Wednesday, August 24, 2011

More refugees created in Iraq

Aswat al-Iraq reports, "More than 180 families have deserted their villages in northern Iraq’s Kurdistan villages of Halso township, east of Sulaimaniya city, due to their bombardment by Iranian and Turkish forces, according to the Mayor of Halso’s township of Qala-Diza area east of Sulaimaniya on Wednesday." The attacks on northern Iraq by the Turkish military continue. Yesterday found the Turkish military boasting that they had killed as many as 100 people while leaving at least 80 injured -- this self-proclaimed bloodbath allegedy in response to the killing of 9 Turkish security forces.

Allegedly because as the world watches the blood lust and bragging from the Turkish military, it gets a bit difficult to believe this is really about the PKK, especially when the Turkish government's well known animosity to and fear of the Kurdistan Regional Government is factored in. For years the government of Turkey has brutalized and attaked their own Kurdish population (that was what birthed the PKK) and kept the minority population down. But birth rates -- ask Israel -- can turn a minority into an equal or even the majority. And the government of Turkey fears the semi-autonomous KRG region and fears it becoming more independent because it might force the Kurds within Turkey to truly rise up against a government that has racistly attacked them over the years and who, now, after years of abuse can only point to the just started TV broadcast in Kurdish as proof of 'advancement' and 'progress.'

When you fear and possibly loathe a region that's close to your border, maybe you indiscriminately bomb the hell out of it to get it further away from your border?

As 9 deaths continue to result in carpet bombing, people begin to wonder if the point really isn't to push the residents of the mountains of northern Iraq further and further in to the country, further away from Turkey in the hope that, 'out of sight, out of mind,' they won't inspire the Kurds within Turkey to demand equality.

Alexander Christie-Miller (Christian Science Monitor) observes:

The assault comes amid rising tensions [within Turkey] between the Turkish government and the country's Kurdish minority since June elections. Candidates backed by the Kurds, who make up almost a fifth of Turkey's population, performed well in the poll, garnering 36 seats. But after some members of parliament were barred because of PKK-related convictions, the Kurdish bloc boycotted parliament – a boycott that is still in effect.
In recent years Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has repeatedly said it plans to redress the long-running grievances of the country’s 15 million Kurds, who are seeking greater cultural and political autonomy. Among other initiatives, the government has loosened restrictions on the use of the Kurdish language, launching a Kurdish state TV channel.

Along with the Turkish military, northern Iraq is also being assaulted by the Iranian military. Patrick Markey (Reuters) informs, "Along the Iraqi northern Kurdish region's borders with Iran and Turkey, hundreds of refugees have fled since mid-July to small camps to escape attacks by Iraq's neighbours on rebels hiding along the frontier in their long war for Kurdish self-rule. Iraqi Kurds say they are caught in the middle as Turkey and Iran attack their villages across the border while Ankara and Tehran court their local government with foreign investment that has helped make the Kurdish region the most stable part of Iraq." I don't think it's quibbling to dispute Markey's word choice of "hundreds of refugees have fled" because one of the largest objections to the bombings is that it is creating refugees. Refugees did not flee, refugees were created. The hundreds fleeing were fleeing their homes, were hoping to escape to safety. They became refugees as a result of the actions of the military of Turkey and the military of Iran.

And someone needs to point out that the last thing Iraq needs at this late date is even more internal and external refugees. They are the site of the refugee crisis in the Middle East already.

How bad are the attacks? Alsumaria TV reports, "Sadr Front leader Moqtada Al Sadr called on Tuesday to put in place an immediate political solution to overcome the violations of neighbouring countries in northern Iraq and dispatch a delegation to Iran to end this issue. Al Sadr renounces any attack by any country on Iraqi territories and refuses to use Iraqi territories to launch attacks against other countries."

We noted the open letter from the President of the Kurdistan Regional Government in yesterday's snapshot and we'll note it again this morning:

Dear People of Kurdistan,

As you know, the situation in the Kurdistan Region’s border areas has deteriorated, causing our people to face daily Iranian and Turkish bombardment and aerial attacks.
These attacks have inflicted great suffering on our people in the border areas, leaving some dead and injured. They have intensified in recent days to the point that we can no longer remain silent and watch our innocent, vulnerable civilians pay the price of this fight.
The presence of armed PJAK and PKK members in the mountainous border areas provides an excuse for our two neighbouring countries to commit these attacks. The continuation of their actions, the use of violence, and the use of Kurdistan Region border areas as bases will lead to the spread of violence to the Kurdistan Region and this will not in any way help the legitimate Kurdish question. It is unfortunate that no consideration is given to the interests and welfare of the people of the Kurdistan Region.
It has been our policy all along, and we reiterate again, that the Kurdistan Region aspires to develop friendly and good neighbourly relations with all sides, and it has never been involved in the internal problems of these two countries. We would never interfere in the internal affairs of any country. However, we can not remain silent when our innocent citizens are being killed.
As the Kurdistan Region, we deplore the shedding of innocent blood. We believe that dialogue and mutual understanding are keys to resolving all problems. In the past, we never spared any effort to resolve these issues through dialogue and always advocated for the pursuit of peaceful means by all sides. Unfortunately, the situation has once again become complicated.
In some point in our history, we resorted to armed struggle to defend our land, to obtain our rights, and to protect the dignity of our people. With our resolve and with the backing of our people, we managed to preserve our existence and identity. But today is different. In today’s world, the language of dialogue is far more effective than fighting and military action. We have spared no efforts to spread this message.
Our goal has always been the provision of prosperity for our people and maintaining the stability of our Region. We would never do anything to jeopardize the prosperity and stability of our Region, whatever the circumstances. Therefore, we request that the interests of the people of the Kurdistan Region be observed. The achievements made by our people are the result of hard work and great sacrifices, and it is incumbent on every Kurd to be proud of these achievements and to protect them.
It must be clear to the people of the Kurdistan Region that military action along the border areas gives an excuse to both countries to openly conduct their own military actions in the Kurdistan Region. The main victims of these bombardments and military actions are the people of the Kurdistan Region. I am certain that fighting and violence will not lead to any resolution. At the end of the day, peaceful means must be pursued. The sooner this fighting ends the better; however, if the opposing factions have chosen and insist on the option of fighting, we ask all sides to do their fighting elsewhere and spare the Kurdistan Region.
We are prepared for any cooperation to return the situation to normalcy through dialogue and peaceful means. At the same time, we call on the Iraqi federal government to use its diplomatic channels with our two neighbouring countries to bring these attacks to an end and protect the sovereignty of Iraq.
In light of this delicate situation, I ask the Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament to comprehensively study this situation and then formulate a policy that reflects the unanimous view of the Kurdistan Region.

Masoud Barzani
President of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq

The following community sites -- plus Cindy Sheehan, NPR, and On The Wilder Side -- updated last night and this morning:

Mike's "Feels like a Monday," Ruth's "Our new client-state Libya" and Rebecca's "the boss" are not showing up on the links but they went up last night. And we'll close with from the Feminist Majority Foundation:

National Audio News Conference on Women's Vote in 2012
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 – 2 p.m. EDT

WASHINGTON, DC – August 26 is Women's Equality Day, the anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote. In recognition of this, and of the anniversary of the August,1963 civil rights March on Washington, strengthening the right to vote for women of color, a coalition of women's organizations, representing millions of American women, will unveil a new multi-organization effort, HERvotes, that will mobilize women voters in 2012 around preserving women's Health and Economic Rights (HER rights).

Women leaders will unveil HERvotes and release a list of the top ten historic laws that impact women's lives, but are now most in danger of being weakened, cut, or eliminated by extremist policies at the local, state and federal levels, at a national audio news conference on Wednesday, August 24.



Eleanor Smeal
Joan Entmacher

Dr. Avis Jones-DeWeever
Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner

President, Feminist Majority
Vice-President for Family Economic Security, National Women's Law Center
Executive Director, National Council of Negro Women
Executive Director, MomsRising


Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)


Via toll-free number: 800-289-0517 pass code: HERvotes

Women's leaders from participating organizations will be available for Q & A. See below list of participating organizations and their leaders.


HERvotes, Women's Groups Leadership

National Coalition of 100 Black Women
Dee Dee Strum, President,

American Association of University Women
Linda Hallman, President,

Black Women's Roundtable, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation
Melanie Campbell, Executive Director,

Dolores Huerta Foundation
Dolores Huerta, President

Feminist Majority Foundation/ Ms. Magazine community
Eleanor Smeal, President,

Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, Executive Director,

National Congress of Black Women
Dr. E. Faye Williams, Chair,

National Council of Negro Women
Avis Jones De-Weever, Executive Director,

National Council of Women's Organization
Susan Scanlan, Chair,

National Council of Jewish Women
Sammie Moshenberg, Director of Washington Operations,

National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, Incoming Executive Director

National Organization for Women
Terry O'Neill, President,

National Women's Health Network
Cindy Pearson, Executive Director,

National Women's Law Center
Marcia Greenberger, Co-President,

Raising Women's Voices
Cindy Pearson, Co-Founder

Women's Information Network
Andrea Gleaves, Political Director,

Women's Research and Education Institute (WREI)
Susan Scanlan, Executive Director

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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends