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Kosrat Rasul makes first return to Kirkuk since events of October 16

By Rudaw 4/2/2019
PUK acting leader Kosrat Rasul (center) walks in front of a cemetary in Kirkuk in his first return to the city since it fell to Iraqi forces on February 4, 2019. Photo: Rasul FB
PUK acting leader Kosrat Rasul (center) walks in front of a cemetary in Kirkuk in his first return to the city since it fell to Iraqi forces on February 4, 2019. Photo: Rasul FB
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Acting Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) leader Kosrat Rasul visited Kirkuk for the first time since October 17, 2017 — despite an active arrest warrant for him — insisting that they won’t compromise the “Kurdistani” identity of Kirkuk.

“In Kirkuk, Kosrat Rasul Ali announced that Kirkuk’s situation needs to be calmed. We will never relinquish Kirkuk and it is our duty to protect all the different ethnicities,” read a statement from his media office on Monday.

It is the first visit by Rasul since the events on October 16. By his own accord, the forces he commanded were the only PUK faction that fought against Iraqi forces.

His forces suffered casualties, while also causing Iraqi casualties. Due to the incident, and eventually calling Iraqi forces occupiers of Kirkuk, an arrest warrant was issued against him by Baghdad that is still active.

On Monday in Kirkuk, he mourned twice in the city and visited the party’s local politburo office where he met cadres, according to the readout.

“Kosrat Rasul Ali talked of the importance of Kirkuk in the history of Kurds, generally, and particularly for PUK. He announced that Kirkuk is a redline,” the statement said.

Aso Mamand, the head of PUK’s office in Kirkuk, leadership council members Adnan Hamay Mina and Khalid Shuwany, and counterterrorism head Lahur Talabany were present.

“We will never compromise on the Kurdistani identity of Kirkuk,” Rasul asserted.

He added that all parties seriously need to work towards normalizing Kirkuk’s situation, which is under military rule and a resurgent Arabization process.

He insisted that Kirkuk needs to be “handed back” to the winner of elections and only they can “serve” the city and its people.

Kirkuk is in a limbo currently. The acting governor has been relentless in backing a new Arabization process, while KDP and PUK are in disagreement over the appointment of a new governor.

The PUK in Kirkuk, which won 6 seats out of the 13-seat total (including one minority quota seat) in Iraq’s parliamentary election in 2018, insists it is electorally entitled to have a governor chosen from its ranks.

The provincial council is the only body capable of choosing a governor; however, provincial elections have only been held once in Kirkuk since 2005.

The KDP, on the other hand, insists that the governor should be an independent and non-partisan, but it has lately shown flexibility towards PUK picking the next governor.

The two parties have a joint committee and are in discussion with both claiming progress.

The KDP calls Kirkuk “occupied,” claiming if Iraqi military and other factions remain in Kirkuk, even a Kurdish governor would be useless.

The province’s previous governor Najmaldin Karim of the PUK fled during the October 2017 events to Erbil and then renounced any ties to PUK while also denying any membership in KDP — his former party.


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Real Kurd | 5/2/2019
Terrrrr7eww. Ladies and gentlemen, everyone please look at the biggest jokes of the Kurdish Nation. How dareeee they go back to Kirkuk after having sold it. Because of them a lot of Kurdish people died in disputed areas. And people are still dying there. And now they go back to Kirkuk as if nothing happened. The PUK will NEVERRRRRRR get Kirkuk back. If Kirkuk gets back to Kurdistan, it will be under control of the PDK in shaa ALLAHHHHH!!!!!!!
Hamid Sayadi | 5/2/2019
You Both stop this childish acts, please. Arabization is going on and Both of you fighting over the Ficken Chairs! Shame on you Both!! That's the dilemma of the Kurds, fighting who becomes King of "nothing" Shame,& Shame again ...
Rebwar | 5/2/2019
To my buddy “real kurd” dont be fooled kdp and puk are the same shit. Bunch of liars, thieves and no honour. World leaders laugh at them. Ask iran and turkey
Ahmed Karson | 5/2/2019
What a shame for him and his PUK maffia thugd to go to Kirkuk. They sold Kirkuk and also the dream of 40 million Kurds who were on the edge of realising their dream. Only hours from independence the PUK maffia sold a whole nation for the sake of Talabani family. Now they go back to Kirkuk? What a big shame. PUK should never get a place in Kirkuk, because we all saw that only KDP matters about Kirkuk and Kurdistan.
Hansi Oemerian | 5/2/2019
Ok.The Kurds should learn to bury the hatchet! The time is for unity now. Stop bickering and start cooperating! There should no PUK or PDK in Kirkuk. It should be only the united Peshmerga forces of the [south]Kurdistan in Kirkuk.
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