IRAQ UPDATE: 25 November-8 December 2007
28 December 2007
IRAQ UPDATE: 25 November-- 8 December 2007
Sunday, 25 November
Anita David prepared NGO registration papers while Cliff
Kindy, Michele Naar-Obed, and Peggy Gish interviewed a potential translator.
Kindy and Gish attended church services.
Naar-Obed, David, and Kindy saw two American military Humvees driving down
the street near their apartment.
Monday, 26 November
Naar-Obed and Gish met with an independent journalist who spoke about his
security concerns. He wants to find asylum in another country, become a
citizen there, and then return to nurture democracy in Kurdistan.
Tuesday, 27 November
Naar-Obed and Gish went to the passport office to try to extend their visas.
They were sent to the Asaish (security police) office where an official told
them that as soon as CPT is registered as an NGO they will grant permission
for residency cards.
Naar-Obed met with two independent journalists and made plans to inform
international media about the proposed legislation coming to the Kurdistan
Regional Government (KRG) Parliament in December that restricts free speech.
Wednesday, 28 November
Team members contacted international media concerning the pending
Thursday, 29 November
At the team office Kindy hooked up electrical cords the computer and printer
while David and Naar-Obed discussed, with a local human rights worker,
assisting independent journalists as they protest the proposed legislation.
Friday, 30 November
Naar-Obed met with an independent journalist who gave her the name of a
member of the KRG Parliament (MP) and asked CPT to go to Erbil to talk to
her and other MPs.
Sunday, 2 December
The team traveled to Erbil where they met with two MP's and discussed their
concerns about the vague language and possible negative consequences of the
proposed journalist censorship legislation. Both were receptive and
expressed similar concerns about the bill. (See 13 December 2007 CPTnet
release, "IRAQ: Team visits KRG parliamentarians at urging of Kurdish
journalists fearing clampdown on free speech.")
Monday, 3 December
David delivered the completed NGO registration papers to the Ministry of
Tuesday, 4 December
Naar-Obed accompanied an independent journalist to the International
Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) where he told an official there about
receiving a threat on his life. The ICRC official told him he cannot
intervene to protect him since the threat was anonymous, but gave him
information about applying for political asylum.
David picked up papers from the legal office of the Ministry of Interior
that gave its approval for CPT to transfer NGO registration to Suleimaniya.
>From phone calls to the two MP's the team talked to on Sunday and a
conversation with the editor of a local independent newspaper, the team
found out that the Kurdish Parliament had engaged in extensive debate since
Monday about the proposed law.
Wednesday, 5 December
David took the NGO application papers to the Asaish office for their
Three members of the Muslim Peacemaker Teams (MPT), Sami Rasouli, Dr. Assad
Al-Janabi and Dr Najim Askouri, arrived from Najef. They discussed their
work of studying the effects of depleted uranium (DU) in Iraq and the recent
activities of MPT. Dr. Askouri said that Iraq's nuclear plant destroyed by
Israel in 1981 was not related to nuclear weapons. He claimed it was one of
the only plants in the world that could carry out a twenty-year research
project in one year. He said the Israelis feared the increase of nuclear
knowledge in Iraq.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
David went to the Asaish office to pick up the paperwork for the NGO status.
She was told to return Sunday to an office of a high Asaish official.
The team hosted a public forum where Dr Askouri and Dr. Al-Janabi from the
MPT spoke about the increased cancer rates in Najaf and other consequences
of DU used by the U.S. Military in Iraq. (See 26 December CPTnet release,
"IRAQ: Muslim Peacemaker Team members report on DU epidemic.") Later CPTers
and MPTers talked together about the common need Kurds and Arabs feel for
recognition of their suffering and compensation. Arabs want this
recognition from the U.S. and Kurds want this recognition from Arabs. Ideas
generated in an MPT and CPT brainstorm about work together in the future
included encouraging development of a Kurdish-Arab peace team, workshops and
forums that bring Arabs and Kurds together, and pen-pal links between
Kurdish and Arab youth.
Saturday, 8 December
Khalid Jammal, Director of Endowments and Religious Affairs talked to the
team about his organization's desire to return to South Africa to pursue
learning about reconciliation programs in hopes of developing such programs
in Kurdistan. He invited the team to be part of future discussions.