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 Iraqi Kurdistan calls Muqtada Al-Sadr to lean to Constitution’s Article 140 to settle differences

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Iraqi Kurdistan calls Muqtada Al-Sadr to lean to Constitution’s Article 140 to settle differences  28.9.2011  

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September 28, 2011

ERBIL-Hewlêr, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', —  A spokesman for north Iraq Kurdistan Region’s government has said on Tuesday that Article 140 of the Iraqi Constitution “is considered the only guarantee to settle differences,” in a comment on recent statements by the Chairman of the Shiite Sadr Trend, Muqtada Al-Sadr, who warned against the merger of northeast Iraq’s Khanaquin Township to the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region.

“The main trend of the Kurdistan Region’s government is to implement Article 140 to settle differences according to the Iraqi Constitution,” pointing out that “the Kurds in Khanaquin and its surrounding areas are facing compulsory immigration out of their home areas, thing that the Kurdistan Region’s government won’t allow,” Kawa Mahmoud told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

Mahmoud said that the Kurdish Peshmerga forces have been spread in Khanaqin “in order to protect its Arab, Turkomen and Kurdish inhabitants and to prevent any demographic change in the area,           

Kurdistan regional government KRG spokesman Kawa Mahmud (L). Muqtada al-Sadr (R) Chairman of the Shiite Sadr Trend. Photo: AP
because such trend does not cope with Iraq’s new policy,” adding that “Kurdistan Region’s government is committed to the Constitution and other forces and parties must be keen to its implementation.”

The satellite position of the Political Committee of the Sadrist Trend had quoted Sadr to have said, in his reply on calls to merge Khanaqin and its surrounding areas to Kurdistan Region,
www.ekurd.netthing that the Sadrist Trend said it had “warned from and confirmed that the Federalism would take steps that won’t please anybody.”

The Kurdistan Region’s government had spread its Peshmerga forces around the areas surrounding Khanaqin to achieve “protection” for the inhabitants of those areas, after the escalation of violence acts the Kurds say they were targeted against their inhabitants, mostly belonging to the Kurdish Community.

Kurdistan Region’s President, Massoud Barzani, has met on Sept.22 the Mayor of Khanaqin township and other Kurdish personalities and citizens, in which he said that “the main target for spreading the Peshmerga forces in the areas belonging to Khanaqin aims at achieving protection for the inhabitants of the Township, belonging to Arab, Kurdish and Turkomen Communities,” adding that “their security missions does not aim to protect a certain community against another.”

Kurdistan’s Peshmerga Ministry had spread its forces in Khanaqin city of Diyala Province, after the escalation of the Kurdish demands on both popular and official levels to protect Kurds in those areas, considered among the areas in-conflict between Kurdistan government and the Federal government of Baghdad.

Diyala province, a restive part of Iraq outside the Kurdish autonomous region of Kurdistan but home to many Kurds. The Diyala district, which includes a string of villages and some of Iraq's oil reserves, is home to about 175,000 Kurds, most of them Shiites.

In June 2006, the local council of Khanaqin proposed that the district be integrated into the autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq.

During the Arabisation policy of Saddam Hussein in the 1980s, a large number of Kurdish Shiites were displaced by force from Khanaqin. They started returning after the fall of Saddam in 2003.

Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution is related to the normalization of the situation in Kirkuk city and other disputed areas like Khanaqin.

Kurdistan's government says oil-rich Khanaqin should be part of its semi-autonomous region, which it hopes to expand in a referendum in the future. In the meantime, Khanaqin and other so-called disputed areas remain targets of Sunni Arab insurgents opposed to Kurdish expansion and vowing to hold onto land seized during ex-dictator Saddam Hussein's efforts to "Arabize" the region.

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