April 21, 2011

Barham Salih dithering while protesters being tortured - By Shwan Zulal

Last night the media has got hold of a news that PM, Barham Salih, has sent a letter to Jalal Talabani, PUK leader and Iraqi President, tendering his resignation from his post as PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan) deputy general secretary. PUK officials have later said the PM has not resigned from his political post in PUK and continues as usual.

Many other briefings against the PM have come out of the PUK political bureau and different version of the content of the letter, which he sent to Talabni. The latest interpretation of the intention behind the letter Salih sent, is an indication that he is willing to step down as the PM if his resignation would break the political deadlock.

In the last weeks one of the sticking point between the opposition and incumbent parties has been disagreement about the dissolution of the government or a reshuffle.

The opposition has been asking for a disillusion and Talabni has only been willing to agree to a reshuffle and said that removing Salih is a red line. The latest development could mean that Salih have given Talabni the green light, meaning if his departure would resolve the situation, then he is willing to consider his position as PM and the deputy leader of PUK.

Other reports have emerged that the PM has resigned from his senior position with PUK and is staying as an ordinary member of the party after changing his mind.

PUK wants to portray, what is happening as willingness to compromise. However, the reality is that cracks are showing among senior politicians in PUK on the way the party is handling the protests and the level of violence used.

It is not clear if Barham Salih is genuinely disgusted by, the current use of violence means to disperse protesters by PUK and hopeless to stop it or trying to protect himself in case the regime fails and perpetrators of violence are tried and imprisoned.

Lvinpress have been reporting that the other PUK deputy leader, Kosrat Rasul, has been to Baghdad to see Talabani and discuss his future in the party. The paper speculates and says, Rasul could be the next in line to resign from the party position. Rasul is a significant player in PUK military wing as he is a very popular leader among the forces and if he resigns or changes sides PUK existence as we know it will hang in the balance.

A Menwhile, PUK and KDP force have been drafted to Sleamni area and the other twons and cites where protests have been taking place. The forces have been shooting, beating and torturing protesters. There were over 33 people admitted to hospital and three suffering from gunshot wounds, according to Slemani emergency hospital figures.

Slemani University was under siege and many students were trapped or unwilling to leave the buildings while the security forces were shooting live ammunition and tear gas. The students were fighting back by throwing stones and anything they could get their hands on. The security forces eventually overcome the students, and many were subjected to beatings and torture as well as being arrested.

Most of the injured students were treated in the university as many refused to be taken out of the buildings in fear of being arrested and tortured by the security forces. Meanwhile after being arrested and tortured, the writer and activist, Rebin Hardi was released. The writer added he will continue protesting but "will only be taking part in peaceful demonstrations".

“What happened on Monday was the latest stage in an ongoing clampdown on freedom of expression and protests in Iraq which has been marked by excessive use of force against those who dare to protest in support of demands for political and economic change and an end to corruption among those holding power,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s director for the Middle East and North Africa.  This is a quote from the latest report from Amnesty International, and it is clear that the violations by PUK and KDP are serious in nature and the world must notice and condemn it.

Many people have been subject of torture and beatings as well as being shot by the authority in Kurdistan Region. Needless to say that Erbil the capital is under siege by the authorities and any protest and decent is dealt with severely.

The current rate of violation of Human Rights by the authorities and the indiscriminate attacks on journalists and unarmed civilians amounts to a serious criminal offence and the perpetrators of torture and shootings must face justice if there is such thing in KRG. The Authorities in Kurdistan have lost legitimacy since they shot at protesters but at the current rate of violations, the leaders are venturing into criminality.


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