09/20/2004, 00.00
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Kurdish leader: the 3 young men decapitated were just students

by Bernardo Cervellera
The West must not be afraid of terrorism.  Iraq must be helped to hold its elections.
Paris (AsiaNews) - The three young Kurdish men whose decapitation yesterday could be viewed on the Ansar al-Sunna site were not soldiers, but simple students.  This is what Saywan Barzani, who represents the Kurdish government in Europe, declared to AsiaNews.  Terror "aims to plunge us all in world of darkness"; governments of the west must not give in to fear.  Barzani asks that those who do not want to send soldiers to Iraq help in other ways: by training Iraqi soldiers, by helping "in the field of intelligence and in putting pressure on those countries of the area that support terrorists".  Pointing his finger at Sunni Baathist factions that want to destabilize Iraq, Barzani stresses the need for elections, on which the Iraqi government's full legitimacy depends.  Dictatorships and authoritarian countries in the region are in fact aiming at destroying such legitimacy.  In expressing his hopes that Simona Torretta and Simona Pari are freed, Balzani expresses the hope that Europe is spared the "barbarity of kidnappings and decapitations".  Here is the interview he granted to AsiaNews. Who are the Kurds who were decapitated yesterday? According to the terrorists, the young Kurdish men were soldiers, but according to our information, they were students who had recently gone to Baghdad to sign up for university.  They were young men between the ages of 18 and 20.  And they were executed as spies of the Americans.  They had done nothing.  Their only "fault" was to be Kurdish and to have been from the Zakho region.  In that region, the Kurdistan Democratic Party enjoys majority support, but these young men were just students. What explains such violence against the Kurds? There's more: some days ago, in the city of Kanaqin, whose inhabitants are mainly Kurdish, a grounp of policemen were on their way to Jordan for a training program.  A vehicle pulled alongside their bus and asked where they were from.  When Kanaqin was mentioned, those in the car began firing on the bus and 12 policemen were killed.  There are various reasons for violence against the Kurds: first of all, it is the only stable area in Iraq and there are those who want to destabilize it, like the rest of the country; furthermore, the Kurds are considered allies of the West and for this reason they are targetted for elimination.  But in all truth, this slaughter, this anti-Kurdish chauvinism reveals who is behind this violence: the old nationalistic Baathists, Arabs, who in the past, under Saddam Hussein, killed hundreds of thousands of Kurds, at least 200,000 people. The more Western governments look at the situation in Iraq, the more they think of turning away... I wonder if there is a single country in the civilized world that can accept the barbarity that exists in Iraq...All this violence keeps the economy from taking off and hits the enterprises of other countries: their citizens are kidnapped too.  But instead of being afraid, the West should put pressure on those countries who support terrorism, those countries that send kamikazes, that open their borders so that Iraq is invaded by these kamikazes.  Intelligence services must be coordinated among Iraq, Europe, the United States to be able to eradicate this problem of global proportions.  Terrorism risks plunging us all in a world of darkness.  I hope that the barbarity of kidnappings and decapitations does not reach Europe.  On my part, I hope that the two kidnapped women, Simona Torretta and Simona Pari, can return home safe and sound.  And that all hostages are freed... Is not a stronger military presence needed in Iraq? Certainly, and those who wish not to send troops could at least help to train ours, or could give support through political action.  Countries like Germany can help in the field of intelligence and by putting pressure on those countries in the region that support terrorists.  After all, these terrorists have their bases, their internet sites, sources of financing, media help in Europe.  There is much to be done and everyone can do their part even without sending troops in a direct way. Will it be possible to hold elections in January 2005? We all hope so.  But greater security is needed and the return of deportees must be guaranteed. The Baathist policy was to deport the Kurdish population and replace it was Arab (Sunni) immigrants.  As long as the Arab colonies remain in Kurdistan, it was be difficult to organize elections:  Kurds must be allowed to return to their land.  For the census to be accurate, a minimum level of security is needed in the Arab areas as well.  Without security, evacuees will not be able to return to Fallujia or Baquba. Following elections, no one will be able to say -- as the Arab press and Al Jazeera is doing -- that the Iraqi government has no legitimacy and is not representative.  Actually, it is already the most representative government in the Arab world because it includes members from every ethnic, religious and political group.  Yet, the dictatorships and the authoritarian governments of the region continue to say that the Iraqi government is not legitimate.  When there was Saddam, with tanks defending the centre of power and only one community represented, that was a legitimate government.  Now that everyone is represented, they say "it's not legitimate".  Elections are essential so that the government can work in complete legitimacy and security.
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See also
Carnage at US base in Mosul, 22 dead and more than 60 injured
Militant group claims responsibility for killing two hostages
Bishop of Baghdad: "I share in your pain, but don't back down against terrorism"
Baathists go home from Italy to vote
Violence escalates as elections approach


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