PUK declares war on Kurdish communists.

Green Left Parramatta glparramatta at SPAMgreenleft.org.au
Tue Aug 1 16:36:44 MDT 2000


Declaration of war from the PUK
KurdishMedia.com – 1 Aug 2000

(Translated from Gernman: junge Welt, 01 August 2000, By Nick Brauns)

PUK attacks Workers Communist Party in Iraqi Kurdistan; call for urgent
action from Amnesty International

The human rights group Amnesty International has issued an urgent appeal
in
order to save the lives of members of the Workers Communist Party of
Iraq
(WCP-I). The party, which is active in northern Iraq, was attacked by
armed
groups of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), which dominates the
region, and has been declared illegal.

In June, the PUK had cut off electricity and water to the offices of the
WCP-I in the regional capital of Suleymanieh, and had demanded that the
party abandon the city.  The justification for this action was that the
party was an “Iraqi” party, even though organized only in the Kurdish
areas
of the country. The WCP-I was also accused of maintaining an armed
force.
The fact is that the WCP-I, just as all the other large parties in South
Kurdistan, maintains a militia for self-defense purposes.

After WCP-I members demonstrated on 13 July in front of the Interior
Ministtry in Suleymanieh against the repression against them, dozens of
communists were arrested in various cities. One day later, PUK security
forces occupied the headquarters of the WCP-I.  Four leading members of
the
party were killed when the PUK fired upon a vehicle of the Center for
Women’
s Rights.  In addition, two cadre members of the Iranian branch of the
Workers Communists Party, who were in Suleymanieh to assist Iranian
refugees
there, were killed.  Another Iranian, wounded upon capture, is
threatened
with being turned over to Iran.

The PUK attacks have also been directed against the Independent Women’s
Organization, which is closely allied with the WCP-I; the President of
this
organization, Nasik Ahmad, was taken into custody.  The Center for
Women’s
Rights in Suleymanieh, which offered refuge to women persecuted by
Islamists, has been closed.

Three leading members of the WCP-I are being held as hostages in PUK
headquarters in order to force the other members of the party to depart
the
PUK-controlled territory, while 17 members of the WPC-I Executive
Committee
have been forced, along with their families, to vacate their homes in
Suleymanieh. The current whereabouts of many arrested members of the
party,
including many women, is unknown. Amnesty International fears that the
prisoners are being tortured.

The WCP-I, formed from four communist organizations in 1993, has made a
name
for itself in northern Iraq (“South Kurdistan”) for its work among the
unemployed and among women.  Since a section of the party is also active
in
Iran, the most recent attacks against the party could have been
instigated
by the regime in Tehran, which acts as a patron to the PUK. Since the
creation of the no-flight zone following the end of the Gulf War in
1991,
northern Iraq has with the concurrence of the USA been under the control
of
the two biggest Kurdish parties, the PUK and the Kurdistan Democatic
Party

(KDP).  Both of these parties have now declared war on the Kurdistan
Workers
Party (PKK), which has withdrawn its guerrilla units from Turkey into
northern Iraq. The PUK, which was earlier allied with the PKK, thereby
assured itself of support from both Washington and Ankara. The blows
dealt
to the WCP-I may also serve to provide a quieter background against
which
the PUK could launch a greater war against the PKK.





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