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Mr. Allawi Denies the Presence of Israelis in Kurdistan

Michel-B˘le Richard and Mouna Na´m, Le Monde


July 26, 2004 -

"There's the Mossad" and "humanitarian organizations", a Turkmen Front leader asserts.

On Saturday July 24, for the second time in forty-eight hours, Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi formally denied the intelligence which alleges Israeli agents are in Iraqi Kurdistan. "There are no Israelis in Iraq. I formally deny these rumors," Mr. Allawi declared at a Damascus press conference in the company of his Syrian counterpart, Naji Al-Otri. He had already made a declaration to this effect Thursday in Cairo after a meeting with President Hosni Mubarak. "Iraq will never allow its territory to be used against its Muslim and Arab brothers- and- will put itself at the region's service - to contribute to establishing peace, stability, and progress there," he said.

The same day, during a meeting in the Egyptian capital with his counterparts from Iraq's neighboring countries (Turkey, Iran, Syria, Jordan, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia), Iraqi Foreign Affairs Minister Hoshyar Zibari invited the others to "send experts on the ground to observe that no Israeli person, institution, or company is present in northern Iraq." According to the head of Egyptian diplomacy, Ahmed Abu Al-Gha´th, all the meeting's participants, especially the Iranian and Turkish ministers, had expressed "great anxiety" with regard to an eventual Israeli presence in the north of the former Mesopotamia.

"Commando Training"

In an article drawn from several highly placed sources that was published in June, American journalist Seymour Hersh reported in The New Yorker ( http://www.uruknet.info/?p=3694 )., that "Israel military and intelligence service agents are working quietly in Kurdistan, where they assure the training of Kurdish commando units and (...) conduct secret operations in the Kurdish zones of Iran and Syria."

"They operate undercover as businessmen and some of them don't carry Israeli passports," he added, detailing that the Israeli embassy in Washington's spokesperson swept all these details away as "quite simply wrong," while Iraqi Kurdish officials on the one hand and an American State Department spokesperson on the other have refused to comment. Finally, "an important CIA official has acknowledged (...) that there were in fact Israelis in Kurdistan" and that their presence "was widely recognized within the American intelligence community."

In Mosul, Iraq's northern metropolis, there are many who have no doubt about the Israeli presence in Kurdistan. "Of course there are Israelis in Kurdistan. Everybody knows it. There's the Mossad, but also humanitarian organizations, especially in the Christian village of Ain Kava, near Erbil. They collaborate in every way, especially in de-mining, medical assistance, and intelligence," asserts Sabah Mahmoud, of the Iraqi Turkmen Front.

"The Kurds themselves say there are Israelis there," declares Nourredine Al-Hiali, of the Iraqi Islamic Party. The Israelis want "to divide Iraq and encourage the Kurds to become independent. There are many Jewish Kurds in Israel. That's why there's cooperation," he adds. "That isn't anything new, but goes back to the time of Kurdistan Democratic Party head Massoud Barzani's father. Since 1991 - after the imposition of a protection zone for the Kurds in a part of Kurdistan by the countries allied Saddam Hussein's regime - they can come back more easily. Last week, five vehicles of Israelis were intercepted on the Jordanian border. The Kurds themselves acknowledge that they have a relationship with Israel. It hasn't been a secret for a long time."

Abdel Ghani Ali Yahyadou, a KDP member, for his part, says he hasn't "seen any Israelis. However," he clarifies, "there are Kurds with Jewish mothers who emigrated to Israel and are coming back. Why? I don't know. What I do know is that the Turks have warned Israel not to intervene in Kurdistan. I don't say there are no spies, but they're not in the police or army schools. Israeli spies' networks have survived throughout Iraq. Fourteen spies were hung in 1968."


:: Article nr. 4360 sent on 27-jul-2004 19:48 ECT


Link: www.truthout.org/docs_04/072704H.shtml

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