Cliff Kindy Iraq Blog

Current entries are related to Cliff Kindy's fourth Iraq trip, beginning in October 2007. The blog archives contains letters from Cliff's third Iraq trip in 2004-5.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

January 31, 2008, Letter

Dear Friends, Family and All Good People,

We have had lots of snow and rain the last few days here in the mountain bowl of Suleimaniya. There have been changes voted in the Iraqi flag, primarily because of concerns raised by Kurds. I have yet to see one of the new flags flying anywhere. I stopped at a tailor's shop two days ago and asked about it. He had one of the new flags draped over his counter, but when I asked whether Kurds would use it, he responded, "They are likely to fly the Kurdish flag with the new Iraqi flag if they use it."

Remember the roller coaster I mentioned Sunday? We are still riding it. Yesterday the one-month visa we had been granted was taken back. Instead the residency office told us to go buy tickets, then return to have our passports stamped with a seven-day exit visa. We have to go immediately. No one would say why or who ordered this deed. After lots of searching and asking questions of different levels in the Kurdish government, of Kurdish and international NGOs, and of US officials here in the KRG, we are 99% clear that the US government at some level has made this decision and asked the Kurdish officials to implement it.

Who? Probably the US State Department, but it could be the Hostage Working Group in the Baghdad Green Zone, FBI, or Department of Defense. Why? Would you like to venture some guesses? I suspect it is because we have been raising concerns about the US-supported bombing of Kurdish villages by Turkey. It may be something related to the kidnapping CPT went through about one year ago, although the Kurdish security forces who took the brunt of that have laid it behind them. As I said to the official at the Ministry of the Interior this morning, "Maybe the United States doesn't like one of my colleagues, Peggy, Anita or Michele."

CPT is working in Washington, DC, with legislators to uncover the appropriate agency and then try to get this action changed. This could be the end of CPT presence in Iraq for now. That would be sad because I feel our presence has been able to provide an important on-the-ground perspective of the US occupation of Iraq.

I will sign out of this letter and back in to paste in the Kurdish and Arabic translations of the Open Letter CPT sent to US officials to voice our concerns about the way the United States supported the Turkish bombing of Kurdish civilian villages.

Blessings of peace to your families and to your enemies!

Cliff Kindy


Blogger Murray Lumley said...

Hi Cliff:
You may know that Doug P. sent out a GITW message regarding your difficulties at getting visas to stay and the reasons. I read your blog and suspect you are correct. You four have touched a 'nerve in the Empire'. There is information about the Turkish bombing of Kurdish villages with U.S. intelligence support that the U.S. administration doesn't want its citizens to know about especially now during the 'Primaries' that are all in the news, even here in Canada. I think it would be embarrassing to know that the U.S. supports Turkish attacks on the part of Iraq - the Kurdish north that has been touted as the only success in the invasion and occupation of Iraq by U.S. forces. I think that the present Bush administration, whose polling numbers are in the basement, want to give the Republican contenders - McCain and Romney, the best possible chance in the November election. Betrayal of the only ally to come out of the Iraq war - the Kurds, may not go down well with U.S. voters should they find out - and you four, trying to get the information out, even lobbying your government, are a 'fly in the ointment'.
Even if you must leave, you've done an admirable job of ‘getting in the way’, and what you have uncovered may not be possible to keep covered - a candle on a hill.
May the Creator keep all of you safe and I am thinking of and praying for all the people you have met and described. Murray

12:13 PM  
Blogger Brennzn said...

Goodbye and HELLO. I am disappointed about the visa problems. Factual reports concerning Turkey are real. You were too close to the terrorists camps and USA didn't want to have to glue your heads to your necks and focus on an International political incident. I am happy CPT is alive and wanted for ...BRENNZN

11:41 PM  

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