ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Arab settlers who tried to forcefully confiscate land owned by Kurds in south of Kirkuk were met with stiff resistance, forced to flee after an altercation.
Around 9 p.m. on Wednesday, a group of Arabs raided a Kurdish house in Daquq’s Yangijay Talabani village, Kamal Jamal, a resident of the village told Rudaw.
“These Arabs are Shammar [tribe] and are from Tikrit’s deserts. They want to confiscate these lands,” Jamal claimed.
The Arabs demanded the Kurds leave their homes. Villagers rallied to help the homeowner. Shots were fired when a fight broke out. No one was shot, though two Kurds and four Arabs were injured from thrown sticks and stones.
“Let them kill us. It is over our land. It is okay. We will be martyrs,” said one villager, saying they are ready to sacrifice their lives like the Peshmerga.
“There is no law,” another could be heard saying.
“Kurds have never given up, nor will they ever.”
Federal police stepped in to end the brawl.
This is the latest in a string of problems emanating from the resurgent Arabization process in Kirkuk in the past year under the leadership of acting governor Rakan al-Jabouri.
Most recently, Jabouri signed an executive order
authorizing 81 Arab families to be settled in a Kurdish village.
Former mayor of Daquq Amir Khudakaram Mohammed, who was ousted in July, told Rudaw that 250 to 300 square-kilometres of land, owned by Kurds, are being demanded by the Arabs.
“These are the Arabs of the Arabization of the villages Saad, Khalid, Wahdi, and Omer Ibn Khatab,” he explained.
“They have come to Yangijay Talabani village, but the residents of the village countered them and fended them off. The imported Arabs had no option but to leave the area, leaving three cars behind,” he added.
The former mayor called on the Kurdish leadership to be united and come up with a solution, warning there could be “bigger problems” if it is not resolved now.
The Arabs wants to confiscate 1,200 square-kilometres of Kurdish land, he claimed.
The administration in Kirkuk sought to reverse the Arabization that took place under Saddam Hussein. Arab settlers who were brought in by the former regime were compensated to return to their original homes. But the new administration in Kirkuk after October 2017 has now apparently reversed that policy.