Eventually, the latest Gulf conflict - on the surface at least - was "resolved". The Iraqi troops were forced out of Kuwait and the war had been stopped - albeit by politicians and not when the generals were satisfied. Which is the way it is supposed to be when democracies go to war. Of course, the President of the United States may also have wanted to be remembered as the winner of the 100 hours war. For most of the world, it was a spectacle, an orgy of "smart bombs" - and an unprecedented deception. With its "life coverage", CNN provided what millions across the world watched in awe, i.e. a demonstration of 21st century "clean" war technologies which supposedly avoid body bags - for one's own camp and for the moment that is. To be sure, there is no substitute for genuine leadership. Gimmicks of "no-casualty" strategies, methods and materiel are just that. And as professional errors and shortcomings can be hidden only in the make-believe world spies are used to, the victor of the 100 hours war was also lucky, sort of: he was merely not re-elected and that spared him a likely impeachment procedure. For while he succeeded admirably in mounting and leading history's biggest war coalition and Armada against a modern Nebuchadnezzar, the jury is still out on why he failed to utilize the formidable instruments at his disposal to keep an effective check on this modern interpret of ancient forms of violence who continues to upset regional peace and security.
The story behind that failure is only now coming to light, at least partially. It is a story told by Gulf war veterans, their families and friends (incidently: why is it that French and Czech Gulf war veterans do not seem to be suffering from the conditions which reportedly have already gained well over half of their British and American comrades?). It is a story told by scientists who checked the records of the development, procurement, export and use of radiological, biological and chemical weapons or parts thereof, as well as of anti-dotes; they begun to worry where all this may lead to, in the former war theater no less than in neighboring countries and back home. And it is a story which, with ever-growing impact, is made to unfold by politicians who have felt obliged to question the bureacrats' official answers, their brief, related policies and on-going actions and inactions. U.S. Senator Don Riegle chaired extensive hearings on the subject and he is on record for saying:
Accordingly, the attentive discerning reader may thus come to more enlightened insights and conclusions when taking into consideration some of the apparently unrelated elements developed elsewhere on a parallel site - e.g. SASEA bancruptcy, EMRK-Beschwerde, Vorwort zum politischen Hintergrund des SASEA_Konkursess. All of which is to put things into perspective and is by no means intended to say that the world, in this writer's opinion, should have caved in to blackmail - wherever it came from.
So, the thousands of Baghdad's hostages had finally been released, apparently without the undignified discriminating merchandising initially proposed and carried out by some who let themselves be guided by fear. The war was over and out of the headlines. Not really put to rest were its undercurrents - i.e. essentially the ethnic, religious, language and nationalistic wounds which have been left festering for generations since the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, including the neglected minority rights of the Alewites, Armenians, Assyrians, Christians, Jews, Kurds, Palestinians and Turkomans. They had been the subject of particular attention of our research group and its lawmaker friends in Europe and elsewhere. But there were many hurdles for continuing the related research - or to seek to further develop, test and eventually implement the results obtained so far. And as a new war - in Yugoslavia - had broken out, since June 1991 our energies were essentially concentrated on that front. For we had been mandated in that and other contexts to bring to bear our experience and whatever talents we were able to muster (UN documents: E/CN.4/Sub.2/1992/NGO/27: E/CN.4/Sub.2/1993/NGO/27; E/CN.4/Sub.2/1993/NGO/29; E/CN.4/1994/NGO/54; E/CN.4/1995/NGO/47; E/CN.4/1995/NGO/51; E/CN.4/Sub.2/1995/NGO/27).
our once urgently solicited behind-the-scenes non-governmental efforts
to help to lastingly and peacefully resolve the Iraq/Kuwait conflict had
drawn more attention in U.S. governmental circles than the key beneficiaries
of our labors cared to show appreciation. Once the Iraqi army was driven
out of Kuwait, its
Representative in Geneva had amicably reminded us of how not
to help a people in need. Thus additionally reluctant to provide professional
services for the beauty of the art, we were all but favorably inclined
to lend a helping hand when two American colleagues, Patrick
Martin and Philip Wainwright, brought
an exiled Kurdish leader into contact with the editor in May 1991. Here
again, the jury is still out on whether or not we should have followed
our gut reaction.
22, 1948, Keley on the Iranian/Iraqi border
nationality: British, Iranian, Iraqi, Kurdish (passports: British, Iranian, Iraqi)
background: Member of the Soisne tribe (population about 200000, the leadership of which, for over five centuries, is known to have been entrusted to the Pishdare family; in the Iranian part of Kurdistan there are some 12, in the Iraqi part some 25 main tribes, each traditionally governed in most respects by leading families). Successful uprisings against Iranian occupants in 1905 and 1935 lead to independent governments seated in Bewran; like in the case of the uprising by the Ghazi tribe which, in 1946, lead to an independent government in Mahabad. Already in those cases, (a) lack of solidarity and unity among the Kurds, (b) propensity of each tribe to act as a sovereign entity with corresponding shifts in alliances, and (c) inadequate outside support allowed foreign powers to regain within some 2 years what, fundamentally, has remained a contested, namely a "day-time foreign control" of what the Kurds call their land, i.e. Kurdistan.
Seriously wounded in 1967, 1969 and 1974 during the Kurdish uprisings against Iraqi occupants, Sardar has developed and adopted his military skills to civilian and diplomatic tasks (Shahedan dam and Sangasar/Mawat road constructions in Iraq, commercial relations, humanitarian relief and reconstruction operations, etc.).
With the Iranian
Revolution in 1979, Sardar returned to Iran and as Chief of the Sardashat
Military Area, became Member of the Kurdish Army's Central Committee in
Iran. In view of the developments not favorable to the interests of the
Kurdish people and nation (Iran-Iraq war), Sardar, politically assisted
by friendly Western governments, has since sought to protect and promote
these vital Kurdish interests also from abroad.
Mr. Pishdare wasn't convincing when he first defined his objective at the UN in Geneva, i.e. to speak - "if only for five minutes" - at the UN Commission on Human Rights. Speaking to any UN audience - and being filmed - is often seen by inexperienced actual or future leaders from under-represented, discriminated or disinherited peoples to convey them an important, perhaps decisive political edge at home. However, the resulting footages are more often than not misleading. In the case of the Kurds, our research had shown that their history is full of deceptions, lack of unity, unfocused and unrealistic objectives as well as inadequately prepared plans of actions. Naturally, we didn't want to be a vehicle for more of the same - or to get involved in a cause we did not consider to have a proper background for and to have sufficient knowledge and understanding about.
Mr. Pishdare had a quick mind and was a fast learner. He understood that while the UN may be the right audience for bringing about desired changes, he didn't have a fighting chance to make a dent unless he wised up to the intricacies of the system. So instead of polishing up for a premature speaking exercise, we entered that summer into a mutually fruitful learning curve, where we, too learned to fill our respective white spots. In our case, it was particularly interesting to learn that the professional maps on Iraqi oil fields were incomplete in that the white spots dotting the Allied-protected and UN-controlled area of Northern Iraq cover in fact many hundreds of readily exploitable oil fields. This then became the element with which to interest the Allies and the UN directly. What wasn't known then, was that with this we apparently hit a politically supersensitive spot which risked to upset a few hidden agendas and has been fought accordingly ever since.
12 November 1991
This is to express the Kurdish People's deeply-felt gratitude for the essential humanitarian assistance your office continues to provide and facilitate in growingly difficult circumstances. And it is to help - notably on the strength of UN Security Council Resolutions 687, 688 and 706 - secure the material basis for timely and at least minimum effective humanitarian assistance in the face of an unforgivably harsh winter, increasingly desolete economic conditions and still cruely deficient infrastructures, particularly in Iraqi Kurdistan.
In a proven and tapped, yet mostly unexploited oil field stretching from Kirkuk to Ishnawea in Iran, some 1000 capped wells held in reserve are located in the areas north of the 36th parallel (in Koysanshak and Ranya). Some 1000 more such wells are also located in Kurdish-controlled Kurdistan, in Taqtaq, i.e. just south of the 36th parallel. Moreover, in order to effectively address the perilous situation in Iraqi Kurdistan concerning immediate energy needs there, I have already obtained an option for a new mobile, container-based refinery with a capacity of 360'000 barrels/day (this unit might be airlifted to Erbil airport). With petroleum exploration and production skills widely in the hands of Kurdish specialists, this readily available and securable potential can be started to be exploited within a matter of weeks. With a view to essentially cover our local needs and the funding requirements of the United Nations, other humanitarian assistance programs, and the local economy, I personally see to it that this godsend Kurdish natural resource will be exploited at the earliest - unless the United Nations objects with better practical proposals.
I understand the "serious nutritional and health situation of the Iraqi civilian population" to have lead the UN Security Council, on August 15, 1991, to adopt Resolution #706, providing for up to US$ 1.6 billions worth of "petroleum and petroleum products originating in Iraq" to be exported "for the purchase of foodstuffs, medicines and materials and supplies for essential civilian needs as referred to in paragraph 20 of resolution 687" - with "appropriate United Nations monitoring and supervision for the purpose of assuring their equitable distribution to meet humanitarian needs in all regions of Iraq and to all categories of the Iraqi civilian population". These opportunities for urgent humanitarian actions being deliberately left unexploited, it befits imaginative diplomats and clearsighted decision-makers to take matters in hand. Accordingly, I solicite Your Excellency's benevolent consideration and support for this program which is intended not only to secure the Kurdish People's own survival with dignity, but also to avail its natural resources for effectively assisting the United Nations in its often crucial related tasks.
Thanking Your Excellency for your untiring search for effective humanitarian solutions, I'd appreciate a prompt opportunity to work out the details with you and remain,
Thank you for your letter providing information about drilled and capped oil wells in Kurdish controlled territory in Iraq. It presents some interesting possibilities, as you have suggested. My staff is presently analyzing the contents of the letter. We take note of your expressed intention to demonstrate the technical feasibility of making these wells produce, and of applying the proceeds to Iraq's humanitarian needs.
We appreciate your concern with respect to country humanitarian requirements, and are looking forward to receiving the technical feasibility results you describe.
I am grateful that you brought this information to my attention.
From misfortune, hunger and black days which have been with each of us for generations, it befits every Kurd, me included, to try to find an enlightened way to overcome our pain and to regain our dignity and self-respect as a people. This is the more so as we have been blessed -or burdened - with our ancestoral lands' immense natural riches, such as water, oil and minerals which, however, continue to be kept out of our effective reach. Our basic problem then seems to be finding a legal path to let us benefit from these natural resources which, for centuries, have constituted our common wealth.
In recent months my thinking has been helped most notably by the political developments in the area and I have started to draw up plans for us to take out our oil from our land and to export it for meeting urgent humanitarian needs. Indeed, a window of opportunity was opened to us when the Iraqi government refused to heed the United Nations Security Council Resolution 706 authorizing it to export, under strict UN controls, $1.5 billion worth of petroleum products from Iraq in order to finance the humanitarian efforts there of the involved UN Agencies, the ICRC, Medecins sans frontiers and other humanitarian organizations.
The Office of the UN Secretary General's Executive Delegate is now looking into the "interesting possibilities" thus suggested, and I trust our friends everywhere to follow suit and eventually render the political and material support on which this project will ultimately depend. Naturally, much will depend on the degree and quality of support provided by my own people, for which reason I intend to submit this project to a comprehensive consultation among the Kurdish people and their tribal, political and religious leaders. Following up on the United Nations' suggestion, I hope to be able to demonstrate soon the "technical feasibility of making these wells produce, and of applying the proceeds to Iraq's humanitarian needs." To these effects I herewith invite interested lawmakers, businessmen and specialists from everywhere to avail their services and good offices for promptly getting this humanitarian enterprise put on the rails - even if that in effect turned the table on the persistent hostage taker in Baghdad.
(1) adapted from the "Letter to the Kurdish People" of 24 November 1991
8 Warren Close, Rosendale Rd, London SE21 8NB; t 44181-7616420.
or PO Box 2580, 1211 Geneva 2; f 4122-7338671.
This is to express our appreciation and full support for the humanitarian initiative specified in the exchanges which have taken place between Mr.Sardar Pishdare and the Office of the Executive Delegate of the United Nations' Secretary General. Mr.Pishdare of Qaladizah, a recognized senior Kurdish leader of the Soisne Tribe, has drawn all but objections to his initiative. And in its letter of November 19, 1991, the United Nations has not only acknowledged Mr. Pishdare's "intention to demonstrate the technical feasibility of making these [oil wells in Kurdish-controlled Northern Iraq] produce, and of applying the proceeds to Iraq's humanitarian needs", but has also stated its interest "to receiving the technical feasibility results".
Naturally, we also welcome this plan and support it as best as we can. Mr.Pishdare is thus herewith empowered to negotiate on our behalf, and to submit to the Kurdish People and to their Leaders for ratification, any and every agreement, notably those relating to petroleum and other natural resources which are situated in Kurdish-controlled Northern Iraq.
We have taken note and herewith consent to the specific pledges Mr.Pishdare has thus made notably to the United Nations, the Allied countries, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the League of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Médecins Sans Frontières and other humanitarian organizations, as well as to specially helpful non-governmental organizations and individuals, which have provided essential services and supplies, such as those needed to assure the survival and protection of our hard-pressed People, or for covering their basic nutritional, medical and shelter needs. These pledges are understood to provide notably for the prompt extraction and export of petroleum from Kurdish-controlled territory in Northern Iraq on the strength of UN Security Council Resolutions 687, 688, 706 and 712. They aim at securing the material basis for timely and at least minimum effective humanitarian assistance in the face of an unforgivably harsh winter, increasingly desolete economic conditions and still cruely deficient infrastructures, particularly in Northern Iraq.
Indeed, the "serious nutritional and health situation of the Iraqi civilian population" has lead the UN Security Council to adopt notably Resolution 706 (8/15/91), providing for "petroleum and petroleum products originating in Iraq" to be exported "for the purchase of foodstuffs, medicines and materials and supplies for essential civilian needs" - with "appropriate United Nations monitoring and supervision for the purpose of assuring their equitable distribution to meet humanitarian needs in all regions of Iraq and to all categories of the Iraqi civilian population".
With its post-Gulf war Resolutions, the UN Security Council, of course, did not intend to let the Iraqi Government start again hostage and other uncivilized practices. In order to effectively help Iraq's hard-pressed civilian population the Council even went out of its way to adopt the French-sponsored Resolution #688, setting a crucial precedent for interventions in internal affairs on humanitarian grounds. Yet, in the absence of real, coherent and persistent external pressures, Baghdad seems intent and able to pursue policies which violate international law and fly in the face of world public opinion.
Aware of the "serious nutritional and health situation of the Iraqi civilian population", the Security Council adopted Resolution #706 on August 15, 1991, providing for US$ 1.6 billions worth of "petroleum and petroleum products originating in Iraq" to be exported for purchasing "foodstuffs, medicines and materials and supplies for essential civilian needs". It also specified "appropriate United Nations monitoring and supervision for the purpose of assuring their equitable distribution to meet humanitarian needs in all regions of Iraq and to all categories of the Iraqi civilian population". Manifestly as a matter of Iraqi policy, these and other urgent humanitarian actions have been torpedoed, causing deliberate harm to the civilian Iraqi population, particularly to the Kurds. Thus, it is incumbent on imaginative diplomats and clearsighted dicision-makers to take matters in hand.
In his letter to the UN Secretary General's Executive Delegate, the Kurdish leader Sardar Pishdare outlined his plan
PROJECT BACKDOOR has been designed not only to secure the Kurdish People's
own survival with dignity, but to also avail its natural resources for
reducing the dependency of the United Nations' humanitarian efforts in
all of Iraq on the goodwill of the hostage taker[s] in Baghdad. The leaders
of the Iraqi Kurdish tribes and political parties have now voiced their
unanimous support for this project, and the technical feasibility report
suggested by the Office of the UN Secretary General's Executive Delegate
should be available for consideration when Resolution 706 will be up for
review by the Security Council of the United Nations. Under such pressures,
the Iraqi Government may finally find itself compelled to fully comply
with all related Resolutions. It is indeed of primary importance for the
Rule of Law that the UN regain the initiative promptly. To these effects,
the availability and competent use of significant and reliable leverage
instruments (particularly of a non-military nature) is crucial - lest the
world community encourage jungle law, uncivility and barbarians. Thus -
and in the words of the enterprising Kurdish leader Pishdare: "unless
the United Nations objects with better practical proposals" - the powers
that be may now benevolently watch how this humanitarian project succeeds,
or they may actively contribute to its prompt success - even if that will
draw the rug from under the feet of Saddam.
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