Kiwis in Iraq cut adrift




 
--
Boots
 
July 23rd, 2005  
chewie_nz
 

Topic: Kiwis in Iraq cut adrift


Kiwis in Iraq cut adrift
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."


http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3354603a10,00.html
July 23rd, 2005  
KC72
 
 
if thats true it`s well out of order.
July 23rd, 2005  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KC72
if thats true it`s well out of order.
How so?
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.
--
Boots
July 24th, 2005  
Missileer
 
 
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.
July 24th, 2005  
chewie_nz
 
this is the crux of it,

Quote:
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
July 24th, 2005  
Locke
 
 
hmmm, so tempted to post pictures of sheep
July 24th, 2005  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Locke
hmmm, so tempted to post pictures of sheep
You can post them next to the picture of an underarm cricket bowler and we will call it ANZAC if you like.



July 24th, 2005  
Locke
 
 
LOL
lovely call
July 24th, 2005  
chewie_nz
 
sorry for the confusion....thats my new sig