Thursday, June 9, 2011

Syria: Kurdish activists call for mass Friday protests

Erbil, June 9 (AKnews) - Kurdish activists in Syria are calling on the country's Kurds to take to the streets for what they have dubbed the "Friday of Tribes" – in a show of solidarity with anti-government protestors across the country.Demonstration in syria

The Syrian protests, calling for an end to the Baath party's 40 year rule, have gained momentum over the past three months despite the government's aggressive and internationally-condemned crackdown.

The Federation of Syrian-Kurdish Youth Movements issued a statement today urging all components of Syria's population; Kurds and Arabs; Christians, Muslims and tribal factions, to stage "massive and effective demonstrations on the Friday of Tribes" in solidarity with "our people in Hamat, Der al-Zur and all other Syrian cities".

"The Baath regime is still dealing with the peaceful popular uprising with unprecedented, indiscriminate cruelty and violence," the statement reads, "with no exceptions being made for women and children".

The statement calls at the same time on the protestors to "be disciplined and committed to national interests".

Rights groups report that around 1,300 people have been killed in the government's crackdown on dissent so far, and more than 10,000 arbitrarily arrested.

Reports from either side are virtually impossible to verify as the government has imposed a ban on all foreign media in Syria.

On Tuesday, three of Syria's 12 Kurdish parties announced that they would join in the protests calling for an end to the despotic rule of the Assad family - the first official instance of Kurdish parties expressing their support for the uprising.

Over the past few weeks, thousands of Kurds in the north east of the country have taken to the streets in protest against the Syrian regime.

Last week, Britain and France submitted a draft bill to the UN's Security Council that strongly condemns the Syrian government's use of violence against the protestors.

Although it is not expected to contain recommendations of military intervention, the draft is believed to be a bid to generate enough support in the 15-member council to prevent major opponents to UN action in Syria - Russia and China - to veto the resolution.
Written by Raber Y. Aziz - reported by Abdullah Sabri (AKnews) – edited by Karl Allen

09/06/2011 15:26

Protest inevitable response to "bloated government"

Erbil, June 9 (AKnews) – Iraq is set to be rocked by more mass protests as the "bloated' government adds to its "unmet promises". This is the warning from Erbil based independent think tank, Pird (bridge) Research Centre.

abdorahmad sadiq
Head of the organization, Abdurrahman Saddiq, pulls no punches in his counsel to the government in Baghdad.

He said today in an interview with AKnews that demonstrations are likely to "explode on the streets" once more in Iraq as the people realize that Nouri al-Maliki's government is based on promises he made to political parties rather than the needs of the country.

Saddiq argues that the prime minister's 43-point program (targets for the next four years, laid out on the formation of the coalition government in December) is nothing but a fiction, and that it will never be implemented.

The Iraqi government is a "lumbering train of a cabinet", said Saddiq, referring to the swollen size of the 42 ministry government. Maliki created numerous posts to "satisfy those parties that he had promised positions to for supporting him in keeping his job"

"It was not because the country needed all those ministries. It should have been an expected consequence that the government would not be quick in decision-making or performing its tasks"

In response to the questions about the likelihood of a new outbreak of protests as a result of the end of the prime minister's 100-day deadline last Tuesday he said "Yes – Maliki has set targets that it is nearly impossible to even hit part of it, let alone all of them"

Maliki was only able to implement a small portion of his 34-point program in his 2006-2010 term, said Saddiq. He pointed to his failure to execute article 140 of the Iraqi constitution - which provides for compensation for Kurds persecuted by Saddam and a referendum of the extension of the Kurdish autonomous region – as a case in point.

Protests broke out in February following disgruntlement with corruption, the lack of basic services and unemployment in the country.

According to Transparency International's 2010 perception of corruption index, Iraq is the world's 4th most corrupt country after Sudan, Myanmar and Afghanistan.

by Raber Y. Aziz, reporting by Sarbaz Salih

09/06/2011 15:26