Thursday, October 13, 2016

As US Says Must Coordinate with Iraq on Mosul, Talking Turkey, Ban's Sell Out to Saudi Hurts UN

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 11 -- When UN official Lise Grande answered questions about Fallujah by phone back on June 13, Inner City Press asked her about Mosul and of reports of private fundraising in Saudi Arabia, and whether Ban Ki-moon's removal of Saudi Arabia from the Yemen Children and Armed Conflict annex impacts the UN and its credibility in Iraq. Video here.

Now on October 11, the US State Department has said this, talking Turkey:

"Recent media reports have speculated on the role that international forces will play in the Iraqi operation to liberate Mosul.  As we have repeatedly made clear, the United States supports Iraqi unity and sovereignty.  To that end, we believe all international forces in Iraq should be there with the approval of and in coordination with the Government of Iraq, under the umbrella of the Coalition.  It is imperative for all parties to coordinate closely over the coming days and weeks to ensure unity of effort in defeating Daesh and to provide for the lasting security of the Iraqi people."

We'll see.

  Back on June 13, Grande paid homage to Saudi financial aid - perhaps this is what Ban says was threatened to be withdrawn? - but did not answer about the impact of Ban's flip-flop. It's a question those who care about the UN should answer. Watch this site.

Back on May 6, a week after the previous physical takeover of Iraq's parliament, Inner City Press at the UN asked the country's Ambassador M A Alhakim about it. He told Inner City Press, Demonstrations are fine, but break-ins are not."

 This came after the UN had first raided Inner CIty Press' office then on April 16, 2016 evicted Inner City Press' office from the UN, putting five boxes of files out onto First Avenue, video here.

 It was by video that UN enovy to Iraq Jan Kubis briefed the Security Council on May 6. About the breach, Kubis said:

   “The promise of a solution to the political deadlock came with some new ministerial appointments at the parliamentary session on April 26. Yet, this hope suffered a significant setback on April 30. Once it was clear that voting would not take place on another set of ministerial candidates, Sadrist and civil society demonstrators breached the entry checkpoints of the Green Zone and stormed Parliament building. Acts of vandalism and attacks on some MPs sadly broke with the practice of many months of peaceful protests.

   “The protesters withdrew from the Green Zone the following day, yet they pledged further action in series of escalating steps - dismissal of three constitutional leaders of the country, early elections culminating, if necessary with attack on the seats of power, civil disobedience or a general strike unless the Government and Parliament makes rapid progress on reforms. At this stage, the sitution remains unpredictable and could unfold in many different directions. I am concerned that solutions currently discussed among the Three Presidencies or political blocs would not meet the demands of the people. Therefore demonstrations are set to continue."

Back on February 16, before Inner City Press' ouster and eviction by the UN, when Iraq's Ambassador to the UN M A Alhakim took questions at the Security Council, Inner City Press asked him what Iraq wants the Council to do about the 650 Turkish troops in the country without permission.

 We want a resolution, Ambassador Alhakim replied, saying that a draft is with Security Council member Egypt, and citing the Arab League.

 Inner City Press also asked Alhakim about the UN Liaison Officer confirmed as killed the day before in Diayala. Alhakim expressed condolences and said Iraq will try to find and bring the perpetrators to justice. One thought of the unresolved killing of UN staffer Louis Maxwell in Afghanistan, where UN envoy Jan Kubis also served. We'll have more on this.

Back on December 18, 2015 fter the Iraq - Turkey meeting of the Security Council held after the higher profile Syria meeting, Inner City Press asked Iraqi Foreign Minister Jaafari and Turkish Ambassador Cevic about their dispute.

 Inner City Press asked Jaafari if his statement in the Council met Iraq might use force, and also to answer if the stated agreement of the Permanent Five members of the Council's ambassadors in Baghdad to act for Iraq had translated or traveled to the Security Council in New York.

  Jaafari said that while Iraq seeks peace, all possibilities are on the table. Video here and embedded below.

 When Turkey's Permanent Representative Cevic came to the stakeout, Inner City Press asked him about Jaafari's request for a resolution condeming Turkey's invasion and demanding the withdrawal of Turkish troops.

Cevic gamely insisted that Turkey means well and will resolve this.Video  here.

 Reuters translated this as, "At U.N., Turkey accuses Iraq of undermining Islamic State fight." and so it goes at the UN. There were no Elements to the Press.

Back on December 8 after the UN Security Council met behind closed doors about Turkey's activities in Iraq, afterward in front of the Council Iraqi Ambassador Alhakim explained his country's position. Inner City Press Periscope video here. In pertinent part:

“A couple of days ago, troops from Turkey moved into Iraqi territory. That is illegal against international law, and against the Charter of the United Nations. We are working on this bilaterally between Baghdad and Ankara, and when we need, we have letters available to the Security Council, but they are no being issued by Baghdad yet."

Q: Are you confident Turkey will remove its troops soon?

Amb Alhakim: "We believe that Ankara understood the Iraqi position, strongly. We have made it very clear that what came through the border has to go back... There is a meeting between the Russian ambassador in Baghdad, and that’s normal, because we summoned as well by the prime minister, as well as the foreign minister, and also the ambassador of US, Britain, as well as, there will be a brief tomorrow at the foreign ministry to the P5...".

 Now on December 11, Alhakim handed US Ambassador Samantha Power and her team his government's letter, in Arabic as Power told Reuters, but also a translation, which Inner CIty Press has obtained and puts online here:

"Letter to the Security Council on the violation of the Turkish troops against Iraq sovereignty.

       At a time when Iraq is engaged in the struggle against global terrorism on the behalf of the international community, and Iraq's army alongside various security forces are fighting the integral battle against the abhorrent Da’esh entity which controls some Iraqi cities, we were hoping that a neighbor would aid Iraq and protect its security, sovereignty and help embolden Iraq in this conflict.

       On the evening of the 3rd of December, 2015, Turkish military forces comprised of over hundreds soldiers, their tanks and armored cars had crossed Iraq's internationally recognized borders, penetrating into Iraqi territory in depth of 110 kilometers inside Iraqi territory, stationing themselves in Bashiqa town, near the city of Mosul in northern Iraq, without any semblance of prior consent, coordination or consultation with the Iraqi federal government; ultimately constituting a flagrant violation of the provisions and the principles of the UN Charter, as well as a breach of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Iraqi state - fully protected under the provisions of the UN Charter and the principles of international law and the relevant Security Council resolutions, which emphasized the independence and sovereignty of Iraq and the unity and integrity its territory.

The intrusion of Turkish troops deep into Iraqi territory with a significant number of Turkish soldiers and their military hardware is an act of provocation and a violation of the provisions of international law and this unilateral military movement is a hostile act in flagrant violation of the United Nations Charter and the relevant provisions of international law.

       Iraq has stressed in the letter to the Security Council dated the 25th of June, 2014, along with the  letter dated on the 20th of September, 2014, that the assistance for Iraq in regards to military training and advanced technology with the necessary weapons to fight Da’esh terrorist entity, must be conducted in accordance with the "bilateral and multilateral agreements, with full respect for national sovereignty and in line with the Iraqi Constitution, and in coordination with the Iraqi armed forces". On this legitimate and incontestable basis, Iraq rejects and strongly opposes any military movements in the fight against terrorism in Iraq that have been made without prior consultation with the Iraqi federal government and without its consent to such military movements and condemns it in the strongest possible terms.

      Iraq has worked, out of the respect for good faith in dialogue as a means to resolve international disputes and our commitment to constructive, neighborly relations and mutual respect with Turkey, to contain the situation through diplomatic channels and bilateral mechanisms with Turkey, but its efforts did not succeed in persuading Turkey to withdraw its troops from the occupied Iraqi territories in question.

         In this regard, Iraq calls on the Security Council to shoulder its responsibilities in the maintenance of  international peace and security in accordance with the UN Charter, in order to protect Iraq and its sovereignty, safety and territorial integrity which has been unlawfully violated by Turkish troops that have penetrated into Iraqi territory without advanced notice, nor the knowledge or approval of the Iraqi federal government, and calls on the Security Council to compel Turkey to withdraw its military troops and hardware immediately, and to ensure with all available measures, the immediate and unconditional withdrawal to the  recognized international border between the two countries, and to ensure the non-recurrence of such violations against Iraqi sovereignty which jeopardize international relations and exposure of regional and international security apparatus to such a callous and significant risk.

        Iraq would like to inform member states that Iraq retains its inherent right of self-defense in accordance with the provisions of the United Nations Charter and the norms of international law, and to take all necessary measures to end this hostile act and to stop the questionable Turkish ambitions in sovereign Iraqi territory. Such acts are offensive to good-neighborly relations, and threaten international peace and security.
       I should be grateful that this letter be circulated to the members of the Security Council, and distributed as an official document to the United Nations.

                       Yours Sincerely.

                                                  Dr. Ibrahim al-Jaafari
                                        Foreign Minister of the Republic of Iraq
                                                  11 / December / 2015"

On the Vienna process, after the Syria talks moving to New York on December 18 was called into question by Russia on December 8, along with a statement that the group that killed Russia's pilot in northern Syria should be on the terrorism list compiled by Jordan, Inner City Press put thee questions to  Turkey's Ambassador Cevic. Video here.   Here's fast transcript by

Inner City Press: On Syria, do you think the Vienna process meeting should take place in New York on the 18th? Are you satisfied with the Saudi process for choosing the opposition?

Amb Cevik: The plans, I don’t know how fixed, I mean how clear it is, but we are making our preparations for the meeting.

Inner City Press: Are there any groups invited to Saudi Arabia that you think shouldn’t be part of the opposition delegation?

Amb Cevik: I think so far, in our view, they are working on the right concept. Let’s see if they succeed. Having a coalition group that would be able to take part in the process is one of the most important things.
Inner City Press: [Russia] said the group that killed their pilot should be put on the terror list. Do you have any view on that?

Amb Cevik: If they know the specifics, I don’t know. But to our knowledge, there was no terrorist organization, no extreme Daesh, Nusra, in that area. They are the Turkomens, and we know them, they are moderate people.

  This may be an issue. Watch this site.