Sign In / Up

Add contribution as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Comment as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Login

Not a member Register   Forgot Password
or connect using
 

Email

 

Rudaw

Analysis

Has Iraq lost influence on disputed territories?

By Rudaw 13/3/2017
Kurdish Peshmerga forces on frontlines against ISIS in southern Kirkuk. Rudaw photo
Kurdish Peshmerga forces on frontlines against ISIS in southern Kirkuk. Rudaw photo

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region— Recent remarks by Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi about the so-called disputed territories in oil-rich areas north of the country marked a shift in Baghdad’s long-held policy on the future of these regions. 


“We made progress forward with more unity. The Peshmerga are fighting together with us. Nobody in their right mind would have imagined that. And today, we are trying, instead of the disputed areas – a negative term – we will turn it into the agreed areas so that we rebuild and rule these places together, God willing,” Abadi said in poetic Arabic while attending the Fifth Annual Sulaimani Forum at the American University of Sulaimani last Wednesday.

But before arriving in Sulaimani, the pragmatic premier visited Erbil where he met with the Kurdish President Masoud Barzani whose Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) has been locked in a bitter feud with the other two main parties in Sulaimani, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and in particular, the declining populist Change Movement (Gorran) over a range of internal issues including the referendum for independence and the Kurdish draft constitution. 

“Abadi is very well aware of the fact that the Peshmerga forces will not abandon areas they have liberated (from ISIS) prior to October 17,” said Shaxawan Abdulla who is a Kurdish member of the Iraqi parliament referring the Mosul Operation that started last October. 

In what appears to be an unwritten agreement between Baghdad, Erbil and the US, the Iraqi government agreed to accept Peshmerga forces to remain in vast areas in Nineveh Plains and Kirkuk province in return for Kurdish support and active participation in the Mosul Offensive, an operation which started with knowledgeable Kurdish Peshmerga units clearing the path for the Iraqi army to enter the ISIS-held city. 


Erbil agreed not to enter Mosul, a city which still has a half a million Kurdish population, but got to keep the areas it recaptured in Kirkuk and Nineveh — which the Kurds call their land and Baghdad calls disputed. 

“Abadi does not want to upset Iraqi public opinion by revealing his agreement with Barzani under US auspices which was about the liberation of Mosul,” Abdulla said. 


“Abadi understands that there is no return for these areas to the pre-ISIS order. This is why he calls for a bilateral agreement. But we do not want to revive the old order. The best option is to have international monitors in these areas and hold a referendum on their future status,” he added.  

Both the oil wealthy Kirkuk province and the Nineveh Plains are also home to Iraq’s largest mixture of populations with different ethnic and religious backgrounds. In most of these areas Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, Christians and other groups have shared territories and mostly common history. 

After the ouster of the former regime in Iraq in 2003, these areas came under a new constitutional article which determined their status as disputed territories and whose legal fate should be decided at a referendum in accordance with the constitution. 

Kurds have accused Iraqi governments in the past of deliberately changing the demographic makeup of Kirkuk province by way of forceful migrations of Kurds and settling of Arab families in the area, which Kurds have labeled as the “Arabization process.” 


Kurds have consistently been confident that they would win any referendum in these areas. They say despite long the Arabization process, Kurdish votes would secure a full integration of Kirkuk and vast areas in Nineveh with the Kurdistan Region.


The deadline to hold a referendum in disputed areas was nearly a decade ago, in December 2007. But the public vote never took place and since then all attempts to carry out the referendum have been blocked by the Iraqi government. 


But with the Peshmerga forces replacing the fleeing Iraqi army in most of these territories in June 2014 following ISIS' rampage, perhaps holding a referendum is not so urgent, anyway, from a Kurdish viewpoint. After all, these places are already in full Kurdish control and Baghdad already treats them as part of the Kurdistan Region by imposing tariffs on goods that cross the borders south of Kirkuk into the rest of Iraq.   

Comments

 
FAUthman | 13/3/2017
This is very encouraging. These kinds of wise statements by Haider al- Abadi will turn him to be the kind of a wise leader Baghdad desperately needs and he may turn out to be the best Prime minister Iraq ever had. As long as the two very wise leaders Abadi and Barzani are able to work together and the US remains in iraq there is reason to be optimistic about the future for Kurds Arabs and everyone else in iraq!

Be Part of Your Rudaw!

Share your stories, photos and videos with Rudaw, and quite possibly the world.

What You Say

boris fanclub | 11/23/2017 10:30:04 AM
i will not complain as long uk is bitch slappin iranian mullahs left right center. GOD SAVE THE MIGHTY AWESOME QUEEN.
Kurd supporter for a good while longer | 11/23/2017 12:09:17 PM
Boris Fanclub - the Queen is 91 I don't think anyone is going to save her that long. Seriously though nice to see someone NOT criticising the UK for...
Boris Johnson: 'Serious effort' underway to bring Erbil, Baghdad to table
| 22 hours ago | (6)
Shkak | 11/23/2017 7:22:49 AM
They are still dividing and conspiring in the search of power and greed. They are traitors.
Discussions | 11/23/2017 7:39:44 AM
The two parties are discussing how to distribute among themselves the benefits of their treason of October 16 .
Gorran and PUK discuss 'interim government' in meeting
| 20 hours ago | (3)
IranMan | 11/23/2017 2:41:15 AM
I certainly agree with the commneter above. This pic shows one of Khamenei's rent-a-crowds cheering him on. Instead we should have been looking at a...
Kurdo | 11/23/2017 7:21:23 AM
IranMan why the separist thinking? Joomori eslami e Iran was founded by Israel. They even supported you against Saddam. Mullah Iran is a zionist...
More must be done to aid earthquake victims, says Iran's Supreme Leader
| 20/11/2017 | (4)
Outsider | 11/23/2017 4:59:03 AM
At the end of the day... just speculations... if the peshmerger do not want to talk about them.. my understanding would be they know who this group...
dan | 11/23/2017 5:39:38 AM
What group? you found nothing. You have not one shred of evidence. could be aliens, could be germans, could be anything.. we and you will never know...
Rudaw’s field investigation into unknown armed group which emerged in Tuz Khurmatu
| yesterday at 01:43 | (3)

Elsewhere on Rudaw

Boris Johnson: 'Serious effort' underway to bring Erbil, Baghdad to table 22 hours ago | (6)

Boris Johnson: 'Serious effort' underway to bring Erbil, Baghdad to table

PM Barzani received a letter from UK FM, more
New Yezidi mass grave found in Shingal yesterday at 05:02 | (1)

New Yezidi mass grave found in Shingal

The mass grave contains the bodies of 73 people more
Rudaw’s field investigation into unknown armed group which emerged in Tuz Khurmatu yesterday at 01:43 | (3)

Rudaw’s field investigation into unknown armed group which emerged in Tuz Khurmatu

There are Kurds, Arab, English speaking people more
0.391 seconds