Tag Archives: Iraq war

Where to Bury Iraq Nuclear and Toxic Waste

Arabian Desert.  image from Wikipedia. Iraq's desert is part of Arabian desert. In this image the yellow line  indicates the ecosystem and the black lines the national boundaries .

Most of the Iraq’s vast deposits of radioactive materials are a legacy of the turbulent regime of former leader Saddam Hussein, and have built up over the last four decades. Other toxic materials can be found in the country’s graveyards of contaminated industrial equipment“The parliament has decided to study the situation again after other provinces [including Dhi Qar] rejected such decision,” said Yahya al-Nasiri, governor of the southern Dhi Qar province.

“The proposals suggest burying the waste outside the country or in the desert...Asked if there are other ways to dispose of the waste, he said “it could possibly be buried in the sea using special containers or be sent to countries willing to take it, in exchange for money.”

While Nasiri said other provinces have rejected a similar request, Dhi Qar’s provincial council voted against the Iraqi parliament’s proposal in early July 2015 to use some of the southern province’s land as a burial site for the radioactive pollutants coming from all other provinces of the country.  Dhi Qar’s health and environment committee head Abdulamir Salim at the time slammed the proposal and said it posed a “real threat to the health and security of the province’s citizens.”..

An official Iraqi study in 2010 found more than 40 sites across the country that were contaminated with high levels or radiation and dioxins.  Iraq “without doubt” suffers from these radioactive pollutants inherited from “continuous wars” starting in the 1980s Iraqi-Iran war to the Gulf War in 1990s till 2003, when the United States used highly advanced weapons - including depleted uranium - in its efforts to topple Hussein’s regime, the governor lamented....However, it is not only war-produced pollutants that harm people’s health in Iraq – in addition, there is a lack of quality controls imposed on imported goods.  Radioactive material is also “the result of imports of car parts from Japan to the province,” he added....Areas around Iraqi cities such as Najaf, Basra and Fallujah accounted for more than 25 percent of the contaminated sites, with the southern city of Basra – the frontline during Iran-Iraq war and the Gulf War – having 11 sites, according to the 2010 study.

The study, carried out by the environment, health and science ministries found that scrap metal yards in and around the capital Baghdad and Basra contain high levels of ionizing radiation, which is thought to come from depleted uranium used in munitions during the first Gulf war and since the 2003 invasion.  “The U.S. army unfortunately caused an increase in these radioactive material by using uranium and its advanced arms that use a lot of harmful radioactive material,” Nasiri said. “But the U.S. army did not help nor support our projects to get rid of these pollutants.”

Excerpts from Dina al-Shibeeb, Iraq studying new plan on where to bury radioactive waste, says official, Al Arabiya News, July 18, 2015

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How to Build an Independent State: Kurdistan

Large oil field near the city of Kirkuk

Kurdish peshmerga forces are said to have seized control of production facilities at the Bai Hassan and Kirkuk oil fields in the north of the country.Kurdish MPs have also withdrawn from Iraq's central government.  They did so after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki accused the Kurds of harbouring extremists.  Kurdish forces have moved into areas of north-western Iraq abandoned by the Iraqi army during the advance of Islamist insurgents led by the Isis (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) group over the past month...

The Kurds have since declared plans to hold a referendum on independence in the areas seized, escalating tensions with Iraq's central authorities.  In a statement on Friday, the Iraqi oil ministry condemned the seizure of oil refineries, adding that they expected Kurdish fighters to "support security forces in confronting terrorist groups rather than using the conditions to raid and occupy oil fields".  Reuters news agency said a senior source within the Kurdistan Regional Government had confirmed the takeover.

The unnamed source said they had been "forced to act to protect Iraq's infrastructure after learning of attempts by Iraq oil ministry officials to sabotage it"....The two oilfields are said to have a combined daily output capacity of some 400,000 barrels per day, AFP quotes a ministry spokesman as saying.

The Kurdish minority in Iraq managed to establish an autonomous region in the north in 2005 after decades of political and military efforts to seek self-rule...Leader of the Kurdish region of Iraq Massoud Barzani: "The goal of Kurdistan is independence"

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari, who is himself a Kurdish politician, told Reuters news agency on Friday that the Kurdish political bloc had suspended all day-to-day government business after Mr Maliki's remarks.  He said the country risked division if an inclusive government was not formed soon, adding: "The country is now divided literally into three states - Kurdish, a black state [Isis] and Baghdad."

Iraq conflict: Kurds seize two oilfields in north, BBC, Juy 12, 2014

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