• ‘As complicit as Saddam’ : people on BA flight held hostage in Kuwait sue UK government

    Morale de cette histoire : tu ne peux pas faire confiance à ton gouvernement.

    1.6.2024 Haroon Siddique - Claimants who were onboard BA149 claim airline and Thatcher’s government knew of risk before they landed in 1990

    British Airways (BA) passengers and crew taken hostage in Kuwait and used as human shields during Saddam Hussein’s invasion are suing the airline and the UK government.

    The claimants, who were subjected to torture, including mock executions, say they have evidence that BA and the government knew the invasion had taken place hours before the plane landed in Kuwait. They also claim that the flight was used to secretly transport a special ops team for immediate and covert deployment to the battlefield, “regardless of the risk this posed to the civilians onboard”.

    The BA149 flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, carrying 367 passengers and 18 crew members, arrived for a scheduled stopover at Kuwait International airport on 2 August 1990 as Iraqi armed forces were invading. It was the last commercial flight to do so. Those on board were held captive for up to five months, during which time they were subjected to torture, rape, mock executions, starvation and other abusive practices.

    In 2021, after the release of documents to the National Archives that showed the British ambassador in Kuwait had warned the UK Foreign Office that the invasion was under way before flight BA149 landed, the then foreign secretary, Liz Truss, admitted that the government had covered up the warning for decades.

    She said the warning was not passed on to BA and, in a reference to allegations regarding the presence of special forces, insisted that the government at the time “did not seek to exploit the flight in any way by any means whatsoever”.

    However, lawyers for the claimants say BA did know of the invasion and a covert special ops team was on board.

    Nicola Dowling, 56, a member of cabin crew on flight BA149 who spent about two months in Kuwait, during which time she was deployed as a human shield, said: “Not being believed and denied justice all these years has been hideous. It was all very well for [Margaret] Thatcher to say Saddam Hussein is hiding behind women and children. She bloody well sent us in there, presented us to him on a plate for him to use. She was as complicit in this as he was, as was BA.”

    Nicola Dowling on her first day of training for BA in January 1989. Photograph: supplied

    Dowling, who had been working for BA for 18 months at the time and turned 23 while in Kuwait, told of the moment she thought she was going to die, when being transported to the IBI camp in Fahaheel to be deployed as a human shield.

    “They stopped in the middle of a desert and all the soldiers in the bus surrounded our bus and pointed their rifles at the windows and you could have heard a pin drop,” said Dowling, who lives in Surrey. “All the babies stopped crying and the kids stopped wailing and we thought we were going to be shot. We thought this was a start of reprisals, but we weren’t [shot]. And I don’t know to this day why they stopped in the middle of the desert with their rifles cocked at us.”

    She described conditions at the IBI camp, where British expats were also being held, as “inhumane” and “hideous”, with overflowing excrement everywhere, limited running water and food, and frequent outbreaks of dysentery. She said her late ex-RAF father was so concerned about her that he wrote to Thatcher asking if he could swap places.

    Dowling said BA’s response when she was released was “appalling”. She said she was pressed to return to work as soon as possible because of a shortage of available cabin crew and to resume flying to the Middle East, despite her pleas not to be sent back there.

    She said she was threatened with the sack if she did not comply, so went back to the region once a month for the next 15 years, Like many of her colleagues on BA149, she retired with a medical pension.

    “It was just torturous,” she said. “In the end I was just broken. I was a broken shell.”

    Dowling said the claim for negligence and joint misfeasance in public office, brought by 95 people against the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, the Cabinet Office, the Ministry of Defence and BA, was an attempt to “hold the buggers to account. It’s impacted my life hugely.”

    Matthew Jury, the managing partner of McCue Jury & Partners LLP, which is acting for the claimants, said: “The victims and survivors of flight BA149 deserve justice for being treated as disposable collateral. HMG [her majesty’s government] and BA watched on as children were paraded as human shields by a ruthless dictator, yet they did and admitted nothing. There must be closure and accountability to erase this shameful stain on the UK’s conscience.”

    A coalition of US-led forces liberated Kuwait in 1991 during Operation Desert Storm, also known as the first Gulf war.

    BA and the government have been approached for comment.

    #histoire #guerre #ôtages #Grande_Bretagne #Kuweit #Iraq #thatcherisme #aviation

  • “These Thankless Deserts” - Winston Churchill and the Middle East : An Introduction
    Voici le point de vue de la société Winston Churchill. A noter : La Déclaration Balfour de 1917 était le résultat d’une intrigue de Dr. Chaim Weizmann

    Wikipedia nous informe que

    Dès 1903 Herzl avait obtenu une lettre officielle du Foreign Office déclarant que la Grande-Bretagne acceptait un accord sur la création d’une colonie juive sous administration juive, document que Yoram Hazony juge « surpassant même la Déclaration Balfour ».
    Hazony (2007), p. 180 : « Lord Landsdowne est prêt à envisager favorablement ... un projet dont les caractéristiques principales sont l’octroi d’un vaste territoire, la nomination d’un responsable juif à la tête de l’administration (ayant) carte blanche en matière d’administration municipale, religieuse et purement intérieure » (voir lettre de Sir Clement Hill (en) à Leopold Greenberg (en), 14 août 1903. Repris in Die Welt, 29 août 1903)..

    Churchill étant proche des sionistes travaillait depuis ce moment et jusqu’à la fin de sa vie en faveur de la colonisation juive d’une partie du territoire arabe sous mandat britannique. L’article contient quelques éléments qui ont pu le motiver à prendre cette position.

    10.7.2023 by David Freeman - Finest Hour 196, Second Quarter 2022

    During the First World War, the United Kingdom went to war against the Ottoman Empire, which had allied itself with the Central Powers of Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Ottoman Empire traced its origins and its name back to the thirteenth-century Turkish Sultan Osman I.

    Although once a great power controlling large sections of Europe, Africa, and Asia, the Ottoman Empire by the twentieth century had become known as the “sick man of Europe” and was much reduced in size. Nevertheless, the Turks still controlled nearly all of the lands of Arabia, including the Moslem Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina. For centuries, the office of Sultan had been combined with that of the Caliph, the spiritual leader of the Moslem world.

    All of this came to an end with Turkish defeat in the Great War. In 1915, the British attempted a quick thrust at the Ottoman capital of Constantinople (now known as Istanbul) with a plan strongly supported by First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill. The Dardanelles (or Gallipoli) campaign ended in failure. The British then turned to attacking the Turks from further out, along the frontiers of Arabia.

    In control of Egypt since 1882, the British used the ancient land to launch an offensive against Gaza, which lay in Turkish-controlled Palestine near the Sinai border with Egypt. At the same time, the British opened talks with Emir Hussein ibn Ali Al-Hashimi, the Sharif of Mecca. The Sharifate included Mecca and Medina, both located in the western regions of Arabia known as the Hejaz. Although an Arab, Hussein served the Turks, his title of Sharif indicating descent from the Prophet Mohammad.

    In 1916, the British induced Hussein to declare independence and establish himself as King of the Hejaz. In doing this, the British hoped to bring down the Ottoman Empire from within and minimize the resources they would need to commit to the region. The “Arab Revolt,” however, failed to attract the sort of support for which the British had been hoping.

    Much more powerful among the Arabs than Hussein was Abdul Aziz ibn Saud, the dominant chieftain in the Nejd, the large, barren region of eastern Arabia. Ibn Saud was much more concerned with defeating his chief rival in the Nejd than making war against the Turks. And so, in the end, the British had to do most of their own fighting in the Middle East, using forces from Britain, India, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.

    Hussein had several sons. Of these, the one who worked most closely with the British during the war was Feisal, known variously as “Emir Feisal” and, after his father proclaimed himself king, “Prince Feisal.” In return for Arab support, the British made ambiguous promises about supporting the creation after the war of independent states, including the region of Palestine, which was vaguely understood to be the land around the Jordan River.

    In the search for victory, however, the British also made promises in other directions. In 1916, Britain and France entered into an agreement that became known as the Sykes-Picot Treaty. The two imperial powers decided to carve up the Arab lands once the Turks were defeated. The French would take the northern regions of Syria and Lebanon, which might include Mosul and parts of Palestine, but which would definitely include Damascus. The British would take most of Palestine and Mesopotamia.

    In 1917, the British entered into yet another potentially conflicting agreement. Even before 1914, the World Zionist Congress had begun to establish new settlements in Palestine, the ancient homeland of the Jewish people. During the war, Dr. Chaim Weizmann, a naturalized British citizen and a research chemist, provided vital assistance to the war effort as Director of the British Admiralty Laboratories (see FH 195). Weizmann skillfully used his influence to induce the British government to issue the Balfour Declaration, a letter from Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Lord Rothschild pledging support for the establishment “in Palestine for a national home for the Jewish people.”
    Churchill and the Middle East
    British map appended to 1921 Cabinet Memorandum showing proposed Mandates

    In the final year of the war, British forces made major progress against the Turks. Starting from Basra, at the head of the Persian Gulf, the British swept up the valley of Mesopotamia and captured Baghdad. Under the leadership of Gen. Sir Edmund Allenby, the British Army finally took Gaza and pushed through to Jerusalem. In the interior, meanwhile, Arab forces carried out a guerrilla campaign against the Turks, assisted to a degree by a young archaeologist turned intelligence officer turned commando, T. E. Lawrence (see FH 119).

    In the fall of 1918, the Ottoman Empire finally collapsed. Turkish forces remaining in Arabia hastily retreated, creating a vacuum. The Allies had not anticipated this, and Feisal seized the opportunity to establish himself in Damascus with the intention of ruling a new kingdom from the world’s oldest continually inhabited city. The French, however, insisted on their “rights” under the Sykes-Picot agreement, and the British had to acquiesce on the grounds that amity with the French was more important to the United Kingdom than amity with the Arabs.

    The French, however, were not to be altogether satisfied. President Wilson of the United States insisted that the Allies were to gain no territory from the defeated Central Powers. Instead the former colonies of Germany and Turkey would come under the authority of the League of Nations, which would assign the various territories to member states with a “mandate” to assist the native populations towards self-government. At least in theory, French and British authority in the Middle East was supposed to be only temporary.

    For the most part, the British were anxious to exit their mandates as soon as possible. British forces in Mesopotamia were made unwelcome by the locals, who were also bitterly divided against one another. Chaos prevailed, and British troops were regularly ambushed and killed in what Churchill called “these thankless deserts.” The cost of military operations became a primary concern to Churchill after the Armistice, when he became Secretary of State for War and was told by Prime Minister David Lloyd George that his paramount responsibility had to be reduction of expenditure.

    By 1920, Churchill came to believe that reducing military spending in the Middle East required the establishment of an Arab Department within the Colonial Office, which could work to settle the grievances of the Arabs and thereby reduce hostilities in the region. He lamented the price in blood and treasure that Britain was paying to be “midwife to an ungrateful volcano” (see FH 132). After Lloyd George agreed to Churchill’s proposal, the Prime Minister invited his War Secretary to move to the Colonial Office and supervise the settlement process himself.

    Churchill became Secretary of State for the Colonies early in 1921 and immediately called for a conference to take place in Cairo that March. Altogether forty key people involved with Britain’s Middle Eastern affairs gathered for what Churchill jestingly called a meeting of the “forty thieves.” Out of this emerged what became known as the “Sharifian” solution.

    Hussein would continue to be recognized as King of the Hejaz. His son Feisal, driven from Damascus by the French, would be set up in Baghdad as King of Iraq, as Mesopotamia was formally renamed. Palestine would be divided along the line of the Jordan. The eastern side, or “Trans-Jordania” (later shortened to Jordan), would become an Arab kingdom under Feisal’s elder brother Abdullah. Churchill argued that the advantage of this would be that pressure applied in any one of the three states would also be felt in the other two. Ibn Saud, to keep the peace, would be given a healthy subsidy by the British government.

    The western side of Palestine remained under British mandate authority so as to fulfill the pledge made by the Balfour Declaration. Although the Arabs of Palestine (i.e., the Palestinians) protested against this, Churchill curtly rejected their representations during a visit to Jerusalem after the Cairo Conference ended. Churchill did not foresee Jewish immigration overtaking the Palestinian population and naively believed that the two groups, along with Arab Christians, would work together to create a peaceful, prosperous, secular Palestinian state. Churchill was not always right.

    In June 1921, Churchill made a lengthy speech to the House of Commons in which he outlined his settlement and the reasons behind it (see p. 38). This would be the longest statement Churchill ever made about the Middle East and its peoples. Over the following year and a half, he supervised the implementation of the decisions made at Cairo and approved by Parliament. The process was not without incident—Feisal was in a precarious position in Baghdad and constrained to demonstrate his independence—but went generally according to plan before Churchill and his Liberal party were driven from power late in 1922.

    Churchill’s most dedicated period of involvement with the Middle East ended with his tenure at the Colonial Office, but he continued to monitor events. The short-lived Kingdom of Hejaz ended when it was overrun in 1924 by the forces of ibn Saud, who unified the region with the Nejd to create the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Hussein went into exile, later to be buried in Jerusalem. After returning to Parliament as a Conservative, Churchill remained a supporter of Zionism and strongly objected when the government of Neville Chamberlain acted to restrict Jewish immigration into Palestine, even as Nazi Germany was forcing Jews in Europe to flee for their lives.

    During the Second World War, the Middle East became a critical zone for the Allies. The Suez Canal linked Britain with India and the Antipodes, and Egypt was a base from which to fight the Axis powers directly when first Italy and then Germany began offensive operations in North Africa. As Prime Minister, Churchill travelled to Cairo several times during the war. In 1945 it was where he last met with President Roosevelt and first met with ibn Saud. After a cabal of pro-fascist army officers seized control of the government in Baghdad in 1941, Churchill supported a bold and successful move to reestablish an Iraqi government friendly to Britain.

    Although out of office when Israel declared independence in 1948, Churchill expressed the view to his old friend and fellow Zionist Leo Amery that it was “a big event…in history” and “all to the good that the result has come about by fighting” (see FH 178). It also pleased Churchill that Weizmann became the first President of Israel and that the nation’s leading technical university chose to name its auditorium for the former British Prime Minister who had supported Zionism at a crucial moment (see FH 195).

    One hundred years on, the decisions that Churchill made about the Middle East continue to affect the world today.

    #Grande_Bretagne #Empire_ottoman #Palestine #histoire #impérialisme #Déclaration_Balfour #Conférence_du_Caire_1943 #Égypte #Iraq #Mésopotamie #Moyen-Orient #Lawrence_d_Arabie #Israel

    • April 26, 2023
      Winston Churchill’s 1922 White Paper for Palestine
      Finest Hour 196, Second Quarter 2022
      Page 32 - By Sarah Reguer

      (...) At the end of 1921 Churchill did act on issues connected with the Palestine garrison, but High Commissioner Samuel kept writing about the need for a clear political policy, since the political status was still not regularized by a formal document, either a British one or one from the League of Nations.

      Memoranda arrived from Samuel, from leading members of the Colonial Office’s advisory board, from Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the World Zionist Organization, and from the Arab delegation. On 11 August, Churchill wrote an introduction to a Palestine memorandum that was not very encouraging nor optimistic. “The situation in Palestine causes me perplexity and anxiety,” he began.1 “The whole country is in a ferment. The Zionist policy is profoundly unpopular with all except the Zionists.” Both sides were arming, elective institutions were refused in the interests of the Zionist policy, “and the high cost of the garrison is almost wholly due to our Zionist policy.”2 Meanwhile, even the Zionists were discontented at the lack of progress and the “chilling disapprobation” of the British officials and the military. (...)

  • The Cataclysmic Iraq War in 6 Charts | #Stephen_Semler

    Speaking recently about Russia’s criminal invasion of Ukraine, Joe #Biden said: “The idea that over 100,000 forces would invade another country . . . since World War II, nothing like that has happened.” He must have a short-term memory.

    US-led coalition forces in #Iraq easily eclipsed one hundred thousand every year from 2003 to 2009, during which time Biden was either vice president of the United States or the chairman or ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. As the following charts demonstrate, twenty years on, Biden is as connected to the Iraq War and its legacy as any active politician.

  • Bundesregierung will nicht sagen, ob Irak-Krieg ein Angriffskrieg war

    18.12.2022 von Michael Maier - Eine parlamentarische Anfrage zeigt: Die Lüge von den Massenvernichtungswaffen lebt in den Akten weiter.

    Knapp 20 Jahre nach dem Irak-Krieg will die Bundesregierung noch keine rechtliche Bewertung vornehmen, ob der Einsatz der „Koalition der Willigen“ zum Sturz von Saddam Hussein einen „Bruch des Völkerrechts“ darstellt oder als ein „völkerrechtswidriger Angriffskrieg“ anzusehen ist. Das geht aus einem Schreiben des Auswärtigen Amts hervor, welches der Berliner Zeitung vorliegt. Die Bundesregierung wiederholt in der Beantwortung einer schriftlichen Anfrage der Abgeordneten Sevim Dagdelen lediglich die damalige Begründung der US-Regierung, wonach der Angriff erst erfolgte, nachdem dem Irak zuvor „eine letzte Gelegenheit“ gegebenen worden war, „seinen Verpflichtungen bezüglich der Kontrolle und Vernichtung seiner Massenvernichtungswaffen nachzukommen“.

    Demnach habe der Irak den Inspekteuren der Überprüfungsmission der Vereinten Nationen sowie jenen der Internationalen Atomenergie-Organisation Zutritt zu allen Anlagen gewähren müssen. Der Sicherheitsrat der Vereinten Nationen habe in seiner Resolution 1441 (2002) erneut betont, „dass alle Mitgliedstaaten der Vereinten Nationen durch seine Resolution vom 29. November 1990 ermächtigt wurden, alle erforderlichen Mittel einzusetzen, um der Resolution 2. August 1990 und allen danach verabschiedeten einschlägigen Resolutionen Geltung zu verschaffen, um den Weltfrieden und die internationale Sicherheit in dem Gebiet wiederherzustellen“.

    Der Sicherheitsrat habe außerdem darauf hingewiesen, „dass die Beschlüsse nach Kapitel VII der Charta der Vereinten Nationen gefasst wurden“ und habe den Irak wiederholt vor „ernsthaften Konsequenzen bei weiteren Verstößen gegen die Verpflichtungen der Resolutionen gewarnt“.

    Der Irak verfügte jedoch, wie sich wenig später herausstellte, zu keinem Zeitpunkt über keine Massenvernichtungswaffen. Die US-Regierung hatte die Weltöffentlichkeit gezielt belogen: Die „Beweise“ für die Existenz von Massenvernichtungswaffen, die US-Außenminister Colin Powell an 5. Februar 2003 in einer Sitzung des Sicherheitsrats vorlegt hatte, „bestanden aus Material, dass vom amerikanischen Geheimdienst manipuliert worden war“, so der Deutschlandfunk zehn Jahre später.

    Sevim Dagdelen, Obfrau im Auswärtigen Ausschuss, sagte der Berliner Zeitung: „Die Weigerung der Bundesregierung, den Irak-Krieg der USA als Völkerrechtsbruch auch noch 19 Jahre nach dem Angriffskrieg zu verurteilen, ist selbst himmelschreiendes Unrecht.

    Die Bundesregierung versucht, die US-Kriegslüge auch noch zu rechtfertigen, indem sie nachlegt, der Irak habe Massenvernichtungswaffen besessen, die lediglich auf wundersame Weise bis heute nicht gefunden wurden. Wer wie die Bundesregierung Angriffskriege und Völkerrechtsbrüche von Nato-Partnern prinzipiell nicht verurteilt, verliert jede Glaubwürdigkeit für die Einhaltung des Völkerrechts.“

    #USA #Iraq #guerre #impérialisme #monsonges

  • A la frontière entre la #Lituanie et le #Bélarus, Loukachenko se fait maître passeur

    Pour se venger de Vilnius, qui accueille l’opposition en exil, l’autocrate semble avoir organisé une filière d’immigration clandestine, qui mène des candidats au départ de Bagdad à la frontière de l’Etat balte.

    Depuis la fin du mois de mai, les gardes-frontières bélarusses postés aux lisières de la Lituanie sont au repos. Ils ferment les yeux sur les silhouettes qui traversent les bois dans l’obscurité, sur les traces de pas laissées dans le sable du no man’s land qui sépare les deux pays. Dans leur dos, passent chaque jour plusieurs dizaines de personnes. Des migrants, Irakiens pour la plupart. Depuis le début de l’année, les #gardes-frontières lituaniens ont rattrapé 387 personnes qui venaient d’entrer dans leur pays – et au passage dans l’espace Schengen. Le rythme s’est largement accéléré en juin, avec plus de 200 entrées en quinze jours. Soit plus en deux semaines qu’au cours des deux années précédentes réunies : 81 migrants avaient été arrêtés en 2020 et 46 en 2019.

    « Tout cela découle de raisons géopolitiques. D’après ce que nous voyons, les officiers bélarusses coopèrent et sont potentiellement impliqués dans le transport illégal de migrants », a affirmé la ministre lituanienne de l’Intérieur, Agne Bilotaite. « Les gardes-frontières bélarusses ont stoppé toute coopération avec leurs homologues lituaniens », confirme le porte-parole du service lituanien de protection des frontières, Giedrius Misutis.

    #Chantage migratoire

    Le mois dernier, après l’atterrissage forcé à Minsk d’un vol Athènes-Vilnius, l’arrestation de l’opposant #Raman_Protassevitch et l’opprobre international qui avait suivi, Alexandre #Loukachenko avait prévenu : « Nous arrêtions les migrants et les drogues. Attrapez-les vous-même désormais. » La menace lancée par l’autocrate bélarusse à ses voisins paraissait alors assez creuse. Son pays est loin des principales voies d’entrée en Europe empruntées par les migrants ce qui ne lui permet pas d’avoir recours au type de #chantage_migratoire utilisé l’an dernier par la Turquie ou plus récemment par le Maroc pour solder leurs différends avec Bruxelles.

    Alors, pour augmenter sa capacité de nuisance, il semble que le régime bélarusse se soit lancé dans l’organisation de sa propre filière d’immigration illégale. Pour cela, il a trouvé un nouvel usage à #Tsentrkurort, l’agence de voyages d’Etat, qui travaille avec Bagdad depuis 2017. Entre le mois d’avril et la mi-juin, le nombre de liaisons aériennes opérées par #Iraqi_Airways entre Minsk et Bagdad est passé d’une à trois par semaine. Pendant la deuxième quinzaine de mai, les habituels Boeing 737 ont aussi été remplacés par des 777, à la capacité plus importante.

    « A l’aéroport de Minsk, personne ne vérifie les documents des Irakiens qui ont réservé avec Tsentrkurort. Ils obtiennent automatiquement des #visas », indique le rédacteur en chef de la chaîne Telegram Nexta, Tadeusz Giczan. La compagnie aérienne #Fly_Baghdad, qui dessert presque uniquement des villes du Moyen-Orient, a également ouvert en mai une liaison directe entre les capitales irakienne et bélarusse, qui effectue deux rotations par semaine.

    Agitation à la frontière

    Les autorités lituaniennes ont fait les mêmes constats. « Il y a des #vols Bagdad-Minsk et Istanbul-Minsk deux fois par semaine. En tout, quatre vols qui correspondent aux vagues de migrations [hebdomadaires] », a expliqué le président du comité parlementaire lituanien consacré à la sécurité nationale, Laurynas Kasciunas. La ministre de l’Intérieur estime, elle aussi, que les migrants arrivent par avion de Bagdad et d’Istanbul, avant d’être conduits à la frontière lituanienne, pour des tarifs allant de 1 500 euros par personne à 3 500 pour une famille.

    Ces flux migratoires soigneusement orchestrés semblent dirigés uniquement vers la Lituanie. Le pays est le plus fidèle allié de l’opposition bélarusse, dont la cheffe de file est exilée à Vilnius. C’est aussi un petit Etat, d’à peine 2,8 millions d’habitants, peu habitué à gérer une pression migratoire. Le centre d’accueil des étrangers installé à la frontière du Bélarus arrive déjà à saturation et des grandes tentes viennent d’être installées à sa lisière pour héberger 350 personnes supplémentaires. Lundi, la ministre de l’Intérieur a repoussé l’instauration de l’état d’urgence, estimant que « l’aide internationale prévue » suffirait pour tenir le choc.

    Jamais cette frontière de 500 kilomètres de long n’avait connu autant d’agitation. La nuit, les migrants récemment débarqués au Bélarus tentent le passage, suivis ou précédés par des opposants à Loukachenko qui prennent le chemin de l’exil dans la clandestinité. Le jour, ce sont les Bélarusses déjà réfugiés en Lituanie qui s’y rassemblent, avec drapeaux et pancartes. Ils réclament l’imposition de nouvelles sanctions contre le régime et l’ouverture des frontières pour leurs compatriotes. Car dans le Bélarus de Loukachenko, les migrants sont encouragés à franchir les frontières, mais les citoyens sont assignés à résidence, interdits de quitter le pays, sauf s’ils sont en possession d’un permis de résidence permanent à l’étranger.


    #frontières #réfugiés #réfugiés_irakiens #migrations #asile #Protassevitch #compagnies_aériennes #Irak #Biélorussie

    ping @reka

  • Gertrude Bell - Britain’s ’Queen of the Desert’

    Gertrude Bell was a global adventurer, linguist, spy, archaeologist, and much more. She was responsible for defining the borders of modern-day Iraq, and founded the country’s first museum. However, her own family home in Redcar has fallen into disrepair. Activists are now fighting for the building to be preserved in her memory. ITV News Correspondent Emma Murphy reports.

    Gertrude Bell

    Gertrude Margaret Lowthian Bell, CBE (14 July 1868 – 12 July 1926) was an English writer, traveller, political officer, administrator, and archaeologist[2] who explored, mapped, and became highly influential to British imperial policy-making due to her knowledge and contacts, built up through extensive travels in Syria-Palestine, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, and Arabia.[3] Along with T. E. Lawrence, Bell helped support the Hashemite dynasties in what is today Jordan as well as in Iraq.

    She played a major role in establishing and helping administer the modern state of Iraq, using her unique perspective from her travels and relations with tribal leaders throughout the Middle East. During her lifetime she was highly esteemed and trusted by British officials and exerted an immense amount of power. She has been described as “one of the few representatives of His Majesty’s Government remembered by the Arabs with anything resembling affection”.

    #fremmes #impérialisme #culture #archéologie #musée #Iraq

  • Der US-alliierte Krieg gegen den Irak. Ein „gerechter Krieg“ feiert seinen 30. Geburtstag

    Ein Masterplan für einen Krieg aus edlen und selbstlosen Gründen, die nicht nur für alte Militaristen gut sind. Es liegt nun 30 Jahre zurück, als US-alliierte Truppen in den Irak einmarschiert waren. Es lohnt sich, Bilanz zu ziehen. Denn heute lassen sich viel sicherer Versprechen, Propaganda und Wirklichkeiten auseinanderhalten. Und es gibt noch einen sehr aktuellen Anlass, auf diesen ‚Zweiten Golfkrieg‘ zurückzublicken. Damals taten jene, die dem „Realoflügel“ der GRÜNEN nahestanden, alles, um den Pazifismus über Bord zu werfen. Heute machen sich Teile der Partei DIE LINKE dieselben Gedanken. Wie kann man sich als Koalitionspartner anbieten und gleichzeitig ein wesentliches Erkennungszeichen der LINKEN, keinen Kriegseinsätzen zuzustimmen, aushebeln? Von Wolf Wetzel.

    #Allemagne #Iraq #guerre #OTAN

  • Saddam Key in Early CIA Plot

    By Richard Sale, United Press International, April 10, 2003

    U.S. forces in Baghdad might now be searching high and low for Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, but in the past Saddam was seen by U.S. intelligence services as a bulwark of anti-communism and they used him as their instrument for more than 40 years, according to former U.S. intelligence diplomats and intelligence officials.

    United Press International has interviewed almost a dozen former U.S. diplomats, British scholars and former U.S. intelligence officials to piece together the following account. The CIA declined to comment on the report.

    While many have thought that Saddam first became involved with U.S. intelligence agencies at the start of the September 1980 Iran-Iraq war, his first contacts with U.S. officials date back to 1959, when he was part of a CIA-authorized six-man squad tasked with assassinating then Iraqi Prime Minister Gen. Abd al-Karim Qasim.

    In July 1958, Qasim had overthrown the Iraqi monarchy in what one former U.S. diplomat, who asked not to be identified, described as “a horrible orgy of bloodshed.”

    According to current and former U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Iraq was then regarded as a key buffer and strategic asset in the Cold War with the Soviet Union. For example, in the mid-1950s, Iraq was quick to join the anti-Soviet Baghdad Pact which was to defend the region and whose members included Turkey, Britain, Iran and Pakistan.

    Little attention was paid to Qasim’s bloody and conspiratorial regime until his sudden decision to withdraw from the pact in 1959, an act that “freaked everybody out” according to a former senior U.S. State Department official.

    Washington watched in marked dismay as Qasim began to buy arms from the Soviet Union and put his own domestic communists into ministry positions of “real power,” according to this official. The domestic instability of the country prompted CIA Director Allan Dulles to say publicly that Iraq was “the most dangerous spot in the world.”

    In the mid-1980s, Miles Copeland, a veteran CIA operative, told UPI the CIA had enjoyed “close ties” with [the] . . . ruling Baath Party, just as it had close connections with the intelligence service of Egyptian leader Gamel Abd Nassar. In a recent public statement, Roger Morris, a former National Security Council staffer in the 1970s, confirmed this claim, saying that the CIA had chosen the authoritarian and anti-communist Baath Party “as its instrument.”

    According to another former senior State Department official, Saddam, while only in his early 20s, became a part of a U.S. plot to get rid of Qasim. According to this source, Saddam was installed in an apartment in Baghdad on al-Rashid Street directly opposite Qasim’s office in Iraq’s Ministry of Defense, to observe Qasim’s movements.

    Adel Darwish, Middle East expert and author of “Unholy Babylon,” said the move was done “with full knowledge of the CIA,” and that Saddam’s CIA handler was an Iraqi dentist working for CIA and Egyptian intelligence. U.S. officials separately confirmed Darwish’s account.

    Darwish said that Saddam’s paymaster was Capt. Abdel Maquid Farid, the assistant military attaché at the Egyptian Embassy who paid for the apartment from his own personal account. Three former senior U.S. officials have confirmed that this is accurate.

    The assassination was set for Oct. 7, 1959, but it was completely botched. Accounts differ. One former CIA official said that the 22-year-old Saddam lost his nerve and began firing too soon, killing Qasim’s driver and only wounding Qasim in the shoulder and arm. Darwish told UPI that one of the assassins had bullets that did not fit his gun and that another had a hand grenade that got stuck in the lining of his coat.

    “It bordered on farce,” a former senior U.S. intelligence official said. But Qasim, hiding on the floor of his car, escaped death, and Saddam, whose calf had been grazed by a fellow would-be assassin, escaped to Tikrit, thanks to CIA and Egyptian intelligence agents, several U.S. government officials said.

    Saddam then crossed into Syria and was transferred by Egyptian intelligence agents to Beirut, according to Darwish and former senior CIA officials. While Saddam was in Beirut, the CIA paid for Saddam’s apartment and put him through a brief training course, former CIA officials said. The agency then helped him get to Cairo, they said.

    One former U.S. government official, who knew Saddam at the time, said that even then Saddam “was known as having no class. He was a thug — a cutthroat.”

    In Cairo, Saddam was installed in an apartment in the upper class neighborhood of Dukki and spent his time playing dominos in the Indiana Café, watched over by CIA and Egyptian intelligence operatives, according to Darwish and former U.S. intelligence officials.

    One former senior U.S. government official said: “In Cairo, I often went to Groppie Café at Emad Eldine Pasha Street, which was very posh, very upper class. Saddam would not have fit in there. The Indiana was your basic dive.”

    But during this time Saddam was making frequent visits to the American Embassy where CIA specialists such as Miles Copeland and CIA station chief Jim Eichelberger were in residence and knew Saddam, former U.S. intelligence officials said.

    Saddam’s U.S. handlers even pushed Saddam to get his Egyptian handlers to raise his monthly allowance, a gesture not appreciated by Egyptian officials since they knew of Saddam’s American connection, according to Darwish. His assertion was confirmed by former U.S. diplomat in Egypt at the time.

    In February 1963 Qasim was killed in a Baath Party coup. Morris claimed recently that the CIA was behind the coup, which was sanctioned by President John F. Kennedy, but a former very senior CIA official strongly denied this.

    “We were absolutely stunned. We had guys running around asking what the hell had happened,” this official said.

    But the agency quickly moved into action. Noting that the Baath Party was hunting down Iraq’s communist, the CIA provided the submachine gun-toting Iraqi National Guardsmen with lists of suspected communists who were then jailed, interrogated, and summarily gunned down, according to former U.S. intelligence officials with intimate knowledge of the executions.

    Many suspected communists were killed outright, these sources said. Darwish told UPI that the mass killings, presided over by Saddam, took place at Qasr al-Nehayat, literally, the Palace of the End.

    A former senior U.S. State Department official told UPI: “We were frankly glad to be rid of them. You ask that they get a fair trial? You have to get kidding. This was serious business.”

    A former senior CIA official said: “It was a bit like the mysterious killings of Iran’s communists just after Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in 1979. All 4,000 of his communists suddenly got killed.”

    British scholar Con Coughlin, author of “Saddam: King of Terror,” quotes Jim Critchfield, then a senior Middle East agency official, as saying the killing of Qasim and the communists was regarded “as a great victory.” A former long-time covert U.S. intelligence operative and friend of Critchfield said: “Jim was an old Middle East hand. He wasn’t sorry to see the communists go at all. Hey, we were playing for keeps.”

    Saddam, in the meantime, became head of al-Jihaz a-Khas, the secret intelligence apparatus of the Baath Party.

    The CIA/Defense Intelligence Agency relation with Saddam intensified after the start of the Iran-Iraq war in September of 1980. During the war, the CIA regularly sent a team to Saddam to deliver battlefield intelligence obtained from Saudi AWACS surveillance aircraft to aid the effectiveness of Iraq’s armed forces, according to a former DIA official, part of a U.S. interagency intelligence group.

    This former official said that he personally had signed off on a document that shared U.S. satellite intelligence with both Iraq and Iran in an attempt to produce a military stalemate. “When I signed it, I thought I was losing my mind,” the former official told UPI.

    A former CIA official said that Saddam had assigned a top team of three senior officers from the Estikhbarat, Iraq’s military intelligence, to meet with the Americans.

    According to Darwish, the CIA and DIA provided military assistance to Saddam’s ferocious February 1988 assault on Iranian positions in the al-Fao peninsula by blinding Iranian radars for three days.

    The Saddam-U.S. intelligence alliance of convenience came to an end at 2 a.m. Aug. 2, 1990, when 100,000 Iraqi troops, backed by 300 tanks, invaded its neighbor, Kuwait. America’s one-time ally had become its bitterest enemy.

    #impérialisme #USA #Iraq #CIA #histoire

  • Seit 30 Jahren bombardieren die USA den Irak

    US-Justizminister Clark nannte Mitte der 1990er die erschreckende Zahl von 1,5 Millionen durch Sanktionen Getötete, während andere diese noch höher ansetzten. Die Welternährungsorganisation nannte bereits 1995 die Zahl von 576.000 durch Sanktionen getötete Kinder – das ist Madeleine Albrights berühmt-berüchtigter „Preis“ für den Regime Change der USA, den es „wert“ sei, von irakischen Kindern zahlen zu lassen. Genozid durch Sanktionen, Zerstörung eines Landes durch Wirtschaftsterrorismus, millionenfacher Mord durch aktive Unterlassung – das ist Bill Clintons Erbe im Irak und das Paradebeispiel, wie ein Land und seine Bevölkerung zerstört werden können, ohne auch nur einen Fuß auf dieses Land zu setzen.

    Madeleine Albright: „500,000 Dead Iraqi Children Was Worth It“

    Here is a much forgotten exchange between Lesley Stahl and Madeleine Albright on “60 Minutes” back on May 12, 1996 that is not getting much play lately:

    Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?

    Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.

    In case you missed that episode, here is the video:

    #impérialisme #USA #Iraq #guerre #enfants #boycott

  • Seit 30 Jahren bombardieren die USA den Irak

    11. März 2021 um 9:37 Ein Artikel von Jakob Reimann

    Mit der Operation Desert Storm setzte Bush Senior 1991 eine Pathologie US-amerikanischer Außenpolitik in Gang, unter der seit nunmehr 30 Jahren Krieg gegen die irakische Bevölkerung geführt wird. Die Kriegsformen wechseln sich ab und greifen verstärkend ineinander: Bombenteppich, Invasion, Flugverbotszonen, Wirtschaftskrieg, Drohnenkrieg. Das Ziel ist es, den Aufstieg des ölreichen Irak zum Regionalhegemonen dauerhaft zu unterbinden. Für dieses machtpolitische Kalkül zerstörten die USA die Grundfeste eines ganzen Landes, der Wiege der Zivilisation, und töteten im Irak mindestens 2,7 Millionen Menschen – im Schnitt 250 jeden Tag, seit 30 Jahren.

    Der 17. Januar 2021 markierte den 30. Jahrestag des Krieges der USA gegen den Irak. Seit Januar 1991 bombardieren die Vereinigten Staaten nun ohne Unterbrechung das Land an Euphrat und Tigris, die Wiege der Zivilisation, und setzen darüber hinaus Wirtschaftskrieg, Staatsterrorismus und Folter ein. Der Irakkrieg dauert länger als der Amerikanische Bürgerkrieg, der Spanisch-Amerikanische Krieg, der Erste Weltkrieg, der Zweite Weltkrieg, der Koreakrieg, der Vietnamkrieg und der Kosovokrieg zusammen und ist damit der längste international ausgetragene Krieg seit dem Dreißigjährigen Krieg von 1618. Im Folgenden soll die Geschichte nachskizziert werden, wie die USA auf diesen mörderischen Irrweg gelangt sind.

    #impérialisme #guerre #USA #Iraq

  • Früherer IS-Kindersoldat seit fast vier Jahren in Berlin in U-Haft

    1984 Iranian volunteer children in front line of The war.

    Fall jetzt beim UN-Kinderrechtsausschuss - Früherer IS-Kindersoldat seit fast vier Jahren in Berlin in U-Haft

    26.02.21 | 12:22 Uhr

    Seit Mai 2017, also seit fast vier Jahren, sitzt ein mutmaßliches früheres IS-Mitglied in Berlin in Untersuchungshaft - damals war der junge Mann noch minderjährig. Jetzt befasst sich der UN-Ausschuss für Kinderrechte mit seinem Fall. Von Ulf Morling

    Seit November 2018 verhandelt der 1. Strafsenat des Berliner Kammergerichts gegen Raad A. (45) und Abbas (21). Es sind Vater und Sohn, beide Iraker sollen laut Bundesanwaltschaft IS-Mitglieder gewesen sein in ihrer Heimatstadt Mossul. Vor allem sollen sie beide an der Hinrichtung eines Offiziers einer paramilitärischen Polizeieinheit beteiligt gewesen sein, wenige Monate nach der Machtergreifung des IS in Mossul im Juni 2014.

    Raad A. soll zu den schwer bewaffneten und vermummten Männern gehört haben, die die Hinrichtung durchführten. Der mitangeklagte Sohn Abbas beschimpfte zuvor das Opfer und bespuckte es. Er war damals 15 Jahre alt und nach Überzeugung von Menschenrechtlern Kindersoldat. Für ihn gilt das Jugendstrafrecht, das den Erziehungsgedanken für den Täter in den Vordergrund stellt. Trotzdem gab es noch nie einen Jugendlichen, der länger mit der Unschuldsvermutung in Untersuchungshaft in der Jugendstrafanstalt Plötzensee saß: Im Mai werden es vier Jahre.

    Abbas in IS-Video zu sehen

    Oktober 2014: Eine Prozession von IS-Männern zieht durch Mossul. Mindestens neun waffenstarrende Männer führen in ihrer Mitte einen Mann, bekleidet mit einem weißen langen Hemd. Seine Hände sind hinter dem Rücken gefesselt. Hupende Autos folgen, stille Menschen begleiten den Zug. Der Propaganda-Filmtrupp des IS filmt alles. Auf dem Quassem-al-Khayat-Platz kommen die Männer leicht erhöht zum Stehen. Im Video ist Abbas zu sehen, er wirkt wie ein Kind, seine Stimme eher hoch, er ist der einzige, der keinen Bart tragen kann. Er ist 15. Abbas tritt im roten Pullover an den Todgeweihten heran, hebt den rechten Zeigefinger und beleidigt ihn. „Dank des Islamischen Staates haben sie dich hierher gebracht!“, sagt er, spuckt das Opfer an und verschwindet in der Menge. Dann fallen die Schüsse. Abbas Vater soll unter den maskierten Bewaffneten gewesen sein.

    Monate später flüchtet die Familie Abbas über die Türkei bis Berlin. Abbas lernt schnell Deutsch, hilft anderen Flüchtlingen im Heim beim Erlernen der Sprache, er lernt seine erste große Liebe kennen. Vater Raad, seine Mutter und die beiden kleinen Brüder werden als Flüchtlinge anerkannt. Doch dann werden Vater und Sohn im Mai 2017 festgenommen. Erst gibt es den Vorwurf des Rauschgifthandels. In dem Prozess erkennt der Richter Zeugen als Lügner und spricht Raad und Abbas frei. Doch sie bleiben in Untersuchungshaft. Der Vorwurf der Bundesanwaltschaft: Sie waren Mitglied im IS, an der Hinrichtung beteiligt und Raad soll in Berlin einen Selbstmordattentäter für die U-Bahn gesucht und für den IS geworben haben.

    Islamisten oder nicht?

    „Welche Handlungsoption hat so ein 15-Jähriger, umringt von neun schwer bewaffneten IS-Kämpfern? Soll er dann sagen: Das mache ich nicht?“, fragt Verteidiger Sven Peitzner. Abbas sei 15 Jahre alt gewesen, habe sein ganzes Leben lang nur Gewalt und Krieg erlebt: ob den Irak-Krieg und Saddam Husseins Sturz, den Bürgerkrieg, der Kampf mit den Islamisten. „Vater und Sohn sind keine religiösen Menschen“, sagt Abbas zweiter Verteidiger C. Marc Höfler. Im Gegenteil: Die Familie sei gut betucht und habe hohe Funktionäre im Saddam-Regime gehabt. Vater Raad A. komme aus der Nomenklatura der Baathisten, der Partei Saddam Husseins.

    Die Bundesanwaltschaft möchte zu den erhobenen Vorwürfen keine Stellung nehmen. Schließlich habe man beim Prozessbeginn vor dem 1. Senat des Berliner Kammergerichts Auskünfte gegeben. Das müsse genügen, heißt es aus Karlsruhe. Eine monatelange Interviewanfrage, um mit Abbas selbst zu sprechen über sein Leben im Irak und seine Einstellungen, wird von dem jungen Mann selbst sehr begrüßt, ebenso - und das ist selten - vom Leiter der Jugendstrafanstalt. Auch Justizsenator Dirk Behrendt stimmt letztlich zu.

    Doch der vorsitzende Richter des 1. Strafsenats verweigert schließlich den Zugang zum Jugendgefängnis. Zeugen könnten über die öffentlichen Äußerungen von Abbas unter Druck gesetzt, das Verfahren beschädigt werden, sagt er, obwohl ohnehin bei einem Interview unter Hochsicherheitsbedingungen drei Polizeibeamte anwesend gewesen wären. Selbst auf die Frage, ob jemals thematisiert wurde in den bisher 148 Verhandlungstagen, ob Abbas mit damals 15 Jahren nicht ein Kindersoldat gewesen sei, verweigert der Richter jede Information. Diese Auskunft könne den Eindruck der Befangenheit erwecken, wird mitgeteilt.

    Rekrutierung von unter 18-Jährigen völkerrechtlich verboten

    Vier Jahre Untersuchungshaft bedeutet für Abbas unter anderem: keine Ausbildung, keine umfassende Schule. Denn der Jugendliche ist ein Untersuchungsgefangener, der zweimal wöchentlich einen Prozesstermin hat. Außerdem unterliegt er strengen Sicherheitsauflagen. „Bei so einer langen Haftzeit hätte man ihm ruhig eine Ausbildung angedeihen lassen können. Das Problem ist, dass er zweimal die Woche beim Gericht ist“, sagt der Leiter der Jugendhaft, Bill Borchert.

    Als Kinderrechtsschutzorganisationen von Abbas erfahren, sind die Mitarbeiter betroffen. Ein solcher Umgang sei höchst fragwürdig. Denn Abbas sei, ob er freiwillig bei IS mitgemacht habe oder nicht, ein Kindersoldat gewesen. „Für bewaffnete Gruppen und Milizen wie den IS ist die Rekrutierung von unter 18-jährigen verboten“, sagt die irakkundige Henriette Hänsch von Terre des Hommes. Das sei völkerrechtlich so festgelegt. Ob die Kinder freiwillig dort mitmachten oder nicht, sie seien Kindersoldaten.

    Fall liegt beim UN-Kinderrechtsausschuss

    Erst Anfang Februar wurde dem UN-Ausschuss für Kinderrechte in Genf der Fall Abbas von dem „Deutschen Bündnis Kindersoldaten“ vorgelegt." Bekannt wurde er durch diese Recherche, weil es keinerlei Statistiken gibt, wie viele Kindersoldaten in Deutschland Zuflucht suchten. Die UN muss nun prüfen, ob Deutschland gegen die Kinderrechtskonvention von 1989 verstößt. Damit wäre international geltendes Recht verletzt.

    Noch vor einem möglichen Schuldspruch des Kammergerichts wird bereits die Abschiebung des inzwischen 21-jährigen Abbas in den Irak betrieben. Dort droht ihm zumindest Folter, sagt das Berliner Verwaltungsgericht und stoppte bisher alle Versuche der Abschiebung. Im letzten Sommer versuchte Abbas wegen dieser Pläne einen Suizid und überlebte nur knapp.

    Bis April ist derzeit der Prozess in Berlin terminiert.

    * Der Name des Vaters wurde von der Redaktion geändert. Der rbb nennt dagegen den richtigen Namen des jungen Mannes auf dessen ausdrücklichen Wunsch.

    #Iraq #Allemagne #guerre #daech #enfants_soldats

  • Syrian Refugees Return From KRG Due To Unemployment Amid Coronavirus - The syrian observer
    “Due to the continued spread of the coronavirus, businesses in Kurdish Iraq are remaining closed, creating an unemployment crisis for Syrian refugees living in the region”

    For about eight months, the lockdown measures have affected restaurants and many tourist facilities that housed Syrian workers, and according to statistics from the Association of Restaurants and Hotels in Duhok Governorate, which received about 100,000 Syrian refugees in 2019, 30 percent of those refugees worked in the tourism sector.

    The UNHCR in Iraq recorded an increase in returns to Syria, according to press statements by UNHCR media officer Rashid Hussein. “500 Syrian refugees in Duhok Governorate have registered with the UNHCR for voluntary return to Syria,” he explained.

    He added, “The main reasons for the voluntary return, according to refugees, are the economic conditions and the decline in job opportunities in the KRG.”

    Nuri Qasim is a former Syrian refugee who returned to his hometown of Derik three months ago after spending a year and a half in the city of Zakho in KRG. Qasim worked as a construction worker, but his work stopped due to coronavirus and the lack of aid provided by relief organizations to refugees, in addition to some health problems that forced him to return



  • Agnes Callamard sur Twitter : “One year ago, the US targeted killing of #Iran’s #GeneralSoleimani in #Iraq became the first known incident outside the context of a declared conflict in which a State invoked self-defence as justification for an attack against a State-actor.” / Twitter


    The US killing of General Soleimani, a State officials, also failed to meet the standards of necessity and proportionality. It was unlawful under human rights law. What does its precedent mean?

    We now confront the real prospect that States may opt to strategically eliminate high-ranking officials outside the context of a known war and then attempt to justify such a killing on the grounds of the target classification as a “terrorist who posed an undefined, future threat.

    #etats-unis #droit_international

  • Displaced people in Syria’s Hawl camp appeal to Iraqi government for repatriation - North press agency

    IDPs in Syria’s Hawl camp, north of Hasakah, called on the Iraqi government to reopen the door for their return and facilitate their arrival to their families, and denied belonging to the Islamic State (ISIS).

    Most of them were displaced during the battles between the Iraqi armed forces and ISIS.

    The Iraqi government stopped repatriating Iraqi families displaced to Hawl camp between 2019 and 2020 due to the security situation, coronavirus outbreak, and the fact that some Iraqi tribal leaders accused them of belonging to ISIS.

    Hawl camp houses about 65,000 people, including Iraqi refugees, Syrian IDPs, and ISIS families, living in 13,000 tents, according to the camp administration.



  • Coronavirus: Iraq’s ’Covid-19 generation’ faces forced labour, lack of school | Middle East Eye

    Yusuf, a 10-year-old Arab boy originally from Iraq’s central Salahaddin province, sells plastic bags in the centre of Sulaymaniyah.

    Yusuf is one of hundreds, if not thousands, of children working across northern Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region to help their families - or just to survive - at a time that Iraqi government coffers have shrunk due to the crash in oil prices, an economic crisis and a pandemic that has caused mayhem around the world.

    “I never attended school [and] have been working here for more than two years,” he told Middle East Eye. “My parents were killed by the Islamic State.”

    Many Kurdish families, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and Syrian refugees are forced to take their children out of school and send them to work in dangerous conditions in order to make ends meet.



  • COVID-19: Highest death toll in Kurdistan Region, as WHO and KRG launch COVID awareness campaign - Kurdistan 24

    Rising cases in Dohuk Province

    The ministry said in a statement that it had conducted 4,699 new tests across the region, with 458 returning positive: 199 were in Dohuk province, marking a significant increase in cases there. Some 127 new cases were reported in Erbil and 91 in Sulaimani.

    The ministry also said that 27 people had died of the virus over the past 24 hours—the highest coronavirus death count in one day, raising the total to 930 fatalities from the disease across the Kurdistan Region.

    COVID-19 is highly contagious, and health authorities have repeatedly explained what needs to be done to control its spread: wear a face mask; practice social distancing; and regularly wash hands.



  • Bus, taxis drivers in Erbil protest coronavirus travel ban - NRT Tv

    us and taxi drivers protested at a transportation terminal in Erbil city on Thursday (August 6) calling on the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to re-open routes between Erbil and other areas of the Kurdistan Region and Iraq.

    Gathering at the Erbil-Baghdad Garage, the drivers complained that they had been out of business for more than four months due to the coronavirus travel ban in the Region, noting that their counterparts in Sulaimani had already begun operations to governorates in central and southern Iraq.

    “Our demand is to be treated like the drivers from Sulaimani, Baghdad, Kirkuk, Kifri, Kalar, and Chamchamal,” one of the protesters told an NRT reporter.

    “We are in a region that became three states. The roads have been opened between Sulaimani and Baghdad and there is no problem,” he added, saying that large numbers of tourists from outside the Kurdistan Region had visited Sulaimani over the Eid al-Adha holiday.

    The protesters also argued that it was unfair that restaurants and other businesses are allowed to open, but their industry cannot return to normal.

    According to the KRG’s health ministry, there have been 15,577 cases of coronavirus in the Kurdistan Region and 597 patients have died as of Wednesday night. In Iraq as a whole, there have been 137,556 cases and 5,094 deaths.

    Although Sulaimani has recorded the highest total number of cases in the Kurdistan Region since the beginning of March, in recent weeks Erbil has had the highest number of new cases per day.



  • COVID-19 case detected at IDP camp in Duhok: migration and displacement ministry- NRT Tv

    The federal Ministry of Displacement and Migration announced on Wednesday (August 5) that it has identified a coronavirus case at the Chamishku camp in Duhok’s Zakho district, the first at that facility.

    The General Director of the ministry’s Branches Affairs Department Ali Abbas said in a statement that the person in question was a 39-year-old internally displaced person (IDP).

    “Thirty of those who were in contact with him have been isolated according to the initial report issued by the competent authorities in the province,” read the statement.

    “With the guidance of Minister of Immigration and Displacement Evan Faeq, immediate measures have been taken to sterilize the camp and prevent entries and exits to limit the spread of the virus,” Abbas added.

    “Necessary measures have been taken in coordination with Duhok Health Department to take samples, transport patients, and isolate the contacts.”

    A request for comment sent to the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Joint Crisis Coordination Centre (JCC) was not immediately returned.

    Located just north of Zakho city, Chamishku is home to 26,520 IDPs, according to UNHCR.

    Since the beginning of the Kurdistan Region’s coronavirus outbreak in March, Duhok has been relatively free of the virus, but cases have increased significantly in the past two week, surging from 357 cases on July 21 to 801 on Tuesday.

    For many, the nightmare scenario is that the coronavirus outbreak spreads to the displacement camps, where social distancing and other public health measures are difficult to achieve



  • Coronavirus cases rising in Erbil, says health official - ESTA KRD

    Spokesman for the General Directorate of Health in Erbil Dr. Bzhar Musa said COVID-19 patients were in a “bad condition” in Erbil, as most of them have serious symptoms.

    “The condition of patients at Rizgari hospital is bad, and most of them are under ventilators, and some others need oxygen,” Musa told Esta Media Network.
    “Some of the patients have severe symptoms of the virus,” he said.
    The Kurdistan Region’s ministry of health recorded 218 coronavirus cases and six deaths in Erbil on Tuesday. There were 16 cases and four deaths in Sulaimani. The Region’s total number of infections reached 15,173, with 586 deaths.
    In Sulaimani, deputy director of health Dr. Herish Said Salim said the situation in the province was “good” and that the number of cases were decreasing.

    As part of measures against the virus, the interior ministry ordered the closure of several places, including tourist sites, parks, cafeterias and teahouses in the Region

    The Region’s ministry of health said in a statement that 218 new infections were in Erbil, 16 in Sulaimani, 28 in Garmian and 83 in Duhok.



  • Flights between Turkey and Iraq suspended over rising coronavirus cases - Middle East Eye

    Flights between Turkey and Iraq are to be suspended over a rise in coronavirus cases, Iraq’s aviation authority announced on Sunday.

    Iraq had reopened Baghdad and airports in the south of the country last week for international travel after months of closure.

    Iraqi authorities lifted other restrictions last month, allowing malls and shops to reopen and delaying the start of overnight curfews to 9:30 pm (18:30 GMT).

    Restaurants and coffee shops remain closed to customers but are allowed to fulfil takeaway or delivery orders.