Recent CPTnet stories

Prayers for Peacemakers, 17 January 2018 Iraqi Kurdistan

Prayers for Peacemakers, 17 January 2018   Iraqi Kurdistan

Pray for members of the CPT Iraqi Kurdistan project, for the activists and communities that the team partners with, and for a miraculous transformation of the forces and powers behind the volatile and destructive political situation, both in the immediate area where the team works and in the wider region.

Please, carry in your thoughts and prayers members of the Iraqi Kurdistan team who have just regathered in Sulaimani to restart their work after a three-week-long recess. The team members needed time to rest, process the impacts of the time of high intensity work and stress and to rebuild their personal lives. Since beginning of January, the team has already engaged in some of the work and communication with partners, mostly from their homes. We are grateful that two CPTers from Northern America experienced a safe travel and successful entry to Iraqi Kurdistan. 

Please, pray for the team partners

- whom Turkish bombs and Iranian rockets continue to target, even in the cold winter weather, and who live in the proximity of the new Turkish military bases;

- the teachers, journalists, and nonviolent activists whom the security forces of the political parties beat, detained, wounded, harassed, as well as families who lost their loved ones, during the recent massive protests demanding political change.

Please, pray for a miraculous transformation of powers and decisions behind Turkish and Iranian foreign military actions. A miracle and a massive world-scale solidarity action might be the only chance to stop the Turkish invasion of Syrian Kurdistan and increased military operations in Iraqi Kurdistan.

 Please, pray for respect to mark the negotiations between the Iraqi and Kurdistan governments about the future relationship between the two, and especially the future of Iraqi Kurdistan’s autonomy. Pray that Iraq would cease its revenge campaign against the people of Kurdistan for the referendum on independence and would truly respect its own constitution. Iraqi Kurdistan must be able to maintain its autonomy and rights, especially in regards to movement of people and goods, as well as economic, diplomatic and internal, regional and international political affairs.   

With loving gratitude for your prayers, empathy and acts of solidarity,

Lukasz Firla, Project Support Coordinator for Iraqi Kurdistan team 

Partners of the Iraqi Kurdistan team: teachers asking for an end to governmental corruption and for their rightful salaries to be
 paid

URGENT PRAYER REQUEST: CPT partner Mohammad Salah Mahdi Arrested by Kurdish Secret Police

 

Mohammad Salah Mahdi (right) talking about nonviolent protest on Kurdish TV

On 18 December, CPT partner Mohammad Salah Mahdi was swept up in a Kurdish Regional Government crackdown on thousands of peaceful demonstrators who demanded that their leaders step down because of corruption.  Teachers, like Mohammad, and other government employees have not received their full salaries since 2015.   After many hours of not knowing Mohammad’s location, the team found out the prison where the Asaish (Kurdish secret police) were interrogating him.   As of this writing he is still in the Asaish jail, but family members have been able to visit him.  Mohammad has worked with Christian Peacemaker Teams for ten years, and went through CPT training in 2014.

Currently the Asaish are arresting many activists at their homes in Sulaimani. In Koya, the Asaish invaded a school and kicked teachers in front of the students. In Ranya, people are fighting in the street with weapons. Ten people have died there, including a boy, and more than 100 people injured.  The dead and wounded all over Kurdistan cannot be counted, in part, because of a crackdown on the press.  Asaish entered the headquarters of NRT TV, arrested the staff and shut both the station and website down.  The government has also blocked the Internet for many hours.

Please hold all the people of Iraqi Kurdistan, including Mohammad Salah Mahdi and his family, in your prayers, as they face these violations of their freedom and their dignity.  PLEASE CIRCULATE WIDELY.

Prayers for Peacemakers, 7 December 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers, 7 December 2017

Thanksgiving for the CPT Iraqi Kurdistan’s partner – Baste community - who celebrate a new connection to electrical grid after many years of struggle and life under cross-border bombardments. Prayer for the families who had to flee their village Gullala after Turkish warplanes bombarded them for the fifth time in the last month.

CPT Iraqi Kurdistan team celebrates with its long-term partners, community of Baste, and leaders of nearby communities, that Baste has finally gotten connected to the electrical grid. This connection is what the people of Baste, a well-known ancient "Peace village", enduring for three decades under the shadows of Turkish and Iranian bombs and rockets, have struggled for for many years. Please read more about this great achievement here.

Celebratory meal in Baste

IRAQI KURDISTAN: CPTers celebrate with partners from Baste village an important achievement - connection to electrical grid - which the community strove for for many years

CPTnet
7 December 2017
IRAQI KURDISTAN: CPTers celebrate with partners from Baste village an important achievement - connection to electrical grid - which the community strove for for many years

by Lukasz Firla

Christian Peacemaker Teams has accompanied the community of Baste and their mukhtar – traditional community leader – kak Bapir since the early days of the team’s presence in Iraqi Kurdistan, for over ten years now. Baste is an ancient village, famous widely for being a “Peace village”, for providing a safe haven for women and men running from blood feuds and for negotiations between warring Kurdish clans and armies.

Baste village in the forefront of the high border mountains

IRAQI KURDISTAN: Read the team's latest newsletter -- Post-referendum situation and much more.

CPTnet
23 November 2017
IRAQI KURDISTAN: Read the team's latest newsletter -- Post-referendum situation and much more

Summer 2017
 
 

Iraqi Kurdistan

 
Iraqi Kurdistan's Referendum
The officials of Iraqi Kurdistan held a referendum on September 25, 2017, to determine whether the people of the currently autonomous region wanted to separate from Iraq or not. The referendum angered the Iraqi government and neighbouring countries. The majority of the people voted ''YES'' in the referendum but the reactions from Iraqi government and the rest of the neighbours have been extremely outrageous for the people of Iraqi Kurdistan.

However, after the referendum took place the situation in Iraqi Kurdistan has drastically changed. The Iraqi government banned all international flights to and from Iraqi Kurdistan's airports and threatened to take other serious measures including sanctions. Various people from different sides gave many hateful speeches which worried the Kurdistan's people specifically people in Kirkuk and surrounding towns. Furthermore, both the Turkish and Iranian governments moved their armies to the border of Iraqi Kurdistan and conducted military drills and together with the Iraqi army threatened to take over the borderlands. Subsequently, the Iranian government closed its shared border crossings with Iraqi Kurdistan and the Turkish government has claimed to close down its only border gate with Iraqi Kurdistan soon.

In a rapid attack on October 16-17, the Iraqi army alongside militia groups took control over Kirkuk city and all other disputed areas under Kurdistan's forces control. Additionally, Kurdistan's media propaganda has worsened the situation. These actions have caused mass displacement of Kurdish and Sunni Arab families from the disputed areas. Over 5 million people in both the disputed areas and Iraqi Kurdistan proper feel extremely uncertain about their future. The people of both Iraq and Kurdistan are asking all sides to stop all military advances and media propaganda to prevent war between Iraqi government and Iraqi Kurdistan. Following what had happened in disputed areas, the relationship between the Iraqi Kurdistan's political parties has deteriorated rapidly. The party affiliated media have started propaganda and accusatory campaigns against the other parties which leads to a lot of chaos and uncertainty at the moment. Many people worry that a civil war might break out.

The international community has stayed silent except for a strong condemnation and refusal of the Iraqi Kurdistan's referendum as well as sending out confusing messages which have deeply disappointed the people of disputed areas and Iraqi Kurdistan.

Christian Peacemaker Teams - Iraqi Kurdistan (CPT) has written a more detailed reflection about the referendum and the reactions of the Iraqi government, international community and neighbouring countries, which you can read here. Following the military actions that took place in Kirkuk and other disputed areas, CPT has written a Call for peace mobilization, which you can find here. Furthermore, CPT helped create and co-signed a Statement of the Iraqi Civil Society organizations calling for dialogue, which you might read here.

We will continue sharing updates and our perspectives regarding the current situation in Iraqi Kurdistan through our website and social media platforms.
Iraqi Kurdistan, post-referendum 
By: Kasia Protz
Photo from NRT TV.

A majority of people living in Iraqi Kurdistan have long expressed their desire to determine their future. Therefore, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) scheduled a referendum on independence to take place within Iraqi Kurdistan as well as several outlying disputed territories. On the 25th of September, an overwhelming majority voted for a separation from Iraq in favor of an independent Kurdistan. The referendum was not supported on the international level with United States, European Union and the neighboring countries such as Iran and Turkey strongly opposing it.  The Iraqi government opposed the referendum as well. Read the full article here.

 

READ THE WHOLE NEWSLETTER HERE. Consider subscribing to receive the next one directly in your mailbox.