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 Kurdistan intelligence chief: Iraqi Kurds had been able to occupy Kirkuk, but they refused such act

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Kurdistan intelligence chief: Iraqi Kurds had been able to occupy Kirkuk, but they refused such act  14.7.2011  

July 14, 2011

ERBIL-Hewlęr, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — The director of Kurdistan Security Agency in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region in Iraq's north, Masrour Barzani, has said on Thursday the Kurds had been able to occupy the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, but they resented that, because they refused to repeat an act for which “they themselves had been victims of.”

“The Kurds could have occupied Kirkuk, but they refused such act, because they themselves had been victims of such act, as we did not want to give the impression that such measure would be considered as a revenge by the Kurds, due to what they had suffered for long years,” Masrour Barzani told al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper on Thursday.

He said that the Kurdish Leadership “tried to restore its rights in a peaceful democratic mans and through the Constitution, for which we are still waiting to achieve this peaceful means.”

“On our part, we have expressed enough flexibility towards the Turkomen and the Arabs; and time has come for them to express such flexibility that could achieve an agreement to implement the Constitution’s Article related to the fate of Kirkuk,” he added.

The Kurdish official said in conclusion that Kurdistan President, Massoud Barzani, has                

Head of Kurdistan region's security apparatus Masrour Barzani.
decided recently to supply Kirkuk with 200 megawatts of electric power, thing that we consider as a commitment by the Kurdish Leadership to serve the residents of Kirkuk Province,www.ekurd.netdespite fact that such matter is the responsibility of the Federal government in Baghdad.

The oil-rich province of Kirkuk is one of the most disputed areas by the regional government and the Iraqi government in Baghdad.

The Kurds are seeking to integrate the province into the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region clamming it to be historically a Kurdish city, it lies just south border of the Kurdistan autonomous region, the population is a mix of majority Kurds and minority of Arabs, Christians and Turkmen, lies 250 km northeast of Baghdad.
Kurds have a strong cultural and emotional attachment to Kirkuk, which they call "the Kurdish Jerusalem." Kurds see it as the rightful and perfect capital of an autonomous Kurdistan state.

Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution is related to the normalization of the situation in Kirkuk city and other disputed areas through having back its Kurdish inhabitants and repatriating the Arabs relocated in the city during the former regime’s time to their original provinces in central and southern Iraq.

The article also calls for conducting a census to be followed by a referendum to let the inhabitants decide whether they would like Kirkuk to be annexed to the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan region or having it as an independent province.

The former regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had forced over 250,000 Kurdish residents to give up their homes to Arabs in the 1970s, to "Arabize" the city and the region's oil industry.

The last ethnic-breakdown census in Iraq was conducted in 1957, well before Saddam began his program to move Arabs to Kirkuk. That count showed 178,000 Kurds, 48,000 Turkomen, 43,000 Arabs and 10,000 Assyrian-Chaldean Christians living in the city. 

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