Monday, September 24, 2007


"The government is primarily responsible for my mother's death.If we had had clean drinking water, my mother would still be alive."
~ Shadan Mohammed, university student, Silêmanî.

The first cases of cholera have appeared in Baghdad and Basra. While Silêmanî, Hewlêr, and Kerkuk have had just over a thousand confirmed cases, there have been almost 25,000 suspected cases in the Kurdish region. The Kurdish minister of health predicts more cases if the KRG does not clean up the water:

"If the government doesn't fix the dirty water problem, the cholera outbreak will continue and a huge disaster will occur," said KRG minister of health Zryan Osman.

Dr. Osman said that 13 people have died of cholera in the northern provinces of Sulaimaniyah, Erbil and Kirkuk. The minister reported that 430 people in Sulaimaniyah and 270 in Erbil have been diagnosed with the disease. And Salah Ahmed Ameen, a senior health official in Kirkuk, said 450 people are infected with cholera there.

[ . . . ]

Osman noted that the spread of the deadly disease appears to be slowing. But he said that health officials are concerned that cholera could emerge in new areas where the water is not clean and basic services are poor.

"The water systems need to be cleaned, and then we can control the disease," agreed Sherko Abdullah, head of healthcare in Sulaimaniyah province. "The problem isn't with the healthcare, it's with the services."

[ . . . ]

People in Iraqi Kurdistan maintain that the government is not providing even basic services despite its relative stability and growing oil revenues. Many argue that the cholera outbreak is an example of how the regional authorities - which have a high level of autonomy from Baghdad - have failed them.

"The government is primarily responsible for my mother's death," said Shadan Mohammed, a 25 year old student at the University of Sulaimaniyah, whose mother recently died of cholera.

"If we had had clean drinking water, my mother would still be alive."

[ . . . ]

[A] video posted on Google that shows a man shovelling large amounts of dirt and sludge out of a huge water tanker in Sulaimaniyah has become popular viewing in the north. Some argue that the video provides evidence that authorities are not properly monitoring and managing the water supply.

"The drinking water sources in the city [of Sulaimaniyah] are so dirty that any disease could come out of them," said Osman. "The drinking water is mixed with sewage."

"The current water system in Sulaimaniyah can provide only 30 percent of residents with water," maintained Abdullah. "The system is old, the tankers are not regularly cleaned, and not enough chlorine is added to the water."

Funny you should mention chlorine. The crowning glory of the spread of this disease throughout Iraq is that a big shipment of chlorine has been held up at the Jordanian border:

A shipment of 100,000 tons of the water purifier has been held up at the Jordanian border over fears the chemical could be used in explosives. Baghdad, which has doubled the amount of chlorine in the drinking water, now has only a week's supply.

So people either die of cholera or of chlorine bombs? Yes, this is what's known as "spreading democracy in the Middle East."

You would think Blackwater could come up with a nice, little, overpriced, no-bid contract to secure the convoy of chlorine and ensure that it didn't fall into the hands of "insurgents." But I guess the mercenaries are too busy protecting American carpetbaggers or the stray US congressman who wanders over to Iraq for a photo-op.

Someone is purposely holding up the chlorine in order to cause more death and destruction in South Kurdistan and Arab Iraq. This by no means lets the KRG--the euphemism of unity for the two main Southern Kurdish parties of the KDP and PUK--off the hook for their own complete disregard of basic services for the Kurdish people. But even they are now hindered by someone higher up the food chain--those who rule this outpost of Empire from inside the Green Zone.

Business as usual.

Meanwhile, in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan, HPG released some busy little bees who happened to whack three--count 'em, three--JITEM. See DozaMe on that here, here, and here.

DozaMe also has a post on a mass grave uncovered in a Turkish military compound in the Kurdish capital, Amed (Diyarbakır). As far as I know, the news first appeared in Özgür Gündem last Friday and there are photos accompanying the article.

Hevallo has been keeping up with the Hunt Oil deal, including possible Bush ties and his own poll. Now, apparently, Hunt Oil has taken a sudden interest in Hevallo.

Anyone who's interested in researching global government corruption should check out Transparency International. It's a one-stop shop for everything on who's dirty and who's not.

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