Kurdistan's three opposition parties
present a proposal on Kirkuk
Kurds are seeking to integrate the province into the
semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region clamming it to be
historically a Kurdish city, it lies just south
border of the Kurdistan region.
February 13, 2012
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.
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KIRKUK, Iraq's border with Kurdistan region,
— Kurdistan’s three opposition parties presented a
proposal last week to deal with the dilemma of the
oil-rich province of Kirkuk.
The proposal emphasizes a constitutional article
that demands the normalization of the situation and
that a referendum be held on the fate of the
The proposal also calls for improving ties with
Kirkuk’s Arab and Turcoman communities, reviewing
the security situation in the province and ending
the monopoly of the security forces by the two
ruling Kurdish parties of the Patriotic Union of
Kurdistan (PUK) and Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).
The multiethnic province of Kirkuk has long been a
source of contention between its various
communities, the Kurds and successive Iraqi
governments. Although the Iraqi constitution has
devised a provision known as Article 140 to resolve
the dispute over Kirkuk, it has not been fully
implemented, despite the expiration of a deadline in
The opposition groups have also proposed that
compensation for refugees returning to Kirkuk be
increased, that their current houses be registered
in their names and that a roadmap for the province’s
future be adopted.
Khalid Shwani, a PUK lawmaker in Iraqi parliament,
says some of the opposition’s suggestions are
already being considered. Shwani referred to a bill
that demands registration of returning Kurdish and
Turcoman properties under their names. Parliament
members have done the first reading of the bill, he
Kirkuk’s former governor, Abdurrahman Mustafa, said
that the opposition’s proposal has to some degree
overlooked the real authority of governmental
institutions in Kirkuk.
“Registering property deeds is a central
(government) power, not one of the local
administration in Kirkuk,” said Mustafa.
Mustafa disagrees that there is any “dispute”
between Kirkuk’s ethnic groups. He says there are
“differences and problems between political groups,
but there are cross-ethnic marriages and the
relations between ethnic groups are normal.”
Shwani also says the disputes in Kirkuk are
political, not social.
The opposition has expressed its concern about KDP
and PUK’s control over security forces in Kirkuk.
That echoes the demands of Arab parties in Kirkuk
who want an end to Kurdish domination of the
province’s security forces. KDP and PUK each have
their own security services in Kirkuk.
Latif Sheikh Mustafa, a lawmaker in Iraqi parliament
from Gorran, Kurdistan’s largest opposition group,
believes the unstable security and political
situation in Kirkuk has caused rifts among the
province’s ethnicities and parties.
The Gorran MP voiced his opposition to efforts by
some Iraqi and foreign groups who want to make
Kirkuk an independent region. Even some figures
within the PUK support that notion,www.ekurd.net
he said. Kurds want Kirkuk to be annexed to the
Kurdistan Region and consider it part of their
Mustafa urged a fair approach in dealing with
Turcomans and Arabs and an equal distribution of
public services across the province’s various parts
so as to convince them to agree with Kirkuk becoming
part of the Kurdistan Region.
“If in the Kurdistan Region, the task of the
authorities is to satisfy Kurds, in Kirkuk they have
to satisfy Arabs and Turcomans as well,” said
Rebwar Talabani, the deputy head of Kirkuk
Provincial Council, says the public services are
distributed according to “population numbers and in
an equal manner without any problem.” Talabani
called for the unification of KDP and PUK security
forces into one institution in Kirkuk.
Osman Kakayi, a senior KDP official in Kirkuk, says
security posts in Kirkuk are now filled according to
a system of meritocracy and resumes, and that the
process “has nothing to do with the KDP and PUK.”
By Nawzad Mahmoud
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