NGOs in Kurdistan : Protest against arms deal Russia – Bagdad

ERBIL-Hewlêr, Kurdistan  – 22.10.2012 –  – NGOs members gathered before the Russian consulate in Erbil, demanding the postponement of the arms deals with the Iraqi central government till further notice.

Head of the gathering Othman Bey said, in a press statement, that “we handed over a letter to the Russian consulate stating that the Iraqi people does not need arms, but services”. He called the consulate to cancel the deals till Iraqi premier Nouri al-Maliki is replaced by another, or to be postponed till further notice. An organizer of the gathering told Aswat al-Iraq that “NGOs believe that the central government is oppressing the people”.

“It should concentrate on the services and security instead of wasting public funds for un-clear arms deals”, he elaborated.

Iraqi premier Maliki visited Moscow at the beginning of this month, where military contracts were signed with an amount of more than 4 billion dollars.  In the Czech Republic, Maliki made an additional purchase of 28 L-159 jets for $1 billion. Some of Iraq’s neighbors and the Kurdish president Massoud Barzani, have said they are worried about Baghdad acquiring the arms. “I feel Kurdistan’s future is in severe danger because of (Maliki),” Barzani said in April 2012. “American F-16 (jets) should not reach the hands of this man (Maliki).” Barzani alleged that Maliki had discussed using F-16s against Kurdistan region during a meeting with Iraqi military officers. The central government and the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region have long-running disputes over political autonomy, oil rights and contested territories.