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Baghdad freezes plan to ‘Arabize’ Kurdish, Turkmen lands in Kirkuk

By Rudaw 22/8/2018
File photo shows Iraqi forces stationed at a military base west of Kirkuk in October 2017 after the fall of the oil-rich province of Kirkuk. File photo: AFP / Marwan Ibrahim
File photo shows Iraqi forces stationed at a military base west of Kirkuk in October 2017 after the fall of the oil-rich province of Kirkuk. File photo: AFP / Marwan Ibrahim
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – A decree allowing Arab families to settle on land belonging to Kurds and Turkmen in the disputed province of Kirkuk has been put on hold by Iraq’s Ministry of Agriculture pending an inquiry.

The decision came after a delegation of Turkmen and Kurds from Kirkuk city travelled to Baghdad to meet with the minister of agriculture, Falah Hassan al-Zidan.

“In our meeting with the agriculture minister, we explained the matter and he agreed to put the decree on hold,” Rebwar Taha, a Kurdish MP for Kirkuk in the Iraqi parliament, told Rudaw.

On October 16, 2017, Kurdish Peshmerga forces withdrew from Kirkuk in the face of a major incursion by the Iraqi army and Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitias. 

Following the takeover, 250,000 acres of land owned by Kurds and Turkmen in Kirkuk were made available to Arab settlers, according to a decree from the acting Kirkuk governor, Rakan Saed al-Jabouri.

Now the agriculture ministry has launched a committee to assess the controversial plan before a final decision is made.

If consensuses cannot be reached, the agriculture ministry has pledged to completely annul the decree.

“The committee is comprised of the Kirkuk Agriculture and Lands Department and the disputed land owners,” Hamid Idel Naif, spokesperson of the Iraqi Agriculture Ministry, told Rudaw. 

“The aim of the committee is to return the land to its owners after evaluations are concluded,” he added.

Many Arab settlers were brought to the disputed city by Saddam Hussein in the 1980s in a deliberate policy of Arabization.

After 2003, the land was taken back and returned to its original owners. The Arab settlers were compensated 20 million IQD in accordance with article 140 of the Iraqi constitution.

However, acting governor Jabouri is allowing these Arab settlers to return. 

The land, which originally belonged to Kurds and Turkmen, stretches from K-1 military base to Haftaghar near the town of Daquq.

Decisions made by the leadership of the Revolutionary Council of Saddam’s Baath party were revoked by the Iraqi parliament following his overthrow, including the decision to Arabize Kirkuk.


Quake | 22/8/2018
The two competing shia factions both are trying to get Kurdish support so this is a temporary tactic to secure kurdish support for the upcoming government.
Arab Justice | 22/8/2018
But of course these Shia thieves will come back! Every one of these thieves that were given stolen Kurdish and Turkmen land in Kikrkuk in the 70's and 80's were COMPENSATED when they har to give back the land, meaning rewarded for their theft! while the owners of the land merely got their land back, no compensation or anything for lost of income or the injustice. That's is Arab justice
Muraz Adzhoev | 22/8/2018
Baghdad “freeze” the new arabization plan in Kurdistan in order to “unfreeze” it forcefully later on soon after the formation of a new totalitarian government of unitary arab islamic Iraq. Fortunately Iraq is dead, Iraqi federation is deadly failed. Southern Kurdistan is alive and has been becoming sovereignly independent in accordance with the national and patriotic will of its People, communities, authorities, political and military forces. The world community has nothing but to recognize independence of Kurdistan based on the norms and principles of the international law, humanitarian morality and historical justice. Erbil must be strong, convincing, insistent and decisive in talks with Baghdad, as well as with all involved and relevant world and regional countries.
VentingKurd | 23/8/2018
The word "Freezes" means a lot-it means stop just for now but continue in the future-There is only one way that will work for liberating Kerkuk and that is by force-Also, Kurds have to have their hands on the trigger 24 hrs per day, 365 days a year waiting and watching those savage dogs from Baghdad for their attack. History tells us that they are snakes and whenever they find the opportunity they do their poisonous bite. Kurds, you would fools to trust them for even less than a second.Shame on those Kurdish leaders that talk about brotherhood and life together-specially in Hewle'r-how many more do they have to kill-you will only learn a lesson when next time they take your wives, moms, and daughters-shame on you-Kick those snakes out before their lethal bite-Jashi xo frosh-stop selling Kurdistan-Hawler soon will become another Kerkuk if you do not stop what you are doing and reverse what you have done immediately. This is those, foolish Kurdish leaders that are busy now stealing public money. Please stop now and buy anti-air crafts and anti-tanks-millions of rounds, even if it is from black market-your only protection are those weapons and getting your minds back to the Kurdish table.

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