Washington Post: Kurds rule roughshod in Kirkuk
Iraq, Politics, 6/15/2005
The Washington Post reported today that "Police and security units, forces led by Kurdish political parties and backed by the U.S. military, have abducted hundreds of minority Arabs and Turkmens in this intensely volatile city and spirited them to prisons in Kurdish-held northern Iraq, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials, government documents and families of the victims."
The Washington Post report said "Seized off the streets of Kirkuk or in joint U.S.-Iraqi raids, the men have been transferred secretly and in violation of Iraqi law to prisons in the Kurdish cities of Irbil and Sulaymaniyah, sometimes with the knowledge of U.S. forces. The detainees, including merchants, members of tribal families and soldiers, have often remained missing for months; some have been tortured, according to released prisoners and the Kirkuk police chief."
The report said "A confidential State Department cable, obtained by The Washington Post and addressed to the White House, Pentagon and U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, said the 'extra-judicial detentions' were part of a 'concerted and widespread initiative' by Kurdish political parties 'to exercise authority in Kirkuk in an increasingly provocative manner.'"
The Washington Post report quotes the US document as saying: The abductions have "greatly exacerbated tensions along purely ethnic lines."
Abdel-Rahman, the Kurdish governor of Kirkuk province, said he was "concerned that the Americans were being duped by the Kurds, who he said have cloaked what is effectively a power grab as a crackdown on the insurgents. Their strategy, he said, is to bolster their alliance with the Americans," The Washington Post reported.
The Washington Post report quotes a man whose two sons had been seized where one of them was turtured and the other his status unknown "Tomorrow, I could recruit the entire tribe..I could block the street in Kirkuk and kidnap 40 Kurds. When you lose patience, you can do anything."
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