samedi 28 février 2015

Le gouvernement allemand s'oppose à toute légalisation du PKK

German government opposed to lifting PKK ban
Published 22 hours ago

The German government opposed a proposal on Thursday by the opposition Left Party to lift a ban on the PKK.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrat bloc defended the ban, which has been effective since 1993, at a debate initiated by the Left Party at the Federal Parliament.

"The PKK has not changed its ideology and agenda, which is against international understanding," Christian Democrat lawmaker Clemens Binninger said.

The PKK has fought for an independent Kurdish state since 1984, and its terrorist attacks claimed almost 36,000 lives in Turkey. Turkey, the U.S. and the EU list the PKK as a terrorist organization.

Germany, which is home to around 700,000 Kurdish immigrants, outlawed the PKK in 1993, following violent protests by its members.

Binninger said that since 2004 German courts have convicted more than 4,500 PKK suspects for various crimes, which he argued illustrated the need for the ban.

According to reports by the German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), the PKK has 13,000 adherents in the country. It is believed to use various associations for fundraising and recruiting new members.

Merkel's coalition partner, the Social Democrats, and the opposition Green Party also defended the ban during the parliamentary debate on Thursday.

The opposition Left Party proposed lifting the ban on the PKK and demanded amnesty for convicted PKK members, arguing that the group has acknowledged the principle of democratic struggle and has also become an important actor in its fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

The Left Party has 64 seats in the 631-member German parliament. Merkel's conservative-left coalition government enjoys an overwhelming majority in parliament.
Source :

Voir également : Allemagne : une députée de Die Linke (parti issu de l'ex-SED est-allemand) voit son immunité parlementaire levée pour avoir soutenu les terroristes du PKK

Terrorisme : l'Etat allemand continue de sévir contre le PKK

Philipp Missfelder (porte-parole des affaires étrangères de la CDU-CSU au Bundestag) : "Je suis très heureux que nous ayons tracé une ligne rouge concernant le PKK"

Allemagne : "Le PKK est une organisation terroriste et cela continuera à rester ainsi pour nous" (Thomas de Maiziere)

Allemagne : Frank-Walter Steinmeier dément tout projet d'armement du PKK

L'Allemagne s'inquiète du fait que certains de ses ressortissants rejoignent les terroristes du PKK

Hambourg : une association kurde réprouve les provocations des pro-PKK

Le PKK et le trafic de drogue

Norvège : le mollah kurde Krekar arrêté pour avoir fait l'apologie de l'attentat contre Charlie Hebdo

Mullah Krekar Arrested for Praising Charlie Hebdo Attack
Kreakr was charged for “inciting criminal offences” for the extreme statements

27.02.2015  15:02


Kurdish Norwegian-based Mullah Krekar was arrested at his home in Oslo on Thursday evening after telling Norway’s TV Channel (NRK) that the Charlie Hebdo terror attacks in Paris made him “happy” and that anyone who made cartoons of the Prophet of Islam deserved to die.

Krekar, an Iraqi Kurd whose real name is Najmuddin Faraj Ahmad, was charged for “inciting criminal offences” for the extreme statements, which caused uproar in Norway when the interview was aired on Wednesday.

“The cartoonist has become an infidel at war, and therefore it is permissible to kill him,” Krekar told the interviewer, arguing the attacks were justified under Islamic law.

“As he has trampled on our dignity, our principles and beliefs, so he must die. Anyone who does not respect 30 percent of the world’s population has no right to live.”

As a result he said, he saw the in January attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which left eleven people dead, as something to be celebrated.

“When it comes to what happened in France, naturally I am happy that it happened,” he said.

Vegard Rødås, an inspector with the Oslo police, said that Krekar had in no way resisted arrest.

“Krekar was arrested outside his apartment without any drama,” he told NRK.

Krekar’s lawyer Brynjar Meling said that his client had been well aware that he risked arrest for his provocative statements.

“Krekar is familiar with the consequences of expressing himself as he has done,” Meling told NRK. “He has chosen to say what he said.”

Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg weighed in after the controversial interview was aired to remind Norwegians that Krekar’s beliefs were not shared by mainstream Muslims.

“I know that these statements are not representative of most Muslims in Norway,” she said. “We have all witnessed major commitment for community and unity – and the distance from extreme attitudes, most recently with the ring of young Muslims around the synagogue in Oslo.”

Norway’s authorities ruled that Krekar should be expelled from he country on national security grounds as long ago as 2003, but because he faces the death penalty if he is returned to Kurdistan Region, they are prevented from doing so.

Krekar was released from prison in February, after which police planned to put him in an internal exile, sending him to the small town in northern Norway.
Source :

Voir également : Norvège : le mollah kurde Krekar fait l'apologie de l'EI

Norvège : libération du mollah Krekar

Norvège : le mollah Krekar (leader du groupe islamiste kurde Ansar al-Islam) serait sur le point d'être libéré

Suisse : deux frères kurdes accusés de participation à l'organisation terroriste al-Qaïda

Bâle : deux frères kurdes condamnés pour propagande terroriste

Islamisme et vocations djihadistes chez les Kurdes

Nord de l'Irak : d'après des témoignages, les peshmerga empêchent les déplacés arabes de revenir dans les territoires disputés et pillent les maisons des Assyro-Chaldéens

Iraqi Kurdistan: Arabs Displaced, Cordoned Off, Detained
Harsh Restrictions in Northern Iraq While Kurds Move Freely

February 26, 2015

Iraqi Kurdish forces have confined thousands of Arabs in “security zones” in areas of northern Iraq that they have captured since August 2014 from the extremist group Islamic State, also known as ISIS. Kurdish forces for months barred Arabs displaced by fighting from returning to their homes in portions of Ninewa and Erbil provinces, while permitting Kurds to return to those areas and even to move into homes of Arabs who fled. Some restrictions were eased in January 2015, after Human Rights Watch communicated with the Kurdish regional government about the issue, but others remain.

Local Kurds told Human Rights Watch that Iraqi Kurdish citizens or forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) have destroyed dozens of Arab homes in the areas, which the KRG appears to be seeking to incorporate into Kurdish autonomous territory. Arab residents in one cordoned-off zone said that KRG forces detained 70 local Arab men for long periods without charge.

“Cordoning off Arab residents and refusing to let them return home appears to go well beyond a reasonable security response to the ISIS threat,” said Letta Tayler, senior terrorism and counterterrorism researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The US and other countries arming the Iraqi Kurdish forces should make clear that they won’t stand for discrimination under the guise of countering terrorism.”

Human Rights Watch found no evidence of Kurdish forces imposing similar restrictions on movements of Kurds.
The regional government is a key ally of the United States-led coalition fighting ISIS. The US has pledged $350 million to create three new brigades of the Kurdish military force, the Peshmerga. Germany, the UK, Italy, France, the Czech Republic, and Albania also are arming or training Peshmerga forces.

Human Rights Watch raised its concerns about ethnic discrimination with KRG authorities in December and in a January 20 letter. In a statement to Human Rights Watch, the regional government denied any ethnic discrimination but pledged to investigate the Human Rights Watch findings. In January, Kurdish military and intelligence forces eased several of the restrictions.

Human Rights Watch documented the apparently discriminatory acts in communities inSheikhan and Tilkaif districts and Zumar subdistrict, all in Ninewa province, and Makhmur district in Erbil province, while visiting these areas in December and January. The areas are part of the so-called disputed territories that both the regional government and Iraq’s central government in Baghdad claim.

With the exception of Sheikhan, which is governed by the KRG, the districts had been under the central Iraqi government’s authority until ISIS captured portions of them in mid-2014. Many of the districts’ residents – an ethnically diverse population of 600,000 – fled before ISIS captured their areas. Others stayed put because the fighting did not reach their towns, while others, primarily Sunni Arabs, were trapped or chose to stay inside ISIS-held territory.

Backed by US airstrikes, Kurdish forces wrested several communities in or near the districts from ISIS between August and October. Other parts of the districts remain under ISIS control and sporadic fighting has continued between ISIS and Peshmerga forces. Most of the towns and villages where Human Rights Watch found apparently unlawful conduct by Kurdish forces were directly behind or near the front line with ISIS.

Human Rights Watch has extensively documented crimes against humanity and other atrocities by ISIS in Syria and Iraq, as well as violations by the Syrian and Iraqi forces and allied militia.

In December Human Rights Watch saw Peshmerga and members of the KRG’s Asayish intelligence service turning away all civilians – including Arabs and Kurds – from some parts of these districts that they had captured, saying they were still too dangerous to resettle or visit because of the proximity of ISIS, ongoing fighting, and unexploded ordnance including booby-traps in homes. However Human Rights Watch found that Peshmerga and Asayish forces were allowing Kurdish residents who had fled the fighting to return to other towns and villages in these same districts that they deemed relatively safe, while denying displaced Arab residents re-entry to these same areas.

Local Asayish officials confirmed the bans at the time, telling Human Rights Watch at checkpoints into the four districts that “No Arabs are allowed.”

In its February 5 response to Human Rights Watch, which included comments from the Ministries of Interior, Peshmerga, and Asayish, the KRG said upholding human rights was a “main priority.” The statement said that regional government authorities have repeatedly instructed security forces, including immediately after receiving the Human Rights Watch letter, that “no one is above the law” and that all violators “will be held accountable.” In December, however, some Kurdish officials in meetings with Human Rights Watch defended restrictions singling out Arab residents, saying that many Arabs had assisted the ISIS advance and might again collaborate with the armed group, which is predominantly Sunni Arab.

International law allows forced displacement of civilians during an armed conflict only as a temporary measure to protect local populations or for imperative military needs. International law prohibits discrimination on the grounds of ethnicity or race at all times, including in states of emergency and armed conflict. In addition, international law forbids collective punishment or discriminatory detention.

The Kurdish regional government should lift all restrictions on movement that are not clearly justified by military necessity or civilian protection, or that were imposed on the basis of ethnicity, and immediately investigate alleged abuse of captives, Human Rights Watch said. The Kurdish authorities should also follow through on their commitment to carry out a prompt, impartial, and transparent investigation into all other potentially unlawful conduct in areas it controls and appropriately prosecute or discipline any officials, forces or individuals responsible.

The United Nations Human Rights Council should extend the investigation mandate of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on abuses by ISIS, and broaden it to include serious violations by all sides, including the Iraqi military and allied Shia militias, as well any committed by Kurdish military and security forces. The US, Germany, the UK, and other countries providing security assistance to Iraqi Kurdish troops should make clear ethnic discrimination by the regional government or its forces is unacceptable and offer technical and financial support for an investigation. All countries providing security assistance to Iraqi Kurdish forces should make clear that the KRG could risk losing such aid if it does not investigate, end, and punish seriously abusive conduct.

“While the KRG did the right thing in starting to ease these restrictions, it has further to go to curtail discrimination against Arabs,” Tayler said. “The atrocities committed by ISIS, no matter how unconscionable, can’t justify collective punishment of entire Arab communities.”

Displaced Arabs Barred from Returning
Tens of thousands of Arabs, Kurds, Christians, Yezidis, and other residents fled areas of Makhmur, Zumar, Sheikhan, and Tilkaif just before ISIS seized their communities in mid-2014. Residents as well as Kurdish authorities have accused ISIS of looting and destroying homes and other properties in many of the areas during the takeover.

According to several dozen displaced Arab and returning Kurdish residents who spoke to Human Rights Watch in December and January, after routing ISIS, Kurdish Peshmerga, and Asayish forces for months barred all Arabs who fled those districts from returning, even to check briefly on their property, while allowing Kurds to resettle in the districts that they considered relatively safe.

Asayish checkpoint officials also are refusing to let Iraqi Arabs, including those displaced from the four districts, into much of Iraqi Kurdistan and other areas the regional government now controls, unless they have Kurdish sponsors.

Human Rights Watch found many displaced Iraqi Arabs who lacked sponsorship to enter Iraqi Kurdistan living in abandoned industrial buildings outside the borders of Iraqi Kurdistan. Most were receiving none of the food or other emergency assistance that is available to displaced Iraqis – Kurds, Yezidis, and Christians as well as Arabs – who reached shelters inside Iraqi Kurdistan.

In its statement, the KRG told Human Rights Watch the same checkpoint procedures applied “to everybody, including Arabs, Kurds, Turkomans, [and] Christians.” However in December, Human Rights Watch witnessed Asayish intelligence officials allowing Iraqi Kurds into the Kurdish autonomous areas while denying Iraqi Arabs entry. In two instances in September, Human Rights Watch saw Asayish officials physically push Arab families away from checkpoints leading into Erbil – the Iraqi Kurdistan capital – and the KRG-controlled city of Kirkuk.

“Kurds can return home but Arabs cannot; Kurds can enter Erbil but Arabs cannot,” said one displaced Arab from Makhmur, who was living with 15 relatives, including 11 children, in two rooms of a drafty, unfinished building in one of the industrial zones. “Is this fair, that families such as ours are living with no fuel and no winter clothes? Even if we return to nothing but bread and water, we just want to go home.” The man asked not to be named, fearing reprisal from the Kurdish authorities.

The KRG began lifting restrictions on Arabs returning to several areas in 2015, but many displaced Arabs had failed to go home by early February, telling Human Rights Watch they feared being detained or harassed by Kurdish residents or security forces. “I don’t want to have to leave with my family in the middle of the night,” one displaced Arab merchant from Makhmur told Human Rights Watch. “I want to be back in my house but even more I want my peace of mind.”

In its written reply to Human Rights Watch, the KRG did not directly acknowledge having barred Arabs from returning home, saying instead that the areas in question “are not safe. They are still under the threat of ISIS war. We do not encourage residents, whether they are Arab or Kurd, to return.”

Arabs Confined to Villages, Districts

Local Kurdish and Arab residents told Human Rights Watch that Kurdish forces have permitted Arab residents of the four districts who did not flee to remain in their homes but they cordoned off their villages, which are either predominantly or exclusively Arab, into designated security zones under Kurdish guard. Until early 2015 they did not allow Arab residents to leave these zones. In contrast, the Peshmerga and Asayish forces guarding these villages allowed Kurdish residents to move in and out of the security zones except during nighttime curfews, generally from about 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Human Rights Watch identified 40 predominantly Arab villages in the districts that the regional government had grouped into security zones and spoke with dozens of residents during visits to eight of them. At least 20,000 people, the majority Sunni Arabs, live in the 40 villages, according to figures provided by local officials and residents. Most of these villages were never held by ISIS but were – and in some cases remain – near the front line.

Although the Peshmerga and Asayish began allowing Arabs greater freedom of movement in many of the security zones in early 2015, until then, local residents told Human Rights Watch, local Peshmerga and Asayish authorized only a few Arab residents to leave and return to their villages to fetch food, medicine, and other supplies, and provided some special permits to leave for medical or other emergencies. Many Arab residents said such permits generally were impossible to obtain unless those seeking them had “wasta” – special connections with government officials.

Residents told Human Rights Watch that in the security zone in the Makhmur district, where the restrictions remained in place as of early February, only one Asayish office issued permits for the 10 villages in the zone--all part of the Gwer subdistrict--and it closed for the day at 2 or 3 p.m. The Asayish closed its office altogether for a few weeks after ISIS killed dozens of Peshmerga fighters in an unsuccessful bid to recapture the nearby town of Gwer in early January, residents said, temporarily leaving them with no access to emergency permits.

According to several residents of another village in the cordoned-off area in Makhmur, an Arab woman gave birth to twins at the roadside during the ISIS advance in August, when Kurdish checkpoint officials refused to let her leave a security zone to reach a hospital in Erbil. One of the infants was stillborn, they said. The woman’s family confirmed the incident but declined interview requests.

In its statement to Human Rights Watch, the Asayish said it was “familiar” with the case. That day, “hundreds of thousands of people were trying to get into Kurdistan,” and “the high numbers of people at the checkpoints made for a very difficult situation,” the statement said. “The KRG had ambulances and medical teams at the checkpoint, and she could not get to them.” The statement did not confirm or deny that Asayish forces had prevented the woman from leaving the security zone.

Many Arab residents of the cordoned-off villages used to work outside the security zones and had no way to work and support their families while the restrictions were in place, trapped residents told Human Rights Watch. Their comments contradicted a statement by Asayish officials to Human Rights Watch that Arabs could enter Iraqi Kurdistan for work if their place of employment was “known.”

“At the checkpoint he says, ‘This guy Arabic, this [guy] Kurdish,’” said Abd al-Rahman Shaker, 18, an Arab resident of al-Hwera, one of 10 cordoned-off villages in Makhmur district. Shaker, who spoke in English, said that checkpoint officials had barred him from entering Erbil to reach his job as a cleaner for an oil company. “If he’s Kurdish no problem, go inside [through the checkpoint]. If he’s Arabic, big problem, no working. You see these guys standing here?” he asked, gesturing toward several Arab villagers gathered near him. “No work. This big problem.”

Some of the 10 villages that Kurdish forces have cordoned off in Makhmur are also sheltering scores of internally displaced Arab families who fled from other parts of the district when ISIS entered their communities in August. In the village of al-Hwera, Human Rights Watch found displaced Arab families living in unfinished, unheated buildings, and sleeping on foam pallets on dirt floors. Some shelters had only plastic sheeting covering the windows.

“When it rains, the water pours in,” said Khaled Ibrahim Bashir al-Nuami, who in August fled fighting in Gwer, 20 kilometers south of al-Hwera, with his family of seven.

Arab village leaders and dozens of Arabs inside the cordoned-off security zones told Human Rights Watch that for months they received no emergency assistance from Iraq’s government in Baghdad, the Kurdish government, or aid organizations. They said that with no food aid and no way to earn money outside the zone, they often did not have enough to eat.

“We are living under siege,” said Alia Sulieman Ali, a mother of five and resident of Sheif Shireen, one of the cordoned-off Arab villages in the Sheikhan security zone. Ali said in December that KRG security forces sometimes allowed two of her adult sons to pass through the checkpoint to work if an uncle, who had Iraqi Kurdistan residency, accompanied them. But usually, she said, officials turned them back because their identity cards listed them as Muslims from Mosul. “When they can leave we have a way to eat,” she said. “When they cannot leave we have nothing.”

By early 2015 in Zumar, residents of Arab villages were allowed to travel within the district, but not to areas of Iraqi Kurdistan such as the city of Duhok unless they obtained special permission from local Kurdish authorities, nongovernmental sources told Human Rights Watch.

In the KRG’s written statement to Human Rights Watch, the Asayish said no areas were “cordoned off completely” but that some were under “strict control” because they were near the front line. The Peshmerga Ministry said restrictions in the zones were necessary “to protect security forces and residents” because both ISIS members and supporters still lived in “a lot” of the villages and intermittently fought Peshmerga forces.

The ministry spokesman, Helgurd Hikmet, said in December that allowing Arabs to return to mixed Arab-Kurdish communities might also inflame ethnic tensions. “You have to be patient with this issue,” he said in an interview, adding that, “It won’t be easy to persuade Kurds who have been victimized to coexist” with Arabs whom they suspect of collaborating with ISIS.

The Interior and Peshmerga Ministries said the residents were the responsibility of the Iraqi central government, that it had complained to Baghdad about a lack of humanitarian aid, and that the KRG was assisting the area as best it could.

Destroying Arab Homes, Moving in Kurds

Scores of Arab homes have been destroyed in villages, towns, and cities under Peshmerga control in Makhmur district and Zumar sub-district. During visits to eight of these communities in December, some of which had not been resettled, Human Rights Watch saw homes that had been torched, bulldozed, or demolished with explosives, as well as others that appeared to have been destroyed by shelling. Walls near some destroyed homes were spray-painted with anti-Arab and pro-Kurdish slogans.

Human Rights Watch received conflicting accounts of how the Arab homes in Makmur and Zumar were destroyed. Local authorities, as well as Asayish and the Peshmerga Ministry, said that ISIS demolished the homes as it retreated or that homes were damaged during armed clashes or coalition airstrikes, or booby-trapped by ISIS and destroyed when Peshmerga, civilians, or de-mining teams entered them. ISIS destroyed even more Kurdish properties than Arab properties, they said.

But Human Rights Watch also heard credible statements from several Kurdish and Arab residents that Iraqi Kurds – civilians, troops, or both – destroyed at least dozens of the homes of Arabs they suspected of collaborating with ISIS, soon after ISIS retreated.

ISIS seized and held southwestern areas of Makhmur district, including the city of Makhmur, for 15 days in August before Peshmerga, assisted by US-led air strikes, drove them back.

In Rwala, an Arab village some 20 kilometers south of Makhmur, Human Rights Watch found in December that a majority of the approximately 90 homes had been destroyed. Most appeared to have been torched or demolished with explosives. At the time of the Human Rights Watch visit, Rwala was only a few kilometers from the front line and only Peshmerga forces were allowed in.

Peshmerga commanders in Rwala said some homes were hit during clashes between ISIS and Peshmerga in August but that ISIS blew up most of them. “ISIS destroyed these houses because most of the people living in them worked for the Iraqi government,” said Maj. Salih Hama Gharib. He spoke from a home the Peshmerga were using as a base that had the phrase “Arabs all are terrorists” spray-painted in Arabic on an exterior wall.

ISIS also destroyed homes in nearby Kurdish villages, Gharib said. Human Rights Watch was not able to visit those villages because of their proximity to ISIS forces, but local Kurds said they had received similar reports. Local residents confirmed that several Arab residents of Rwala worked for the central government in Baghdad.

In Qaraj, a town of both Arabs and Kurds that remained abandoned when Human Rights Watch visited in December, several dozen homes that appeared to have belonged to Arabs were torched from the inside, suggesting they had been set on fire rather than damaged in fighting, while Kurdish homes appeared untouched. Human Rights Watch found similar damage to several Arab homes and pro-Kurdish graffiti in Gwer, which had been partially resettled by Kurds.

In the city of Makhmur, which by December had been partially resettled by Kurdish residents while the Peshmerga and Asayish were still barring Arabs from returning, Human Rights Watch found three Arab homes destroyed by fire and ransacked. The houses were in Hay al-Askari, a neighborhood that was home to most of the city’s Arabs, about 10 percent of the local population before residents fled. Several Kurdish residents told Human Rights Watch that after the Peshmerga liberated Makhmur, returning Kurdish civilians had torched the Arab homes because they believed their owners were ISIS members or collaborators who had helped ISIS take over their city.

Comments from some Kurdish residents underscored the continuing tension. “I don’t want any Arabs to come back – the Arabs helped kill my brother,” said one resident whose brother, a Peshmerga officer, was blown up in December trying to clear local fields of improvised explosive devices that ISIS had planted during its retreat.

“Ninety percent of the Arabs believe in terrorism,” said another Kurdish resident.

Some Kurdish residents said they believed many local Arabs were ISIS sympathizers or members because when they fled Makhmur, they headed to ISIS-controlled areas rather than toward Erbil. But many Arabs said they and thousands of other Arabs fled to ISIS-controlled areas because they had family members there and had been turned away at KRG checkpoints into Iraqi Kurdistan.

Other Kurdish residents deplored the property attacks and said the inhabitants of the three destroyed homes were not linked to ISIS. Human Rights Watch spoke with two of the Arabs whose homes were destroyed. Both denied any connection to ISIS and described their living conditions as desperate.

Human Rights Watch visited one of the men, a teacher named Tha`er Hamdi, in a drafty, two-room shack where he was living with a dozen relatives in a village outside the checkpoint into Iraqi Kurdistan. The only furnishings were foam mattresses, a few pots and pans, and a kerosene heater that emitted toxic fumes and almost no heat. Hamdi, who asked that his location remain secret because he feared for his family’s safety, looked gaunt and traumatized:

    All my savings, all my life’s work went into my house. Why are we being blamed for what happened in Makhmur? My son doesn’t even speak Arabic. He speaks Kurdish. He sings Kurdish songs. As a teacher in Makhmur I taught in Kurdish. We are not extremists. We are poor, decent people who want to live peacefully with others.

The second man, Majid Hamid, spoke with Human Rights Watch by telephone from a village under ISIS control where he had family. Hamid said he had started to flee northeast to Erbil but went the opposite direction after other Arabs on the road told him KRG authorities were turning away all Arabs at the Iraqi Kurdistan border.

“We have no water, no power,” Hamid said. “We are living in primitive conditions, cooking on wood.” Even if ISIS were to let him out, he said, with his home in Makhmur destroyed “we have nowhere to go.”

ISIS captured areas of Zumar including the town of Zumar, a nearby oil field and surrounding villages, in early August. Peshmerga forces briefly pushed ISIS out later that month and recaptured the area in October with the assistance of coalition airstrikes. Local officials told Human Rights Watch during a visit to the subdistrict in December that 500 homes had been destroyed. In February, power and water remained cut.

In the town, which had a mixed Kurdish-Arab population before the ISIS advance, Human Rights Watch saw scores of buildings reduced to rubble, apparently by air strikes and shelling. Several homes had been torched, or had collapsed walls and blown-out windows indicating they had been blown up from the inside, though whether by ISIS or Kurdish forces or civilians was unclear. Kurdish residents said the homes belonged to Arabs.

Several other homes that residents identified as belonging to Arabs remained intact and were marked “Mahjus Kurdi” (“Reserved for Kurds”) with “Reserved” in Arabic and “Kurds” in Kurdish. One home’s wall was spray-painted “Reserved, Asayish,” and another “Belongs to the Party,” an apparent reference to the KRG’s ruling Kurdish Democratic Party, whose acronym appeared on other walls.

Three Kurdish residents of Zumar told Human Rights Watch that Peshmerga forces had torched or dynamited homes when they drove ISIS from the town, in some cases fearing that ISIS had booby-trapped them or because they suspected their owners of belonging to or supporting ISIS. They said ISIS had planted explosives in many Kurdish homes in the city before retreating.

Three other Kurds, who fled to the town from villages still held by ISIS, told Human Rights Watch that local Kurds had helped them move into Arab homes such as those marked “Reserved for Kurds.” They said they were only staying in the homes temporarily until the Peshmerga liberated their villages. One of the men told Human Rights Watch that the Peshmerga found him an Arab home to occupy.

“The Peshmerga brought me to a house that belonged to an Arab family and said, ‘You can stay here,’” said the man, Mahmoud Sheikho, 61.

About 20 kilometers north of the town, Human Rights Watch found the Arab villages of Barzan and Shikhan (not to be confused with the city and district of Sheikhan to the east) abandoned and reduced to ashes and rubble. While some of the properties appeared to have been damaged during fighting, many others appeared to have been torched or had flattened walls and blown-out windows, suggesting they had been dynamited.

A nearby village, Bardiya, had previously been a mixed Arab-Kurdish village, residents and local authorities told Human Rights Watch. Human Rights Watch found that only Kurds had resettled there since the Peshmerga routed ISIS, and that many homes in the Arab quarter bore signs of having been torched. Graffiti on one wall read “Endowment of Islamic State” in Arabic, with the words “Islamic State” crossed out and replaced with “Kurds.” Several residents pointed to the ruins of one home and said it had been bulldozed because it had belonged to an Arab ISIS collaborator.

Some Kurdish residents said that local Kurds destroyed Arab homes in Bardiya, Shikhan, and Barzan upon their return, while others said the Peshmerga had done so. The Dutch television program Nieuwsuur in October reported that two local Kurdish commanders said they had blown up the homes in revenge for local Arabs supporting ISIS. One of the commanders also said that Kurdish militia killed captive Arabs. Kurdish officials have denied the allegations.

As in Zumar, displaced Kurds who had fled ISIS-controlled villages further south were occupying Arab homes still standing in Bardiya. Local residents said displaced Kurds also were occupying Arab homes in Garbir, a village about 10 kilometers further north.

When Human Rights Watch asked a group of displaced Kurds in Bardiya why they were occupying the homes of Arabs, one woman replied: “Because the Kurds will come back and the Arabs won’t.”

Zumar’s mayor, Muzahim Suleiman, as well as a sub-district security official who spoke on condition of anonymity, denied that local Kurds or KRG security forces were targeting and destroying Arab homes. The two officials said both Arab and Kurdish homes were in many cases destroyed during fighting or blown up by ISIS as the group retreated. Assisted by local Sunni Arab collaborators, ISIS booby-trapped scores of Kurdish homes, killing some civilians and Peshmerga when they entered, they said.

Suleiman denied any coordinated effort by the Kurdish regional government to displace Arabs with Kurds. “These houses are reserved on a temporary basis until the situation returns to normal,” he said. Residents, not the authorities, are writing “reserved” on the homes and in some cases are marking their own properties, he said.

Displacement of a civilian population unless the civilians’ security or imperative military reasons so demand can amount to a war crime. A systematic or widespread policy of forced deportation or transfer of a population can be a crime against humanity. So can the persecution of members of a group because of their religion or ethnicity through acts including forced deportation or other intentional and severe deprivation of rights.

Both the KRG and the central Iraqi government have a history of displacing each other’s ethnic group from the disputed territories. Baghdad has carried out “Arabization” drives at various times in the territories from the 1930s until the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, most infamously the Anfal genocide campaign of 1987-89 against the Kurds, as well as against Chaldo-Assyrian Christians and other religious minorities. Iraqi Kurdish authorities have moved in Kurds and displaced Arabs since the 1990s, including in 2003.

Detaining Arab Men Without Charge

Human Rights Watch heard from local residents that Peshmerga and Asayish had detained at least 70 Sunni Arab men from the villages of Sharaya’a, Owejga, Um-Rigaiba, Abu Shita, and al-Hwera, all in the cordoned-off security zone in Makhmur district, between August 2014 and January 2015. Residents also said that Peshmerga and Asayish had detained a small number of Arab men near the city of Makhmur. At the end of January, at least 63 of those men were still detained without charge or access to family or counsel, the residents said.

Human Rights Watch interviewed two Arab men, who said they were held without charge in Asayish detention facilities, for nearly three weeks and eight weeks respectively. The men, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they were picked up on suspicion of links to ISIS but never formally charged or taken before a judge. The men said they were given regular meals and not beaten or threatened.

However, both men said they and other prisoners detained with them had no access to lawyers or to family members, since their relatives were cordoned off in security zones. One man said he was among 55 prisoners crammed into one 7-by-5-meter cell. The prisoners had to sleep three to a single mattress, pillow and blanket, he said.

Human Watch is concerned that the Kurdish authorities may be mistreating some Arab detainees. One former detainee said two other detainees told him that they had been beaten in Asayish custody.

In December, Human Rights Watch overheard a Kurdish official at a checkpoint outside of Erbil, who from his uniform appeared to be an Asayish member, say that KRG forces were rounding up and questioning about five men a night in cordoned-off villages in the Gwer subdistrict of Makhmur. “We beat them until they confess,” the official said. The official did not appear aware that a representative of Human Rights Watch was present.

In its written response, the regional government said its security and military forces were under strict orders to never mistreat detainees and that any unlawful conduct would be investigated and prosecuted. The statement said that Asayish had detained 322 people suspected of terrorism since June, of whom 239 remained in detention in Erbil. The KRG has not provided the number of detainees not yet transferred to Erbil – which some sources said could number in the hundreds.

All the detainees are “awaiting trial” and can receive lawyers and family members, the statement said, but did not say how many had gone before a court – as required by law – or had access to counsel, or at what stage in their detention. The statement acknowledged that few family members had visited and blamed that on the danger of travel through conflict areas, not on the regional government’s travel restrictions.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), applicable in Iraq, states that anyone facing criminal charges has the right “to be informed promptly and in detail in a language which he understands of the nature and cause of the charge against him,” and must be brought promptly before a judge or equivalent. The right to judicial review is applicable at all times, including during emergencies.

Videos: Electric Shock, Threats of Death, Rape

Human Rights Watch reviewed seven videos posted on the Internet from June to December that appear to show men in Peshmerga or other security uniforms verbally abusing or physically mistreating captives – or in one case a corpse – while accusing them of being ISIS members. Most of the captives appear to be Arabs – some speak in Arabic or wear traditional Arabic garb, or their captors address them in Arabic – and one is Kurdish. In some videos, the uniformed men threaten to kill or rape the captives or their relatives. Most of the videos end abruptly in the midst of the abuse.

The videos bear titles such as: “Da’esh [an Arabic acronym for ISIS] prisoners at the hands of brave Peshmerga forces.” Human Rights Watch did not detect any signs that the videos were staged – the background noise, conversations, and gestures of all those filmed appeared to be genuine – but was unable to confirm that the uniformed men were indeed KRG forces. KRG authorities should investigate whether their forces carried out the verbal and physical abuse shown in the videos, which appear to violate international laws protecting all detainees from torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.

In the KRG’s response to Human Rights Watch, the Ministry of Peshmerga said there is “a chance” that “some” of the videos may have been fabricated by ISIS. The Ministry of Peshmerga and Asayish did not say whether they considered any of the other videos authentic, but said that if they were, anyone who mistreated detainees “will be held accountable to the law.”

In one video, a blindfolded captive screams in pain as a man in a dark green shirt such as those worn by Asayish officers applies an electric shock with a Taser-like device to his thigh. The man applying the shock is surrounded by men in Peshmerga uniforms. “You deserve this,” one man is overhead telling the captive in Arabic. One uniformed man’s vest and one truck bear the Kurdish flag.

In a second video, an interrogator in a Peshmerga uniform threatens in broken Arabic to kill a captive, sexually abuse his mother, and rape his sister, while holding a knife to his throat and pretending to jab the knife into his stomach.

In a third video, titled “Peshmerga forces shoot the body of a Da’esh member who was killed by their hands to make his Hell twice as bad,” a man in a Peshmerga uniform fires two shots from a military assault rifle into the bullet-riddled corpse of a bearded man wearing a dark dish-dasha tunic and trousers. Another man in a Peshmerga uniform kicks the corpse’s head. One of the men calls the act “an honor to the Kurds” and says he wants to rape the slain man’s sister and wife. Committing “outrages” on the bodies of enemy forces is a war crime.

In a fourth video, men in Peshmerga uniforms interrogate a wounded captive who has fresh blood splattered down his robe. The captive is speaking Arabic. The caption says the captive is an ISIS leader and is “steps away” from being killed. The captions and interrogation suggest the incident took place on the Syrian border.

In a fifth video, an interrogator, who is off-camera except for the bottoms of his camouflage trousers and boots but refers to himself as part of the Peshmerga, questions two captives who are lying handcuffed and blindfolded on a shiny surface. The interrogator threatens to rape one of the two captives and calls him a “pimp.” That captive is seen on-camera saying he is from Abu Jarda, one of the 10 villages in Makhmur where the Kurdish authorities have cordoned Arabs into a security zone and according to residents have detained Arab men. The other captive has blood stains that appear to be fresh on his back and head.

In a sixth video, men in Peshmerga uniforms surround a captive in a pickup truck and take photos of him while calling him “animal” and “pimp” and telling other Peshmerga in Kurdish, “Come and take a photo with him, guys.” The captive speaks Iraqi Arabic.
A seventh video, shows a blindfolded captive being verbally threatened by men speaking Kurdish in the back of a pickup truck. The captors accuse the captive of being a Kurdish member of ISIS. One of his captors is carrying an assault rifle and wearing camouflage. The other men are not seen but the title of the video refers to them as Peshmerga.

Human Rights Watch has kept copies of all seven videos.

Looting of Christian Homes

Human Rights Watch also received complaints from more than two dozen displaced residents of the Chaldo-Assyrian Christian town of Tal Usquf that members of the Peshmerga had repeatedly looted their homes since capturing the town from ISIS on August 17. They said Peshmerga and Asayish controlling the town ignored their complaints about the theft. “Pillage,” the forcible taking of private property by parties to a conflict, is a war crime.

The ministries of Peshmerga and Asayish denied looting. In written statements, they said ISIS, which held Tal Usquf for 10 days, had stolen belongings from civilians’ homes and most likely auctioned them off in the ISIS-held city of Mosul, 28 kilometers south. Human Rights Watch was unable to determine who was responsible for the looting.

The residents interviewed fled Tal Usquf before ISIS held the town for 10 days. The town was only a few kilometers from the front line when Human Rights Watch visited it in December and for security reasons, KRG security forces only allowed residents brief visits. Several residents who had been back dismissed the possibility that ISIS had been responsible for the looting because, they said, when they first visited after Peshmerga forces recaptured Tal Usquf, their homes were largely intact. In contrast, they said, almost every time they had returned since, they found more belongings missing, including stoves, blankets, fuel, jewelry, televisions, clothes, and electrical cables.

“The house was turned upside down,” one resident said of his second visit home, on August 28. “They took my laptop, my handgun, and broke the statue of Virgin Mary. When I visited again on September 7, I found the lock had been broken again and more valuables were missing. I’ve changed the lock 10 times, and every time I visit I find the lock is broken again.”

Three residents told Human Rights Watch they had seen Peshmerga leaving Tal Usquf homes with armloads of belongings.

Human Rights Watch spoke with most Tal Usquf residents in community centers and other buildings where they had found shelter in the city of Duhok and other nearby areas.

Tal Usquf was deserted when Human Right Watch visited, apart from Peshmerga and Asayish forces and a couple with a young child who were checking on their home. The couple walked through the ransacked rooms in shock. Drawers were pulled open, wardrobes were emptied, and dishes were scattered across the table and floor.

“Last time they took my wife’s gold and my daughter’s clothes and my clothes,” the husband said of the thieves. “Now we have nothing left.” His wife began to cry. “I was born in this house,” she said.

The husband, who said his family was sharing a small room with six other displaced families in Duhok, was careful to not blame the Peshmerga, noting he hadn’t been present when the looting took place. Human Rights Watch is not identifying the man to protect him from potential reprisal.

Several other residents accused the Peshmerga of looting their homes to discourage Christians from returning so the KRG could try to resettle the town with Iraqi Kurds. The residents spoke on condition of anonymity, expressing fear of retaliation from the Peshmerga, and said they blamed the Kurdish forces reluctantly.

“If it weren’t for the Peshmerga, ISIS might still be occupying our town,” one elderly man said. “But I saw them breaking into a house and carrying things out with my own eyes.”
Source :

Texte partiellement traduit en français :
Kurdistan irakien : Des résidents arabes ont été déplacés, isolés et détenus
Ils sont soumis à des restrictions sévères alors que les Kurdes se déplacent librement

26 février 2015

(Erbil, le 26 février 2015) - Les forces kurdes irakiennes ont confiné des milliers de résidents arabes dans des « zones de sécurité » dans les régions du nord de l'Irak dont elles ont repris le contrôle depuis août 2014 en chassant les combattants du groupe extrémiste État islamique (EI), a déclaré Human Rights Watch aujourd'hui. Cela fait plusieurs mois que les forces kurdes empêchent des résidents arabes qui avaient été déplacés par les combats de retourner chez eux dans les zones libérées des provinces de Ninawa et d'Erbil provinces, tout en autorisant aux Kurdes à revenir dans ces régions et même à s’installer dans les maisons de résidents arabes qui avaient dû fuir. Certaines restrictions ont été assouplies en janvier 2015, après que Human Rights Watch eut contacté le gouvernement régional kurde à ce sujet, mais pas toutes.

Selon des Kurdes locaux interrogés par Human Rights Watch, les forces du gouvernement régional du Kurdistan (KRG) ainsi que des habitants du Kurdistan irakien ont détruit des dizaines de maisons appartenant à des résidents arabes dans les régions que le KRG semble vouloir intégrer dans le territoire autonome kurde. Des résidents arabes contraints de vivre dans une zone bouclée ont affirmé que les forces du KRG avaient détenus 70 hommes arabes de cette région durant de longues périodes, sans la moindre inculpation.

« Isoler ainsi les résidents arabes du Kurdistan irakien et leur refuser le droit de retourner chez eux semble aller bien au-delà d'une mesure sécuritaire raisonnable face à la menace posée par l’Etat islamique », a déclaré Letta Tayler, chercheuse senior sur les questions de terrorisme et contreterrorisme à Human Rights Watch. « Les États-Unis et d'autres pays qui fournissent des armes aux forces kurdes irakiennes devraient indiquer clairement qu'ils ne toléreront pas de discrimination sous prétexte des exigences de la lutte antiterroriste. »

À l’inverse, Human Rights Watch n'a recueilli aucun élément de preuve indiquant que les forces kurdes imposaient des restrictions similaires sur les mouvements de Kurdes.
Le gouvernement régional du Kurdistan est un allié important de la coalition luttant contre l’État islamique sous l’impulsion des États-Unis. Ce pays s’est engagé à contribuer 350 millions de dollars afin de créer trois nouvelles brigades de la force militaire kurde, connues sous le nom de Peshmergas. L’Allemagne, le Royaume-Uni, l’Italie, la France, la République tchèque, et l'Albanie participent également à l’armement ou à la formation des Peshmergas.

Lors de missions menées en décembre et en janvier, Human Rights Watch a constaté que les Peshmergas et les forces de sécurité kurdes, connues sous le nom d’Asayish, permettaient aux résidents kurdes qui avaient fui les combats à retourner dans des villes et des villages dans des régions où certaines conditions sécuritaires avaient été rétablies, tout en refusant ce droit aux résidents arabes qui avaient aussi été déplacés.

Human Rights Watch a par ailleurs documenté les crimes contre l'humanité et autres actes atroces commis par I’État islamique en Syrie et en Irak, ainsi que les exactions perpétrées par les forces syriennes et irakiennes, et par des milices alliées.

Pour lire le communiqué intégral en anglais, veuillez cliquer ici.
Source :

Voir également : Nord de l'Irak : les visées territoriales des peshmerga suscitent la colère des Arabes sunnites

Barzan/Barzanke : les nationalistes kurdes craignent que les lourds soupçons de crimes de guerre n'entachent leur image

Barzan (Irak) : un Kurde de nationalité néerlandaise admet en off que les peshmerga ont procédé à des exécutions systématiques de prisonniers de guerre

Université de Kirkouk : tensions entre Kurdes et Arabes à l'occasion de la "journée du drapeau du Kurdistan"

Un peshmerga dans la ville de Makhmour : "Nous les tuerons [les Arabes] dès que les caméras ne seront plus là"

Diyala : des tribus arabes sunnites se retournent contre l'Etat islamique... et contre les peshmerga

Donatella Rovera (Amnesty International) : "Les Arabes ne sont plus autorisés à entrer dans les régions kurdes [d'Irak]"

Kirkouk : grave insécurité et vide administratif

Kirkouk : les déplacés arabes se plaignent de mauvais traitements de la part des Kurdes

Manifestation d'opposants assyriens et turkmènes à Erbil

Les chrétiens d'Irak : "Les Kurdes ne nous ont pas protégés, le gouvernement irakien ne nous a pas protégés"

Le problème kurde : le nettoyage ethnique dans le "Kurdistan" irakien

Irak : la persécution des Assyro-Chaldéens par les Kurdes

Les réfugiés turkmènes dans le Kurdistan irakien : "Nous ne voulons pas rester dans la région kurde parce que nous ne sommes pas bien traités par les Kurdes"

Erbil fait pression pour différer l'opération militaire prévue à Mossoul

Julian Pecquet
Congressional Correspondent

Julian Pecquet is Al-Monitor's Congressional Correspondent. He previously led The Hill's Global Affairs blog. On Twitter: @congresspulse Contact him via email

Kurds push for delay of Mosul attack

A vital ally in the war against the Islamic State (IS) is making it increasingly clear that it wants the United States to call off its planned spring offensive.

The Iraqi Kurds were "surprised" by last week's US Central Command announcement that an attack on Mosul could take place in April or May, their new representative to the United States told reporters on Feb. 26. Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman cautioned that the Iraqi army wouldn't be ready and that Sunni tribes weren't united in how to deal with the aftermath if Iraqi forces do manage to take back Iraq's second largest city.

"I have to say I and my colleagues were surprised by the announcement by the US that there might be a spring offensive on Mosul," Abdul Rahman said. The plan, which was laid out for reporters last week, calls for a force of about 25,000 troops, including three Kurdish brigades although they would not be at the "tip of the spear."

"One, we don't think the Iraqi forces are ready," Abdul Rahman said. "And two, we don't think that the Sunni community is ready to fight [IS]."

"Without the Sunni community in Mosul on our side, how do we expect to take Mosul and then sustain that victory?" she said. "From our point of view ... we don't want a situation where Mosul is attacked and then you've got another humanitarian crisis with another flow of hundreds of thousands of people — and they will come to Kurdistan."

The warnings from a key US partner have emboldened congressional critics of President Obama's IS strategy.

"We should very much be listening to their counsel, because they have been an effective fighting force on the ground, they understand fully the conditions there," Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., told Al-Monitor. Ayotte is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a strong supporter of the Kurdistan Regional Government's request to have US weapons delivered straight to Erbil rather than first going through the central government in Baghdad.

Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., agreed that the Iraqi army won't be ready by spring after collapsing under assault from IS last June.

"I've heard that everywhere. That's why I was so astounded at the Centcom comment that they would be ready in a couple of months," McCain told Al-Monitor. "Every estimate that I've heard is that it was far greater than that."

Sources from the front lines in Kurdistan confirmed to Al-Monitor that they don't see a clear plan to remove IS from Mosul this spring. They said they also remain concerned that even if the militants were expelled from Mosul, the Iraqi army doesn't have the capacity to keep Mosul secure.

The Kurdish region is already struggling under the strain of an estimated 1.5 million to 2 million refugees from the conflict in Syria and Iraq, leading to a spike in ethnic and sectarian tensions. The Kurds are allegedly stopping Arab families from returning to their homes in areas liberated from IS according to a Human Rights Watch report released Feb. 26.

The Department of Defense says the offensive will not begin until the Iraqis are ready.

Last week's briefing "caveated that the projected timeframe of any offensive to retake Mosul was conditions-based and not intended to reflect firm plans," Maj. Curtis Kellogg, a Centcom spokesman, said in an email. "As we've said from the beginning, any offensive will be Iraqi-led and U.S.-supported, and launched only at a time when it can succeed."

The issue of timing may well come up in the House Armed Services Committee next week after Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, vowed to press administration witnesses on the Mosul offensive during an upcoming hearing on the president's use-of-force request.

Abdul Rahman's comments echo similar concerns expressed to NPR over the weekend by Masrour Barzani, the head of Kurdish security and intelligence services.

"I wish I could tell you that they are ready, but they are not, and this is very unfortunate," Barzani said of the Iraqi army. He added that "any plan to liberate Mosul has to be well calculated and well coordinated."

"The liberation of Mosul should not really lead to another mass exodus of people elsewhere," he said. "That would happen if the operation fails."

Abdul Rahman went further, however, in making it clear that the spring timeline doesn't seem reasonable to the Kurds.

"We're in a dilemma: On the one hand, I don't think we should try to retake Mosul until the Iraqi forces are ready, the Sunni community is on board, and all those things are in place," she said. "On the other hand, the longer Mosul is in [IS]'s hands, the worse it gets. That is our dilemma, that's the dilemma for the US, and it's something that we have to deal with. But right now I don't think we're ready for that offensive."

Left largely unsaid are concerns that Iran-backed Shiite militias that are fighting alongside the Iraqi army may gain a foothold in the Sunni heartland if operations against IS continue apace while the Sunnis are divided. Counterinsurgency expert and Marine veteran Bing West pointed out Feb. 25 in a piece for the conservative National Review Online that Iran has "7,000 troops and advisers working with the Shiite militias fighting alongside the Iraqi Army."

"This operation would make America the de facto wartime partner of Iran," West wrote. "If the Shiite Iraqi Army did capture the destroyed Sunni city, Iran would stand out as a winner, having extended its regional power into a Sunni heartland. How would the White House explain that outcome to Sunni states like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt — already estranged by the administration’s actions over the past six years?"
McCain agreed with those concerns.

"The only people that are succeeding are Shiite militias, and that's Iranian surrogates," he said. "We better reconstitute the Iraqi military and we have to understand the penetration and influence that the Iranians have — it is huge."

Taking back Mosul is seen as key to rolling back IS and blunting its successful image, which has helped it recruit volunteers from around the world. But lawmakers agree with the Kurds that it's better to wait than rush into a fight ill-prepared.

"The most important thing is that we win the fight that we take back to [IS]. That has to be priority one," Ayotte told Al-Monitor. "We'd send the worst possible signal if we went after Mosul, and didn't take it back."

Editor's note: This article has been updated since its initial publication.
Source :

Voir également : Irak : les peshmerga sont dans l'incapacité d'avancer profondément dans les zones arabo-sunnites

Les peshmerga kurdes ne méritent pas leur haute réputation militaire
Kirkouk : hostilité des peshmerga au déploiement de forces chiites

Irak : les peshmerga sont dans l'incapacité d'avancer profondément dans les zones arabo-sunnites

Fazel Hawramy
Contributor,  Iraq Pulse

Fazel Hawramy is an independent journalist currently based in Iraqi Kurdistan. Twitter: @FazelHawramy

Kurdish peshmerga, IS reach stalemate

MULA ABDULA, Iraq — "How are the skies?" a gruff voice asks in Iraqi Arabic dialect. "The skies are clear," is the reply, after a crackle of static on the walkie-talkie through which a Kurdish major is listening to the conversation between two Islamic State (IS) militants on the other side of this front line, southwest of Kirkuk in Northern Iraq.

An irrigation canal no wider than 10 meters (33 feet) separates the lightly armed Kurdish peshmerga forces from the extremist militants in Mula Abdula, where Maj. Aziz Ahmad stands behind a defensive berm, holding the walkie-talkie up to intercept the enemy’s communications.

“They change the frequency regularly and it is not easy to intercept,” he told Al-Monitor. "IS is terrified of bomber aircraft, especially the French.”

With the help of coalition airstrikes, Kurdish forces have reclaimed most of the area they lost to IS in August 2014, driving the militants out of 15,000 square km (9,300 square miles) they consider historically their own. But the peshmerga forces have neither the will nor the means to advance much further into Sunni Arab areas.

The front line at Mula Abdula, 25 km (15.5 miles) southwest of Kirkuk, has not moved since June 2014, when the militants overran Mosul and other Sunni-majority areas including Hawija 35 km (22 miles) away.

“Why should we shed Kurdish blood for Hawija when we know the Iraqi government will claim it back once the IS threat is gone?” responded Capt. Rebwar Mala Ahmad when Al-Monitor asked whether there were any plans to cross the canal and attack IS on its own turf.

The Kurds’ reluctance to move forward and desire to avoid inflaming sectarianism by deploying Shiite militia forces to those areas means IS has not been dislodged from any of Iraq’s Sunni heartland. Efforts to reconstitute the several army divisions that collapsed last summer are proceeding slowly, and the “spring offensive” touted by some Iraqi and US officials to retake Mosul seems increasingly unlikely.
In the village of Mula Abdula, a flock of blackbirds and starlings alights on the remains of a pillar that used to sustain a house recently smashed by airstrikes. Thick columns of smoke belch from two oil wells, set on fire by IS militants when they were driven out of the area after briefly overrunning it on Jan. 29.

Although the militants have not made any gains in Northern Iraq since the airstrikes began in August 2014, they are still attacking peshmerga forces regularly and mounted a major offensive around Kirkuk in January, shortly after suffering humiliating defeats in the Syrian town of Kobani and near the Mosul Dam.

Taking advantage of dense fog, the militants managed to cross the canal, killing at least 30 peshmerga fighters, including two generals, before Kurdish reinforcements, including an elite counterterrorism squad, drove them back.

"We kept shooting at them but they kept coming," said Goran Nasraddin, one of the few peshmerga fighters from his unit to have survived the assault, in which he sustained multiple injuries. "I counted around eight IS fighters who fell as I fired my gun, but nothing stopped them.”

When Nasraddin realized all his co-fighters had fallen, he hid in a cesspit for 12 hours until IS militants were pushed back. "I immediately put my phone on silent. I knew I would be beheaded if they captured me alive," Nasraddin told Al-Monitor. By the time he emerged, his parents had already given him up for dead and dug a grave for him on a hill surrounded by pine trees in his village.

The bodies of at least 70 IS militants were recovered from the battlefield, but Kurds say over 200 militants were killed in the battle.

Defending Kirkuk proves difficult

The Kurds took full control of Kirkuk in June 2014, meeting no resistance as the Iraqi army melted away. But the oil-rich city is proving less easy to defend.

Since January’s attack, the peshmerga forces have destroyed all but one of the bridges crossing the canal to hinder any future attack. Lack of weaponry and communication equipment has also made Kurdish forces vulnerable to IS attacks. "In this unit, we only have two old rocket-propelled grenades and the rest is old light arms," Ahmad said. "We are fighting this group on behalf of the world, but we have no weapons to do so."

The force also suffers from internal weaknesses. Several peshmerga fighters on the front line speak scathingly of their commanders, many of whom they accuse of running away in the heat of battle.

Mala Ahmad, who retired due to injuries in 2005, has more than 20 years of experience as a peshmerga fighter and returned to duty when IS advanced on Kurdish areas in June 2014. He has fought IS as a sniper volunteer from Jalawla in Diyala province to Tuz Khormato in Salahuddin province and now across the Kirkuk front line. He told Al-Monitor that when IS attacked on the night of Jan. 29, he saw commanders run from the battlefield, leaving their men behind, saying, “It was by the grace of God that we were not caught.”

He added, "When I saw them that night, I shouted at the commanders and called them cowards for leaving their men behind."

As the two adversaries face off across the canal, bewildered Sunni residents caught in between try to make sense of the mayhem around them in Mula Abdula. Farmer and father of three Ahmad Salim told Al-Monitor, "Our problems started when IS emerged. We came back to the village because no one wants us. The residents of other villages don't let us in and Kurdish security forces don't allow us to enter the Kurdish areas.”

Across the canal, the IS militants have more pressing issues at hand as the roar of warplanes reverberates overhead. "Watch out, a warplane is approaching," an IS militant can be heard saying through the major’s walkie-talkie.
Source :

Voir également : Nord de l'Irak : les visées territoriales des peshmerga suscitent la colère des Arabes sunnites

Université de Kirkouk : tensions entre Kurdes et Arabes à l'occasion de la "journée du drapeau du Kurdistan"

Les peshmerga kurdes ne méritent pas leur haute réputation militaire

jeudi 26 février 2015

Kurdistan irakien : plus de 3.000 cas connus de femmes tuées par les violences domestiques ces 5 dernières années

Kurdistan: More than 3000 Women Victims of Domestic Violence in Last 5 Years
The number is a decrease on previous years

Basnews  |  Biryar Koyi
25.02.2015  11:40


The Kurdistan Health Ministry has announced that over three thousand women were killed in cases of domestic violence in the last five years.
Shockingly, this is a decrease on the previous five years.

In a press conference held on Tuesday in Kurdistan Region Capital Erbil, the Health Ministry released statistics on the deaths.

3,049 women were killed throughout the Kurdistan Region as a result of domestic violence. Causes listed include immolation, suffocation, murder and car accidents.

The head of the Women’s Rights Committee in the Kurdistan Region Parliament said that despite the high number of women victims in Kurdistan region the rate of violence against women in the region has decreased compare to five years ago.

“Women are victims of violence all around the world. What is strange is that the overall number of cases has decreased in the last 5 years, but cases of immolation have increased in Duhok Province”, said Evar Ibrahim, the head of the Women’s Rights Committee in Kurdistan Parliament.
Source :

Voir également : Kurdistan irakien : plus de 6.000 cas de violences contre des femmes enregistrés cette année
Les femmes peshmerga : l'arbre qui cache la forêt

Le crime d'honneur : une pratique tribale ni turque, ni vraiment musulmane mais kurde

Bonne nouvelle : la pratique de l'excision commencerait à décroître chez les Kurdes irakiens

La coutume barbare de l'excision chez les Kurdes de Suleimani (nord de l'Irak)

Bagdad demande à la Turquie de cesser de soutenir financièrement le Kurdistan irakien

Abadi Asks Turkey to Stop Financially Supporting Kurdistan
Turkey refuses Iraqi Prime Minister’s request

Basnews  |  Karzan Sabah Hawrami
25.02.2015  14:41


In response to the Turkish government’s decision to financially support the Kurdistan Region, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi secretly tried to speak with senior Turkish officials, to ask them not to go ahead with the agreement.

Sources have revealed to local media that Abadi attempted to stop the deal by speaking directly to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. In the telephone call Erdoğan declined Abadi’s request.

A later request to Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was also turned down.

Davutoglu said that the money will be sent from a Turkish bank soon and that Turkey intends to continue its financial support to the Kurdistan Region.

Kurdish delegates led by Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani visited Ankara last week and secured a $500 million loan to cover the salaries of government employees.

Kurdish Member of the Iraqi Parliament Arafat Karam told BasNews that the response of Erdoğan proves that Turkey wants to deal with the Kurdistan Region officially. Baghdad regularly attempts to sabotage this relationship.

“It is an indicator that the Kurdistan Region’s diplomacy has been successful,” said Karam.

He went on, “Turkey sees the Kurdistan Regional Government as more trustworthy than Baghdad because the Kurdistan Region has more stable foundations – it is impossible to know what will happen in Baghdad in the next four years. This has improved Turkey’s trust in the Kurdistan Region.”
Source :

Voir également : Les liens de dépendance du Kurdistan irakien à l'égard de la Turquie d'Erdogan

La Turquie d'Erdogan aurait secrètement payé deux mois de salaires pour les fonctionnaires du Kurdistan irakien

Massoud Barzani révèle que la Turquie d'Erdogan a secrètement envoyé des armes aux peshmerga en août dernier

Les forces armées turques entraînent 230 combattants kurdes irakiens dans le nord de l'Irak

L'armée turque entraîne les peshmerga kurdes irakiens

Le ministre de la Santé de la région kurde d'Irak confirme que des peshmerga sont soignés en Turquie

Safin Dizayi (porte-parole du Gouvernement régional du Kurdistan) critique les extrémistes kurdes du BDP-HDP

Le porte-parole du Gouvernement régional du Kurdistan salue l'aide militaire et humanitaire apportée par la Turquie d'Erdogan

Fouad Hussein (représentant du Gouvernement régional kurde) confirme que la Turquie a livré des armes aux peshmerga et a commencé à les entraîner

Mahmut Övür (Daily Sabah) : les Kurdes d'Erbil ont conscience de la contribution de la Turquie en faveur de leur région

Selon un parlementaire kurde irakien, les milices chiites sont plus dangereuses que l'EI

Kurdish MP: Shiite Militia More Dangerous Than Islamic State
Islamic State is temporary and will be destroyed, says Kurdish MP

Basnews  |  Muhamad Hasnani
25.02.2015  12:15


A Kurdish Member of the Iraqi Parliament says that Islamic State (IS) is a temporary threat that will be eliminated, whereas it’s Shiite militia groups that will be a longer-term threat to Iraq.

Arafat Stuni MP, told BasNews, “It is clear to everyone the threat posed by IS, but more dangerous are the Shiite militia groups that will pose a serious problem for Iraq in the future.”

Stuni believes that if the Iraqi federal government is unable to exercise authority over Shiite militia groups in the future, they will threaten the unity of the country.

He said that Shiite militia groups are likely to be the main obstacle to future democracy.

“Some of the militia groups that exist in Iraq now are directly supervised and commanded by neighbouring countries,” added Stuni.

In recent weeks, there have been reports that Iraqi Shiite militia is planning to enter the disputed province of Kirkuk in northern Iraq and this has angered the Kurds and Kurdistan Region authorities.
Source :

Voir également : Kirkouk : hostilité des peshmerga au déploiement de forces chiites

Le GRK veut enquêter sur une vidéo censée montrer le meurtre sous la torture d'un officier peshmerga par une milice chiite

La nouvelle menace pour les peshmerga : les milices arabo-chiites

Touz Khourmatou : des manifestants accusent les miliciens chiites du meurtre d'un imam kurde

Un officiel du PDK : les milices chiites "incendient les maisons des Kurdes et des Arabes sunnites"

Jalawla : rivalité entre peshmerga kurdes et milices chiites

Les autorités religieuses du Kurdistan irakien accusent les milices chiites de provocations dans la région de Garmiyan

Diyala : un commandant des peshmerga se plaint du problème posé par les milices chiites

Le Kurde Hoshyar Zebari (PDK) reproche au pouvoir arabo-chiite de Bagdad d'avoir soutenu à fonds perdus des milices chiites ultra-violentes

Allemagne : Die Linke soutient le PKK mais s'oppose à l'armement des peshmerga irakiens

PKK Ban to be Discussed in German Parliament
On Thursday the German Parliament will discuss the ban on the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)

24.02.2015  13:09


On Thursday the German Parliament will discuss the ban on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The Left Party has demanded the removal of the PKK from the EU and German terrorist list.

The Left Party says that political changes in Turkey and the Middle East demand a different approach to the PKK. They claim that the PKK have saved Yazidis and fought against the terrorist Islamic State (IS) both in Syria and Iraq.

But while the Left Party wants to remove the PKK from the terrorist list, it is against arming the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga.

“The desperate need for weapons notwithstanding, it would be wrong for the radical left to support the West’s arming of the Iraqi Kurdish organisations the KDP and PUK,” wrote Left Party member Florian Wilde.

The PKK was banned in Germany on 26 November 1993.

According to the Deutsche Welle few expect a quick decision to legalise the PKK in Germany.
Source :

Voir également : Allemagne : une députée de Die Linke (parti issu de l'ex-SED est-allemand) voit son immunité parlementaire levée pour avoir soutenu les terroristes du PKK

Terrorisme : l'Etat allemand continue de sévir contre le PKK

Philipp Missfelder (porte-parole des affaires étrangères de la CDU-CSU au Bundestag) : "Je suis très heureux que nous ayons tracé une ligne rouge concernant le PKK"

Allemagne : "Le PKK est une organisation terroriste et cela continuera à rester ainsi pour nous" (Thomas de Maiziere)

Allemagne : Frank-Walter Steinmeier dément tout projet d'armement du PKK

L'Allemagne s'inquiète du fait que certains de ses ressortissants rejoignent les terroristes du PKK

Hambourg : une association kurde réprouve les provocations des pro-PKK

Le PKK et le trafic de drogue

Barbarie antisémite à Jérusalem : un attentat revendiqué par le FPLP communiste, allié d'Assad et du PKK-PYD-YPG

samedi 21 février 2015

Syrie : l'armée d'Assad profite de l'avancée des YPG pour intensifier la pression sur la rébellion à Alep

À La Une
A Alep, une centaine de morts lors d'une offensive de l'armée avant un débat à l'ONU


Pour le régime, "le principal objectif est de briser le siège d'Alep" entrepris par les rebelles qui contrôlent quasiment toute la province.


Les forces gouvernementales syriennes ont lancé mardi une offensive majeure pour prendre en tenaille les quartiers rebelles d'Alep, le jour où l'ONU doit discuter d'un plan visant à geler les combats dans l'ancienne capitale économique du pays.

Une centaine de combattants des deux camps, ainsi que des civils, ont été tués dans les combats, selon l'Observatoire Syrien des droits de l'homme (OSDH). "Alep est essentiel et cette bataille va continuer de manière intense car elle est très importante", a affirmé une source militaire syrienne à l'AFP.

Selon le directeur de l'OSDH, Rami Abdel Rahmane. les forces du régime cherchent d'un côté à "couper la route reliant Alep et la frontière turque et imposer ainsi un siège total aux quartiers rebelles". Et, de l'autre, à "ouvrir la route menant à deux villages chiites pro-gouvernementaux Naboul et Zahra, assiégés par les rebelles depuis dix-huit mois".

L'armée, appuyée par des combattants iraniens et afghans ainsi que par le Hezbollah libanais, a pris les villages de Bashkoy et Rityan, à une dizaine de kilomètres au nord d'Alep. Des combats se déroulent plus au nord à Hardtenine tandis que l'artillerie gouvernementale bombarde deux localités rebelles sur la route menant aux deux villages chiites assiégés.

Cette offensive a commencé le jour même où le médiateur de l'ONU pour la Syrie Staffan de Mistura doit présenter au Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU un rapport sur sa mission visant à stopper la guerre ravageant ce pays depuis quatre ans.

Ancien cœur industriel de la Syrie, Alep est coupé en deux depuis juillet 2012 : les rebelles se trouvent à l'est et le régime à l'ouest d'une ligne de démarcation qui balafre la ville du nord au sud. Dans la province d'Alep, c'est l'inverse: les forces du régime sont présentes à l'est tandis que leurs adversaires assoient leur autorité sur le reste de la province.

(Pour mémoire : Pour l'envoyé de l'Onu, "Assad fait partie de la solution")

"Ouvrir plusieurs fronts"

Pour le régime, "le principal objectif est de casser le siège d'Alep" par les rebelles qui contrôlent quasiment toute la province, à l'exception d'une petite portion à l'est de la ville, selon la source militaire syrienne. Interrogée sur l'offensive gouvernementale dans le sud du pays, à la lisière des positions israéliennes sur le plateau du Golan, cette source a précisé que cette attaque n'était "pas liée" mais que l'opération militaire à Alep prouvait "la capacité de l'armée syrienne à ouvrir plusieurs fronts en même temps".

A Alep, des combats ont lieu dans différentes parties de la ville notamment dans le Vieil Alep au centre, à Rachidine à l'est et à Zahra à l'ouest, selon l'OSDH. L'ONG a précisé que 45 rebelles avaient été tués dans la province et dans la ville ainsi que six civils dans les quartiers rebelles. Cinquante soldats et supplétifs ont par ailleurs trouvé la mort dans les combats tandis que huit civils ont été tués par des obus rebelles sur Mocambo et Azizia, quartiers de l'ouest de la ville.

M. de Mistura avait proposé le 30 octobre de commencer par instaurer des zones de cessez-le-feu pour permettre la distribution de l'aide humanitaire à Alep. Il a suscité la colère de l'opposition et des rebelles en affirmant vendredi que le président Bachar el-Assad faisait "partie de la solution".

Pour Noah Bonsey, de l'International Crisis Group, "c'est une escalade du régime pour renforcer sa position concernant la proposition de gel des combats" à Alep. "Si le régime est capable de s'emparer de ces villes et de s'y maintenir et s'il est capable de briser les sièges de Naboul et Zahra, il s'agira d'un développement significatif. Mais cela fait beaucoup de +si+".

La reprise des combats à Alep "n'a rien à voir avec les discussions à l'ONU", a pour sa part estimé Fabrice Balanche, géographe spécialiste de la Syrie. "La stratégie militaire de Bachar el-Assad est complètement indépendante: il entend vaincre par la force et non par des négociations internationales." "Le moment est bien choisi dans le Nord, car avec l'offensive kurde sur les territoires tenus par (le groupe) Etat islamique, Assad sait que l'EI n'a pas les moyens d'attaquer ses positions à Alep", explique-t-il. "En outre, le mois de février est propice aux attaques de l'armée régulière car l'hiver lui est davantage favorable qu'aux rebelles qui souffrent du froid et de l'humidité", souligne M. Balanche.
Lire aussi

Nasrallah : « Allons tous nous battre en Syrie et en Irak »

"Le terrorisme jihadiste ne fait que commencer"

Pour mémoire

L'EI se retire partiellement du nord-est d'Alep
Source :

Voir également : Kobanê-Alep : Assad profite des doubles standards américains pour tenter d'asphyxier l'ASL

Syrie : l'amertume de l'ASL (Armée syrienne libre) après les livraisons d'armes aux terroristes kurdes du PYD-YPG

Syrie : le favoritisme pro-kurde des Américains provoque la colère des révoltés arabes de la tribu Shaitat

Carnegie Endowment : "il existe des rapports sur des civils arabes fuyant l'avancée de l'YPG plus au Sud"

Le PYD-YPG : domination autoritaire et dépendance à l'égard du régime d'Assad

RAPPEL : la Turquie a déjà bombardé à plusieurs reprises les positions de l’Etat islamique (EIIL)

Terrorisme : l'Etat allemand continue de sévir contre le PKK

Germany Continues to Crackdown on PKK, Despite Fight Against IS
German police arrested a 47-year old Kurd in Villingen-Schwenningen on Thursday

19.02.2015  16:45


German police arrested a 47-year old Kurd in Villingen-Schwenningen last Thursday, accused of being a member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), reports SWR.

Despite calls for the PKK to be removed from the EU list of designated terror organizations in response to their part in the fight against Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria, in which they have saved hundreds of civilian lives, the German state continues to crackdown on the PKK.

The 47-year-old man from Villingen-Schwenningen is accused of being the regional representative of the PKK, responsible for receiving donations and organising protests.

The PKK has been banned in Germany since 1993.
According to the Prosecutor General’s Office, the accused has lived in Germany for 20 years.

Recently, German newspaper Der Spiegel reported that German weapons that were supposed to be delivered to the Peshmerga forces, may have fallen into the hands of the PKK.
Source :

Voir également : Philipp Missfelder (porte-parole des affaires étrangères de la CDU-CSU au Bundestag) : "Je suis très heureux que nous ayons tracé une ligne rouge concernant le PKK"

Allemagne : une députée de Die Linke (parti issu de l'ex-SED est-allemand) voit son immunité parlementaire levée pour avoir soutenu les terroristes du PKK

Allemagne : "Le PKK est une organisation terroriste et cela continuera à rester ainsi pour nous" (Thomas de Maiziere)

Allemagne : Frank-Walter Steinmeier dément tout projet d'armement du PKK

L'Allemagne s'inquiète du fait que certains de ses ressortissants rejoignent les terroristes du PKK

Hambourg : une association kurde réprouve les provocations des pro-PKK

Le PKK et le trafic de drogue

Gayara (Irak) : un émir kurde de l'EI a été tué

Kurdish IS Leader Killed in Nineveh Province
IED targeted his convoy in a village near town of Gayara

Basnews  |  Hazhar Mamuzini
18.02.2015  14:07


Three Islamic State (IS) emirs (leaders), one of them Kurdish, have been killed in a village near Gayara in Nineveh Province, after driving over an IED.

Mosul Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) official Ghayas Surchi told BasNews that a convoy of IS leaders in Tilul Nasir, near Gayara, hit an IED on Tuesday evening.

Surchi said that as a result of the explosion, three IS leaders were killed: Abdulrahman S’ud Khalil, Qutbiya Abdulfatah and Abdulsattar al-Kurdi.

He believes that their deaths are not a coincidence, claiming they could have been planned by other IS leaders.

A significant number of Kurdish youths have been killed while fighting for the jihadist group throughout Iraq and Syria.
Source :

Voir également : Kirkouk : trois jeunes Kurdes originaires d'Erbil sont morts dans les rangs de l'EI

Le mollah kurde Shwan encourageait les jeunes d'Erbil à rejoindre l'EI

Offensive sur Kirkouk : un mollah kurde (originaire d'Erbil) dans les rangs de l'EI

Au total, 500 Kurdes du Kurdistan irakien ont rejoint l'EI, dont trois mollah employés par l'administration kurde

Le Kurde de l'EI qui a décapité un peshmerga a été identifié : il appartient à la tribu des Zebari

Selon un commandant des peshmerga, l'EI a utilisé des Kurdes comme éclaireurs pour son offensive sur le Kurdistan irakien

Attentat-suicide de l'EI à Erbil : l'auteur est Abdulrahman al-Kurdi, un Kurde

Kulajo (Irak) : le kamikaze de l'EI aurait été kurde

L'ancien gardien de but (kurde) du club d'Halabja est mort dans les rangs de l'EI

Kobanê : des Kurdes (irakiens et syriens) apportent une aide cruciale à l'EI

Région d'Alep : 30 villages kurdes prêtent allégeance à l'EI

"Génocide" des Kurdes ? Abou Khattab al-Kurdi (un Kurde d'Halabja) commande l'offensive de l'EI sur Kobanê

Le frère du commandant Abou Khattab al-Kurdi (EI) était lui aussi djihadiste

Wassim Nasr : "on trouve même des Kurdes, notamment dans la ville d’Halabja, qui rejoignent les rangs des djihadistes de l’Etat islamique"

Les Kurdes et l'EIIL

Allemagne : l'Etat islamique attire de jeunes Kurdes

Islamisme et vocations djihadistes chez les Kurdes