dimanche 29 avril 2012

Dr. Hassan Aydinli, ITF EU Representative, attended the 12th Annual Convention of World Azerbaijanis Congress

Dr. Hassan Aydinli, ITF EU Representative, attended the 12th Annual Convention (Union) of World Azerbaijanis Congress

April 28-29, 2012 - Brussels, Belgium

At the invitation from :

Prof. G. Reza Sabri Tabrizi, Great Britain
Chairman, GAMAC South Azerbaijanis for Democracy and Freedom

Dr. Aref Najafi, Canada
Environmentalist, Chairman of Committee to Save Lake Urmia

Dr. Hamdullah Soleymani-Fard, Germany
Committee Member, Save Lake Urmia

Ahmad Obali, USA
Chairman, World Azerbaijanis Congress

Dr. Haqani Gayibli, Estonia
European Coordinator, Committee to save Lake Urmia
Member of Board of Directors, World Azerbaijanis Congress

Ayhan Demirci, Belgium
Azerbaycan - Belcika Dostluk Cemiyeti
Voorzitter Limburgse vereniging voor vriendschapsbanden tussen Azerbeidzjan en België


Dr. Hassan Aydinli with Dr. Haqani Gayibli, European Coordinator, Committee to save Lake Urmia

During the Congress  important matters concerning the Azerbaijani community worldwide were discussed.

The congress also wants to bring to the world's attention the ecological disaster in Lake Urmia.

The participants warned of the ecological disaster in Lake Urmia which will affect the earth that we all live on, this ecological disaster will not only affect the countries surrounding the lake, but eventually Europe as well.

The Congress wants to bring to the world's attention the ecological disaster in lake Urmia - the second largest salt water lake in the world situated in northwest Iran on the Turkish border - that based on UNEP will affect lives of over 75 million people.

Lake Urmia is in danger of disappearing.  Iran has been building many dams over rivers that take water to this lake. Over 35 dams have choked the lake to a point where no water is allowed to go to this lake.  Iranian officials have been promising to look into this ecological mismanagement for the past 8 years but nothing is being done.  Based on Iranian officials over 65% of the lake water is lost. This could be the last year to save the lake.

If the lake completely dries, 10 billion tons of powder salt will remain a hazard to the surrounding environment that will include Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iraq and Iran. According to environmental experts any strong winds will move the salt particles and dump them on surrounding lands, thus creating one of the largest deserts in the world. This is a disaster waiting to happen.

Many activists from Iran have protested the Government policies but instead of listening to their grievances, the Iranian government has arrested many on  this issue.

mercredi 25 avril 2012

Turkey Summons Iraqi Charge d'Affaires as Rift Deepens

w w w . t u r k i s h w e e k l y . n e t

Turkey summoned Iraq's charge d'affaires on Tuesday, a tit-for-tat move a day after Baghdad summoned Turkey's ambassador in a top-level diplomatic row that has heightened regional tensions, Today's Zaman reported.

Iraq, locked in a public row with neighboring Turkey, summoned Ankara's ambassador in Baghdad on Sunday to protest at critical remarks by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The envoy, Yunus Demirer, heard the Iraqi complaint on Sunday after several days of charge and counter-charge.

Turkey, in turn, summoned the Iraqi charge d'affaires Sudat Khidir on Tuesday and told him that the latest statements by Iraqi officials condemning Turkey is unacceptable.

Foreign Ministry officials told the Iraqi envoy that Iraq's peace and stability is a priority matter for Turkey as the situation in Iraq would have direct repercussions on Turkey.

Erdogan accused his Iraqi counterpart Nouri al-Maliki on Thursday of stoking conflict between Shi'ite Muslims, Sunni Muslims and Kurds through "self-centred" behavior.

Maliki fired back that Turkey was becoming a "hostile state" with a sectarian agenda, saying it was meddling in Iraqi affairs and trying to establish regional "hegemony".

Erdogan returned to the fray on Saturday, saying: "If we respond to Mr. Maliki, we give him the opportunity to show off."

Analysts say mainly Sunni Turkey is worried that growing tensions in Iraq and violence in their mutual neighbor Syria may lead to a wider Sunni-Shi'ite conflict in the region.

Turkish officials also conveyed a message to Iraq during the meeting, saying that Iraqis are brothers of Turks and that Turkey is rejecting sectarian- and ethnic-based policies in the war-torn country.

Turkish diplomats also told the Iraqi envoy that Turkey strongly rejects summoning of Turkish ambassador to Baghdad on Sunday.

Erdogan's government has also recently forged close ties with Masoud Barzani, president of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region, which is embroiled in a row with the Baghdad government over claims to the city of Kirkuk and the region's oil.

Erdogan has criticised Maliki several times since sectarian tensions flared in Iraq in December when the Shi'ite-led government tried to remove Sunni Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq and sought an arrest warrant for Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi on charges he ran death squads.

Hashemi fled Baghdad and has since met Erdoğan in İstanbul.

The rift between Baghdad and the Kurds worsened this month when the Kurdistan Regional Government said it was halting oil exports because the central government was not paying oil firms operating in the north.

Iraq is Turkey's second largest trading partner after Germany, with trade reaching $12 billion last year, more than half of which was with the Kurdish region.

10 questions Leveson should ask Rupert Murdoch about his relationship withTony Blair .

24 April 2012 Robin Beste Tony Blair Watch ..
What was it about the relationship with Murdoch that made Tony Blair feel it was appropriate to take a phone call from a newspaper proprietor just hours prior to the most momentous decision a prime minister can make: ordering the country's armed forces to war?

Stop the War Coalition

18 July 2011

When Rupert Murdoch appeared before the parliamentary committee on 19 July 2011, there were ten questions the MPs could have asked, but did not, about the relationship he had with Tony Blair during the run up to the Iraq war. Murdoch was then, according to Blair's former press officer Lance Price, "the third most powerful figure in the Labour government" -- after Blair himself and Gordon Brown. The Leveson Inquiry into the role of the press can now do a public service by asking these questions when Murdoch appears before it.

1.In 2002-3 all of your 127 newspapers around the world, with a combined circulation of 40 million a week, supported the Iraq war. We now know you were often in direct contact with the then prime minister Tony Blair, who you said at the time was "extraordinarily courageous and strong" and who had "shown great guts" in planning the war on Iraq. How much coordination was there between Downing Street and News International on the media presentation of what was widely regarded as an illegal war?

2.You said when interviewed in the run up to the war that Iraq's oil was central to the rationale for overthrowing Saddam Hussein: "The greatest thing to come out of this for the world economy...would be $20 a barrel for oil. That's bigger than any tax cut in any country." Tony Blair always insisted in public that Iraq's oil played no part in the decision to attack Iraq. To what extent did he agree with you in private that getting control of the world's second biggest oil reserves was at the heart of the war aims?

3.All of your newspapers used Tony Blair's "dodgy dossier" of September 2002 to try and generate a war fever with the bogus claim that -- in the words of The Sun headline -- "BRITS 45 MINUTES FROM DOOM". The hand of Alistair Campbell, Blair's press officer, is widely regarded as having been responsible for the dossier's fabrications. There was no coverage in the Sun or the rest of News International's outlets, when it was revealed that some of this dossier, which was supposed to present a cast iron case for attacking Iraq, was drawn from a 12-year old thesis, published on the internet by a PhD student. Was this because you and Blair made a pact that News International would be relentless in promoting the war, even if this meant using lies and distortion?

4.You spoke to Tony Blair by telephone on 11 March 2003, after the announcement by the then French prime minister Jacques Chirac that France would veto a second United Nations resolution sanctioning war against Iraq. Blair was banking on this resolution to help sell a war that was opposed by an overwhelming majority of the British public. The next day, the Sun wrote, "Like a cheap tart who puts price before principle, money before honour, Jacques Chirac struts the streets of shame. The French President's vow to veto the second resolution at the United Nations - whatever it says - puts him right in the gutter." To what extent did your conversation with Blair influence the co-ordinated attack on Chirac across all of your newspapers?

5.You spoke again with Blair on 13 March 2003. The next day, the Sun intensified its vitriolic abuse of Chirac: "Charlatan Jacques Chirac is basking in cheap applause for his 'Save Saddam' campaign - but his treachery will cost his people dear. This grandstanding egomaniac has inflicted irreparable damage on some of the most important yet fragile structures of international order." Did your conversation with Tony Blair reveal that the "grandstanding egomaniac" and "damage to the structures of international order" may have been more appropriately applied to him rather than to Chirac?

6.Your third phone call with Tony Blair within nine days took place on 19 March 2003, the day before the Iraq war started. What was it about the relationship you had with Tony Blair that made him feel it was appropriate to take a phone call from a newspaper proprietor just hours prior to the most momentous decision a prime minister can make: ordering the country's armed forces to war?

7.When the United Nations inspectors under Hans Blix could find no evidence of Iraq having weapons of mass destruction, the coverage in your newspapers bordered on hysteria -- "HE'S GOT 'EM. LET'S GET HIM" screamed the Sun headline. When it was later shown beyond dispute that the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq never existed, did you not feel that News International should have issued an apology for promoting a lie to justify an illegal war?

8.You spoke to Tony Blair on January 29, 2004. This was the day after the Sun leaked extracts from the Hutton Report into the death of government scientist David Kelly, who had been hounded to suicide by Alistair Campbell and the Blair spin machine. Kelly had been revealed -- almost certainly by a leak from Blair's office -- as the source of the BBC report that said the case for war had been "sexed up" in the "dodgy dossier". The Hutton Report, since thoroughly discredited as a whitewash, said Blair and Campbell were -- in the Sun's words -- "completely cleared of criticism". No such fate for the chairman of the BBC Greg Dyke and chairman of the BBC governors Gavyn Davies, both of whom resigned, as Blair, Campbell and your newspapers took the opportunity to savage the BBC for broadcasting the "sexed up" claim. When you spoke to Tony Blair on 29 January, were you both gloating over a spin job well done through the leaking of the Hutton report to the Sun, arranged we must assume between Alistair Campbell and Rebekah Wade (now Brooks), who was then editor of the paper?

9.You are renowned for putting the interests and the profits of your media empire above all other considerations. What payoff did News International get from Tony Blair for the unqualified support it gave for his illegal war in Iraq?

10.Over one million people were killed in Iraq. Another four million were made refugees by the war. The country's infrastructure was so devastated that even today, electricity is rationed for many Iraqis, many still do not have access to clean drinking water or a functioning sewage system, and the health service, which was once the most advanced in the region, now struggles to provide a decent level of care. I79 British soldiers were killed and hundreds more suffered life changing injuries. As a direct result of the war, Britain suffered terrorist atrocities on 7 July 2005, in which 52 people were killed. Does your conscience ever regret the key part that you and your newspapers played in promoting an illegal war which has brought such death and destruction to the Iraqi people, unbearable bereavement to the families of British soldiers sent to kill and be killed for a lie, and increased insecurity, from the threat of terrorist attack, to the people of Britain?




April 24, 2012




KUALA LUMPUR, 12 April 2012 - The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal will be hearing the second charge of Crime of Torture and War Crimes against former U.S. President George W. Bush and his associates namely Richard Cheney, former U.S. Vice President, Donald Rumsfeld, former Defence Secretary, Alberto Gonzales, then Counsel to President Bush, David Addington, then General Counsel to the Vice-President, William Haynes II, then General Counsel to Secretary of Defense, Jay Bybee, then Assistant Attorney General, and John Choon Yoo, former Deputy Assistant Attorney-General. The charge reads as follows:

The Accused persons had committed the Crime of Torture and War Crimes, in that: The Accused persons had wilfully participated in the formulation of executive orders and directives to exclude the applicability of all international conventions and laws, namely the Convention against Torture 1984, Geneva Convention III 1949, Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Charter in relation to the war launched by the U.S. and others in Afghanistan (in 2001) and in Iraq (in March 2003); Additionally, and/or on the basis and in furtherance thereof, the Accused persons authorised, or connived in, the commission of acts of torture and cruel, degrading and inhuman treatment against victims in violation of international law, treaties and conventions including the Convention against Torture 1984 and the Geneva Conventions, including Geneva Convention III 1949.

The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission (KLWCC) following the due process of the law is bringing this charge against the accused. In 2009, the Commission, having received complaints from torture victims from Guantanamo and Iraq, proceeded to conduct a painstaking and an in-depth investigation for close to two years. Two charges on war crimes were drawn and filed against the accused persons.

The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal had heard the first charge in November 2011 against the two accused, former U.S. President George W. Bush and former British Prime Minister Anthony L. Blair who were after a 4-day trial found guilty of Crimes Against Peace. These two former heads of state violated the United Nations Charter and international law when they planned, prepared and invaded the sovereign state Iraq on 19 March 2003 without just cause.

At the first hearing in November 2011, the Tribunal had permitted the prosecution’s application to hear only the first charge. The second charge will now be heard at the second Tribunal hearing from 7 – 12 May 2012.

The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal is constituted of eminent persons with legal qualifications. The judges of the Tribunal, which is headed by retired Malaysian Federal Court judge Tan Sri Dato Lamin bin Haji Mohd Yunus, who also served as an ad litem judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Republic of Yugoslavia, include other notable names such as Mr Alfred Lambremont Webre, a Yale graduate, who authored several books on politics, Tunku Sofiah Jewa, practising lawyer and author of numerous publications on International Law, Prof Salleh Buang, former Federal Counsel in the Attorney-General Chambers and retired Court of Appeal judge Datuk Mohd Sa’ari Yusof.

Point to note is that victims of torture will also be called give evidence before the Tribunal. The cries of these victims have thus far gone unheeded by the international community. The fundamental human right to be heard has been denied to them. These witnesses will testify on the torture they had endured during their incarceration. The accused will have a right to cross-examine them as in any open court hearing.

The Tribunal will adjudicate and evaluate the evidence presented as in any court of law. The judges of the Tribunal must be satisfied that the charges are proven beyond reasonable doubt and deliver a reasoned judgement.

In the event the tribunal convicts any of the accused, the only sanction is that the name of the guilty person will be entered in the Commission’s Register of War Criminals and publicised worldwide. The tribunal is a tribunal of conscience and a peoples’ initiative.

The prosecution for the trial will be lead by Prof Gurdial Singh Nijar, prominent law professor and author of several law publications and Prof Francis Boyle, leading American professor, practitioner and advocate of international law, and assisted by a team of lawyers.

The trial will be a public hearing held in an open court on 7-12 May 2012 at the premises of the Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War (KLFCW) at 88, Jalan Perdana, Kuala Lumpur. The hearing is open to members of the public.

For further information, please contact : Dato’ Dr Yaacob Merican, Secretary General of the KLWCC Secretariat, Tel: +6012-227 8680 ■ Ms Malkeet Kaur, Media Representative of KLWCC, malkeet@dbook.com.my, Tel: +6012-3737 886

contact The BRussells Tribunal info@brussellstribunal.org

more information about the educational situation in Iraq www.educideiraq.info

mardi 24 avril 2012

Iraqi Turkmen demand post of parliament speaker

Iraqi Turkmen demand post of parliament speaker

 23 April 2012 / TODAY'S ZAMAN, ANKARA

Turkmen have demanded the speaker of the federal parliament in Iraq be a Turkmen.

Abbas Beyatlı, a deputy in Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law Coalition, said a Turkmen must be given the post of speaker in the federal parliament to correct the imbalance in the distribution of political posts among the various ethnic groups in Iraq.

Turkmen deputies, who brought up Turkmen issues in a parliamentary session on Saturday, announced at a press conference that it was a day of historical importance for Iraqi Turkmen, with problems faced by Turkmen having been dealt with in the Iraqi parliament for the first time. At the session a report was heard on the persecution Turkmen have suffered in the past, the forced assimilation they were subject to, the extrajudicial executions of Turkmen and confiscation of their goods.

Noting that the Turkmen felt on this historic day that they were an essential part of Iraq, Beyatlı announced Turkmen had two major demands that they would never give up. The first is the post of the parliament speaker. “There are no Turkmen in 11 posts of strategic importance. In order for a balance to be achieved, we demand that the speaker of the federal parliament be a Turkmen,” Beyatlı said.

The second demand regards confiscated Turkmen land. The Turkmen seek return of the land the Iraqi state seized by force in 1976 in the Bashir and Tisin regions. The leader of the Iraqi Turkmen Front, Arshad Salihi, said they brought the Turkmen issue before parliament as they have no hope the National Conference, a government meeting scheduled for the end of the month, will end the political crisis in the country. A committee was formed in parliament to look into the Turkmen's problems and make recommendations.

vendredi 20 avril 2012

Iraq and the Kurds: The High-Stakes Hydrocarbons Gambit


Iraq and the Kurds: The High-Stakes Hydrocarbons Gambit

Middle East Report N°120

19 Apr 2012


A simmering conflict over territories and resources in northern Iraq is slowly coming to a boil. In early April 2012, the Kurdistan regional government (KRG) suspended its supply of oil for export through the national Iraqi pipeline, claiming Baghdad had not fully repaid operating costs to producing companies. The federal government responded by threatening to deduct what the oil would have generated in sales from the KRG’s annual budget allocation, potentially halving it. This latest flare-up in perennially tense Erbil-Baghdad relations has highlighted the troubling fact that not only have the two sides failed to resolve their differences but also that, by striking out on unilateral courses, they have deepened them to the point that a solution appears more remote than ever. It is late already, but the best way forward is a deal between Baghdad and Erbil, centred on a federal hydrocarbons law and a compromise on disputed territories. International actors – the UN with its technical expertise, the U.S. given its unique responsibility as well as strategic interest in keeping things on an even keel – should launch a new initiative to bring the two back to the table.

Each side has its narrative, based on history, accumulated grievances and strong sense of entitlement. For now, neither is inclined to settle the conflict peacefully through serious, sustained negotiations, as each believes its fortunes are on the rise, and time is on its side. They are wrong: time is running out, as unilateral, mutually harmful moves are pushing the relationship to the breaking point, with the hydrocarbons-driven stakes and attendant emotions so high that conflict looks more promising to them than accommodation and compromise.

The two unwilling partners in an Iraqi enterprise born of colonial machinations – Arabs and Kurds – have spent 90 years in unhappy cohabitation. Kurds have waited for the moment when they will succeed in removing the shackles of an overbearing, at times highly repressive, central state. They know that when Baghdad is weak, they can take steps to bring their dream of statehood closer to reality, but that when the centre is strong it will use its superior resources to push them back into their place – or worse. This is why the Kurds are so alarmed at attempts by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to amass power at the expense of his rivals and rebuild a strong state, armed with U.S. weaponry, under his unchallenged control.

Ever since arriving in Baghdad on the coattails of the U.S. invasion in 2003, the Kurds understandably have used their new position and the centre’s weakness to develop their own region. They seek to reverse a legacy of discrimination and economic neglect but also to create an escape route should relations with Baghdad sour beyond repair. Yet, in many ways, this approach contains elements of a self-fulfilling prophecy: by pressing their advantage, Kurds inevitably aggravate matters, convincing the federal government that they are aiming for secession – and aiming to take with them a good chunk of disputed territory that Kurds claim as historically part of a notional Kurdistan but that also appears to be immensely rich in oil and gas.

Perhaps most worrying to Baghdad, Kurdish leaders have lured international companies to explore and exploit the region’s suspected hydrocarbons wealth. Nor have they stopped at the Green Line that divides their region from the rest of Iraq; instead, they have signed contracts for acreage located squarely in disputed territories. The latest (and largest) to agree to play this game was ExxonMobil, which arrived on the scene in October 2011, taking six blocks, two of which, along with a corner of a third, lie across the Green Line. It thus placed itself at the heart of the conflict, potentially accelerating the centrifugal forces that are tearing at the Iraqi fabric. While ExxonMobil may have calculated that by doing so it could help bring Baghdad and Erbil to the table and effect progress on a federal hydrocarbons law, the likelier outcome is that both sides will further entrench their positions, thus increasing the chances of violent conflict. From Baghdad’s perspective, the Kurds are making mincemeat of any attempt to have a unified federal oil strategy; increasingly, it views them as untrustworthy partners in government who are seeking to break up the country.

But the Kurds face a problem. While they pursue an independent oil policy and have taken important steps toward that end by drafting their own oil law in 2007 and signing over 40 contracts with foreign oil companies without Baghdad’s input or approval, they lack the means to export their oil without Baghdad’s help and therefore its permission. To date, the federal government has used its control over the national pipeline network, as well as its hold on the treasury and budget, to rein in the Kurds’ ambitions.

Hemmed in by Baghdad and anxious to become economically self-sufficient, Erbil is turning its eyes to another potential outlet for its oil: Turkey. Masoud Barzani, the Kurdish region’s president, reportedly told foreign visitors to his mountain redoubt that if Maliki remains in power beyond the 2014 parliamentary elections, the Kurds would go their own way. Not coincidentally, 2014 is when the Kurdish region expects to complete construction of its own strategic oil pipeline, one that skirts (federal government) Iraqi territory before reaching the border with Turkey. For Kurdish leaders, economic dependency on a democratic neighbour with an attractive window on the West is far preferable to a continued chokehold by a regime displaying authoritarian tendencies – all of which raises the question of what Ankara would do if the Kurds ask it to take their oil without Baghdad’s approval.

Turkey’s main objective in Iraq has been to keep it unified. To this end, it has undertaken economic steps since 2007 that would bind the country’s various parts into an economic union, hoping that politics, especially the relationship between Baghdad and Erbil, would follow suit. It also has encouraged both sides to agree to a federal hydrocarbons law, the added benefit of such legislation being that energy-poor Turkey could import oil and gas from Iraq’s immense southern fields, as well as from the Kurdish region, coming closer to fulfilling its aspiration of becoming a major transit corridor for regional hydrocarbons. The Kurds hope, however, that Turkey’s thirst for oil and gas will align with their own thirst for statehood.

Ankara is unlikely to shift course, frustration with its neighbour’s failure to agree on oil legislation and its eagerness to purchase oil and gas from the Kurdish region notwithstanding. Ideally, it would import Kurdish products without jeopardising its relationship with Baghdad, though that seems beyond reach.

The Kurds have not lost hope. As they see it, a regional crisis – such as war between Iran and the U.S. or the break-up of neighbouring Syria – might constitute a game-changing occurrence, persuading Ankara to risk its relations with Baghdad in exchange for energy security and a stable (Kurdish) buffer against an unpredictable, possibly chaotic, suspiciously pro-Iranian and increasingly authoritarian Arab Iraq. But such scenarios might not unfold and, for a multitude of reasons, one must hope they do not. The answer to the current impasse, in other words, is not to wish for a cataclysmic event with potentially devastating repercussions for all. It is not to bank on the central Iraqi government surrendering resource-rich territories it deems its own and has the means to hold on to by force. And it is not to gamble on a radical move by Turkey toward a separate deal with the KRG when Ankara has its own, deep-seated fears concerning a potentially newly invigorated Kurdish population on its own territory.

For Baghdad and Erbil, reaching a deal will be very difficult. But the alternatives surely would be far worse.


To the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG):

1. Reduce tensions and improve the environment for resolving differences by:

a) re-committing publicly to a negotiated solution to the status of disputed internal boundaries and the conflict over oil and gas contracts;

b) agreeing to take no further unilateral steps in disputed territories, such as issuing new oil and gas contracts; and

c) refraining from inflammatory rhetoric concerning mutual relations, the status of disputed internal boundaries and the issuance of oil and gas contracts in disputed territories, especially (in the Kurds’ case) in the run-up to provincial elections in the Kurdish region on 27 September 2012.

2. Work, along with other Iraqi parties and alliances, toward the success of a planned but delayed national conference regarding a practicable power-sharing arrangement in Baghdad.

3. Resume negotiations promptly on the status of disputed internal boundaries and a federal hydrocarbons law and agree, as part of such negotiations, to open channels of communication and coordinated action, including:

a) a channel for frequent communication between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and KRG President Masoud Barzani or their designated senior representatives; and

b) the appointment of a non-voting official from each side to, respectively, the Iraqi cabinet and the KRG’s council of ministers to promote early flagging of disputes.

To the Government of Iraq:

4. Speed up payments to producing companies operating in the Kurdish region, as agreed.

5. Refrain from inflammatory rhetoric toward Turkey.

To the Kurdistan Regional Government:

6. Resume export of oil through the Iraqi national pipeline at agreed volumes.

To International Oil Companies:

7. Refrain from signing contracts with either the government of Iraq or the KRG for acreage located in disputed territories; and suspend all operations in disputed territories until the status of internal disputed boundaries has been resolved.

To the Government of Turkey:

8. Refrain from inflammatory rhetoric toward the Maliki government, continue to emphasise Turkey’s interest in the unity of Iraq and engage with the Maliki government and the KRG to assist them to come to an agreement over the status of disputed internal boundaries and a federal hydrocarbons law.

To the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI):

9. Revive the high-level task force, at least to address flare-ups along the trigger line; support negotiations between Iraqi stakeholders on disputed internal boundaries by providing technical expertise and political advice at all levels; and propose specific confidence-building steps in the disputed territories based on its April 2009 report.

10. Should these negotiations reach a dead end on their individual tracks, move Iraqi stakeholders toward a grand bargain combining the issues of power, resources and territories, as proposed in the mission’s April 2009 report.

To the U.S. Government:

11. Support the early start of negotiations between the Iraqi government and the KRG on the status of disputed internal boundaries and a federal hydrocarbons law and provide full financial and diplomatic backing to UNAMI in mediating stakeholder talks.

12. Use military assistance (equipment and training) as leverage to press the Iraqi government and the KRG to refrain from unilateral steps in disputed territories, including by army and Kurdish regional guard units or by issuing oil and gas contracts; and strengthen mechanisms aimed at improving communications and security cooperation to reduce chances of violent conflict.

13. Announce and reaffirm publicly its policy of advising international oil and gas companies not to sign contracts for acreage located in disputed territories, and persuade those that have signed such deals to suspend all operations in disputed territories until the status of internal disputed boundaries has been resolved.

Baghdad/Erbil/Washington/Brussels, 19 April 2012


jeudi 19 avril 2012

Iraq and the Kurds: The High-Stakes Hydrocarbons Gambit

Iraq and the Kurds: The High-Stakes Hydrocarbons Gambit


19 Apr 2012

The political standoff between Iraq’s Kurds and the government in Baghdad has left pressing disputes over oil and territories unresolved, intensifying the likelihood of conflict.

Iraq and the Kurds: The High-Stakes Hydrocarbons Gambit , the latest International Crisis Group report, examines growing tensions between Iraq’s federal government and the Kurdistan regional government (KRG) over oil and gas wealth and disputed territories in the north. The most recent flare-up highlights that the two sides have not only failed to resolve their differences, but in striking out on unilateral paths, might also have made a solution more remote than ever.

“Each side has its own narrative, accumulated grievances and strong sense of entitlement”, says Joost Hiltermann, Crisis Group’s Middle East Deputy Program Director. “Time is running out as unilateral, mutually harmful moves push relations to breaking point, with hydrocarbons-driven stakes and emotions so high that conflict looks more promising to them than accommodation and compromise”.

Iraq’s Arabs and Kurds have spent 90 years in unhappy cohabitation. This month, tensions escalated when the KRG suspended its supply of oil for export through the national pipeline, claiming Baghdad had failed to fully reimburse producing companies. The federal government responded by threatening to deduct what the sale of oil would have generated from the Kurds’ annual budget allocation, potentially halving it.

As Kurds await the moment they can remove the shackles of an overbearing and at times highly repressive central state, reversing a legacy of discrimination and economic neglect, they are also creating an escape route should relations with Baghdad sour beyond repair. In so doing, they aggravate matters, convincing the federal government they seek independence and to take with them disputed territory they claim as historically part of a notional Kurdistan that appears to be immensely rich in oil and gas. Perhaps most worrying to Baghdad, Kurdish leaders have attracted international firms to exploit suspected hydrocarbons wealth and signed contracts for acreage across the Green Line that divides the Kurdish region from the rest of Iraq. The latest (and largest) to play this is game was ExxonMobil, which in October signed a contract for six blocs, two of which are in disputed territories.

It is late already, but the best way forward is a deal between Baghdad and Erbil centred on a federal hydrocarbons law and compromise on disputed territories. International actors – the UN with its technical expertise, the U.S. given its unique responsibility and strategic interest in maintaining stability – should launch a new initiative to bring the two back to the table. As the Kurds look to Turkey as a potential outlet for their oil without Baghdad’s permission, Ankara should reaffirm its commitment to a unified Iraq and press both sides to agree to a federal hydrocarbons law.

“The Kurds are banking on a regional game-changer that might persuade Ankara to risk its relations with Baghdad”, says Robert Malley, Crisis Group’s Middle East and North Africa Program Director. “But such scenarios might not unfold and, for a multitude of reasons, one must hope they do not. While it will be difficult to reach a deal, both sides should move rapidly in that direction, as the alternatives would surely be far worse”.

dimanche 15 avril 2012

Iraq’s First Independent High Commission for Human Rights, Landmark Achievement

Baghdad, 9 April 2011 - The United Nations hails as a landmark achievement for Iraq today’s vote by the Council of Representatives to appoint the Commissioners who will serve on Iraq's first Independent High Commission for Human Rights. عربي

"For the first time in its history, there is an independent national institution to promote and protect the rights of all Iraq's people, irrespective of their national, ethnic, religious, gender or other differences. This is certainly a landmark achievement,” said Mr. Martin Kobler, the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Iraq and the chief of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

The process of selecting the 11 permanent and three back-up Commissioners has taken exactly one year to be completed. It was conducted by a special Committee of Experts that was appointed by the Council of Representatives. The Committee consisted of representatives of members of Parliament, the Judiciary, the Government of Iraq, civil society, and the United Nations.

Welcoming the news, Dr. al Jabouri, the Chairman of the Committee of Experts said: "The process of selecting the Commissioners has been long, but it has now been successfully concluded. We are particularly grateful for the technical, training, and logistic support provided by UNAMI, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the United Nations Development Programme, which contributed to the good result achieved today."

The Committee of Experts was chaired by Dr. Al Jabouri, who also serves as the Chair of the Council of Representatives Human Rights Committee. In reaching the final list of nominees for endorsement by the Council of Representatives, the Committee of Experts processed some 3085 applications, completing its work on 5 April 2012.

Première commission indépendante des droits de l’homme en Irak

Première commission indépendante des droits de l’homme en Irak

mercredi, avril 11, 2012

Pour la première fois de son histoire, l’Irak s’est doté d’une commission indépendante des droits de l’homme, qui traquera toutes les violations pouvant se produire dans le pays, a affirmé hier la députée Achwaq al-Jaff. Les 181 députés présents ont adopté lundi à l’unanimité la création de la Haute Commission des droits de l’homme (HCDH), conformément à l’article 102 de la Constitution. Dirigée par Salama al-Khafaji, selon un communiqué du Parlement, elle compte onze commissaires, dont deux femmes, et trois suppléants. Parmi eux figurent six chiites, quatre sunnites et un yazedi. Sur le plan ethnique, il y a huit Arabes, deux Kurdes et un Turkmène. Ils viennent de neuf provinces et ont tous travaillé dans le domaine des droits de l’homme, a précisé une source parlementaire.

L'Orient le Jour

lundi 9 avril 2012

Dr Hassan Aydinli attended the Delegation for relations with Iraq Meeting at the EU Parliament

The Chair of the Delegation for Relations with Iraq MEP Struan Stevenson and Iraqi Turkmen Front EU Representative Dr. Hassan Aydinli.

Dr Hassan Aydinli, ITF EU Representative and Mr. Dominic Porter, Deputy Head of Division Arabian Peninsula, Iran, Iraq, European External Action Service

Representatives of the Iraqi Embassy and Representatives of Iraq's ethnic/religious groups in the EU Capital attended the conference


MEPs attending the conference:
Chair: Mr Struan Stevenson
Ms. S. Costa da Silva
Mr. Andres Perello Rodriguez

The Chair opened the meeting by saying that last week MEPs held a joint meeting with AFET and Mr. Martin Kobler, Special Representative of the UN SG and Head of UNAMI.

He informed that on 22nd December 2011, the Council authorised the signature of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with Iraq, which marks the first contractual relation EU-Iraq. The PCA remains to be signed by Ms. Catherine Ashton and Mr. Hoshyar Zebari.

MEP Struan Stevenson strongly condemned the series of recent attacks in Iraq and extended his condolences to the victims and their families. He said that there is a great need for a strong government in Iraq to ensure security. 

The Chair said he is glad that Al-Iraqiya has ended its boycott.

MEP Struan Stevenson said he wishes all the best to the Summit of the Arab League which will take place in Iraq on 28-29 March 2012 and said that after the Summit Iraq will hold the presidency of the Arab League for one year.

The Chair informed that he is expecting the visit of parliamentarians from Iraq next month.

Regarding Camp Ashraf he said that there are still some problems, the main issue is the resettlement of refugees from Camp Liberty.

MEP Struan Stevenson said that the Iraq Delegation's visit to Iraq which was planned to take place during the week 29th October 2012 is not appropriate as most Iraqi parliamentarians will be absent for 'Eid.  The other possibility would be from 27th - 31st August 2012, the date of the visit will be finalised with the Iraqi Embassy in Brussels.

Mr. Dominic Porter, Deputy Head of Division Arabian Peninsula, Iran, Iraq, European External Action Service took the floor and spoke about the regional situation. He said that the EU has been invited to the Summit of the Arab States, Mr. Pierre Dumont will represent Ms. Catherine Ashton. This will mark the end of the isolation of Iraq (since 1978). Turkey, Iran, the US have not been invited.

Mr. Porter said that very constructive work had been realised between Iraq and Kuwait.
He said that since 2005 Turkey has taken a pragmatic approach, contrary to the Gulf States.

Regarding the domestic situation, Mr Porter said it remains very complicated. The Constitution issues still need to be resolved, Artcile 140, Kirkuk, Hydrocarbon Law, Revenue Sharing ...
Iraq will come out of Chapter VII as soon as all problems are resovled with Kuwait.

Regarding EU relations with Iraq, he said that EU's values must be promoted and also EU's interests.  The EU is committed in the long term to assist Iraq in consolidating democracy and human rights and in solving vulnerable minorities issues.

The PCA will no doubt provide a deeper and more permanent dialogue between Iraq and the EU.

ITF EU Representative Dr Hassan Aydinli spoke to MEP Struan Stevenson,  he raised the question of the Turkmens’ unresolved property claims, saying that after 9 years of regime change in Iraq and despite the creation of a Property Claims Commission and a of special Tribunal to deal with the problems of confiscated properties during the former regime as well as the allocation of the equivalent of 200 million US $ to compensate the victims,  the majority of the dispossessed Turkmen farmers and landlords have still not received any compensation, whereas the Kurds and Arabs have been compensated. This is a flagrant discrimination against the Turkmens.
He informed MEP Struan Stevenson that from the 42.000 files submitted to the Tribunal by the Turkmens less than 4000 have been processed to-date.

Dr Aydinli asked MEP Stevenson to put this item on the agenda of the next EU Parliament’s Iraq Delegation meeting  in order to put some pressure on the Iraqi government to solve this problem.

jeudi 5 avril 2012

The Turkmen must also adjust to the Changing Process in the Middle East

Dr. Hicran Kazancı, ITF Turkey Representative and MKYK member

The politics of every nation should be directed at targets which comply with their own national interests. The tools necessary to achieve these targets should be selected realistically. Unrealistic tools will not only fail to reach the target but will also evoke a sense of failure.

Although the interests of nations or national groups may coincide their ways of achieving these goals is usually different. This is why the policies of nations do not exactly match. However, they may cooperate to achieve common interests.

Difference and contrast from time to time is inherent in the nature of the needs and interests of groups and even nations. However, it is also important to create a competitor out of an enemy, it is also inherent in the nature of international relations to create a partner in a problem into a partner in the solution. High politics is generated with intelligence and strategic finesse. Politics based on emotion and derived from contrasts is ideological and conflicting. In the long term there are no winners. It depletes its constituents and resources.

It is important not to be submissive or act on an illusion of permanent friendship when generating a policy, the policy must be generated with a view on national interests, needs and expectations. There are parties which are in opposition from time to time and which cooperate from time to time. Their positions may change within time. What is important is to be able to establish life-long partners out of opponents with whom cooperation is made. This requires incontrovertible politics (realistic politics) and competent politicians to design and apply them.

Turkmeneli needs this style of politics and politicians. For us Turkmen there are three power centers. In order to enhance our security, our interests and the quality of our daily lives we are obliged to pursue a rational policy in the Arbil-Baghdad-Ankara triangle. We must develop positive relations with these centers as well as contribute to the development of good relations between these power centers among themselves. Our choices and the steps we take must ensure that this triangle is stable and cooperative. Peace and cooperation in our region is vital for the security, welfare and its increasing impact for us Turkmen.

We know that neither peace nor stability establish themselves on their own. They must be built or established. We Turkmen should be ready to undertake a role in building peace and stability in Iraq. This way we can contribute to our own nation, as well as to the land we live on and Turkey with which we have an emotional affinity.

The Iraqi Turkmen also need to establish a common consciousness and strategy. We cannot say that this has been realized to date. What needs to be done is this: In a short time women and men from various organized Iraqi Turkmen groups (tribal, political party, professional groups, etc.) should be selected to establish a group/council/assembly of REASONABLE PEOPLE and common problems would be presented to this group and the national Turkmen policy would be established with the resolutions promulgated by this platform. If this can be achieved then we will have succeeded to achieve three things:

1- we will achieve solidarity among ourselves;
2- we will find common solutions to common problems;
3- we will be much stronger facing others and be able to act as a united nation instead of a dispersed community.

Dr. Hicran Kazancı

Iraqi Turkmen Front

Turkey Representative