"Iraq's Kurd villagers see no hope after air strikes
"by Sherko Raouf
SANKASAR, Iraq, Dec 30 (Reuters) - Since Turkish warplanes turned her village home into a heap of rubble last week, mother of eight Aziya Rasheed says she has lost all hope for the future.
Air strikes on mountain villages around the town of Sankasar in northern Iraq on Dec. 16 destroyed much of Rasheed's modest home as the family slept, injuring her 16-year-old daughter so severely that she had to have her leg amputated above the knee.
Ms. Rasheed, angrily: "We lost everything, even my daughter's leg. Isn't this terrorism from Turkey? I have no hope of going back to my demolished home, all my livestock are dead and the future of my children is uncertain. How are they going to study here when I'm living in a small room like this?"
The family will have to survive the rest of the bitter winter in a small mud-brick room belonging to relatives in Sankasar, about 160 km (100 miles) north of the city of Sulaimaniya. The fate of Iraqi civilians caught up in the fight between Turkish forces and Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) guerrillas could effect the delicate balance of security in northern Iraq.
Turkey has massed up to 100,000 troops on the Iraqi border and waged a campaign of low-level cross-border strikes on PKK militants for several months, accusing PKK fighters based in Iraq of carrying out deadly attacks in Turkey.
The campaign intensified this month, with air and artillery strikes and small-scale cross-border raids by ground forces. U.S. and Iraqi authorities describe the PKK as terrorists and say they support Turkey's right to strike back. But they have also expressed concern that civilian casualties could destabilise northern Iraq. Washington has had to tread a delicate path between the interests of its two close allies.
WHERE WERE PKK FIGHTERS?
Turkish forces say they killed more than 150 PKK fighters in the Dec. 16 air strike, their biggest yet.
Abdullah Ibrahim, the mayor of Sankasar, said there were no PKK fighters in the area and the strikes had forced 370 Iraqi Kurdish families to flee their homes in surrounding villages:
"The constant presence of Turkish planes over the villages has deterred everyone from returning because they fear another attack."
Reuters was unable to verify whether PKK fighters were in the area or how much damage was caused to PKK targets. Iraq protested after the Dec. 16 strike that at least one civilian, a woman, had been killed. The Turkish military denied any civilian targets were hit.
The Iraqi government said on Sunday it would pay 1 million dinars (about $700) to each family displaced by the strikes.
Mohammed Hasan, a 40-year-old father of six whose house was destroyed by Turkish bombing, breathing deeply, says he is afraid to return to his village because Turkish planes still fly overhead:
"The bombing began in the middle of the night, I quickly got everyone out of the house and soon after, I looked back at my house and saw it burning. It was destined for us Kurds to face all these tragedies. First Saddam Hussein kept us on the run and now Turkey and Iran take it in turns to bomb us."
Yeah, I can understand why the Kurds don't trust anyone.
Everyone is trying to kill them!
Aid from charities and donations from businessmen in Sulaimaniya have provided most needy families with basic food like rice, sugar and tea, and blankets were distributed to help them survive the cold weeks ahead.
Shlier Khudhur, a 30-year-old woman now living with her brother, sobs as she recalls the night she lost her home:
"I was wounded when the house fell on top of us during the air strikes. We have lost everything we ever owned. I wish I had died rather than live through this."
"Would someone please tell me again how much better life is for Iraqi Kurds under American occupation?" -- Mike Rivero of What Really Happened
I can only tell you how worse it is, Mike, through another blog:
"Iraq verging on famine
War causes people to be killed, mained, crippled and disfigured for life.
Statistically, however, FAMINE causes far more deaths than war in most cases.
Famine -- like drought -- is not as spectacular as a tsunami, earthquake, or volcano, but droughts and famines have statistically been the greatest killers in human history. Even worse (by far) than disease.
The well-fed Israeli parasites will doubtless be delighted with the following news...
In 1991 the USA blockaded Iraq, causing the Iraqi currency and economy to collapse. Denis Halliday, then UN humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, described the U.S.- led sanctions as "genocidal.” Halliday quit his post in protest.
According to the UN, the American sanctions killed half a million Iraqi children, and as many adults. The sanctions also caused malnutrition, disease, and lack of medicines.
Saddam Hussein’s government responded by introducing a public rationing system that allotted families a number of basic foodstuffs each month.
This government-run Public Distribution System (PDS), program continued into the U.S.-led occupation. The monthly food ration was two kilos of rice, sugar, soap, tea, detergent, wheat flour, lentils, chickpeas, and other items for every individual.
This is what Iraqis survive on. Every month they wait in lines to receive food rations. Without rations, they have no food whatever.
In 2004, 97 percent of Iraqis were on the system.
By 2007, 37 percent were expelled from it.
Now the Iraqi government will cut monthly food rations in half in January 2008, and will expunge five million more people from the rationing system by June 2008.
The U.S.-puppet government says it must do this because of "insufficient funds and spiraling inflation."
Mohammed Hanoun -- Iraq's chief of staff for the ministry of trade -- told al-Jazeera, "In 2007, we asked for 3.2 billion dollars for rationing basic foodstuffs. Since the prices of imported foodstuff doubled this year, we requested 7.2 billion dollars for 2008. That request was denied."
According to an Oxfam International report released in July 2007, "43 percent of Iraqis suffer from absolute poverty, and over half the population have no jobs. Child malnutrition rates have risen from 19 percent before the U.S.-led invasion to 28 percent now."
Because of the U.S. war on Iraq, prices for food and fuel have skyrocketed. Half of all Iraqis have no income whatever, and thus cannot buy food. They depend on the rationing system, which will now be cut in half.
Saddam Hussein maintained the program with less than a billion dollars. The current U.S. puppet government cannot do it with $3.2 billion.
Because Iraqi families are large, usually six to 12 people, shopping for food is unaffordable.
"No security, no electricity, no trade, no services – and now no food, " said one resident, who declined to give his name.
Many fear the food ration cuts will increase the violence as everyone becomes desperate.
I am so fucking furious at Bush and the lying MSM that got us into this criminal occupation.
I'm sorry, Iraqis, for what my monstrous government has done to you and your nation.