Monday, March 16, 2009

Talabani: 'The ideal of a united Kurdistan is just a dream written in poetry.'

In this morning's New York Times, Rob Nordland offers "With Local Control, New Troubles in Iraq" which charts violent developments following some hand-overs. Anbar, Wasit and Diyala are noted though Wasit's really the issue for the article. Nouri al-Maliki replaced the police chief of the province with his friend (and butcher of Karbala) Raed Shair Jawdat. The butcher's been purging the rolls of the police department and the murder rate in the province has doubled. The butcher is billed "Maj. Gen." Remember that. When the US leave (and it will leave at some point), remember that. Remember how they enshrined a military police state. How they refused to promote democracy. A police chief does not need "Maj. Gen." before his name. The military and a civilian police are not the same thing, they do not have the same duties, the same responsibilites or the same curbs on their actions.

If that point escapes anyone note this section on what happened in Anbar Province to six prisoners released from Camp Bucca:

Six of them had returned to their homes in Baiji when they heard that the police in Anbar were looking for them. They fled, but a police posse from Haditha hunted them down, handcuffed them and shot them repeatedly, killing all six, according to a leader of their Al Bonemir tribe, Salah Rasheed al-Goud, who was interviewed Saturday.
"One of the police officers thought they had killed his brother more than a year ago," Mr. Goud said.

When you don't respect the law and you are the law, don't expect anyone else to. The US installed thugs. Thugs like al-Maliki then installed minor thugs. Iraq is a thug's paradise, it is not a democracy and it is highly unlikely it will become one with the US-installed thugs calling the shots.

The president of Iraq is Jalal Talabani who announced over the weekend (Friday to Iran's Press TV, actually) that he would not be seeking another term (his term expires in December of this year -- provided elections are held). Talabani has serious heart problems (compounded by the fact that he refuses to listen to doctor's orders -- leading to the infamous collapse at a US bookstore hours after being released from doctor's care). Alsumaria reports Talabani is in Turkey today for a conference on water and has already "met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the presence of South Korean Prime Minister." AFP notes the conference is held every three years and is more 'timely' this year following the United Nation's report (published last week) declaring a "global water crisis". AFP states approximately "20,000 people are expecte for the Fifth World Water Forum" while is a week-long conference. DPA adds, "In addition to discussions on how to stop Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) militants from using their bases in mountainous northern Iraq from where they launch attacks on Turkey proper, Talabani and Erdogan also discussed bilateral economic issues and the Middle East peace process."

Meanwhile Hurriyet reports:

Talabani told a Turkish newspaper in an interview published on Monday that it would not be realistic to believe that an independent Kurdish state could survive as it is likely that neighboring countries Turkey, Iran and Syria would close their borders.

"I tell my Turkish brothers not to fear that Kurds will declare independence. It is an advantage for Kurds to stay within the borders of Iraq in terms of their economic, cultural, social and political interests," he told in the interview.

Sabah got the interview and they quote Talabani stating, "Iraq will not be separated and the civil war is over" and "The ideal of a united Kurdistan is just a dream written in poetry. I do not deny that there are poems devoted to the notion of a united Kurdistan. But we can not continue to dream." If accurate, Talabani's remarks will spark anger among some Kurds. And it may be a great deal of anger and it may be among many Iraqi Kurds.

In other news, the US government continues to deny any interest in using Turkey for a withdrawal route -- despite reports that talks on this have taken place already. Today's Zaman reports:

In an interview with the 6 News, a private Turkish television station, Pentagon spokesperson Bryan Whitman was reminded of Turkey's contributions to NATO's peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Somalia and elsewhere and asked about the current relationship between the Pentagon and the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).
"Turkey is a valued ally, and we enjoy an excellent military-to-military relationship," Whitman said in response. "I am not aware of any discussion or decisions regarding the use of Turkey to withdraw forces from Iraq," he also said when asked about probable US requests that Turkey allow the use of its territory for US forces' pullout from Iraq.

The Kurdistan Regional Government noted Friday evening:

President Barzani concludes UK visit

» President Barzani with HRH the Duke of York, the UK's Special Representative for International Trade and Investment
London, UK ( – Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani yesterday concluded a four-day visit to the UK. He held meetings with HRH the Duke of York, Foreign Secretary David Miliband, Justice Secretary Jack Straw, Defence Secretary John Hutton, and Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague.

The President’s visit to London and his European tour are part of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) strategy of encouraging international support for Iraq’s political process.

President Barzani thanked the UK for helping the Iraqi people and urged the British government to encourage trade and investment in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq. On the future of the Region and the country, he said, “Kurdistan will be strong if it is part of a peaceful, federal and democratic Iraq; and Iraq will be strong if Kurdistan stays strong and remains part of Iraq.”

President Barzani also addressed a meeting chaired by Dr John Reid, former Defence Secretary, at Chatham House, the UK’s leading think tank for foreign affairs. He reiterated the Kurdistan Region’s commitment to the Iraqi Constitution, and added that a constitution for the Kurdistan Region is being drafted that will enshrine human rights, tolerance and peaceful coexistence of all its communities.

The President said the Kurdistan Region is committed to building institutions that strengthen democracy and the rule of law and called on Britain and other friends to help in this process.

On relations with the federal government, President Barzani said “We have some differences with Baghdad, but the issues that we believe need to be resolved are not a ‘Kurdish project’, they need to be resolved for the benefit of all Iraq. These issues are hydrocarbons, security and the military, Article 140 of the Constitution, and foreign policy.”

President Barzani also met Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell and former Prime Minister Sir John Major. He was received by the all-party parliamentary groups of MPs for the Kurdistan Region and for Iraq, and by the Iraqi embassy and ambassadors of the Arab states.

Ms Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, the Kurdistan Regional Government High Representative to the UK, held a reception in the President’s honour for British and international friends. President Barzani also held a meeting with members of the Kurdish community living in the UK.

The President’s delegation included Dr Fuad Hussein, Chief of Staff; Dr Ashti Hawrami, Natural Resources Minister; Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir, Head of Foreign Relations; Mr Herish Muharram, Head of the Investment Board; and Ms Sami Abdul Rahman.

Photo gallery of President Barzani's European tour

Iraq's Ministry of Foreign Affairs notes:

Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Meets President of International Committee of Red Cross

Dr. Mohammed Hajj Hmoud, Undersecretary for Legal Affairs and multilateral relations met on Thursday 12/3/2009 with the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Iraq, Mr. Juan Pedro Shearer and his accompanying delegation to hold talks on the agreement to be held between Iraq and the International Committee of the Red Cross on the activities of the Committee for the people of deprived freedom and actions taken to complete the agreement.

The two sides also discussed the issue of Kuwaiti missing persons and relevant committees, and the expected visit of the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Mr. Jakob Kellenberger to Iraq.

Bonnie reminds that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Everything Bully Is Barack Again" and Kat's "Kat's Korner: Joshua Radin shares some simple beauty" went up last night.

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