Saturday, December 15, 2007

Kurdish Press Law A Threat to Freedom of Expression and Democracy - By Ardalan Hardi

The Kurdistan National Assembly, led by President Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), on Dec. 10 passed a Press Law that mandates fines for journalists and news organizations for “insulting officials.” Journalists could face jail time and or fines of up to 10 million Iraqi Dinars. Newspapers would be forced to pay as much as 20 million Iraqi Dinars.

This law is a clear violation of international media standards that jeopardizes freedom of expression and threatens Kurdistan 's democracy. Criticizing public officials should not be a criminal offense.

Hundreds of journalists and intellectuals have scheduled a demonstration against the Press Law to be simultaneously held Friday in Azadi Park in Sulaimaniyah and Mnara Park in Irbil .
In a recent interview, journalist Mem Burhan Qani’ told Kurdish Voice of America: “So far this is the worst law that has been passed by the Kurdistan National Assembly since its establishment.”

Asos Hardi, the editor-in-chief of Awene independent news paper in Sulaimaniyah, told Kurdish Aspect: “The bill was initially drafted by the Kurdistan Journalists Syndicate (KJS) and was modified by some members of the Parliament who took it upon themselves to change some of the paragraphs and articles in the bill.”

Mr. Hardi said, “For the law to take effect, President Barzani has to sign it. If he does, this will follow in the footsteps of dictators and totalitarian governments like the former Baath’s regime, rather than following principles of freedom and democracy that we seek as a nation.”
Mr. Hardi argued, “The previous press law set by the Baath government was better than the one the Kurdish parliament just passed”.

Under the Baath regime’s laws, a reporter who broke laws was solely held responsible for the crime and faced imprisonment. The law passed by the KNA not only holds journalists responsible, but also punishes newspapers. If convicted of vague crimes such as “insulting officials,” newspapers can be closed for up to six months and gives the government the power to seize all of the copies already in circulation.

On behalf of the staff of Kurdish Aspect and all of our contributors, we call on President Barzani to reject the proposed Kurdistan Press Law and send it back to parliament for further discussion.

One of the essential pillars of democratic societies is the freedom of expression. Defending a free press should be a core value of all governments that consider themselves democratic. The role of the media is a primary factor in holding our elected officials accountable and maintaining transparency.

Thomas Jefferson summed it up when he wrote: "Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter."

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Turks’ perplexity with the Kurdish issue - By Dr. Kirmanj Gundi

The modern Turkish Republic, like its predecessor, the Ottoman Empire, has been a multi-ethnic state. Nonetheless, the Turkish leadership overlooked such a reality and adopted a new Constitution on which it was founded on the mono-ethnic identity driven from the school of thought of Ataturk, “He is fortunate who calls himself a Turk.”

The Turkish leaders adapted such a thought and integrated it into the new Turkish Constitution, “Everyone bound to the Turkish state through the bond of citizenship is a Turk,” (Turkish Constitution, Chapter Four, Turkish Citizenship, Article 66).

Such an unbalanced Constitution and unrealistic political decisions have created a societal plague that has prevented the Turks from growing into a tolerant society. Consequently, they see no other ethnic groups equal to themselves.

Turkey, as an Islamic entity, is a democratic and secular state on which is founded on “loyalty to the nationalism of Ataturk,” which is based on a mono-Turkish tone; a premise which contradicts every principle of democracy.

For the ambitious Turkish leaders, to have a brighter and more prosperous future with the EU need to ask themselves, will it be possible to achieve their goal without amending Turkey’s Constitution to meet the basic democratic standards where every individual and ethnic group is equally respected?

Turkey’s dream of becoming a member of the democratic EU is a matter worthy of support by all of her friends including the Kurds in all parts of Kurdistan, because Turkish membership to the EU not only benefits Turkey, but also the Kurds and the entire Middle East.

If Turkey could subdue the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and even dismantle the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), it would only be perceived as if the Turks had won the battle, but not the war. For the Turks to win the peace they should accept the Kurds and try to find a political solution to the Kurdish issue. Using the PKK as a pretext to suppress more than 20 million Kurds in Turkey and threaten the KRG in Iraq will only draw the Turks into a deepened quagmire in which there will be no winner.

The PKK must also relinquish its military campaigns against the Turkish state. It must adopt a new non-violent political means to make its voice heard. The bloodshed of innocent Kurds and Turks must come to an end. However, it can only be feasible when the leadership of both sides get out of the cycle of hate and fear, enemy and war, and see themselves as organs of the same common humanity where together they all will flourish.

Dr. Kirmanj Gundi is a Professor at Tennessee State University-Nashville, Tennessee.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Mr. President: Kurdish Independence can not be granted by our enemies - By Ardalan Hardi

Yaqen News Agency reported that Shimon Peres, the Prime Minister of Israel said, "The establishment of an independent Kurdish state in Iraq is a matter for the Iraqis themselves to decide. But I can say that the implementation of a federal system is the best way to solve the problems besetting Iraq today."

In response president Jalal Talabani said, "Unfortunately it is not possible for the Kurds in Iraq to declare independence because neighboring countries are not agreeable to that." Talabani said that therefore the best thing is to remain in current status of a federation under which the Kurds can rule themselves in the north and participate in governing the other parts of Iraq.

Dear Mr. President if Jewish people would have waited for their neighboring countries to grant them permission to declare independence, Israel would not exist today. In fact even today Israel is not fully recognized by its Arab neighbors. The Israeli leaders had the vision and the courage to fight against great odds for what was in the best interest of their people and after many sacrifices they achieved their ultimate goal of Independence. Are we less than them?

Mr. President Independence is a legal right that we as Kurds are entitled to just like any other nation that lives on this planet and independence is inevitable. No leader or political organization has the right to speak on behalf of the future generations of Kurdistan when it comes to our legitimate right to be free. I respectfully disagree with your view Mr. President. Freedom is not turkey dinner served to us on a platter. Historically, freedom is not something that is given, but a moral right that is earned. One of the greatest leaders of our times Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed."

I can understand that you feel the time is not right to claim Kurdistan’s Independence in todays political climax in Iraq. The inability to declare Kurdish independence during this most opportune time in history is because our leaders have failed to prepare us and unite us under one umbrella.

Mr. President you are correct, if we wait for our neighboring enemies to grant us independence it will never happen.

"Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature." Benjamin Franklin

Monday, October 29, 2007

My Fathers Pen and Paper

To my Dad Ahmad Hardi By Ardalan Hardi

My father was a Kurdish poet.

The greatest gift you could give my dad was pencil and paper. I remember when he came to visit me in 1995 I took him to Barnes and Noble (large book store in the U.S.). Even though he was not fluent in English he went through every aisle in the store. He would pick up a book open it up would read a few words then put it back down. The happiest I have ever seen my dad is when he was surrounded by books.

After we spent four hours in Barnes and Noble, we left with 5 pens and 2 note books. My dad loved good writing pens with blue ink and always had to have blank paper next to him. whether he was sitting on a chair or lying in his bed, his pen and paper were always close by. On the way home he would pick up the note book flip through the blank pages and feel the thickness of the paper look at me and say “this is good paper” then he would put it back down and reach inside his black suit coat and pull out the pens and would say “ I think I am going to like these pens“.
All that evening he paced the living room admiring the pen and paper I bought him. As it got closer to bedtime he slowly walked over to where I was sitting touched my cheek with his two wrinkled fingers gave me a smile of approval and said “thank you Mr. Hardi thank you.”

I loved seeing him happy.

Today is one year since you have left us. I can picture you up there in heaven leaning over your pillow with your blue ink pen underlining an article from Awene newspaper.
I wonder if they provide good Pen and Paper up in heaven?

Not a day goes by when I do not think of you.

If you care to share a memory or a picture of my dad with me please email me at

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Iraq's three-region solution Petition

To: Honorable President Bush
George W. Bush, U.S. President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
NW Washington, DC 20500

Honorable President Bush:

Soon after America went to war, Saddam’s regime was toppled and institutional tyranny was buried in Iraq. Americans were overjoyed by returning freedom to the oppressed Iraqis. America told them it would make their country the beacon of democracy for the larger Middle East. We know changing from democracy to dictatorship can be accomplished overnight, but to move from dictatorship to democracy needs the patience of generations!
Mr. President, Four years of beheadings, suicide bombings, demolition of shrines, and other atrocities should be enough to make the world cognizant of the culture of hate between the Sunnis and Shiites.

Since America has the primary responsibility toward Iraq’s future it can no longer afford to continue to deny the complexity of Iraqi society: first, that there are two major ethnicities, Kurds and Arabs; and second, within the Arab community a bitter religious division exists between Sunni and Shiite factions, and third, these realities exist along with the presence of other minorities. None of these have been taught the initial alphabet of democracy. They either are the oppressor or are being oppressed.

If America abandons its quest to re-establish Baghdad as the strong capital of Iraq and works with the realities on the ground, then other options are easier. Iraq is already a divided society. It no longer makes sense to refuse to honor the all too-evident wishes of the majority of Iraqi people to no longer be yoked together in a state that was initially configured by failed British policy for its colonial interests. Break the country into three autonomous regions and let each respective community take full responsibility for the security of its region. It can be done. Kurdistan is a living example. We must remind ourselves if in the past the Iraqi territorial integrity had been kept together it was done with an iron fist, but the truth of the matter is that its society had never been unified like societies of other nations. Why should we deny that and continue to hope in vain?

The plight of America’s military in Iraq has lessened America’s influence at the global level. And America’s enemies in the region such as Iran and Syria are celebrating the White House’s predicament in Iraq; because, it has given them a free hand to contribute more to Iraq’s chaotic situation without even being slapped on that hand. At the same time Iran has been successfully indirectly fighting America on two other fronts --in Afghanistan and Lebanon, and not very concerned about what America has to say regarding its nuclear ambitions. It does not matter how many rounds of negotiations America sits in with the Iranians and discuss Iraq, they won’t play the role of honest broker in helping America bring the dire situation in Iraq to an end. This is because a barely controlled chaotic Iraq works better for Iranian interests than having a democratic Iraq. Therefore, America should not be optimistic for a viable solution through Iranian mullahs. Instead, America can devise a workable solution for Iraq by dividing it into three regions in order to focus on troublesome areas such as Iran, Lebanon and elsewhere.
The three-region solution can provide a graceful exit, and will give peace and democracy to the peaceful majority of Iraqis. It is still not too late to turn the course of the war around and let the Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis be their own palace guards under a flexible federal government in Baghdad. This is a proper way to implant the seeds of democracy in this turbulent country. It could be the preferred way for America to leave Iraq with her head held high. It is still not too late to do that.


The Undersigned

Thursday, August 02, 2007

US Foreign Policy on Kurdistan Alienates Kurds and Provokes Regional Conflagration - By Martin Zehr

The recent exposure of US aid to the Turkish military against the PKK in southern Kurdistan by Robert Novak and the attempts by the Baghdad government to circumvent Article 140 of the Iraqi Constitution is creating a scenario with profound ramifications to the region. There is apparently a profound callousness by the US government regarding the aspirations of the Kurdish people and nation that has resulted in an attempt to placate the Turkish military rather than clearly defining boundaries for Turkish military operations that are unequivocal and inviolable. In an interview, Massoud Barzani, President of the Kurdish Autonomous Region, has stated his profound concern regarding the actions of the Baghdad Government to undermine the guarantee for the Kirkuk Referendum. "The Kurds will never relinquish or bargain over Kirkuk , but we accepted to regain Kirkuk through constitutional and legal methods. But if we despair of those constitutional and legal methods, then we will have the right to resort to other means," Barzani warned.

The recent alignment of the US government in opposition to the Kurdish nation has become more evident in recent articles from neo-cons and administration spokespersons. The response from President Barzani is a singular notification to the US government of the intentions of the Kurdish Regional Government and the armed forces under its control. It also is a warning to Turkey and the current Iraqi government of the position of Kurdish peoples. There is nothing in this interview that might be misconstrued.

The Kurdish question has too long been treated as a subsidiary of the US occupation of Iraq . The fact is that there is NO occupation of Kurdistan . The fact is that the Kurdish people have demonstrated in two referenda their support for independence. The fact is that the Kirkuk Referendum has been established as a democratic means of determining the destiny of Kirkuk under Article 140 of the Iraqi Constitution.

There is little policy coming from the Bush administration that defines its policy towards Kurdistan . But recently, policy analysts at the Middle East Forum and the Jamestown Foundation have increasingly taken positions that are aligned with Turkish military maneuvers in the region. This represents a development that would engage the newly reorganized armed forces of the Kurdish Autonomous Region, the Kurdistan Region Guard Forces. The effort to dissuade and challenge the Baghdad government from enforcing Article 140 is risky and threatens the recognition of the Kurdish nation. The failure of the current administration and the Democratic opposition to detail the policy has created a dangerous scenario.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Democracy will not come to Kurdistan as long as there are the White “holy” 4-wheel drive convoys…. - By Werner Nijman in Suleymaniya

We have all seen them…. Suddenly, several white Land-cruisers or Patrol cars appear behind you on the road, with flashing lights, and guards waving to the cars in front of them to get out of their way fast. As soon as the car in front has been frightened, and moved to the side of the road, the white cars with their blackened windows speed past, while the guards in the passenger seat make some offensive or impatient gestures.

Who are these people that seem to have a right to ignore normal traffic regulations, and scare every one out of their way? Who are these “special passengers” that even the traffic police do not want to stop, in stead, often stop other road users who would have the right of way, so that the string of white “holy” cars can speed thru?

The phenomenon of the speeding white big cars seems to be increasing. More and more of those cars seem to have taken to the road.

Why? What is behind this? Why doesn’t police or government do anything to stop this trend of civil disobedience, or better expressed, clear provocation to traffic rules and regulations? Or is it that the authorities can’t do anything to stop this? Obviously, traffic rules are broken, speed records are being broken, both inside and outside the towns, red lights and stop signs from police officers are being ignored, let alone, many lives are in danger by this reckless driving. Actually, lives have been lost because of this arrogant road behaviour. If other road users would behave in the same manner, they would be in serious problems, probably their car will be confiscated, and likely receive huge fines if caught with this bad attitude towards road safety or driving courtesy.

The white “holy” cars with their guards can “legally” stop anywhere they want, even if it is in the middle of a busy intersection, so that the person that needs protection, can easily get in or out of the vehicle. No worries are needed about any other road user, they just have to wait…. The white cars are “untouchable”.Sometimes when a small convoy like this arrives at their destination, the guards will block of the road at the two ends, so that the passenger or passengers of “importance” can go in or out of the car to the house or office, or shop (e.g. buying groceries in Zara Supermarket), without any danger for his life….(!!)Who are these people? Are they so special that even the laws of a civilized society can not touch them?

The tradition has become that if a person has been an important (or less important) Peshmerga, or if he has got high placed family or friends, or if he has made his money thru either a profitable business or corruption(!), the lucky man will then buy himself two or more of those white four-wheel drive vehicles, preferably Toyota or Nissan, top models. Then hire a small army of private guards (some are known to have up to 200 armed individuals providing protection). They all receive some training in how to intimidate people, either with their guns or with their cars, and hey… the right image has been created! Another person with “holy” cars, that demands other people to bow…. Is this the right development to encourage democracy?

It must be added though that some people have those rights on protection, i.e. the president of Iraq, the Prime Minister(s), or some other people of importance. But……….. should people running companies have this kind of treatment? Should people that have retired from fighting Saddam continue with this kind of behaviour that they disliked of the previous regime? Should individuals in general be allowed this kind of “presidential” privileges???

For sure, as long as some individuals can demand or intimidate the majority of the population to make way for them, to vacate the best parking places, to wait in front of a traffic light that is green and make every one else wait, as long as these kind of small “dictators” are roaming the streets of Suleymaniyah, democracy will still be a long way of.

And as demanding priority on the roads isn’t enough, and show the neighbours that they are people of statue, they will block the road in front of their houses with big, concrete blocks, or barricades, and again, the guards with their guns. This way, everyone can know where they live and that they are important!!! But….. will they be important enough for insurgents to be targeted…??? For some reason I doubt that terrorist or suicide killers would regard these so called “home-made” V.I.P.s as valid targets… The only people these home-made people of importance have to fear, are the enemies they have made themselves, by their appalling road behaviour as displayed daily on the public roads of Suleymaniyah.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Religion and politics - By Peter Stitt

In response to the report: "Kurdish Parliament Pushed Through Disputed Religion Law" I must say that religion and politics should be kept very far apart in any society that wishes to behave in a rational manner in its treatment of its citizens.

It is one thing for a political leader to have certain religious convictions but to enshrine such views in a constitution is suicidal madness.

I remember Tariq Aziz the "Christian", and his uneasy relationship with Saddam as Saddam realised he had to pretend to be a Muslim in order to gain support within Arab states. I have seen the atrocities carried out in the name of God in Iran and Afghanistan.

As a man with strong religious convictions myself, I believe wholeheartedly in secularism. You cannot run a national health service, an economy, a ministry of defence etc on religious lines. That is crazy, that is Iran, a redundant backward country that relies upon natural resources to make up for the lack of innovation and imagination of its leadership.

When challenged about such issues Jesus responded "Give to Caesar what
is due to Caesar, give to the Father (God) what is due to the Father." Even two thousand years ago there was a realisation that the secular and the religious should be kept separate. Are the Islamists contradicting the words of one of their most celebrated prophets?

This law should be repealed immediately. Church is church, state is state. When the two come together it invariably ends up with the persecution of minorities, chaos and economic disaster, and international alienation and isolation.

I will gladly pray with Sunni or Shia brothers but I would never subject people to my own beliefs of what is religiously right or wrong. I have no right to do so, I cannot judge another human being. By putting religion into law making people are judging and going against the teaching of Jesus, and Jesus' teaching was precious to Muhammad, peace be upon him.

Can we not learn the lessons they had already learned 2,000 years ago? PUK and PDK, what are you thinking of? You are taking your people backwards.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Background of Murdering Dua - By Dr. Showan Khurshid

Of course, the act of murdering the innocent girl Du’a was horrific and barbaric. Moreover, Kurdish people in general and specifically Kurdish men, should take responsibility and put their house in order. Anyone coming into contact with the Kurdish youths, who seek asylum in Europe, and witnesses the way they deal with each or with other people of the host countries will realize that there is something amiss. The countless years of abuse at the hand of occupying forces in Kurdistan must have had damaging effect on the Kurdish psyche. Most of these youth suffer because of cultural differences and their incapacity to adapt. Yet, although our own culture, whether its derived from the religions that dominate Kurdistan or other sources, is responsible for and is the manifestation of the miserable condition our people are in, the young men who come to Europe will very confidently dismiss the Western culture as decadent and immoral.[1] It is exactly these values that are translated into honor killing and a host of other mal-practices. Most of our critical writers concentrate only on the Kurdish authorities, yet they ignore the more important aspect of our society, namely, what kind of morality we want to guide our behavior and interaction. [2]
However, I feel that issuing a blanket condemnation against all Kurds, is counterproductive, if the intention is to reform. Many Kurds seem to want change and they want the support of the outside world to do so. There is currently a strong campaign by Kurdish women group as well as male supporters to persuade the Kurdish parliament to drop the Article 7 in the draft Kurdish constitution, which states the laws of Kurdistan should observe the Sharia Laws. So anyone who is sincerely interested in the plight of Kurdish women should lend a strong support to this campaign.
The same day kurdishapsect published the news, I received an email from Mr. Kameel Ahmady – I assume it must have been a group email which included my name coincidently, considering that we never had a direct contact before – I suggested to him to send it to and also to make a reference to an earlier incident which also involved women and the interaction with Islam. Mr Ahmedy, however, had already sent it and shortly afterward the news appeared on
The incident in question precipitated in an all out declaration of Jihad against Yazidis by, I think, by Sunni Kurds. Consequently, their temples, important historical and cultural sites, artifacts and literature were mercilessly burnt down and destroyed. It started because a Muslim girl who was trying to escape a forced arranged marriage was in a car with two Yazidi men. The girl was brought back and slaughtered by her relatives and the Muslims demanded the two Yazidi men should be handed in to them – I wonder why there were no similar protests then: that was also an unjust loss of life.[3] In any case, the slaughtering of the Muslim girl did not draw much attention and we do not know what measures were taken against the perpetrators of the murder and the vandals who destroyed a substantial part of the little that has been left from the Kurdish original heritage, after centuries of the Islamic systematic destruction – although this time while Kurdish authorities were in charge. Perhaps, had the Kurdish authorities taken the appropriate measures this incident would not have happened.[4]

On the other hand, our knowledge of the Yazidi culture and the social arrangement is scant. They are definitely a persecuted minority, beleaguered and slighted on every occasion at the hand of Muslims, not only the Arabs who brought Islam, but also by the Kurds who submitted to Islam and turned now against their kinship who stood their ground all these centuries. And like many minority in similar circumstances they became secretive so they do not attracted derision and insult. No doubt, Islam is full of shortcoming and very vulnerable to counterarguments and counter-derision. But as anyone knows, Muslims are also encouraged to attack and kill their critics and with suffering the numerical imbalance, the Yazidis know from their long history that they should compromise.

Despite that we come to know that the Yazidi society suffers serious shortcoming. It has still a caste system. We can also expect that they suffer all the ills that afflict and finally cripple any ideological systems, if not the world – the way Islam is currently besetting the world.
The next shocking aspect of Yazidi culture that I have discovered was the way women are treated. A few months ago, a Yasidi lady published a critical view about the treatment of women within her society. It was clear that Yazidi women are treated even worse than Muslim women. The impression one would get is that the sexual act within the Yazidi marriage does not differ considerably from rape. The man is expected to be as rough as possible without slightest regard to her feelings or humanity. However, here we cannot ignore that such an attitude might have been also influenced by Islam. It might be a case of impressionable victim taking after the aggressor, when the aggressor is not punish and left to make ill-begotten gains and claim glory on top of all that, as Muslims do.[5] It seems that Yazidis have been trying to convey a message to the Islamic neighborhood that although they differ slightly in their religions they share all other values with Muslims, particularly in regard to women, whose sexuality seems to have become the pivot of Yazidi and Islamic men’s honor.

In all ideological system one should expect the maltreatment of the weaker parties. The treatment of women was not in fact much better when Christianity dominated the political life in Europe. In any case, Christianity has generally been subdued and this turned it relatively benign. However, because of an unfortunate historical oversight on the part of philosophers and thinkers of the world as well as the modern superpower, Islam was left intact with all its ideological apparatuses to keep and use subsequently to haunt the world with.

One of the main points that Knowledge Processing, Creativity and Politics (KPCP) and Islam on the Couch (IC) underline is that the central point in the process of the formation and maintenance of political power and thus political history, is how to bring a group of people to subscribe to a unified set of moral rule (USMR). Guiding the behavior of a group of people according to certain set of moral codes means that this group is organized. Now, forbidding certain kinds of behaviors, by the group, means that – provided that there is a leadership, will and resources – the group may stand against those individuals, who favor the forbidden behavior. It is usually these latter types of individuals, whose behavioral dispositions are forbidden, who feel the power of the organized people. Such power would be felt regardless of whether the group displays the other properties and characteristics associated with modern states or not. Thus considering that moral codes and values support certain lifestyle and confront some other lifestyles we should expect people, whose preferred lifestyle may be constrained or outlawed, to stand against and try to prevent bestowing the status of ‘moral’ onto certain rules or values. From this point of view, for instance, having some women struggling for equality means that they want to accord the issue of equality the status of ‘moral’ so that the power of the group (a state, tribe or a political party) is deployed against those who violate the principles of equality. Similarly, having conservatives trying to keep the status quo implies that they want to prevent bestowing the status of ‘moral’ on equality, and to prevent the deployment of group power in the interest of women groups. Thus considering the practical entailments of adopting differing or conflicting moral position, we could underline once again that moral rules and values are always in favor of some lifestyles, and people who adopt these lifestyles, on the one hand, and against some other lifestyles and the people who exhibit them, on the other hand. Accordingly we should expect fierce disagreement over the knowledge involved in the background of these differing moral rules or values (no wonder for instance many Kurdish women activists have been subjected to death threats and other atrocious assaults, at the hands of Islamic groups and the Islamic state of Iran).[6]

As such, therefore, it is not a matter of course or easy to achieve agreement or consensus. This explains why some polities or groups (empire, states, tribes or parties) fall apart or why many potential groups can never be formed. However, as it is pointed out in KPCP and IC, humanity has so far come upon two basic, though contradictory, methods to bring about such an agreement or conformation. One of them is through ideologies, which includes religions, communism, fascism. The other is through liberal democracy. Ideologies, it is said, rely ultimately on using violence. The ideological method consists of decreeing a unified set of moral rules and then stifling or prohibiting ideational challenges against the sanctioned USMR. However, this is not possible through peaceful means alone. That is why all ideologies prescribe, condone, and sometimes even glorify, the use of violence to silence the critics. The need for violence forces ideologies to make concession to violent individuals, thus usually men are exalted over women (see also my new forthcoming article). As such it is expected that the culture of violence prevails. So the horrors of killing Du’a is not unexpected, it happens among Muslims, Yazidis, and all other culture that have not yet moved to liberal democracy method.
Of course, not every ideology is as equally well equipped ideationally to carry out acts of violence. Christianity, despite the fact that it was used as an ideology and employed in the use of violence is less equipped for violence than Islam. Christianity preaches love generally. Islam preaches hate to all non-Muslims. Islam is a perfect tool for a system based on violence. It does not allow even friendship or love between relatives, even among brothers and parents, if they do not share the religion of Islam. Islam even surpasses communism in effectiveness as an ideology. Unlike Islam, communism pride itself on its scientific and intellectual basis and communists usually try to project an image of intellectuals who love debating and discourses. Accordingly communists do not condemn argumentation although they did all what they could to silence or eliminate critics. But Islam regards all those who criticize it as enemy of Mohammed and Allah and thus demands annihilating them explicitly. So in prohibiting what Muslim call Kufr, (views dismiss believing in Allah and Mohammed), they do what other ideologies do, namely eliminating the intellectuals so they can dominate the crowds, usually by using the thugs. Exactly the same way Saddam was doing, but here in Quran this process is also sanctified. (Obviously, this should suggest that the extent and clarity of the statements in the Quran and Hadiths, which are geared for using violence and dismissal of all non-Islamic beliefs, makes Islam unreformable. Had there been a room for reform in Islam it would not have as it is now).
Within a culture based on violence it is all natural for women, who are physical and perhaps emotionally less capable of violence, to be treated unfairly and unequally. Within the culture of violence, one should expect that the weak will be despised and humiliated because, to benefit from the means of violence, one needs also to justify or moralize violence – e.g., in the same manner that judicial process sanction violence sometimes (see KPCP) – and to do so, one will need to depict the potential target of violence as morally inferior and harmful.
Weakness, in men is manifest when the man is not feared by his womenfolk and this can be reflected in having extramarital affair or having relation without the man’ permission. It is therefore also natural, in the course of vicious competition that goes on in the ideological system, that some men will use female sexuality as a means to undermine, blackmail, insult and humiliate their rivals (this strategy was used by Saddam extensively, moreover, in most Islamic countries, it is common, that when a Muslims man tries to insult another, he may mention sex with his rival’s womenfolk).

The problem with Yazidis, on this occasion, in regard to the young women Du’a, I think, is that they must have thought they took more insults and humiliation than they can bear. Firstly, they were subjected to the destruction of their most sacred sites just because of coincidence that an Islamic woman used a car to flee in the companionship of two Yazidi men. Then the authorities did nothing in public to restore the respect to Yazidis. Subsequently, a Yazidi woman elopes. She was given back with all cameras ready to film. However, it seems the Muslims did not think that the humiliation suffered by the Yazidis was sufficient enough, that is why they also killed 23 Yazidi men, under the pretext that she had converted to Islam, which is not likely, because had she converted they would not have allowed her to go back, unless they deliberately wanted to bring about this massive disgrace on the head of Yazidis. Otherwise, Muslims cannot claim that they are outraged because of the killing of a woman. A thing they do continuously.
Of course, the Yazidis are very unfortunate. They are the victim of their own religion which turns them into victimizer of others, in their case their own lower caste and womenfolk. Perhaps, the same thing can be said about Muslims, with the difference that Muslims are also geared to victimize non-Muslims on massive scale. Perhaps, taking these points into consideration, the noblest of causes in our time may be to try to free Yazidis and Muslims from their respective religions.

Yazidis are the victim of Islam. Yazidis, with a religion supporting such bleak morality that underpins social caste system, seem to have become prone to internalize some Islamic values, e.g. disregarding women and accepting violence against women. Perhaps, Yazidis might have thought, that to avoid being slighted at the hand of their oppressors, they should do their outmost to look and act like Muslims in regard to women. However, regardless of whether the Yazidis were manipulated to fall into a trap that disgrace them or not, their act shows deep inadequacy of their culture. No one, for instance, can set up European or Westerners to act in similar way. Some Yazidis destroyed a precious life and thus while they should accept submitting the perpetrators for punishment they should also free themselves from Islamic negative influences and also to free themselves from their own dated religion. It is time that they need to consider liberal democratic values to integrate within the peaceful culture of liberal democracy and become a part of the force that bring peace to other troubled regions of the world, like our own region.
[1] Unfortunately, there is equally important shortcoming on the part of our Kurdish critical writers, their main concern, seems to be the disparagement and scandalization of the Kurdish authorities. They are unaware of the importance of theories to change the vision and attitudes of Kurdish individuals and officials alike. There is little doubt that most of these critics will behave the same way as the officials have been doing if they are given a chance, without changing the intellectual outlook and the social setting. After all, most of these who now turned corrupt were once revolutionaries of reformers and the parties they are running were meant to support Kurdish people and not to dominate them.
The hodgepodge of social theories that dominates the minds of the majority of our people consists of the two subculture of Islam, (I mentioned in the Islam on the couch); to these are added some pragmatism to open up to Western power; moreover, there is still strong Kurdish nationalism, which though moderate in comparison to Arab, Turkish and even Farsi nationalism, it can be used to whip up the power of the main Kurdish parties; on top of all these remain some residues of Marxism which was once all pervasive, although, we Kurds and the Middle Easterners did not benefit from the only potential advantage of Marxism and that is its capacity to undermine religions, while suffering all its disadvantages (see The History of Southern Kurdistan at Unfortunately, I have rarely seen any argument to reconcile all these, often inconsistent elements.
[2]There are exception of course, see Dr. Roya Talouee (
[3] Grimmer atrocities perpetrated by Arab Muslims do not make news; Arabic section, reports a series of atrocities perpetrated and Fatwas issued by the forces of the Islamic Republic of Iraqi. Ridiculously, among the Fatwas are that women are not allowed to eat bananas, cucumber or ice cream or sit down on the chair. Men should not eat date or sweats because that it feels like sodomy. Among their atrocities is that in the course of execution of a woman they stomped and kicked her head until her face was separated from her skull (
[4] Ardalan Abdulla ( suggests that the whole this episode may have been set up to discredit Kurds. He wonders why this incident should be recorded by 6-7 people, instead of being carried out in secret as usual. This act happens in all Islamic countries among all Islamic communities in other countries but Kurds are starkly single out for exposure and scandalization. Ardalan Abdualla wonders justifiably how come that the Islamic clerics and Islamic mobs now want to chase and kill the Yazidis for this crime while it is Islam which demands stoning so clearly.
[5] Muslims invaded the occupied the whole Middle East coming from the Arabian Peninsula originally. This act is still the highlight of their pride.
[6] Recently, Houzan Mahmoud was subjected to death threat from Islamic groups. Likewise, Roya Talouee was subjected to horrendous crime in Iranian prisons.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Leaving Iraq, a Catastrophe to U.S Foreign Policy in the Middle East - By Ardalan Hardi

Nearly two-thirds of Americans -- 63 percent -- want U.S. troop’s home from Iraq by the end of 2008, according to a poll taken by USA Today. While these opinion polls are mostly media driven and are used for political mud slinging from both sides of the aisle to sway public opinion in the upcoming elections, the fact remains that we cannot afford to lose in Iraq if we are truly concerned about the future of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Abandoning Iraq is not only a catastrophe for those who supported the U.S. efforts to bring about change in the Middle East as a whole, but also a political blow to American long-term interests and foreign policy in the region.

One of the biggest factors for staying the course is Iraqi oil. Losing Iraq’s oil production to a regional power struggle will have a horrific impact on international markets that will not only affect the U.S. but it could throw the entire free world market in a tail spin with oil prices at levels never seen before. Amy Myers Jaffe in her research paper (presented to The James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy – Rice University) says “Iraq holds an important place in the political development and economic trend of the international oil market both historically and at the present time. Iraq’s stated proven oil reserves of 115 billion barrels -while perhaps somewhat overestimated during the rule of Saddam Hussein - are among the largest in the world. The country’s resource base is considered the second largest in the world, second to Saudi Arabia, and its oil export policy has been a critical element in setting international oil supply and pricing for over 30 years.” Knowing this fact alone should make U.S. politicians think of the consequences before making hasty decisions for unilateral pull out of Iraq.

Yesterday; April 4, 2007 the Associated Press reported that senate majority leader Harry Reid said he wants to cut off money for the Iraq war next year. In recent weeks, the House and Senate voted separately to finance the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but set an end date for combat in Iraq. The House proposal orders all combat troops out of Iraq as of Aug. 31, 2008, whereas the Senate orders some troops to leave right away with the nonbinding goal of ending combat by March 31, 2008. All of this is a temporary solution to a conflict that we cannot afford to let go and which will have an enormous negative impact on our long-term national interest. Our lawmakers should recognize that.

An abrupt retreat would invite a host of problems including an all-out civil war. A civil war that will most definitely draw in Turkey, Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia into the conflict. All of the neighboring states are eager to devour a piece of the pie; Iran with its religious propaganda, Syria with his link to Ba’ath party, the Saudi’s with their supposed concerns for the Sunni’s, and Turkey with its hogwash excuses to protect their relatives in Kirkuk. Turkey’s devious goals to squash Kurdish aspirations are already interfering in Iraq’s internal affairs. All this is happening while U.S. military is present in Iraq. Imagine what will happen if the U.S would pull out.

Those who advocate a quick withdrawal without offering a realistic solution to the crises seem to over look the consequences of the future U.S. national interest and the possibilities of an all-out regional war with a domino affect that will eventually draw us back into a larger war with no credibility.

Finally, if we fail in Iraq, it will be the biggest blow to the prospect of democracy in the Middle East with major political consequences in the future of our foreign policy in that region. Muslim fanatics and al-Qaeda groups will claim victory and will use our failure to increase their presence in the region.

The choices are clear: either we stay the course and continue supporting the current government in Iraq until it can stand on its own two feet or like many others have advocated -- the establishment of federal regions or dividing Iraq into three separate states -- as a good solution for Iraq's security problem and a quick withdrawal of our troops. One thing is for certain: a complete retreat without securing stability in Iraq is not in our national interest and it is like President Bush had said “a recipe for disaster.”

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Peace through dialogue

Kurdish Aspect - By Ardalan Hardi

As a community, the more open we are toward the realm of exchanging ideas, the easier it is to embrace our differences. The majorities of the tribulations that humanity faces are self inflected and are the direct result of isolationism and inability to associate with one another. At the core of the problem is the absence of dialogue. Those ideological disputes from opposing camps that turn into larger wars are a direct result of lack of understanding and interaction between two cultures or societies.

A philosopher once said "where there is no communication, there is death." What frees societies from death, terror and destruction is the ability to talk and listen to others who shares this planet with us. Language is a gift from God to us as human beings. The value of that gift can only be fully appreciated when we make an attempt to reach out to other people, other cultures, other nations and societies. It is then that we will fully realize the importance of dialogue and it is then when we are able to open other doors for exchanging ideas.

Our hope is to continually and always minimize isolationism and enhance the chances for longer life through open and honest dialogue for better co-existence. We hope for a life that is void of extreme dislikes and hostilities, a life in which people are willing to have a open discussion and listen to oneself, in the same way one should have be able to reason and collaborate with other people and cultures. It is that world in which people can have a discussion instead of arguments, love instead of hate that gives a chance to a life in which all of its beauty and its colors can grow and flourish.

In the decade that has been named by many experts as an era of communication technology, one would think it would create an opportunity to associate with each other through dialogue, understanding and acceptance of each other. Yet in today's world the simplest conflicting forces most grievously turn into opposing camps. The political, social, religious, economic, racial and ideological dispute still continues bitterly, and with it brings the repugnant side of mankind and tragedies of wars which reduces everything to ashes.

In our modest way and through the publication of Kurdish Aspect we hope to create the opportunities for much-needed dialogue. Kurdish Aspect will attempt to be a vehicle for promoting issues related to Kurds and Kurdistan within the larger context of Middle Eastern concerns.

We strive to be a voice for open discussion and debate for all those who are motivated to participate in creating a more peaceful world. We want to be link between our different cultures, not only to give you a Kurdish perspective but also to invite your views and insights to the Kurdish issues. What we foresee is a step toward a logical foundation far from antagonism and hatred that defends what we believe in through our pens. At the same time, we are willing to listen to those who disagree with us and think otherwise with respect.

By raising the threshold of both dialogue and compromises, perhaps we can enhance the chances for the better world which we all seek.

For a free issue of the Kurdish Aspect email us at

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Kurdish issues and Michael Rubin’s Turkishness - by Ardalan Hardi

The problem with most writers that write about Kurds and Turks is that they start with asking the wrong question about the Kurdish issues in Turkey. They almost always tie the Kurdish issues with existence of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). The question always is whether PKK is a terrorist organization or not? The question should be why organizations like PKK come to flourish? In reality the problem is not PKK, but the oppression of the Kurdish nationality within the Turkish State that forces organizations like PKK to be born. Like Simone de Beauvoir said “all oppression creates a state of war.”

If Kurds are given the same rights in Turkey as their brothers enjoy in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, there will be no need for PKK and other groups like them to exist.

It is unfortunate that some one like Dr. Michael Rubin, who has a PhD from Yale University and is educated in the U.S., known for the foundation of rights of liberty, to think the way he does.

Instead of teaching what Dr. Rubin has learned in his education about true democracy in guiding a country like Turkey to peacefully co-existence by encouraging Turkey to respect the rights of all nationalities and acknowledging the core of the problem in addressing a real democratic reform that is non-existent in Turkey, Mr. Rubin suggests military intervention by Turkey across the border to Kurdistan. This obviously will further complicate the Kurdish issue in Turkey and destroy the only part of Iraq that lives in peace.

It would seem that the Turkish glasses through which Mr. Rubin sees the world have blinded his vision. His distorted views do not stop there: he is also against federalism based on ethnic and sectarian division and believes that the creation of Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) increases terrorism in the region. Again, his Turkishness has not only blinded him, but also affected his thinking process. Simple logic tell us that those cultural and national rights that are stricken from a nation, are the core to breeding the utmost radicalism – not the other way around.

The basic sociological experiment tells us those places that have problems with culture and national identities are ripe for creating extremism, including terrorism. Iraq’s history proves that exact point. In the history of Iraq, the Kurdish region has always been in the middle of wars between the central government and the Kurds. This conflict has come to a complete halt since the KRG was established within a democratic Iraq.

Mr. Rubin’s mistaken theory continues and prolongs his misconception without any knowledge when he compares the Kurdistan Region to the Palestinians. Mr. Rubin says “Just as Arafat transformed the Palestinian Authority into a safe haven for terrorists, so too does Barzani.” However, there is a significant difference between Kurdistan Region and Palestine. Anyone with a little brain can see that but the Dr.’s Turkish glasses have clouded his eyesight.

1. Palestine is fighting for independence, while the Kurds are seeking a federal system within Iraq and have accomplished that goal. That is one of the reasons that the Kurdish region is the most peaceful since the creation of Iraq.

2. There are radical groups within the Palestine movement that will not stop at independence alone, but rather ask for elimination of Israel. On a contrary, all political parties in Kurdistan have never once denied Iraq or any other neighboring states of existence. All Kurdish movements in Iraq have always asked for peaceful co-existence within a federalist Iraq.

Hence, I find it necessary to ask the Dr. to take off those Turkish glasses that have clouded the simplest truth about the history of the region and have caused him to lose site of all the knowledge he gained in U.S. universities. Obviously, the Dr. has not learned much in all those years of education about liberty and justice for all. If the Dr. wanted to get a PhD in how to become an oppressor, all he had to do is join the Turkish government and become a true Turk that he appears to be. He could have saved himself lots of wasted years and money.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Turkey's ex-president Evren probed for Kurd remarks

Reuters - By Gareth Jones

ANKARA, - State prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation into ex-president Kenan Evren, leader of a 1980 military coup, over his call for decentralising power in Turkey, the state Anatolian news agency said on Friday. Evren, 88, told the Sabah newspaper this week he favoured giving more powers to the provinces, and he dismissed fears this would embolden Turkey's Kurds -- "our brothers" -- to push for independence.

Ironically, Evren once denied the very existence of Kurds in Turkey, describing them as "mountain Turks" whose name came from the squelching noise their boots made when walking in the snow. After the coup, he restricted the use of the Kurdish language.

Anatolian quoted prosecutor Mehmet Yurtseven in Evren's home province of Mugla as saying: "I have given the necessary order to the relevant departments. We have begun an investigation. If there is a crime, we will do what is needed."

The agency quoted Ayla Kara, head of Mugla's bar association, as saying she thought Evren should be tried for his remarks because they would give a boost to separatist groups.

Under the post-coup constitution drawn up under Evren and still in force, Turkey has a very centralised political system. Calls for redistributing power away from Ankara are rare because of fears this could reignite Kurdish separatism.

Security forces have been battling rebels of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in mainly Kurdish southeast Turkey since 1984 in a conflict that has claimed more than 30,000 lives.
In his interview with Sabah, Evren said Turkey had nothing to fear from devolving power to the regions.


"They keep saying Turkey's Kurds would declare independence. They would not. Why would they want to secede if they are given the same rights? We must treat the Kurds as brothers," he said.

Evren broke another Turkish taboo in his interview by saying Ankara should accept the reality of an independent Kurdish state in nearby northern Iraq. Turkey fears such a state would fan separatism among its own Kurds and destabilise the wider region.

Turkish media later quoted Evren saying he had never spoken of setting up a "federation" in Turkey.

As leader of the September 12, 1980, military coup, General Evren presided over the jailing of hundreds of thousands of people, the banning of trade unions and a purge of universities. Torture and other human rights violations were widespread.

He has defended those actions, saying Turkey was heading towards anarchy in the late 1970s as leftists and rightists clashed violently in the streets and on university campuses.

From 1982 Evren served a seven-year stint as president. He then retired to Marmaris in the Aegean province of Mugla and took up painting, mostly shunning the political limelight.

Last year, during the funeral of ex-premier Bulent Ecevit, Evren expressed regret about arresting Turkey's political leaders during the military coup.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

U.S gives a green light to Turkey to attack PKK in Southern Kurdistan

According to Awene, in the meeting held on January 29th with Masud Barzani, the president of the Kurdistan Regional Government, and his vice president Kosrat Rasul, were told by Joseph Ralston the United States' special envoy on countering the PKK that Turkey has been given a green light from the U.S to attack PKK positions on the Qandil Mountains. The source told Awene that the military invasion will start in the beginning of April 2007.

On February 13, Jangawar, a member of the PKK leadership, told Awene that the U.S and Turkish representatives have drawn up a plan against southern Kurdistan. He said “this plan starts with attacking PKK positions on the Qandil Mountains but their goals are to destroy Kirkuk’s referendum and other Kurdish advancements in southern Kurdistan”.

By giving a green light to Turkey to invade the Kurdistan Region the U.S is hoping to deter Turkey from getting closer to Iran.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A Kirkuk wake-up call for Kurds - by Eamad J. Mazouri

This should be a wake-up call for all the Kurds, their friends and sympathizers around the world and especially in the United States of America.

Throughout their modern history, Kurds have been divided, denied their very existence, oppressed, massacred and even subjected to genocide. The regional governments have always conspired against their very basic human rights. While the same situation is still continuing in most parts of Kurdistan, Kurds in Iraqi Kurdistan have made major strides towards gaining self-determination within the framework of a democratic federal Iraq as the Kurdistan regional government has envisioned, secured and guaranteed in the permanent Iraqi constitution of 2005, that the majority of Iraqi people have voted on and was ratified by Iraqi parliament.

Article 140 provides that by the end of 2007 a referendum to be held by the people of Kirkuk to decide whether they would like to rejoin Iraqi Kurdistan region or not. Regrettably, Turkey has repeatedly stated her wishes to intervene in Iraqi internal affairs by voicing outright objection to the implementation of this article of the Iraqi constitution.

Turkey that has until recently denied the very existence of over 20 million Kurds inside her borders, does not recognize them until now as such, does not believe in a peaceful solution to her Kurdish problem, has spearheaded an evil effort recently, depending solely on her fifth column embodied in ITF inside Iraq in a campaign of lies and deception directed at American public opinion to misguide them about the facts on Kirkuk issue.

A Turkish delegation led by Turkish PM of ruling party Mr. Turan Comez is touring U.S. cities and universities to spread their unsubstantiated claims that have started surfing the internet lately. Not only has that, their efforts been coupled with hiring some pens as well who are unjustly attacking Kurdish people and their government.

The whole campaign is focused on Kirkuk, in an attempt to perpetuate the crime dictator Saddam committed against Kurds. Therefore, I deem it as a duty for every Kurd and their true friends to stand up firmly and aggressively against this unjust campaign waged by Turkish government who the Kurds have always held an olive branch towards them.

Their baseless accusations must be answered by facts concerning the real situation in Kirkuk; how and when Arabization occurred? Who was the real target? How those evacuated are still living in camps in Arbil and Sulaymania unable to return home or recover their properties even after Saddam is gone? How Turkmen in Kurdistan for the first time are granted their full rights and are enjoying them along with the rest of Kurdistan mosaic population of religions and ethnicities? How Kurds have succeeded to build something new in the region in the middle of the ongoing chaos against all odds, based on tolerance a concept that is totally unfamiliar or unrecognized by the countries of the region?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Whose Kurdistan Is it? - by Dr. Showan Khurshid

Among all the news outlets, Awene alone published the news of a Muallah denouncing and cursing a writer, Ismail Berzanji, as an apostate. The apparent reason, according to the writer himself, as noted in Awene, is an article, in which he says: ‘what is the need to make a public holiday out of the commemoration of the death of someone who died one thousand year ago’. It is not clear though why such a statement should get a Mullah’s goat, although it is possible that they may have suspected the writer to be questioning the importance of commemorating the death of Mohammed the founder of Islam, some 14 centuries ago. The author noted that all what he wanted was to criticise the government and that this was not the first time that he was threatened. Further, the author, feeling he is in a helpless position, pleads with the readership to let their conscience be the arbitrator.

Regardless of the importance or validity of the author’s statement. No person of authority (the mullah in this case) should be allowed to condemn people, particularly because such condemnation is tantamount, in the Islamic context, to issuing a death warrant, considering that many a Muslim will wish having such an opportunity to prove they are firm Muslims.

For the multitude of the selfish and arrogant Islamic clerics, being ignorant of any useful science and devoid of creativity, Islam, for what it is, is the only viable means for domination. However, the problem is that the Kurdish authorities are systematically failing to protect the lives of the authors and critics. This is not the first time.

Back in July last year, because of potential court case between Salahaddin Bahaddin the General Secretary of ‘Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU)’, on the one hand, and Saro Kadir, the head of Media Centre of Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), on the other hand, we come to know about a crime against some individuals, possibly, carried out by Muslims. Salahaddin Bahaddin was initiate a court case against Saro Kadir for libel. In response the Mr Kadir threatened to bring charges against Mr. Bahaddin on the basis that the media campaign waged by KIU resulted in the murder of Shapour and Qabil. Consequently, Salahaddin Bahaddin withdrew his court case and everything went silent again. However, justice was left undone. Unfortunately, we still do not know who were these individuals and what did or say to deserve to be denounced by a religious organisation and to be killed subsequently. The same pattern of events was repeated in the denunciation of Mariwan Halabjai for publishing his book. The episodes show that Kurdish authorities may use justice as a pressure card to intimidate opponents but justice is not the goal. That Islamists can kill those who are not closely protected by the big parties. However, we know that this does not bode well.

We should require Kurdish authorities to take up their responsibilities and prosecute those religious authorities who take laws into their own hand. They behave as though they are ultimate authority of the land we are told that Khomeini’s or bn Laden’s substitute will rule Kurdistan . The laws of Kurdistan allow some freedom of expression. So these Islamic clerics, by issuing these denunciations, are in effect applying different set of laws, which has not been authorised by a recognised political body, like the parliament.

Failure to act will only add to the suspicion that the Kurdish authorities may want to walk the same cheap and dirty line of the majority of Islamic governments who allow some free reign to Islamic terrorism to clear liberals, as long as these terrorist do not challenge the governmental authorities. This in effect will mean that our country will be doomed like all other benighted Islamic countries to decade of underdevelopment and human right abuses and extremism. It is not right that tens of our writers be killed or forced into silence or exile because of the primitive Islamic terrorism. Our liberals, because of the Islamic terrorism, are have no country of their own.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Kurds: Between Iraq and a hard place

Earlier this month, American forces in Iraq raided an Iranian facility in the Kurdish city of Irbil. Documents and computer files seized in that raid indicate that the facility was being used by members of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in an operation to provide money and weapons to various Shia militia groups in Iraq. The weapons include advanced improvised explosive devices, mortars, newer generation rocket propelled grenades and shoulder-fired surface to air missiles. The advanced IED’s have already killed American troops, and mortars allegedly traceable to Iran have been used in attacks on Sunni areas of Baghdad.

Is the IRGC operating in Kurdish northern Iraq? Of course they are - they’ve been there since at least 1991. Soon after the Iraqi defeat in Kuwait, IRGC officers conducted clandestine and covert operations in the southern Shia area and the northern Kurdish area, and have been active there ever since.

The raid earlier this month on the Iranian facility causes problems for the Kurdish Regional Government and its autonomous region in northern Iraq. Since the Iranians claim that the facility was an Iranian consulate that had been in operation in the Kurdish enclave for years, it created a diplomatic incident. Having served in northern Iraq, including Irbil, and observing Iranian operations, I am skeptical that the facility was, in fact, a consulate. Since the raid, Iraqi foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari, himself a Kurd, has demanded that the United States release the five “consular officials.”

The incident highlights the conflict the Kurds face. They are part of Iraq, but are not Arabs like 80 percent of the population. For almost the entire period that the Baath Party ruled Iraq, they were the target of a genocidal campaign aimed at eradicating their separate identity. During that time, the Kurds – at times out of necessity – developed a close relationship with the Iranians. When Saddam Hussein’s forces attacked the Kurdish village of Halabja with chemical weapons, when the Iraqi army killed thousands of Kurds in the Anfal campaign, the Iranians became the Kurds’ only ally. Iran provided refuge to hundreds of thousands of Kurds, creating a bond that is hard to break and hard to ignore. When no one else seemed to care about their plight, Iran opened its borders to them.

Now that Saddam is gone and the Kurds have established an autonomous region in the north, the Iranians are exploiting that past relationship. After the fall of Baghdad in 2003, the Iranians greatly expanded their presence in the Kurdish north as well as with their fellow Shia Muslims in the south.

The Iranian presence is not a good thing for the American efforts in Iraq. It also presents problems for the Kurds, easily America’s best allies among the Iraqis. The Kurds are balancing their close relationship with America against their close relationship with the Iranians. When more raids like the one in Irbil occur in the future – and they will, given new orders to U.S. forces to no longer “catch and release” Iranian operatives, but to capture and kill them – the Kurds will have to decide which relationship means more. You can’t have it both ways. Just like the Iraqi government of Nuri al-Maliki, they have to decide if they are with us or with the Iranians.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Ankara bridles at Baghdad's handoff of key oil file to Kurdish authorities

Agence France Presse

ANKARA: Turkey angrily called on Baghdad Monday to retract an apparent decision making the Kurdish authorities in northern Iraq Turkey's sole interlocutors for contract renewals of Turkish firms that ship petroleum products to Iraq. State Minister for Foreign Trade Kursad Tuzmen accused Iraq's central government of breaching bilateral agreements and warned that failure to rectify the situation would force Ankara "to revise certain policies" vis-a-vis its neighbor.

"A unilateral decision such as this points to a change of policy ... We expect an explanation," Tuzmen told reporters in televised remarks. "We expect Iraq to stand by its signature. If it complies with the agreements, the problem will be resolved. ... Our patience has limits. Iraq's failure to comply with the agreements will lead us to revise certain policies."

Ankara became aware of the decision on January 11 through letters sent by the Iraqi state oil marketing agency SOMO to Turkish companies, referring them exclusively to the Kurdish regional government for any contract renewals.

Ankara's attempts since to contact SOMO officials to obtain confirmation and explanations have failed, Tuzmen said.

"Our only interlocutor is the central government," he said, calling on Baghdad to display "serious statesmanship."

Although the issue appears purely economic and bureaucratic, it has political connotations for Turkey: Ankara fears that Kurdish control of northern Iraqi oil resources will boost what it suspects are Kurdish ambitions to break away from Baghdad and, in turn, fan separatism among Turkish Kurds.

The controversy follows stern Turkish warnings to the Iraqi Kurds over the ethnically volatile, oil-rich northern city of Kirkuk, which Kurdish leaders want to annex.

Turkey imports Iraqi oil, which it refines and sends back to Iraq by tanker trucks.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Turkey’s Threats and Kurdish Constitutional Rights - by Ardalan Hardi

The unrealistic approach of Turkey’s meddling in the Kurdish city of Kirkuk and Ankara’s threats on implementing Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution have created a political quagmire in President Bush’s foreign policy in the Middle East region. It is clear that there’s nothing Ankara can do to stop the Kirkuk referendum. Yet Turkish government continues with its warnings and threats to further destabilize the region and derail the recent success of the Kurdish government in Iraq.

Turkey continually uses excuses like (PKK) Kurdistan Workers' Party or the Turks who are Iraqi citizens as a reason to legitimize its interference in Iraq’s affairs. Turkey now claims it acts to protect the Turkomen community in Kirkuk, but what Ankara’s government chooses to overlook is that the Turks that live in Iraq are Iraqi citizens not Turkish. Turkey has no legal grounds to tell the sovereign nation of Iraq how to deal with their citizens. Consider this, the U.S. has a large population of Mexicans that chose to leave their country of origin and live in U,S, By doing so, they gave up their rights as a Mexican citizen. Does Mexico then have a right to tell the U.S, government how to deal with its Mexican population when it comes to constitutional rights? The answer to that is very obvious.

Turks, Arabs, Kurds, and all other minorities in Iraq have to abide by and uphold the laws of the state. That law is the constitution that was voted in by the electorate of Iraq when they went to the polls on October 15 2005 and it was approved by a wide margin nationwide. That constitution includes the implementation of article 140. Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution indicates how to normalize the situation in the city of Kirkuk followed by a referendum on the fate of the province. Turkey has no legal grounds to create more obstacles or intervene in Iraq’s sovereignty.

The Bush administration already has their hands full with the current sectarian violence in the middle of Iraq. Turkey is adding to that problem. Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül has been quoted saying “Iraq is a different country, but this does not mean we will remain aloof to the fate of our relatives there.” Mr. Gül, if this is not just propaganda to keep Iraq in a state of disarray, then why was the Turkish State so aloof when Turkmen of Kirkuk were suffering under Saddam regime in the 1980s? Furthermore, Mr. Gul, how would you feel if President Bashar al-Assad of Syria decided to interfere on behalf of their relatives in Adana, Mersin and Iskenderun towns of Turkey that are ethnically divided between Turks and Sunni Arabs.

Last week Turkish Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened Iraq and said “Turkey will not sit idle if the Iraqi Kurds have control over the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.” That brought strong criticism by a Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) spokesman who said "we have heard for some time meaningless statements by some Turkish officials with their implied threats and we want to remind them that the Ottoman empire had fallen a long time ago and Iraq is not part of Turkey," told Voice of Iraq.

In my opinion, all these threats and warnings, in addition to wanting destabilizing of the Kurdish achievements in Iraq, Erdogan is trying to please the chauvinist nationalist and the military power to secure the presidential post in Turkey. The threats and changes in Erdogan’s views from the beginning of his term until now are directly tied to the upcoming election in Turkey.

No matter, what happens in Iraq with regards to article 140 it is up to the Iraqi people to decide on the future of Kirkuk and not Mr. Gul, Mr. Erdogan or the Turkish State.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The only friends Turks have in this world is the Kurds

Participating in the conference called "Turkey Seeks for its Peace", famous writer Yaşar Kemal said: "Turks only have a single nation to call a 'friend'. Since the Malazgirt War, Kurds and the best friends of Turks."

"The only friend a Turk has is a Kurd"

Giving a speech in a conference called "Turkey Seeks for its Peace" in Ankara, famous writer Yaşar Kemal said: "Turks have a single friend and it is not a secret: since Malazgirt War, Kurds and Turks are each other's best friend."

Stating that Turkey is full of racists who are hiding behind "nationalism" Kemal said: "For the last 25 yearsi there is a "light war" going on in the Southeast Anatolia. There had been many cease fire decisions but for some reason the war does not seem to end. This war has broken Turkey's belly. We have become a country who fights with its own people. More and more we lose dignity in the eyes of foreign nations. No one grant us right any more. We called guerillas 'terrorists' and hoped things would change. Those who went up to the mountains to fight for their rights were in fact university students or graduates."

Friday, January 12, 2007

Turkish fiery statements rejected- Kurdistan spokesman

VOI - by Chiman Salh

Arbil – Iraq's Kurdistan presidency spokesman rejected on Friday statements recently made by Turkish officials on Kirkuk calling such statements "meaningless."

"We for a while have heard of meaningless statements by some Turkish officials that implied threats and we want to remind them of that the Ottoman empire had fallen a long time ago and Iraq is not part of Turkey," the spokesman said in a statement received by the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).

The Kurdish statements came in reply to what the Kurds saw as threats made by the Turkish Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdogan when he indicated last week that Turkey will no sit idle if the Iraqi Kurds controlled over the oil rich city of Kirkuk.

Erdogan said in a Turkish parliament session that efforts are under way to change the demography of Kirkuk population and Turkey will not tolerate such attempts.These endeavors, the Turkish Premier remarked, may lead to a situation harmer than civil war in Iraq and may affect the region as a whole.

The oil-rich-Kirkuk, 250 km northeast of Baghdad, is a mixed city of Kurds, Arabs and Turkmans.

Iraq's Kurdistan statement urged Turkey to assist Iraq and not to interfere in its internal affairs.