Iraq

CPT INTERNATIONAL: Train with CPT – Join CPT’s Peacemaker Corps

CPTnet
March 2, 2017
CPT INTERNATIONAL: Train with CPT – Join CPT’s Peacemaker Corps 

 

 

Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) is currently accepting applications for its Peacemaker Corps.  Join us in building partnerships to transform violence and oppression!  

Applicants must be 21 years of age or older and have completed, or plan to complete, a short-term CPT Delegation or internship.  Qualified applicants may be invited to participate in CPT’s intensive, month-long training from 13 July – 13 August 2017 in Chicago, Illinois USA where membership in the Peacemaker Corps is discerned.  Trained Peacemaker Corps members are then eligible to apply for open positions on CPT teams.  

CPT builds partnerships to transform violence and oppression in situations of lethal conflict around the world.  We are committed to work and relationships that: 1) honor and reflect the presence of faith and spirituality, 2) strengthen grassroots initiatives, 3) transform structures of domination and oppression, and 4) embody creative nonviolence and liberating love. 

CPT understands violence to be rooted in systemic structures of oppression.  We are committed to undoing oppressions within our own lives and in the policies and practices of our organization.   

CPT is a Christian-identified organization with multi-faith/spiritually diverse membership.  We seek individuals who are capable, responsible and rooted in faith/spirituality to work for peace as members of violence-reduction teams trained in the disciplines of nonviolence.  We are committed to building a Peacemaker Corps that reflects the rich diversity of the human family in ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender identity, language, national origin, race and sexual orientation. 

APPLICATION DEADLINE: 15 March 2017; direct any questions and send complete application to personnel@cpt.org.

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.

 

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Prayers for Peacemakers, 2 November 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers, 2 November 2017

Pray that the new path that Iraq and other countries forced Kurdistan to undertake will not lead to spiraling violence, but rather guide its people to new structures of life and sustainable freedom.   

There is very little hope left in Iraqi Kurdistan. In a month since the referendum on independence, Kurdish people in Iraq lost most of what they have struggled for and gained in 25 years. To punish people who voted in an overwhelming majority that one day they would like to live in an independent country, the Iraqi military alongside brutal militia forces supported by Turkey and Iran invaded and took control of around 50% of the territory Kurdish forces controlled. The reports speak of killed civilians, rape of a mother and daughter, arbitrary arrest of youth, destroyed and pillaged Kurdish homes, and mass displacement. The militias presence threatens also Christian and Yezidi peoples who have just recently returned from their exile caused by ISIS to rebuild their towns.

To isolate Kurdistan and further instill its dominance, Iraq banned all international flights to/from Kurdistan and took control over the land border crossings with Turkey, Iran and Syria. Turkish airstrikes in the border regions continue to endanger shepherds and farmers. CPT partners fled their villages because of massive Iranian troops movements in the mountains.

The silence and seeming approval of the USA and other foreign powers shocked, and broke hearts of, our partners and friends. Many people blame Massoud Barzani - since two days ago, a former president of Iraqi Kurdistan - for the downfall due to his role in the referendum process and inability to create a united and inclusive government. On the other hand, Barzani's supporters attacked the Parliament building, wounded journalists and torched offices of rival political parties. Members of Christian Peacemaker Teams fear an ignition of a civil war between different Kurdistan's parties and fractions.    

Boy points at Kurdistan flag, text reads: There is no peace without self-governance

As people of peace around the world, let us pray and engage with even more energy in the work for peace. Not a peace that would uphold the oppressive structures and attitudes, dominance or status quo. But peace that will become a moving force of liberation of hearts and minds, of people's dreams, and of land. Let us pray that hostilities between the Iraqi and the Kurdish armies, as well as among various fractions cease. Let us pray for protection of families and communities at risk of being targeted by armed groups. Let us demand that Iraq, the USA, and other powerful governments support the peoples' aspirations for self-governance and dreams of freedom. Please pray for the CPT Iraqi Kurdistan team and its partners in these difficult times. New hope has emerged that this new order would ignite new lights of transformation for Kurdistan and its internal structures; that new Kurdistan will rise from the ashes of the old.

Learn more about the situation from the perspective of CPT Iraqi Kurdistan team here and here.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES SOLIDARITY / IRAQI KURDISTAN: Broken promises -- Indigenous self-governance and Kurdish independence

CPTnet

23 October 2017

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES SOLIDARITY / IRAQI KURDISTAN: Broken promises -- Indigenous self-governance and Kurdish independence

by Rebaz K. Mohammed / Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Project

Today, while many are celebrating how far we have progressed in upholding human rights, the facts on the grounds offer a much less polished picture of the human-made systems running our world.

Being an indigenous person myself, a Kurd, I was always drawn to understand what has happened to indigenous nations around the world, including my own nation. How come a nation of more than 40 million people does not have a country of its own? As I expanded my horizon I found out we were not alone, many indigenous nations around the world suffer from the same injustice, especially indigenous nations on Turtle Island (North America). I soon realized that the basis of the oppression is the same: unadulterated racism, and the similarities are uncanny. 

Following World War I, the European colonial powers committed to support Kurdish self-determination and self-governance. The treaty of Sèvres promised the establishment of a Kurdish state after the fall of the Ottoman empire. This promise was broken when the Kurds were divided between four countries: Iraq, Turkey, Syria, and Iran. European powers then actively backed the quashing of numerous Kurdish revolutions and attempts to establish a state. Most recently, Europe, the U.S., and Canada have come out against Iraqi Kurdistan’s Sept. 25 independence referendum. 

referendum

Photo from NRT TV.

IRAQI KURDISTAN: Mobilize for Peace Now!

CPTnet
16 October 2017
IRAQI KURDISTAN: Mobilize for Peace Now!

On October 16, 2017, fighting broke out between Iraqi and Iranian militaries against the Iraqi Kurdistan forces along a new frontline in the oil-rich town district of Kirkuk. Reports of the violent clashes as well as the dead and wounded have reached across the globe. This is only the most recent escalation in violence and sanctions against the people of Iraqi Kurdistan.

The effects of decades of war can be felt deeply throughout Iraqi Kurdistan while the region is still engaged in a battle against ISIS. Bombs and mortars still hit mountain villages in border areas where a thirty-year war continues to rage on between armed Kurdish fighters and the neighboring governments of Turkey and Iran. The landscape is dotted with camps housing people who fled war against ISIS while Iraqi Kurdistan is in the midst of a dire economic crisis drastically impacting its citizens. Memories of a lifetime of wars and sanctions live within the people of Iraqi Kurdistan. Saddam Hussein’s campaign of genocide alone killed more than a 100,000 Kurdish civilians.

On September 25, 2017 the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan held a referendum to separate from Iraq. The outcome was an overwhelming majority voting for an independent Kurdistan. Since then, talks between the Kurdistan Regional Government and the governments of Iraq, Turkey and Iran have been focused on the timing and legitimacy of the referendum. Foreign troops have mobilized along borders of Iraqi Kurdistan as war drums echo loudly.

Iraqi forces armoured cars in Kirkuk
            Iraqi forces advance on Kirkuk, photo: dw.com / Getty Images/AFP/A. Al-Rubaye

IRAQI KURDISTAN: In the lead-up to the referendum on independence Iranian rockets severely injure a mother of a five-year-old, burn fields and damage houses in Bine Rashkin

CPTnet
9 October 2017
IRAQI KURDISTAN: In the lead-up to the referendum on independence Iranian rockets severely injure a mother of a five-year-old, burn fields and damage houses in Bine Rashkin

by Julie Brown

On 23 September, just two days before Iraqi Kurdistan's scheduled referendum on independence from Iraq, Iranian military fired rockets at Bine Rashkin, a village sitting near the Iranian border in the Sidakan district of Iraqi Kurdistan. Kak Rashad, a CPT partner from a nearby village called CPT during the shelling saying, “Iran is dropping bombs everywhere. It is close to the houses and everything is on fire.”

Four days later, CPT visited the area with Rashad as our guide. He explained to us that one woman was badly wounded and in critical condition in the hospital and offered to take us to her house.

When we arrived at the woman’s home, kak Idris Saadi, a family member, told us about the bombardment of the 23rd and the the woman’s condition. She had been home with her five-year-old son when the attack took place. A shell landed about five meters from her home and the blast blew out all the windows and sent shrapnel tearing through the house. The woman was severely injured as shrapnel and glass from the explosion lodged within her body along one side

Damaged house from Iranian rocket
House impacted by the explotion of Iranian rocket, CPT-Iraqi Kurdistan