By Stuart Crosthwaite:
New Labour‘s war on the Kurds
Early morning on September 5 security guards burst into the sleeping quarters of Colnbrook immigration detention centre in west London.
The guards had come to take 32 Iraqi Kurdish men away.
Barefoot, handcuffed, with the guards swearing at them, the 32 were taken to RAF Brize Norton airforce base.
Their threatened forced deportation to Arbil in northern Iraq was imminent.
In response, one man slit his throat and up to 14 others took overdoses or cut themselves in a desperate attempt to avoid “removal”.
One eyewitness described the scene at the holding area at the airport as “carnage with blood on the walls”.
The Kurds knew the danger of returning to Iraq. They had fled the country years before because of that danger.
The British Home Office is alone in its view that northern Iraq is safe for Kurds to be forced to return to.
Amnesty International, the Refugee Council, and even the British Foreign Office all stress the lethal danger to those entering northern Iraq.
But if northern Iraq, like the rest of the country, isn’t safe, and if Saddam’s “weapons of mass destruction” never existed, then why was the war on Iraq waged?
In a March 2003 speech Prime Minister Tony Blair laid out the Labour government’s reasons for its planned war on Iraq.
“Our objective is to protect the people in the Kurdish autonomous zone” and, he added, “to secure the northern oilfields” (of northern Iraq/Kurdistan).
The latter was certainly true.
But the first stated objective — protecting the Kurds — was a lie.
Britain has in fact waged war on the Kurds over 80 years — this war has followed the Kurds from their homeland to the streets and detention centres of Britain.
The Kurds are the biggest stateless ethnic group in the world.
This fact is not unconnected to their repeated abuse and manipulation by the imperial powers and their proxies.
Britain’s record is particularly shameful. Winston Churchill set the standard in 1919 when he told the War Office (referring to the Kurds and Afghans): “I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes.”
Iraqi refugee executed on return: here.
Iraqi refugees in Jordan: here.
Refugees in Britain: here.
Women refugees in Britain and rape: here.
From British daily The Guardian:
Life for ordinary Iraqis is now more dangerous than under Saddam Hussein as the country descends into violence “much worse” than civil war, according to the outgoing secretary general of the United Nations, Kofi Annan.
Mr Annan gave his hardest-hitting assessment yet saying Iraq was the toughest issue he had dealt with during his 10 years in office, and he believed “we could have stopped the war” if weapons inspectors had been given more time.
“If I was an average Iraqi, I would make the same comparison [about life under Hussein],” he told the BBC.
“They had a dictator who was brutal but they had their streets: they could go out, their kids could go to school and come back home without a mother or father worrying ‘Am I going to see my child again?’.
Kurdish Iraqi Swiss professor killed by US troops here.
Nine more US military deaths in Iraq: here.