Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Shocking News on a Happy Day


How a report of shootings cast a shadow over Kurdish New Year celebrations.

By an IWPR-trained reporter (SB No. 98, 29-Mar-10)
I felt the cool breezes of that beautiful, sunny morning brushing gently against my face. From the back of a pickup truck, I joined hordes of Syrian Kurdish families driving towards a small village not far from the northeastern Syrian town of Qamishli.

Women and children wore colourful, traditional dresses. Some waved Kurdish national flags. We were all longing to celebrate the festival that symbolises the coming of spring and the renewal of life.

On March 21 every year, like Iranians, Kurds celebrate Nowruz, which marks the start of the Persian New Year.

Typically, on this occasion, people set up tents in the country and spend the day dancing, singing, barbecuing and drinking tea.

But for Syrian Kurds, who constitute more than ten per cent of the population, the celebration of Nowruz has sometimes been marred by skirmishes between revellers and security forces. Police patrol the streets in Kurdish cities to confiscate flags and posters.

There was no reason for this year to be different. In the clear blue sky of that morning, there was no forewarning of what was to unfold.

I was enjoying the simple pleasure of lying on the grass surrounded by flowers and children running around happily.

Suddenly, a phone call from a friend jolted me back to reality. “They fired at the crowds,” he said. I dropped the narghile (hubble bubble pipe) that I was about to smoke and fell into a state of meditation over the sad fate of my people.

I later heard reports that a young Kurdish man and a girl had been shot dead by police in the town of al-Raqqa. Dozens were said to have been injured.

Eyewitnesses said the incident started when local authorities ordered the organisers of Nowruz festivities there to remove Kurdish flags and posters of Kurdish leaders from the stage, according to local human rights groups.

Revellers, who considered the order a provocation, are said to have engaged in an argument and a stone fight with local Baath party officials. Anti-riot forces reportedly reacted quickly, firing live rounds and teargas at the crowd.

Muhammed Omar Haydar, 18, reportedly died from his wounds at a hospital in Aleppo. A girl was also said to have been killed but little is known about her because officials have imposed an information blackout about the incident.

Another young man, Mohammad Khali, is believed to have gone missing following the incident.

There was no official statement about the shooting. IWPR asked the Syrian embassy in London and the official news agency SANA in Damascus for comment but none was forthcoming.

New York-based Human Rights Watch called on the Syrian authorities to investigate the allegation that security forces fired into the crowd.

“Syrian officials need to find out why a New Year celebration turned into a tragedy,” said Joe Stork, Middle East deputy director at Human Rights Watch. “Those responsible for ordering forces to fire at the crowd with live ammunition should be brought to justice.”

This year, there had been assurances from officials that Nowruz festivities would be tolerated in the Kurdish parts of the country. The alleged violent incident at Raqqa was an isolated one but it still shows a side of the cultural and political repression that Kurds suffer in Syria.

The Kurdish language is not recognised and is banned from being taught in schools. Many Kurds are denied Syrian nationality even if they were born and live in the country.

In recent months, several Kurdish intellectuals and political figures have been detained for pro-democracy activities.

Because of the repression associated with it, we have become wary of the Nowruz season, which is otherwise supposed to symbolise new beginnings and happiness.

In 2008, three young Kurds were shot by the police in Qamishli as they took part in the ancient tradition of dancing through fire at Nowruz.

In March 2004, several Kurds were killed in days of clashes with the police following an incident at a football stadium between Kurdish and Arab supporters.

It was also in March that the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in 1988 used chemical weapons to attack the Kurdish town of Halabja in Iraq, killing thousands of Kurds.

Later that month in Syria, on the day of Nowruz, a Syrian Kurd, Sulaiman Adi, was shot by the presidential guards after he and other Kurds staged a sit-in in front of the presidential palace.

Adi is regarded today as the “martyr of Nowruz”.

Lying on the grass, I was too upset to join with my friends and family as they engaged in folk dancing. Most did not know about the alleged incident in Raqqa. The Kurdish organisers of the party thought it was better not to break the news for fear of provoking mass panic.

As the day of festivities ended in the village, I returned home dejected. It struck me that every time Syrian Kurds mark this renewal with joy and dance, they are faced with a tragedy.

Kurdish students have been arrested at the memorial for Halabja in Syria


Syrian Human Rights Committee

On 16 March 2010, Kurdish students at Aleppo University stood in silence for five minutes on the anniversary of the chemical bombing of Halabja by the former regime in Iraq. The security forces arrived and scattered the group after taking some of the group members’ identity cards, so that the security committee of the Ba’ath Party at the University could investigate these people.

Three students were arrested, and their whereabouts remain unknown:

• Hussein Mohammad Ateh, born in 1985 in Qobani, studying French literature at the University of Aleppo;

• Abdul Aziz Mohammed Ateh, a third grade secondary school student was on a visit to his brother Hussein above.

• Furman Hussein was born in Qobani in 1990, a student in the Faculty of Education classroom teacher

MAD has also learned that on the eve of Newroz, Mostafa Osman Mohamed from the village of Qalhabin in the province of Aleppo, a student at the Institute of Medicine, was arrested and when he appeared in Court the decision was made to continue his detention.

MAD Committee condemns the arrests, which are incompatible with the most basic of human rights and international conventions, including the right of expression and the right to demonstrate and protest. We call upon the Syrian authorities to stop this, and to release the detainees and all prisoners of conscience and expression, to lift of the state of emergency in the country and to abolish special courts and martial law.

Syrian Human Rights Committee-MAD

Dark Clouds Gather over Kurdistan! War or Peace?

For those who are not able to follow the situation in Turkey and the Kurdish issue.

Very generally, the situation is not looking good. The Turkish state continue to deny the basic realities of the situation and are building up a massive military presence in Kurdistan.
There is talk of changing the Turkish Constitution but not substantially and not addressing the Kurds basic demands.
Abdullah Ocalan has opposed the changes as they stand as they do not go far enough.
The BDP are behind him as are the worldwide Kurdish Movement.
The choice seems now clearer than ever.
War or Peace?
The Kurdish side has bent over backwards in its attempts to begin a peace process.
There have already began clashes and the Turkish side are determined to push the Kurdish side into war.

Written question about al-Raqqa killings put to European Parliament

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Emma McClarkin Member of European Parliament from UK raised a written question on 23 March 2010 to the Commission of the European Parliament following the Newroz shooting at al-Raqqa in Syria. She said she had been following the killing of Kurds in the Kurdish area of Syria and that she would like to know how the Commission envisages that the European Union works together with Syria to take account of these abuses of the basic rights of Kurds.

International Support Kurds in Syria Association – SKS thanks Emma for her attention to this issue and for bringing this abuse of Kurds in Syria to the attention of the European Parliament.


Co-Chair: International Support Kurds in Syria Association [SKS]




Amnesty International: Urgent Action for Berzani Karro

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Western Kurdistan: Berzani Karro, who was tortured in custody, has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years' imprisonment for "attempting to sever part of the Syrian territory and annex it to a foreign state."

Berzani Karro was brought before a military court on 14 March, and sentenced to five years' imprisonment, immediately commuted to two-and-a-half years. He intends to appeal, though such appeals are rarely successful.

According to sources in Syria, Berzani Karro was beaten for hours at a time while he was detained incommunicado for interrogation, between June and September 2009. He was held in al-Fayha Political Security Branch in the capital, Damascus. He is now allowed regular visits from his family and has had access to his lawyer.

Berzani Karro was convicted on charges commonly used against Kurds who appear to be politically active and critical of the state. He has now been imprisoned on the basis of his presumed political opinions. He was tried by a military court, whose procedures are known to fall short of international standards. Military courts are known to accept "confessions" as evidence, even when defendants say they made them under torture.

Berzani Karro had been forcibly returned from Cyprus, and arrested on arrival at Damascus Airport on 27 June 2009. He had applied for asylum in Cyprus, but been rejected, and this was the justification used for returning him. Cypriot officials escorted him on the plane, and handed him over to the Syrian authorities at Damascus airport.

No further action is requested from the UA network. Many thanks to all who sent appeals. We will continue to monitor Berzani Karro's situation, and take further campaigning action as necessary.

This is the third update of UA 257/09. Further information:


East Mediterranean Team

Amnesty International, International Secretariat

Peter Benenson House, 1 Easton Street

London WC1X 0DW

United Kingdom


Tel: +44 (0)20 7413 5500

Fax: +44 (0)20 7413 5719

Syria: Kurdish political activist Mahmoud Safo arrested

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Western Kurdistan- According to Human Rights Organization in Syria – MAF and the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights based in UK, the Syrian political security forces arrested Mahmoud Safo on 28 March 2010. He is a member of the Political Bureau of the Kurdish Leftist Party in Syria from Deyrik town.

Mohammed Musa, the Secretary of the Party informed the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights based in UK that the political security forces in Malkia summoned Mahmoud Safo on Sunday evening 28 March 2010, and they were informed the next day he had been transferred to the political security branch in Hassaka city.

The Human Rights Organization in Syria – MAF and the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights based in UK call for Mahmoud Safo’s release and the release of all prisoners of conscience in Syria. We call for an end to the State of Emergency and martial law that is used to imprison Kurds who stand up for human rights.

Co-Chair: International Support Kurds in Syria Association [SKS]




Iran: Human Rights Emergency

Tuesday, 30 March 2010
By Kenneth R. Timmerman

The Iranian regime thinks it is on a roll. Without so much as a whimper from the United States or Europe, it succeeded in brutally suppressing the Green movement during the latest round of protests on the anniversary of the revolution on Feb. 11. Now it sees an opportunity to roll up its opponents outside Iran as well.
In recent show trials, Tehran cynically has tried dozens of opposition demonstrators as "mohareb" (one who wages war against God). The crime carries the death sentence and has been used periodically by the regime as a means of eliminating its

On Feb. 23, the Iranians nabbed a prominent guerrilla leader, Abdolmalek Rigi, who had been living in Pakistan. Just days later, they released an obviously staged videotaped "confession" in which Mr. Rigi said that his Baluchi rebel group, Jundollah, had been offered arms, money and training by the CIA - charges the U.S. government dismissed as "ludicrous."

Mr. Rigi's group has launched a series of spectacular raids against the Iranian security forces. The deadliest of these attacks was also the most recent. On Oct. 18, a Jundollah suicide bomber blew himself up near the town of Pishin, Iran, while an official government delegation was visiting the Baluchistan region. The attack killed at least 43 people, including 15 top Revolutionary Guard officers.

Now the regime has won new allies in its effort to crush the opposition: the governments of Belgium and Germany, and Interpol, the International police organization based in Lyons, France.

On March 6, the German government exercised a dubious arrest warrant issued by Belgium and stormed the Cologne apartment of Rahman Haj Ahmadi, the secretary-general of the Free Life Party of Iranian Kurdistan.

According to the German-language warrant, which was not shown to Mr. Ahmadi at the time of his arrest, he was wanted because he "is said to have attended" a meeting of a pan-Kurdish Congress, the KCK, and to have gone to training camps run by his own organization in northern Iraq "wearing a PJAK uniform, which resembles the uniforms of the PKK."

This is literally death by association because the United States and some governments in Europe have recognized the Turkish PKK as a terrorist organization. The only problem is, PJAK is not the PKK, and its training camps are located in a very different part of Iraq's rugged northern mountains from those operated by the PKK. I know, because I visited the PJAK bases in October 2007.

PJAK is primarily a political organization that seeks to "change the culture" of Iranian Kurdistan and promote a broad-based secular democratic movement in Iran, according to Mr. Ahmadi. PJAK activists played a central role in the post-election protests in Tehran and other cities and have been arrested and tried in large numbers. Some have been executed already.

The president of the Iranian Parliament, Ali Larijani, boasted on March 8 that his government has issued an official request to extradite Mr. Ahmadi to Iran, where he will face certain execution. The Germans released him after holding him incommunicado over the weekend, but he has been barred from leaving the country.

Turkey: Dispatching Troops to Southern Kurdistan by Coaches

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Turkish Military Forces continue to dispatch their troops to Kurdistan. This time they have sent their troops to the Southern Kurdistan using the inter-city civil coaches.
Turkish Military forces have already sent troops and ammunition to the regions of Gabar terrains and the Cudi Mountain in the city of Sirnax. In the meantime a group of coaches transferred soldiers to the Southern Kurdistan.
According to the reports released by the Furat News Agency, a number of couches with Ankara plaques have transferred a copnsidrable number of soldiers to the southern part of the country.
Turkish Military Forces transferred ammunitions on Tuesday morning using the civil lorries to the southern Kurdistan and then they also dispatched troops by the civil coaches.
While the operations keep going on the regions of the Culemirg and Dersim, the Turkish Military Forces with the co-operations of the local mercenaries have initiated a series of operations in the Cudi’s terrain.
Kurdistan Worker Party (PKK) has long called on Ankara to halt military operations and agree to negotiations for a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue.
Despite the facts that the PKK has declared unilateral ceasefires in six different occasions and also sent peace groups in two different occasions yet the PKK is considered as a 'terrorist' organization by Ankara and the US. It also continues to be on the blacklist in EU despite the court ruling, which overturned the decision to place the Kurdish freedom movement on the EU's terror list.
“By labelling PKK as a terrorist organisation, the EU and the US are giving the Turkey a green light to target its civilians. They give the Turkish government a free hand to do what it will, a mother of Kurdish martyr said”.
After 1954, apart from the Korean war, 1949-52 and the invasion of Cyprus, 1974, the Turkish Army operations have continued to be exclusively against the Kurds

Turkey: Kurdish Singer Receive 20 Months Imprisonment

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Northern Kurdistan: Kurdish artist Rojda received 20 months imprisonments under the charges of "propaganda for an illegal organization". The verdict is based on the song "Heval Kamurano" that the artist performed on a festival in Kurdish capital of Diyarbakir last year.

Rojda is one of 160 artists who had been invited to a meeting with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on 20 February to discuss the Kurdish question. However, she had previously announced not to attend the meeting.

The Kurdish singer Rojda performed the song ‘Heval Kamuran’ which means ‘my comrade Kamuran’ in two different concerts at last year's Diyarbakır Culture and Arts Festival. During the performances there were posters of the Kurdish national leader Abdullah Ocalan as well as the Kurdistan Con-federal System (KCK) flags

Eastern Kurdistan (Iran): Hussein Xiziri’s Appeal Dismissed

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Eastern Kurdistan: To pressure the Kurdish human rights activists along with the imposition of the unfair charges upon them, the Iranian regime is even violating its own principles. Along the same line of policies the Iranian Court dismissed Hussein Xeziri’s appeal for an investigation of his illegal and unjust torture while he was held in the Military Corps Detention.

It should be noted that one year ago Hussein Xiziri launched an appeal to the Revolution Court of Urmie city in protest to his persecutions by the Military Corps. But after one year his appeal was dismissed.

In the appeal Mr. Xiziri pointed out that he was subjected to intensive tortures in the Military Corps of Urmie and all the confessions he made was under the systematic tortures. He also claimed that he has been held in a solitary confinement for the last 7 months where he received various types of tortures.

Hussein Xiziri is a Kurdish human right activist from the city of Urmie who has been sentenced to death for his alleged involvement with the Kurdish opposition parties.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Analysis of the UN as the Institution of Global Governance

  • By Kardo Bokani

The United Nations included the Kurdish New Year “Newroz” into the list of humanity heritages and urged the members to put “Newroz” into their calendars, to celebrate and study it. Although it was seen as a positive step made by the UN, yet criticised by a number of the Kurdish scholars and intellectuals. The UN suggested that the members should “study” and celebrate it. A very quite look at the history of the “Newroz” reveals the fact that it is based on the Kurdish ancient historical and mythological account; but the UN has not included the routes of Newroz in its definition of it. “Newroz” is the day that the Kurdish blacksmith “Kawe” toppled the ancient Assyrian tyrant “Dehak”. His triumph was followed by celebration of the freed oppressed Kurds in the Mesopotamia; they lit fires to send the message of victory to the surroundings. For whatever reason it might be the UN has failed to “study” the history of Newroz itself; it failed to reveal the history of Newroz and the importance of Newroz for the Kurdish people.

Newroz is not as a simple celebration as conveyed by the UN; Newroz is the triumphal day of the oppressed people over their oppressors. Provided the UN has taken initiative to study and understand Newroz it should reveal the truth history of Newroz and see that how the Kurds are oppressed and are dealt with the most brutal and inhuman policies in the world. Just few days ago, three people were killed by the Syrian government in the Newroz celebration. But the UN did not take the most simple thing in the world; revealing a statement condemning the killing of innocent people. Right now 21 Kurdish human right activists are facing execution in Iran, was really UN bothered with taking any stance against all these inhuman policies carried out against the Kurds. In order to understand the UN, I see the necessity to look back into its history of UN and provide a critical analysis of it as the institute of the global governance.

The United Nations as the global governance has never functioned as envisaged in its charter; it has been manipulated by the US in many occasions. The UN doesn’t represent the people of the world including the Kurds; it does represent the “states” of the world. The United Nation has a highly undemocratic nature with the power vested only in the hands of certain states. The evidences show that over the course of UN history, the US has had a significant power over the decisions made by the Security Council. Some part of this paper will be focused on some case studies like the Congolese crisis where the UN became “an umbrella for the US policies”. In the Korean War the UN was dominated by the US and most of its troops consisted of Americans. The UN played a forceful role in a way not envisaged in its charter and the operation was totally an American one. The UN lacked ability to take measure to prevent the Darfur crisis. The UN was also responsible for the Rwandan genocide.

As I said earlier, the UN does not represent the people of the world. There are more than 2,000 different languages but there are only around 186 member states in the UN. The term of the United Nations could be replaced with the “United Governments” or “United States”. There are stateless nations in the world who don’t have any representatives in the UN and thus their voice will not be heard and it may render the prospect of peace impossible. For example there are around 40 million Kurds in the world without a representative in the UN. At the present time there is full-scale war between the Turks and the Kurds in Turkey. Had the Kurds had a voice in the UN, the possibilities of peace in this part of world would have been arisen. Not only the UN hadn’t involved in the Kurdish-Turkish problem, but it fact it has more sided with the Turkey since the Turks have a voice in the UN and are the member of NATO and the US ally.

Moreover the UN stayed silence and did nothing to secure civilians lives during the 2009 civil-war in Sri Lanka. That was unbelievable that once the Sri Lankan forces shelled the hospital where there were only wounded people, the UN condemned the Tamil tiger for using civilians as a shield. The evidences suggest that there was not a single fighter of the Tamil in the hospital on that day. Once the Sri Lankan government saw the UN blaming the Tamil Tigers, they see it as a green light from the UN to commit crime against the humanity and thus, they shelled the same hospital again raising the death toll to an unacceptable level. Had the Tamil or the Kurds had representatives in the UN, things would have been different. Not only the stateless nations are excluded a voice in the UN, the women are also highly under-represented and it might not help to solve the problems that women face globally.

The Security Council has an un-democratic nature and it does not represent the people of the world in a way that an effective global institution should do. The permanent membership of the Security Council reflects the international balance of power. Unlike the 10 non-permanent members these states have the power to veto Council resolutions. During the Cold War, the veto threat paralyzed the Security Council and relegated it to the sidelines of international politics. The P-5 insisted on having individual vetoes over UN Charter amendments since the article 108 provides each permanent member with a trump card that can overrule any decisions that are not in their interests. The right of veto seems unfair and it has been criticised by the 186 member states as inequitable.

The veto has been and remains an obstacle to reform both because of the P-5’s vested interests in preserving power and because no provision in the charter requires them to relinquish this right. Although the United Kingdom, France and Russia are no longer considered major powers, their permanent status with vetoes gives them a substantial voice in international politics. Nevertheless the emerging powers such as Brazil and India are excluded from having an effective role in the international affairs. If veto is a democratic procedure, why it should be given exclusively to a certain numbers of the states and if it is undemocratic, should it be given to new permanent members?

Most of the member states call for equity in the Security Council, specifically by increasing membership and eliminating the veto right of P5. But no progress has been made because there is no consensus about the exact shape of the Security Council or the elimination of the veto. That is true that the council does not reflect the actual distribution of 21 century power, yet reform proposals have never addressed the true imbalance between seats and actual military capacity outside of the Security Council chamber. The only significant reform of the Security Council came to pass in 1965, after two-thirds of all UN member states ratified and all five permanent members of the Security Council approved Resolution 1990, which proposed enlarging the Security Council from 11 to 15 members and the required majority from 7 to 9 votes. The veto power exclusively reserved for the P-5 was left intact.

Historically, the UN’s failure to function in way that a global institution should work has seriously damaged the UN’s credibility. The Korean War from 1950 to 1953 was the most severe test for the United Nation. The UN had already involved itself in the affairs of Korea in 1947, before partition. It had declared that an election should be held for the whole country and that the United Nations would oversee it to ensure that it was fair. In the South Korea, where it was supported by the United States, the UN declared that the elections had been fair. In the Northern Korea, where it was supported by the Soviet, the United Nations declared that the election result was not acceptable since it had not been independently observed by the UN. Following the defiance of the North Korean and the outbreak of war between the two Koreas, sixteen member states would provide troops under a United Nations Joint Command to fight with the South Korean Army. This UN forces was dominated by America and it was commanded even by an American general. The UN defeated the North Korean army and pushed them out of South Korea and even advanced into North Korea. This resulted in a Chinese attack on United Nations troops and then the China managed to push back the United Nations force.

In the Korean War, it was crystal clear that the UN played a forceful role in a way not envisaged in its charter. When Northern Korea invaded South Korea, the US immediately took matter to the Security Council because the Council was able to adopt the American resolution. The UN took a strong action against the aggressor and all the Korean operation was overwhelmingly American. The General Assembly, under the dominant of the US condemned the Republic of China as the aggressor and the US used its dominance to prevent the China’s seat.

Another example of UN’s failure to work in a way it was envisaged in the charter was in Congo. One of the main contributing factors to the Congo crisis was the UN. The UN operation in Congo is portrayed as a classic example of the risk of UN intervention in the civil conflict. That was UN’s largest peacekeeping operation ever, involving 20,000 troops and the logistic support of 30 countries. The UN became a player and lost its mediating role and became an ‘umbrella for the American policies’. The UN was designed to secure the world’s peace, but would the global peace be obtained in this way? The UN officials shared the anti-Soviet worldview and happily collaborated with the Western interest in the Africa. They saw the Soviet as a threat to the global peace and worked hard to end this threat. The UN became “the transmission belt for the American policy” in the Congo crisis. Some of the major problem with UN’s intervention in the Congo was that it set the foundation for the future intervention in other countries affairs. It further polarised the East-West tension and crippled the UN decision-making process for the years to come. It brought the cold war into the middle of Africa where it would spread all over the entire continent. And worst of all, it aborted the Congo’s transition from a colonial state to a democratic system. Some scholars believe that the United Nations became the “umbrella” for the US anti-Communist policy in Congo.

Once the UN took side against the Congo’s democratically elected premier Patrice Lumumba, the East and West were locked in the diplomatic confrontation that crippled the UN ability to maintain international peace and security. The UN lost its designed role which was mediation and it became a de-facto player in the political dynamic of Congo. This action of the UN resulted in withdraw of many African leaders from the UN and withdrew their political supports. That was clear that the US sought to use the UN to push its own policy objectives. Many scholars believe that the UN threw it support behind the Kasavubu and worked to oust Lumumba because the UN officials wanted to thwart the Congo transition to democracy. That was really incredible that the UN general Secretary Dag Hammarskjold flew to Katanga to directly open negotiation with the secessionist leader Tshombe. Once Lumumba saw this he began to oppose the UN presence and had no option but to request for the Soviet’s aid to prevent Katanga’s secession. That was fundamentally illegal when the UN paid for the food of the Congolese Army in order to get credit for Mobutu for paying the soldier their past due salaries. Without the support of the UN Joseph Mobutu would not have been able to seize the power. The Untied Nations is ought to be a neutral institution. But that was far from being neutral when Cordier afforded $ 1million to Mobutu to pay off the Congolese soldiers and keep them loyal to Kasavubu.

Member states of UN play a critical role in the implementation of Security Council resolutions. But the absent of sufficient political will in the Council measures to stop crimes against humanity often simply die in the committee. Tragically, the case of Sudan, and in particular the response to Darfur, illustrates all too well the incapability of the Council. The first Emergency Relief arrived on 2004 already a year after the crisis had erupted. Four months later, the Council adopted Resolution 1556, which demanding the government of Sudan to disarm the Janjaweed militias or face possible sanctions. It also imposed a symbolic arms embargo on “non-governmental entities operating in Darfur.” The resolution lacked a robust enforcement mechanism and the eight major subsequent resolutions have followed this pattern of inefficacy

Why so many resolutions had so little effect? Council failure was predetermined by the US, UK and other Western powers. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) would help to bring about democratic reforms in Sudan, and its effective implementation is critical to helping achieve peace in Darfur. But instead of implementing the CPA, Security Council members, including the US, neglected it and rushed into an ill-prepared peace talks on Darfur. The Council has demonstrated that it could only concentrate on one issue at a time. The Council did not refocus on the CPA until the middle of 2007, by which point Darfur was in a deeper crisis. UN authorized sanctions against Sudan, established under Resolution 1591, have simply been an empty threat and affirmed Khartoum’s conviction that the Council lacks the political will to take strong actions. Nonetheless The Sanctions Committee has repeatedly delayed or even prevented the publication of reports of the independent Panel of Experts.

The UN lacked both the fund and military support of the wealthy countries. This level of crisis, the killings, rape and displacement in Darfur could have been foreseen and avoided, had the UN interfered. Darfur would just not be in this situation had the UN systems got its act together after Rwanda: their action was too little too late. Sudan received 87 per cent of its major conventional weapons from Russia the Council‘s member and 8 per cent from China. China threatened to use its veto on the Security Council to protect Khartoum from sanctions and has been able to water down every resolution on Darfur in order to protect its interests in Sudan.

The United Nations Security Council has explicitly accepted responsibility for failing to prevent the 1994 genocide in Rwanda in which an estimated 800,000 people were killed. The UN Security Council failed to reinforce the small UN peacekeeping force in the country. Most of the 2,500 UN peacekeepers in Rwanda at the time were withdrawn after the deaths of 10 Belgian soldiers. One survivor, Specios Kenya Bugoi, described how 4,000 Tutsis took shelter close to Belgian troops hoping to be safe but the troops left and the killings began. The head of the small UN peacekeeping force in Rwanda at the time, Lieutenant General Romeo Dallaire, told the conference that no-one was interested in saving Rwandans. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who was the head of UN peacekeeping operations in 1994, has been criticised for not warnings about the impending genocide. Mr. Annan however, has conceded that he could and should have done more to stop the genocide. But there are some claims mainly from the left organisations that when Dallaire proposed a raid on a weapons stockpile within 36 hours to prevent the arming of Hutu militias, Mr. Annan’s office replied promptly, ordering Dallaire not to take action and not to protect his informant. Last year, Annan refused to allow Dallaire to appear before a Belgian hearing because it was not “in the interests of the organisation”. Annan said on May 4: “The failure to prevent the 1994 genocide was local, national, and international, including member-states with important capacity”. In 1994, the UN was warned of the Rwandan Hutu government’s impending genocide against the Tutsi minority and three months before it began, yet the UN ordered its “peacekeepers” in the country to do nothing.

The credibility of UN was challenged once more when NATO launched the air campaign in 1999 in Kosovo against the Republic of Yugoslavia without a mandate from the Security Council, since Russia had declared that it would veto such action. The Clinton’s administration violated the UN Charter and international law by using NATO to authorise its air war against Yugoslavia instead of placing the issue before the United Nations. When a widespread human rights violation within a sovereign state requires international intervention, it is only the UN which is entitled to make such a decision. The fear of a possible veto by other Security Council members does not give the US and Britain the right to make decision on their own and invade other countries.

UN’s international police failed to protect minorities during the widespread rioting in Kosovo. This was the biggest security test for the UN in 1999 which failed. Minorities were forced out of their homes as the UN and international community looked on. It was eminently predictable. Only weeks after NATO’s bombing campaign, US officials were blaming the UN for their failure to restore peace in Kosovo and the rest of Yugoslavia. The US rejected any UN role in decision-making about military action. But now Washington holds the UN accountable for the messy and violent aftermath of the US-NATO war. Of course the UN is the right organisation to be in charge of the Kosovo situation. Nonetheless it must be granted the money it needs to do the job. Of course, the US should have promoted the UN as the central actor and should have paid its UN dues. But why being the richest and most powerful country in the world should give the US the right to infringe the international law, to discard the UN and invade another country? Does not that show the powerlessness of the United Nations? By 1995, Madeleine Albright called the UN as a tool of American foreign policy. Is not it disgraceful for the UN as the institution of the Global governance?

In the Iraq’s case the US again shifted international decision-making out of the hands of the UN, substituted it with unilateral action of NATO. The interventions of the 1990s saw a concerted effort to weaken and replace the role of the UN in favour of the US. Washington promoted the UN as its legitimizer for its unilateral actions. After 1992-94 periods of escalating failures of international peacekeeping efforts in Bosnia, Somalia, Rwanda, the US continually blamed its own failures on the UN. President Clinton still implies the UN is responsible for the deaths of US Rangers in Somalia during a non-UN authorised, unilateral Pentagon mission in 1993.

In 1996, as the US continued bombing Iraq, Washington stated that it no longer needed UN resolutions to justify its airstrikes. The credibility of the UN was seriously damaged by the failure to agree on a second Security Council resolution, and by the decision of the US and UK to invade Iraq without UN authorisation. The British and American diplomats pointed to the Security Council Resolution 687 of 1991, which required the destruction of the Iraqi’s weapons of mass destruction under UN supervision. But the UN threatened that such an action would have serious consequences. Diplomats at UN headquarters have almost unanimously described the debate surrounding the withdrawn resolution before the war in Iraq as “a referendum not on the means of disarming Iraq but on the American use of power.”

The UN Security Council had also refused to endorse the US-UK invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Washington and London hoped to ignore the UN. The UN presence would only discredit the world body. Following the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1483 two months after the war, then-UN Secretary General Kofi Annan appointed a Special Representative for Iraq and the UN assumed some small responsibilities there. Many critics warned that the UN should not be identified with the illegal war. In August 2003, a massive bombing of UN headquarters in Baghdad confirmed the critics’ fears. The US intended to keep the UN involved in Iraq in order to legitimise its so called “war on terror”. Despite strong opposition from the UN Staff Council, the new Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, seems to be more pliant to the US and more supportive of greater UN involvement in Iraq.

If the Security Council continues to materially disagree with U.S. foreign policy on critical issues with any frequency, the UN could go into the same direction of its predecessor, the League of Nations. In this, President George W. Bush was on target in his September 2002 address to the General Assembly: “We created the United Nations Security Council, so that, unlike the League of Nations, our deliberations would be more than talk, our resolutions would be more than wishes. What it really means is that the U.S. administration will never allow international institutions to curb its actions. The future cooperation of the US with the UN would be possible had that the Security Council managed to persuade the United States that acting multilaterally will be in its interest. “The key issue for the council,” as the International Peace Academy’s president David Malone tells us, “is whether it can engage the United States, modulates its exercise of power, and discipline its impulses.” But the fact is that United States now spends more than the rest of the world. This reality will not change until Europeans spend considerably more on defence so that they too have an independent military capacity.

Climate Change is another issue that has framed another failure of the UN. The International Climate Change Conference at December 2009 in Copenhagen and the Kyoto Protocol all failed. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) talks have been disrupted by a divide between rich and poor countries. Developing nations are asking their industrialised counterparts to reduce their CO2 and to offer financial aid to help poor nations. But developed countries have not made any firm commitments on funding. The emitted gases from industrial activities have been the main cause of a changing climate causing a high level risk of flooding, drought, desertification and extensive effects on Agriculture and Health. The officials said it has been clear that issues of climate change do not bother the industrialized countries. In November 2009, the UN peacekeepers planted nearly 600 trees in a botanical garden in Côte d’Ivoire, one for every person in the world. Blue helmets have already planted nearly 30,000 saplings in 11 peacekeeping missions worldwide, in countries including Timor-Leste, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Georgia and Lebanon. But it should be noted that two million people die every year from causes associated with exposure to smoke from cooking with biomass and coal – and 99 per cent of those deaths occur in developing countries.

All these evidences suggest that the UN has never worked as envisaged in the charter. The UN doesn’t represent the people of the world. It does only represent the “states” of the world. The UN keeps failing to prevent the disasters from happening and it has failed to work as the institution of the global governance. The United Nation has repeatedly failed and its only success is that despite its frequent and continuing failures it still exist and has not gone the same direction its predecessor “The League of Nation” did.


1. A. David, L. Lorna & R. John (2004), International Organisation in World Politics. Palgrave McMillan.

2. B. John, S. Steve & O. Patricia (2008), The Globalisation of World Politics. Oxford University Press.

3. C. Carole J.L (1993), The Cold War Comes to Africa: Cordier and the 1960 Congo Crisis.

4. C. Peter (1991), World Politics Since 1945. Sixth Edition. Longman Publication.

5. W. Thomas G (2003), The Illusion of UN Security Council Reform. Washington University Press.


Why it took so long for Turkey to understand Saidi Kurdi’s (Nursi) answer to solve the Kurdish problem


By Aland Mizell

It is the 50th anniversary of Saidi Kurdi’s death; however, on this commemoration, the location of Saidi Kurdi’s grave remains unknown. Since May 27, 1960, when during a coup, the military removed Saidi Kurdi’s grave from the graveyard and took it to Isparta, Turkey, to an unknown location, no one knows where Said Kurdi ‘s grave is. This is classic example of the cruel and unjust mentality that for many decades the Turkish government has perpetrated toward Kurdish people. Even a dead body of a Kurd was a threat to the status quo in Turkey. Isn’t it time for the Kurdish people to ask the government where Saidi Kurdi’s grave is?

Once President Kennedy said,” A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.” Even though Saidi Kurdi is not living among us, his ideas continue day by day to prove him right. As a visionary man who believed that men of his modern age want to know the reason and goals for everything, he proposed a solution to the Kurdish problems of contemporary man from his Islamic perspective. Saidi Kurdi provided the answer to the Kurdish question that occupies the minds of scholars of the twenty-first century. A century ago he asked Sultan Abdul Hamid to open a university in Van and to teach three languages-- Kurdish, Arabic, and Turkish. He said that the reason he wanted to teach Kurdish was because the majority of the people in the region are Kurds, and they have the right to learn their mother language; therefore, the university should be teaching in Kurdish. Also, Arabic is necessary because it enables Muslim people to understand their religion. Finally, the university should teach Turkish because it is the state’s official language. Big egos have little ears. The question needs to be asked, “If Sultan Abdul Hamid had accepted his offer for a university, would Turkey be facing this kind of problem today? Many Turks believe that imperialist powers have ruined the peace and unity of the Turkish people, and therefore they are using the Kurdish card to achieve their goals. If the demand of Saidi Kurdi had been met, would the outside powers be able to use the Kurdish card now? Why did it take so long for the Turks to understand Saidi Kurdi’s solution? Why did the Turkish government leave the door open for the other nations to use this card? Why did it not take care of its citizens and treat them with justice and equality, rather than call them by the name of Mountain Turks. Today the Turkish government has realized that without cultural reforms there will not be a democratic initiative, that is to say that it must, for example, make the Kurdish language far more acceptable in everyday life. Another example would be to give broadcasting licenses to individuals to have TV, newspapers, and radio in the Kurdish language. It should open up a Kurdish language Institute. Also, some city Turkish and Kurdish officials, including some generals, celebrated the Kurdish holiday Newroz as a good will gesture. This is the first time that millions of people have participated in the Newroz celebration in Diyarbakir. That’s what Saidi Kurdi envisioned a century ago, and this vision provides a prescription for today’s Kurdish problem.

Turks have finally come to the realization that Saidi Kurdi’s idea was not a threat to them. If fact, in the many ways it offers a solution to the problems. Even during the revolt in 1925, Saidi Kurdi’s attitude toward the revolt was one of unity, and he demonstrated that all Muslims who belonged to different ethnic groups such as Arab, Berber, Kurd, or Turk are one united nation. When the leader of the revolt Sheikh Said sent a letter to Saidi Kurdi asking for his support and requesting that he join the revolt, Saidi Kurdi answered, “The struggle you are embarking on will cause brother to kill brother and will be a fruitless effort. Saidi Kurdi, Kurds, and Turks are brothers. The sword may not be drawn against brothers, the sons of Islamic heroic defenders, and I shall not draw mine.” Saidi Kurdi always believed that Islamic identity should occupy the highest position in the identity hierarchy of Muslims. He did not believe that one nation is superior to another nation like Gulenists claim that only Turks can save the world and be the true defender of Islam. But rather Saidi Kurdi considered Islamic nationhood to be the basic bond that unites different ethnic groups such as Kurds, Arabs, and others and thus will establish social harmony. According to Saidi Kurdi, nationalism that claims the superiority of one race or ethnicity over another, such as Gulenists claim only Turks are superior, is a kind of negative nationalism and racism, which in the thoughts of Saidi Kurdi was the source of injustice, cruelty, inequality, and enmity among the society. For Saidi Kurdi, religion should be competent to create equality, justice, and harmony not within various Muslim nations only, but also with other religious groups as well. Saidi Kurdi opposed the idea of ethnicity-centered nationalism.

Of course, there is a lot that has to be done; for example, Turkey is the most centralized state in the world. Every decision has to be decided in Ankara. From setting up village systems for law enforcement officials to appointing Ankara must approve it. The best way to understand people is to listen to what they need. For a long time, the Turkish government refused to listen to the Kurdish people. Even the Prime Minister who launched the Kurdish Democratic Initiative stated in a Parliament speech that it was clear that this issue of the Kurdish problem could not be resolved with the traditional policies of statist elites. The Prime Minister also confessed that for more than 70 years the Turkish government had pursued the wrong policies such as racist, assimilation policies that denied the varied identities. Even though it took many decades for Turkey to understand Saidi Kurdi’s solution for the Kurdish problem, failure could be success, if Turkey learns from its mistake.

Dr. Aland Mizell is a regular KurdishMedia com writer and is with the MCI. You may reach the author via email at:

Visiting bakuri nishtimanem in 1001 words


  • By Art-in-Mind
  • 28/03/2010

Prepared by Art-in-Mind

I had boycotted visiting undemocratic countries including Anatolia, although I call its Eastern part bakuri nishtimanem, the north of my homeland. Anatolia had recently shown potentials of becoming a democratic country. I was still hesitant to visit this yet to become democracy until I checked with a former parliamentarian who had spent 10 years in jails for speaking Kurdish in parliament. Once she confirmed the country deserves a visit despite its shortcoming, I decided to travel to Anatolia. It was a unique experience thanks to the excellent coordination of a good friend.

On the way to bakuri nishtimanem, I had to stop in few cities. As expected each time the stewardess welcomed the passengers not only in English but also in the language of the cities we were heading to, except on the way to Amed (Diarbakir). I felt extremely unwelcome in the plane that was leaving Istanbul to Amed. I kindly asked a friendly stewardess: bo chi wa zemani ima xirhatentan nakird? She didn’t respond. I assumed she didn’t understand and translated: Why don’t you welcome the guests in our language. Her smiley faced turned to a semi-frowned one and said “the airline’s official language is Turkish and English”. I was about to explain that the mother tongue in Amed is Kurdish. My friend pinched me in order to keep me quiet and let go, and so I let go with a smile on my face and a deep pain in my mind.

The first morning in Istanbul I was frightened by a loud song via a loud speaker at 4:30am. I had forgotten that I was visiting a place where people have to be reminded to prey. Since I was not used to preying, I used my time efficiently, took a shower, checked my emails, and headed to the beautiful harbor city. I was impressed with the rich heritage and the diversity of the people. Among other places, I visited a Kurdish cultural center in the heart of Istanbul. Soon I was disappointed to hear that the landlord has asked the Kurds to move out soon. Somebody argued that the state might have pressured the landlord not to extend the lease. I was ready to scream at the state as loud as possible, but again I let go with a smile on my face and a sorrow in my mind.

The second day I drove along the Tigris River and its majestic grand canyon to visit Hasankyef, an ancient town on the Silk Road. I was expecting to pay an entry to see the remains of the millennium old citadel. It was free, typical of the hospitality of most people in this highland who care less about materialistic values. On the same day I met a group of musicians who invited me to their Newroz concert. It was a remarkable experience. While struggling with meeting their basic needs was obvious on many people’s face and attire, there was a strong sense of dedication and hope in their attitude. Thousands of people were singing along. Many were shouting “bejit Serok Apo”. I found out Apo was the nick name of their Kurdish leader jailed by the Turkish state. I was impressed by the courage of the people and the developing tolerance of the state. I thought if such an event was happening in Turkey of a decade ago or in another current undemocratic country, the police would have opened fire on the public.

I realized Anatolia was gradually heading toward democracy. With eyes full of joyous tears, I hugged one of the most disadvantaged young men who was limping, had broken teethes, and could not speak a word because of being deaf-mute. To show his love for being loved, he extended his neck and I happily kissed his cheeks. An accompanying surprised friend of Jewish-Kurdish origin repeated what I did and kissed the cheeks of the young handicap man. She said she had not seen such a touching sense of humanity in her life. I was about to scream of joy that another person has gained a deeper knowledge of the Kurdish cause, but I let go with a smile on my face and a tear in my eye.

I then attended a reception by the humble and compassionate mayor of Amed and later joined one of the brightest and most peaceful leaders of the Kurdish people, who had assured me Anatolia deserves a visit. She invited me to a dinner with her family in an ancient beautiful guesthouse decorated with handmade rugs and cushions from bakuri nishtimanem. Knowing how much she works for the people, I invited her and her family to be my guest if not for ever at least for a week, so she could take some rest at the land of the free. She decided not to rest until her own land is free. Believing that her land is mine and mine is hers, I hugged her goodbye with a promise to occasionally return to bakuri nishtimanem and do a small share in serving those who might need my help. She welcomed my voluntary offer and put a high value on it. I was about to insist that nothing is of value compare to her dedication, but I let go with a smile on my face and a relief in my mind.

I ended my trip by celebrating Newroz with the people of Amed, the so called capital of Kurdistan. Over a million people had gathered in an open stadium. There was no short coming of music, singing, dancing, and authentic food. People were making clear that they were not satisfied with anything less than what other nations have in term of linguistic, cultural, political, and economical rights. They were singing along the musicians what Newroz meant to them, freedom and equality. I was about to shout the same slogan, but I let go with a smile on my face and a joyous hope in my mind.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Amed Diyarbakir Newroz 2010 Video

Thanking Canada
By Karim Hasan*

The Parliament of Canada acknowledges crimes against Kurds by former Iraqi regime as “crimes against humanity”. On March 16, 2010 the Parliament of Canada with unanimous consent agreed to “Motion No. 505”(1) which reads as follows, “That this House [Canada’s House of Commons] knowledge the actions of Saddam Hussein against the Kurdish people in Iraq, including the poison gas against Halabja on March 16, 1988, the destruction of the Iraqi Kurdish villages, the systematic persecution of Kurds in Iraq, and condemn these acts as crimes against humanity”. Mr. Speaker reads: “the House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion? The answer is “some hon. members: Agreed”(2).

It has taken 22 years for the Parliament of Canada to “acknowledge that the actions of Saddam Hussein against the Kurdish people in Iraq…and these act as crimes against humanity”. Last year 2009(3) , on March 16th a motion - revolution was passed in the United States of America’s Congress – the Congress gracefully commemorated the acts of genocide of Anfal against the Kurds by Saddam’s Iraqi regime(4).

The United Nations in cooperation with the Kurdistan Regional Government Representative and Iraq’s representative to the United Nations commemorated Halabja and genocide in Kurdistan(5) . Instantly – this year on March 16th, 2010 the United Kingdom - parliamentarians with a delegation of Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) commemorated Halabja and Anfal(6).

The next steps in development of the recognition of acts of genocide against Kurds by Iraqi and other regimes of the Middle East will depend on Kurdish scholars/academics, Kurdish communities settled outside Kurdistan proper, Kurdistan Regional Government and its representatives abroad to present to the United Nations Security Council and the respective countries in which they live to recognize the genocide of the Kurds formally. The next step will be to proceed with the motions and revolutions into a legislative procedure: Kurdish Genocide Bill, then into a binding Kurdish Genocide legislation.

11 years ago, I and few friends commemorated the Kurdish genocide in Halabja in 1999 in front of Parliament building, at the time when the Kurdish community were in their first steps of establishing contact with the Parliament to communicate Kurdish disparities and injustice against the Kurds in Middle East. Although it has been a difficult 11 years, in this period lines of communication were distorted, clear communication is getting re-established. It is a pleasure to see this development.

I am certain Kurdistan Regional government and Kurdish people do see this acknowledgement as gesture of justice from the Canadian parliament towards the Kurdish people. I thank Honourable Member of Parliament Mr. Jim Karygiannis for introducing, supporting the motion, and I thank and the parliament of Canada for the “unanimous consent” on “Motion No. 505”. I, and I am sure the Kurdish people, their government look forward toward passing this “Motion No. 505” into a binding legislation.

I am proud to be a Canadian.

* Karim Hasan is an independent Kurdish Scholar:

Newroz Festival by Peeramerd
(Translated) - By Dr Kamal Mirawdeli

Newroz is here ! Today’s New Year’s Day

Festival of Kurds that brings rapture and joy

For many years all our hopes were down-flung

Fresh rose of spring in the blood of our young

That colour red on the high Kurdish skylines

Is taking dawn tidings to far and near nations

It was Newroz imbued our hearts with such fire

And made our youth face death with desire

Sunlight flooding our high homeland mountains

Is the blood of our martyrs against the horizons

Never in the history of any other nation were

The breasts of young girls used to shield war

Don’t let us mourn the martyrs of homeland

Not dead. They live on in heart of the nation.

Newroz Festival by Peeramerd, Translated by Dr Kamal Mirawdeli

PKK could resume hostilities if political route fails

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

The Defence Regions of Medya (Qandil Mountains)- Murad Karayilan the Tead of Kurdistan Con-federal System (KCK) told Reuters that they could end a truce and renew fighting against Turkish forces because a ban of Turkey's main Kurdish party has made a political settlement more remote”.
The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) expects the Turkish army to begin operations in the Spring thaw in the mountains of Southern Kurdistan (Iraq).

"If the Turkish state continues its military operations and the pressure against political actors, no lasting peace can be had," Karayilan told Reuters.

“The PKK declared unilateral ceasefire in March 2009 and protracted it four times within the course of last year. Yet the military operations have continued from the Turkish side. We have lost 95 of our comrades within the course of last year as the result of these operations. Karayilan said”. “We even sent two peace groups to Turkey to show our eagerness for peace, he continued”.

"The base for a political solution is being destroyed, Kurds are being forced into war," said Karayilan flanked by young guards in baggy green fatigues, armed with AK-47 assault rifles.

"If steps aren't taken, this will revert to war. There's a month or a month-and-a-half left," he said, when asked if there was a date for any resumption of hostilities.
The PKK will not disarm without a negotiated settlement, but Turkey has ruled out talks with the rebels. The rebels do not insist on direct talks but the arrest of dozens of Kurdish politicians makes finding a mediator difficult, Karayilan said.

The PKK has dropped its campaign for an independent Kurdish homeland in southeast Turkey and says it is fighting for greater cultural rights, including local self-governance for Kurds, who make up about 20 percent of Turkey's population of 72 million.

"We don't say violence no longer has a place," Karayilan said. "But we believe that violence will only go so far, that in the end societal problems need to be solved through dialogue."

Karayilan said the PKK has 7,000 fighters. He said that the regular shelling of PKK sites by Turkey has little impact on fighters shielded in the Qandil Mountains.