iraq will of course be strongly opposed. Turkey would probably be opposed. Iran will certainly be opposed. The end result could be that a move for an independent Kurdistan in northern Iraq, even if it could be implemented, which is very questionable, could lead to a country with no access to the outside world. That would be devastating. So if any moves in that direction are going to be taken, you have to think carefully about the relations with the neighboring regions and neighboring states. You can’t move towards that without bringing those questions into consideration. Now maybe, on balance, when these things are thought through, it will appear to be a good thing to do, but you can’t just say let’s do it, it’s the right thing. It could lead, for example, to a major military conflict, which could be devastating. Look how hard it is just to try to settle the issue of Kirkuk.
"The United States had pretty definite war aims. They weren’t stated clearly in the beginning – because, you know, it’s not nice to state them." ( CONTINUED )