Six Kurdish Peshmargas wounded in
insurgent attack in Iraq's disputed province of
October 3, 2011
DIYALA, — Six
Peshmargas (Kurdish defense forces) were wounded in
an insurgent attack in Diyala's disputed territories
late Sunday night, sources said.
The Peshmarga forces have been stationed near the
disputed multi ethnic areas of Diyala province since
August after local Kurds complained they were
targeted by the insurgent groups and the Iraqi army
and police forces did not protect them.
"Late last night, several terrorists attacked a
Peshmarga stronghold with hand grenades in Nawdoman
area, located between Khanaqin and Jalawla districts
(165 km north east of Baghdad) and wounded 6
Peshmargas" Irfan Hamak Khan, commander of the First
Regiment of of the
Kurdistan Peshmerga Brigade in the Kurdish city of
Government's Third Brigade told AKnews.
Fire exchange between the "terrorists" and the
Peshmarga broke out following the attack, but the
armed men have managed to escape. Hama Khan said the
Peshmarga have launched a search operation.
The five wounded Peshmargas, all of whom local Kurds
from Khanaqin and Kalar districts, have been
transferred to hospital. Among them one is in a
critical condition according to medical sources.
The disputed areas contested between Baghdad and
Erbil have been the scenes of armed action since the
2003 war. Kurdish officials believed those areas are
historically part of Kurdistan and therefore should
be incorporated to the semi-autonomous Kurdistan
region. Baghdad, however, is trying to extend its
control over the areas.
Peshmarga had previously been posted there up to
2008 when disputes with the federal army forced
their departure. Recently, Kurdish officials said
some 500 Kurdish individuals had been killed in the
disputed districts in Diyala since early 2011 which
caused displacement of hundreds of Kurdish families.
Statistics administrative departments of the
disputed areas in Diyala showed an increasing
demographic change since 2003 which was interpreted
by some Kurds as a plan to "re-Arabize" the Kurdish
In 2003, Arabs formed 49% of Jalawla district. That
figure has now jumped to 77%. The Kurds who
previously formed 37% of the population now form
only 18% of it.
In the Saadiya district, the figures are is even
more dramatic: The Arabs who formed 33% of the
district now form 82% of it, and the Kurdish
component has dropped sharply from 31% to 0.7%.
In the town of Qaratapa where the percentage of t
Arabs has increased from 52% to 66% between 2003 and
2011, the percentage of Kurds has fallen from 27% to
More and more Kurdish families are leaving the
districts because, as they say, they are most
vulnerable to insurgents.
The demography of areas such as Mosul, Kirkuk and
Jalawla were altered dramatically by federal
Arabization policies under the rule of Saddam
Hussein. Indigenous Kurds and Turkmen were
pressurized into leaving their lands to be replaced
by Arab settlers from central and southern Iraq.
Many Kurds claim that their properties were
confiscated by the government and handed over to the
Kurdistan Region’s President, Massoud Barzani, has
met on Sept.22
the Mayor of Khanaqin township and other Kurdish
personalities and citizens, in which he said that
“the main target for spreading the Peshmerga forces
in the areas belonging to Khanaqin aims at achieving
protection for the inhabitants of the Township,
belonging to Arab, Kurdish and Turkomen
Communities,” adding that “their security missions
does not aim to protect a certain community against
Kurdistan’s Peshmerga Ministry had spread its forces
of Diyala Province, after the escalation of the
Kurdish demands on both popular and official levels
to protect Kurds in those areas, considered among
the areas in-conflict between Kurdistan government
and the Federal government of Baghdad.
Diyala province, a
restive part of Iraq outside the Kurdish autonomous
region of Kurdistan but home to many Kurds. The Diyala district, which includes a string of villages and
some of Iraq's oil reserves, is home to about 175,000 Kurds,www.ekurd.netmost of them
In June 2006, the local council of Khanaqin proposed that the district be
integrated into the autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq.
During the Arabisation policy of Saddam Hussein in the 1980s, a large number of
Kurdish Shiites were displaced by force from Khanaqin. They started returning
after the fall of Saddam in 2003.
Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution is related to the normalization of the
situation in Kirkuk city and other disputed areas like Khanaqin.
Kurdistan's government says oil-rich Khanaqin should be part of its
semi-autonomous region, which it hopes to expand in a referendum in the future.
In the meantime, Khanaqin and other so-called disputed areas remain targets of
Sunni Arab insurgents opposed to Kurdish expansion and vowing to hold onto land
seized during ex-dictator Saddam Hussein's efforts to "Arabize" the region.
Aknews part of this article written by Bryar
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