Obituaries - Nachrufe

30 nov 11   Fred Charles Iklé: Suisse et éminence grise de Ronald Reagan, Le Temps, Stéphane Bussard
7 Aug 11    Obituary for Mullah Mustafa Barzani's wife, Lady Hamael Mahmoud Agha Zebari
31.Mär 11  Remigius Kaufmann    20.Juli 1925 - 28.März 2011
20 Jun 09   Salah Jmor    June 27 1956 - July 28, 2005
11 Apr 07   Paul Leventhal    1938 - 10.4.07
26.Jul 07   Edouard Brunner    24.Februar 1932 - 24.Juni 2007

confidential drafts
12 Aug 11    John Nimrod    May 1, 1922–January 4, 2009
22.Feb 11    Iconoclast    9.März 1940 -
30 Dec 09    Robert Morgenthau    July 31, 1919 -

July 26, 2007
Edouard Brunner, MPD (Master of Parallel Diplomacy)
24.2.1932-24.6.2007, Secretary of State 1.4.1984-31.1.1989
by  Anton Keller, Secretary, Good Offices Group of European
Permanent Representative, International Committee for European Security and Co-operation
url: ¦ .../diplomacy.htm ¦ .../summit.htm ¦ .../code.htm ¦ .../pelosi.htm ¦ .../diamantball.htm

    Nothing came up when I googled his name on my site upon learning of his passing away. But in the age of perennial computer crashes, virus-induced data losses and other Orwellian surveillance wizardry, that wasn't conclusive either. So I went back to the archeological layers of what's left of my physical archive, leaned back and pondered some memory flashes. For there was no denying that Edouard Brunner's involvement in several of Switzerland's foreign policy ventures and official good office operations, in some cases, paralleled or converged with my own trajectory as an active but private citizen. So before other apprenti-sourcerers started to fiddle with and speculate about some of the related stories, before society's new high priests and norm creators will bend them to the needs of their agenda, I thought it proper and indicated not to betray anybody's confidence but to shed some additional lights on the contributions to and stewardship of Swiss foreign policy by one of Heidiland's most creative and visionary Secretaries of State, Edouard Brunner.

    Whether said parallels and convergences were by coincidence or otherwise, and whether it all worked out to the good of our home country, is for others to decide. Suffice it to note that both of us had our fair share of "friendly fire" and "not-invented-here" reactions, making discretion indispensable, with deniability a top priority not limited to lawmaker and banker friends. And suffice it to add, that the fall of the Berlin Wall has indeed ushered in an era of largely uncharted waters, of unexpected economic and social developments, and of decicion-makers here and there who often find themselves inadequately prepared and ill-equipped for the challenges they are confronted with. The ensuing weakened nation state has given rise to globalization phenomena - and vice versa. But it also produced a growing need for imaginative analysis of what's really going on, what can and should be done, and how to go about it (e.g. the Rapport Brunner, "La sécurité par la coopération", "La neutralité de la Suisse", et "Protection des infrastructures critiques"). And that made the full mobilization of the best minds anywhere a matter of essence and urgency, if not of national survival.

    Many of these later developments were anticipated by such luminaries as Aurelio Peccei when, in 1968, they created the Club of Rome. They had called for visionary and ethically well-moored lateral thinkers of the Edward de Bono type, and Edouard Brunner certainly had the required character, background and network. And as most of that was new or even alien to any and all ordinary administrations and office-holders - and indeed "not-invented-here" - global but informal private networks evolved over the years which have sought to assist in the various transformation processes and which, on several occasions and in several places have left their marks under the term of private or parallel diplomacy.

    In the case of Edouard Brunner, too, the some five years of his formal stewardship at the Swiss Foreign Ministry could only be a segment and not the whole of his involvement in parallel diplomacy. Indeed, the subjects thus covered range from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT from 1968 to this day), to the Teheran hostage crisis of 1979/81 and its still evolving tentacles (including the Marc Rich affair), to the Falklands/Malvinas conflict of 1982, to the Reagan-Gorbachev Geneva meeting of 1985, to the spoliation of Swiss abroad (notably those of the Congo), to the Gulf wars of 1990/91 and 2003 and their ensuing humanitarian, political and security desasters, and to the Helsinki peace process of 1972 and its governmental and non-governmental outgrowths. Which of course, if taken together, reads like a hotch potch of an alert foreign correspondent's record taking. And in fact it is - to the extent that Edouard Brunner's parallel diplomacy has its public face as portrayed by others.

    In his brief memories, Edouard Brunner made no bones about the futility of economic sanctions, ill-prepared conferences, and bureaucratic grand-standing ("Lambris dorés et coulisses - Souvenirs d'un diplomate", Georg Genève, 2001). He had no high opinion of bureaucratic procedures, particularly not of the self-serving kind. He was critical of strategic aims which were aloft of time-tested principles and lacked ethical roots. And he preferred substance over form, brevity and straightforwardness over deficiency-hiding sophistry, and ... wine over Coca Cola. In his works he comes through as an enlightened and persuasive iconoclast who, by now, would probably be supported by the powers that be in his efforts to effectively set both the Israelis and the Palestinians onto the road of mutual recognition by way of their common Egyptian roots. Who would have drawn constructive inspiration from such past texts as the Jerusalem Peace Treaty of Jaffa of 1229. And who, by resorting to parallel means, would not have allowed the rising near-perfection of mediocrity - here and there - to stand in the way of road-holding solutions to genuine problems, such as the proliferation of nuclear weapons on the non-governmental level. As a cosmopolitic compatriot, he has come to appreciate the lasting, hugely beneficial and obligeing fundamentals which turned Switzerland into what it is and what it could become, including strict adherence to the principles of neutrality, reliability and solidarity. By practicing what he preached, i.e. the primacy of well-moored politics over economic opportunism, and competence and persistency instead of servility, Switzerland's positions and its economy thus not only did not suffer under his watch, but was strengthened. Switzerland regained respect and was thus also able to help shape and bring to fruition events of some significance.

1984 - Iran
    Knowing the psyche of our American friends from past dealings - including Interhandel - and his first stint at the Swiss Embassy in Washington, Brunner and his predecessor, Raymond Probst, were both aware of the futility and self-inflicted damages of softball responses to traditional US hardball playing. And contrasting that, of the rewards awaiting those with well-moored, imaginative and capable pursuit of their own rights and interests, as the US-Israel relations amply illustrate.
    To be sure, American economic and political threats and agressions against Swiss interests have an embarrassingly long and profound tradition. Already in the 80ies, they originated with ambitious officials pursuing their private agendas. Essentially uncontrolled, these myopic and careless occupants of power vacuums held sway at the SEC (e.g. John Fedders, Gary Lynch), at the US Treasury, and at the office of the US Attorney General (e.g. Lowell Jensen, Rudy Giuliani). Similar to the current reactions to unauthorized US overflights and secret US prisons, these and similar offenses had produced a public backlash which culminated in the generally supported parliamentary Motion Früh 84.400 of March 23, 1984 "Sauvegarde de la souveraineté helvétique".The courant normal dealings by a Swiss company with Iran (Marc Rich & Cie AG) were then already an integral part of Switzerland's successful representation of US interests in Iran - as essential as Swiss banks could still, or again, be now. However, in the eyes of some not or ill-informed or merely careless scalp-hunters at the US Treasury, these free exercises of Swiss sovereign rights were construed as violations of the US Trading With the Enemy Act. This entailed a very real danger for a Swiss resident, namely for Marc Rich to be snatched from the streets in Berne - just like Abu Omar who, in 2003, was kidnapped in Rome by CIA officials.
    All of which further stiffened the back of the Conseil fédéral which had intervened in a US court with a noteworthy amicus curiae brief. And when it became evident that a trigger-happy US judge had no qualms either to seek to enforce US laws in Switzerland regardless of contrary US treaty obligations, his lack of jurisdiction, and art.271 of the Swiss penal code, the Conseil fédéral was led to intervene to physically prevent Swiss documents from being extorted from Swiss territory.
In contrast to other current practices - where the bank clients' privacy is effectively weakened under ever flimsier pretexts -  our then-new Secretary of State thus found and effectively used then the available opportunities to contain the outrages, aberrations and damages caused by some of our American friends. And if he were in office today, he thus most likely would have been spared even the suggestion to join economic sanctions against Iran and to suspend related banking services. At any rate, if any such ill-founded and ill-considered requests by US homologues would have come onto his radar, he would certainly have found an elegant way to turn them into opportunities for enlightening his colleagues on the fact that the world ain't flat.
    By the same token, Brunner's grasp of key diplomatic achievements by others and himself was such that it is unlikely that in 1995, when the infinite extention of the NPT was to be decided by an all-member conference, he would have overlooked and thus wasted the Swiss diplomacy's key achievement of 1975: under the threat by a critical mass of Swiss lawmakers to infinitely hold back Switzerland's NPT ratification, our delegation to the first NPT Review Conference obtained the complete formal exemption for all "contained" nuclear micro-explosion from all related NPT prohibitions. And it remains to be seen, whether the Conseil fédéral was adequately advised by his current specialists, when related parliamentary questions of potential significance for resolving the current Iran-US/Israel uranium-enrichment gridlock were dismissed with a slight of hand.

1984 - Falkland/Malvinas
    In some cases, Brunner's published memories may be more significant for what they hide than for what they reveal. And in all cases, they are seen as a testimony to their author's modesty, discretion and concern for what really matters, namely lessons to be learned and applied - in as much as, essentially, they are less about shining successes, and more about failures, missed opportunities, and doubts about whether his contribution was on the level. The failed diplomatic cleanup episode of 1984 in Berne of the Falkland/Malvinas conflict is a case in point.
    Appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, the British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, may then have found it still inopportune to normalize relations with Argentine after her marines had reconquered Stanley on June 14, 1982. But that, in part, could also be because of a prior failed Swiss initiative - inofficial that one, with the following contours:
    After the Argentine Junta had miscalculated British intentions, it had invaded the contested islands on April 2. Switzerland was called upon to represent British interests in Buenos Aires and Brazil spoke in London for Argentine. In line with the idea that lawmakers of conflicting nations should not be limited to eventually raise the white flag after all else will have failed, members of the Swiss Parliament initiated a dialogue with British and Argentine colleagues for exploring ideas dear to Edouard Brunner, namely to resolve the conflict with political rather than military means. Eventually both governments agreed to an imaginative extensive use of article 15 of the Fourth Geneva Convention (establishment of a neutralized zone covering all of the Falkland/Malvinas islands). However, at the CICR headquarter in Geneva, no Delegate could be found for being parachuted into Stanley, and his arrival by sea could not be arranged before the British troops counter-attacked.

1986 - Aerospatiale
    In the above spirit of 1984, and with the backing of a critical mass of Swiss lawmakers, the Swiss Foreign Ministry, under the leadership of Edouard Brunner, in 1986 again invoked article 271 of the Swiss Penal Code in another widely noted amicus curiae brief - this time prophylactically and out of interested solidarity. It concerned the watershed Aerospatiale case where the US Supreme Court, in 1987, found that the Hague "Convention procedures would be unduly time-consuming and expensive, and less likely to produce needed evidence than direct use of the Federal Rules" - translation: US cops can violate foreign souvereignty if that means quicker and cheaper results! In the opinion of the 4 dissenting judges, this preposterous finding was "unfortunate" for it risked to be also "to the detriment of the United States' national and international interests." And so it turned out. With ever more cases of extra-territorial applications of US laws. With ever more pressures to comply with the whishes and whims of some self-serving friends from across the Atlantic. And with ever more and more urgent demands on our diplomats and expatriate businessmen for Switzerland to become the showcase of what "mutually helpful" agreements a country like ours can and should conclude with the United States (most recent examples: CH-US anti-terrorism treaty 06.069, FATF mission creep).
    Notwithstanding the limited success story of a forcefully intervening Conseil fédéral in the above-outlined memorable Marc Rich case of 1983/84, it was left for a more blue-eyed and compliant generation of Swiss decision-makers to heed the wishes of some enterprising American friends. And to abrogate sneakingly but effectively said key protective article 271 of the Swiss Penal Code - nota bene: behind the back of our constitutional lawmakers! This was in line with the Qualified Intermediary Agreement which was negotiated between the US Treasury and some dependent Swiss banks (sic!). And which - according to the Finance Minister who, on Nov.7, 2000, had signed off on the dotted line - was "imposed" on the Conseil fédéral by the Swiss Bankers Association.  I.e. by the very trade association which prides itself of its well-oiled, effective and focussed lobbying apparatus but which would appear not always on the level, but rather lacking proper counterweights and occasionally being one- and/or blue-eyed, myopic or having its eyes off the ball.
    But then again, such effects may be inherent in any organization of importance. Which, of course make it no less incumbent on them to strictly avoid public self-congratulations in particular. And instead to opening themselves up to critical analysis of their macro-economic and political weight, responsibilities and actions. And to join ranks when some myopic foreign representative throws his weight around for Switzerland and its banks to toe the US line of economic sanctions against other countries (e.g. Iran). Very much in the sense of the examples set by Secretary of State Brunner who did not shrink from standing up against the Swiss banking version of the ever more ominous American military-industrial complex.

1985/1990 - Reagan-Gorbachev / Baker-Aziz meetings in Geneva
    In his account of the failed "last chance" Geneva meeting between the US Secretary of State James Baker and the Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tarik Aziz of December 1990 - which Ambassador Brunner had helped organize from his perch in Washington - Brunner reflects on Baker's discontent with the way some Swiss officials had tried to play their hand on that occasion. For the Americans, "Switzerland's host role was irreplaceable but sufficient. If we had greater ambitions, he'd look next time for another country which would play its part without pursuing unhelpful pretentions of its own."
    Stunned, Brunner asks, but doesn't offer an opinion on whether this critisism was justified. He notes, however, that not least with the Reagan-Gorbachev meeting of 1985, the idea has been solidly enrooted that Switzerland is the place for negotiating on certain key problems. And that, in his opinion, "while that rôle may be irreplaceable for the world, it must indeed be sufficient for Switzerland. We should not even try to become involved in a negotiation which doesn't concern us, except perhaps if we can offer a new idea. One has to be able to opportunely vanish - all the while being fully on stand-by." Which probably also reflects Brunner's memory on the one-liner he saw on the table when visiting President Ronald Reagan in his Oval Office: "There is no limit where a man can go if he is prepared not to take credit for what he did."
     To illustrate this fundamental concern, Brunner refers to some confidences from his years during the Helsinki Peace Process. One of his homologues from a Warsaw Pact country thus detailed the related decision-making process in the case of his and most other east-European countries. It thus followed that any proposal from the Western block had a better, if not the only chance of adoption by the consensus-based CSCE when it was tabled by a member from the group of neutral countries. Similar experiences at the 1972 UNCTAD III in Santiago de Chile had lead some of its organizers to propose the creation of a non-voting Delegation of Atlantis consisting of non-governmental organizations who could ventilate catalystic ideas whose time have come but for which no governmental delegation can be found to make the first step.
    Accordingly, and as long as all concerned knew and respected the related ground rules of discretion, deniability and effective consultations, Brunner not only saw no reason to object to, but actually encouraged and gladly accompanied Valentin Oehen's parallel diplomacy initiative in the run-up to the truly historic Reagan-Gorbachev meeting in Geneva. Again, it is for others to decide whether - on the backdrop of an intense cold war and a potentially explosive crumbling of key structures on the European Continent - those early efforts of 1983 to bring the US and the USSR chiefs of staff to meet and talk to each other on neutral territory made a dent or contributed to the success of the 1985 summit. Whatever history's judgement will be, there are lessons to be drawn for decision-makers called upon to adequately prepare for, as well as to address current and future crisis situations with the most effective methods and means available, including well-prepared private initiatives. All considered, there is also no reason to expect any related network to have lost its usefulness and viability simply because this or that key player may have shifted into another gear or may even have disappeared from the public screen.

    Edouard Brunner knew - and acted accordingly - that we all have entered the post-Berlin Wall age where, characteristically, the political magnetic field has disappeared. He appreciated that those in charge here and there are ill-advised to pretend that they can still read their magnetic compass they used to rely on for direction. That they fool themselves and others if they take their gesticulations as a responsible substitute for well-founded action. And that new guidance systems are urgently called for, e.g. in the form of enhanced sensitivity to individual intuition, sort of an inertial compass. Like others he was wise enough not to expect or get much inspiration from within the halls of power, for they've hardly ever been fertile for originating relevant ideas, as the current mess in the Near East demonstrates again. In fact, as obstacles to any genuine solution, they have in many instances degenerated into parts of the underlying problem. In this sense, Brunner has always been walking in or near the footsteps of those who have given rise to the creation and evolution of the Club of Rome. And those who thus have crossed his path, who had benefited, or who may continue to draw benefit from his examples of parallel diplomacy add up to an impressive lot. On the legislative and the executive level alone, they include personalities from all over the world who have made their dent, with some listed below. (Those wishing to testify to their respect for this inspiring iconoclast and, in Franz Blankart's word, for this cosmopolit, may thus add their own name to this list.)

Hossein Alikhani
Hans Altherr
François d'Aubert
Madeleine Albright
Egon Bahr
J.Alexander Baumann
Michel Béguelin
Ulrich Bremi
Benazir Bhutto
Jean-Pierre Chevènement
Gilbert Coutau
Lord Dahrendorf
Tom Daschle
Mehmed Dülger
Antoine Fleury
Claude Frey
Oskar Freysinger
Hans Geiger
Mikhail Gorbachev
Anatoli Gromyko
Andreas Gross
Odilo Guntern
Otto von Habsburg
Lord Hacking
Salar Hassan Al Hafeed
Václav Havel
Hans-Ulrich Jost
Ibrahim Kamel
Lord Kennet
Helmut Kohl
Elisabeth Kopp
Hans A. Kopp
Bernard Kouchner
Patrick Martin
Francesco Martone
Lennart Meri
Jean-René H. Mermoud
Charles Millon
François Mitterrand
Ernst Mühlemann
Lukas Mühlemann
Emma Nicholson
John Nimrod
Valentin Oehen
Turgut Özal
Ron Paul
Vladimir Pavicevic
Nanci Pelosi
Gilles Petitpierre
Dominique Puthucheary
Abdollah Ghaderi Mohamad Saïd
Abdullah Salah
Abdol-Karim Soroush
Helmut Schmidt
Erwin Schurtenberger
Leila Takla
Jalal Talabani
Margaret Thatcher
Hugo Thiemann
Robert Vieux
Willy Vogelsang
René Wadlow
Philip Wainwright
Harry-Ernst Wiler von Rickenbach
Elizabeth Young

7 août 2005/July 20, 2009

Salah Jmor    27 juin 1956 - July 28, 2005

Présentation de la biographie du Dr Salah JMOR

Salah JMOR est né dans le village de Ali Agha, Quoratu, à Khanequin, à 180 km à l’est de Baghdad, près de la frontière iranienne, le 27 juin 1956, dans une ancienne famille patriote. Admiratif de son père, chef du clan, Salah l’accompagnait dans les réunions dès l’âge de 4 ans, rêvant déjà d’acquérir le pouvoir de servir et d’aider son peuple et réalisant que rien ne pourrait l’empêcher d’accomplir sa vision.
Il poursuit ses études à Baghdad, où il rejoint le mouvement estudantin kurde tout en continuant ses études d’ingénieur et en électronique à l’Université de Sulemanyia, au Kurdistan, jusqu’en 1978.
Poursuivant ses activités politiques pendant le soulèvement kurde, il refuse de faire son service militaire et quitte l’Irak pour l’Europe en 1979. Il retourne au Kurdistan pour un an, de 1980 à 1981, pour servir comme «peshmerga», résistant kurde au régime irakien.
Enfin, il décide de poursuivre ses études et sa lutte politique pour le droit des Kurdes et choisit Genève.
Actif dans l’arène politique auprès de la dispora kurde en Europe, Salah JMOR a été le premier à informer le monde au sujet du génocide par bombardement chimique commis sur la population civile kurde de Halabja au nord de l’Irak en 1988, sur la disparition en 1983 de 8000 Kurdes du clan Barzani et sur les crimes de l’Anfal en 1988, où 182’000 civils kurdes ont été déportés dans le sud de l’Irak, massacrés et ensevelis dans des charniers.
Toutes ses activités, Salah JMOR les a toujours accomplies de façon bénévole, pour l’amour de son peuple et de chaque être humain.
Un deuxième volet de sa vie commence dès son arrivée à Genève, en 1981, où Salah JMOR complète ses études par un diplôme à l’Institut Universitaire de Développement, puis par une licence en Sciences politiques et Relations internationales, un Master en Relations internationales et un Doctorat en Relations internationales et en Histoire diplomatique, à l’école des Hautes Etudes Internationales à Genève.
De 1982 à 1992, il travaille sans relâche auprès des Nations Unies, créant la fonction de Représentant kurde auprès des Nations Unies et participant activement aux conférences et commissions sur les Droits de l’Homme, dans les comités exécutifs du Haut Commissariat pour les Réfugiés, négociant avec les diplomates, coordonnant les activités des Organisations non-gouvernementales et de la Croix-Rouge internationale et convoquant sans relâche toute la presse internationale, inlassablement présent dans les médias de l’ATS, Reuter, les télévisions française, italienne et suisse, ABC News, la BBC, CNN etc…
En 1991, Salah JMOR a coordonné l’assistance de l’aide internationale aux 2 millions de réfugiés kurdes, après la Première guerre du Golfe.
Il a aussi défini et proposé à Bernard Kouchner, alors Ministre français des Droits de l’Homme, le premier concept de ce qui deviendra «le droit d’intervention» et le «couloir humanitaire».
Salah JMOR a aussi assisté Son Eminence le Prince Saddrudin Aga Khan, en 1991, alors représentant spécial du Secrétaire Général des Nations Unies pour l’Irak, pour définir le stationnement de 500 Casques bleus dans la région pour protéger les centaines de milliers de
réfugiés kurdes qui retournaient sur leurs terres.
Salah JMOR se consacre ainsi pendant 10 ans à la diplomatie, aux négociations multilatérales, aux Nations Unies, dans les Organisations non-gouvernementales et participe aux conférences des Nations Unies concernant l’Irak et les Kurdes.
La troisième partie de sa vie s’amorce en 1990, quand Salah JMOR fonde une famille avec Taban, Kurde de la même région que lui, et dont il aura trois fils: Ary, Alan et Saman.
Hommage à Salah Jmor, Salle centrale, Genève, 7 août 2005

Northern Iraq elections: the case for suspending them sine die

Your Excellency, dear Mam Jalal,

Greetings and best wishes for your health and the well-being of both you & the people entrusted to you.

On June 28, it will be 4 years that a long-time mutual friend of us, Dr. Salah Jmor, was killed by an American sniper soldier on a busy highway in Baghdad. Like myself on parallel political tracks, Salah, an Iraqi refugee who became a Swiss citizen living in Geneva, pursued on the academic pathway his dream of a brighter future for his Kurdish and other Iraqi brethren. And though I, as a Swiss citizen, am not aware that I'd have any direct Kurdish or Iraqi roots, other calls of fate have driven me to seek to contribute what I can towards the genuine liberation and non-discriminate well-being of all constituant parts of the Iraqi people, be they of Arab, Assyrian, Kurdish, Turkmen, Yezidi or other origin, or of whatever faith.

In the same spirit, on his last voyage I understand Salah was on his way to assist you, as the newly elected Iraqi President, in the awesome tasks ahead. I think it's time now for an appropriate memorial to be erected in honor of Salah. And I suggest that you, Jalal, give some consideration to that while you are in office and can thus still make a dent. Which is not to suggest some marble plate or physical statute. Rather, and more befitting, this is about a fresh look at what Salah really stood for and would have liked to see happening in his beloved motherland Iraq. Namely the ideas outlined to you either in person or in previous mailings ( | .../mvc.htm) which are summarized and complemented below. Which we worked on either separately or together. And which we tirelessly tried to advance with our meager means, regardless of seemingly unsurmountable obstacles. Incidently, some reports suggested his killing was a case of mistaken identity: reportedly, the real target was somebody with a similar political profile, i.e. me. Indeed, last year, a senior US intelligence operative stationed in Baghdad told a mutual friend that they have had me in the cross hairs for years - allegedly, preposterously and tellingly suspecting me to be a deep-cover KGB agent.  ...

Some key ideas Salah, others and I have shared on reconciliation
-    Abolition of the death sentence in Iraq.
-    Suspension sine die of the regional elections in Northern Iraq of 25th July 2009 by the Iraqi President who, ex officio and notwithstanding the Iraqi Constitution's transitional article 138 al.1, is to watch over the strict fulfilment of Iraq's international obligations, these elections having been organised under circumstances and conditions which are seen to be incompatible notably with such internationally guaranteed stipulations as "equitable representation" of minorities written into article 4 of Iraq's still fully valid Declaration of 30th May 1932, stipulations which, according to its article 1, constitute
    the "fundamental laws of Iraq, and no law, regulation or official action shall conflict or interfere with these stipulations, nor shall any law, regulation or official action now or in the future prevail over them."
-    Particularly in the event of a formal challenge on the proposed suspension of said regional election due to said Iraqi Declaration of 1932, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) is to be requested to either decide by itself, or to have the International Court of Justice give an Advisory Opinion, on the status of Iraq's thus fundamental Declaration of 30th May 1932 and, in the event, to proceed as set out in UN General Assembly Resolution 24 (I), section I, of 12 February 1946, stating:
    "The General Assembly will itself examine, or will submit to the appropriate organ of the United Nations, any request from the parties that the United Nations should assume the exercise of functions or powers entrusted to the League of Nations by treaties, international conventions, agreements and other instruments having a political character."
    I.e. the UNGA should be given an opportunity to decide on the ways, means and UN institutions - e.g. its Trusteeship Council - which, for the benefit of the thus internationally protected Iraqi minorities, are to assist the Iraqi authorities in the realization of the "international guarantees" regarding Iraq's "fundamental laws" on the cultural, religious, political & property rights of citizens & communities.
-    Integration of Iraq's constituant religious, ethnic and other communities in its political and economic development in line with Iraq's key Declaration of 30th May 1932, with equitable sharing of power, resources and responsibilities, and with due consideration of, yes, old-fashioned but time-tested and perhaps even providential and thus to-be-revived tribal and other helpful structures.
-    Truth & Reconciliation Commission.
-    General amnesty and immediate release of at least all political prisoners.

On reconstruction
-    River basin development in line with the Internationa Law Association's Helsinki Rules (i.e. on a fully consultative, cooperative basis involving all involved riparian states: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey).
-    Reforestation.
-    Recovery of "Iraq's lost generations" (externally: Project Plato, internally: Project Babylon 2).

On history and religion
-    Some of Iraq's cultural treasures - e.g. Arbil's castle and the "Egyptian tomb" in the Sulaymaniyah area - may have unsuspected significance for understanding the origins of monotheistic religions. Moreover, they may contain the key for resolving some misunderstandings underlaying current conflicts between Jews, Christians and Muslims (Project SLM Center). Under Echnaton, Egypt's influence reached to and beyond the Tigris river; Echnaton's tomb - and perhaps even that of his wife Nefertiti - might yet be found there.
-    The significance of the Avesta, Zorastrians and Yezidis and their history for successive monotheistic religions is still not widely appreciated.
-    The root causes of the Palestinian/Jewish adversities may be understood and overcome when it will be more generally recognized that Echnaton was the Pharao of the exodus and is identical with Moses; it might be Iraq's historic vocation to help unlock the related gridlock in mutually beneficial ways.

Of course, neither Salah nor I - nor for that matter anyone else, the UN surely not excluded - have had a monopoly for good ideas. But it so happened that our background enabled us to think out-of-the-box and to helpfully connect dots which most observers would not even suspect of being interrelated. Visionaries like you who occupy positions of power - and you proved to have acquired that essential quality already when we first met in your office in Ankara in 1992 when I showed you the nine-stars-puzzle - may appreciate the opportunities thus offered for building legacies beyond mere footnotes of history. Accordingly, I'd be happy to discuss matters with you at a place and time of mutual convenience. Notwithstanding the above-mentioned friendly fire from some flat earth adepts from across the Atlantic, I am confident, that on related tracks, the devisive Kirkuk, Nineveh, PKK and PJAK questions can be resolved promptly, without further bloodshed, and in a lasting manner compatible with the requirement of good neighborly relations. Indeed, having given some Swiss army knives to key leaders of the PKK & PJAK on the occasion of our exploratory Dohuk talks for possible solutions to the related cross-border conflicts, I would not be surprised to eventually find myself also accused of "arming" these groups.

Salve and stay well! Sincerely yours,

Anton Keller, Permanent Representative,
International Committee for European Security and Co-operation
004122-7400362    004179-6047707    (url:

Nationalrat     Conseil national
05.5155     Frage     Question Gysin Remo Fragestunde.    Heure des questions.
Ermordung von Salah Jmor     Assassinat de Salah Jmor
Einreichungsdatum     Date de dépôt 26.09.05

Eingereichter Text
    Der 49-jährige Genfer Salah Jmor wurde am 28. Juni 2005 im fahrenden Auto auf einer Schnellstrasse in Bagdad mit einem gezielten Schuss von einem amerikanischen Soldaten getötet.
    Beharrt der Bundesrat auf seiner Forderung, dieses Verbrechen vollständig zu klären, namentlich im Hinblick auf eine mögliche Verletzung der Genfer Konventionen durch die Vereinten Nationen?
    Besteht er auf einer Aushändigung des amerikanischen Untersuchungsberichtes und auf einer Untersuchung durch Schweizer Behörden oder eine von den USA unabhängige Kommission?

Texte déposé
    Salah Jmor, citoyen genevois de 49 ans, a été abattu d'une balle tirée par un soldat américain le 28 juin 2005 alors qu'il se trouvait à bord d'une voiture qui roulait sur une autoroute à Bagdad.
    Le Conseil fédéral continue-t-il à exiger que toute la lumière soit faite sur ce crime, notamment en ce qui concerne une possible violation des Conventions de Genève par les Nations Unies?
    Insiste-t-il pour que le rapport d'enquête américain lui soit remis et pour qu'une enquête soit menée par les autorités suisses ou par une commission indépendante n'ayant aucun lien avec les Etats-Unis?

Calmy-Rey Micheline, conseillère fédérale: Il convient de rappeler d'emblée ceci, comme mentionné dans la résolution 1546 du Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU: "Toutes les forces qui agissent en faveur du maintien de la sécurité et de la stabilité en Irak se sont engagées à se conformer au droit international, y compris aux obligations qui découlent du droit international humanitaire."
Le DFAE a reçu de la part des autorités américaines une copie du courrier adressé par le commandant américain de la Force multinationale en Irak au président Jalal Talabani. Ce courrier résume les conclusions du rapport d'enquête sur le décès de Monsieur Salah Jmor. Il reconnaît que des soldats de la Force multinationale sont impliqués dans cet incident et qu'il s'agit d'un accident tragique. En outre, une compensation financière en faveur de la famille est évoquée.
Concernant les circonstances exactes de cet accident, le gouvernement suisse n'a pas pu tirer de conclusions
    AB 2005 N 1137 / BO 2005 N 1137
définitives sur la base des informations fournies. Le rapport d'enquête n'a pas été remis aux autorités suisses, ce qui en soi n'est pas insolite, dans la mesure où les enquêtes administratives sont également classifiées en Suisse. Le DFAE a par conséquent requis des informations complémentaires. Les autorités américaines compétentes sont actuellement en train de vérifier quels éléments supplémentaires peuvent être transmis à la Suisse compte tenu des règles applicables en la matière au Pentagone. Une enquête par une institution indépendante exigerait des moyens personnels, techniques et financiers importants et ne serait possible qu'avec l'accord des autorités américaines et irakiennes; elle n'est pas envisagée.

April 11, 2007

Paul Leventhal    1938 - 10.4.07
Nuclear Control Institute, Washington

Paul has been a formidable comrade-in-arms on the nuclear nonproliferation front ever since, in 1968, our paths - and from time to time our intellectual swords - crossed. We have shared a common vision and objective, i.e. effective, balanced and reliable nuclear disarament. But we never could agree on whether, on balance, the Nonproliferation Treaty, as it stands, is not going to do more harm than good on the path to our joint objective, as I've discussed in the ground-breaking critique "On the Economic Implications of the Proposed Nonproliferation Treaty", International Law Review - Sottile, March 1968 (
Almost 40 years after its publication, when we had an enchanting lunch in Washington last year, Paul, in his own peculiar way, finally admitted that it was perhaps an unavoidable mistake to structure the NPT in such a fundamentally unbalanced, sand-in-the-eyes and thus dangerously unstable way with all the increadible and glaring loopholes written into it as a bait for the world's nuclear have-nots - both its blue-eyed and its hidden rogues - to swallow the pill.
With the NPT already visible cracking at the reams and, as predicted, eventually falling apart, we then set out to review some of the old and new ideas for what to do next. And we agreed that both of us should apply our in many ways unique insights and energies and intensify our efforts to make a dent on the currently most pressing issues, i.e.
1. the containment of the dangers associated with the Iranian nuclear activities, and
2. the dangers of non-state controlled nuclear activities.
We agreed to do it in a coordinated manner, each in his sphere of influence, on the most promising pathways imaginable and with the most effective means we can muster. And one of the main avenues to be pursued has been a follow-up meeting to the Conference of Non-Nuclear Weapon States held in Geneva in 1968.
When I came to Washington again this February, to my deep regret, Paul wasn't any more able to make it. In the Swiss Parliament, a motion has been introduced for the government to initiate consultations for such a conference (.../3103.htm), and though this may not yet have registered on some radar screens, I am happy to report with a fair degree of confidence that both the Iranian foreign and the security ministers have already repeatedly shown interest and met particularly with the Swiss authorities on this matter.
As you can see, Paul, your never-tiring public and private efforts have not been in vain. There are positive results - even though, or perhaps because many of your efforts were carried out in defiance of the anti-initiative Logan Act of 1799 (.../pelosi.htm) by the private but Sovereign Citizen you've been. And as I suspect you to have done your homework on your side as well, there is a good chance that, in the same enterprising and responsible spirit working for the common good, those who feel called upon to take up your baton will also succeed not only to sound the toxin but make a real dent in the matter of concern to all of us.
Fare well, Paul! May the spirit which has guided us on this demanding path continue to give us energy and direction, particulary as our magnetic compas no longer works in the absence of a magnetic field.
Fare well, my friend and comrade-in-arms!

Anton Keller
11 April 2007

Dec 30, 2009 12:40 PM

Sine ira et studio
(on Robert Morgenthau, The World's District Attorney)

If it were not for the respect commanded by his reported Methusalem retirement age of 90 years, I’d be less compassionate and more critical. And, over the past some 30 years, having gotten to know only through press reports about the feats and fumblings of the „World’s District Attorney”, aka Robert Morgenthau, I must admit to having anyway mostly been torn between tipping my hat and wishing to read him the riot act. So, in the interest of the universally shared values at stake – and perhaps as an additional candle for both Manhattan’s new DA and his open-minded colleagues -, I wish to avoid shooting at the man. And instead, I intend to briefly focus on what, from a non-American perspective, are seen to be real issues. Such as the disproportionate powers accruing to the Manhattan DA notably under the current forfeiture laws and the ways jurisdictional authority is being arrogated. But also the persistent apparent lack of knowledge of and respect for other peoples’ values, rights and legitimate aspirations. All of which is seen to be most harmful not only for the future of New York and the welfare of the United States as a whole, but also for the Rule of Law and mutually beneficial relations with foreign sovereign countries.

As an illustration, let me concentrate on the case mentioned in Freeman’s commendable interview and on which I know a thing or two. I’m referring to the case of Iran and related alleged sanction-bustings by Credit Suisse which the US Treasury wisely sought to quietly dispose of with, at most, some civil penalties, but which, under threat of criminal indictments, the more narrowly concerned DA saw fit to turn into a $536 mio windfall, regardless of political and other costs to New York, Washington and other involved parties.

In a way, history repeated itself. For on September 19, 1983, an equally ill-advised and reckless US Assistant Attorney – a certain Rudolph Giuliani – took on the high wire by publicly accusing a Swiss-based American trader, Marc Rich, of “trading with the enemy” and 50 other counts, thus threatening him with up to 325 years of jail. Of course, and already then, the feds and Washington knew better. For Marc Rich and his Swiss company had been instrumental in getting the Teheran hostage crises resolved peacefully by way of the good offices provided by neutral Switzerland in the form of its invaluable and unique services for representing US interests in Iran since 1979 (for details see: ¦ .../marcrich.htm ).

To be sure, Swiss neutrality allows neither participation in, nor assistance to bust trade sanctions by or against third parties, but it provides for strict maintenance of its economic courant normal, i.e. Switzerland and Swiss firms not only have a right but an obligation to maintain their universal commercial relations at the normal level (.../iconoc.htm#normal). No country in the world, no international organization, and no DA anywhere has any business interfering with this time-tested, well-moored and mutually beneficial and thus universally recognized basic setup.

Accordingly, the US Treasury was wise not to press, and even to oppose the manifestly ill-founded, ill-considered and ill-advised “sanctions-busting case” against Credit Suisse, and to discourage Manhattan’s DA to risk breaking the back of the camel. For the clarion calls to withdraw from the US market in the wake of the IRS’s equally ill-founded, ill-considered and universally rejected QI aberrations have already visibly begun to make a dent (.../wegelin265pr.htm ¦ .../USvsUBS.htm ¦ .../kingpin.htm ¦ .../hill.htm). And if a mutually harmful stampede is yet to be prevented effectively, the office holders here and there may be well advised to wield their powers with more and proper consideration of the local and universal effects of their actions and inactions.

Anton Keller, Secretary, Swiss Investors Protection Association –

  Im öffentlichen Interesse

   Der Attribute ermangelte es nie: von "incarnation of action", über "libre citoyen de la libre Helvétie", "201. Nationalrat" und "parlamentarischer Wolkenschieber" bis zu "deep-cover KGB agent". Als Co-Referent engagierte sich Edward Teller an höchster Stelle für die Ideen seines Schützlings. Gesamteindruck: Anton Keller leistete Erstaunliches, aber er eckte an. Und er tut es weiterhin. Als souveräner Bürger stand er stets zu Diensten des Gemeinwohls - auch an unerwarteten Fronten - und war er stets generalmobilisiert gegen die mehr oder weniger dreisten Übergriffe fremder Steuervögte und "flat earth fellows" mit ihrer Wildwest- und Kopfgeldjäger-Mentalität. Wo andere sich mit Ecken-Abrunden begnügten, hinterfragte der Glasnost-Praktikant die offiziellen Prämissen und beschäftigte sich mit dem - allzuoft vergessenen - "Eingemachten". Das konnte weh tun - und führte auch zu jahrelangen Grabenkriegen mit Gralshütern, falschen Bannerträgern und "Dünnbrettbohrern". Als Spezialist der übernächsten Generation von Kernkraftwerken auf Fusionsbasis stand er an vorderster Front gegen das Kaiseraugst-Projekt. Und als tiefgängiger Generalist und Akhenaton-Spezialist wurde er zum Hoffnungsträger ethnischer und religiöser Minderheiten vom Nil bis zum Tigris. Der vorliegende Ausschnitt seiner ungewöhnlichen 40-jährigen Tätigkeit als parlamentarischer Sherpa konzentriert sich auf die Handhabung der Schweizer Souveränität und Neutralität (Mitgliedschaft in internationalen Gremien wie Atomsperrvertrag, Londoner Club, OECD, UNO), sowie auf deren Auswirkungen auf den Finanz- und Werkplatz Schweiz. Der hiesigen Nutzniesser dieser vielfächerigen Tätigkeit gab es einige. Sie alle hatten Gelegenheit ihre Wertschätzung real zu bekunden - resp. ihren eigenen Niedergang durch Beanspruchung eines imaginären Rechts auf Gratisdienstleistungen oder mittels feigenblatt-kleinen honoraires de misère zu signalisieren. Die Liste umfasst den VSM (Honorar: Fr.10000), Marc Rich(Fr.5000), die Käseunion (1 Käseplatte), und Sulzer (2 Telephonrechnungen), bis zur SBG (0), BBC (0), Roman Polanski (0), uam.
    Mit dem vorgelegten Abriss parlamentarischer Vorstösse sollen nicht im Geringsten die Verdienste, Autorenschaft und Verantwortung der jeweiligen Parlamentarier gemindert werden. Hingegen erhellt damit auch die Veracité des Weisheitsspruchs von Präsident Ronald Reagan:
  "There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he does not mind who gets the credit."

31.März 2011

Remigius Kaufmann    20.Juli 1925 - 28.März 2011

Schweizerische Interessen, NZZ-Inserat, Trumpf Buur, 26.3.88

Obituary for Mullah Mustafa Barzani's wife, Lady Hamael Mahmoud Agha Zebari
Oh Mother Kurdistan!
by Anton Keller, Secretary, Good Offices Group of European Lawmakers - +4122-7400362 -
url: ¦ .../barzanilegacy.htm ¦ .../iraqsecurity.htm ¦ .../youth.htm

You have not made it - so far - into Wikipedia. And I couldn't even find a decent picture of yours either. All the while your son, to whom you gave birth in Mahabad, tellingly misses no opportunity to have his picture appear in the press. Which, of course, assures him a place in the archives of those newspapers which have survived. But on his current track, I cannot see him ever coming close to the permanent memory and place in the hearts of the Kurds everywhere, which you, as Mother Kurdistan, share with the valiant Mullah Mustafa Barzani. Indeed, when looking at the Kurd's obligeing political, social and religious legacy which goes way back to Saladin and beyond, one can hardly be content with the current leadership. For while it is seen to ride on the respect for historical figures like Sheik Mahmoud Al-Hafeed, and draws legitimacy from past struggles and achievements made under difficult circumstances by your legendary husband and yourself, it has yet to make its mark, act on the level, and rise to the opportunities at hand. This has become visible even to the naked eye of any benevolent observer from abroad, and it is further evidenced by the people's growing dissatifaction with the governing institutions and practices. Indeed, the power-holders - whether for real or for tactical gain will be seen sooner rather than later - have already been forced to publicly admit as justified numerous, even radical criticisms and demands voiced by an increasingly disillusioned and distrustful Kurdish youth. These include critics and demands which - I'm sure - your husband and your forefathers would have been the first to fully subscribe to - and to effectively heed and enforce them. And on which both you and your son would have been more decisively supportive if only either of you would not have been kept in the dark by all too many self-serving yes-men, reckless relatives, and myopic perk-holders attracted by the honey pot. In other words, there is still hope for things to change fundamentally - and rapidly so!

Change in which direction and with which legacy-compatible vehicles?
Oh Mother Kurdistan! You are quoted by a long-time common comrade-in-arms against Saddam, Iraq President Jalal Talabani, to have passed the torch of the struggle for freedom, national identity and independence to him and to your son by pleading with him: "As two of my sons, I ask you to work hand in hand to make the Kurdish revolution a success and achieve the Kurdish nation's dreams." You were not present when I met both of them in 1992 in Salahuddin and Shaqlawa respectively - on a US-inspired mission "to assist the Kurds" and equipped with only my own resources and some recently re-discovered fundamental documents of potential key importance. But the spirit thus expressed and guiding our discussions clearly reflected the legacy of both Sheik Mahmoud and Mullah Mustafa, i.e. a spirit which I understand you have incarnated all your life.

But before delving into this conceived legacy and its possible current and future significance and application, I may be allowed to clarify a few things and thus shed potentially divisive misunderstandings which, on the surface of things and unintentionally, may even be enhanced by some of the above remarks. As a matter of fact, in recent history at least, I think most Kurds and their brothers and brethren nearby and afar have suffered from foreign agenda pushers in and outside of their own ranks. Following my own principles, I have thus decided at the outset of my efforts, i.e. some 20 years ago, not to play to any tune which appears at odds with my own insights and convictions, not to curry any favor from any source which might delay or jeopardize the achievement of the set objectives, and not to remain silent or passive when faced with unhelpful developments. Accordingly, I have repeatedly spoken up at the UN in Geneva - the last time at the Halabja commemoration on March 18, 2011. I have participated in the preparations for the dialogue meetings organised by the Turkish think tank Ekopolitik. But I have found it inappropriate to ignore or paste over the unhelpful developments surrounding the muted, if not deliberately sabotaged Shaqlawa conciliation meeting of end of this May.

To be sure, on closer analysis, I find some of the student leaders' demands ill-considered, equally unhelpful and at least not conducive to lasting solutions. Naturally, I have said so in several meetings with them - and in no uncertain terms. And while I am too old to engage in unhelpful flatteries and unfounded kudos, I'm still young enough to call a spade a spade. Thus, when the situation arose, I've never been known for not speaking my mind and taking what some say to be deep-draught, well-moored and principled stands - even lonely ones running against the grain - vis-à-vis the powers that be anywhere. I have thus also unmistakably demonstrated my support for what I consider to be reasonable and justified claims voiced notably by the younger Kurdish generation and their colleagues from other affected ethnicities. And when I run across serious indications of poison gas use for putting down the rebellion of Sheik Mahmoud in the early twenties, I have not flinched from publishing the available information, and I haven't stopped drawing the parallels between the atrocities committed at Halabja under Saddam by his handiman Chemical Ali on the one hand, and on the other the bombing of Sulaymaniyah before and on August 16, 1923 by British pilots, as ordered by their masters, not excluding the generally revered Winston Churchill.

Oh Mother Kurdistan, some of your sons still badly fool - most of all - themselves!
Furthermore, even though I have been raised in Switzerland and have over 40 years of parliamentary experience, I have come to the deeply-rooted conviction that true leadership and statesmanship is primarily a matter of personal modesty, honesty, solidarity and genuine consultation among all concerned - much like what great tribe leaders were, have been and will be all about. Rather than what mere majority - and falsly labelled "democratic" - decisions can provide. Moreover, in any basically top-down tribal society, financial transactions with community leaders should not be confused with what goes as corruption in Western society. That said, nevertheless, I would find it rather not on the level if a leader of either an ethnic or any political tribe were so ill-advised as to place and keep substantial sums under his/her control in Swiss banks and, worse yet, leave it in denominations seen as growingly MMM (monopoly monkey money). And in the event, I'd be even less understanding and tolerant for government-inspired or -instigated actions against civilians which are in violation of the principle of the sanctity of life. As has notably been the case of the murder of Sardasht Osman (journalist) and a number of protesting students, not to speak of a number of long-time comrades-in-arms of mine, including the contracted sniper-murder of Salah Jmor and the still unresolved kidnapping of Sheik Salar Al-Hafeed's son Sarwar.

By the same token, basically I admit that every one is always acting as best as he can under any given circumstance. But that also puts a definite limit to the level of genuine responsibility one can legitimately and lastingly ascend to - as the case of Mubarak and other former or still clinging-on power holders graphically illustrates for everybody concerned. And while I thus quite naturally extend the benefit of doubt to every one - unless proven guilty in a genuinely independent court of law -, that principle comes at a high price, reflecting further principles which are fundamental to every society which aspires to reach stability, progress and welfare for all of its citizens: No evil-doer can escape the ultimate, the divine judgement. And in line with best time-tested Kurdish traditions, no murderer or kidnapper - regardless of whether he now enjoys the immunity associated with high positions or hides in caves - can expect clemency, peace of mind, respect & self-respect, and a return to good health, unless he voluntarily and truly comes clean while he still can seek forgiveness from the bereaved families. This Kurdish tradition is reflected in Amarna Tablet EA 401, attributed to Pharao Akhenaton and written some 3000 years ago:

    "He who provides information, assistance and other genuine relief, succour or comfort to a bereaved family, shall forever have his and his successors' hands and spirits blessed.
    But he who brought serious grief over a family by his action or inaction, and thus not only soiled his hands or spirits but failed to clean them by admitting and repairing his mischief as much and as quickly as possible, will personally endure and transmit up to the seventh successive generations the curse visited on him by and through the devine powers accruing to each bereaved father or mother, until such time as forgiveness is genuinely sought, provided for, and properly granted."
In that conceivably mutually beneficial specific optique, oh Mother Kurdistan, what then are the salient, future-oriented guiding elements of the legacy Kurdistan's true sons and daughters may want to honor, cherish and put into practice? In a nutshell, I'd say they concern their religious roots, their cultural traditions, and last but not least, their education.

1.  Religion
On the religious front, it seems appropriate to remember the origins of the Kurds, their common Zarathustrian roots (which some equate with Abrahamic roots), and which are still practiced by their Yezidi brethren. It seems important to note that visionary leaders - from Akhenaton, to Alexander, to Saladin, to Sheik Mahmoud, to Sheik Ahmad Barzani and others - have not hesitated to take advantage of religious vehicles in order to pursue their economic, political or social agendas. Thus, visionary Turkish Kurds may yet get to seriously explore the international minority protection guarantees written into the Lausanne Treaty of 1923 for advancing their own social and political agendas - notably by playing the card of their own religious roots. Just as Sheik Mahmoud took the lead of the Qadiriyyah order of Sufis. And as Sheik Ahmed Barzani, in 1927, reportedly found it indicated to seek "to combine Christianty, Judaism, and Islam for the sake of unifying the 'religiously fragmented' Kurdish populace." ( - p.19). Accordingly, as outlined before in the Vivant Sequentes declaration adopted 1992 by representatives of Northern Iraq's constituant communities - notably the Arabs, Assyrians, Kurds, Turkomans and Yezidis -, current and future Kurdish leaders worth their salt may not want to rule out options which, though out-of-the-box, avail themselves for pursuing essentially political objectives. Inspired by the nine-stars puzzle, they may instead look for solutions based on an inclusionary track, rather than following the "easy", i.e. more customary - but decidedly less helpful - exclusionary religious pathway. Which, of course, could easily be seen to be completely in line with the Kurds' best traditions, their great legacy and their long-frustrated legitimate political aspirations.

I note it as a saddening fact that neither the Assyrians at home or those in their diaspora, nor the Turkomans anywhere, have demonstrated their capacity and willingness to seriously utilise their specific credentials and religious prerogatives in Iraq in such a way as to make a dent on the political landscape in either Iraq or abroad. There have been significant, religiously-inspired initiatives in the US Congress, the European Parliament and the Turkish political establishment which, regretably, have all hit the wall of inadequate support by the beneficiary communities themselves. For the Kurds in particular, this, of course, should not be taken as an excuse to disregard the legitimate interests of these co-constitutive communities of Northern Iraq. Like in the case of creating a child - it cannot be done on your own but requires one's confident investment in a suitable partner. And Northern Iraq is particularly blessed with corresponding partnership opportunities. Thus, Kurds might benefit most from opening up themselves much more - and deliberately so, i.e. if their leaders show genuine leadership by proving themselves as trustworthy and effective guardians of this traditionally multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural area. And if - instead of tolerating any discrimination, abuse or jeopardy of their Christian and other brethren - they show themselves in the vanguard of providing effective recognition and protection for the international and national minority and private property guarantees and obligations which they share.

2.  Culture
The cultural  heritage of the Kurds is seen by many as one of the most obligeing of mankind. That rings true already for the known, the visible and the preserved archeological treasures in and nearby of what is understood to be the Garden of Eden. That, of course, includes the castle of Erbil and the yet-to-be fully unearthed and appreciated pharaonic tombs and related vestiges of by-gone times. Such significant and deeply-moored roots cannot fail to leave their marks in multiple ways on successive generations. The resultant Kurdish society's distinct, basically tribal structure is seen to have been a key factor for Kurds to have survived as such to this day, even in very alien environments. When discussing the possible paths into their future, I remember Mam Jalal, in 1992, adamantly rejecting any idea of building on tribal values and structures and pursuing an essentially tribal road. He referred to Sulaymaniyah as a shining example of a modern, non-tribal and urban post-Saddam society. Mam Jalal, of course, raised a good point. But the more I reflect on it, the more I think he was right for the wrong reasons. He mentioned the dominant non-tribal - yet perennially infighting - parties PUK and KDP which, in fact, have been political tribes all along. Without, however, bothering about the society-containing and -stabilising traditional tribal checks and balances. And he didn't mention the one modernity factor which - seen from outside - has offered a real, substantial and indicative progress for Kurdish society as a whole, namely the setting up, maintenance and development of the trans-tribal peshmerga forces by Mustafa Barzani in Mahabad ( - p.25).

Except for the peshmerga units stationed in Sulaymaniyah in April 2011 alongside regular Iraq military units - which were sent to physically overwhelm the student protests there - I haven't had much contact with these reputed warriers. Thus I cannot really offer an informed opinion on whether and to what extent their founder's "strict rules of soldierly conduct" continue to be observed. And whether their current leaders still follow the wise guidance of Mustafa Barzani "to adhere strictly to [their] own instructions, refusing privileges of command and sharing duties such as mounting guard" ( - p.22). To be sure, the peshmerga units detailed to accompany me on my various trips in Northern Iraq have all been of exemplary courtesy, efficiency and break-neck-speed-security effectiveness, and I wish I could have armed each of them with a Swiss Army knife. However, I couldn't really find out, within their ranks, whether and to what extent they have really overcome their tribal loyalties and gut reactions in favor of a dominantly mission-driven "soldierly conduct."  When looking at the peshmerga's involvement in suppressing the recent student protests, the individual soldier's discipline, his submission to superiors and their orders, seems less in doubt than that of some of their very military and civilian superiors. Which, however, in some cases has proven to be even a godsend and a blessing in light of the repeated myopic recklessness displayed by some current power holders. And which, in fact, might encourage other capable and strong personalities from other ethnic communities to conclude and bring to life road-holding political compromise and cooperation agreements - e.g. on Kirkuk - by also strengthening the ranks and the forces of the peshmerga in the spirit of its valiant founder Mustafa Barzani.

3.  Education
The educational role of the peshmerga experience can hardly be overstated - in as much as the security apparatus in many ways is key to every society's survival, evolution and outlook. This on-going Kurdish success story deserves more attention and external support. E.g. in the form of foreign exchange programs going beyond mere military training and, basically offering at least each commisioned graduate of a two year military tour a civil formation abroad - whether in handicraft, commerce, engineering or university-level curricula). In the same vein, the 1000 exchange student Project Plato was proposed in January 2000 for the whole of Iraq. It was to be financed by the UN oil-for-food program, with the Northern Iraqi quota being 300 students to study notably in Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland. Even Saddam recognised its benefits for Iraqi's young generation and called for it at the UN, while the powers that be in Erbil failed to support it for lack of "a green ligh" from Washington, and those abroad found themselves not really sollicited, with some underlings automatically opposing the plan as "not-invented-here".

As the Chinese proverb says:
  "If you plan for tomorrow: sow corn!
    If you plan for the time after: plant a tree!
    If you plan for a lifetime: train and educate man!"
Of course, not-invented-here Chinese proverbs - like that other rebuffed Swiss initiative in favor of Iraqi olympic sportsmen - are not everybody's cup of tea. Just as our American friends are world class at friendly-fire, but have no monopoly either for - at least politically - shooting themselves into their own legs. Thus - as detailed in my Halabja commemoration statement - the Kurd's biggest political gaffe and missed opportunity probably was of their own making when, after the fall of Saddam, Iraq's new spokesman saw fit to mimic some ignorant Washington flat-earther by having all reference to Iraq's invaluable constitutive document of 1932 denigrated as "colonial stuff" and struck from the draft of its key UN Security Council Resolution 1546 of June 8, 2004.

No political future for those not respecting their past!
And if you have any doubt about the current and future importance of this old and mostly forgotten legal document, here are some reasons to ponder:

Firstly, this key document in international law was never abrogated, and even Saddam didn't dare to touch it. For had he done so, he - for one - would have gravely undermined Iraq's very position as an internationally recognised independent sovereign state whose territorial integrity has been repeatedly challenged.

Secondly, not least such international luminaries as Saddrudin Aga Khan have drawn attention to this - i.e. for Iraq and its neighbors - uniquely valuable fundamental document by stating in his Sorbonne address in 1992:

"The League's international minority protection obligations were recognized as fundamental laws for countries concerned, i.e. inter alia, Turkey, Iraq, Serbia-Croatia-Slovenia.  They could not be altered without the consent of the League Council and were explicitly declared to take precedence over any existing and future national 'law, regulation or official action'."
Thirdly, Charles Graves, the Chairman of the recent Halabja Commemoration meeting at the UN in Geneva, concluded by saying: "As such and in the hands of visionary politicians, [these national and international minority and private property protection obligations and guarantees] could indeed now become powerful instruments for resolving the explosive Kirkuk issue in particular. For this reason we can only hope that Saddrudin's advice be promptly heeded when he said: 'The argument is advanced that League obligations could be applied with respect to Iraq ...  It would be helpful if international law experts were to examine the validity of this proposal.'"

Oh Mother Kurdistan!  "Only those who use their freedom remain free".*
Spare us from the temptation of false values, prophets and ephemeral foreign green lights!
Free us from evil spirits, fear and self-doubt, and instill in us modesty and respect for others!
Let us equitably share our heritage with our Arab, Assyrian, Kurdish, Turkoman and Yezidi brethren!
Let us welcome and support in our lands those capable to help recover our lost generations!
Make us choose leaders who do not betray and denigrate, but honor our past and secure our future!
Give us a dignified son whose handshake resembles that of a man,
a compassionate son who acts with exemplary wisdom, vision and strength for the common good!
Enlighten and encourage those who failed us to come clean, to admit and to repair their errors!
Give us a worthy daughter carrying the seeds of good thoughts, good words and good deeds!
Oh Mother Kurdistan, meet again someone like Father Egypt, and give birth, or rebirth, to children
who will bear the name of neither, but will resemble and carry forward the legacy of both of you!**
*)   extract from the preamble of the Swiss Constitution
**)  E.g. as reflected in the proposed over-riding core institution named Mosul Vilayet Senate

August 12, 2011

Mr. Beitashour,

Thanks for the feedback - the first from AUA since years.

It is late in the day, and I don't have much hope left to see, in my current lifetime, the Assyrians here and there to get their act together. So for any good-willed outsider, it is difficult to be of any real help to them, regardless of their plight in their native homeland and in the diaspora. But then, essentially the same applies to the Iraqi Arabs, Chaldeans, Kurds, Syriacs, Turcomans, Yezidi, etc.

Last time I spoke with Homer - who is such a nice chap - in a way I almost felt sorry for my going at him for not getting anything done we had discussed and agreed, like sending me the email addresses of the surviving AUA movers and shakers, of the AUA affiliates abroad, and of the members of the US Congress who have supported the apparently still-born resolution"Expressing concern for the status of the Assyrian people in post-war Iraq" (H. RES. 272, June 12, 2003).

Actually, I've been wondering why it is that the AUA never seemed to manage to at least publish, if not to effectively use as political instruments, even some of its own key achievements. Chief among them are seen to be:
1.   the Unity Declaration of 31 May 1994 (, and the cooperation agreements concluded in the frame of the Mosul Vilayet Council (.../mvcindex.htm), as reflected in the MVC-AUA letter of 17 September 1992 "Proposed Participation of Assyrians in Mosul Vilayet Institutions";
2.   JOINT PRESS RELEASE of 2 August 1994 by Senator John J.Nimrod, Secretary General of the Assyrian Universal Alliance, Dr.Muzaffar Arslan, Chairman Iraqi National Turkman Party, and Najim Omar K. Al-Sourchi, Mosul Vilayet Registrar and Keeper of Records (thus subscribing a.o. to the Mosul Vilayet Declaration - .../a31.htm#referencedate - which fixes for the settlement of all landownership claims "3 October 1932 serving as reference date for property rights, and disputes with foreign cIaimants to be settled under internationally recognized arbitration rules either in a mutually agreed third country or, by default, in Geneva"); and
3.   the Amsterdam Resolution of 27 April 2003 (.../assyriansawake.htm), which - oh wonder - was co-signed by practically the whole Assyrian diaspora, i.e. by no less than 26 Assyrian, Chaldean, Syriac, etc. associations. And together with my long-time friend and comrade-in-arms, the late Senator John Nimrod, we had developed and put on the rails the draft Joint Resolution (.../ashur.htm) on which he had sought global support from among his brethren but apparently never really got anwhere in the time he had left.

As to my current plans, you may have seen in my last related writings (22 Jul, 7 & 16 Aug 11) that I've practically written off the Assyrians as serious players who are acting on the level and are genuinely interested in - and capable to effectively participate in - self-help and cooperative solutions in Northern Iraq. Hopefully, the younger generation on the ground may find the means and ways to effect necessary changes there on their own. For if they also depend on others, notably from abroad, to tell them what to do, they may sooner rather than later be disappointed. If you have better ideas and insights, I stand to be corrected.


Anton Keller

PS:   I send a copy of this also to participants of the AUA Amsterdam conference of 2003 who seem to have also had some disillusioning experiences. On one of them, Warda Tombo, I lost his email address (his phone then was: 004176-2165119).  I found their AUA media release (.../AUAmedia.pdf) instructive; and while I think honoring and not forgetting the past is highly indicated and important, I am convinced that a more forward-looking balance is indispensable, as I have pointed out in my recent Halabja commemoration statement (.../iraqsecurity.htm#respect). I thank them also for their encouraging words and wish them well. As they can see from my cv (click on my name), I'm not the one holding the mike while John Nimrod looked on (awake).

Senator John J. Nimrod, AUA Secretary General, Amsterdam Conference 2003

Le Temps    30 novembre 2011

Suisse et éminence grise de Ronald Reagan
Par Stéphane Bussard, Washington

Fred Charles Iklé, qui vient de mourir, fut sous-secrétaire d’Etat à la Défense durant la dernière période de la Guerre froide. Un pionnier qui contribua à modifier la stratégie nucléaire du gouvernement américain. Car la théorie de l’équilibre de la terreur le rebutait. Visite souvenir en compagnie de sa veuve, Doris Iklé
De Samedan (GR) au Bureau ovale de la Maison-Blanche. La trajectoire de Fred Iklé est peu connue en Suisse. Ce citoyen helvétique, né en Engadine en 1924 et décédé le 10 novembre dernier, a été pourtant une figure centrale, bien que discrète, de l’Amérique au cours de la Guerre froide. Républicain conservateur, il occupe le poste de sous-secrétaire à la Défense de 1981 à 1987 dans l’administration du président Ronald Reagan.

Son épouse, Doris, qui fuit l’Allemagne nazie des années 1930 pour s’installer à New York, lève le voile sur ce Suisse qui a choisi de lier son destin à celui de la première puissance mondiale. Elle reçoit dans la maison familiale pourvue de grandes baies vitrées, à Bethesda, dans la banlieue chic de Washington. Dans le hall d’entrée trône un piano noir. «Fred a voulu s’y mettre. Il adorait la musique», relève-t-elle.

Puis, presque pour conjurer la douleur du deuil, elle parle des messages de réconfort qu’elle a reçus. «Donald Rumsfeld [ex-patron du Pentagone] a écrit une belle lettre. Colin Powell [ancien secrétaire d’Etat] a appelé pour exprimer ses condoléances.» Dans son autobiographie, My American Journey, ce dernier reconnaît que le livre de Fred Iklé Every War Must End («Toute guerre doit se terminer»), publié en 1971, l’a influencé dans sa décision de retirer rapidement les troupes américaines lors de la première guerre du Golfe.

Ex-secrétaire adjoint à la Défense dans les années 1980, Richard Perle ne tarit pas d’éloge: «Fred Iklé était parmi les personnes les moins connues de l’équipe conseillant Ronald Reagan, mais parmi les plus influentes.» Brillant stratège doté d’un intellect hors pair, il supervise, au Département de la défense dirigé par Caspar Weinberger, puis Frank Carlucci, les opérations spéciales, la vente d’armes à l’étranger et l’aide apportée à des groupes rebelles de droite en Amérique centrale.

Le sous-secrétaire, classé plutôt parmi les faucons, juge aussi pertinent de créer l’impression, auprès des dirigeants de l’Union soviétique, que les Etats-Unis les harcèlent de toutes parts. Il plaide avec conviction pour la livraison de missiles Stinger aux moudjahidin afghans pour résister à l’envahisseur soviétique. Mais aussi pour le déploiement de missiles de moyenne portée en Europe.

Fred Iklé agit en pionnier, contribuant à modifier la stratégie nucléaire du gouvernement américain durant la Guerre froide. La théorie de l’équilibre de la terreur le rebute. Il plaide pour le réarmement. Ronald Reagan lui donne raison. Le président développe son projet de Guerre des étoiles et de bouclier antimissile. Preuve que la réflexion de Fred Iklé est encore porteuse: l’actuel président démocrate Barack Obama compte toujours installer un bouclier antimissile en Europe, contre l’avis de Moscou.

Richard Perle rappelle que l’Américano-Suisse rejetait la vue communément défendue aux Etats-Unis qui prévoyait d’instaurer un régime de «coexistence pacifique» avec l’ennemi soviétique. Il ne croit pas en la vertu des traités sur les armements. Pour Fred Iklé, il faut «aspirer à vaincre l’idéologie totalitaire du communisme. Le sous-secrétaire à la Défense, poursuit Richard Perle, connaissait trop bien la nature humaine. Il ne pouvait pas accepter l’Union soviétique comme entité permanente sur la scène internationale.»

La pensée de Fred Iklé en matière de défense a commencé à se forger en Suisse durant l’époque nazie, explique son épouse. Quand il habite à Rorschach, le jeune Suisse a conscience de la vulnérabilité de la Confédération, celle-ci n’étant qu’à une traversée de lac (de Constance) de l’Allemagne. ­­ «Sa préoccupation, ajoute Doris Iklé, a toujours été de protéger les gens d’une attaque.»

Dans son ouvrage Annihilation from within («Annihilation de l’intérieur») publié en 2006, Fred Iklé souligne le pouvoir destructeur de la secte Aum Shinrikyo qui avait tué des usagers du métro au moyen de gaz sarin à Tokyo dans les années 1990. Avec la fin du monde bipolaire, il juge stratégique de se prémunir contre de possibles actes terroristes. Il parle déjà, bien avant les attentats du 11 septembre 2001, de la nécessité de sécuriser le Homeland, la patrie, conscient de la vulnérabilité des Etats-Unis par rapport à un nouveau type de menace. L’Américano-Suisse fut «visionnaire», conclut ­Richard Perle.

Fred Iklé est décédé paisiblement dans son étude, un espace rempli de livres dans sa demeure de Bethesda. Sur une photo en noir et blanc suspendue au mur, il apparaît, debout, en pleine discussion avec Ronald Reagan. Le président américain est assis. La scène dégage une impression de grande complicité. En ce 10 novembre 2011, un arbre que Fred Iklé avait planté s’est drapé de ses plus belles et vives couleurs d’automne. Doris se souvient: «Quand il faisait beau ici, Fred avait l’habitude de dire que c’était comme dans le val Fex, dans les Grisons.»

Tiraillée par un sentiment de tristesse et de fierté à la fois, sa fille Judith sort des archives familiales plusieurs clichés, l’un présentant Fred Iklé dans le Bureau ovale avec le président Gerald Ford, un autre avec George Bush père. Puis le passeport suisse de son père, dont la couleur beige atteste du temps qui s’est écoulé depuis sa jeunesse helvétique. Y figure le nom de Fritz Karl Iklé que l’intéressé a américanisé en Fred Charles Iklé à son arrivée outre-Atlantique.

Il ne faut pas y voir un rejet de ses origines. L’ancien sous-secrétaire à la Défense était toujours très attaché à la Suisse. Il y retournait tous les deux ans pour séjourner dans le prestigieux hôtel Waldhaus de Sils-Maria, à un jet de pierre du village de Fex, où habitait sa grand-mère. Il y était encore en août dernier et fit une petite randonnée sur les hauteurs pour s’assurer que la tapisserie que son père avait offerte pour la chapelle de Fex-Crasta, en l’honneur de sa grand-mère, avait bien été remise à sa place après la rénovation de l’édifice. Il passait aussi régulièrement à Saint-Gall, ville dont l’histoire a été marquée par les frères Iklé (dont Leopold, le grand-père de Fred) qui y développèrent le commerce prospère de la broderie. Aujourd’hui, la collection Iklé est un des joyaux du Musée du textile de la Cité des brodeurs.

En 2010, dans la chaleur du mois de juillet, Fred Iklé est à Zurich. Il déjeune au Baur au Lac avec sa cousine et ancienne conseillère fédérale Elisabeth Kopp (fille de Max Iklé, neveu du grand-père de Fred) avec laquelle il s’entend à merveille. Ils discutent de la famille et des affaires du monde.

Polyglotte parlant français, anglais, allemand, espagnol et russe, il se passionne pour les langues. Il s’essaie même au japonais. Dans sa bibliothèque de Bethesda, il conserve le Dictionnaire des mots suisses de la langue française d’Alain Nicollier. Après son enfance à Saint-Gall, Fred Iklé commence des études de droit à l’Université de Zurich. Mais en 1946, l’appel du large l’emporte à Cherbourg. Il y embarque sur un liberty ship, un cargo ayant servi durant la Deuxième Guerre mondiale. Le confort est précaire. C’est le prix de l’aventure. «Il voulait étudier la sociologie, un domaine encore peu exploré en Suisse. Les Etats-Unis offraient davantage de possibilités», explique Doris Iklé, qui ajoute: «Ce fut un moment difficile pour ses parents.»

C’est à Chicago qu’il fait son master et son doctorat en sociologie. Puis il se voue à la recherche à la Columbia University, à Harvard et au Massachusetts Institute of Technology, où il enseigne pendant quelques années. Il rencontre sa future épouse Doris à la Rand Corporation en Californie. Une dame aujourd’hui âgée de 83 ans, économiste toujours active dans une société spécialisée dans l’efficience énergétique des bâtiments qu’elle a fondée voici 34 ans. Quand, lors de dîners, on demande à Fred Iklé d’où il vient en raison d’un léger accent germanique qui rappelle celui de son ami de Harvard Henry Kissinger, il répond: «De Chicago.»

Sans suivre l’actualité suisse au jour le jour, Fred Iklé consulte de temps à autre la Neue Zürcher Zeitung sur Internet. Au sujet de l’Union européenne, il est plutôt en syntonie avec le peuple suisse. La Suisse, estime-t-il, ne doit pas y adhérer. En qualité de directeur de l’Agence américaine pour le contrôle des armes et le désarmement, poste auquel il est nommé par les présidents Richard Nixon, puis Gerald Ford, il se réjouit de venir au Palais des Nations à Genève, «une ville symbole, explique sa fille, de l’histoire mouvementée de la Société des Nations».

Suisse dans ses habitudes américaines? En tout cas «discipliné, formel et réservé», précise son épouse. Envoûté par la fraîcheur des Alpes, il abhorre la touffeur estivale de Washington. Il s’inquiète du recul des glaciers. La relation étroite qu’il garde avec sa mère à laquelle il écrit toutes les deux semaines quand il est au Pentagone, le pousse à importer des plants de rosiers du jardin maternel.

La famille préfère ne pas trop en parler. L’acte de Fred Iklé constitue une douce infraction à l’interdiction d’importer des plantes aux Etats-Unis. Mais que pèse la petite incartade par rapport à la puissance évocatrice des fragrances de roses qui plongent instantanément cet Américain d’adoption dans une réalité sentimentale distante de 6000 kilomètres?

Fred Iklé a aussi planté dans son jardin non pas des groseilles rouges, mais leur pendant helvétisé, des raisinets. Adepte d’un déjeu­ner européen, tartines, emmental, beurre, confiture, il était aussi un inconditionnel du Biber, un biscuit saint-gallois fourré à la pâte d’amande et au miel, de l’émincé de veau ou des rösti. Lors de ses villégiatures à Saint-Moritz, il avait ses passages obligés. La pâtisserie Hanselmann en était un.