About Kiwis in Iraq cut adrift
|July 23rd, 2005||#1|
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Kiwis in Iraq cut adrift info
23 July 2005
By OSKAR ALLEY and HAYDON DEWES
Kiwis working in Iraq have been stripped of vital security protection in a move some fear is retribution for New Zealand's refusal to support the American-led war.
But the Government disputes it has been snubbed by the United States and will not intervene. It has repeated warnings that Kiwis should not be in Iraq and that those who go should expect little help if in trouble.
An estimated 1000 New Zealand civilians are helping to rebuild the war-torn nation, working in an extremely dangerous environment with suicide bombings, gunfights and kidnappings.
Until this month all non-military Westerners have been protected by the American-led forces, with guaranteed medical evacuations and entry rights to military bases in emergencies. Identity cards issued by the US Defence Department also allow civilians direct passage at military checkpoints.
With suicide bombers regularly targeting the checkpoints in attacks, not having to queue at them is vital.
More than 1000 Western civilians have been killed in Iraq, including Kiwi engineer John Tyrrell, shot in Kirkuk in May 2004.
But New Zealand civilians in Baghdad have been stripped of their identity cards and security privileges.
One told The Dominion Post that the downgrade was disgraceful. "New Zealand has made a tremendous effort for its size, as usual, but to be treated like this, and dismissed as irrelevant and third rate is insulting to all Kiwis," he said. "We are open to vastly increased risk from suicide bombers and car bombs. The Kiwis here are in huge danger now and we're supposed to be an ally."
The Government refused to join the "coalition of the willing" but contributed at least $25 million - $15 million in aid and $10 million in sending 61 defence staff for rebuilding work.
American authorities had now issued New Zealanders with multinational force identity cards - which were colour-coded, depending on whether the recipient's country supported the war effort, the New Zealander said. Countries that had supported the war, including Australians, had retained the security protections.
"There is a huge number of Kiwis here, doing jobs ranging from convoy protection (the highest risk) to personal protection teams, training Iraqi police, and a lot of ex-SAS guys.
"The only conclusion we can draw is that it's payback for New Zealand's failure to join the war. The Yanks have done it to South Africans and the Swedish too."
The Foreign Affairs Ministry continues to advise New Zealanders against being in Iraq, citing an ongoing "dangerous and violent" situation.
The New Zealander said he and his compatriots knew they were "on our own" but believed the Government should be appalled at the treatment and should intervene, given its significant contribution to Iraq.
Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff said New Zealand was recognised for its contributions but had no hand in deciding policy in Iraq. The Government would not be asking the US for an explanation.
"We'd look funny if we were lobbying to have cards given to people that we've given the strongest possible advice not to go there," he said. "We're not part of the multinational force, therefore we don't get the privileges of being part of the multinational force."
He was not aware of any request from New Zealanders in Iraq for assistance, nor had any registered their presence there.
The US embassy in Wellington was unable yesterday to confirm with Centcom - the US Central Command post for the Middle East - what the situation was. However, it said in a statement: "We believe the distinction is between contractors working directly for their own country's armed forces in Iraq and third-country contractors who are not employed by their country's armed forces.
"We believe the former are generally given the same local privileges as uniformed personnel, not only in Iraq but elsewhere around the world. Third-country contract personnel generally are not, whether in Iraq or elsewhere."
|July 23rd, 2005||#3|
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I tend to work on the principle that people are there at their own risk if they are not prepared to take those risks then pack up and leave.
If the authorities are not prepared to provide protection and you choose to stay then its at your own risk.
We are more often treacherous through weakness than through calculation. ~Francois De La Rochefoucauld
|July 24th, 2005||#4|
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Especially when told by their own Government that they are on their own when it comes to security. The US is stretched pretty thin trying to protect themselves. I suggest that the civilians take their complaints to their own officials and lay it at their doorstoop. Either that or convince them to commit troops instead of griping about the US.
“War is an ugly thing but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse.”
—John Stuart Mill
|July 24th, 2005||#5|
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this is the crux of it,
|July 24th, 2005||#6|
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hmmm, so tempted to post pictures of sheep
If I am asked what we are fighting for, I can reply in two sentences. In the first place, to fulfil a solemn international obligation . . . an obligation of honor which no self-respecting man could possibly have repudiated. I say, secondly, we are fighting to vindicate the principle that small nationalities are not to be crushed in defiance of international good faith at the arbitrary will of a strong and overmastering Power.
Author: Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry Asquith
Source: Statement, to House of Commons, Declaration of War with Germany, Aug. 4, 1914
|July 24th, 2005||#7|
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