His Excellency, Mr. George W. Bush, the
President of the United States of America
His Excellency, Mr. Tony Blare, the Prime Minster of
His Excellency, Mr. Kofi Annan, the General Secretary
of the United Nations, New York.
His Excellency, the President of the United Nations
General Assembly, New York.
His Excellency, the High Commissioner of the Human
Rights Commission, Geneva.
All Environmental Organizations, All Human Rights
As an Iraqi Kurdish Oil Expert, I believe that Saddam Hussein regime is well prepared to repeat a much bigger “New Environmental Crime” in Iraq, than that perpetrated in Kuwait in 1991. At that time, the invading Iraqi army put 750 oil and gas wells on fire. This led to severe environmental damages on land, in the air, at sea and to the general health and wealth of the population. Kuwaiti oil well fires took 9 months to be brought under control at a cost of US$ 30-40 billions. It entailed an effort by about 285 international companies and organisations that were actively involved to extinguish the fires, bringing the blowouts under control and partially restoring the natural conditions. In fact, Kuwait has yet to recover from the full consequences of all this.
This time I expect Saddam Hussein’s “New Environmental Crime” will include more than 1,500 oil and gas wells; in other words twice as many as those in Kuwait. Furthermore most Iraqi wells are of higher production than in Kuwait, with a total of about 4 millions barrels per day oil and many trillions cubic foot of gas, compared to 1.75 millions barrels oil per day in the case of Kuwait. In addition, this crime will be much more dangerous to the health and well being of the community because the majority of the potential oilfield targets are in the vicinity of the big Iraqi cities, e.g.
region is also an area where there has been the continuous application of Ethnic
Cleansing against Kurdish citizens. They
were the majority of the population in Kirkuk until the coup that brought the
Ba’ath Party (and Saddam Hussein) to power in July 1968.
Since then, there has been the systematic application of a dirty policy
of ethnic cleansing, in what the Iraqi regime has called publicly “the
triangle of Arabizing-Deportation-Ba’athization”.
Regardless of UN Res. 688/1991 and thousands of appeals and memorandums,
this policy is still in progress. Al
most daily a dozen non-Arab families, most of them Kurds, having been forced to
flee from the government controlled city of Kirkuk and other Kurdish areas. They are forced to seek places of shelter in wretched refugee
camps in the liberated Kurdish area that is the safe haven protected by the US
and UK. The Iraqi triangle policy takes aim at the Kurdish elected Parliament
(May 1992) and the Regional Governments in Sulmaniyah and Hawler.
On top of the humanitarian problems, these institutions are, and have
been, suffering from a low level of resources, poor budgeting, a tense dual
UN-Iraqi embargo and low performance of the UN Organizations.
More than half of Iraqi population is living in the aforementioned three major cities of Baghdad, Basrah and Kirkuk and their surroundings. If the “New Environmental Crime” materializes, it will be impossible for about 10-12 million people to stay in these areas. The best and most valid alternative is to prevent, or at least minimise, the possibility of such a global environmental crime occurring. It would surely be the act of a Terrorist.
To prevent this global crime, the international community is obliged and entitled to take all necessary actions, among which I strongly recommend the full implementation of UN Resolutions: 687, 688, 986 and 1441 according to which the UN weapon inspectors must control the Iraqi oilfields to search for Weapon of Mass Destruction and materials purchased for such purposes. These could be hidden in tubular containers at deep depths inside the wells, especially in oil and gas fields where there is an abundance of wells. We must ensure that we can disassemble any explosives and electrical wiring that has been pre-installed on wellheads and set to blow on Saddam Hussein’s instructions. He has special teams that got their experience in this matter ten years ago in Kuwait and are very active nowadays. Of course, they will put obstacles in front of the forces liberating Iraq and will try to prevent the expelled non-Arab citizens from returning to their places of origin in Kirkuk, Khanakee and Shangar provinces.
me to summarise my argument as follows:
The main task
of the UN Security Council, other UN bodies and the international community in
general must be to stop this New Environmental Crime before it starts.
This has to be done in parallel with the elimination of Chemical
and Biological Weapons by the Iraqi regime, and the prevention of their use in a
way similar to the use against non-protected Kurdish people in Halabja,
during the notorious Anfal operations in 1987 to 1988, and against the
peoples of southern Iraq during the public uprising in 1991.
This preventative mission is justified under the UN Resolutions 687,
688, 986 and 1441.
Therefore, in order to put a stop to apparently limitless crimes, I urge the coalition forces this time, unlike 1991, to help the entire Iraqi people remove Saddam Hussein’s regime and prevent Iraq’s neighbours, especially the Turkish army, from invading into the Kurdish region of Iraq. Turkey wants to diminish the stature of the Kurdish-elected administration but such an action will further complicate the post-war problems in Iraq, especially the sensitive issues of Kirkuk where there is a Kurdish majority. Since 1992, Kurds have voted for a Federal system in Iraq and have done so from the platform of an elected Parliament. At the Conference in London in December 2002, Iraqi opposition parties (including Turkmen) voted for a democratic Iraq. We Iraqi Kurds struggled for a century for our rights. We do not want to substitute the Iraqi ethnic cleansing policy against us by a similar policy coming from Turkey or elsewhere.
urge USA, UK and all coalition forces to co-operate with the Kurdish elected
administration and the Iraqi opposition figures.
We must avoid repeating of historical mistakes in Iraq and the tragedies
like the Halabja massacre and the Anfals progrom.
Hama-Jaza Saleh. Kader (Founder of the Kurdish Oil Project )
Petroleum Engineer - GOGTEC Ingenieurbüro-Hanover/Germany
+49 511 261 7557 Fax: +49 511 215 5128
PO.Box: 91 13 48, 30433 Hanover-Germany
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