Kurdistan major parties concerned about
Iraqi army's movements in disputed areas
July 19, 2012
Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — The politburos of
the two dominant parties in Kurdistan met Wednesday
and demanded the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)
take necessary steps in the face of the recent
operations and movements of the Iraqi army in the
The meeting of the politburos of Patriotic Union of
Kurdistan (PUK) and Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP)
was chaired by Massoud Barzani, Kurdistan and KDP's
In a statement issued after the meeting the PUK and
KDP voiced concern over "noticeably systematized
movements of the army in the disputed areas from
Mandali borders until Sinjar."
The statement said the Iraqi army has empowered the
military units in these areas and has also deployed
new units there.
It continued "this process is contrary to the
content of a prior agreement… contrary to the
principles of partnership and keeping away the army
from the internal disputes… Army's duty is
protecting the borders not indulging in internal
The major parties demand the KRG take necessary
steps "for protecting the security of residents of
these areas and support and assist in their
reconstruction and returning their residents,"
according to the statement.
The disputed areas are mainly multiethnic towns and
cities whose ownership is disputed between Baghdad
and Erbil governments. These include Kirkuk province
and areas in Diyala,www.ekurd.net
Salahaddin and Nineveh provinces.
Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution which was due
to be completely enforced in 2007 sets a roadmap for
resolving the tenure dispute. However, it is yet to
be fully enforced.
The KRG officials frequently point to forced
displacement of Kurdish residents of the disputes
areas under threats by insurgents. They label these
displacements systematized efforts for changing the
demography of the disputed areas.
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, most 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.
The oil-rich province of Kirkuk is one of the most disputed areas by the
regional government and the Iraqi government in Baghdad.
The 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 autonomous region, the population is a mix of
majority Kurds and minority of Arabs, 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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