Kurdish security using threats in bid to
oust Iraqi Arabs in Kirkuk: Official
October 2, 2010
KIRKUK, Iraq's border with Kurdistan region,
— Kurdish security forces in Kirkuk have threatened
to kill Arab residents if they do not leave the
northern Iraqi city ahead of a contentious
population census scheduled for later this month,
Iraqi officials said Friday.
The officials told the German Press Agency DPA that
Arab Sunnis and Shiites in the city were asked to
leave under the pretext that they were not native
residents of Kirkuk. When they refused to do so,
they were reportedly threatened.
"Dozens of Arabs have been threatened with death and
displacement for the past three days," said Rakan
al-Joubouri,www.ekurd.netthe deputy governor of Kirkuk.
He said threats were
being made by the Kurdistan Democratic Party Party
KDP and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan PUK.
A street at the heart of the city of Kirkuk
Abdullah Rifaat, a leading official of the Patriotic
Union of Kurdistan, denied the allegations. He said
the police and the Kurdish security forces had only
tried to encourage Arabs to register with the
Al-Joubouri nevertheless called on the Iraqi
government to intervene immediately and send troops
to protect the Arab and Turkmen populations of
Some officials believe the attempted evictions were
meant to coincide with the census, which is to be
conducted October 24.
The census had previously been postponed for a year
due to concerns that it would fuel sectarian and
ethnic tensions in the northern cities of Kirkuk and
Mosul. The last Iraqi general census was conducted
23 years ago.
Opponents of the census fear that its numbers could
be politicised in oil-rich areas where Arabs, Kurds
and Turkmen reside.
Kirkuk city is historically a Kurdish city and it
lies just south border of the Kurdistan autonomous region, the population is a
mix of majority Kurds and minority of Arabs,www.ekurd.net
Christians and Turkmen, lies 250 km northeast of
Baghdad. Kurds have a strong cultural and emotional
attachment to Kirkuk, which they call "the Kurdish
Jerusalem." Kurds see it as the rightful and
perfect capital of an autonomous Kurdistan state.
Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution is related to
the normalization of the situation in Kirkuk city
and other disputed areas through having back its
Kurdish inhabitants and repatriating the Arabs
relocated in the city during the former regime’s
time to their original provinces in central and
The article also calls for conducting a census to be
followed by a referendum to let the inhabitants
decide whether they would like Kirkuk to be annexed
to the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan region or having
it as an independent province.
The former regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein
had forced over 250,000 Kurdish residents to give up
their homes to Arabs in the 1970s, to "Arabize" the
city and the region's oil industry.
The last ethnic-breakdown census in Iraq was
conducted in 1957, well before Saddam began his
program to move Arabs to Kirkuk. That count showed
178,000 Kurds, 48,000 Turkomen, 43,000 Arabs and
10,000 Assyrian-Chaldean Christians living in the
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