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 Open your Eyes or Shut up Your Mouth Maliki

  Opinion — Analysis 
  The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author


Open your Eyes or Shut up Your Mouth Maliki  10.5.2012  
By Nabaz Shwany 

Nabaz Shwany, Bachelor in Politics and International Relations.
Read more by the Author | See Related Links
May 10, 2012

Kirkuk is one of the ancient Kurdish cities that its history belongs to thousands years ago. In 2100BCE Kirkuk was a capital of Gutian Kurdish dynasty. Also, Kirkuk was an important and strategic place during the reign of Median Empire in 673BCE. Medes or Medians were the ancestors of Xenophon's Carduchi and the modern Kurds. Then, after the conquest of Islam and during the mediaeval times, Kirkuk was a capital of Sharazur Vilayet (state) which was one of the Kurdish states within Ottoman Empire. Kirkuk was also the capital of Baban Dynasty in 17th and 18th century.

After the First World War, both Ottomans and Great Britain desired the control of Musil Vilayet, and Kirkuk as a capital. But, the issue of Musil Vilayet sent to the league of nation and they made the final decision and attached the Vilayet to the Kingdom of Iraq. In 1927, for the first time the large oil gusher discovered in the city. According to the latest estimations, Kirkuk oil production is 250,000bbl/d and its reserves is about 16 billion barrels. Despite being oil rich city, Kirkuk used to have a strategic and geo-political importance for all parts. Its location gives the city a strategic significant for commerce.

Until now Kirkuk is a dominant Kurdish city despite all the attempts by Iraqi regimes to demote Kurdish population of the city. Before, 1970 Kirkuk covered a large area of Kurdistan and the ratio of the Kurdish population was above 70%, and Turkmens use to be the second largest ethnic group in the city with minorities like Chaldean, Assyrian, Armenian and others. Regarding the Arabs of the city, they just comprise a small number of the city population after all their attempts to dominate the city and displace Kurds from their homes.

The political nature of Kirkuk makes people to be active in politics. So, we can see the city has a great rule in all Kurdish revolutions. Further, many political parties founded and extended their activities first in Kirkuk then to the other Kurdish cities. Many political leaders, intelectuals and heros were come from this city includes Mama Risha, Ali Askari, Azad Hawrami, RafiqHilmi, BakirSidqi and many more. So, the political influence of the city attracted all and was a major obstacle for the Iraqi regimes. Iraq was always frightened of Kirkuk and its people for many reasons. Apart from politics and economy, Kirkuk was known as a cultural city for Kurds during its glorious time of 1970 to the mid of 1980. It showed a larger improvement in Kurdish music and folklore. The first Kurdish TV. In southern part of Kurdistan was also broadcasted in Kirkuk. Many famous Kurdish singers like Ali Mardan, Hussein Ali, Salah Daude, Adnan Karim was come from Kirkuk.

From 1945 on, the Iraqi regimes tried their best to control the city and displace Kurds in Kirkuk in order to dominate this oil rich city. In fact, before 1945 there were no Arabs in Kirkuk, but came just after the construction Hawija Project. So, the rural Arabs from different parts of Iraq brought to Kirkuk and then step by step the government tried to attract more Arabs to the city. Not only this, the Iraqi government minimized the size of the city by detaching Kurdish towns and regions of Kirkuk such as Chamchamal, Kalar, Kifri, Duz, Shwan, Qarahanjir, and Pirde. The population of those cities and towns now estimated to be over 400,000. The inhabitants of these areas were are all Kurdish except Duz and Pirde were there was minority Turkemens.

When Saddam Hussein, former Iraqi dictator took power, the government passionately implemted many Ani-kurds projects and programs in Kirkuk. He destroyed many Kurdish villages in Kirkuk and departure their populations to other Kurdish cities. Besides, he arrested, killed and massacred Kurdish people of the city during and after Anfal genocide which coasts 182,000 Kurdish victims and that Kirkuk had the major share. Actually, He used all means to undermine Kurdish identity of the city. Under the Arabization program, Iraq had displaced hundreds and thousands of Kurds from the city, I am included. In exchange he replaced them Arabs from Iraq and occupied the Kurdish lands, houses, villages and the government paid about 10,000 Iraqi dinars for each Arabfamilies that moves to Kirkuk. Iraqi regime also executed the program of open employment in the city administration and North Oil Company and it cause to see no Kurds in government administration agencies and directories. Moreover, they banned anything that smells Kurdish includes even naming children. The Arabization processes of the city left two options for Kurds, leaving the city or change their Identity to Arabs and cooperating with Regime against Kurdish movements. Even, sometimes they didn’t give treatment and excluded Kurds from getting any medical serviceseven in the public hospitals. My father always tells the story about vaccine that they didn’t give me and it endangered my mortality just because he didn’t change his identity to Arab. So, under this harsh condition, the population of Kurds decreased and Arab population continuously rapid up at the expense of Kurds.

During the Kurdish March uprising of 1991, Kirkuk people like all other Kurdish cities upraised against Saddam Hussein and celebrated their victory after few hours, but Iraqi government sent many troops and used all its capacity to retake Kirkuk. Besides, there was a fear of using chemical weapon by Saddam again Kirkuk population as he did in Halabja, so the Kurdish leadership withdraw their forces from Kirkuk until 2003. After the Iraqi Operation Freedom in 2003, Kurdish Peshmerge forces seized the city and banished the regime in the city. So, thousands displaced Kurds returned to their home city and willingly accepted all their terrible conditions which they challenged after they returned back.

So, in the first election after the Iraqi operation freedom, Kurds guaranteed over 65% of the total votes. In the local election, out of 41 seats Kurdish Kirkuk Brotherhood List attained 26 seats, Turkemens 8 seats with 1 seat for Turkemens Islamic Coalition List, Arab Iraqi Republic Gathering List 5 seats and 1 seat for the Iraqi National Gathering. This election showed the true size of each ethnic group in Kirkuk and rebutted all Arab claims regarding their sizes in the city.

The victory of Kurds in Kirkuk makes the Iraqi government to be stricter toward the Kurdish identity of the city. So, they created many problems for Kirkuk administration. Kurdish political parties each constructed many projects to the city and Kurdistan government always behaved in the way to balance between the city’s ethnic groups. Sometimes even at the expenses of Kurd just to satisfy Turkmens and Arabs. However, they never appreciated Kurdistan Regional Government KRG supports and fairness. They tried to destabilize the security and coexistence in the city and always criticized Kurdish political parties for being bias toward them. The KRG clement treatments with none-Kurdish groups was in the way which sometimes disturbed Kurdish people.

To keep the city from ethnic conflict the Kurdish leadership agreed to have referendum by the end of 2007 whether to be Kurdistani or Iraqi, this has been even written in the Iraqi constitution and known as article 140. Though, the Iraqi government lead by Nuri Maliki not only breached the constitution and promises, but created many obstacles the Article since he was sure any referendum or democratic move toward Kirkuk issue would be in favor of Kurds. He many times promised Kurdish leadership and even in the last cabinet in front of all the Medias, Iraqis and Kurdish politicians to implement the article. But, he just proved that he is such a bigger liar and all he tried to do is deceiving Kurds.

In the last two months the disagreement between Maliki and Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani reached to the highest level. Many criticisms come from both sides. Actually, the Kurdish leadership realized Maliki plans against Kurdish people and how he tries to control all sectors of the government and bringing back the dictatorship to Iraq. No only this, Maliki even threatened to use forces and F16 if he gets, against Kurdish people. Its for weeks, just like apricots or the comedian, he and his friends always on the Television Channels claims such things that we can not even find in comic books. He seems to be drunk or lost his mindset when he citizen Kurdish leadership. He crossed all lines and ethics. He eradicated the rule of law and never implemented the constitution. Anybody criticize him in Iraq, would be endanger. He arrest innocent people and release criminals. He dismisses officials and appoints his supporters. Recently, he is trying to extend his power and have his say in oil contracts.
Yesterday, he took a visit to the Kurdish city of Kirkuk and met his cabinet there. He followed with eight Arab ministries and many tanks, solders and helicopters. Kurdish Ministries bycoted this meeting and Kurdish MPs considered Maliki visit to Kirkuk as a move against Kurdish demands and alarmed all for the consequences.

For me, it was like a show to tell Kurds that he has power to attack Kurdistan anytime he wants and tells the Kurdish leadership that they cannot challenge him. Plus, his visit to Kirkuk and have his meeting in a Kurdish neighborhood was another message to Kurds that he is a sick minded man and has no boundaries to use forces again. What was so funny about Maliki air-force during his visit to Kirkuk was they didn’t know how to land. In one case, the helicopter landed on a car, and on the other case, the helicopter landed inside Kirkuk Technique institutes where all students busy with their study. I doubt that he doesn’t mean to fight Kurds on computer games because his forces is only suitable for computer games or maybe he give the smile to the people for his show. I recommend for next time if want to produce a movie, it’s better to go to disserts of Iraq where nobody can see his funny shows.

What was so strange is he said something opposite the Iraqi constitution when he described the identity of Kirkuk as “Iraqi”. Kirkuk according to the Iraqi constitution is a “disputed area” so Maliki and any other officials have no right to claim such statements. I just want to ask based on what fact he claims Kirkuk is Iraqi? Where did he get this Iraqi? History or small Arab population who occupied our city for years or maybe he depends on the fact that Arabs get 6 seats out of 41?!If he so believe of the Iraqi identity of Kirkuk, why he refuse democratic referendum and leave the final say to the people?

I think this man is traumatized and is not educated enough to run a country. Otherwise, he would respect others and act according to the constitution and the demands of people. He knows better than anyone else that Kirkuk holds Kurdistani Identity, so why should he has to make such claims if he doesn’t want to show his aggression? In any case, war or peace, Kurds get the city so easily and the looser would be Anti-democracy front. The age of bombs and tanks passed long times ago, if he ever want to challenge Kurds, he can not do that now due to the large supports for Kurds both inside and outside. Maliki can not disrupt the economic booming and investment in Kurdistan. Maybe he is so jealous for the KRG progression while he can not even provide clean water and electricity to his people with having imaginary budget. Maliki is a prime minister of the country that listed as number 4 in the transparency international report for most corrupted countries in the world. If he is so corrupted, how dare he challenge Kurdistan where its people are now experience a large economic prosperity?

Dear Maliki, I advise you to open your mind and shut your mouth if you want to say what you have said about Kirkuk yesterday. Your claim will never come true even if we again go to the mountain. The history cannot repeat itself in Kurdistan. The critical thinking of each Kurdish citizens is equal to hundred tanks that you proud of. Now, Kurds have international support and we act based on facts rather than terror, abusing power, or means of violence. If you want to force Kurds and Kirkuk to be Iraqi, you never achieve this dream and you better keep sleeping because if you wake up, the reality is far from what you have dreaming for, or maybe you want to go to Kirkuk again, but couldn’t since you may need Kurdistan visa.

Nabaz Shwany, Bachelor in Politics and International Relations at the University of Kurdistan-Hewler. Currently, he is a Master student at the school of Government and International Studied, Public Management Department, University of Utara, Malaysia.  Nabaz Shwany is a regular contributing writer for, May 10, 2012.

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The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author


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