Saturday, August 02, 2008

AMSI: Kirkuk annexation a last-ditch attempt to benefit from the occupation

The Association of Muslim Scholars of Iraq (AMSI) had this to say about the vote by Kurdish members of the Kirkuk provincial council to annex the city to the Kurdistan Region:
Some hidden things have come to light, in particular the motives of Kurdish politicians respecting their participation in the nation [of Iraq]. In a step that it would be hard to say reflected their full possession of their senses, Kurdish members of the provincial council voted yesterday to call for the annexation of the city to the so-called Kurdistan Region--which is itself lacking in legality--[annexation] which would depend on a free referendum of the people of Iraq, and an independent will in a free country, none of which is yet the case.

This is a measure lacking in balance and it will turn upon its creators. Those who have undertaken this should understand that any fruits that are obtained during the incumbency of the occupation have no value, and are completely lacking in legality. The people of Iraq, including the more true Kurdish people, will not permit collaboration with the occupier against the interests of the nation and its people. The Association of Muslim Scholars condemns this demand, and emphasizes this: The life of the occupation is short, and shorter still is the life of those who collaborate with the occupation and benefit from its presence. We ask the people of Kirkuk not to fall into the trap of fitna that they hope to ignite, so that those [Kurdish] politicians might create chaos and utilize that for a settling of accounts and imposition of a misconceived reality.

The issue of Kirkuk is the focus of attention of the national forces that oppose the occupation, and they have a view and a will able to settle this at the appropriate time in an equitable way, satisfactory to all the parties, and bringing security to [the city] and its people, and to Iraq as a whole, and the time for that is near at hand.


Blogger badger said...

the blogger orcs have left as stealthily as they came, taking nothing with them...

7:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't want to quibble, as I highly appreciate your translations, read them every day, and my own Arabic is moderate. But I think I would have understood this text better, if you'd said something like, "AMSI has issued the following press release:" bayan "announcement" is religious language, is it? (just showing my ignorance).

I was particularly interested in this text, as it seemed to me not so far off-wavelength with regard to wider Iraqi opinion, as is commonly the case with AMSI statements.

12:07 PM  
Blogger badger said...

That's an interesting way to put it. You may think AMSI statements in the past have been off wavelength with regard to wider Iraqi opinion, but I think they were mostly off wavelength with regard to what the anglophone world was being led to believe is Iraqi opinion.

The whole "agreement"/"withdrawal" issue, in highlighting Iraqi popular pressure against continued occupation, has done a lot to shift anglophone understanding of Iraqi opinion, and I think that is maybe what is behind your feeling that this AMSI statement is a little easier read than earlier ones. If you see what I mean.

12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love the new epigraph. This blog would be about a thousand times more fun to read if you'd exhibit that sense of humor a little more often.

3:36 PM  
Blogger Bruno said...

[badger] "but I think they were mostly off wavelength with regard to what the anglophone world was being led to believe is Iraqi opinion."

Exactly. People don't pay much attention to what is really happening. As a result, they are easily manipulated.

It's pretty sad to see the blatant grab that the Kurds are busy with. This is sowing the seeds for future conflict. I've always said that if they want a future state, they would do better to work with, rather than against the other, Arab Iraqis. Instead of an approach of political outreach, there seems to be an attitude of political conquest. Attitudes in Iraq today (on all sides) are very hardline, it seems.

12:19 AM  
Blogger Shirin said...

Bruno, the Kurdish mafiosi have taken an adversarial position with respect to their fellow Iraqis from day one, and have used their favored position with the colonial invaders to abuse anyone and everyone who was not a Kurd, including Assyrians and Chaldeans living in Kurdistan. It has been so bad that it caused a lot of Iraqis to develop a very bad feeling about Kurds, and I have been seriously worried about Kurdish friends living and traveling outside Kurdistan, especially those who had obviously Kurdish names, or who looked obviously Kurdish (yes, Kurds have an identifiable "look" compared to Arabs - their facial features can give them away, and you can sometimes even accurately guess the tribe the come from by their appearance).

And it seems the Kurds have learned nothing from the numerous times they have been seduced and abandoned by the Americans.

1:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure you've seen this from Al Sabah. Fix is in indeed.

About those Orcs did you get a source who would prefer not to be named to brief them about the sharpness of Badgers' teeth and their habit of not letting go until they hear the bone crack?

Enquiring minds want to know! :-)

2:01 AM  
Blogger badger said...

erdla, thanks for reminding me to read that, I've been somewhat doggin' it lately.

On the orcs, no, no, no, the sharp tooth was not a factor. In fact, they have posted an apology to everyone because apparently they whacked a whole lot of their customers in spite of the fact that even their "algorithm" hadn't fingered them. Still a mystery or course.

shirin, I'm educated by your remarks on the Kurds. People at risk from the belligerent character of their political leaders, much like the Americans in that respect, I guess you might say...

6:35 AM  
Blogger annie said...

badger, according to a feb 08 post by informed iraqi blogger:

Turkey will never let the Kurds have their own separate state. They’ve never done, and they will never do.

what do you make of this? who's making what deals w/turkey that could possibly make a kurdish state palatable to their neighbors?

7:56 AM  
Blogger badger said...

you've got me there. I can't think of any such scenario.

10:02 AM  
Blogger Bruno said...

[shirin] "And it seems the Kurds have learned nothing from the numerous times they have been seduced and abandoned by the Americans."

I knew nothing of this sordid history until I read of it at the start of the invasion. Frankly one can't help but feel sympathetic towards the Kurds after the way they have been treated - but I do wish that their current attitude was a bit more constructive.

11:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Badger: I am honored.

Bruno: The Kurdish people deserve your sympathy, but don't waste any sympathy on the two mafiosi, Barzani and Talibani, and their gangs of thugs. They don't deserve it. They are responsible for at least as much Kurdish death and misery as anyone else is. And you know, in Iraq, unlike in Turkey, the Kurdish leaders have been responsible for bringing most of the troubles down on the Kurdish people by their stupid and self-serving choices.

In fact, Iraq's was always a relatively integrated and fairly tolerant society and Kurds lived all over the country, and had a place in the national government (by the way, one of the people in that unbelievably stupid deck of cards the Americans distributed was a Kurd, so even in Saddam's government there were Kurds).

It is interesting to talk to some of the older Kurds who remember the early years of statehood and who were involved in the government. They will tell you that in those days people were Iraqis first, and after that whatever else they might be (I believe that is still the case at the core, despite everything that has happened in recent years). There are still a lot of Kurds both young and old who, at the end of the day, think of themselves as Iraqi and wish to remain so. That was evidenced when a number of Kurds were arrested for carrying the Iraqi flag in Kurdistan after Iraq's Asia Cup victory. Their first instinct was to celebrate as Iraqis, and it was only the Kurdish mafiosi who decided that was unacceptable.

The worst situation for Kurds actually is and has always been in Turkey where the discrimination and racism are beyond belief, including at the level of society, where people feel absolutely fine to describe Kurdish people in the vilest of terms. Nothing of the sort ever existed in Iraq, where Kurds lived everywhere in the country (one of the largest Kurdish populations was in Baghdad) and intermarriage between Kurds and Arabs has been quite common for centuries. Marriages were often arranged to strengthen ties between powerful families or tribes, and in more recent decades, people who lived in the same neighborhoods, or went to school together, or worked together fell in love, and married with the blessings of their families. That would never happen so commonly or so easily in Turkey, and a mixed family would find their lives socially difficult!

As for the sordid history, Timothy Noah did an interesting series on in 2003 and 2004 called "Kurd Sellout Watch", which chronicles the Bush administration's actions in regard to the Kurds, and I believe does mention some of the history. You can Google it, or better yet search on

12:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PS You might find interesting the documentary film "Good Kurds, Bad Kurds". It is available for purchase at a very reasonable price - I recall it is at most $25 - and might also be available from Netflix. It focuses mainly on Turkey's Kurds, who are the "bad Kurds", of course. Iraqi Kurds, who have been responsible for their own share of violence with far less good reason, are naturally the "good Kurds".

12:26 AM  
Blogger Bruno said...

Thanks for that comment, Shirin. That was edifying.

6:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My pleasure, Bruno. I love to talk about this stuff, especially when I know someone is listening.

I have found an interesting tendency in the West to romanticize the Kurds for some reason. Believe it or not, I have actually had people refer to them as "noble mountain men" in discussions I have taken part in (don't know whether the women are also "noble" or "mountain"). I almost fell out of my chair laughing at this, and found it impossible to take those people seriously after that. Aside from the obvious silliness of it, I guess I have just been too close to too many Kurds in my life not to find it hilariously funny to refer to them as "noble" OR "mountain men". It has led to several running jokes among Kurdish friends.

Interestingly, some of the people who so romanticize the Kurds do not have the same impulses regarding the Palestinians, who are more numerous, and who on the whole have suffered a great deal more and survived a great deal more heroically than Kurds have. At least Kurds, while they do not have their own state, are not all stateless persons living under a foreign military occupation that seeks to wipe them off their land and out of the history books completely (well, one could argue that this has been the case to a certain extent in Turkey!). But many of those who so romanticize the Kurds find Israel's actions toward the Palestinians perfectly acceptable - laudable even. Double standards abound.

1:50 PM  
Blogger badger said...

Now that you mention it, certainly Barzani at the Irbil press-conference looked a lot less Noble without the hat, I thought. In a suit and tie he looks a lot more like what he is, looks somehow familiar, but I can't quite place it...

3:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Badger, you should hear some of the "pet names" we have for Barzani, Talibani, Zebari, et al. Some of them are quite descriptive physically and of character.

3:57 PM  
Blogger badger said...

I can imagine...

7:44 PM  

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