Kurdistan blogger. Blogging about life in Kurdistan.
I think we are being hit by another hitaus. I will be away for a couple of weeks. If you have any questions or want updates on Kurdistan and Iraq related news please visit the lively discussions at these forums here.
Women are becoming super-strong in post-war Kurdistan and also somehow Iraq. Imagine if one of these Peshmerga women was your wife : (Stop snoring or else !
Just to leave you with a smile that could last 2 weeks, look at President Bush on a date the Saudi King here (Thanks Tawar)
and finally they kiss
. Well, don't worry if Bush is your President. Our President has also done
Also if anyone has time to translate this
materpeice from Hemn
it would make a great story in English. Hemn
talks about his old Jewish friend in Amsterdam, Holland. He says "I have learnt many things from Shelomo. Before I thought that Palestinians and Muslims would go to heaven by suicide bombings. But now I understand that Jews are also going to heaven".
Hemn asks Shelomo why do you still work ?! Shelomo jokes and tells Hemn "Because I am a Jew and I love money". Hemn continues and says "I know he is joking" and asks him "Why do Jews love money ?! " Shelomo says "A nation with many enemies, can only make friends with money to survive".
I guess I have learnt something new from Shelomo too.
And the pain continues..........
A photo from the Arabic TV station (Al-Arabia) in which it shows photos taken by Iraqi officials of the killed Madain hostages. The corpses were found in the river Tigris and were killed by terrorist killers to create a Shia-Sunni conflict.
The corpses of the Madain hostages.
The ID card of the woman MP Lameah Al Sakri who was killed by cowards outside her house in Baghdad.
Mothers mourn the death of 12 Kurdish policemen in Kirkuk in a terrorist attack on 13th of April.
Thank You Terrorists.
The British Elections and Iraq War
As a follower of the British elections campaign, I noticed
that the Iraq war is now being used as a political pawn to gain the seat of the British PM.
I find it very disturbing if the British public judged Tony Blair over his decision to get rid of Saddam Hussein. It will be a humiliating defeat for freedom and democracy if the British people, the prime founders of democracy, think that if Saddam Hussein was still in power in Baghdad, Iraqis would have been better off.
The decision to topple Saddam Hussein was the most courageous and beneficial decision a British Prime Minister could have ever taken for the sake of the freedom of the Iraqi people.
You may have the freedom that others don't have. You may have never slept thinking that tomorrow maybe your last day but don't take that for granted because everyone else in the world is not living like you. Iraqis lived under terror for over 35 years and no one in the world protested against tyranny and dictatorship in Iraq. Yet when there was a decision to topple tyranny and dictatorship, thousands in the world protested against it.
I urge you not to follow the lead of George Galloway
and others who play with your emotions to get to the prime seat.
If you are voting against Tony Blair for the sake of the Iraqi people, then don't please, because the majority of Iraqis don't appreciate that.
When we see the anti-war protests around the world we think "Where were these people when we were entering our mass-graves alive, when our babies were being gassed, when our villages were being destroyed. Why you didn't protest against Saddam Hussein for our sake ?"
Finally I leave you with these two short video clips for the nightmare days which thanks to Tony Blair, they are no longer part of our lives.Saddam terror video One.Saddam terror video two. update: President Talabani's support letter for Tony Blair.
"In a letter to Mr Blair, the Kurdish politician said history will judge him as a champion against tyranny
and offered condolences
to British families who lost loved ones in the conflict.
I guess Mr. President also thought it was necessary to support friends when they are in need. I think we understand that the Iraq war might be looked over differently in Britain and might take the shape of "trust" but I hope that the British voters would also take into consideration the suffering of the Iraqi people under the rule of Saddam Hussein. After all the negative issues of the war, in conclusion we are better off without Saddam.
Qaladzi : 24th April 1974
This is not a painting, or a computer generated photo. This is a real "live" photo of Qaladzi City in 1974. The city was bombed by the Iraqi government on this day (24th of April) in 1974 just after 1 month of the Kurdish autonomy agreement with the Iraqi government. Heavy artileries and fighter jets were used to level the city down to Earth.
An Open Letter to George Galloway: Re Salam Pax
Dear Mr. Galloway,
I know that you are campaigning hard to win the hearts and minds of the British public, and I wish you good luck in failing. I and many other people from Iraq, just like the father of the Iraqi blogs, Salam Pax, will never forget the scenes in which you were sitting and joking with Saddam Hussein on the screens of the Iraqi television.
We were wondering what you were laughing about. Were the jokes of the dictator who filled the lands and the rivers with mass graves, who terminated birds and rivers, who did not differentiate between a killing baby and a soldier, were his jokes too funny? Or were you laughing at the Iraqi people for having a leader like Saddam Hussein?!
I know that your Christmas wish was the return of Father Saddam to power, so that you can visit Baghdad again and laugh at our expenses, but I got good news for you, Father Saddam will never see daylight again nor your dreams.
The people of Iraq regardless of our ethnic and sectarian differences are happy about the removal of Saddam Hussein and are working hard to bring back peace and stability to our new baby democracy.
I know that many people in the world can not understand this and your harsh comment to Salam Pax that your country's troops have nothing to do with Saddam Hussein's removal and should not have intervened, are only adding more salt to our deep wounds.
I know you now will regard me as a Kurdish collaborator and accuse me, just like you accuse any freedom-loving and Saddam-hating person of Iraq of "selling your country".
We are not related to anyone in power in Iraq. We are just ordinary people loving freedom and democracy and want to live free just like anyone else in the world. We do not appreciate you stealing our cause and using it to steal the hearts and minds of the British public for your own benefits.
You traded with our cause when your friend, Saddam the killer, who you described as "calm, very calm indeed" ,was in power and now when he's locked up in jail, you continue to trade with our blood for your own benefits.
We are thankful for the forces of United States and United Kingdom and the rest of the world for getting rid of a dictator like Saddam Hussein. Many of us died and didn't live to see their long dream of a world-without Saddam, but those who are living today in that dream-come-true world, are not appreciating your works.
p.s. Tell me your birthday date I will send you a series of terror-DVDs filmed by Saddam' s men of killing and torturing innocent civilians including the most popular one "The Lion" in which Uday, the dead son of your friend, is giving a man to a lion for loving a girl Uday liked.
Anti-Kurdish campaign in KirkukA Kurdish journalist (Saman Abdulla) was killed in a car show.
There has been an intense anti-Kurdish campaign in Kirkuk in the last couple of weeks. Kurdish journalists had been killed or received death threats, suicide bombings against police forces and Kurdish neighbourboods are also on the increase.
The Kirkuk council is in a deadlock as the Turkmen and Arab groups are refusing to participate in the council in an attempt to delay the formation of the council. Once the council is formed, one of its main priorities will be the return of the refugees to Kirkuk.
Unfortunately the 6 Arab members representing the Arab settlers community in Kirkuk and the 9 nationalist Turkmen members are boyocotting to attend the Kirkuk council meetings. This is an obvious sign that there are groups which do not respect the results of the democratic elections of 30th January.
A Kurdistani-lead list of Kurds, Chaldo-Assyrians, Turkmens, Arabs called "Brotherhood List" won 26 of the seats out of 41.
The representatives of the Arab settlers (not the original Arabs in Kirkuk) and the Turkmen Front are finding excuses to delay the formation of the council after 3 months of the elections.
The Turkmen and Arab and ChaldoAssyrian members of the "Brotherhood List" are also not happy about the behaviour of the Arab settlers and the Turkmen Front members. Using Kurdish language was one of the excuses to not attend the meetings, despite that according to Iraqi laws Kurdish is a legal and official language.
"Council member and lawyer Almas Fadhil, a Turkoman member of the Kurdish list, said that the use of Kurdish was not intended as a provocation, but rather "because it is an official language and we want the people of Kirkuk to get used to using it". " [Source]
Legally, the Brotherhood List can form the council on its own because of having a majority of 26 seats out of 41. But the "Brotherhood List" wants to form a multi-party council.
Here are sum-up of the current anti-Kurdish campaign in Kirkuk. New threats to Kurdish media workers in Kirkuk only days after assassination of Kurdish journalist.
Kirkuk - South Kurdistan (KurdishMedia.com) 20 April 2005: Terrorists have served death threats to Kurdish media workers in Kirkuk. The threats were delivered only a couple of days after the cold-blooded assassination of Saman Abdullah, a young employee of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan-owned KurdSat TV channel in Kirkuk.The Mafia style killing of Saman Abdullah sent shock waves not only among media workers but also among the wider Kurdish population in Kirkuk. Masked gunmen stormed the office of Al-Pasha car show office, opened fire and killed the journalist in front of the eyes of the car show workers and customers. [Source]
12 Iraqi Soldiers Die in Kirkuk Explosion [Source]
Arab settlers form 7 militia groups to fight Kurds. [Arabic source] The militia is recruiting Arab youth from the families who were given incentives to move to Kirkuk during Saddam's regime and now are occupying others houses. The militias are led by Arab Front in Kirkuk which calls Kirkuk an "Arabic city".
Kurdish journalists killed in Kirkuk [ Source] On 14 April 2005, two journalists from the television station Al-Hurriya were killed in suicide bombings while on their way to an assignment in Baghdad, reported the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). Al-Hurriya is owned by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), a political party headed by Talabani.
Kirkuk Police : 30 Killed in Kirkuk in the last week , majority are Kurds. [Kurdish Source]
Rare Photos of terrorist Mullah Krekar
I was looking at an ID photo of "Aso Hawleri", one of the terrorist leading figures of Ansar Al-Islam, which was sent to me by Trevor.
Have a look at the ID (which was found on an Al-Qaeda harddrive in Afghanistan) and try to figure out if this is Mullah Krekar or Aso Hawleri. If you have a photo of this guy (Aso Hawleri) please contact Trevor who is doing a nice work by writing biographies for the terrorist leaders of Ansar Al-Islam.
Krekar had a website before he was charged with terrorism. www.Krekar.net and www.krekar.com
The week he was arrested he closed down his website. Thanks to archive.org, we still can have a look at his website.
Look here at his photo album. I can't dowlonad the images but what you can is to right click on the photos and see the thumbnail photos like this one here.
You can also check out his terrorist group's website by using Archive.org : www.ansarislam.com (try dates before March 2003 ) (I could still view some of their videos).
Also their sister website www.ayobi.com
Finally look at Mullah Krekar's CDs. Apparently he is an Islamic Poet and was selling his poetry on his website.
Again if you have a photo of "Aso Hawleri" or "Mullah Krekar" please contact Trevor or post it in the comments.
In between the lines : (News that you might miss)
+ A South Korean soldier is detained
for 18 months after killing a Kurdish Peshmerga by mistake 5 months ago. The report says that the South Korean did not know that his gun was loaded with live ammunitions.
In that report says that South Korean soldiers do not carry ammunitions. Or carry it without loading them. Strange !
+ A Norwegian TV has released the last seconds of the life of the Ansar Al-Islam terrorist who killed around 100 people in Hewler (Erbil) in February 2004. If you remember it was during the Eid (Eve) and as a tradition, political parties hold public receptions to congratulate each others. Two suicide bombers entered the headquarters of PUK and KDP and blew themselves up. The video can be seen here
. There is no sensitivities in this movie as when the guy blows himself up, the cameraman will also die as he is very close to the terrorist.
Watch how he detonates the bomb in his hands.
(Hat tip: Amude.net
)update:Thanks to commentator (abdur) here is the new link for the video.
Did you see this photo in America and the world ?!
This is Rumsfeld and Barzani. I am sure no one in the world apart from Kurds would have seen this photo as it shows that this is more like a state visit rather than a regional visit.
This is what the Kurdistan government does when a non-Kurdish figure visits Kurdistan, they have this team which plays the Kurdistan and the other country's national anthem and carry both Kurdistan and again the other country's flag. Even when the officials from the Iraqi government visit, they do the same thing.
Can someone add it to www.defense.gov
reports of the creation of the first skyscraper in Kurdistan and Dr. Hawramy from Iraqi Kurdistan blog like many Kurds is upset when people refer to Kirkuk as a smaller Iraq
and Piling posts a great translation from French of an interview with the Iraqi Preisdent Talabani.
Rumsfeld to meet with would-be Kurdistan President
Reuters has just reported that US defence Minister would meet the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party which is expected to be sworn in as the President of the Kurdistan Regional Government in the coming weeks.
says that Mr. Rumsfeld would meet Barzani in Mosul.
Barzani is not based in Mosul but in a nearby tourist's attraction. I don't know whether this meeting will take place or not, but the report sounds confusing.
The Kurdistan Parliament dissolved itself last week and a new parliament is expected to be formed this week. As part of the deal between KDP and PUK, Barzani is expected to be sworn in as the President of the united Kurdistan Government.
It would be interesting to find out what will be said between the two.update:
The meeting has taken place and as I predicted in Pirmam, the tourist's attraction and not in Mosul.
According to Peyamner.com
, Rumsfeld has said his visit was to thank the Kurdish people and leadership for the participation in the Operation Iraqi Freedom. Massoud Barzani in behalf of the people of Kurdistan has also thanked Rumsfeld for getting rid of dictatorship.
I just wonder if this was the whole idea of the visit.
Welcome to Kurdistan Mr. Rumsfeld.
My comments on Jalal Talabani: The Kurd President of Arab Iraq
I intentionally did not comment on Talabani's presidential post on the day he was chosen as a president of Iraq. The whole world that day was waiting for the reaction of the Kurds, Talabani's media TV , satellite, newspapers and websites made sure that they showed how happy the Kurds are.
In opposite move of the world, I watched how the world reacts to this. Because I knew since February that Talabani will be the President for Iraq. This was not something new for Kurds and Mr. President knows that very well.
Let's see how the world media reported the event :the first Arab country with a non-Arab head of state: a Kurd, Jalal Talabani>Jalal Talabani became the first Kurd elected president in an Arab country.
>He is also the first non-Arabic president of an Arab country. ... >"Is it right that the president of an Arab country be a Kurdish man? ...
And according to google, another 98 sources report
the news as "First non-Arab President of an Arab State
I was following the news on satellite, the majority of the channels reported the news as "First non-Arab President of Arabic Iraq
It is of course an important step for a non-Arab to become the president of an Arab State
isn't ?! But let's not fool ourselves. Choosing Talabani as the President of Iraq was not a gift given to the Kurds. Nor it does solve the Kurdish issue in Iraq and of course it does not cool down the Kurdish aspiration for independence.
The Kurdish leadership, including Mr. President, when asked about Kurdish independence, they say "Kurds have the right for self-determination but we are working for a democratic federal Iraq".
When they are being embarrassed by asking them "But in January %98 of your people voted for independence"
they say "Oh yeah every Kurd wants independence in their hearts".
The Kurdish leadership also want independence. But in another form.
The form that is being suggested by the Kurdish leadership and it is being implemented at this stage, is the federal Iraqi Kurdistan. A state within a state. An independent Kurdistan, but not officially declared.
Most people think that if this is a short-cut for independence, let's go for it.
I hope the full success for Mr. President in his short term of presidency of an Arabic State
of 8 months.
But I hope that the Kurdish leadership (including Mr. President) would have a plan to settle things now, rather than in another 20 years. If we want independence, let's not be shy. We are not shy because it is our right but the Kurdish leadership is somehow rather worryingly shy.
I don't know what Mr. President and his counterpart Massoud Barzani are worrying about. They have the support of the people when demanding independence. Let's not go far, a student protest and later a teachers protest in Kurdistan was about to halt the government. In Lebanon, a massive protest kicked out the Syrians. In Kyrgyzistan, again the power of people toppled the government. In Ukraine the same thing happened.
If tomorrow, the 2.2 Million Kurds who voted in the Iraqi elections and participated in the Referendum for Kurdistan, turned out to the streets demanding independence, there is no power in this Earth capable of stopping them. What would the international and regional powers do ? A genocide ?!
What can they do ?! We want independence that is it. It is our life not yours thank you. I am sure that regional powers would not have the power they are claiming. There is one thing that all governments are scared from. "People". When these little creatures called Humans get together, they can do anything they want. Any attack on the 5 Million Kurds in Iraqi Kurdistan, would result in the stirring of Kurdish nationalism in their own gardens. So that is a very important thing. Trouble will be right at the heart of their homes.
As the world media reminded us again not to be fooled because Iraq will stay as an Arabic State
, and Kurds will be the minority that when they get the Presidency seat through-hard work of elections and alliances, they will be called "Oh almighty what a surprise a Kurd is a President of an Arabic State". Yeah, this is how minority will be treated and to stay as a minority is something in our hands.
When you ask for your rights as a minority, you will be called a traitor and an Israeli agent, and a opportunist, as we were called by the Iraqis during the last 2 months. I think my follow friend Sami puts that in words very well.
Mr President Talabani continued to talk about "Independence for Iraq" in his first speech and on his first interview as Mr. President (CNN:
Thanks Jackson) but I think he forgot to talk about his real dreams. He did say that Kurds have the right for self-determination (not in Jackson's video for some reasons) but isn't that a temporarily solution to something which might re-emerge in another 20 years of time ?!
Overall the news of Talabani becoming a President is not new for Kurds. And as long as Kurds stay part of Iraq it won't be a strange thing. The Kurdish leadership (including Mr. President) are saying as long as Iraq is made up of two major nations of Arabs and Kurds, a Kurd must be one of the top presidential posts, i.e. either Prime Minster or President. The fact that a Kurd was not
chosen to be a President neither Prime Minister in June 2004, was because Paul Bremer and the UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi picked up two Arabs to be PM and President at that time to keep "The Arab identity of Iraq" and in an attempt not to anger the Arab world but unfortunately on the Kurdish expenses.
I wish a safe and happy 8 months presidency for President Talabani.
Started from students now to teachers: Another democratic move in Kurdistan
Today several thousands teachers in Suleimani demonestrated in demands for higher wages and better education sysetms in Kurdistan. The move is of a great importance to Kurdistan because it can be a start of civil socieities and democratic movements in which the power of people is respected.
Unfortunately in Kurdistan the Teachers Unions are part of the government, i.e. in Suleimani, the Kurdistan Teachers Union is handled by the PUK, and in Erbil and Duhok, the Teachers Union is handed by KDP.
The PUK's Teachers Union issued a warning to teachers not to participate in the event, but despite that between 5 to 7 thousands teachers today participated in the protest and promised of strikes if their demands were ignored. The teachers are saying they are paying estimated 9.5 Million Iraqi dinars a month to the Union, and despite that, the Union does not represent them.
Last week students in Suleimani also won a great victory against the Kurdistan government by forcing the government to close a controversial university (the decision has not been implemented yet).
These are very encouraging news for the establishment of a civil and democratic society in Kurdistan and can be a good model for other regions to follow.update:
The teachers met the deputy Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Government and he promised them to approve their demands and create a government-teachers team to handle the issues.
"Expectations and evaluations of two years of occuberation"
The evening of April the 9th 2005 marks the second anniversary of the time when I jumped up and down and started congratulating families and friends for the fall of the statute in Ferdows Square in Baghdad. The statute which turned our lives into miseries and created a new sister river for Tigris and Euphrates and called it River Blood.
Expectations were very high and long-term dreams of seeing the missed ones again lost in the Anfal genocide campaign, a rapid democracy and prosperity, new mentality towards granting self determination rights and many more dreams never came true.
The missed relatives were never found, neither dead or alive. They were gone with the hundreds of thousands of innocents who contributed to the River Blood created by the evil of the damned statues.
Perhaps the word "occuberation" in the title puzzled you. It is not a spelling mistake, neither a new word in the Oxford Dictionary. It shows the mixture of feelings in a region torn and shattered by centuries of wars.
The war which divided the world a couple of years ago, has divided the people of this region as well. Some call it liberation, and others occupation, and hence the word "occuberation".
The "liberation" word users were a vast majority in the start of the war. But when the unexpected happened and the battled for hearts and minds was lost , the destruction of history occurred, unnecessary force was used against civilians, the horrendous Abu Ghreb scandal was unfolded, and many more incidents resulted in a defeat of "liberation" word users.
Unfortunately the beauty of the liberation was stolen by its owners. Sadly, the liberators did not respect the word itself, and in response, the goddess of liberation punished them and us and all.
But despite all the imperfections of the liberation, and all the downsides of the occupation, the event of 9th of April 2003 should have happened a decade if not decades before.
I can not speak for all Iraq, but in Kurdistan, the people are thankful to the international world lead by United States and Britain and call them liberators, though from bitter past experience, they ask that betrayals should never be repeated, and silence should never be the answer to dictatorship regimes. Just in Kurdistan in the last two years, two new airports have been built, the economy has quadrupled, and most importantly, people are happier. Many more achievements have taken place which if without the event of 9th of April, they would have never been there. I am sure that southern Iraq has also seen major signs of prosperity and democracy.
The good news is, that the event of 9th of April 2003 has brought democracy to the region, the bad news is, anticipating to that democracy is very difficult. An Islamic state should not emerge, certain religious people should not have the authority to rule behind the shadows, women should not be mistreated and many more concerns.
The liberators have had a tough two years, the mission is not complete yet.Helping in rebuilding the shattered lands would definitely be a positive step in winning hearts and minds and give back the beauty to "liberation", a word lost its meaning in the battle to achieve the word itself.CrispAds Blog Advertising
p.s. I got many emails asking me to comment on the first Kurdish president in Iraq, as Kurds say, on my eyes "baserchaw", that is next.
Ghazi Al-Yawar asked Monthly $1 Million Salary for Parliament Speaker PostGhazi Al-Yawar on right shows mixed feelings as he was chosen as deputy president yesterday.
According to the Kurdish Weekly Hawlati issue: 6th of April 2005
, when the former Iraqi President Ghazi Al-Yawar was offered the post of the "Speaker of Parliament" he demanded that his $1 Million a month salary to be kept, when the offer was refused, he turned down the post of the parliament speaker.
Al-Yawar once said that Jalal Talabani, the current Iraqi president, is good to be a speaker of parliament and not president of Iraq. He said that himself is the best choice to be the president because he represents the unrepresented Sunnis.
The history of the current Iraqi President in photos :
Born in 1933, Jalal Talabani joined the Kurdish activist movements at the age of 13.
He then ran up through the ranks of the Kurdistan Democratic Pary until he became the leader of the Kurdish Peshmerga Forces in the begining of 1960s.
He is a law graduate from Baghdad's University where he was involved in publishing a few Kurdish newspapers.
After the failure of the Iraqi government to give Kurds their self-determination rights, and the withdrawal of the Kurdistan Democratic Party in 1974, Jalal Talabani formed the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and decided to continute armed resistance against the Iraqi government.
Talabani became popular all over Kurdistan for the victories of the PUK Peshmergas against the Iraqi forces in Kurdistan in the 1970s and 1980s. The Iraqi army was paralysed and lost control of mountainous towns and cities.
In 1988 and with the aid of using chemical weapons, the Iraqi government captured the stronghold of the PUK in the Sargaloo village. Saddam Hussein issued amnesty to all the Kurdish resistance fighters except Jalal Talabani.
In 1991 Jalal Talabani was one of the main leaders of the Kurdish uprising against the Iraqi government which later resulted in Kurdish self-rule.
Jalal Talabani played a great roel in gathering international aid for the Kurdish cause throughout his life.
In 2000 he declared himself the president of the Kurdistan Regional Government based in Suleimani.
In 2005 he became the Iraqi President with his bitter enemy and former Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein, watching live from his prison cell.