jeudi 30 décembre 2010

Turkey's Attitude on Transboundary Waters-Ilisu Dam: Will It Be a Disaster or a Miracle?

by Simla Yasemin OZKAYA, Advisor, Transboundary Water Resour Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey

Industrialization, population growth and climate change have highlighted the necessity to use water resources more efficiently, especially for countries with arid climates, like Turkey.

Therefore, Turkey needs to intensify her efforts to ensure the sustainable management of water resources. The Ilısu Dam and Hydroelectric Power Plant, which will be constructed by Turkey on the River Tigris, is one of the biggest of the projects developed in the context of the Southeastern Anatolia Project.

This project will be a milestone for utilization of water resources of Turkey. Although the project has been criticized for many years, Turkey has continued to express its determination to construct the dam. The arguments voiced by the detractors of the project are various. However, this paper focuses primarily on the main arguments in favour of the project by giving some examples of its positive impacts in the context of Turkey’s transboundary water policy.

For Full text please click on the link below

mardi 28 décembre 2010

No end to killings in Iraq...

Reported security incidents December 27 2010


#1: An Iraqi police officer, with a major rank, has escaped an assassination attempt on Monday, when an explosive charge planted by unknown gunmen, blew off close to his house in southwest Baghdad, according to a security source. “An explosive charge blew off in front of the house of a police officer with a major rank in southwest Baghdad’s Saydiya district on Monday, wounding the officer and a civilian, and causing huge damage to the offficer’s house and his car,” the security source said.

#2: An Iraqi civilian and a security element have been injured in an attack by unknown gunmen west of Baghdad on Monday, a security source said. “A group of unknown armed men have opened machinegun fire on an Interior Ministry vehicle, wounding its driver and a civilian who was driving his car close to west Baghdad’s Yarmouk Hospital on Monday,” the security source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.Gunmen using silenced weapons wounded two police officers when they opened fire on the Interior Ministry's anti-crime department in Baghdad's west-central Yarmouk district, an Interior Ministry source said.

Diyala Prv:

#1: An Iraqi Army officer has been killed and three soldiers were injured in an Improvised ExpLosive Device (IED) blast in Baaquba, the center of northeast Iraq’s Diala Province, on Sunday, according to a Diala Security source. “An IED blew off on Sunday night against an Iraqi Army vehicle on the main highway connecting Baaquba with Khalis township, 15 kms to the north of the city, killing an Army officer, with a major rank, and wounding three soldiers,” the security source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.


#1: An Iraqi women has been killed and a civilian wounded in an exposive charge blast aimed at a U.S. Army patrol in Salahaddin Province on Monday, a police source said. “An explosive charge, planted on the roadside, had blown off against a U.S. Army patrol in Dujail township, 110 kms to the south of Tikrit, the center of Salahaddin Province, killing a woman and wounding a civilian,” the police sourc said.


#1: Two suicide bombers, wearing two explosive belts, have been killed by a military force belonging to Samarra city’s military operations command on Sunday, a command source said. “A military source, belonging to the said command, had killed two suicide bombers, wearing explosive belts, close to a checkpoint in Samarra’s Armoushiya area on Sunday, the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency on Monday. He said the suicide bombers refused to obey orders by the checkpoint’s soldiers to stop, forcing the soldiers to open fire on them, causing the explosion of their explosive belts, killing them both, away from the checkpoint.


#1: Two suicide bombers have killed at least 14 people in the Iraqi town of Ramadi, say officials and police. The attacks were the second targeting a government compound in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, this month. Reports suggest one bomber blew up a vehicle, and minutes later another detonated an explosives vest as people gathered at the scene. At least four police of those killed were police officers. At least 47 people have been wounded. "A car bomb exploded near the Anbar provincial government offices around 0930 (0630 GMT) followed about 15 minutes later by a suicide bombing," said a police spokesman, Major Rahim Zabin, according to AFP news agency.

lundi 27 décembre 2010

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus 1st President Rauf Denktaş received Hicran Kazancı.

25 December 2010

Iraqi Turkmen Front Turkey Representative Dr. Hicran Kazancı was received in the office of the President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus by First President Rauf Denktaş.
At the meeting, Hicran Kazancı said, "You are a popular figure and leader who continued on the path opened by Dr. Fazıl Küçük to create a nation from nothing. It is a great fortune for the people of Cyprus that two leaders have emerged to advance on the path of the national struggle with determination."

President Denktaş communicated his pleasure with the visit by saying, "We must continue on our righteous path fearlessly. Our power comes from continuing on the path we believe in."

dimanche 26 décembre 2010

The Prime Minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus received Hicran Kazancı.

The Prime Minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus received Hicran Kazancı.

25 December 2010

Iraqi Turkmen Front Turkey Representative Dr. Hicran Kazancı was received in the offices of the Prime Minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus by Prime Minister İrsen Küçük.
Iraqi Turkmen Front Turkey Representative Dr. Hicran Kazancı was received in the offices of the Prime Minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus by Prime Minister İrsen Küçük. At the meeting Hicran Kazancı said, "There are similarities between the two brother communities such as the Flag and Conflict processes; I wish to formalize the relations between Cypriot and Iraqi Turks who share the same fate."

Prime Minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus İrsen Küçük communicated his pleasure with the visit and wished for the continuation of the relations.

KHA Ankara Representative Ersan Sarıkahya attended the meeting.
In addition, The Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Hüseyin Özgürgün received Dr. Hicran Kazancı in his office.

samedi 25 décembre 2010

Maliki government and Turkmen in Iraq

Hasan Kanbolat

Following the general elections held on March 7, 2010, Iraq’s parliament gave a vote of confidence to the new “national unity” government. There are 13 state ministers in the 42-member cabinet and nine acting ministers.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will serve as acting defense minister, interior minister and national security minister. The Oil Ministry, one of the top three important ministries, will be under Maliki’s direct control. The Foreign Affairs Ministry has been granted to the Kurdistan Alliance and the Ministry of Finance has been given to the al-Iraqiya List.

The State of Law Coalition headed by Maliki took 13 ministries, of which five will be run by proxy. The al-Iraqiya List headed by Iyad Allawi won eight; the Kurdistan Alliance won seven, of which three will be run by proxy; the Iraqi National Alliance led by Ammar al-Hakim won 11, of which one will be run by proxy; the Sadr group within the Iraqi National Alliance won six, of which one will be run by proxy; and the United Iraqi Alliance led by Jawad al-Bulani took one ministry.

There are claims that a points system was used to determine which parties would have power in the government. According to the system, two seats in parliament are worth one point. The presidency costs eight points, the prime ministry 10, the position of parliament speaker six, the Defense Ministry, Interior Ministry, National Security Ministry and the Intelligence Ministry each cost four points, the service ministries each cost three and state ministries each two points. There are claims that groups forming the government exchanged their points for their preferred cabinet seats. However, it’s hard to say that the Sadr group, the Iraqiya List or the Kurdistan Alliance are happy with the cabinet. For example, the Goran List within the Kurdistan Alliance had to withdraw from the cabinet because it could not take a service ministry.

The Turkmen in Maliki’s cabinet are quite happy. Despite having learned the political system in Iraq later on and their dispersed population patterns, they were very successful in the general elections and in the cabinet’s formation. The hard work of educated Turkmen to ensure the unity of Iraq and their refusal to take up an armed struggle has paved the way for them to obtain a better position in Iraq. Turkmen have been allocated three ministries.

More specifically, Izzadin al-Dawla from the al-Iraqiya List became minister of agriculture, Muhammad Jasim Jaffar from the Iraqi National Alliance became minister of youth and sports and Dr. Turan Müftü from the Iraqi Turkmen Front became state minister for provincial affairs. This is the first time the Iraqi Turkmen Front has been allocated a ministry. Müftü is a member of the Kirkuk Provincial Council.

The biggest struggle for Turkmen now is winning the vice presidency. If Turkmen win the vice presidency, they will become more active in Iraqi politics. Among the candidates for the position are Muhammad Mahdi al-Bayat, Iraqi Turkmen Front Chairman Sadettin Ergeç, and Kirkuk Deputy Chief of Police Turhan Abdurrahman.

The Kurdistan Alliance may recommend Abdurrahman, who is very successful in Kirkuk, to the position of vice president in order to make him less active in the area. Turkmen claim that they were unable to agree amongst themselves on a candidate for the vice presidency both during Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jafaari’s term in 2005 and during Prime Minister Maliki’s term in 2009.

Turkmen need to put aside internal disputes and agree on a candidate for the position of vice president. Since a person cannot be both a state minister and a member of parliament, Ali Hashim and Fevzi Ekrem, both ethnic Turkmen, will most likely become deputies as well.

There is a possibility that Maliki will bring up the issue of holding a census, which has constantly been postponed. The population census that was supposed to be held in October 2010 was delayed to December 2010 and then indefinitely. However, the outcome of the census could quickly incite bloodthirsty groups in Iraq, which is going through ethnic, religious and sectarian divisions. This is why conducting the census before ensuring stability and security could open the door to disaster. There is also a possibility that Maliki will hold the provincial elections in May 2011. From the way things are going, it does not look like politics in Iraq will be any calmer in 2011.

vendredi 24 décembre 2010

'Iraqi Turkmen Martyrs Monument' was unveiled

'Iraqi Turkmen Martyrs Monument' was unveiled in Ankara

24 December 2010, Friday

Secretary General of the Presidency Mustafa İsen said that, Turks residing outside Turkey have been confronted with significant problems in the past of which Iraq is a characteristic example.
Iraqi Turkmen Culture and Benevolent Society General Chairman Mehmet Tütüncü said that the unveiling of such a monument in Ankara had a major significance for Iraqi Turkmen and called for the Turkish world to claim ownership of the events in Iraq and the just cause of Iraqi Turkmen.

After the speeches, Secretary General of the Presidency Mustafa İsen, Keçiören Mayor Mustafa Ak and the protocol members unveiled the monument.

The slogans "Kirkuk is Turk and shall remain Turk' were frequently repeated during the ceremony.
The ceremony was attended by Undersecretary to the Iraqi Embassy in Ankara, members of parliament and many invited guests.


العدد : 227
التاريخ : 23 كانون الاول2010
الموضوع : بيان

الجبهة التركمانية العراقية تطالب بإجراء تحقيق رسمي
تستنكر الجبهة التركمانية العراقية التصرف المشين الذي قامت به عناصر حماية رئيس مجلس محافظة كركوك رزكار علي من منع دخول عضو الكتلة التركمانية في مجلس المحافظة علي مهدي إلى الاجتماع الدوري للجنة نزاعات الملكية و الذي يدعو إليه مكتب الأمم المتحدة في كركوك كل ثلاثة أشهر. و إذ تستنكر الجبهة التركمانية العراقية هذا التصرف المشين، فأنها تذكر رئيس مجلس المحافظة بأن منصبه كان و ما يزال حقا تركمانيا تم الاستحواذ عليه بأسلوب أو آخر.
و إذ تطالب الجبهة بإجراء تحقيق رسمي بما حدث، تذكر إن الديمقراطية الحقيقية تعني أن يفسح المجال لكل شخص بالمعارضة و النقد و إن انتقاد السيد علي مهدي لتعيين موظفين جدد في دائرة صحة كركوك، كانت نسبة الأكراد فيه 70% ، كان انتقادا واقعيا يدل على استمرار الطرف الذي ينتمي إليه السيد رزكار علي بتهميش التركمان و في الوقت نفسه استمراره بحملة تكريد كركوك و هذا لا يختلف أبدا عن سياسة النظام السابق.
للجبهة التركمانية العراقية
الدائرة الإعلامية


العنوان: كركوك- طريق بغداد-
قرب بناية المحافظة

Adres:Kerkük. Bağdat yolu. Valilik binası yanında

Communiqué from Mr. Ali Mehdi

إلى من يهمه الأمر


بتاريخ 21/12/2010
وإثناء جلسة المجلس الاعتيادية طلبت من السيد رئيس المجلس مداخلة قانونية حول موضوع التعيينات التي جرت في الآونة الأخيرة في دوائر كركوك ومنها دائرة الصحة خاصة ، حيث قلت أن هناك غبن في التعيينات على القومية التركمانية بالرغم من مناشدتنا لسيادتكم ومنذ عدة أشهر فيما يخص هذا الموضوع ولكن مع الأسف لم يتم اخذ رأينا بنظر الاعتبار مما يدعنا والشعب التركماني أن تنظر إلى تعاملكم معنا كتعامل النظام السابق. وبعد ذلك تم مداخلات بعض الأعضاء وأغلق الموضوع واستمر في الاجتماع وحسب البرنامج.

وبتاريخ 22/12/2010 ولكوني عضو في لجنة النزاعات الملكية تم دعوتي لحضور اجتماع اللجنة من قبل منظمة الأمم المتحدة في غرفة السيد رئيس المجلس . عند ذهابي لحضور الاجتماع وإذا بالحراس الخاصين ذات الزى العسكري المنقط لرئيس المجلس قالوا ان السيد رئيس المجلس لايرغب برؤيتك فلا تستطيع دخول الاجتماع واستعملوا القوة معي بأيديهم لدفعي من على سلم المبنى . وبدوري تركت الموقع ورجعت إلى غرفتي .

بهذا التصرف قد اثبت السيد رئيس المجلس بان الديمقراطية ليست الوسيلة الوحيدة لديهم للوصول إلى أهدافهم القومية والسياسية في كركوك تاركا لدي سؤال يصعب الجواب عليها وهو هل آن هذا هو الأسلوب الشخصي للسيد رئيس المجلس ام هي سياسة الاتحاد الوطني الكردستاني . ؟

أناشد منظمات المجتمع المدني والأحزاب السياسية والشخصيات في العراق وكركوك خاصة وأقول لهم بأن هدف هذا الأسلوب الغير الديمقراطي هي اسكات صوت الحق . . فليعلم الجميع بأن هذه هي احد الأساليب التي تمارس ضد أبناء كركوك خلال السبع السنوات الماضية وفي كافة المجالات .

للعلم مع التقدير .

علي مهدي صادق
عضو مجلس محافظة كركوك
نائب رئيس حزب توركمن ايلي

mercredi 22 décembre 2010

John Pilger - The War You Don't See 7/7

John Pilger - The War You Don't See 6/7

John Pilger - The War You Don't See 5/7

John Pilger - The War You Don't See 4/7

John Pilger - The War You Don't See 3/7

John Pilger - The War You Don't See 2/7

John Pilger - The War You Don't See 1/7

From the award-winning director of The War on Democracy comes John Pilger's latest work, The War You Don't See. This hard-hitting exposé scrutinises the effects of the media during wartime, asking what is the role of the media in rapacious wars.

Maliki Formed the Government in Iraq

22 December 2010

Finally nine months after the elections, in Iraq, a cabinet has been formed and presented to the parliament.
However, it is hard to claim that the cabinet has been perfectly formed with 42 ministries 13 of which are state ministries. 9 ministries will be ran by acting ministers.

In the cabinet, the State of Law Coalition under Nuri al Maliki got 13, Al Iraqiya List under Ayad Allawi got 8, Kurdistan Alliance got 7, and Iraqi National Alliance under Ammar al Hakim got 11 ministres. It is also interesting that Sadr Group which played a significant role in the government formation process by meeting with Maliki, has acquired 6 ministries. Unity of Iraq under Javad Bolani got 1 ministry. The Turkmen have acquired 3 ministries Izzaddin al Dawla (minister of Agriculture) from al Iraqiyya List, Mohammad Jassem Jafar (Ministry of Youth and Sports) from Iraqi National Alliance and Turhan Muftu (State Minister on Provinces) from Iraqi Turkman Front.

Nuri al Maliki will be facing difficult times ahead. Maliki is also acting minister for Defense, Interior and National Security. His preferences for candidates for those ministries and his timing fort hat might shift the balances in Iraq. Besides, although they take part in the government, Sadr Group, Iraqiyya List, and Kurdistan Alliance are not pleased from the outcome.

The Goran Movement from the Kurdistan Alliance has already left the government because it was not given a ministry.

This will prove difficult for Maliki in the upcoming period. Maliki seems to spend some effort in controlling some critical fields. Hussain al Shahristani, the Minister of Oil since 2006, and acting Minister of Electricity since last summer, was appointed as the Deputy Prime Minister on energy issues. This development might make Shahristani a focus of influence on oil production and exporting. At the same time his deputy in the Ministry of Oil, Abdalkarim al Luaibi was appointed as the Minister of Oil.

Therefore Maliki has strengthened his position. Although Shahristani is not a member of a party, he is personally close to Maliki and this will reinforce the personal grasp of Maliki on oil sector. Maliki had to consider all kinds of requests and discontents in his efforts for forming a broad based government.
However, if al Iraqiyya do not get the Defense or National Security Ministry as it was promised, it might withdraw from the Cabinet. Therefore, the steps forward that Maliki will take, will have a defining character on his political fate.

Bilgay Duman, Assistant Prof. Serhat Erkmen, Sercan Doğan, ORSAM

Irak'ta Maliki Hükümeti ve Tam Listesi

Irak'ta Maliki Hükümeti ve Tam Listesi

22 Aralık 2010, Çarşamba.

Irak'ta seçimlerin ardından geçen 9 ayda nihayet bir kabine oluşturularak meclise sunuldu.

Ancak 13'ü devlet bakanlığı olmak üzere 42 bakanlı kabinenin tam anlamıyla oluşturulabildiğini söylemek güç. 9 bakanlığın vekaleten yürütüleceği kabinede, Başbakan Nuri El-Maliki başkanlığındaki Kanun Devleti Koalisyonu 5'i vekaleten olmak üzere 13, İyad Allavi liderliğindeki El Irakiye Listesi 8, Kürdistan İttifakı 3'ü vekaleten olmak üzere 7, Ammar El-Hekim liderliğindeki Irak Ulusal İttifakı da bir vekaleten olmak üzere 11 bakanlık elde etti.

Irak Ulusal İttifaki içerisinde yer alan ve Maliki ile anlaşarak belki de Irak'ta hükümetin kurulmasında en önemli rolü oynayan Sadr Grubunun biri vekaleten olmak üzere 6 bakanlık elde etmesi de dikkat çekici. Cevad Bolani liderliğindeki Irak'ın Birliği bir başbakanlık alırken, Türkmenler biri Irakiye Listesinden İzzettin Devle (Tarım Bakanı), biri Irak Ulusal İttifaki Listesinden Muhammed Casim Cafer (Gençlik ve Spor Bakanı) ve biri de Irak Türkmen Cephesinden Turhan Müftü (İllerden Sorumlu Devlet Bakanı)olmak üzere 3 bakanlık elde etti.

Önümüzdeki süreçte Nuri El-Maliki'yi oldukça zorlu bir süreç daha bekliyor. Özellikle kritik bakanlıklar olan Savunma, İçişleri ve Ulusal Güvenlik Bakanlıklarını vekaleten yürütecek olan Maliki'nin hangi süre içerisinde ve hangi listeden bakan atayacağı Irak'taki dengeleri değiştirebilir. Öte yandan hükümet içerisinde yer alsalar bile Sadr Grubu, Irakiye Listesi ve Kürdistan İttifakı'nın kabineden memnun olmadığı söyleniyor. Hatta Kürdistan İttifakı içerisinde Goran Listesi'nin hizmet bakanlığı verilmediği için kabineden çekildiğini açıklaması, Maliki'nin önündeki zorlu süreci kanıtlar nitelikte.

Ancak Maliki, bazı kritik alanları da kontrol etme çabasında gözüküyor. 2006'dan bu yana Petrol Bakanı, bu yazdan itibaren de vekaleten Elektrik Bakanı olan Hüseyin El-Şehristani'nin enerji konularında Başbakan Yardımcısı olması, Şehristani'yi petrol üretimi ve ihracatı konusunda kapsamlı bir nüfuz sahibi yapması muhtemeldir. Aynı zamanda Petrol Bakanı olarak atanan Abdülkerim El Lueybi'nin bir önceki dönemde Şehristani'nin yardımcısı olması ve ona yakın olması Maliki'nin elini güçlendirmektedir. Her ne kadar Şehristani bir partiye bağlı olmasa da Maliki'ye yakın bir kişilik olarak bilinmesi Maliki'nin, güçlü eleştirilere rağmen geçen seneden beri süren petrol sektöründeki kişisel konumunu pekiştirmektedir.

Geniş tabanlı bir hükümet kurma çabasında olan Maliki, her yönden talepleri ve sıkıntıları dikkate almak durumundadır. Özellikle Savunma ya da ulusal güvenlik bakanlığının Irakiye'ye verileceği söylenmesine rağmen bir atama yapılamaması, Irakiye'nin geri çekilmesine neden olabilir. Bu yüzden Maliki'nin bundan sonra atacağı adımlar, ya kendini çukura düşürecek ya da bu eşiği atlamasını sağlayacaktır.

Bilgay Duman, Yrd. Doç. Dr. Serhat Erkmen, Sercan Doğan; ORSAM

mardi 21 décembre 2010

Iraqi PM Nouri Maliki delays unveiling new government

It will be a delicate balancing act for Mr Maliki

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has not unveiled his new cabinet, which was expected on Monday, amid ongoing disputes among Iraq's rival factions.
It is the latest setback in efforts to form a unity government in Iraq, nine months after parliamentary elections.

Up to half the ministerial posts were undecided, as party leaders wrangled over allocations, officials said.
It is not clear when parliament will vote on the cabinet list, but the constitutional deadline is Saturday.

Power plays
There are 37 posts in all, and dividing up portfolios among Iraq's diverse and often mutually antagonistic factions has been the focus of the past month's political wrangling.
Mr Maliki had been expected on Monday to name his entire cabinet, except for three sensitive posts linked to national security, but parliament was adjourned without receiving any list.

Iraq government deadlock
March: Elections give two-seat lead to former PM Iyad Allawi - not enough to form a government
June: Parliament meets for 20 minutes, MPs sworn in but delay formal return to work to give time for coalition talks
August: Iraq's Supreme Court orders parliament to re-convene
November: Power-sharing deal agreed. Shia bloc to get premiership, Sunnis to get speaker plus new role for Mr Allawi. Kurds keep presidency.
Iraq's great balancing act
Profile: Nouri al-Maliki

The new cabinet is expected to include all the major factions, including the Kurds, Shia and Sunni Arabs.
The speaker of parliament, Osama al-Nujaifi, said a vote could come as soon as Tuesday.
But other lawmakers have vowed to reject any vote on a partial list, saying they will wait until the full cabinet is finalised and the horse-trading over.

It will be a delicate balancing act for Mr Maliki, who has to reconcile various Shia groups, as well as the Sunnis and the Kurds, to put together government of national unity that has at least a chance of being able to work together, says the BBC's Gabriel Gatehouse in Baghdad.

But the real test of this coalition will come when these newly-appointed ministers get down to work, and start to tackle the country's many problems - from neglected and crumbling infrastructure to continuing violence and instability, our correspondent says.

Iraq halfway toward forming a cabinet – nine months after election

Iraqi parliament speaker Osama al-Nujaifi (R) shakes hands with Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, upon his arrival at the parliament building in Baghdad December 20.(Mohammed Ameen/Reuters)

The Christian Science Monitor -

More details should emerge later today. But there are indications that forming a new government -- presented as a done deal weeks ago -- still has major hurdles, which points to the country's uncertain future.
By Dan Murphy, Staff writer posted December 20, 2010 at 12:06 pm EST
A little news from Iraq this morning, just as a reminder that it's nine and months and counting since the last elections and a government still hasn't been formed. It turns out that the "breakthrough" deal to form a government announced over a month ago isn't yet much of a deal at all. Today, Prime Minister Nouri al--Maliki is going to release a partial cabinet list, according to his spokesman.

What posts won't be announced? The Interior Ministry, the Defense Ministry, and the National Security job – also known as the most important jobs in the government.
It also appears that fighting is going on over the jobs that are less important from the standpoint of dealing with the still simmering insurgency. The BBC quotes Iraqi politicians as saying that up to half of the cabinet posts remain undecided. That's a big number. Iraq currently has 37 cabinet-level positions (compare that to 21 in the UK), an attempt at creating more jobs to divide up in the first place.

IN PICTURES: Christians in Iraq
These arguments are largely about money and the power that flows from it. Controlling the right ministry in the new Iraq creates enormous patronage opportunities and revenue-generating ability. The fight is over how big a piece of the pie Maliki will have to give up in exchange for continued political support.

The Iraqi Constitution says the cabinet must be decided by Saturday -- but that's doesn't make it as iron-clad a deadline as it might seem. The US-written constitution has been repeatedly ignored over the years, particularly surrounding government formation, It's both likely that the full cabinet won't be seated on Saturday, and that it won't matter very much.

As a reminder that Iraq remains a dangerous place, Iraqi security forces said they killed three Libyan sucide bombers planning attacks on Christian targets in the northern city of Mosul for Christmas. Iraq's ancient Christian minority has been repeatedly targeted this year, and the community is dwindling as those with the finances and contacts to leave Iraq flee the country.
"The problem is that many political blocs are all asking for the same post at the same time. Because of this, there is still no agreement," Khaled al-Assadi, a Shiite MP close to Maliki, told AFP today.

Of course, the highly sectarian nature of the post-election bargaining, with Maliki's Islamist Shiite bloc lining up with the still separatist-minded Kurds against Iraq's more secular and/or Sunni political currents, is cause for concern – and an indication that Iraq is likely to remain quite a violent, volatile place for some time to come.
All this leaves aside actually governing. There have been no indications over the past nine months that Iraq's ideological and sectarian divisions have been narrowed. The inability to make compromises over cabinet posts points to an even tougher road ahead – when legislators will confront the emotional and financially fraught issues of the ethnically divided and oil-rich city of Kirkuk, how Iraq's relationship with Iran should develop, and more general questions that touch on ethnic reconciliation.
The bloody civil war Iraq experienced in 2006-2007 may be over, but the bitterness and mistrust remain.

dimanche 19 décembre 2010

The War you don’t see. Film by John Pilger

John Pilger - The War You Don't See from The War We Don't See on Vimeo.

From the award-winning director of The War on Democracy comes John Pilger's latest work, The War You Don't See. This hard-hitting exposé scrutinises the effects of the media during wartime, asking what is the role of the media in rapacious wars.

When symbols are separated from facts and the facts don't matter, could the media be accused of conspiring to play down the carnage and of using 'embedded journalism' to amplify the lies? This documentary unveils the war you don't see and allows you to make up your own mind.

John Pilger - The War You Don't SeeFull Movie:­..............................The award-winning investigative journalist and documentary filmmaker John Pilger is one of many high-profile public supporters of Julian Assange and his organization WikiLeaks. Pilger has attended Assange's court proceedings in London and has offered to contribute funds for his more than $300,000 bail.

Pilger's latest film, The War You Don't See, includes interviews with Assange. Pilger says that WikiLeaks is revolutionizing journalism and galvanizing public opinion to stand up to global elites.

[includes rush transcript]AMY GOODMAN: We're continuing with John Pilger, the famed Australian filmmaker who has lived in Britain for decades. John, your film, The War You Don't See, premiered last night on ITV in Britain and in theaters throughout Britain. The film features your interview with Julian Assange. This is an excerpt.

JOHN PILGER: In the information that you have revealed on WikiLeaks about these so-called endless wars, what has come out of them?

JULIAN ASSANGE: Looking at the enormous quantity and diversity of these military or intelligence apparatus insider documents, what I see is a vast, sprawling estate, what we would traditionally call the military-intelligence complex or military-industrial complex, and that this sprawling industrial estate is growing, becoming more and more secretive, becoming more and more uncontrolled. This is not a sophisticated conspiracy controlled at the top. This is a vast movement of self-interest by thousands and thousands of players, all working together and against each other.

AMY GOODMAN: That is an excerpt of the new film that premiered last night in Britain, The War You Don't See. John Pilger, you know Julian Assange. Talk more about what he's saying and about the media's coverage of what WikiLeaks has done, from the release of the Iraq war logs to those in Afghanistan to now this largest trove of U.S. diplomatic cables ever released in history, John.

JOHN PILGER: Well, what Julian Assange and WikiLeaks is doing is what journalists should have been doing. I mean, I think you mention the reaction to him. Some of the hostility, especially in the United States, from some of those very highly paid journalists at the top has been quite instructive, because I think that they are shamed by WikiLeaks.

They are shamed by the founder of WikiLeaks, who is prepared to say that the public has a right to know the secrets of governments that impinge on our democratic rights. WikiLeaks is doing something very Jeffersonian. It was Jefferson who said that information is the currency of democracy. And here you have a lot of these famous journalists in America are rather looking down their noses, at best, and saying some quite defamatory things about Assange and WikiLeaks, when in fact they should have been exploiting their First Amendment privilege and letting people know just how government has lied to us, lied to us in the run-up to the Iraq war and lied to us in so many other circumstances. And I think that's really been the value of all this.

People have been given a glimpse of how big power operates. And they're—it's coming from a facilitator, it's coming from these very brave whistleblowers. And in my film, Julian Assange goes out of his way to celebrate the people within the system who he describes as the equivalent of conscientious objectors during the First World War, these extraordinarily courageous people who were prepared to speak out against that slaughter.

All the Bradley Mannings and others are absolutely heroic figures. There's no question about that.­......................

jeudi 16 décembre 2010

Çubukçu: Turkish schools important bridge between Turkey and N. Iraq

Education Minister Nimet Çubukçu

Çubukçu: Turkish schools important bridge between Turkey and N. Iraq

16 December 2010, Thursday / ALİHAN HASANOĞLU , ARBIL

Education Minister Nimet Çubukçu said on Wednesday that Turkish schools operating in northern Iraq play an important role in fostering friendly relations between Turkey and the autonomous region.

During a visit to a kindergarten and the Işık (Light) University opened by Turkish volunteers in the northern Iraqi province of Arbil yesterday, Çubukçu made a speech lauding the services that Turkish education institutions provide to Iraqis and their contribution to the relations between the two nations. “The works done and the schools built by a group of self-sacrificing education volunteers under difficult circumstances here have established a bridge of feelings between Iraq and Turkey in the name of humanity. We know friendships initiated under difficulties are always firmly established and more enduring. In addition to being world citizens, students of these schools also speak Turkish very fluently, growing up to know all about our language. These students will be architects of the bridges of love that are necessary for humankind’s peace and prosperity,” said Çubukçu, also noting that the graduates of Turkish schools are playing significant roles in the development of Turkey’s southeastern neighbor.

Pointing out that one of northern Iraq’s most pressing needs is education, Çubukçu stressed that important responsibilities lie with Turkey, given its historical relations with the region. “We consider advancing our cooperation in education in line with our increasingly growing economic, social and cultural relations a responsibility. In the era ahead of us, the investments in education by Turkish entrepreneurs here will further expand and Turkey’s hand of brotherhood and friendship will always be extended to our brothers in northern Iraq,” she said.

Education institutions opened in northern Iraq are being operated under Fezalar Education Institution Inc. After Çubukçu delivered her speech, the company’s general director, Talip Büyük, presented her with a plaque of appreciation. Additionally, a student from the Turkish high school in Kirkuk gave the minister a charcoal portrait of her as a present.

Çubukçu and the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) delegation accompanying her left the university after having a photo taken with the students. Among the AK Party deputies who visited the kindergarten and university with Çubukçu were Mesude Nursuna Memecan from İstanbul, Fatma Şahin from Gaziantep and Gülşen Orhan from Van. Turkey’s consul general to Arbil, Aydın Selcen, was also present during the deputies’ visit to the two education institutions yesterday. The members of the Turkish delegation also attended a concert held for them by the students. Çubukçu and Gülşen joined the students in some of the songs they performed.

mardi 14 décembre 2010

Project to rebuild Historical Ottoman Bridge of Kerkuk has been finalized

The project design draft for the Stone Bridge that is expected to be rebuilt by the Kirkuk Directorate of Highways and the Kirkuk Directorate of Historical Artifacts has been finalized.

The historical stone bridge of Kirkuk was built during the Ottoman Governor Nafiz Paşa period in 1875 on the Hasasuriver. The historical bridge collapsed in 1954.

56 years ago Kirkuk lost an important historical structure.

The demolition of the historical ottoman stone bridge on 2nd March 1954 caused a great sadness in Kirkuk.

A demolished ruin took the place of the historical stone bridge. For years this was the scene in the middle of the city center. The building of the bridge on Hasasu river which splits Kirkuk into two banks was commissioned in 1875 by Ottoman Governor Nafiz Paşa. Although many years have gone by, the memory of the bridge was never erased from the minds of Kirkuk residents. The bridge was remembered from previously taken black and white photographs and rare paintings sketched by artists.
A decision to rebuild the bridge known as Ottoman Stone bridge after 56 years has been taken.

The bridge shall be rebuilt by Kirkuk Bridge Highways Directorate and Kirkuk Historical Artifacts Directorate. Kirkuk Highways Directorate Director Kasım Hamza said in an interview given to Turkmeneli television, that the final draft plans for the bridge constructions works had been finalized. In addition Kasım Hamza said that the project had become contemporary within the scope of the selection of Kirkuk as the cultural capital of Iraq in 2010.

In addition, Kasım Hamza said that the Kirkuk Stone bridge project had been decided by Kirkuk province assembly and offered to a company interested in the rebuilding of historical monuments. Hamza also said the bridge would take its original form within the scope of the project and regain its rightful position.

Eyad Tarık, the director of Kirkuk historical monuments spoke to Turkmeneli television. He said that the Kirkuk Highways director had sent them a letter saying they wanted the bridge to take its original shape and form.

The Stone Bridge of Kirkuk is one of the significant historical symbols in the history of Kirkuk. Before the bridge was demolished 56 years ago, it was a major witness to the daily life of the city.
Within this scope, Turkmeneli television spoke to the distinguished Kirkuk offspring who had witnessed the historical Stone bridge and those times. Molla Salih Kasap is ninety years old. He is one of those people who saw the bridge and lived through those times. Salih Kasap said that the Stone bridge occupied an important place in the infrastructure of the city planning of Kirkuk which connected Mustafa Kalayı Coffeehouse on the large bank with the Mecidiye Coffeehouse on the other bank. In those days, two civil servants deputized as traffic wardens were on duty at both bridge entrances. He said that whenever a vehicle wanted to cross the bridge, an officer at the entrance would raise a black and white flag to steer the vehicles along the bridge.
Molla Salih Kasap narrated that the demolition of the historical Ottoman Stone bridge in 1954 caused a deep sorrow to the residents of Kirkuk; this sorrow has best been expressed by poets and writers in their poems and literature.

Turkmeneli TV

lundi 13 décembre 2010

Wikileaks: Russia Might Be Arming PKK

A senior Spanish investigator alleged to the US that Moscow's strategy was to use "organised crime groups to do whatever the government of Russia cannot acceptably do as a government". Recent operations included gun-running to the Kurds "in an attempt to destabilise Turkey" and "arms trafficking" in the mysterious Arctic Sea cargo ship hijacking in 2009, the Guardian reports.

The quote from Wikileaks:

As an example, he cited Kalashov, whom he said worked for Russian military intelligence to sell weapons to the Kurds to destabilize Turkey. Grinda claimed that the GOR takes the relationship with OC leaders even further by granting them the privileges of politics, in order to grant them immunity from racketeering charges.

Earlier before the Turkish army said 72 percent of the Kalashnikovs used by the PKK are from Russia, 15 percent from China and the rest from Hungary and Bulgaria. There were also claims by the Turkish intelligence service a PKK leader had talks with Russian arms dealers and negotiated the sale of Russian-made rockets. Therefore Turkish diplomacy was focused on convincing Russia to end alleged support for the PKK.There was also a claim a Russian national was part of a PKK hit squad that killed police officers in Turkey in July 2010.

According to analyst Svante Cornell Russia utilized the PKK as a lever against Turkey to deter possible Turkish support for Chechen insurgents. He also claims that the Soviet Union used to support the PKK in the 1980s

The Great Turkmen artist Abdurrahman Kızılay passed away.

13 December 2010, Monday

The Great Turkmen artist Abdurrahman Kızılay died in hospital where he was undergoing treatment.
A great loss for the Turkmens of Iraq.

The Great Turkmen artist who conquered the hearts of millions with his art and voice passed away in Ankara 29 Mayıs hospital where he was undergoing treatment.

May he rest in peace.
Our sincere condolences to his family and friends.

samedi 11 décembre 2010

Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITC) Communique

11 كانون الأول 2010

عقد التركمان و العرب في كركوك اجتماعا مهما و موسعا على قاعة الشهيد نجدت قوجاق في رئاسة الجبهة التركمانية العراقية بكركوك يوم السبت 11 كانون الاول 2010 لاعلان الرفض القاطع للامر الوزاري المرقم 50 في 8 كانون الاول 2010 و الصادر عن مكتب السيد وزير التخطيط و التعاون الانمائي حول تشكيل لجنة عمل في محافظة كركوك و الخاصة بعملية العد السكاني .
و في ختام الاجتماع تم عقد مؤتمر صحفي و تلاوة البيان الاتي:

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

اجتمع ممثلو التركمان و العرب من اعضاء مجلس النواب العراقي و اعضاء مجلسي محافظة و قضاء كركوك و ممثلو مجالس اقضية و نواحي كركوك و رؤساء و ممثلو الكيانات السياسية في 11 كانون الأول الجاري، لمناقشة آخر المستجدات المتعلقة بعملية التعداد العام للسكان، بعد ان اصدرت وزارة التخطيط و التعاون الانمائي امرها الوزاري المرقم 50 في 8 كانون الأول الجاري و الخاص بتشكيل لجنة عمل في محافظة كركوك لحسم المشاكل العالقة في محافظة كركوك نحو اجراء التعداد العام
و رفض المشاركون آلية تشكيل اللجنة و المخالفة للمادة 23 من قانون 36 لسنة 2008. فقد نص الأمر الوزاري على اشراك ثلاثة نواب من الكتلة الكردستانية و اثنان من النواب العرب و نائب تركماني واحد، في حين نصت المادة 23 على اعتماد نسب متساوية في كل ما يخص كركوك سواء من تشكيل لجان او اية امور اخرى.
كما رفض المجتمعون اشراك ممثلين من حرس الأقليم و ممثل عن هيئة احصاء اقليم كردستان في اللجنة المشار اليها، لمخالفته نصوص الدستور و القوانين العراقية النافذة
و اكد المجتمعون بأنهم لن يشاركوا في اجتماعات اللجنة ما لم تتم اعادة تشكيلها استنادا الى المادة 23 و الأخذ بنظر الاعتبار المادة 6 من قانون رقم 26 المعدل في 2009
هذا و رعى الاجتماع الدكتور سعد الدين أركيج رئيس الجبهة التركمانية العراقية

الدائرة الإعلامية
الجبهة التركمانية العراقية

vendredi 10 décembre 2010

Iraq, Kuwait dust may carry dangerous elements

How Iraq, Afghanistan and neighbouring countries have been severely contaminated by the U.S. putting the health of the entire population at risk.

By Kelly Kennedy - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Dec 8, 2010 9:43:56 EST

Researchers studying dust in Iraq and Kuwait say tiny particles of potentially hazardous material could be causing a host of problems in humans, from respiratory ailments to heart disease to neurological conditions.

After taking samples, scientists found fungi, bacteria and heavy metals — including uranium — that could all cause long-term health effects.

“You can see the dust,” said Dale Griffin, an environmental public health microbiologist with the U.S. Geologic Survey. “It’s what we can’t see that will get you.”

Three recent reports detail the problems, and Griffin said there are more to come.

Capt. Mark Lyles, who chairs the medical sciences and biotechnology department at the Center for Naval Warfare Studies, part of the Naval War College, co-authored with Griffin a report that they presented last year at the International Seminars on Planetary Emergencies in Italy.

The paper summarized their analysis of sand samples taken in 2004 in Iraq and Kuwait, which revealed a “significant biodiversity of bacterial, fungi and viruses of which 25 percent are known pathogens.”

Just as troubling, according to the paper, was the presence of 37 elements — including 15 bioactive metals, including uranium, known to cause serious, long-term health effects in humans.

Heavy metals

Microbiologists Dale Griffin of the U.S. Geologic Survey and Capt. Mark Lyles of the Naval War College analyzed dust samples taken in Iraq and Kuwait in 2004 and found a wide range of heavy metals at rates in excess of World Health Organization maximum safe exposure guidelines. Some don’t even have maximum exposure guidelines because they are not expected to be present in airborne dust. The elements of “greatest concern” and the proportions found in dust samples:

Arsenic at 10 parts per million: poisonous and can cause long-term health effects or death.

Chromium at 52 parts per million: linked to lung cancer and respiratory ailments.

Lead at 138 parts per million: can lead to headaches, nausea, muscle weakness and fatigue.

Nickel at 562 parts per million: can lead to lung cancer, respiratory issues, birth defects and heart disorders.

Cobalt at 10 parts per million: can lead to asthma and pneumonia.

Strontium at 2,700 parts per million: linked to cancer.

Tin at 8 parts per million: can cause depression, liver damage, immune system and chromosomal disorders, a shortage of red blood cells, and brain damage that can lead to anger, sleeping disorders, forgetfulness and headaches.

Vanadium at 49 parts per million: can cause lung and eye irritation, damage to the nervous system, behavioral changes and nervousness.

Zinc at 206 parts per million: can cause anemia and nervous system disorders.

Manganese at 352 parts per million: linked to metabolic issues, Parkinson’s disease and bronchitis.

Barium at 463 parts per million: can cause breathing problems, heart palpitations, muscle weakness and heart and liver damage.

Aluminum at 7,521 parts per million. Aluminum was of particular concern to Lyles and Griffin because the metal has recently been linked to “multiple sclerosis and other neurological diseases.”

Some of the toxins may occur naturally in the soil in the Middle East, and some may come from refineries or factories in industrial areas, Griffin said. He also said the toxins could have been exposed or loosened as U.S. Humvees and tanks churned up the hardened desert top layer that has held dust down for centuries.

In a separate study, Griffin researched dust in Kuwait and around the world, and reviewed other studies, and found that bacteria can be carried by the wind. He said that finding contradicts military researchers during the 1991 Persian Gulf War era who did no microbiological research because they incorrectly concluded the region was too hot for anything to live in the desert sand.

A recent Military Times analysis of military health data from 2001 to 2009 showed the rate of respiratory issues among active-duty troops rose by 32 percent; cardiovascular disease rose 30 percent; pregnancy and birth complications were up 47 percent; and neurological conditions, such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, were up nearly 200 percent.

The National Research Council of the National Academies released a report this year that said the Defense Department’s Enhanced Particulate Matter Surveillance Program needs to be reworked, and that the military lacked sufficient data to properly study the health effects of particulate matter exposure.

That report came in the wake of two other military studies — one that looked at various health concerns, and another that looked specifically at heart and respiratory issues. Neither had found any connection to exposure to particulate matter.

But the National Academies report stated that “a large body of epidemiologic research has shown associations between short- and long-term exposures to particulate matter and a broad array of respiratory and cardiovascular effects in the general population and in susceptible people.”

The tiniest particles — up to 1,000 of which can sit on the head of a pin — embed deeply in the lungs along with whatever matter they carry. Griffin said he worries that the combination of bacteria, fungi and metal found in Iraq and Afghanistan can further complicate the health risks to U.S. combat troops.

Noting the rise in respiratory and heart problems over the past decade, Griffin said, “If you look at the [civilian] population, you don’t see these numbers.”
Service members are generally “a healthy group, too,” he added. “You would think they’d be less susceptible.”

mercredi 8 décembre 2010

Iraq's Kurds build up their own army

Mustafa Barzani reportedly met in Vienna in January with Danny Yatom, former head of Israel's foreign intelligence service, the Mossad, "who has been tipped to coordinate the military merger"

Salih set up a body known as the Council of the Assiyeh, which will function as a Kurdish security council. It will be headed by Karim Sanjani and Korsat Rasul, military chiefs for the KDP and the PUK.

Kurdish sources say the two parties' 80,000 fighters, known as peshmerga -- Those Who Face Death -- will be welded into a single Kurdish army of eight divisions.

Intelligence Online, a Paris Web site that covers security issues, reports that the process will be overseen by Jaafar Sheik Mustapha, the minister for the peshmerga.

"He is being advised by several Israeli consultants," it said. Mustafa Barzani reportedly met in Vienna in January with Danny Yatom, former head of Israel's foreign intelligence service, the Mossad, "who has been tipped to coordinate the military merger."

The Mossad and private Israeli defense companies with links to Israel's defense ministry have long been reported aiding the Kurds, an on-off relationship that goes back four decades.

dimanche 5 décembre 2010

The Supreme Court Rules against Power-Sharing in the Iraqi Legislature

Posted by Reidar Visser on Sunday, 5 December 2010 12:13

In a milestone ruling that potentially signifies a reawakening of the Iraqi judiciary as an independent force in Iraqi politics, the federal supreme court has ruled that the current bylaws of the Iraqi parliament, now under revision, are in conflict with the constitution. Specifically, responding to a query instigated by Iraqiyya and its new speaker of parliament, Usama al-Nujayfi, the court says that the notion of a collective, three-man presidency of the parliament is at variance with the vision of pre-eminence for the speaker himself in the constitution, with his two deputies filling more auxiliary roles.

The bylaws of the Iraqi presidency, adopted in the heyday of ethno-sectarian quota-sharing in 2006, went further than the constitution in reproducing the paradigm of tripartite consensus in Iraqi politics. Whereas the constitution enables the election of the speaker separately from his deputies and without any special majority requirements, the bylaws create the “presidency of the parliament” as an institution that to some extent must act in concert when it comes to setting the agenda of the parliament. Importantly, whereas the vision of the speakership in the constitution seems clearly majoritarian, the bylaws, through the collective presidency, in several instances in the previous parliament enabled dissatisfied factions to obstruct or at least delay legislative projects with which they were unhappy.

To Iraqiyya, this ruling by the court should serve as a reminder of the significance of the speakership that they received as part of the political agreement clinched on 10 November. At, the same time though, it would prudent of them to be aware that their logic of an orthodox reading of the constitution will probably apply with equal force to another institution that is much debated these days: the national council for strategic policies, which was identified in those talks as the keystone of Iraqiyya’s participation in the next government, but which is not even mentioned in the constitution – precisely like the “[collective] presidency of the parliament” which Iraqiyya complained about to the supreme court.

That in turn obviously raises the question of what sort of political participation constitutes the best strategy for Iraqiyya in the coming parliamentary cycle, with two tendencies already discernable within the party and sometimes within the same politicians! For example, Nujayfi has fronted the bid to boost the powers of the speakership as a national institution, and yet on other occasions has resorted precisely to the logic of ethno-sectarian quota sharing (muhasasa) that he tried to avert in the case of the speakership. By way of example, he has discussed the idea that Yazidis and Turkmens should have representation in government on an ethno-sectarian basis, and has charged a 3-person committee (Sunni, Shiite, Kurd) with preparing a draft law for the projected council on strategic policies. Other Iraqiyya representatives from Diyala have even made the point that their governorate needs to achieve representation in the next cabinet! By pursuing this kind of thinking to its logical conclusion, Iraqiyya would end up making a “component” (mukawwin) of every faction and village in Iraq, thereby contradicting the very nationalist values that supposedly formed the basis of their recent election success.

At the same time, the inflationary pressures of Iraqi politics mean that the next Iraqi government is going to be a densely populated body: Already, ISCI with its 18 deputies says that should equate “4 to 5 service ministries”; Iraqiyya itself says it expects around 12 ministries (91 deputies), whereas the all-Shiite National Alliance is talking about 20 to 25 ministries for itself. We have not even mentioned the Kurds so far, but do the math and we are looking at an overcrowded government potentially so weak and fragmented that Iraqiyya would probably do better in a purely opposition role.

Meanwhile, other parties are apparently discovering potential problems in the deal they agreed on 10 November. Apparently, a query is being considered by the supreme court regarding the veto powers of the president, with the Kurds apparently disconcerted that these prerogatives are now gone. Other reports say Iraqiyya plans to introduce a law on the powers of the vice-presidents, which again are not defined by the constitution. Hopefully the recent ruling by the supreme court means it is now in a better position to adjudicate this rush of greedy office seekers than it was just half a year ago.

samedi 4 décembre 2010

EU officials give first analysis of WikiLeaks impact


EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - More investment in European External Action Service (EEAS) security, loss of goodwill in the EU's special relationship with the US and heightened tension in the Middle East are all likely consequences of the WikiLeaks scandal, EU insiders say.

WikiLeaks is a no-go area in on-the-record press briefings in Brussels, with EU spokespeople saying they do not comment on leaks or trying to brush them off as a distraction to real business. But senior EU officials interviewed on an anonymous basis by EUobserver in the wake of the publications say it will have practical and political implications for EU foreign-policy-making.

EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton is set to face pressure to spend more money on cyber security and counter-espionage measures in the EEAS' hub and its foreign delegations. The scandal comes just as a special Ashton taskforce is finalising plans for the physical security of the EEAS headquarters in Brussels and installing new encryption systems for sending cables back-and-forth to its 136 foreign embassies.

European Commission delegations in the past mostly cabled on mundane issues, such as distributing aid. But EEAS appointments of senior politicians to head missions in, for example, Tbilisi and Beijing, indicate the cables will be more spicy in future.

Security specialists in Brussels are "shocked" and "astonished" that a 23-year-old official, the suspected source of the US breach, had access to verbatim transcripts of ambassadors' conversations in top foreign postings.

"The juicy tidbits, the verbatim stuff, should only be seen by a very few people. If Solana, say, had spoken to the King of Jordan, we would afterward learn that: 'We are confident the Jordanians think the following' or 'the Saudis are nervous about the Iranian situation.' Not 'Solana and the King said so-and-so on such-and-such a date'," one EU contact explained.

The contact admitted that the human element is never 100 percent secure: "Vetting is at best a deterrent, a negative exercise - you need to know the guy does not have a girlfriend in the SVR [Russian military intelligence]. But all the big spies in history passed their vetting."

Some EU experts are confident a WikiLeaks-type incident cannot happen in Brussels even on present arrangements - top-level-classified documents from the EU's intelligence-sharing bureau, the Joint Situation Centre, for example, are circulated in paper copies only. But others are less sanguine. "The lesson learned is that any secret can appear in the public sphere at any time, and more and more due to the Internet ... a piece of paper can be scanned," a French intelligence expert said.

Meanwhile, EU officials are on tenterhooks for US gossip on their colleagues, with Brussels expecting about 500 cables from the US mission to the EU to be released shortly.

The 600 cables so far in the open have not revealed anything major about US interests that EU counterparts did not already know. But the leaks will make EU personnel "more cautious" in what they tell their US colleagues in future and have generated antipathy toward the State Department.

While the cables make entertaining reading, US ambassadors, many of whom are political appointments rather than professional diplomats, are seen by some as indulging in "tittle-tattle" and journalistic-type sensationalism that would not be tolerated in European foreign ministries.
Washington appears weak because it was unable to quickly shut down WikiLeaks. A set of cables on the 2008 Russia-Georgia war also demystifies the US as a superpower. Senior US diplomats come out looking as if they "fell asleep at the wheel" and gullibly swallowed Georgian reports, one EU source said: "It shows the US is not omnipotent. People expected them to have spy images of who moved when, who shot first. But they had no idea."

Brussels will in future find it harder to believe in US statements on supporting multilateralism.
One source in the EU institutions said the State Department seems to have divided the world into "white faces" and "indians," with the white faces trying to lead the indians around in a game of manipulation. "Their dealings with European capitals show they put more weight in their bilateral relations than in dealing with the EU," the source added.

"It's rather ugly. There's an element of condescension," a European specialist on Middle East policy said. "The cables show a kind of paranoia about terrorism and Iran. But there is no evidence of any vision for the region beyond that, of how to resolve the issues, except by further militarisation and co-opting people into counter-terrorism operations."

The contact feared that US foreign policy will degrade further if Washington goes back to a pre-9/11 model of information-sharing, in which junior officials have access to only small chunks of information, helping the top cadre to quash ideas that do not fit their agenda: "They will say: 'Interesting. But you don't have the full picture.' The few at the top of the pyramid will find it easier to protect the status quo. It will lead to self-censorship and dysfunctionality."

Rocking the boat
Laying aside tension on Iran, conflict-prone Israel, Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon are quieter than ever in the past two years.

The WikiLeaks impact on the region is unpredictable. One contact said it might refresh diplomatic relationships as US personnel frantically row-back on their published comments. Another believes it could lead to an outbreak of anti-Western protests as in the case of the 2003 Mohammed cartoons after the cables are translated into Arabic and filter down to street level.

In the worst-case scenario, US cables on the 2005 assassination of Lebanese leader Rafik Hariri and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) set up to probe the murder could push forward the publication of the STL verdict or derail a tentative agreement among Arab powers on how to handle the ruling. The Hague is carefully stage-managing the verdict, which is expected to blame Hezbollah, in case Hezbollah provokes a conflict with Israel in order to distract from loss of face at home.

EU experts agree that the WikiLeaks cables are authentic and that Mr Assange does not appear to be the agent of a third country. One EU official noted that if the leaks were, say, a US plot to justify a military strike on Iran, a much smaller sample would have been released.

"I don't think they [WikiLeaks] really understand what they have. If there is any political agenda here, it is to weaken the US government. It happened on his [US President Barack Obama] watch," the source said.

© 2010 All rights reserved. Printed on 04.12.2010.