Wednesday, April 25, 2007


"I am deeply concerned about the devastating impact the controversial Ilisu dam would have on the lives of tens of thousands of people and about the irreversible loss of an invaluable cultural heritage in the Tigris valley. Allowing the Ilisu dam to go ahead will be a crime against the fundamental human rights of the people in this region and against our common cultural heritage."
~ Bianca Jagger.

Last Monday, I mentioned the following:

Hey, do you think if the US coughed up those Iranians it kidnapped in Hewlêr that Iran might cough up the American ex-FBI guy that went missing from Kish Island?

Surprise, surprise, surprise! There was an interesting development today, from McClatchy Newspapers:

The United States has quietly increased its back-channel diplomatic contacts with Iran, a sign that those who favor engagement have strengthened their hand in the administration, U.S. officials say.

Using Switzerland as an intermediary, American and Iranian officials have exchanged diplomatic messages on a variety of nuts-and-bolts subjects, including the fate of an American citizen missing in Iran, the future of five Iranian operatives whom American forces seized in Iraq, and old financial and property disputes.

I wonder . . . given the administration's rhetoric, could this exchange of diplomatic messages be construed as negotiating with terrorists? As we all know, the US never negotiates with terrorists, right?

I don't suppose that point about "property disputes" has anything to do with offshore boundaries that the UK may have been in violation of?

There was something else on this, on Tuesday:

Diplomats fear the case could mark a new twist in apparent tit-for-tat detentions involving the US, Britain and Iran, which began with the detention by US forces in Iraq of five Iranians in January and the capture of 15 British sailors by Iran who were freed earlier this month.

The US had to realize that when it seized those Iranians in Hewlêr in January, that it was provoking a reaction because there was no other purpose for the seizure. Additionally, the seizure created a difficult climate between Iraq and Iran, as if Iraq had no other problems to deal with right now. Bottom line? It was a stupid thing to do.

Speaking of Iraq, there's a new press release on Ilisu from KHRP:

Iraq's Minister of Water, Dr Latif Rashid, has strenuously denied giving Iraq's blessing to the controversial Ilisu Dam, which Turkey plans to build on the Tigris River [1].

The Minister's denial contradicts previous assurances by Turkey and the Governments of Germany, Switzerland and Austria, whose Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) approved funding for the dam in March 2007 [2], on the basis that Iraq had no objections to the dam.

If built, the dam could severely impact on downstream flows of the Tigris, which could be reduced to a trickle in summer months [3]. Turkey has failed to guarantee a minimum downstream flow to Iraq and Syria [4].

Although the ECAs made funding conditional on Turkey first supplying Iraq with the information it sought on the project, the Minister told a joint Kurdish Human Rights Project - Corner House fact-finding mission [5] that key information had still to be provided.

"The ECAs have breached their own conditions", says Nicholas Hildyard, who interviewed Iraq's Minister of Water. "Iraq made known its objections at the highest level. The ECAs appear to have ignored them."

How typical of greedmongers.

Turkey, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria have lied about the conditions required to move forward on the Ilisu Dam project, which is nothing more than an exploitation scheme that will result in further state-sponsored destruction of Turkish-occupied Kurdistan and the indigenous culture of the region. Moreover, this is another indication of the regard with which the EU holds the Kurdish people, Kurdish culture, and Kurdish rights, as well as those of the other ethnic groups of the area and those in Iraq.

The entire KHRP-Corner House report on this latest development and its downstream impact on Iraq can be accessed in this .pdf document.

More backgrounder on the Ilisu issue can be read on Rastî from last August and October.

In other news, the UN has released a report today which criticizes the KRG for lack of public services, government corruption, honor murders, detention of prisoners, and arrests and harassment against journalists.

I have no idea what Dindar Zebarî means when he says that "legal procedures are followed against some who overstep the standards of the journalism profession." How did the journalists in question "overstep the standards of the journalism profession?" Did they publish "state secrets?" Or is Zebarî more likely referring to the fact that the journalists simply wrote articles critical of the problems in South Kurdistan? Or maybe the KRG subscribes to the argument that since journalists are not elected, they have no business speaking at all, such as what happened in Sweden recently:

A Kurdistan Democratic Party official attacked a speaker of CHAK in the Swedish city of The Gothenburg, reported Awene, a Kurdish online Monday.

While Rafat Halabajayy, according to Awene, was giving his speech on behalf of the organisation on the anniversary of gassing Kurdish population of Halaja, the representative of KDP, led by Massud Barzani, interfered and disturbed the meeting, telling Mr Halabjayy that he does not represent the people; hence he has no right to talk.

Attacks on Kurdish intellectuals and scholars aboard by the PUK and KDP are not unusual. Two years ago Dr Burhan Yasin, a Kurdish scholar and thinker, was verbally abused by a number of KDP representatives in Germany while he was giving his assessment of the situation of Kurdistan. He was told by the KDP members that he is not allowed to talk. Dr Yasin is a well-respected scholar and he was invited by the organiser to give a paper in the conference.

CHAK is very critical of the corruption of the Kurdish administration of the PUK and KDP. CHAK is an international Kurdish organisation pursing the rights of victims of Anfal and fights corruption in Kurdistan.

While the KDP and PUK can control independent organisations in Kurdistan, diaspora organisations have become a challenged for them.

It's time for the KRG to grow up and get over the fascist inclination. Otherwise, the only thing we'll have in South Kurdistan is Turkey v.2.

No comments: