Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. Military Space News .




IRAQ WARS
Iraqi town caught in middle of territory row
by Staff Writers
Tuz Khurmatu, Iraq (AFP) Jan 02, 2013


Iraq and Britain discuss prisoner swap
Baghdad (AFP) Jan 2, 2013 - Baghdad and London are discussing a prisoner transfer deal that could see a British security guard convicted of murder in Iraq serve the remainder of his sentence in his home country, officials said.

Justice Minister Hassan al-Shammari has been invited to London to finalise and sign a memorandum of understanding over the transfer of convicts between the two countries, and while the deal would not solely affect Danny Fitzsimons, he would be a key beneficiary.

Fitzsimons became the first Western contractor to be convicted of a crime by an Iraqi court when he was sentenced to life in prison, equivalent to 20 years in jail under Iraqi law, in February 2011 for killing a Briton and an Australian in Baghdad's heavily-fortified Green Zone in August 2009.

"The British are insisting to make an agreement with Iraq, to take Danny Fitzsimons," justice ministry spokesman Haidar al-Saadi told AFP.

"We received an invitation from the (British) ambassador to go there and sign the agreement."

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a British diplomat told AFP that the deal was "not targeted at any specific individual, but that's not to say he (Fitzsimons) won't benefit from it."

Fitzsimons, a former British soldier who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, had insisted throughout his trial that he had acted in self-defence during an alcohol-fuelled brawl.

He told the court in west Baghdad that fellow Briton Paul McGuigan and Australian Darren Hoare had burst into his room and pinned him down before pointing an M4 rifle at his face, prompting him to use his pistol to kill them. He also wounded an Iraqi guard before being detained.

Fitzsimons was the first Westerner to be tried in Iraq following the US-led invasion of 2003.

Foreign security contractors had not been subject to Iraqi law until the beginning of 2009, when a security agreement between the United States and Iraq lifted their immunity.

Butcher Sherzad Saleh stands outside his shop in Tuz Khurmatu holding a dead chicken. He has more pressing concerns than a high-level dispute over territory.

"The army comes here, this is my job; the peshmerga come here, this is my job," says Saleh.

He means forces from the federal government and from the autonomous Kurdistan region deployed in disputed areas of north Iraq, including near Tuz Khurmatu, during recent periods of high tension between the two sides.

"I am not with the army or the peshmerga," he says. "We want services, electricity, projects."

But top federal and Kurdish politicians have other priorities.

Whatever people like Saleh may wish for, Tuz Khurmatu, a town of low-rise buildings, palm trees and around 110,000 residents, is in a swathe of territory Kurdistan wants to incorporate into its autonomous region over Baghdad's strong objections.

Diplomats and officials believe this dispute over territory is the greatest threat to Iraq's long-term stability.

The establishment in September of the federal Tigris Operations Command, which covers disputed northern territory, drew an angry response from Kurdish leaders and increased tensions with the federal government.

Then on November 16, a firefight broke out during an attempt by Iraqi forces to arrest a Kurdish man in the town.

One person was killed and others were wounded, further worsening relations between Baghdad and Kurdistan as both sides deployed reinforcements.

The crisis, which Iraq's parliament speaker warned could lead to civil war, has since eased, but the dispute over territory remains unresolved.

For the people of Tuz Khurmatu, simmering tensions between Baghdad and Kurdistan cause fear and are also bad for business.

The "army came, and the peshmerga came; the people are afraid" and business suffered, Saleh says.

"We do not want a war to happen. There is killing in war, it would affect our circumstances... our work would stop," says grocer Hisham Fateh Hamid.

-- Mixed identities --

Tuz Khurmatu is a town of mixed identities, a fact emphasised by its flags -- massive Kurdish flags are emblazoned on hills to its east, Iraqi federal flags fly over official buildings and police checkpoints, and countless banners marking the death of a revered Shiite imam flutter from houses.

Many residents are Turkmen Shiites, hence the banners venerating Imam Ali, but Tuz Khurmatu also has Kurdish and Arab populations.

Despite their mixed ethnicities, the people say the dispute between the Kurdish region and the Arab-dominated government in Baghdad has not caused problems between residents.

"There's no difference between Turkmen or Arabs or Kurds," says Saleh, a Kurd.

Shakir Ahmed, an Arab owner of a grocery shop, agrees, saying that "no tension has occurred between citizens."

But Tuz Khurmatu is caught in the middle anyway: Kurdish peshmerga forces are deployed on the hills east of the town, and Iraqi soldiers man checkpoints and reinforced positions to the south.

Then there is a multiplicity of security forces inside Tuz Khurmatu -- local police, Iraqi federal police, Iraqi soldiers and Kurdish forces.

Territorial tensions are not the only issue in Tuz Khurmatu. There are also seemingly sectarian attacks, part of a broader problem across Iraq, in which Shiites are frequently targeted in bombings by Sunni militants.

On December 17, two car bombs exploded in a Turkmen area of the town, killing five people and wounding 26.

Hamdi Ibrahim Samin's wife was wounded in the head by one of the blasts which also smashed his house.

An entire wall that used to hold a door has also been blown away, and a few meagre belongings including a fan and two worn benches are piled amid the rubble.

"Nothing remains," Samin says, as water from a broken pipe flows down a narrow street past other wrecked buildings near his home.

What Tuz Khurmatu ultimately needs, according to Shalal Baban, the administrative official responsible for the district, is development, not more military men and materiel.

"We currently need projects, construction," he says, noting the lack of even basic services such as clean drinking water.

"We don't need tanks, troop transports, armoured vehicles or planes," Baban says. "We need projects."

.


Related Links
Iraq: The first technology war of the 21st century






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





IRAQ WARS
Iraqi town caught in middle of territory row
Tuz Khurmatu, Iraq (AFP) Jan 02, 2013
Butcher Sherzad Saleh stands outside his shop in Tuz Khurmatu holding a dead chicken. He has more pressing concerns than a high-level dispute over territory. "The army comes here, this is my job; the peshmerga come here, this is my job," says Saleh. He means forces from the federal government and from the autonomous Kurdistan region deployed in disputed areas of north Iraq, including nea ... read more


IRAQ WARS
NATO to deploy Patriots in Turkey over next few weeks

U.S. seeks double Israel missile funding

NATO chief denounces Iran's allegations on Patriots

Russia shuts down Azerbaijan radar station: Baku

IRAQ WARS
Thatcher 'warned France to cut off Exocets in Falklands war'

Raytheon awarded $254.6 million for Tomahawk missile

NATO says Syria regime firing 'Scud-style missiles'

Raytheon awarded contract for SM-2 production

IRAQ WARS
Elbit Systems Israel Ministry of Defense Approximately $315 Million

Japan mulls US spy drones for marine surveillance: report

Autonomous Landing Hazard Avoidance Technology

US drone strike kills four in Pakistan: officials

IRAQ WARS
China opens its version of GPS to public

Raytheon's US Navy satellite terminals reach Full Rate Production milestone

General Dynamics' 30,000th Combat Search and Rescue Radio Goes to Work for USAF

Europe launches major British military satellite

IRAQ WARS
Fused Reality: Blending Reality and Simulation

Russia may soon draft new law on military service for women

Supacat opens Australian design facility

NGC Provides Attitude Heading Reference For Sikorsky's S-76D Helicopter

IRAQ WARS
Pentagon welcomes fiscal deal, warns against cuts

US military braces for sweeping budget cuts

Saudi mulls German tank deal: report

Arabian monarchies to set up joint military command

IRAQ WARS
Outside View: 10, 9, 8, 7 ..........?

Outside View: Secrets in Ramallah tomb?

Erdogan touts TANAP for Europe security

New York Times says reporter forced to leave China

IRAQ WARS
Britain to fund graphene research efforts

Synthetic and biological nanoparticles combined to produce new metamaterials

Nanocrystals Not Small Enough to Avoid Defects

Nature Materials Study: Boosting Heat Transfer With Nanoglue




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement