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† Beth Suryoyo Assyrian (Othuroyo) Forum †
Written by News on 22 Nov 2002 20:03:36:
Northern Iraq-A land of forgotten
22 Nov 2002
Nearly 3,7 million Kurds live in an enclave in the North and east of Iraq.Comprising nearly one-fifth of Iraq's territory and population,the Kurdish enclave has been free from Saddam's control since 1991,thanks in part to regular patrol by US and British warplanes.Since the 1994 breakdown of a common Kurdish goverment the enclave has been divided between a region in the North administered by Masud Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party and one of comparable size in the east administered by Jalal Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.After intense fighting in the mid-1990 s,the two Kurdish parties have made peace and are working togetherócooperation that seems to be increasing as the prospects for eliminating Saddam Hussein grows.
The Iraqi Kurds,Turcomans,Assyrians and other small minorities living in Northern Iraq have good reason to want Saddam Hussein gpne.Since the 1970 s the people living in the North have been particular targets of Hussein and his Baath party,whose ifeology stresses the primacy of the Arabs at the expense of non-Arab minorities.
In 1983 Saddam forces rounded up hundreds of Barzani's male relatives who have not been seen since.Barzani believes that they may have been used as human guines pigs to test the lethality of Iraq'i chemical weapons.
In 1987 -1990 period Iraqi regime systematically destroyed every village in Northern Iraq more than 4000 altogether.Hundreds of Kurdish and Turcoman villages and towns were attacked with mustard gas and nerve agents including the Eastern Iraqi town of Halabja where 5000 people died instantly.The death toll from gas attacks in three days between 25-28 August 1988 is more than 180.000.
A de facto goverment(The Kurdish Regional Goverment) is acting as the regional authority.Last moth(October 2002) Barzani and Talabani have eliminated their disagreements and formed the
new goverment.In addition the Kurdish Parliament has gathered in Erbil and declared the new constitution of Northern Iraq as a step of independent state in Northern Iraq.
Kurdish leader Masud Barzani has denied the option of an independent state and he declared that
they are willing to be part of a federal Iraq with effective local power.But signs and developments
prove that as a result of a War the next step will be the declaration of the independet Kurdish State in the North part of Iraq..
The Kurds dare not fly flag but in this swath of territory the size of Switzerland a community which ,at 3,7 million,outnumbers many UN member states is surreptitiously acquiring the attributes-functional,political,cultural and economic-of independence.
All Kurdish leaders including the Prime Minister Nerchivan Barzani,The President of Erbil University Saedi Barzingi in private converstaions declare their desire of indepence but in
public statements they try to avoid to provoke Saddam and other neighbouring countries around and cause for their intervention.
No Kurdish party holds independence as its official aim.Geopolitically an independent Kurdish state
won't have access to the sea nor to any neighbouring state without a potential secessionist Kurdish minority ot its own.
On the other hand Saddam regime continuing its pressure to the Kurds and Turcomans live in Kirkuk and Mosul and forces them for immigration to the North territories.Every day new families trickle into KANI SEITAN refugee camp victims of a slow motion campaign to Arabise the oil rich regions where Kurds and Turcomans are in majority.Since 1991 ,800.000 Kurds,Turcomans ,Assyrians and other minority members expelled to the Northern Iraq and the situation is a huge burden for the development of the region.
Two of the regiions three universities have been established since 1991 .Satellite television,more than 50 newspapers and all communication tools are more developed than Baghdad.But on the other hand despite the poor economic resources they are resettling the 4000 villages destroyed by saddam,replacing lost livestock and recultivating the fertile,well watered soil that remains the backbone of the economy.
The other main income is the portion of the Oil for Food Programme and the trade with Turkey which is under danger because of disagreemennts regarding the status of the Turcomans (250000 in Northern Iraq and 2 million in entire Iraq)..Turkey is planning to close the border of Zaho and etablish a transit route through Syrian-Iraqi border which will cut the main income of the Kurdish authorities (Transport fees and taxes).US goverment opposes the turkish plans.
But on the other hand Turkey is keen to prevent the establishment of an independent Kurdish state in the North.Turkey is assisting the Turcoman minority and presses for their representation in the Kurdish Regional Goverment..Turcoman political parties and associations held a meeting in Erbil(5th November 2002) and declared that they won't recognize the authority of an independent state.
Units of the Turkish army controlling the Turcoman enclaves and providing security to the Turcomans.More than 2000 Turkish soldiers are in duty in Northern Iraq.In addition an airport close to Mosul is under Turkish army control.
The Kurds are in fear of the Saddam armies too which are positioned on the south side of the green line..In the event of an American attack they fear that they will be the first target of Saddam.Kurds and Turcomans live in Mosul and Kirkuk are in more danger ..They will be forced to flee to the Northern part of Iraq ..An approximate number of more than one million refugees from south of green line is expected in Northern Iraq..In addition with the 800000 already immigrated to north the number of refugees will overcome the 1.8 million.A powerfull attack or use of chemical and bioliogical weapons by Saddam armies will force these people in addition to the 3,7 million local habitants to Turkey,Iran and Syria borders.
Turkey,Syria and Iran have declared that they will try to keep the exodus behind their borders.Turkey has established temporary refugee camps in the valley of Erbil-Suleimaniah and have taken strict security measures in the border to prevent the flee of the refugees.The same applies to Iran and Syria two countries very sensitive on the Kurdish issue.
As an additional measure the Turkish goverment has established refugee centers in Silopi,Uzumlu,Cukurca and Hakkari regions.Centers for the livestock probable moved during the exodus have been established too.The Turkish Red Crescent has stored food and blankets in the surrounding areas.
More than 134 NGO's are operating in Northern Iraq..Most of them are implementing partners of UN.
Turkish goverment has declared that in the case of war al NGO's will be taken out temporarly for
security reasons out of the territory.In the border area its forbidden for foreigners to go closer than 10 kilometers to the Iraqi border.
Army activities have intensified in the region too.
Priority Needs are as follows:(In the case of war)
...The food stock of Northern Iraq is enough for three months.Taken in to account the exodus from the south territories the stocks won't be enough to feed the people for more than one and half months.The food must be long life and easy to store.As priority rice,edible oil,pulses,pasta,sugar,nutrition kits.
...Winter clothes and boots preferably for the children
...Heating stoves,gas tubes
...Winter tents and containers.
...Mobile hospitals and clinics.Ambulances.
...Medicine against diseases .
...Preventive medicine against biological and chemical attacks
...Water purification material
Because of UN restrictions the relief material has to be stocked in close areas to the border.
Logistics -Security of Transport and Staff
Different element in the region and instability are the main treats for the logistics and transport.
...The region is not under state control and all kinds of guns and other war material,including chemicals may be used.
...Different terrorist groups are active in the region.
...The Kurdish Regional Goverment cann't control the entire area.Danger of abduction and kidnapping is very high.
...There is no effective law and state organisations to impose the law so legal issues cann't be settled.
For that reasons safe contacts,transport ways and strong relationship with the local powers is essential.
An evacuation plan has to be all the time ready to be implemented.Safe transport ways have to be noticed and contacts established for safe transport.
Local staff have to be assigned for the distribution and delivery of the relief material.
International staff have to be aware of the situation and familiar with the moral and local values and
IBC's Activities and Operation System
IBC is active in Northern Iraq through its local partners.One of the local partners is Turcoman Hands Foundation and the other one The Kurdish Democratic Front..We are cooperating with both sides and providing
a)Food on ordinary basis
b)Educational Materials for the Primary Schools
c)Contributing financially to the reconstruction of schools in Erbil and Duhok
d)Contributing financially to the regeneration of villages in Erbil area.
In addition to the above activities we are cooperating with FAO and UNDP as implementing partner of supplying and delivering prefabricated units and medical devices to Northern Iraq.
As for the possibility of a war we have the following plans:
a)We have agreed with the Turkish Red Crescent to deliver the food ,blankets and other emergency relief material to Northern Iraq through their trucks.After the delivery to specific centers in Iraq the staff of our local partners will distribute the material to the beneficiaries.We have preferred this way because during the war roads of transport will be closed to all NGO's except TRC.We are free to select the beneficiaries and not obliged to deliver the material only to TRC camps.
b)After the first days of the war and when the roads to Northern Iraq are opened we will continue the relief delivery through Zaho border gate.We established the system in Silopi the closest to the border Turkish town for procurement and transport of the relief material.
c)In the case the refugees cross the border we have staff in Silopi,Uzumlu,Hakkari and Cukurca to organize the assesment of beneficiaries,needs and organizing the distribution according to internationally acceptable standards for NGO's.
d)We have developed a project for housing of 2000 refugees to Erbil area after the war.
e)We are cooperating with the local Turkish authorities in the border area to have any bureaucratic procedure and permission documents fulfilled before the operation.
All of our preparation is for the first days of January 2003 which we believe will be the beginning of the war.
Lets hope to avoid such a war and be able to meet the needs of some of the 800000 refugees already displaced to Northern Iraq and contribute for the recontruction of the region.
International Blue Crescent
Cami Street Cesur Apartment 11/3
Phone:+90 216 4646881-2-3
Fax :+90 216 3615745
Mobile:+90 432 2344229
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