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 2 May 2018 Iraqi Kurdistan

Prayers for Peacemakers 2 May 2018  Iraqi Kurdistan

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:LGBT_Flag_of_Kurdistan.svg

Pray for the LGBTQ+ community in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region. Pray for the safety of the community while they continue to struggle for their rights. Many LGBTQ+ community members receive death threats and face physical violence that can even result in loss of life. 
Pray for the transformation of the oppressive and violent situation in which they live. 

IRAQI KURDISTAN: They are killing us because we are Kurds.

 

A villager from Sarkan telling CPTers about the bombing by the Turkish warplanes 

They were four friends, two of them cousins: Bezhan Mustafa, Mohammad Ismail, Darbaz Mohammad and Sherko Mahmud. Two graduated from the college of law to become protectors of people through law, and two were Peshmergas (Kurdish soldiers).

On 21 March, they celebrated the festival of Newroz in a popular mountain valley together with thousands of others. Newroz celebrates the coming of a new year and commemorates the people's liberation from tyranny.

Prayers for Peacemakers, 28 March 2018 Kurdistan

Prayers for Peacemakers, 28 March 2018  Kurdistan

 

Pray for the family members of the four men who died in a Turkish airstrike following the Newroz celebration of freedom. Pray that the protests that spread again over Iraqi Kurdistan remain nonviolent and bring about the changes the people demand.  Pray that the world not remain silent against the recent Turkish military invasion into Iraqi Kurdistan that threatens the lives of many communities. 

 Iraqi Kurdistan’s six-months-long blockade has ended. The Iraqi authorities have finally lifted the ban on international flights to and from the region. The first airplanes from neighboring countries began landing again in the region’s capital Erbil. Sulaimani is still waiting for the reopening of flights.

At the same time, the Turkish military, encouraged by the silence and inactivity of the international community towards their bombardment and invasion of Syrian Afrin, which killed hundreds and forced over 150,000 people to flee their homes, invaded the border regions of Iraqi Kurdistan. Turkish ground forces are about fifteen miles deep within the Iraqi Kurdistan territory (Sidakan district), building bases and attacking armed groups. Farmers and shepherds, many of whom CPT partners with, are under great threat.

 On 21 March, Kurds and other people around the world celebrated Newroz, the coming of the New Year and the festival of liberation from tyranny. On the Newroz night Turkish fighter jets bombarded Sarkan village and killed four young men: Bezhan Mustafa, Mohammad Ismail, Darbaz Mohammad, Sherko Mahmud. Two of them were relatives of a close CPT friend. Our hearts are with their families and friends. 

This week, new anti-government protests spread around many towns and cities of Iraqi Kurdistan. Teachers, medical workers, and other government employees are asking for the government to pay their salaries. They march and gather in the public spaces and block roads. In the governorate of Sulaimani the security forces have taken on a peaceful, respectful approach even towards people who have set up tents and camp on a major road in front of the Sulaimani courthouse. We hope that the security forces’ attitude continues and the government hears and affirms the people’s demands. In other parts of Iraqi Kurdistan, the security forces have beaten and arrested people, including teachers and journalists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prayers for Peacemakers 21 February 2018 Kurdistan

Prayers for Peacemakers 21 February 2018   Kurdistan

Pray for the people living in Afrin, Syria as they face NATO backed Turkish bombings.  Pray that that the Kurdish people in Afrin face the invasion of their homeland with courage.  Pray for the wounded that flood local hospitals and the workers that treat them. 


   

Afrin is a newly formed canton known as Rojava, which is part of Democratic Federation of Northern Syria with a majority Kurdish population. It continues to be bombed by Erdogan, President of Turkey, who launched the Olive Branch Operation on 20 January 2018. Erdogan has claimed that his mission is to secure Turkey's borders from Kurdish militias and he plans to move the Turkish military to Manbaj, Syria after conquering Afrin and the rest of the newly formed Kurdish democratic region Rojava. This operation is bombing civilians and their livelihoods, wiping out hospitals, schools and homes. Recent reports indicate the use of toxic gas in Afrin, where six people have been hospitalized. Afrin Canton's population is more than 500,000 people and it hosts around 120,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who have fled the lengthy war in Syria.  Reports indicate that the Turkish invasion and bombing have resulted in the displacement of 17,000 people, numerous deaths and casualties as well as mass destruction that will require decades of rebuilding.  The people of Afrin have been seeking international solidarity to stop another war, while Syria has been struggling with a bloody and protracted war more than seven years. However, there has been too little response and all the international powers have turned a blind eye to the atrocities and the genocide that Erdogan is committing. We ask everyone to help the people of Afrin in these difficult times to stop another genocide and war in Rojava (The Kurdish Region of Syria).

Sign the CPT Iraqi-Kurdistan's petition to Stop the Attack on Afrin 

#AfrinNotAlone 

#TurkeyHandsOffAfrin 

#StopTurkeySaveAfrin

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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