TADHAMUN تـضـامـن

Tadhamun (solidarity) is an Iraqi women organization, standing by Iraqi women's struggle against sectarian politics in Iraq. Fighting for equal citizenship across ethnicities and religions, for human rights, and gender equality.

جمعية تضامن تدعم المساواة في المواطنة بغض النظر عن الأنتماء الأثني أو الديني وتسعى من أجل العدالة الأجتماعية و حماية حقوق الأنسان في العراق
Petition sign and circulate:

Release Iraqi women hostages, victims of terrorism themselves

بعيدا عن الوطن؛ حراك التضامن مع الوطن فنا، شعرا وكتابةً
Away from Home; Memory, Art and women solidarity: you are invited to an evening of poetry and music 22/3/2017 18:30 at P21 Gallery London click here for more details
Public meeting at The Bolivar Hall, London Sat.14/5/2016 at 15:00 IDPs : Fragmentation of Cultural and National Identity


Protest the suffering of Iraqi Christians: No to terrorism No to state terrorism.Hands off our minorities. Hands off our people. Shame on the human rights violators on all sides. Assemble 11:30 on 28/7/14 near Parliament Square, near Westminister tube station London. For more past events click here


Useful links

Halt All Executions! Abolish The Death Penalty!

We women of Tadhamun condemn the persisting practice of arbitrary arrests by the Iraqi security forces. We condemn their arrests of women in lieu of their men folk. These are 'inherited' practices. We are alarmed by credible media reports of the Green Zone government’s intentions of executing hundreds of Iraqi men and women.

For more info click here

Professor Zaineb Al Bahrani of Columbia University NY speaking at a our meeting on the destruction/damage to historical sites in Iraq

On youtube: Part1
Part 3
One more video:

Human Rights Watch: No woman is Safe

Sunday, August 3, 2008

An assessment of the situation in the Kurdish part of Iraq

Prof. Kamal Majid, July 2008.

When dealing with Northern Iraq, the western media often impress the public opinion in two ways: first, they stress that the Kurds are different from the rest of Iraqis and indeed have suffered from the successive central governments in Baghdad. Second, they claim that since 1991, when the north western part effectively separated itself from the rest of the country, the Kurdish people there have had a wonderful and peaceful life. This paper refutes both these claims.
The July Revolution of 1958 brought the pro western monarchy to an end and cancelled the Baghdad pact (CENTO), thereby closed the British military bases in Habania and Shueba. The newly established Kassem government invited Mustafa Barzani and his followers to return home from the Soviet Union, where they had fled after the failure of their 1946 rebellion against the Nuri Saeed government. The jubilant people of Iraq, both Arabs and Kurds, welcomed them back and the new government allocated Nuri Saeed’s house, in the present Green Zone, to Barzani’s family and gave him a cabinet minister’s salary. All his followers were given good jobs in various government departments, in a process in which I was directly involved. Several Kurdish ministers were also included in Kassem’s Cabinet.
Naturally NATO disapproved the idea of a united independent Iraq. According to Jalal Talabani, now the president of the pro American regime,
the Shah of Iran, a zealous Supporter of the west, appointed General Warham to isolate and topple Kassem, using Barzani and his tribe.(See Jalal Talabni, Al-Wasat, arabic journal, London, nos. 357 and 358, 1998.)
Once Kassem was killed in the 1963 coup, organised jointly by the Baath party and the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP), then jointly led by both Barzani and Talabani, Israel and the west decided to use the Kurdish party to continuously destabilise the successive Iraqi governments. According to Henry Kisinger, (See Years of Renewal, Phoenix Press, London, 1999, pages 584 to 592) between 1972 and 1975 alone the US government spent some $23M on the anti-Iraqi Barzani rebellion while Israel supplied weapons worth $28M. During the same years the US Senator Otis Pike stated that 35000 Kurds were killed and some 200 000 of them ended as refugees.( See the Guardian on 20/10/1990)
In 1964, in a power struggle, Talabani and a number of the leaders of KDP went against Barzani and his tribal followers. This initiated a bloody war between the two factions in which tens of thousands of Kurds have been killed. This war ended in September 1998, i.e. 34 years later, but both factions still keep their separate armies as explained below.
After the war in Kuwait, in which both Barzani’s KDP and Talabani’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) sided with the west, Baghdad government lost total control of best part of the Kurdish north west and a provincial government was formed there with Arbil as its administrative centre. An election was held in May 1992 but within three days Massud Barzani, the now leader of KDP, issued a statement, on 22/5/1992, in which he admitted to wholesale election fraud. Disregarding the results, he decided to agree with Talabani to form a joint parliament and government. Both parties were represented equally, with non-elected members appointed by each leader taking 50% of the seats and the portfolios.
Within less than four months the newly formed Arbil administration agreed with the Turkish government to attack the Kurds of Turkey. On 7/10/1992, Pam O’Toole reported in the Guardian that KDP forces have joined the Turkish government army in order to fight the Turkish PKK elements who have taken refuge in the Iraqi mountains.
The worst news, however, came when on May the 1st. 1994 the Peshmargas belonging to KDP and PUK clashed. The war between these forces continued until September 1998 and became particularly fierce after August the 31st, 1996 when Saddam Hussein’s army occupied Arbil in order to expel Talabani and his PUK forces and hand the city to Massud Barzani and his KDP. The two parties succeeded in killing more than ten thousand kurds. The fierceness of the atrocities was recorded by Amnesty International in its report no. MDE14/WU01/94 on 1l/6/1994 which stressed that both parties not only killed prisoners but tortured them and tore their dead bodies to pieces. The Bush administration should feel ashamed for being allied to criminals such as Barzani and Talabani.

The Arbil administration

( a ) – The Economy:

Before and during the Kuwait war President George Bush Senior made several statements inciting the Iraqis against the central government. When the people rose, on the 2nd.of March, 1991 the supporters of both the Kurdish parties managed to expel the Iraqi forces out of northwest Iraq and temporarily captured the oil city of Kirkuk. This was followed by a prolong lawlessness in which government as well as private property was pillaged. As late as 13th of September 1992 Chris Hedgers reported from Arbil, in the International Herald Tribune, page 6, explaining that ‘’ the Kurdish Government’’ is lumbered with chaos and has lost control of the countryside. There the local peshmargas are acting independently, ‘’confiscating vehicles and machinery in order to sell them in Iran.’’ As an example he said that ‘’out of 700 vehicles belonging to Arbil municipality’’ before the takeover of the city ‘’only 92 are left and most of these are out of action.’’ He pointed out that the police force in the city had lost two third of its members and ‘’out of 345 vehicles it is left with only 18.’’
The UK/US forces never bombed the power stations in the Kurdish part of the country. The fact that the people there have no electricity is because thieves took vital parts of turbines and hydro electric generators as well as miles of copper cables and sold them in Iran. The remaining generating equipments in both Dookan and Darbandykhan dams as well as the numerous substations have been out of service for nearly two decades and are obsolete. To rectify the electricity grids in that part of the country is going to take years and many millions of dollars.
The water supply pipes and pumps are old and rusted to the extent that the primitive sewerage system, if available, often contaminates the drinking water. In many cities and towns drinking water is brought in tankers. Other infrastructures are precarious and often don’t exist. This is especially the case in the villages.
Smuggling became the main source of income for the administration. Throughout the 13 years of Sanction Massud Barzani was collecting more than a million dollars a day by allowing hundreds of Turkish Lorries to pass through Ibraheem Khalil Bridge to deliver all sorts of goods to Baghdad This daily illegal business was being conducted with full knowledge of the UN and the US/UK forces controlling the area.
An equally profitable smuggling was that of cigarettes. From the city of Dahok, on 18/8/1994, Chris Hedgers reported in the New York Times and the Guardian that the Kurdish safe heaven has become ‘’a major black market for smuggling’’ duty free American cigarettes, such as Kent, Marlborough and Victory ‘’worth millions of dollars.’’ Dahok, then Massud Barzan’s headquarter, became, and still remains, the distribution centre for all sorts of other goods to Iran, Turkey, Syria and the Arabic parts of Iraq.
After the occupation of Iraq, in 2003, extensive looting took place in the cities of Baghdad, Mosul, Kirkuk, Tikrit, and Baquba and many other towns. Thieves emptied banks, Government offices and military bases. Special gangs of Kurds associated to both KDP and PUK drove away thousands of municipal buses and private cars. A new, extra rich class of people suddenly dominated the Kurdish comunity. Their past experience, during the Kuwait war, and permanent links to their counterparts in Iran and Turkey, helped them to establish routes of smuggling throughout the Middle East with links to ex- Soviet republics in central Asia. This highly profitable activity was conveniently extended to smuggling of tens of thousands of Kurdish and other economic refugees to Europe. With the help of the Kurdish film maker, Karzan Krekar, the BBC produced an excellent documentary on the subject.
After Iraq’s occupation in 2003, apart from the United Nations handouts in accordance with the ‘’Oil for food’’ programme, both Massud and Jalal’s parties became wealthy recipients of Iraq’s oil money transferred to them in cash by Paul Bremer. On 10/12/ 2004 the Financial Times (FT.com) reported that the KDP received $1.4 Billion, (Notice Billion not Million) which is being invested for Barzani in international banks by a company established by Ed Rogers and other associates of President George Bush. Further enquiry, through DR. Mahmood Othman, who is a Kurdis MP in Baghdad, revealed that President Talabani had received an equivalent amount.
The Kurdish administration, virtually independant since 1992, has never produced a budget. In spite of the unification of the two administrations of Arbil and Sulaimania there are still two finance ministers, one for each party. Neither has imposed any tax on the people they administer. Apart from smuggling they receive whatever Barzani and Talabani give them. The 17% oil money, annually received from Baghdad, goes directly to the two ruling parties.
The majority of the government officials occupy artificially created posts. In Sulaimania alone there are also 18000 members of PUK who earn their living as party officials. It is claimed that the police force has some 400 thousand members.
Wages in the private sector are extremely low and this is the main reason for the Kurdish youth to leave the country with the hope of settling in one of the European countries. The number of Kurdish men who have left for Europe is claimed to have reduced the ratio of men to women by 9%. On the other hand workers from Bangladesh, the Far East as well as some 30 000 Arabs from the troubled south of Iraq carry out menial tasks and engage in begging.
The Kurdish part of Iraq was famous for tobacco farming, producing some 15 000 tons a year; with the government in Baghdad being the farmer’s only customer. Because of cheap smuggled American cigarette the tobacco farming has stopped. So have the cigarette factories in Sulaimania and Arbil.
There were also Sugar factories which used beetroot grown locally. Because most farming has stopped, these factories were also dismantled and sold in Iran, together with one or two other textile factories. The garment tailoring factory went on producing cloths until the PUK recently sold it to property developers to build a luxury housing estate. There are still two cement factories, the one in Sarchenar has been sold to Nokan, a PUK owned company. The other, in Taslooja, is owened by Talabani,s wife Hero, and her agent, Farouk Mala Mustafa. The latter also owns the Mobile telephone system and a number of luxury hotels.
Corruption was rife in the construction industry, especially in the tendering stage, when contracts were first offered to the relatives of the party leaders or influential members of the ruling parties, who then sold them repeatedly to other favoured bidders down the hierarchy. Most such contracts, however, have come to standstill because of the devaluation of the dollar and huge rises in material prices.
Because of the collapse of agriculture the villagers have moved to the main cities of Arbil, Sulaimania and Dahok. Food, including perishables, is imported from Iran, Syria, Turkey and the United States and sold at extortionate prices.
Lack of rain and the diversion of Sirwan River by Iran have reduced the water level in Darbandikhan reservoir. The water in this reservoir is claimed to have turned black and undrinkable. Lack of water in the rivers has also reduced farming drastically which in turn has forced the villagers to move to the cities. Local farmers were also bankrupted because the people were receiving free, UN handouts in accordance with the ‘’Oil for food’’ agreement.
Kirkuk is the main oil producing city in the north but there is an unpleasant disagreement among the Kurds, the Turkmen and the Arabs. There are also huge gas fields in the Kurdish areas of Taq taq, Chamahamal and Laylan. For topological reasons gas pipelines, like the existing oil pipes, have to be constructed through the Arabic planes west of the Tigris Rive before interring Turkey. This fact is likely to be a major factor for friction between the Arabs and the Kurds on the one hand and also between the Kurdish administration and Turkey.
At the moment the two ruling parties smuggle some forty tanker loads of crude oil a day through Iran to the Gulf.
The Kurdish administration has signed a number of contracts with international oil companies. However, Baghdad’s oil minister, Dr. Hussain Shahristani, in the BBC News, Hard talk programme, on 18/6/2008, declared them as ‘’illegal’’. This dispute of who is entitled to sign oil contracts is a major obstacle, preventing the ratification of the new oil legislation by the Green Zone parliament and could become the catalyst for a prolonged disagreement between the Arab and the Kurdish members of the fragile Baghdad government.
The gap between the rich and the poor is widened and created acute social problems including prostitution. This latter activity is the source of widespread ‘’ honour killing.’’ The main social change in the cities, however, is the domination of village mentality, which has suffocated the intellectual life and given rise to a flood of religious fervour. Cities come to a near standstill at prayer times when masses of worshipers walk to the mosques for prayer.

(b) – Politics:-

Massud Barzani, the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Jalal Talabani, the leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) were never elected by the Kurdish people for any position or post whatsoever. The leadership of KDP is hereditary. When Mustafa Barzani died his son Idrees automatically became the leader of the party. When he died his brother, Massud, took the leadership. On the other hand Jalal was elected as the PUK leader by a handful of people when the party was formed in 1975. Since then no party leadership election has taken place.
Since 1991 three elections have taken place in the area under their control, one for the Baghdad parliament and two for Arbil’s. Neither men were nominated for membership but they selected all the representatives of their respective parties to these assemblies. What is worse is that they have the right to sack any disobedient member before his term is over.
On 21/9/1996 Jalal Talabani, referring to the then defunct Arbil parliament, stated, in London, Al Hayat newspaper: ‘’ The parliament was established on the bases that each party has half the seats; the election did not take place on constituency bases, people voted for the parties, not for named candidates and each party has the right to replace its members by others.’’
Dr. Mahmood Othman, himself a member of Baghdad parliament, went further. He stressed to me that during the election the two Kurdish parties themselves supervised the ballot boxes. ‘’ Well they packed the boxes with their own ballot papers.’’ He said.
The members, in Arbil parliament, rubberstamp the leader’s decisions only. So much so the Kurdish newspaper, Hawlati, reported, on 16/6/2008, a statement by Susan Shahab, herself a PUK member of the parliament, suggesting that ‘’ Parliament should be cancelled altogether because it is defunct.’’
The animosity between the two ruling parties has not been resolved. This is why Arbil administration has two separate ministers for Peshmarga, one for each party. The commanders of each peshmarga receive their orders from their party leader, not from the head of the administration.
Skirmishes still take place between the two parties. On 29/6/2008 Hawlati, no. 434, reported the disappearance, on 13/5/2000, of the PUK member Kareem Ahmed and three of his sons because they were suspected of secretly working for KDP. Up till now nobody knows their whereabout.
The two parties have lost the support of the people. Indeed, lack of jobs, water, electricity and petrol have all caused discontent among the masses and several anti government demonstrations have taken place in Sulaimania, Kirkuk, Kalar and Akra where Kurdish police have attacked and killed at least six demonstrators. Yet apart from the revival of Islamic trends and the growth of the Islamic League no serious secular political group has been identified.
The most alarming development is the resumption of the two ruling parties to train military units of the Turkish PKK and its sister Iranian party, Pzhak, in order to carry out attacks on both countries. This state of affairs can lead to full scale war because on 29/6/2008 President Bush obtained the approval of the US congress to spend $400 million on Iran’s opposition groups in an effort to dismember that country. No sooner than this news was announced, the Iranian terrorist, Mujahedeeni Khalq, supporters in Paris demonstrated demanding that the European Union removed the organisation from its list of terrorist groups.
In answer to Pzhak’s military attacks, Iranian artillery bombards its bases in Rania, Kaladeza, Kandeel, and other Kurdish towns and villages in Iraq.

( c ) - Conclution;

The Kurdish people living in the region have lost faith in the ruling Kurdish parties and indeed in parliamentary elections. They are living under difficult economic and political conditions. However, they are unorganised and are unlikely to cause serious problems for the Arbil administration. Instead they are making every effort to seek better living elsewhere and preferably in Europe. The risk the two parties are taking in offering military training to dissident Turkish and Iranian groups can backfire and lead to full scale fighting, that is if the US government decides to heat up the cold war against Iran.


Articles published on this site do not necessarily reflect the opinion of WSIUI or its members

المقالات المنشورة على هذا الموقع لا تعكس بالضرورة آراء منظمتنا أو أعضاء منظمتنا

Samarra Minrate built in 852 AD

Samarra Minrate built in 852 AD
Building of 1 500 massive police station !
From the angle of the photo, it is possible to calculate that the complex is being built at E 396388 N 3785995 (UTM Zone 38 North) or Lat. 34.209760° Long. 43.875325°, to the west of the Malwiya (Spiral Minaret), and behind the Spiral Cafe.
While the point itself may not have more than Abbasid houses under the ground, it is adjacent to the palace of Sur Isa, the remains of which can be seen in the photo. While the initial construction might or might not touch the palace, accompanying activities will certainly spread over it.Sur Isa can be identified with the palace of al-Burj, built by the
Abbasid Caliph al-Mutawakkil, probably in 852-3 (Northedge, Historical Topography of Samarra, pp 125-127, 240). The palace is said to have cost 33 million dirhams, and was luxurious. Details are given by al-Shabushti, Kitab al-Diyarat.
Samarra was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO at the end of June. The barracks could easily have been built elsewhere, off the archaeological site.--
Alastair Northedge Professeur d'Art et d'Archeologie Islamiques UFR d'Art et d'Archeologie
Universite de Paris I (Pantheon-Sorbonne) 3, rue Michelet, 75006 Paris
tel. 01 53 73 71 08 telecopie : 01 53 73 71 13 Email :
Alastair.Northedge@univ-paris1.fr ou anorthedge@wanadoo.fr