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Iraqi Kurdish leadership is more consumed with self-enrichment

 

How come that poor kurds cannot share with the wealth of their leaders? Why would a kurdish leader treat non-kurds good when he oppresses his own kurds that much?

A sad report of the truth in Norhtern Iraq:

Arbil -- Iraqi Kurds complain of nepotism and power abuse. Just a small group of powerful officials benefits from the economic boom in the Kurdish region of Iraq. The regular citizens complain of nepotism and corruption. But the two parties have lost a lot of support among their population.

Two design kitchens are shining in the showroom of the new villa district Dream-city. A Kurdish couple, he in the double-breasted suite, she in a yellow coat with a fitting headscarf, let their hands slide on the cupboard and the sink, over a year their villa will be completed at the edge of the city Arbil.

A smiley salesman is showing and demonstrating all the equipments, wardrobes and the design faucets to the couple. From the 1.200 villas that will be built in the southern part of Arbil, the half is already sold. Prices ranging between 150.000 and 650.000 euro, makes the villas of Dream-city only available for VIPs, says the real estate agent Jabbar Mazem.

Important people in Arbil are the high officials of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, who dominate this part of the Kurdish region. They will not lack anything in Dream-city. There will be schools, western supermarkets, and Internet connections. High walls and guards will surround the whole complex. " Nobody will be able to enter easily", Mazem ensures us . "Who lives here, will be safe from the outside world". Danger is not the reason, in this region which is been split since 1991 between the KDP and its rival patriotic union of Kurdistan(PUK). Now the central rule of Saddam Hussein has been ended by the American allies, the confidence of the Kurdish parties is rising with no limit. Huge projects, one after the other, is being started. Recently an international airport has been opened in Arbil, arranging direct flights to Frankfurt and Beirut.

In Suleimani, where PUK dominates, they are working on large hotels. The American president George Bush often labels Kurdistan as democratic and economically an example for the rest of Iraq. But in reality, slogans about prosperity and democracy are angering the Kurdish population increasingly these days. The economy is growing, but only a small group of powerful officials are benefiting from it. With an average salary of 200 euro a month, most of the Kurds have little interest in these mega-projects, or they can take a job as a guard.

While the bulldozers preparing the construction site of Dream-city, there is only a few hours a day of electricity. And since last week there is no petrol available for regular Kurds. Black traders where you can find them everywhere, sell petrol for fierce prices. Who knows the right people or have money can drive these days. Selling large pieces of land, and construction contracts goes exclusively to those who are near the power. Everyone here has a story about corruption, nepotism and power abuse by the members of the two large political parties.

"A teacher was allowed to buy a piece of land near the new airport, but a couple of months later, he was forced to sell it back to the government for the same price", tells Najad Ahmad (26), editor of the independent Hawlati newspaper. That land was necessary for Dream-city. Last week there was a fight in a high school in Arbil. One of the boys, son of a KDP member, brought 4 militia members to beat up his rival. "Nepotism is part of daily life", explain Ahmad.

The political life in Iraqi Kurdistan is totally dominated by PUK and KDP. "The problem is, that the two parties and the government here are identical". Says Nabas Goran (26). " In Kurdistan, there is no citizen rights, you are a party member or not". Goran is co-founder of the movement Tarmaie(Shadow). The non-party students and intellectuals, who are members of Tarmaie, want to address and exterminate corruption, demand more rights and voice for regular citizens.

The Kurds are allowed to vote, so there is democracy, the two party arguments. At the same time, both parties refuse to merge the two parts of Iraqi Kurdistan and establish a single administration: a step, which can lead to a true electoral competition. For regular Kurds, democracy ends at the ballot boxes. There is no freedom of expression, law enforcement and separation of power. That is what Tarmaie concludes a couple of weeks ago. In reaction to the anti-government demonstration in the Kurdish city Kalar, 30 members of the group wanted to demonstrate as well in Arbil. In the demonstration of Kalar, police bullets wounded 8 people. The goal of the demonstration was achieved, more hours electricity and fuel.

" It is clear that parties only listen to public disobedience", says Goran. But demonstrating in Arbil without permission is forbidden, and behind every tree stands security agents. The demonstration had to stop.

Tarmaie is not alone. Since the Iraqi parliament elections of January,there is a swing under the population. The parties, which were sacred before the fall of Saddam, have lost their credibility in this form; and they are not considered serious options for the future. This is the reason why many Kurds did not go for the vote on constitution in 15 October (although it was announced by the government that 84% voted in Arbil). The political mood is changed, remarks Najad Ahmad the editor of Hawlati.

"The Kurdish citizens are taking advantage of the focus of the world on Iraq, to dare express more ". The KDP is clearly shocked according to hem. That's why; a youth parliament has been founded. But critical youth took immediately distance from this initiative. Through a signature campaign, many young Kurds denounced the Youth parliament and labeled it as not representative.

The chairman of the KDP in the parliament, Nasih Ghafoor Ramadan, is aware of the people's complain, but he doesn't want to discuss it deeper. He thinks" People have the right to complain, but some exaggerate".

"We know that we have problems supplying electricity and fuel, and that will stay like that for awhile" explains another party spokesman. According to the dissident Goran, change is inevitable. "There has not been any change here for very long time, and that frustrates and anger people. People are becoming more critical, and think for themselves" Says Goran. "And that will lead to something".

By Thomas Erdbrink
NRC Handelsblad NL


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Who are the Christians of Iraq? 

November = Tishrin II

Iraqi Kurdish leadership is more consumed with self-enrichment Nov. 23, 05

Early voting in Iraq's parliamentary election to begin December 12th  Nov. 22, 05

The Assyrian Church of the East Maintains Its Continuity Nov. 22, 05

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Academic Conference on Seyfo [genocide] Held in Sweden Nov. 20, 05

Anovel by Abdulsalam Nov. 20, 05 

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Letter To the Hellenic Parliament  Nov. 20, 05

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Books About the Assyrians Nov. 17, 05  

A Moslem discovers the praise of Christian and Jewish scriptures in the Koran  Nov. 17, 05

Iran is behind the Badr Brigade who are accused of jailing and torturing the Sunnies Nov. 17, 05 

Democracy, the Kurdish Style.  Nov. 17, 05

Talabani Promises Pope Equality and Respect for All Religions Nov.16, 05

Assyrian Wedding Comes to Australian TV Nov. 15, 05

In Jordan, Chaldean Catholics help Iraqis Nov. 15. 05

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The Assyrian General Conference Election Platform for Iraq Nov. 12, 05

Old hotel may become home for Hurricane Katrina victims Nov. 12, 05

Iraqi leader affirms Christians' rights Nov. 11, 11, 05

Egypt's Christian-Muslim divide 11, 11, 05

Assyrian Family Attacked in Tikrit Nov. 11, 05

Ancinet Assyrian Style Citadel in Los Angeles Nov. 11, 05

Priests say Iraqi Christians now victims of extortion Nov. 08, 05

Iraq; International Religious Freedom Report 2005 Nov. 08, 05

Chaldean Synod to focus on Iraq and Liturgy Nov. 08, 05

Assyrian Killed in Kirkuk's Car Bombing Nov. 05, 05

Funeral of Grace Mgr. J. Y. Cicek Nov. 05, 05 

Witnesses Describe Ballot Fraud in Nineveh Nov. 04, 05

Chaldean synod should tackle Christian migration and evangelicals' proselytism,  11. 04, 05 

Unexpected Death of His Eminence Mor Julius Yeshu Çiçek Shocks Assyrians & the Syrian Orthodox Church Nov. 03, 05  

Three Christian schoolgirls beheaded in Indonesia Nov. 03, 05

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Lost in the Sunni Triangle Leaders of Baghdad church presumed dead.  Nov. 03, 05

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What Next in Iraq?  Nov. 02, 05

An American's View of Iraq's Assyrians  Nov. 01, 05

October = Tishrin I

New Coalitions Emerge for Parliamentary Elections in Iraq10, 31, 05

Should the U.S. Withdraw? Let the Iraqi People Decide 10, 31, 05

Those Who Voted Against Constitution Are Terrorists: Iraqi President 10, 30, 05

An Assyrian Engineer Killed by the Kurds in Kirkuk 10, 30, 05

Kurds Reclaiming Prized Territory In Northern Iraq 10, 30, 05

Dwyer: Most Iraqis want a constitution - and want U.S. troops to leave 10, 30, 05

The oldest lense 10, 28, 05

Westminster Hall debate on Iraqi Kurdistan  i.e. northern Iraq 10, 25, 05

Iraq constitution approved  10, 25, 05 

Assyrian and Babylonian medicine was surprisingly advanced 10, 24, 05 

What's in a Name? 10, 12, 05 

Draft constitution denies equal rights, say Iraq's Christians  10, 22, 05

Rejection of Iraqi Referendum Possible as Nineveh Vote Fraud Reviewed 10, 21, 05 

Rosie Malek-Yonan's Schedule of The Crimson Field Book Tour 10, 20, 05

TURKEY DECRIES the Assyro-Chaldean MONUMENT IN FRANCE 10, 20, 05

Vote Figures for Crucial Ninveh Province Don't Add Up 10, 19, 05

Iraq Constitution: Bad news for Christians  10, 19. 05

Assyrian students unite 10, 19, 05

Iraq bishops ready to seek help from Pope  10, 19, 05

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Dividing the Chaldeans from the Assyrians by the Iraqi Constitution  10, 18, 05

A monument in France dedicated to the Remembrance of Assyro-Chaldean massacres by the Ottoman Turks. 10, 17, 05

Swing state' of Nineveh may be moving in favour of constitution 10, 15, 05 

Iraq votes for the Constitution and for its future 10, 14, 05

Forgotten victims - Iraqi Christians who speak the language of Jesus  10, 14, 05

Mgr Sako: people in Kirkuk have not read the constitution but will vote  10,13, 05

Terrorism strikes all Iraqis, says Patriarch 10, 13, 05

Assyriska a national football team without a country  10, 12, 05

Referendum: 'Yes' in Kurdistan and Southern cities and 'No' in Kirkuk, al Anbar and Diala 10, 12, 05

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Bas-reliefs of winged goddesses discovered in western Iran 10, 12, 05

Immigration of Iraqi Chaldeans Abroad Passes through Jordan 10, 12, 05

Baghdadis tell their stories  10, 12, 05

Assyrialogist Henry Saggs Dies at 84 10, 10, 05

Letter by Ms. Jacqueline Zomaya The Assyrian representative to the Iraqi National Assembly 10, 10, 05

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Nestorian label "imposed unjustly upon the Assyrians"  10, 08, 05

Iran's Assyrian MP-Felicitation to the Supreme Leader  10, 8, 05

Syriac Manuscripts from the Vatican Library: Volume 1 10, 08, 05

Sunnis Threaten Referendum Boycott if Rules Not Changed  10, 05, 05

Helping the Iraqi refugees in Jordan  10, 04, 05

Final Draft of Iraqi Constitution  10, 03, 05

Two More Assyrian Children Orphaned  10, 02, 05

Discoveries of the Assyrian antiquities in Syria 10, 01, 05 

Sectarian Strife tears apart Baghdad's Neighborhoods 10, 01, 05

September = Eilool

POLITICS-IRAQ: Kurd's Voting Shenanigans Cloud Key Province 9, 28, 05 

Church in Iraq Helps Rebuild New Orleans Parish; U.S. Relief Agency Bridges Partnership 9, 28, 05

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Interview with the Writer and the Historian Rosie Malek-Younan 9, 28, 05

Assyrian Cultural Festival in Ceres CA. 9, 27, 05

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Assyrian Refugees Face Harsh Discrimination in Greece 9, 26, 05

A cry of help by the Assyrians 9, 26, 05

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4 Assyrians Killed in Assassination Attempt on Former Iraq Assyrian Minister  9, 23, 05 

Seminar in Stokholm About Seyfo ( world war one massacres)  9, 22, 05

Iraq chaos threatens ancient faith 9, 22, 05 

The Crimson Field Previews 9, 17, 05  

Treatment of Horses" by the Assyrian scientist of the 13th century Faraj  9, 21, 05 

A New Satellite T.V. Program From San Jose 9, 20, 05

English translation of the ancient Mesopotamian tablets  9, 20, 05

First Nestorian [Church of the East] search engine goes online 9, 19, 05

Download Assyrian songs.by ReeMon 9, 18, 05 

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Growing Opposition to Dividing the Assyrians 9, 16, 05

Books by Assyrian writers 9, 15, 05

English cardinal warns of Iraqi constitution  9, 14, 05

Brutality Against Christians in Iraq Continues 9, 13, 05

John Kanno for Congress  9, 12, 05

Reply to Culomnist Ken Rudin   9, 12, 05

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Assyrian Human Rights Documentation Project Launched in Canada 9, 6, 05

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The Assyrian Democratic Organization Rejects Iraq's Constitution 9, 4, 05

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The text of the latest Proposed Iraq Constitution  8, 22, 05

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Photos form homeland  8, 14, 05

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Life in Ankawa 8, 12, 05

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Unresolved Iraqi Constitutional Points  8, 09, 05

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Assyrian Objection to the Nationality Law 8, 06, 05

Iraqi Christians Remember Church Bombings One Year Later 8, 05 05

Looted history  8, 05, 05 

Book Release: Rosie Malek-Yonan's "The Crimson Field" 8, 05, 05 

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Nina Shea: Rule of law, rule of Islam  8, 4, 05

Iraqis in U.S. Won't Vote on Constitution 8, 03, 05

Bush's Global War on Christians 8, 01, 05

An Open Letter to Patriarch Mar Ignatius Zakka I  8, 01, 05 

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Assyrian Granny Shimmes's Contribution to Rendezvous of Civilizations 7, 29, 05

House amends funding bill to help Iraqi Christians 7, 29, 05

Iraq draft constitution fails to protect religious, human rights, USCIRF says  7, 29, 05

 

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