A member of the Iraqi Security Forces strolls by a defaced wall in Kirkuk displaying the Flag of Kurdistan on October 16, 2018. Photo: Ahmed al-Rubaye | AFP
KDP President Barzani: October 16 is a 'bitter occasion'
Masoud Barzani, the head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party,
was president of the Kurdistan Region when Kirkuk fell to federal forces that
were supported by Iran-backed Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitias. Barzani's term as
president expired on November 1, 2017.
A year after the events of October 16, Barzani issued a
statement saying he never expected an internal hand to put "a dagger in
the back of the people of Kurdistan."
Masoud Barzani statement, October 16, 2018:
October 16th is a dark day in the
history of our nation. It is the day when a cowardly treason was committed
against the aspirations and wishes of an oppressed nation. Due to an internal
hand, a merciless game was played with the fate of our nation. The land that
was protected with the blood of thousands of offspring of this homeland — within
the framework of a plan — fell under occupation, destruction, and disrespect
towards the sanctities of Kurdistan's people.
This despicable plot was
disrespectful towards the 100 years of struggle and sacrifices of our nation.
It was disrespectful to the blood of our martyrs and the brave Peshmerga who,
in the fight against Daesh terrorists, protected Kirkuk and other Kurdistani
area outside the Region's administration and fought terror on behalf of
humanity. It was also disrespectful towards the legitimate and peaceful voice
of the nation of Kurdistan, whose only crime was to voice its real voice
towards the ears of the world.
We expected every possibility, but
we never expected an internal hand, in this form, to put a dagger in the back
of the people of Kurdistan.
The aim of October 16 was the
eradication of the entity of the Kurdistan Region and nullifying the rights of
the people of Kurdistan. Although, with the guidance and assistance of a
treacherous domestic hand there had been a big plan against our people, but
when Peshmerga decided to defend and not back down, the equation changed, and
dignity remained for the people of Kurdistan.
On this bitter occasion, I call on
all sides to respect the history and rights of the people of Kurdistan. The
politics of chauvinism and denial have borne no fruit, and it will only lead to
war and backwardness. We have always asked that Kirkuk become an example of
co-existence, but there won't be compromise on the Kurdistani identity of
Kirkuk. I also call on the people of Kurdistan to look to the future with hope
and strength. Our nation's cause is just. It won't be ended through war, plots
October 16th is a black day in our
people's history that won't be forgotten. It has to become a lesson to each and
every single individual of Kurdistan's people.
Kurds call for Iraqi PM Abadi to be put on trial
The Erbil Civil Organizations Network held a protest in front of the Iraqi parliament office in Erbil petitioning new Kurdish MPs in Baghdad to hear their demands and put outgoing Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on trial on the first anniversary of the fall of Kirkuk.
The civil organizations said "a year on, violations are ongoing by the city authorities against Kurds as the Iraqi government has systematically started to remove Kurdish officials."
The statement called for an end to this trend.
On October 16 and the ensuing days, the Peshmerga withdrew from the majority of the disputed areas including Shingal, Khanaqin, and Makhmour.
"We are calling for the Peshmerga to be allowed to return to Kirkuk and Shingal,” said the activists.
They also asked for the removal of customs checkpoints on the Kirkuk-Sulaimani-Erbil highway.
Now outgoing PM Abadi, supreme commander of the Iraqi Security Forces, ordered the federal takeover after several warnings.
The civic organizations asked to put Abadi to an impartial trial for "using the military against the people of Kurdistan."
They urged the MPs to "seriously" work on it so "any future government would dare ponder using military against the people of Kurdistan.”
Adhem Jumaa was arrested on October 15, 2018, in Kirkuk. File photo: Rudaw
Iraq arrests Kurdish activist for protesting militarization of Kirkuk
On charges of calling on the people of Kirkuk to go on strike and close down their shops to protest the city's takeover by Baghdad, the head of the Kurdish Rights Movement in Kirkuk Adhem Jumaa was arrested by Iraqi Security Forces on Monday night.
"At nightfall, the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Units (ICTS), together with the Azadi Police and the Rashidawa neighborhood council, arrested my brother at his house,” said his brother Zniyar Jumaa.
It took more than 70 security units to arrest Adhem Jumaa.
He said his brother was detained with others for calling on the people "to go on strike on October 16 to protest the militarization of the city and violations committed against people in Kirkuk."
On October 9, group of Kurdish civil organizations, activists and journalists called on Kirkuk’s people to close their shops on October 16 for one hour to pressure officials to end military rule.
On October 16, 2017, Kurdistan’s Peshmerga and security forces pulled out
from the city amid a federal takeover by Iraqi Security Forces supported by Iran-backed Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitias and other militias.
According to the Peshmerga ministry due to the October 16 and the ensuing days which saw Kurdish forces defending Kurdistan, more than 60 Peshmerga were killed and 150 more were wounded.
Since then, Baghdad has appointed an Arab governor for the province.