Kurdistan Regional

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The international community needs to save Iraq before it falls beyond repair

(courtesy Reuters / Rodi Said)

The Telegraph

by Aram Shakaram

The Mar Yousef church in Erbil, northern Iraq, is packed with people lying on thin mats and blankets or straight on the hardwood floor.

Mothers cradle crying babies, children look forlornly across the sweltering room to the world outside, knowing too well that this isn’t a summer holiday, while their parents try desperately to work out their next move.

Most here are seeking whatever help they can get, having fled the fighting further west as it was upon them, fortunate to escape with their lives – let alone any supplies or possessions.

But these are the lucky ones. They fled towns like Qaraqosh – the scene of bloody violence, now under the control of armed groups – in cars, driving to the Kurdish capital.

Outside the city boundaries there are still hundreds and hundreds of people waiting along the road, many of whom travelled by foot, desperately hoping to be let in.

Every abandoned building or unused shelter I see seems to be housing people who have fled the fighting.

Some are waiting to get into Erbil, others are in transit to other parts of the country.

Next to an abandoned building on the main road into town, a pregnant mother about to give birth sits nervously with her husband, who feels decidedly helpless. The mother tells us she could feel her baby’s heartbeat getting weaker and weaker.

Nearby, a father who had a stroke, has diabetes and high blood pressure says all reasons for optimism are gone.

The tension is palpable and the devastation everywhere.

I’m an Iraqi national who has been working with Save the Children here for 17 years. I was displaced too back in 1988 after fleeing and surviving a chemical attack on my town, Halabja. But in all my time I could never have imagined a crisis like this – so many people fleeing so suddenly, such terror in people’s eyes.

I fear for my nation’s future, and for communities like the Yazidis, many of whom have only just been freed from Mount Sinjar after their ethnic stronghold of Sinjar fell. Now some of them are fleeing into Syria.

Dozens of children died on that mountain from dehydration, a most horrible and preventable way to go.

Just days ago a teary eyed Yazidi politician told parliament how her people were being slaughtered, and that their ancient minority religion, which derives from Zoroastrianism, was “being wiped off the face of the earth”. Women were being enslaved as “war booty”, she said.

Religious and ethnic minorities like the Yazidis are the latest victims in this rapidly escalating humanitarian crisis in Iraq, which has seen more than 1.2 million people – more than half of them children – displaced in just over two months. That’s a rate of about 20,000 per day.

This is on top of the 230,000 Syrians who have fled to Iraq because of the war across the border.

And it’s all happening in the middle of summer, when Iraqi children should be playing in the streets, kicking footballs and hanging out with their friends. Families should be holidaying in towns like picturesque Shaqlawa, known for its cool summer climate, lush gardens and hot springs.

Instead, Shaqlawa is among a number of host communities for people fleeing the violence. Families who once holidayed there are back again, this time seeking refuge and relying on aid agencies like Save the Children.

The children’s agency has already reached more than 100,000 displaced Iraqis this year, including 14,000 in the past week alone. Our workers have handed out water, sleeping kits and hygiene items like soap and toothbrushes.

But the level of needs is growing rapidly, pushing the crisis to breaking point.

The sheer speed at which events unfolded was impossible to predict, meaning that many agencies are already running low or have run out of pre-positioned aid stocks.

Several camps scattered along the border of Kurdistan are also poorly resourced. Some have become the front line of fighting and have emptied as a result, while others have only just gained access to clean, running water, basic health services and security.

These are problems that can only be fixed with more funding and resources, and now is the time to respond.

Not only are the displaced battling to survive each day, they don’t know how long they can stay wherever they are, if they will need to flee again or if their lives will ever return to normal.

When and how this ends, nobody knows. What we do know is that humanitarian aid is desperately needed to keep people alive.

The road ahead is long and the international community needs to step up now to save Iraq before it falls beyond repair.


Aram Shakaram is Save the Children’s Director of Program Development and Quality in Iraq





Isis is at war with all of us and Kurds need help to defeat them

(courtesy AFP)

Financial Times

Peshmerga forces are fighting for the world and must be armed now, writes Bayan Rahman

Sinjar, a Kurdish border area that has seen more prosperous times as a trading and farming hub famed for its figs, olives and Syrian-influenced cuisine, is suddenly on the world map as a genocide unfolds before our eyes.

As a Kurd whose family comes from Sinjar, I find it wrenching to see the suffering of our people as yet another genocide is committed against us. We had thought the dark days were behind us as we rebuilt the 4,000 villages, and the physical and social infrastructure, that were destroyed by Saddam Hussein.

Kurdistan has a tradition of peaceful coexistence, with Muslims, Christians, Yazidis, Turkmen, Kurds and Arabs all living side by side. The first school my Muslim mother attended in Sinjar was run by Christian nuns. Religious festivals, she told me, were always celebrated by neighbours of different faiths, too...

Because of copyright regulations, KRG.org cannot reprint the entire article. To access this article, please click here.






A delegation of Japanese parliamentarians visits Kurdistan parliament

On 8/42014 Dr. Yusif Muhammad Sadiq, Kurdistan parliament president, received a delegation of Japan parliament. The delegation expressed their pleasure for visiting Kurdistan, and they hoped to have stronger relationship with the Kurdistan region in general and Kurdistan parliament in particular. 

After welcoming the delegation, the president of Kurdistan parliament explained the present situation of Kurdistan and Iraq and the threats of ISIS in the region. The president asserted,” ISIS’s threats will be expanded to the other countries in the region if Peshmarga forces are not supported to fight against terrorist groups”. He also wanted the international society and Japan to assist Kurdish Yazidis, who have been homeless because of ISIS attacks and assaults.
On their part, the delegation confirmed that the threats of terrorist groups in the region are serious and also insisted on making a strong relationship and cooperation between Kurdistan region and Japan.





French Foreign Minister meets leaders of Christian and Yezidi communities

Erbil, Kurdistan, Iraq (KRG.org) – French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius yesterday met with leaders of the Christian and Yezidi communities to convey his sympathy regarding the tragic events of the last few days.

After meetings with President Masoud Barzani and Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, Foreign Minister Fabius visited the French Consulate General and French Institute, meeting with diplomats and the French community in Kurdistan. He was accompanied by the Head of the KRG Department of Foreign Relations, Minister Falah Mustafa, as well French Consul General Alain Guepratte.

The Foreign Minister then visited Ainkawa and met Bishop Bashar Matti Warda, of the Chaldean Archbishop of the Diocese of Erbil, and representatives of Christian families displaced from Mosul and elsewhere. He listened to the details of their suffering at the hands of terrorists and how they were forced to flee to avoid mass killing.

Foreign Minister Fabius then met with Yezidi representative Hazim Mir Tahsin Bag and with Baba Sheikh, the religious leader of the Yezidis. He expressed to the Yezidi leaders his government’s sympathy and condolences regarding the crimes committed against their people in Sinjar. The Yezidi representative described the tragedy caused by the terrorists.





During a meeting with the representatives of international missions and consulates in Kurdistan Parliament Speaker: The international community have to assist the Kurdistan region from war against terrorism

On 9th August 2014, Yusuf Mohammed Sadiq the president of the Kurdistan Parliament met with representatives of international missions and consulates in Arbil, they discussed the political situation in Kurdistan and Iraq, with the deterioration of the security situation in the Kurdish areas outside the region and the war waged by the Peshmerga forces against terrorism, which led to the displacement of large numbers of the citizens of Kurdistan.

During the meeting, the president of the Kurdistan Parliament showed serious attempts with the United Nations and humanitarian organizations to accelerate the delivery of humanitarian aid to the displaced people at the areas that are exposed to attacks by armed groups, particularly the displaced Kurds, Yazidis, because their lives are in danger by terrorists in those areas, stressing that this war against the Kurdistan Region does not pose a threat to the region alone, but it constitutes a real threat to the region and the security and world peace because ISIS are a new model of terrorism and violence and terrorist has no certain limits to stand him, the international community must help us in our fight against terrorism, for this regard, We thank the United States, Britain and other countries that have shown a willingness to support us in the war against terrorism.

About the relations between the Kurdistan Region and Iraq, he said that there is cooperation in several areas

For their part, the representatives of international missions and consulates in Kurdistan introduced a number of suggestions and observations about the current situation in the region, pointing to the security and peace experienced by the province and they are performing their duties everyday on a regular basis and watching the situation closely and support the region in its war against terrorism, and at the end of the meeting Dr. Yusuf Mohammed Sadiq the president  of Kurdistan Parliament held a press conference explained the main points that were discussed during the meeting.





Kurdistan Parliament President in meeting with UN representative in Erbil: International community should cooperate with Peshmarga in order to defeat ISIS.

On 8/8/2014 Dr. Yusif Muhammad Sadiq, Kurdistan parliament president, received UN representative in Erbil. Dr. Yusif explained the current events in Kurdistan; especially the war between Kurdish forces and the terrorist groups named ISIS, and also clarified the life condition of Izadis and Christians in Musil, Shangal, and Shekhan.

Regarding the Christian and Yazidi families who were forced to leave their living places, Dr. Yusif said, “I want UN to support those families as soon as possible because they live in a very difficult situation”. He added,” Terror is a serious threat not only for Kurdistan but for all the countries in the region; it has an international dimension now and is really dangerous for international community. For this reason international community should cooperate with Kurdish Peshmarga in order to beat terrorists.

Showing his pleasure for the meeting and the information given by Kurdistan parliament president, Sokol Kondi, the representative of UN in Erbil said, “We as UN in the Kurdistan region never ignore the current events in Kurdistan and do our best to give necessary assistance to the refugees”. 





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