[Media-watch] kurdish stories
billy.clark at ntlworld.com
Tue Apr 29 17:46:23 BST 2003
This is a round up of Kurdish related stories - don't think any of the
UK press really cover any of this.
1. US Troops Flex Muscle to Disarm Kurdish Fighters (Reuters) 04/26
2. US Says Turks Caught Smuggling Arms Into Kirkuk (New York Times)
3. Kurds Offer Postwar Modal and Pose Key Challenge (New Jersey
4. PUK Opens Several Offices in Baghdad (KurdishMedia) 04/24
5. KDP and PUK Seize Weapons from Iraqi Forces (Anatolia) 04/23
6. Garner Task in Kurdish North Light Compared to Baghdad (USA Today)
7. US Will Oversee Return of Displaced Kurds (Financial Times) 04/23
8. Now the Ethnic Re-Cleansing Begins (InterPress Service) 04/25
9. Kirkuk Claimed by Kurds and Arabs: US Troops Try to Keep Peace (New
York Times) 04/26
10. Kurds Turn Tables on Arab Settlers (Chicago Tribune) 04/27
11. Iraqis in Mosul Fear Rivalries Despite Cooperation (Reuters0 04/25
12. University Official asks Peshmergas to Protect Shattered Mosul
University (Reuters) 04/24
13. Kurds Pushing For Federalism (RFE/RL) 04/25
14. Barzani to Attend Leadership Meeting in Baghdad (AFP) 04/26
15. Barzani on Role of Kurds in Future State (KurdishMedia) 04/27
16. Talebani Calls for Rebuilding of Iraqi National Army (IRNA) 04/26
17. Report: Ba'athist Officials, Possible War Criminals in Iraqi
18. Report: Kurds Find Additional Mass Graves (UPI) 04/27
19. Many Iraqi Arabs Unaware of Gas Attacks on Kurds (Associated Press)
20. Iraqi Turkmen Party Wants No Trouble With Kurds (Tehran Times) 04/26
21. Terrorist Manual May Link Ansar-al Islam to Al-Qaeda (New York
1) U.S. Troops Flex Muscle to Disarm Kurdish Fighters
April 26, 2003
By Kieran Murray
MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S. troops backed by helicopter gunships began
disarming Kurdish guerrillas in the troubled northern Iraqi city of Mosul
U.S. forces identified three roadblocks in the city manned by "peshmerga"
fighters loyal to the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and moved in
hundreds of soldiers to take them over.
The guerrillas refused at first to yield to the Americans but finally
In one incident, dozens of peshmerga were seen moving toward one
to reinforce their fellow fighters. But they turned away when a Kiowa
attack helicopter swooped down low over them and more U.S. troops and
One Army captain told a peshmerga commander that if he did not tell his
to pull back "you will see more firepower than you would dare dream
In negotiations with army officers which followed, both sides agreed a
under which some 20 weapons were seized from peshmerga vehicles trying to
flee the area. But the KDP was allowed to keep guns it uses to protect
Thousands of U.S. troops moved into the center of Mosul this week and
have made clear they intend to disarm the peshmerga or push them out of
town as they try to set up a city government and calm tensions between
Kurds and majority Sunni Muslims.
"Our intention is to disarm them. I do not want confrontation. I'd rather
we can negotiate and they give up their weapons," said Lieutenant Colonel
Chris Holden of the Army's 101st Airborne Division.
"However, we are not going to back down. We want the peshmerga to leave
we will continue raising the bar on their compliance until they have left
In a sign of continuing instability, sporadic gunfire could be heard
from the city center late on Saturday, but the shooting could be linked
acts of looting.
Hundreds of peshmerga have been in Mosul since the fall of Saddam Hussein
two weeks ago. They took control of the city before U.S. troops arrived.
Many Kurds consider this relatively wealthy city to be part of their area
of control. The KDP and other Kurdish parties have rushed to establish a
presence here, mainly in eastern areas where the city's Kurdish minority
Mosul was hit by widespread looting when Saddam's rule collapsed and many
people fear it could become a focus of unrest if U.S. attempts to
new government in Iraq get bogged down.
U.S. troops have begun joint patrols with a local police force made up
mainly of former police commanders and officers.
They have also sent troops out to protect truck convoys bringing oil into
the city, and army officers are negotiating with schools, hospitals and
utility services to get them working again.
2) U.S. Says Turks Are Smuggling Arms Into Northern Iraq City
New York Times
By DAVID ROHDE
April 27, 2003
KIRKUK, Iraq, April 26 Men who identified themselves as Turkish Special
Forces soldiers tried to smuggle grenades, night-vision goggles and
of rifles into this oil-producing city in northern Iraq this week,
military officials said today. The officials say they believe that the
weapons, which were hidden in an aid convoy, were bound for ethnic
Tonight, gunfire erupted as aid was distributed at a Turkmen political
office in the city. One Arab and one Turkmen were wounded, witnesses
It was unclear what led to the shooting.
Turkey has repeatedly said it might launch a military incursion into
northern Iraq, citing what it says is abuse of Turkmens by Arabs and
Turkmens make up less than 5 percent of Iraq's population.
The discovery of the smuggled arms came on Wednesday, when a Turkish aid
convoy reached an American checkpoint north of the city, officials said.
American soldiers, who had heard that Turkish Special Forces soldiers
trying to enter the city, questioned the men.
"They were all in civilian clothes, and they didn't produce anything that
they were authorized to be in the area," an American military official
said. "They identified themselves as Turkish Special Forces."
The American seized and then searched the half dozen vehicles in the
convoy. They found several dozen AK-47 assault rifles and other military
equipment, including a small number of American-made M-4 rifles and
Night-vision goggles, radio scanners, pistols and banners and flags of
Iraqi Turkmen Front, the main Turkmen political party in Iraq, were also
found. About half of the roughly two dozen men in the convoy identified
themselves as Turkish Special Forces soldiers. American soldiers escorted
them to the border.
Kemal Yaycili, chief of the Turkmen front's new offices in Kirkuk and
nearby Mosul, said local Turkmens needed to defend themselves against
enemies." He said that six members of the ethnic group had been killed in
Kirkuk since it was captured two weeks ago and that three had been killed
Kurds have expelled 300 Turkmens from their homes, he said. "Really, when
we feel any threat, when we feel anyone bother us from outside," Mr.
Yaycili said, "we have a right to ask for help from the outside." But he
added that security was improving.
Kirkuk sits on top of huge oil reserves, and Kurds and Arabs claim that
100,000 members of each of their groups were expelled from the city by
Saddam Hussein's government.
American military officials who have been trying to ease tensions in
reacted with frustration to the arms smuggling. "As we are trying to
maintain stability," one said. "We don't need an outside force coming in
and stirring things up."
Col. William Mayville, the commander of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, which
patrols Kirkuk, said he had been urging Turkmen leaders to use the fall
Mr. Hussein to begin a new chapter in their relationship with the local
Kurds. "They were a group that was a minority that did suffer under
Hussein," he said. "I think it's time for the Turmen here to re-evaluate
Gular el-Nakib, a 48-year-old teacher was one of dozens of Kurds, Arabs
Turkmens lounging near the city's central square tonight. "We don't want
differences; we want to live happily without enemies," she said.
"Our main enemy is gone."
3) Kurds offer a model for postwar Iraq: Minority group could be major
New Jersey Star-Ledger
April 27, 2003
BY JOHN HASSELL
If the Bush administration is seeking a model for postwar Iraq -- one
is secular, pluralistic and rooted in democratic institutions -- it could
do much worse than the fledgling society that Iraq's 3.6 million Kurds
cobbled together in the country's rugged north over the past dozen years.
At the same time, regional experts say, there is no single minority group
in Iraq's complex ethnic quilt with more potential to create instability
the region if the new government that emerges in Baghdad does not
the autonomy and social progress Kurds have achieved.
The anti-American Shi'a protests in southern Iraq last week showed how
fractious the country's body politic can be, analysts say. But the
situation underscores how quickly trouble could affect Iraq's
namely, Turkey, Iran and Syria, all of which are home to Kurds.
"The Kurdish issue is going to be the next big problem in the Middle
predicted Henri Barkey, a former member of the U.S. Department of State's
policy planning staff and an expert on Kurdish politics and history at
Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pa. "The more they taste freedom, the more
conscious they become, and the more they will demand."
Described often as the largest stateless nation in the world, the
25 million Kurds who inhabit the swath of land between the Mediterranean
and Caspian seas have maintained a distinct culture and language for more
than a millennium, despite numerous efforts -- most notably by the
to suppress their ethnic identity.
The Kurds' failure to achieve statehood through their long history is
partly a matter of geography; spread out in small villages across an
unforgiving landscape, they have never developed a political center. They
also have been divided by great powers: by the Ottomans and Persians for
almost 500 years, and by the Allied victors after World War I.
During Saddam Hussein's reign, the Kurds of Iraq suffered mightily.
According to Human Rights Watch, an international watchdog group, the
government systematically destroyed 4,000 to 5,000 Kurdish villages from
1977 to 1987. Then, in a series of attacks in the late 1980s, Saddam's
forces slaughtered more than 100,000 Kurds.
After the Kurds mistakenly believed the U.S. military would support an
insurrection at the end of the first Gulf War in 1991, they were brutally
suppressed yet again. The Kurds' first real glimpse of autonomy came
that year, when U.S. and British warplanes began enforcing a no-fly zone
In an area roughly the size of Switzerland, the Kurds have created the
building blocks of civil society in short order, including democratic
institutions with opposition parties, dozens of lively newspapers and
satellite TV stations, and unfettered access to the Internet and
international telephone lines.
Politically, the Kurdish territory has been split into two regions, one
controlled by the Kurdistan Democratic Party led by Massoud Barzani, the
other by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan led by Jalal Talabani. After
fighting a four-year civil war during the 1990s, the two parties are
not on the best of terms.
So far, despite their differences, the Kurds have proven the best of
for the United States, fighting beside American Special Forces to oust
Saddam's Republican Guard troops from northern Iraq, and staging a
celebratory rally last week for Jay Garner, the retired general who leads
the U.S. effort to rebuild postwar Iraq.
"What the Kurds have accomplished in 12 years is extraordinary, and they
don't want to lose it," said Judith Kipper, director of the Middle East
Forum at the Council on Foreign Relations. "That accounts for their
extremely good behavior so far. They are relying on the Americans to
preserve the gains they have made."
Already, though, tensions have become apparent. In the days since the
U.S.-led war drew to a close, Kurds have pushed into areas previously
controlled by Iraqi authorities. South of Mosul and Kirkuk, Kurdish
fighters have evicted thousands of Arabs from villages the Kurds claim as
These events have been watched closely by Turkish authorities, who
a cease-fire with Kurds in southeastern Turkey in 1999, after a 15-year
struggle that left 37,000 people dead. The Turks fear an independent
Kurdish state in northern Iraq -- or even quasi-autonomy in a federalized
Iraqi state -- could once again spark rebellion.
The existence of vast oil reserves in Kurdish areas adds urgency to
Turkey's concerns. Turkey believes it has a historical claim to the
legendary oil fields in the Mosul and Kirkuk provinces, which Turks ruled
during the Ottoman era. Iraqi Kurds believe they should have control of
these areas, along with their energy resources.
Turkish authorities also worry about the possible persecution of northern
Iraq's 1 million ethnic Turkmen, who live primarily in the cities of
Kirkuk and Erbil. Largely middle class, Iraqi Turkmen have exercised
influence over the cultural and political life of those cities --
that some Kurds have had reason to resent.
"If these cities are going to be integrated into a Kurdish region, Turkey
will want to see how that plays out," said Soner Cagaptay, director of
Turkish research program at the Washington Institute for Near East
"The Turks are very concerned about the welfare of Turkish-speaking
communities in their neighborhood."
Another concern in Ankara is the continued presence of 4,000 to 5,000
Turkish Kurds, guerrillas known as the PKK, in northern Iraq. Although
relations between the Turkish government and the Kurds of southeastern
Turkey are better than they have been for decades, the existence of these
armed fighters is viewed as an ever-present threat.
The problem for Turkish leaders is that the government's recent decision
deny the United States permission to base ground troops in Turkey has
severely reduced Ankara's sway over the Bush administration's plans. Had
Turkey cooperated, Turkish troops would likely have joined the action in
"The way things have turned out, Turkey has been left almost completely
of the development of northern Iraq, despite historically close ties with
Washington," said Sabri Sayari, director of the Institute for Turkish
Studies at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. "They have literally
been left on the other side of the fence."
This has not gone down well with Turkey's military, which exerts powerful
influence over national affairs. According to Time magazine, U.S. units
northern Iraq caught a Turkish special forces team last week as it
infiltrated the country on a mission to stir up ethnic Turkmen and
a pretext for sending troops into the region.
Col. Bill Mayville, commander of the U.S. Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade,
told the magazine that the soldiers "did not come here with a pure
Rather, he said, "their objective is to create an environment that can be
used by Turkey to send a large peacekeeping force into Kirkuk."
Iran and Syria also have been monitoring events in northern Iraq closely,
according to regional analysts. But, unlike Turkey, those countries have
had fewer tensions with their Kurdish populations in recent years, and
therefore don't feel as immediately threatened as the Turks do, said
of Lehigh University.
Authorities in Tehran and Damascus will, however, insist that the United
States and Great Britain abide by a promise to maintain Iraq's
integrity, to prevent the emergence of an independent Kurdish state -- a
development they would consider both provocative and destabilizing.
In the meantime, said Barkey, the Kurds of northern Iraq will work hard
preserve whatever independence they can under the federal system of
government envisioned by planners in the Bush administration. "They have
worked very hard, and suffered a lot, to get where they are," Barkey
"The danger is, if there are setbacks, they could bolt."
4) PUK opens several offices in Baghdad
April 24, 2003
London -- The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan has opened several offices in
The Turkish news website NTV reported that Adil Morad had been appointed
representative in Baghdad.
NTV quoted Morad stating that there are 1.5 million Kurds living in
and that the offices had
been set up to maintain the security of the Kurds in the area. Morad also
was quoted saying that the
offices would be shut down once a new Iraqi government had emerged and
activities would take
place from one centre.
Morad also added that the new offices would assist the PUK in the first
elections with propaganda,
aiming for Kurdish votes in Baghdad.
NTV quoted the PUK Baghdad representative Adil Morad concluding that
Assyrians in Mosul and Kirkuk did not have any problems with each other
that there were no
disagreements between his party and Turkey.
5) KDP And PUK Seize Weapons Of Saddam Hussein
April 23, 2003
Peshmerges under the command of Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP)
leader Massoud Barzani and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) leader
Jalal Talabani seized 61 tanks, 64 cannons, 55 armored vehicles and
many ammunition and weapons formerly owned by Iraqi soldiers and
took them to their own regions.
Sources said on Wednesday that KDP and PUK took the seized
weapons and equipment to depots and forested areas in Dohuk,
Zawita, Atrush, Spilik and Suleymaniyah.
Below listed the weapons seized in Mosul and Kirkuk by KDP which took
35 thousand weapons and PUK which took 4 thousand weapons from
the United States during the military operation against Iraq:
KDP: 34 tanks, 21 armored vehicles, 14 armored personnel carriers, 37
cannons, 78 mortars, 27 multi-barrel rocket launchers, 84 antiaircraft,
254 rocket launchers, 3800 rifles, 288 land to air missiles, 1544 hand
grenades, 400 thousand ammunition, 70 lorries, jeeps and other military
vehicles, 2800 landmines and 4700 gas masks.
PUK: 21 tanks, 9 armored vehicles, 11 armored personnel carriers, 24
cannons, 60 mortars, 9 multi-barrel rocket launchers, 46 antiaircraft,
125 rocket launchers, 1100 rifles, many ammunition, 25 lorries, 5 jeeps,
4 pickup trucks, many landmines and generators.
The pershmerges who don't have any personnel who can drive tanks
have started to train a group in Zawita to drive the tanks that they
brought to their region with the help of surrendered Iraqi soldiers.
6) Garner Task in Kurdish-held north is light compared with that in
By Donna Leinwand
April 24, 2003
ERBIL, Iraq -- The rebuilding of Iraq seems almost manageable here in the
Kurdish-dominated north, where Jay Garner has been greeted as a hero.
But when Garner, the retired U.S. general overseeing the reconstruction
effort, leaves the pro-American north today and settles into Baghdad, he
will confront many dire emergencies in a city verging on anarchy.
In Erbil on Wednesday, Garner promised to repair a bridge, to let Kurds
participate in reconstruction projects, to look into corruption at a
Nations food program and to help people find out what happened to
who disappeared during a purge of Kurds ordered by Saddam Hussein in
There are many problems that Kurdish leaders want the United States to
but they are the growing pains of a young democracy rather than postwar
chaos. Businesses are open, and children are in school. War damage is
Coalition forces had bombed a bridge on the highway between Mosul and
Erbil. Ever since, traffic has been miserable, local leaders said. Garner
surveyed the bridge with Army engineers and declared that it could be
within a week.
Repairing and rebuilding the rest of Iraq, Garner admitted, will take far
longer. In Baghdad, where Garner will hold an invitation-only ''town hall
meeting'' today, many parts of the city are without electricity.
are closed, and streets are filled with debris and trash.
''We are trying to stabilize as fast as we can,'' Garner said. ''That's a
(military) mission, and they are doing that now. That's why they are
putting the 101st (Airborne Division) in here and the 4th (Infantry)
Division is getting ready to go into Baghdad. . . . But Baghdad is a big,
big city. It will take a while.''
Garner said he and his staff will work Saturday and Sunday to restart the
city's civil service ministries. Saturday is the beginning of the
Buck Walters heads the southern region overseen by Garner's agency, the
Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance. He went to the
Muslim cities of Najaf and Karbala on Wednesday. Walters plans to move
headquarters to the area next week.
But Shiite clerics, who are highly organized politically and who
loyal following, are already showing their influence. Rival clerics have
sent representatives to stake out territory in government ministries and
have staged rallies to push for an Islamic government in Iraq. Shiites
up 60% to 65% of the Iraqi population. Saddam's regime was dominated by
minority Sunni Muslims.
Iraq's religious minorities and many Kurds fear a Shiite takeover. ''In
opinion, we should separate state and religion,'' said Fardidoon Hati
Maroof, dean of an engineering college in Erbil.
Ahmed Mustafa Suleiman, dean of a college of Islamic law, said he also
feared a Shiite takeover would lead to suppression of religious
''We want the Americans to establish freedom for all the minorities and
the ethnic groups of Iraq. There should be a multiparty democracy,''
Suleiman said through an interpreter. ''I don't want to see an Islamic
government, because when religion is separate from government, it can
preserve the sanctity of religion.''
Garner dismissed as overblown the worries about a massive Shiite movement
to usurp power. Many Shiites, he said, do not want an Islamic state.
7) US Will Oversee Return of Displaced Kurds
By Gareth Smyth in Kirkuk
April 23 2003
As Jay Garner, the retired US general charged with administering Iraq,
continued his tour of the north on Wednesday, Kurdish and US officials
announced a commission to oversee the return of Kurds displaced by the
former regime in favour of Arabs.
"There will be a committee later representing all sides under the
of the United States," said Jalal Talabani, leader of the Patriotic Union
of Kurdistan (PUK).
A US official accompanying Mr Garner said the commission would be similar
to one used to undo ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, where a UN co-ordinating
body was set up under the Dayton peace accord. After three years' work
has resolved about three-quarters of the 229,235 claims presented.
There are no accepted figures for the number of Kurds displaced in Iraq,
though the total may be as high as 500,000. On the ground, "arabisation"
has already gone into reverse, amid sporadic reports of intimidation.
At Tapa Chermu, near the Iranian border north-west of Khanaqin, members
the Palani clan returned to their homes at the weekend, 28 years after
were uprooted to camps in Anbar province, near the border with Jordan.
"Watan, watan ('homeland')," said Samir Jamil Habib, a jubilant man in
60s. "This is where I'd like to die."
"Ten of thousands of Arabs have left," said Abdullah Anwar, mayor of
Khanaqin. "They came from the south and from Tikrit and now they have
back to their own lands. Any problems can be solved - people have kept
their title deeds."
Arabisation began in the 1970s, when the ruling Ba'ath party cleared huge
areas to drain support for Kurdish guerrillas. In the city of Kirkuk,
arabisation was intended to overturn the Kurdish majority in a province
rich in oil.
Mr Garner was warmly welcomed when he arrived yesterday in Arbil,
headquarters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).
"I think things are going incredibly fast, and I think they are going a
better than has been portrayed," he said. "I have a good feeling about
- I'm sort of a glass half-full guy, not a glass half-empty guy."
8) Now the Ethnic Re-Cleansing Begins
April 25, 2003
KIRKUK - An open truck carrying an elated family and their possessions
pulls up at a checkpoint set up by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK)
at Dakuk, just south of the oil city Kirkuk. Shaker Mahmoud Al-Zendi and
his family are back after a 20-year exile.
"I had come back here in 1983 from fighting for Iraq against Iran at the
Faw peninsula," says Al-Zendi, who takes his name after his village. "It
had been a terrible battle, but when I got home it was worse. My whole
village had been wiped off the face of the earth."
The action against Al-Zendi village was a part of the 'Arabisation' of
north by Saddam Hussein and his Baath regime. Baghdad had decided to
the ethnic balance in oil rich Kirkuk and Mosul; the local Kurds had long
been seen as troublesome.
This week, thousands of Kurdish families started to move back to their
lands from around the country. Families from the autonomous Kurdish area
further north had begun to return the week before.
The Baath party forced most Kurdish families into internal exile to
and poor areas. Some 200 families from Al-Zendi were driven to Ramadi
located in the dry and dusty desert towards Jordan.
Kurds are happy to return to their green and fertile fields in the north.
But strangers now occupy their land, and some seem ready to fight for it.
Al-Zendi instructs members of his tribe to set up tents at the site where
his village used to stand. His voice shaking with rage, he points to a
"That is still my land and I asked them to leave," he says. "The thieves
just said no."
PUK officials are now supporting the claims of the returning Kurds. "The
occupiers will have to go back to their home districts," says Nur Eddin
Daoudi, a political officer who says his task is to escort Kurds to their
original homes. "Some of them are not even real Iraqis."
The PUK is clearly aiming to reverse the Arabisation introduced by the
Baath party. About 750,000 "Arabs and Bedu" in Kirkuk district will have
leave because they were "instruments of the Baath party," Daoudi says.
But the PUK will respect their human rights, he says. "We suffered and we
will not do the same to others." The Arabs, he says, will be given one
month to find homes and jobs elsewhere.
"But we have nowhere to go," says Sheikh Awad Bardi Owgla from Al-Wahdeh
village, speaking in Arabic. This is the village Al-Zendi had pointed to.
Members of the large Al-Shamar tribe here are anxious and angry. Owgla
U.S. forces have "got rid of the government and thrown the country into
The Al-Shamar were a nomadic people who roamed the land for centuries
the Syrian border region to the north of Saudi Arabia" says Owgla. In
the government forced them to give up their nomadic existence.
Before 1974 the tribe had no nationality, he says. The government changed
that, and gave them land near Dakuk.
"Those Kurds are liars," says Owgla. "They had been given land by the
government just a few years before us. Most of our land was also state
land, and we bought the rest from individuals."
That tallies with a PUK guideline that everybody who registered in the
before 1971 can stay. Families who registered later will have to leave,
Kurdish leaders say.
Owgla concedes that his village may have taken over some Kurdish land
their expulsion in 1983. But he indicated that the issue can be
Instead, he says, the Kurds are shooting at them. "The Americans should
protect us. They protect the oil fields in Kirkuk but not our families."
The Al- Zendis in the meantime are inspecting a pile of rubble that was
once the family home. "This is where I will also build my new home," says
Al-Zendi, holding a handful of dust.
For now, men are living in tents to mark their presence. The women and
children are staying in a house near Dakuk that Al-Zendi owned 20 years
"It had been taken over by a member of the Baath party," he says. "He
some 20 days ago and I immediately sent some men to take it back." Now
women are cleaning the house out to get rid of all signs of the last
The young children are walking about in a bit of a daze; this is the
time they have seen the home of their parents. They were born in Ramadi.
"I hated Ramadi," says 10-year old Hawla. "The people there were really
mean to us." She does not miss anything she left behind; not her school,
not her friends. "This is our place," she says, "I feel at home."
9) In a City Claimed by Kurds and Arabs, U.S. Troops Try to Keep Peace
New York Times
By DAVID ROHDE
April 26, 2003
KIRKUK, Iraq, April 25 Adel Abdul Saad ran up to the leader of an
military patrol on Thursday afternoon and begged for help. The Kurds
come back that night, the 30-year-old Arab frantically warned. If the
Americans did not protect them, the Arabs would defend themselves.
"You're not going to kill anybody," Staff Sgt. Derek Clifton of the 173rd
Airborne Brigade told him firmly, trying to defuse a volatile situation
this oil-rich and ethnically divided city in northern Iraq.
After explaining to Mr. Saad that American forces would patrol the area
that night, Sergeant Clifton and his men continued on their way.
Twelve hours later, Sergeant Clifton, 32, learned that armed Kurds had
somehow kidnapped 20 Arabs from the neighborhood while he and his men
manned a checkpoint 300 yards away. Sixteen were freed by their captors,
but four remained missing.
After receiving a tip, Sergeant Clifton's unit raided a house several
away. In a back room, they found Mr. Saad, the young Arab who had begged
He had been beaten so badly that Sergeant Clifton thought Mr. Saad's jaw
had been broken. After questioning the captive, the American squad leader
"Adel was the one who was going to get capped," Sergeant Clifton said,
using a slang term for shot to death. "Adel was going to die within a
The chance encounter between the two young men came during what Arabs
describe as a Kurdish push to drive them from Kirkuk by force.
While Sergeant Clifton's squad was rescuing Mr. Saad and three other
kidnapped Arabs on Thursday night, another squad of American soldiers
caught three armed Kurdish men trying to evict an Arab family from their
home a few miles away.
The previous night, unknown men fired shots at the house of a nearby Arab
family for the second night in a row. The night before that, American
soldiers had found the bodies of two Arab men on a roadside, one shot in
the head and one decapitated.
In recent days, according to American soldiers, Kurds have locked an
elderly Arab woman outside her home and driven an elderly man out of his
house. And a new, slickly produced flier has appeared demanding that the
"10,000 Arabs" leave.
The reference is not to 10,000 Arabs, but to those Arabs who received
10,000 Iraqi dinars, or several thousand dollars, from Saddam Hussein to
move to this city.
In a campaign of forced demographic change, over the last 20 years Mr.
Hussein's Baath Party is believed to have forced an estimated 100,000
to leave Kirkuk, a city thought to sit atop one of the largest oil
in the world. In his effort to cement Arab control of the lucrative
that surround the city, Mr. Hussein replaced the Kurds with a similar
number of Arabs. Kurds say that the changes have reduced them from a
majority to a minority of the city's population.
For long-suffering Kurds, history has come full circle. After decades of
yearning for Kirkuk, a city Kurds call their Jerusalem and consider their
cultural and spiritual capital, it is theirs for the taking.
Senior Kurdish officials say they are urging restraint from their people.
American officials have said a multiethnic commission will be formed to
sort through a dizzying maze of property disputes.
Dr. Barham Salih, prime minister of the eastern zone of
Iraq and a senior official in the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the
dominant Kurdish political party in Kirkuk, has condemned the attacks on
Arabs. He called on the United States to speed the formation of the
committee and warned that attacks would continue until the problem was
He said the attacks were being waged by individual Kurds enraged by Mr.
Hussein's decades of expulsions, as well as by returning homeowners and
"Ethnic cleansing must not stand," Dr. Salih said. "Otherwise, this
American military officials say that while they believe criminals are
carrying out most of the attacks, Kurdish political parties are also
involved, or at least standing by, as Arabs are attacked.
"It's all of the above," said one American officer who spoke on condition
Col. William Mayville, commander of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, said: "We
are not losing in this area. I can't tell you we are winning either."
Standing in the center of it all are just over 1,000 American
from the 173rd Airborne. Deployed at seven bases around Kirkuk, they
their sections of the city as both peacekeepers and police officers.
with veterans of peacekeeping missions in Kosovo and Bosnia, they appear
ease dealing with ethnic disputes.
Sergeant Clifton, of Eugene, Ore. is a member of Company C, First
Battalion, 508th Infantry, 140 paratroopers who are trying to stabilize a
neighborhood known as Qadisiya. Built on Kurdish land seized by Mr.
Hussein's government, it is filled with Arabs who flocked here in the
1970's under the generous terms offered by Mr. Hussein.
The sergeant said he was surprised during the raid in which Mr. Saad was
rescued to find 22 Kurdish men living in a safe house with
grenades, assault rifles, a machine gun and several grenades.
"There was one kid there," he said. "He was 14 years old."
The men had green flags and paint, the symbols of the Patriotic Union of
Kurdistan, and said they belonged to the party. But Arab residents and
American officers cautioned that it was easy for criminals to masquerade
The difficulties the Americans face were evident on a patrol on Friday
afternoon. Staff Sgt. Rodney Pullen, who captured the three armed Kurds
trying to force Arabs out of their home on Thursday night, visited an
house that had been fired on twice by masked gunmen.
The Americans placed a sticker from one of the brigade's units on the
family's fence, hoping it would deter attacks. They, like many Arabs,
showered them with thanks. The American left.
On other houses down the street, spray-painted messages on an exterior
declared the house "property of the P.U.K.," a reference to the Kurdish
One of the many places the patrol did not have time to visit was the home
of Mr. Saad and the three others rescued by the Americans. Twelve hours
after being freed, they were filled with fury toward the United States.
"I told you!" Mr. Saad shouted to two visiting Americans. "I told you
His neighbor, one of the other kidnap victims, said he was fleeing the
city. "America no! America no!" he shouted. "I'm taking my furniture and
going to Basra."
10) Kurds turn tables, kick out Arabs
By Paul Salopek
April 27, 2003
SINJAR, Iraq -- Revenge has come knocking at Arab homes in this lovely
Sometimes the knock comes in the morning. An old Kurdish neighbor, long
absent, will be standing at the door. Awkwardly, he will mutter, "I'm
On other occasions, there is a loud pounding at a garden gate. It is
Strangers--four or five men, grim-faced, sitting in a pickup
threats in Kurdish-accented Arabic.
Either way, it doesn't matter. Because the message is always the same:
out. You have a week. Or a day. Or two hours.
"I asked for an official document, some order of expulsion," recalled a
distraught Walid Fatih Mohammed, 55, an Arab cashier at the local wheat
silo who faced the angry vigilantes in the truck four nights ago. "They
said they were giving the orders, so I have no choice. I am leaving."
Two weeks after U.S. troops wrenched the last major Iraqi city from
Hussein's control, a corrosive new conflict is simmering in the tense
ethnic frontier between Arabs and Kurds in the northern part of the
a struggle largely unseen by the outside world. Kurds are streaming back
homes and fields confiscated years ago by Hussein's regime, evicting
Arab settlers in the process.
The expulsions--most accomplished without force, some involving
gunfire--are swiftly reversing Hussein's infamous "Arabization" campaign,
which resettled tens of thousands of Sunni Arabs loyal to the Iraqi
government to lands formerly owned by Kurds in a strategic swath of
territory that surrounds Iraq's northern oil fields.
The top U.S. official in northern Iraq, retired Gen. Bruce Moore, said
week that reversing that "ethnic cleansing" program was a humanitarian
priority but that it should be done through organized, legal channels.
"The United States government feels very strongly" that people should get
"back what is legally theirs," Moore said. "It's a difficult issue. It's
not our responsibility to do this but that of the Iraqi people."
But interviews with triumphant, returning Kurds and fearful, fleeing
in the rolling green farmland and congested cities of northern Iraq show
that this latest, painful population shift in the troubled region is
anything but legal or orderly.
In the absence of a postwar government, hundreds of Kurdish families are
simply taking matters into their hands--showing up at their former
properties and ordering Arabs out. Some of these confrontations,
in the main northern cities of Kirkuk and Mosul, have contributed to
looting, arson and interethnic violence, with dozens killed.
And though the politicians who rule Iraq's breakaway Kurdish enclave
they aren't pushing a land grab in the sensitive ethnic buffer zone, a
visit to remote towns such as Sinjar, an old Silk Road outpost long
brutalized by Hussein's ethnic policies, suggests otherwise.
History of conflict
Located near the hilly Syrian border and with roots stretching back to
Roman times, Sinjar--from the phrase "Sheng Al," or "Beautiful Sight" in
Kurdish--has been fought over by empires for centuries.
In the dismal era of Hussein, it was on the front lines yet again, in a
failed Kurdish uprising against Baghdad in 1975.
As punishment for that rebelliousness, the town has suffered the brunt of
an "ethnic cleansing" drive that Human Rights Watch ranks as a crime
against humanity and that other human-rights groups say has ejected at
least 100,000 minority Kurds, Turkmen and Christian Assyrians from
Government bulldozers have flattened two Kurdish and minority Yazidi
districts in Sinjar, effectively erasing half of the ancient town.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Arab bureaucrats have moved in and bought up the
houses of expelled Kurds, usually at fire-sale prices.
The result: Over the past 28 years, a fertile wheat belt of about 250,000
farmers that fringes Iraq's free Kurdish enclave has seen its population
local Kurds shrivel almost to zero.
`We are worried'
"The Kurdish army has arrived with heavy guns, and we are worried," said
Hajji Idriss Hamid Al-Wattar, the Arab former mayor of Sinjar, who was
sacked by the Kurdistan Democratic Party, the northern Kurdish party that
occupied the town after the collapse of Hussein's regime two weeks ago.
"There is pressure on the Arabs to leave," Al-Wattar said in the sparsely
furnished living room where he now spends most of his afternoons alone.
"They are saying this place is for Kurds and Yazidis. They are giving
In fact, the extraordinarily rapid "Kurdization" of Sinjar has no
in the tinderbox region.
The only troops visible on the streets were Kurdish. Yellow KDP flags
snapped from all the government buildings--and from dozens of houses
abandoned by Arabs and reoccupied by returning Kurds.
The Iraqi regime's Arab civil service has been replaced by KDP officials.
Kurdish traffic police will be arriving this weekend. For all intents and
purposes, a midsize Iraqi town effectively has been annexed into the
Kurdish autonomous zone.
"They told me I had 48 hours to empty my house. Who could I complain to?"
asked Mohammed, the Arab silo worker who was confronted by the group of
angry Kurds outside his gate.
"They said they had been expelled from Sinjar a long time ago," he said
ruefully. "That was not fair, but neither is this. The old regime gave me
this house after I worked for 23 years at the silo."
Attempting one recent afternoon to show a visitor his vacated home,
Mohammed retreated meekly down the street, head hanging, when a burly
Kurdish soldier appeared scowling at the door. A van filled with
was waiting to be unloaded outside.
Kurdish officials deny they are orchestrating the reoccupation of former
Kurdish towns in northern Iraq.
"This is not revenge. It's justice," insisted Azad Yehia Yunus, the new
KDP-installed mayor of Sinjar. "When those who were pushed out 30 years
arrive, we help them find their old houses, that's all. There is nothing
aggressive about it."
Yunus said that more than 500 Kurds had come to Sinjar seeking to reclaim
ancestral property seized by Hussein's regime. About one-third have moved
into Arab-occupied houses.
He admitted that Arab families were trickling steadily out of the town,
riding battered taxis and buses crammed with household goods to the
city of Mosul.
Legal authority lacking
Nobody--not even many of the bitter Arab colonists who are packing up
lives in northern Iraq--denies the suffering of uprooted Kurds and other
minorities under Hussein.
A student of Stalin, the Iraqi president cynically shuffled entire
populations like decks of cards to keep himself in power. According to a
recent report by the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington, more
than 1million people may have been displaced over the past 25 years in
Iraq. But human-rights groups warn that unregulated returns, with their
potential for bloody score-settling, could become the biggest woe of any
"If there were some legal authority to submit claims to, it would help,"
said Hania Mufti, an Iraq expert with Human Rights Watch. "The trouble
so far nobody wants to take that responsibility."
The dangerous result is a steady rumble of violence along the Arab-Kurd
fault line in Iraq.
Gunshots have been fired in Arab villages south of the oil city of Kirkuk
in recent days. A few Arab houses in the city have been grabbed by armed
Kurds who sprayed "girow," or "taken," on the walls. And at least some of
the chaos and looting in the ethnically mixed city of Mosul can be
local people say, to rage at the wounds of Arabization.
"I think everyone has been caught by surprise by the Arabs' desire to
stay," Mufti said. "The Kurds thought they would just run off. That's why
there hasn't been any planning."
The only planning going on in Sinjar, the most rapidly changing town of
all, seemed to be for keeping the two sides segregated. Even small
of goodwill between Kurds and Arabs appeared poisoned.
Khidir Abdulkader Ahmed, 68, a Kurd who had returned to claim his old
after 28 long years in internal exile, grudgingly agreed to let the Arab
squatter rent a small shop space in the home that he had just vacated.
"It's for six months only," Ahmed explained, walking jubilantly through
echoing house. "That might help him pay his way to leave Sinjar."
11) Iraqis in Mosul fear rivalries despite cooperation
By Daren Butler
April 25, 2003
MOSUL, Iraq - Cooperation has started to replace the violence and looting
in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul that followed the end of Saddam
Hussein's rule, but residents fear trouble is brewing as rival groups vie
Tension between majority Arabs and the Kurdish minority in the region
major concern, partly driven by disputes over land or property seized
Saddam's Arabisation campaign.
And a lack of clear local leadership in Iraq's third largest city fuels
worries of turf wars between groups trying to win advantage.
From behind barbed wire at their headquarters at an airport southwest of
the city, U.S. troops listen to residents looking for work or complaining
of losing their homes to Kurds.
One man standing near the fence voices his concern at seeing members of a
new political group pass by brandishing guns.
"Many new parties have sprung up from nowhere and I fear this will lead
violence," said Khaled, a former builder, who declined to give his family
"I think the Iraqi people are not ready to switch to democracy," he
as a U.S. military helicopter took off nearby.
"I am so worried about the future because of these groups. Apart from
there is no trouble between Kurds and Arabs," he says, before smartening
his brown suit and offering the U.S. forces his services as a translator.
Kurdish and U.S. officials want to set up a commission in northern Iraq
resolve disputes between Arabs and Kurds displaced from their homes under
Saddam. Many Kurds demand the right to return to the homes from which
Standing beside the U.S. guards, Arif already works as an interpreter,
translating complaints for the soldiers.
"Some people protest that they have been forced out of their homes by
north of Mosul and want help to return there. Some have been attacked and
lost their property," he said.
On the bank of the Tigris river in eastern Mosul, where most of the
Kurdish minority lives, a representative of the Kurdistan Democratic
(KDP) said a meeting between Arab tribal leaders and KDP leader Massoud
Barzani this week had made a start to resolving some differences.
"Both sides agreed to support each other. We are brothers, Arabs and
the Iraqi people," said the KDP's Shawkat Bamarni, sitting in his office
below a picture of Barzani.
INCREASED SECURITY, COOPERATION
While some Iraqis handed petitions to U.S. soldiers at the airport,
crowd gathered in central Mosul, to meet U.S. military officials keeping
control over the city.
"We are seeing good cooperation. We are doing joint patrols and we have a
dialogue with a committee of civil leaders," Major General David
commander of the 101st Airborne Division, told Reuters as he was escorted
through the crowd.
"The security situation is improving... There are obviously competing
interests and that is democracy. We came here to help people enjoy the
freedom of democracy," he said, before shaking hands with residents and
posing for photographs with them.
The U.S. forces in the city have been following a gentle approach to the
rival factions in the city, trying to win local support and restore
civilian services before disarming the groups.
But Air Force General Richard Myers, chairman of the U.S military Joint
Chiefs of Staff, said on Friday U.S. forces had gone into action against
paramilitaries northwest of the city.
"This morning a 20- to 30-man Iraqi paramilitary force attacked a
patrol northwest of Mosul," he told a news conference in Washington.
"Coalition forces killed several of the attackers and destroyed two of
their so-called 'technical' vehicles, the trucks with machine guns on
Although dialogue has been established with local groups, U.S. officials
said no single clear leader had yet emerged.
One controversial candidate, self-proclaimed Mosul governor Mashaan
al-Juburi, fell into disfavour last week after a meeting at which he
organised turned violent. Marines shot dead at least seven people at the
"Juburi has been a source of a lot of trouble for us. The locals are not
that enamoured of him and we are trying to distance ourselves from him,"
said Major Steve Katz, a company commander for civil affairs, at his
in the airport.
Iraqis outside also expressed their distaste for Juburi, who like many
other rival leaders is a recently returned exile.
"It is the people in Iraq who have suffered for more than 20 years with
Iran war, the Gulf wars and the sanctions. We think we have the right to
lead ourselves, rather than those who have been living in comfort in
or London," said Khaled.
12) University President asks Peshmergas to Protect Shattered Mosul
April 24, 2003
By Daren Butler
MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) - Dr Khalil al-Saif holds back tears as he shows
gutted classrooms and ruined equipment at Mosul University -- shattered
war without a bomb coming near.
Armed men stole or destroyed all they could at the campus two weeks ago,
taking advantage of a power vacuum to mount a looting spree that has left
Saif and other university officials struggling to prepare for the return
students as life regains a semblance of normality elsewhere in Iraq's
To make matters worse, the issue of university security is becoming a
source of friction between the U.S. military and officials who want to
soldiers away from the campus.
It is a problem which illustrates the sort of challenge faced by the U.S.
army as it seeks to impose authority without upsetting locals in a city
more than one million people.
"The students will not tolerate direct contact with the occupying
University President Zuhair al-Sharook told Reuters in his office
overlooking the campus entrance, guarded by Kurdish "peshmerga" fighters
with Kalashnikov rifles.
He was speaking after a recent visit from officials of the U.S. army,
poured thousands of troops into the northern city this week in a show of
force aimed at restoring order.
Sharook said he asked the peshmerga to protect the sprawling university,
which has 18,000 students, until civilian guards could be arranged. A
army officer said the university administrator had wanted nothing to do
with the American forces.
Well-armed Arab and Kurdish factions have been competing for power in
since the collapse of Saddam Hussein's rule and U.S. forces fear the city
could be beset by factional fighting along ethnic and religious lines.
There has also been opposition to the U.S. invasion, especially since
Marines shot dead at least seven people at a protest in the city center
Angered at the destruction in the university and beyond, Sharook said
U.S. soldiers were not welcome on the campus.
"The Mongol emperor Hulago came to destroy Baghdad in 1280 and burned all
the schools. Now history is repeating itself with the Hulago of the 21st
century," he said, echoing a comment made by Saddam Hussein before the
The scale of the damage done to the university is obvious along the
entrance road, which is littered with dozens of ruined computers,
photocopiers, fax machines and pieces of furniture which have been
recovered -- a small fraction of what was stolen on April 10, according
They said the first looters were dressed in traditional Kurdish costume
were followed later in the day by armed Arab militia. The frightened
could do little to stop them.
"This was not random destruction. It was premeditated and done by trained
people. Somebody must have paid them to do it," Saif said as he clambered
over charred furniture and cables in the gutted computer center.
Saif said a U.S. army officer had visited the site several days ago and
promised to send civilian monitors to see what was needed at the center,
but there was no sign of them yet.
Staff and local people, horrified by the looting, have helped to repair
some of the damage. Saif's students have helped retrieve desks and set
up in a nearby building.
For Saif, the issue of whether help comes from the United States or
elsewhere is immaterial.
"I feel so bad as I have given 25 years of my life to this place," he
. But now Saddam has run away and I believe we can rebuild," he said.
is one of the best countries in the east, believe me."
13) Kurds Pushing For Federalism
By Jean-Christophe Peuch
April 25, 2003
Prague -- Sami Shoresh is a correspondent with RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq.
has been traveling in Iraq for more than a month, spending most of that
time in the Kurdish-controlled north of the country.
Question: How do Jalal Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and
Mas'ud Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) see the place of
Kurdistan in Iraq?
Shoresh: For years the Kurds have [had] the idea of federalism for Iraq.
They [have] insisted on this plan and in 1994 [the Kurdish] parliament
agreed on the plan [for a federal Iraq]. They also tried to [convert]
factions in the Iraqi opposition [to this idea] of federalism. But, at
same time, the Kurds insist that federalism cannot exist in Iraq if there
is not a democratic [state]. They know that the main condition [to
implement this] is that democracy exists in the whole of Iraq. Kurdish
political parties, especially the KDP and the PUK, have been very active
the Iraqi opposition in trying to find a way to establish democracy in
because they regard democracy as an essential first step toward
Question: Could the 1970 accord that granted the Kurds limited autonomy
within Iraq possibly serve as a basis for future negotiations?
Shoresh: No, I think the Kurds have no plans to go back to what [was
reached] in 1970 because they think the world, the region, Iraq [in
general] and the Kurdish situation [in particular] have changed over the
past 30 to 35 years. With this new order, they think [they should] push
federalism within Iraq, not just for the limited autonomy the Iraqi
government offered them in 1970. The Kurds want new negotiations with the
central government and with all Iraqi parties. They want a new basis [to
defend] their rights and [to establish] democracy in Iraq.
Question: Are they considering setting up their own armed forces?
Shoresh: The Kurds have said quite openly that they do not want to see
Iraqi security forces return to Kurdistan. The Kurds have had a long
history [of conflict] with Iraqi security forces and they do not want
forces to return and control Kurdish cities and areas. But I don't think
they want to have their own [armed] forces. They want a single army in a
united Iraq, but I know that, traditionally, the Kurds have demanded that
army units garrisoned in Kurdistan be made [up] of Kurds. What it means
that Kurdish citizens would have the right and the duty to serve in the
Iraqi Army but should serve in their native region, not outside
They also want that Kurdish security forces be created to control their
region. They want their own security forces but at the same time they
a united army for Iraq with [units] meant for Iraqi Kurdistan made of
Question: How do the KDP and the PUK feel about the interim
the United States wants to set up to administer Iraq until a new
Shoresh: The Kurds believe U.S. forces [should] not stay in Iraq for a
long time. But at the same time they believe these forces should stay in
Iraq until the Iraqis will be able to establish their own government and
until stability is restored in the country. Then, they say, the Americans
will be no longer needed. But at the same time they have no problems with
the [future] U.S. administration. [Retired U.S.] General [Jay] Garner has
spent two days [this week] in Irbil and Sulaymaniyah to meet with Kurdish
leaders. As far as I know [both sides] came to a very good and common
understanding of the situation in Iraq and Kurdistan.
Question: Did Garner discuss with Kurdish leaders ways to allow Kurds,
Turkomans, and Assyrians, who had been displaced under Saddam's forced
Arabization policy, return to their lands without confronting Arab
Shoresh: During his visit to Irbil and Sulaymaniyah, Garner discussed
issue with Kurdish leaders because this is one of the biggest problems
[faces] in the near future. A very large number of persons were driven
their [native] villages, towns or cities in and around Kirkuk, Mosul,
Khanaqin, and in other areas. This issue needs to be settled with the
of law. New laws should be adopted to solve this problem peacefully. If
this issue is not solved quickly and with the help of law, it will in the
future be a source of many conflicts and problems for Iraq.
14) Barzani to Attend Leadership Meeting in Baghdad Wednesday: KDP
April 26, 2003
ARBIL, Kurdish chief Massoud Barzani will take part in a meeting of key
figures who opposed Saddam Hussein due to be held in Baghdad Wednesday,
will send delegates to a US-sponsored gathering two days earlier, an
official of his Kurdistan Democratic Party said.
The official, who asked not to be named, told AFP in KDP-held Arbil
Saturday that Barzani would not personally attend Monday's meeting in the
Iraqi capital, the second in a planned series arranged by the United
since its forces toppled Saddam April 9.
But Barzani, whose party has shared control of part of northern Iraq with
Jalal Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) since 1991, will go
Baghdad for the Wednesday meeting of a leadership council named during an
opposition meeting at Barzani's headquarters in Salahaddin in February.
The official said that in addition to Barzani and Talabani, participants
would include council members Ahmad Chalabi, head of the US-backed Iraqi
National Congress (INC); Abdul Aziz al-Hakim of the Supreme Assembly of
Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SAIRI), the main Shiite Islamist group that
opposed Saddam, and Iyad Allawi, head of the National Accord Movement.
Former foreign minister Adnan Pachachi, who turned down the offer to join
the leadership body back in February, is not expected to attend, he
15) Barzani: Kurds are entitled to have an independent state
April 27, 2003
London -- The leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party Massoud Barzani
yesterday that there would be no reason for US forces to remain in Iraq
once a government takes over ahead of general elections.
To a question on the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya news channel about his recent
meeting with Jay Garner, the U.S. administrator for Iraq, Barzani said,
"What we discussed with Garner is that the opposition leadership council
would meet in Baghdad very soon, to be followed by a broader meeting of
Iraqi parties, forces and figures. But if matters stabilize and the
national authority takes over and fills the security and administrative
vacuum, there will no longer be any justification for the coalition
to remain, and their (presence) would then be regarded as an occupation,"
Barzani also added that Garner had promised the United States would deal
with that government as "the legitimate representative of the Iraqi
Agreement that the Iraqis would pick their interim government had been
reached with the Americans before they launched the war, said the KDP
Barzani stated that Kurds were committed to a post-Hussein federal
arrangement agreed with other groups that opposed the regime despite the
fact that they in principle have the right to statehood.
"Like all other nations, the Kurdish nation is fully entitled to
self-determination and the establishment of a Kurdish state," he said.
"But at the moment, we do not have an agenda different to that of the
opposition. We are pursuing the agenda hammered out at the London
conference and the Salahaddin conference" in February, he said.
Asked whether the Kurds would eventually demand statehood, Barzani said:
"Life progresses, the world progresses, and the Kurdish people too are
entitled to progress with others."
Referring to Turkey's fears about the possible resurgence of separatist
aspirations among Kurds in Turkey, Barzani said he was speaking strictly
about Iraqi Kurds.
"The Kurdish nation is one ... but fact is that the Kurdish nation is now
scattered and we now bear the responsibility of settling the Kurdish
in Iraq," said Barzani, speaking from KDP Salahaddin headquarters in
"Resolving the Kurdish issue in Turkey or Iran or anywhere else is up to
the Kurds there. However, in the long term, and from a strategic
standpoint, the Kurdish nation is entitled to unite and to have an
independent state," he said.
16) PUK's Talebani calls for rebuilding of Iraqi national army
April 26, 2003
Sanandaj, Kurdestan prov. -- The Satellite Kurdistan TV Channel said on
Saturday leader of the Patriotic Union of Iraqi Kurdistan (PUK) Jalal
Talebani has called for rebuilding the Iraqi national army.
The TV Channel said Talebani made the remark in a meeting with the
leaders of the Arab Al-Salehi groups and three top officers of the Iraqi
The meeting between the Iraqi figures took place in presence of the
American General Bruce Moore who supervises affairs in northern Iraq.
The same sources said Talebani called for formation of a committee to
follow up the issues of the reconstruction of the Iraqi army.
The PUK once again stressed the need for a strong unity among the Kurds,
Arabs and Turkmen in Iraq to reach the ideals of Iraq.
He said any action to divide the Iraqi groups would be to the detriment
of the Iraqi nation and would intensify tension in the country.
Talebani said all Kurdish, Turkmen, Arab and Assyrian communities would
continue to co-exist in their country and they would get united in
reconstruction of their motherland and creation a free Iraq.
He said political and administrative programs should be developed soon
run the major urban areas while cited Kirkuk as an exemplary city where
Iraqi communities from every race co-exist peacefully.
The policy of regime of Saddam Hussein consisted of sowing discord among
the Iraqi ethnic groups, he said adding that today every Iraqi national
aware that the country needs unity more than any other thing.
He said the PUK would do its utmost to contribute to the administration
of justice and fairness in the Iraqi society.
Talebani said the Kurdish community would respect the attitudes and
beliefs of all Iraqis within a system that replaces the Saddam regime.
He said the PUK would consider protecting Iraqi territory as one of its
top priorities and called on the Iraqis to help create a prosperous and
17) Has south Kurdistan become a sanctuary for former Baathists war
25 April 2003
While the coalition forces have named only 55 top Iraqi criminals, it
not mean that other suspected criminals can go free.
After the collapse of the Iraqi regime, a number of high-ranking Kurdish
and Arab members of Saddam's Baath party and high ranking officials in
Saddam's regime have moved to south Kurdistan, controlled by the
Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).
The PUK and KDP have given sanctuary to a number of these suspected war
- Omed Madhad Mubarak: former Iraqi minister of health and a high-ranking
decision maker of the former Baathist regime. It is believed that he was
aware of most of the Iraqi regimes different programmes.
- Shiekh Jaffar Barzanji: responsible for the arrest and killing of
hundreds of Kurds and is also accused for raping Kurdish women in
in the 1980s when he was the governor of the city. Barzanji was a very
close ally of Saddam Hussein and Ali Hassain Al-Majie (Ali Kimyawi).
Berzenji was also the President of the puppet autonomous legislative and
executive committee set up by the Baath regime for Kurdistan. Barzanji
moved from being a member of the Iraqi Communist Party to a member of the
Baath Party in 1970, when he passed on the names of many communists to
Iraqi regime. Most of them were executed after that. As a reward,
became the head of Jash (Iraqi mercenaries) in Kirkuk, later governor of
- Shiekh Mutasam Barzanji: high ranking Batthist and the brother of
- Bahdeen Ahmad: leading figure of the puppet autonomous legislative and
executive committee set up by the Baath regime for Kurdistan.
- Ibrahim Zangana: high ranking Baathist.
- Samali Majeed Bag: high ranking Baathist, former minister of Planning
the former minister of Agriculture.
- Qasim Agha: member of the puppet Iraqi assembly. He is responsible for
the murder of many Kurds. Qasim also claims that he is from the Ghafuri
tribe residing in Koy-Sanjaq.
- Ahmed Enayat: high ranking Baathist and a member of the puppet Iraqi
- Hashim Jabari: head of the Kirkuk TV and Iraq- Kurdish TV, a very
sensitive position in Saddam's propaganda apparatus.
- Bahzad Qadir (known also as Bahzadi Qale Nureri): high ranking
He joined Baath party during the 1970s. He was a high-ranking member of
- KurdishMedia.com has been informed that Izzat Dury, the Iraqi deputy
prime minister, who is also among the 55 Iraqi officials wanted by U.S.,
currently in Arbil, in a house of a Sheikh. However, KurdishMedia.com has
not been able to verify this report.
The Kurdistan Regional Government is fully aware of the whereabouts of
these suspected criminals and so far has offered protection to them. This
is not the first time that the Kurdish political parties offer protection
to war criminals. After the uprising in Kurdistan in 1991, both the PUK
KDP protected hundreds of criminals such as Tahsin Shaways, who was
responsible for the murder of the legendary peshmarga Mama Risha and
Aram, the founder and the leader of the Komallay Ranjdarani Kurdistan,
organization that started the Kurdish armed struggle in the mid-1970s and
was later absorbed by Jalal Talabani's PUK.
"International law is very clear on this issue. It is an obligation for
the coalition forces to prosecute crimes under international law," Dr
Berzenji, the international legal expert stated. The PUK and KDP must be
aware that under local and international law those who hide criminals are
committing crimes themselves.
18) Report: Kurds find mass graves
April 27, 2003
ERBIL, Iraq -- Kurdish and human rights groups in northern Iraq have
discovered a mass grave containing 200 Kurds killed by Iraqi forces in
March 1991,a Kurdish newspaper reported.
The Brayti newspaper, run by the Kurdistan Democratic Party, said the
was near Kanhash in the Kowair province, 24 miles south of Erbil. Kurdish
forces captured the town for a few weeks during the 1991 uprising and
after the collapse of the Iraqi regime this month.
The paper quoted KDP official Ismail Mohammad as saying, "We received
reports of a mass grave in the village and we found the corpses belonged
civilian Kurdish victims who were captured by the Iraqi forces.
They killed civilians as they were advancing into the northern provinces
crush the Kurdish uprising."
It added that a schoolteacher in Kanhash was interrogated and detained by
the Iraqi security forces for more than two weeks in the mid-1990s
because he spoke about these graves in a mosque."
The Center for al-Anfal Victims, a Kurdish group, and human rights groups
in northern Iraq announced two days ago the discovery of the first mass
grave containing 3,000 bodies of women, children and elderly of the
al-Anfal operations, in which more than 182,000 Kurds were killed in
The paper called on Kurdish officials to refrain from digging up the
without the presence of international human rights and media
representatives "so as to witness the brutal policy against the Kurdish
people by the former Iraqi regime."
19) Many Iraq Arabs Unaware of '88 Gas Attack
By SCHEHEREZADE FARAMARZI
April 27, 2003
MANQOUBEH, Iraq (AP)--While the horrific images of streets strewn with
bodies shook the world, many Iraqi Arabs remain unaware of Saddam
gas attack that killed thousands of Iraqi Kurds 15 years ago.
And those Arabs who heard rumors of the slaughter in the northern city of
Halabja say they did not believe them at the time. Some remain
The chemical attack on the Kurds stands as one of the most egregious
examples of Saddam's brutality against his own people. It was cited by
President Bush as proof that Saddam had the willingness and ability to
weapons of mass destruction--a key justification for the war that toppled
The attack and its memory also underscore the different experiences of
Arabs and Kurds who live uneasily as neighbors in northern Iraq. The
success of any post-Saddam government could falter if relations between
two ethnic groups deteriorate.
Halabja lies on the southern fringe of Iraqi Kurdistan, near the Iranian
border. Some 5,000 Kurds died there when they were attacked with bombs
carrying mustard gas and other poisonous gases on March 16, 1988, part
scorched-earth campaign to wipe out a Kurdish rebellion in northern Iraq.
It was easy for Saddam's repressive regime, which enforced strict
censorship, to keep news of the slaughter from spreading. As a result,
few people in the village of Manqouba, 155 miles west of Halabja, had
of the chemical massacre there. And even fewer believed it.
Iraqi Arabs in other towns in northern Iraq's oil-producing province of
Kirkuk showed similar disbelief, even though Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen
side by side in the region. In fact, until Iraqi security documents were
seized during the Kurdish uprising of 1991, even many Kurds of northern
Iraq had not heard of the Halabja attack or didn't know details of it.
Nafeh Mohammed Saleh, 42, and his brother Adel, 40, were soldiers in the
Iraqi army during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. Adel was serving in
Panjwain, in northern Iraq, close to Halabja.
``We heard there had been a chemical attack but we didn't know where--in
the north or the south or the central sector,'' Adel said.
Nafeh said he had seen a video of the dead that his Kurdish friends had
shown him, with children and women lying dead in the streets.
``But I don't know if it was a genuine film,'' Nafeh said, fingering his
worry beads. ``People talked, but we didn't hear it from anyone who had
seen it himself. We still have our doubts.''
He added: ``I heard they bombed Halabja because they wanted to get the
Iranians out. I heard they had bombed them with crushed stones--not
On March 15, 1988, Halabja fell to the Kurdish peshmerga fighters of
Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, which was supported by Iranian
revolutionary guards. The next morning, Iraqi MiG and Mirage jets dropped
bombs that engulfed the town in a sickly stench. In the space of a few
hours, 5,000 people had died.
The attack was ordered by Gen. Ali Hassan al-Majid, a cousin of Saddam
was later dubbed ``Chemical Ali'' by opponents. He was believed killed in
coalition bombing this month in Basra.
The United Nations and human rights groups have assembled a mass of
evidence of the Iraqi chemical attack on Halabja, including witness
accounts and internal Iraqi military documents. However, Saddam's regime
always denied any role, saying Iran gassed the city.
Wassim Mohammed al-Hamdani, 33, said he only heard of the Halabja
couple of months ago.
``Kurds told us that they were bombed by chemical weapons,'' he said.
He said he believed the attack had occurred because the man who told him
was a Muslim and true Muslims do not lie.
But Salem Mohammed al-Hamdani, 45, insisted that the attack could not
occurred. He said he was in Halabja recently.
``Impossible, impossible,'' he said, using his index finger to stress his
20) Iraqi Turkmen Party See No Trouble With Kurds
April 26, 2003
ARBIL, Iraq -- The leader of an ethnic Turkmen Iraqi movement allied with
Ankara pledged Saturday not to stir up trouble with the Kurdish minority
and said he did not know of any Turkish incursions into the country.
"We don't want to stir up trouble. We only want freedom and for the
of Iraqi Turkmens to be respected as part of a democratic Iraq," Sanhan
Ahmed al-Qassab, head of the Iraqi Turkmen Front, told AFP in the Kurdish
self-rule stronghold of Arbil.
He said he did not "know anything" about the reported infiltration of
Turkish special forces into northern Iraq.
"Turkey is a close ally of the United States and it's hard to think that
its army would send troops into Iraq without informing the Americans
it," Qassab said.
Time magazine reported that U.S. paratroopers had Tuesday intercepted one
unit of Turkish commandos which had attached itself to a humanitarian aid
Colonel Bill Mayville told the magazine that the Turkish forces'
"is to create an environment that can be used by Turkey to send a large
peacekeeping force into Kirkuk," the oil-rich northern Iraqi city.
Turkey, which for years has put down Kurdish separatists on its own soil,
is concerned Kurds will be emboldened if they secure autonomy in Iraq
following the fall of Saddam Hussein. Kurds have exercised de facto
in the north since 1991.
After Turkish threats to intervene, Iraqi Kurdish forces withdrew April
from Kirkuk and Mosul, which are now controlled only by U.S. troops.
Experts believe there are between 300,000 and 500,000 Turkmens in Iraq, a
country of 25 million. Qassab put the Turkmen population at three
which would make the minority as large as the Kurds. "We are Iraqis, our
country is Iraq, our flag is the Iraqi flag, our borders are those of
Iraq," Qassab said, stressing that his group received "more support from
Turkish humanitarian and cultural organizations than from the government
He said Turkmens were "at peace" with Iraq's Kurds and majority Arabs.
"We respect the Kurdish movements as they were also victims of Saddam
Hussein's regime," he said.
21) Terrorist manual may link Iraqi group to al Qaeda
Information found at Ansar al-Islam training center in Kurdish enclave
New York Times
April 27, 2003
Darga Sharkhan, Iraq -- The 2-inch-thick manual on killing, discovered in
an abandoned bomb laboratory here early this month, offers instruction in
al Qaeda's array of lethal demolition skills.
With a text in Arabic complemented by diagrams taken from U.S. military
manuals, the document offers lessons for rigging explosives, setting and
concealing booby traps, and wiring an alarm clock to detonate a bomb.
The book is a photocopy of one volume of the Jihad Encyclopedia, the
technical manual that U.S. officials have said is used by al Qaeda in its
war against the West. Other copies were found in terrorist training camps
and guest houses in Afghanistan after the defeat of the Taliban in 2001.
This copy, though, was found in the Kurdish enclave in northern Iraq. It
was recovered by Kurdish security officials in a training center operated
by Ansar al-Islam, a local armed party.
Weeks after Ansar was forced from its territory by U.S. special forces
soldiers and Kurdish fighters at the end of March, evidence gathered from
its bases provides a detailed look at the operations of that band of
U.S. military officials say the new materials show that a methodical
collaboration has gone far beyond helping Ansar get its start and
demonstrate that al Qaeda has the ability to export its training lessons
from place to place.
Interviews with prisoners and translations of internal documents and
computer disks show that Ansar possessed manuals from al Qaeda in printed
and digital form, ran two training bases with curriculums strikingly
similar to those taught in Afghan camps, and managed its affairs much as
The group also had poison recipes much like those found in al Qaeda
buildings in Afghanistan after the Taliban fell.
Moreover, al Qaeda seeded Ansar with experienced fighters who helped
organize the group's training, administration and ambitions, U.S. and
Kurdish officials say.
A special forces officer described the books, posters and lesson plans
recovered by Kurds and U.S. intelligence teams as "Qaeda mobile
curriculum." Identification cards showed that some of the fighters came
from other countries, and U.S. officials expressed concern that they
part of a core group of militants who could turn up elsewhere in years to
Ansar's bases operated like a small al Qaeda campus moved to another
restless corner of the Earth, the documents and interviews indicate.
"They had al Qaeda instructors with them, they had an al Qaeda cadre,"
a special forces officer who helped coordinate the battle against Ansar
who has reviewed the intelligence collected about the group.
"One of the problems with al Qaeda is that it is not a clearly
organization. They don't wear an al Qaeda uniform or carry an al Qaeda
passport, but they launch out these professionals who train and start
Ansar established itself late in 2001, as the war in Afghanistan was
winding down, by uniting previously splintered Islamic parties. It
a border region in northeastern Iraq that has been out of Saddam
control since 1991.
The group waged war against the northern zone's Kurdish government,
destabilizing the region with assassination attempts, guerrilla attacks
suicide bombings. The United States has pointed to its activities as one
justification for the war in Iraq.
Evidence collected from the region is still being analyzed, and some U.S.
allegations remain publicly unsubstantiated. No clear evidence has
of operational links between Ansar and Hussein's government.
U.S. and Kurdish officials say the group received support from al Qaeda
coordinated activities through Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian
by the United States as a lieutenant of Osama bin Laden.
They also said the group ran a factory that made the poison ricin and a
topical cyanide poison and maintained ties with Hussein.
U.S. officials say an intelligence team has collected cyanide-based
compounds from a former Ansar base and is awaiting test results to see if
the group managed to concoct a larger selection of poisons.
The evidence collected at Ansar's bases also suggests collaboration with
Qaeda. Some of the papers were gathered by journalists, and others were
provided by Kurdish intelligence officials before being translated by a
private language institute in northern Iraq.
Textbooks and bomb or poison recipes in Ansar custody were identical to
those contained in al Qaeda's records from Afghanistan, including the
manual for the Jihad Encyclopedia and computer files on Western
intelligence collection and ways to evade it. Other documents were
strikingly similar in tone or content to al Qaeda papers found in
Afghanistan, like military training materials.
The curriculum is the product of a detailed collection and translation
effort. A special forces officer flipped through the Ansar explosives
manual found here, noting, as other U.S. officers have, that it included
page after page of instructional diagrams from U.S. Army publications.
He recognized almost every one. "This one is from our improvised
manual," he said. "That's from the booby trap manual. This is almost
photocopied from our books."
A few documents also promoted social practices reminiscent of those
by the Taliban, including a memo forbidding the passage of vehicles
carrying television sets because they might import immorality to the
Like al Qaeda and the Taliban, Ansar ran Web sites. They mixed religious
invocation and martial gloating, sometimes posting video of the mutilated
bodies of Kurds.
The day after Ansar was chased from its strongholds, it posted an
announcement from its leadership council declaring that the U.S. assault
"Thanks to God, all of these billions of dollars were not able to do the
smallest harm to our mujahedeen," the declaration said.
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