dimanche 26 février 2012

ITF EU representative attended EU-AZERBAIJAN Conference at EU Parliament

Dr. Hassan AYDINLI, ITF EU Representative, was invited to the EPP GROUP CONFERENCE

on 9th February 2012
at the EU Parliament 09:00 - 12:30 hrs

Mr. Jerzy BUZEK MEP, Former President of the European Parliament (EP), Member of the EP Committee on Foreign Affairs made the opening speech.

Welcome speech: Vytautas LANDSBERGIS MEP, Member of the EP Committee on Foreign Affairs, Vice-Chairman of the Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia Delegation of the EP.



Speakers and panellists:

Chairman: Jerzy Buzek, MEP

Key speech: Wilfried Martens, President of the European People's Party

Elmar Mammadyarov MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan

Miroslav Lajcak, Managing Director for Russia, Eastern Neighbourhood and the Western Balkans, EU's External Action Service

Samad Seyidov MP, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Azerbaijani Parliament, Head of the Azerbaijani Delegation to the Parliamentary Assemboy (PA) of the Council of Europe, New Azerbaijan Party

Laima Andrikiene, MEP, Co-Chairwoman of the Cultural and Social Affairs Committee to the Euronest PA

Asaf Hajiyev MP, Member of the Committee of Science and Education, New Azerbaijan Party

The Debate was opened by Inese Vaidere MEP, Member of the EP Committee on Foreign Affairs, Member of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly

The Conclusion was made by Monica Macovei MEP, Shadow Rapporteur for Azerbaijan in the EP Committee on Foreign Affairs



The session was chaired by Elmar Brok MEP, Chairman of the EP Committee on Foreign Affairs

Other speakers and panellists were:

Philippe Lefort, European Union Special Representative for the South Caucasus and for the crisis in Georgia

Ali Huseynov MP, Head of the Committee of Law Policy and State Construction, New Azerbaijan Party & Euronest

Michael Gahler MEP, EPP Group Coordinator in the EP Subcommittee on Security and Defence

Elkhan Suleymanov MP, Head of the Azerbaijani Eastern Partnership National Parliamentary Delegation to the Euronest PA, Member of the Committee on International Inter-Parliamentary Relations, Independent

After the debate the conclusion was made by Elisabeth Jeggle MEP, Member of the EP Committee on Foreign Affairs, Member of the EP Subcommittee on Human Rights

A working lunch was hosted by Monica Macovei MEP, Shadow Rapporteur for Azerbaijan in the EP Committee on Foreign Affairs

samedi 18 février 2012

Turkmens are once again targeted in Kerkuk: Assassination attempt on General Turhan Abdulrahman


The Turkmens are once again a target.

During certain intervals there are acts of terror and violence taking place in Kirkuk as there is in the country in general. Last night in Kirkuk while the vehicle convoy of Kirkuk Deputy Chief of Police General Turhan Abdurrahman was passing through the neighborhood of Arafa, fire was opened on the convoy by unidentified armed assailants. While no lives were lost in the armed attack targeting General Turhan in an unsuccessful assassination attempt some material losses were suffered by the vehicles in the convoy.

General Turhan Abdurrahman made a statement to Turkmeneli Television and said that unidentified armed assailants had approached the convoy with 3 vehicles and opened fire. He said that the confrontation between the terrorists and the bodyguards lasted approximately 30 minutes.

Later the terrorists escaped to an unknown destination. The investigation regarding the incident is ongoing.

The Iraqi Turkmen Front Information Bureau released a statement regarding the incident. In the published statement the unsuccessful assassination attempt made against Kirkuk Deputy Chief of Police General Turhan Abdulrahman was condemned with vehemence. In the statement it was also stated that such attacks organized against law enforcement officers was a sign of the poor security situation in the city. In the statement, the Iraqi Turkmen Front also demanded that a comprehensive investigation regarding the incident is started.

translated by / kerkuk.net

mercredi 15 février 2012

The Potential Power of the Turkmens of Iraq, by Orhan Ketene

The Potential Power of the Turkmens of Iraq
By Orhan Ketene

In the aftermath of the American withdrawal from Iraq in Dec 2011, the country is facing a dangerous uncertainty due to the resurfacing of the long hidden tensions between rival parties that could lead to a bloody civil war. This will eventually involve the neighboring countries into the conflict, which means widening the disturbance to the whole region of Middle East. If the Middle East is disturbed, oil flow to the fragile European economies will be interrupted. That means trouble for the world economy.

Therefore, establishing peace in Iraq means peace for the world. In these dire times, what Iraq needs is a stability element that could diffuse tensions and unify all factions.

This element of stability is the Turkmen entity.

This entity, despite its' long experience in successfully administering a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-sectarian and multi-religious country like Iraq, for nine centuries, had been brushed aside after WWI and this noble people had been reduced to an unimportant minority with minimal or symbolic rights and had been kept out of any state affairs for nine decades and on top of curtailing their constitutional rights, they had been subject to enormous assimilation efforts to the level that two thirds of their population lost their mother tongue.

In the absence of a unifying and stabilizing power, like the Turkmens, from the Iraqi politics, the country has gone from bad to worse, which is the situation today.

So, who are the Turkmens?

The Turkmens of Iraq are a Turkic people inhabiting Iraq since its existence.

Population wise they constitute the second ethnicity after Arabs.

They are friendly, non-violent, peace loving and the most civilized and democratic people in Iraq.

Turkmen Advantages:

Turkmens have four advantages that no other people in Iraq possess:

1- Nationwide Location: Turkmens are spread all over Iraq and exist in every province with varying concentrations.

2- Multi-Lingual: One third of Iraqi Turkmens speak Turkic language (similar to Azeri), they live on a diagonal strip stretching from Telafer in the northern province of Musul (Mosul) to Mendeli in the central-eastern province of Diyala. The largest Turkmen tribe in this strip is the Bayat.

The other two thirds of the Turkmens speak Arabic and to a lesser extent, Kurdish.

The Arabic speaking Turkmens live in all provinces of central and southern Iraq in the form of the following tribes: Qaraqollus (or Qaraghullis), Wandawees, Salihees, Haydarees, Khalidees, Jumailees and the Bayats (who are related to the Turkic speaking Bayats of the north).

Whereas the Kurdish speaking Turkmens live in the central-eastern province of Diyala as two tribes: Qara Ulus and Bajalans (Parts of those tribes are not Kurdified yet).

The linguistic situation of the Turkmens is similar to an ICEBERG. The upper one third which is visible above the water level, represent the Turkic speaking Turkmens. Whereas the submerged two thirds below the water level, represent the non-Turkic (Arabic and Kurdish) speaking Turkmens.

The total population of the Turkmens (Turkic, Arabic and Kurdish speakers) is around 5-6 millions (no precise census is available yet)

3- Multi Sectarian: Half of the Turkmens are Sunnis and the other half are Shiites.

4- Long Historical Administrational Experience:

Up until the end of WWI, Turkmens in Iraq had been in power for fifteen centuries and in administration (directly or indirectly) for nine centuries.

These four advantages give the Turkmens great potential powers and ability to mediate between the factions and stabilize/unify the country, because they share values with every ethnic entity and sect in the country.

Turkmen Disadvantages:

However, Turkmens nowadays have great disadvantages that no other people in Iraq face. These disadvantages prevent the Turkmens from playing their important constructive role in the country.

1- Despite being administrators of the country for nine centuries, Turkmens are deprived from the right of self-administration. Currently, there are no Turkmen administrators in Turkmen towns and villages or any where in Iraq.

2- Despite defending Iraq for more then fifteen centuries, Turkmens are deprived from the right of self-defense. They are not allowed to establish their defense units in their towns and villages to stand against continuous terrorist attacks on their communities, towns and villages or kidnapping and killing of their professionals and personalities.

3- Turkmens are deprived from their share of the national wealth (oil) which is produced in their own lands. There are no Turkmen social or educational institutions because there are no funds for such establishments.

4- Turkmens are deprived from their share of ordinary and high governmental positions.

5- Despite being the third widely spoken language in Iraq, Turkmen language is not among the official languages.

6- Despite being the builders of the first university in the world (Nizamiyah, Baghdad -1065) Turkmens do not have a single university in Iraq.


After the American withdrawal of Dec. 2011, Iraq is left (unofficially) divided into three quarreling ethno-sectarian factions, The Sunni Arabs in the west, Shiite Arabs in the south and the Kurds in the north, who, by their nature (raison d'être), cannot and will never be able to unite the country under their banner because each group represents only their piece of the total, whereas, Turkmens, as being spread all over the country and with half Sunnite and half Shiite, as well as being Turkic, Arabic and Kurdish speakers, do represent all pieces together as a total.

Turkmens are staunchly against any separation or ethnic/sectarian division of Iraq, because such divisions are against their existence and interests. As any division of the land will automatically divide their population and negatively and vitally affect their lives.

In order for the Turkmens to play their positive role in Iraq once again, they should be given a chance and they should be empowered to rebuild themselves and their institutions.

With their 1500 years old experience as state-builders and administrators of the land, they will be able to unite and stabilize the country.

The benefit will be for all.


Iraqi Turkmen Front denounces the discrimination of the Ownership Suits Board regarding the Turkmens' properties and lands which were confiscated and occupied before April 2003.

Bulletin about the ownership suits


The problem of properties and lands ownership and disputes in Kirkuk particularly and in Mousul and Salahaldin are still suspended and considered as the most complicated cases that hinder the progress of the political process in Iraq and it include confiscated and plundered lands cases due to racist reasons.

Ownership Suits Board whose work is extremely slow is trying to give an impression that all raised cases had been settled, it issued a decision to integrate Kirkuk, Toz Kharmato, Salahaldin and Balad branches and its excuse is that 90% of cases were resolved. However, the truth is that few percentage were only resolved and a big proportion of cases are still waiting for a final solution from the discrimination court that could return some cases to the Board again without solving them. For example from 8000 cases in Taza region , 2700 cases were revoked, whereas in Bashir only 303 cases from 1422 cases were settled and the cases that were supposed to be settled were either returned or cancelled and will be transferred to primary court to look at them and they are still unresolved.

Iraqi Turkmen Front confirmed that the integration decision aroused suspicions because it expropriated the rights of the original landlords from Turkmen so; it requires its immediate cancellation and the Board with all its branches in Kirkuk and other mentioned regions to return the right to its quorum. Iraqi Turkmen Front confirms that it demands Turkmen rights as well as Kurdish and Arabic rights from the original Kirkuk's population whose lands had been occupied and confiscated before April 2003. Article 136 of the Iraqi constitution dictated that the Board is independent, it determined its work mechanism and the wide lines and accordingly it works by coordination with judicial authority and executive systems according to the law.

The Front demands the necessity of taking time in solving the discriminated cases till endorsement of a decision from the minister's council concerning cancellation of the disintegrated Revolution leadership council and North Affairs Committee that according to them the lands were confiscated and repossessed, we demand the deputy council the necessity to speed up amendment of law no. 13 of 2010 that caused harm to the original components of Kirkuk.


samedi 11 février 2012

Irak Türkmen Cephesi BİLDİRİ


Kerkük, Musul ve Salahattin’de devam eden arazi mülkiyetleri sorunu ve çekişmeleri Irak’ta siyasi ilerlemenin sağlanmasını önünde engeldir, bu sorun ırkçı nedenlerle işgal edilen ve kamulaştırılan arazileri içine almaktadır.

Müliyet davaları heyeti, oldukça yavaş ilerleyen çalışmasının yanısıra, sanki açılan bütün davalar sonuçlandırıldı gibi davranmaktadır. Heyet Kerkük, Tuzhurmatu, Salahattin ve Beled subelerinin davalarını birleştirmiştir buna gerekçe olarak ise açılmış olan davaların % 90 nın sonuçlandırıldığı yönündedir, gerçekte ise sadece cok az sayıda dava sonuçlandırlmış veya temyiz mahkemesinden kararın kesinleşmesi beklenmektedir ki kararların onanmadan tekrar ilk derece mahkesine gönderilmesi muhtemeldir. Örneğin Tazehurmatuda açılan 8000 davadan daha 2700 Temyize götürüldü, Beşir’de ise 1422 davadan sadece 303 tanesi hakkında karar çıktı, sonuçlandırıldı denilen davalar hakkındaki kararlar daha kesinleşmemiştir.

Irak Türkmen Cephesi bu birleştirme kararının, arazilerin gerçek sahipleri arasında şüphe uyandıracağını ve hemen iptal edilmesi gerektiğini talep eder. Kerkükte ve işaret edilen bölgelerde Heyetin ciddi bir şekilde çalışması ve hakkın gerçek sahiplerine iade edilnmesi gerekmektedir. ITC Nisan 2003’ten önce arazilerine el konulmuş, sadece Türkmenlerin haklarını talep etmemektedir aynı zamanda Kerkük’ün gerçek ahalisinden olan bazı Kürt ve Arap vatandaşların da haklarını talep etmektedir. Irak Anayasasının 123. Maddesi heyetin bağımsız olarak görevine devam etmesini belirtmektedir, Kanun çerçevesinde çalışmalarını yürütecektir.

Irak Türkmen Cephesi temyiz aşamasında olan davaların, arazilere el koyan devrim komuta konseyi ve Kuzey komisyonunun kararlarını iptal edecek olan Bakanlar Kurulu kararının uygulanmasına kadar bekletilmesi ve Kerkük’ün gerçek ahalisine zarar veren Parlamentonun 2010 yılında çıkarılan 13 sayılı kanunda hızla değişikliğe gidilmesi gerektiğini bildirir.



vendredi 10 février 2012

VIDEO: Former Irish hunger striker’s message for Khader Adnan, a Palestinian prisoner 55 days on hunger strike

VIDEO: Former Irish hunger striker’s message for Khader Adnan, a Palestinian prisoner 55 days on hunger strike

Submitted by Ali Abunimah on Thu, 02/09/2012 - 13:01
Tommy McKearney, one of the participants of the legendary 1980-81 Irish hunger strikes has sent a video message of solidarity to Khader Adnan and his family.

Relationship issues: feud between turkey and iraq is all syria’s fault

niqash | Hoshnag Ose | Brussels | 09.02.2012

Over the past weeks, the warm relationship between Iraq and Turkey has soured, with the two PMs in a war of words about Baghdad’s political crisis. However the real reasons may have more to do with Syria. And Iran.

Last month there was what was described as a “war of words” between the leaders of Iraq and Turkey in the local and international media.

The conflict began with the issuing of an arrest warrant against one of Iraq’s vice presidents, Tariq al-Hashimi, who is also a leading member of the opposition party Iraqiya. Currently the Iraqi government is led by Nouri al-Maliki, head of the State of Law bloc, which is Shiite Muslim dominated. Iraqiya, which is Sunni Muslim dominated, are the main opposition party. Iraqiya also have close ties to the Turkish government.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan then gave a speech in Turkish Parliament, which was televised, in which he said that his country would not stand by idly if Baghdad was intending on causing sectarian strife.

"Maliki should know that: if you start a conflict in Iraq in the form of sectarian clashes, it will be impossible for us to remain silent," Erdogan said. "Those who stand by with folded arms watching brothers massacre each other are accomplices to murder."

Al-Maliki was quick to respond. In a statement, he said that, “Erdogan has provoked all Iraqis with his comments … Sunni and Shiite Iraqis are brothers and do not need anyone claiming to defend them against each other.”

Other examples of the worsening of relations between the two countries included the two regimes both calling in one another’s ambassadors to protest against critical comments. A rocket was also fired at the walls of the Turkish embassy in Baghdad.

However, according to some analysts, the root cause of the controversy lies far from Ankara or Baghdad. Some believe that the real reason for the growing rift between the two nations, whose relationship has actually been growing closer over the past few years, lies with Syria and the growing violence and protests in that country.

Up until very recently, Turkish-Iraqi relations had actually been improving. In late January Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who has attracted attention worldwide for his diplomacy, talked about how a strong and united Iraq, with all sects and ethnicities standing side by side, would be a good thing for the whole region.

The Turkish have also played a role in mediating various internal issues in Iraqi politics. The real shift came about in the summer of 2007 when a large number of Sunni Muslim politicians said they would resign from al-Maliki’s government because of the government’s inability to deal with the security situation. Al-Maliki asked the Turkish to help negotiate and they responded positively, convincing the politicians to staying the government.

As a result, Turkey became something of a political authority for both Sunni Muslim sect and the ethnic Turkmen in Iraq, there were new trade deals and economic agreements made and the Baghdad government “overlooked” the fact that the Turkish military were making incursions into Iraq in pursuit of anti-Turkish-government groups.

Turkey and Iraq are also among each other’s top trading partners with trade between them reaching US$12 billion, according to January 2012 figures. Of this, just over two thirds of investment and trade is happening in the semi-autonomous state of Iraqi Kurdistan in Iraq’s north, which borders on Turkey.

One thing that has distinguished the “neo-Ottoman” policy is the way that Turkey has balanced its relationships with both Baghdad and the government of Iraqi Kurdistan in Erbil. If one relationship starts looking a little tense, Turkey tries to improve its relationship with the other. This puts both governments - the federal one in Baghdad and the state government in Erbil - under constant pressure and allows the Turkish to get the best from both.

But the latest enmity seems to be proving a little more problematic. Protests in Syria began last March, just as Erdogan was visiting Iraq, and since then it’s become obvious that there is a clear division in the way that the Turkish and Iraqi governments see Syria’s future.

Right from the early days of the Syrian uprising, Turkey has supported protestors’ initiatives, aimed at toppling the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

As US current affairs magazine The Atlantic reports, on a story about Turkey’s involvement in the Syrian opposition: “Turkey has hosted the majority of Syrian opposition conferences on its soil, from Istanbul to Antalya. Ten thousand Syrian refugees who fled a massacre in the Idleb province last June are currently living in tents on the Turkish border.”

Meanwhile the Iraqi government’s relationship with Syria has also seen a change, with some saying it’s a change that’s been encouraged by Iran, another of the nations that plays a strong political and economic role in Iraq. Al-Maliki’s government is reportedly strongly influenced by Iran.

In the summer of 2009 Iraq was accusing Syria of arming militias that were causing instability in Iraq. But these days Baghdad’s tone is far more ambiguous, leading many to believe that the Iraqi regime is supporting the Syrian government.

Syrian observers felt this particularly keenly after a visit to Turkey by powerful Iraqi cleric, Ammar al-Hakim, leader of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council. The visit by al-Hakim, a Shiite Muslim said to be closest to the Turkish government than many others, was ostensibly about smoothing out Iraqi-Turkish tensions.

But a statement about Syria was also made. Al-Hakim said that the crisis in Syria could only end with dialogue between the Syrian people and their government, while Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu urged the Iraqi people to support the demands of the Syrian people. To Syrian activists used to reading between the lines, the first statement by the Iraqi cleric was an echo of the calls for dialogue made by the Syrian government itself; the Syrian opposition has already rejected any idea of dialogue that allows al-Assad remains in power.

By all accounts, Iran is supportive of the Syrian regime, whether covertly or overtly. The two countries have had a mutually beneficial relationship since the 1980s. For Iran, Syria is a springboard into the Arab Middle East. And some observers say that Iran, which is reportedly pulling out all the stops to support al-Assad, is now trying to influence Turkey on the Syrian issue, via their Iraqi allies.

Then again, it also seems that al-Maliki’s government has no real interest in supporting the Syrian uprising for its own reasons. After all, why would they wish for unrest on their western borders, unrest that could well spread into Iraq itself, at this difficult time?

Most likely what will influence the outcome of this situation most is the trade balance between the two countries. In the past Turkey has used its economic ties with Baghdad to pressure the Iraqis. Now, judging by the tone that al-Maliki is taking with Turkey – a harder line, and one that he has not tended to use with Turkey before – it seems that Baghdad is reversing that role. Baghdad has realized that they are Turkey’s only trade route into the Middle East, now that Turkey has ceased economic and diplomatic relations with Syria.

However despite the seriousness of the current relationship crisis between the two countries, it seems unlikely that Turkey or Iraq will really push this diplomatic boat out on this conflict. Neither of them can afford to gamble with, or disregard, their own economic interests in this case; both rely on one another and it would be ill advised for both nations.

Which leads one to believe that this crisis in Turkish-Iraqi relations must be a temporary one. And it is one that will be resolved when the fate of the current Syrian regime becomes clearer – which must happen soon, one way or another.

jeudi 2 février 2012

Inauguration ceremony of TURKSOY exhibition at Yunus Emre Cultural Centre in Brussels

ITF EU Representative Dr Hassan Aydinli with the General Secretary of TURKSOY Mr. Dussen Kaseinov

Dr Hassan Aydinli, ITF EU Representative was invited to the inauguration ceremony of the TURKSOY painting exhibition at the YUNUS EMRE Cultural Centre in Brussels.

TURKSOY is an international organization which establishes cooperation among Turkic speaking people in the fields of culture and arts. It was founded in 1993 by the Culture Ministers of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Turkey.  Later, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, the Altai Republic (R.F.), the Republic of Bashkortostan (R.F.), the Republic of Khakassia (R.F.), the Republic of Sakha-Yakutia (R.F.), the Republic of Tatarstan (R.F.), the Tyva Republic (R.F.) and Gagauzia (Moldovia) joined TURKSOY as observer member states.

TURKSOY pursues the same principles and objectivcs as UNESCO.

One of the main goals of TURKSOY is to reveal the socio cultural similarities among the peoples speaking Turkic languages, to explore, to protect, to develop and to maintain the common civil heritage.

The multi dimensional activities of TURKSOY are not only limited to cultural relation and cooperation between the member states but they also aim at strengthening the ties of friendship, peace, tolerance and solidarity all over the world.

mercredi 1 février 2012

Drones Over Iraq: When is a Pullout not a Pullout? by Felicity Arbuthnot

January 31st, 2012

… the enduring power of our moral example, America is back.

— President Obama, State of the Union address, 24 January 2012

First the world was sold imaginary weapons of mass destruction in Iraq with General Colin Powell, at the United Nations in February 2003, asserting:

My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we’re giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence.

Now it seems the world is sold a withdrawal from Iraq which was not quite what it seemed as presented by the Panetta-Obama-fest in the Baghdad, Fort Bragg speeches of just six weeks ago. At Fort Bragg: “The war in Iraq will soon belong to history …” said the President.

Well, not quite.

In an interesting sleight of hand, the State Department, rather than the Pentagon, is operating a fleet of surveillance drones over Iraq in “ … the latest example of the State Department’s efforts to take over the functions in Iraq that the military used to perform.”

Further, the near Vatican City sized US Embassy in Baghdad is protected by five thousand mercenaries and has a further staff of eleven thousand, a large number seemingly in a “military advice” capacity, training Iraqi forces – a nation that, ironically, nine years ago the US and UK cited as having a military capability not alone a threat “to the entire region”, but to the West.

Little noticed is that the State Department has been operating drones in Iraq since last year. Additionally, when “Embassy” staff travel, they are escorted by helicopters, frequently with machine gun toting mercenaries “tethered to the outside.” Another Nisour Square massacre (17 September 2007) waiting to happen.

The Pentagon-operated drones, it seems, went out by the front door and returned through the State Department back door.

Whilst it is asserted that the current ones are unarmed, President Obama’s response during an event hosted by Google and YouTube (30 January) seems ambiguous:

The truth of the matter is we’re not engaging in a bunch of drone attacks inside of Iraq. There’s some surveillance to make sure that our Embassy compound is protected.

The US “protecting” without decimating fire power seems somewhat of a non-sequitur.

Moreover, bids are being sought for drone operations over Iraq for the next five years. Interestingly “solicitations” for “qualified contractors” for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Support Services were released on 1 November 2011, less than two months before the US ‘”pullout” from Iraq. Specifications include disseminating threat information for use in route planning, which reads pretty well like “attack mode”, and Response to a security incident at locations remote from the core of operation — which presumably is an operator safe at a console a few thousand miles away deciding who, and how many, to kill.

Suitable contracts would be signed within thirty days of tendering.

This “worldwide” undertaking will embrace Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, and US drone bases are now in Ethiopia, the Seychelles and “a secret location in the Arabian Peninsula.”

Whilst Iraqis are enraged and Iraqi politicians say they have not been consulted, with acting Interior Minister Adnan Al-Assadi stating adamantly, “Our sky is our sky. Not the USA’s”, Iraq’s law makers seem to have missed — and the US apparently ignored — that formal permission is needed to operate in sovereign air space.

There are also strict criteria for flyover (or flying within) rights. The grantee must be on good terms with the grantor. The grantor must approve the use of the air space and the grantor could deny them use of the air space if there was an attempt to make war. The potential for the guest to blow nationals of the host country to pieces sounds pretty well like a “no way.”

Further, large fees can be levied by the grantor. Russia, for example, charges Europe 300 million euros a year for flyover permission alone.

The deeply divisive, largely mistrusted, increasingly tyrannical US-installed puppet, Prime Minister Maliki, could win some much needed popularity if he took a firm stance on the matter – all the legal tools are there for him to use.

However, he looks to be between the proverbial rock and a very hard place. No breath holding.

Felicity Arbuthnot is a journalist with special knowledge of Iraq. Author, with Nikki van der Gaag, of Baghdad in the Great City series for World Almanac books, she has also been Senior Researcher for two Award winning documentaries on Iraq, John Pilger's Paying the Price: Killing the Children of Iraq and Denis Halliday Returns for RTE (Ireland.) Read other articles by Felicity.

This article was posted on Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 at 8:00am and is filed under Disinformation, Drones, Iraq, Mercenaries, Obama.