Shabak Kurds Tar­geted in Mo­sul

More than 1270 Shabaks have been killed since 2003

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS -

Shabak Kurds have be­come tar­gets of ter­ror­ist at­tacks launched by AlQaeda af­fil­i­ated groups in Mo­sul and sur­round­ing ar­eas, lead­ing to the death and evac­u­a­tion of hun­dreds. Shabak of­fi­cials say they have been tar­geted be­cause they are Kurds on the one hand, and Shi­ites on the other. Com­mu­nity lead­ers have called on Pesh­marga forces to pro­tect their ar­eas against at­tacks by ter­ror­ist groups, while pointed at the fail­ure of the Iraqi po­lice to pro­tect Shabak Kurds.

The tar­get­ing of Shabak Kurds in Nin­eveh prov­ince has es­ca­lated re­mark­ably in re­cent months. Last Satur­day, a sui­cide at­tack killed at least 28 peo­ple and wounded 37 oth­ers as a bomber, wear­ing an ex­plo­sive vest, blew him­self up at a Shabak fu­neral in the town of Aorth Kharab in the Baashiqa dis­trict, 17Km north-west of Mo­sul.

Ear­lier, on Au­gust, 14, the ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion which calls it­self the Is­lamic State of Iraq is­sued threats across neigh­bor­hoods in east­ern Mo­sul, giv­ing Shabaks four days to evac­u­ate the city or face death—this de­spite the Shabaks be­ing the orig­i­nal in­hab­i­tants of the city, ac­cord­ing to the head of the Shabak Con­sul­tant Board. Three days later, the group started tar­get­ing Shabaks in Mo­sul, which led to the deaths of 16 peo­ple within four days and to the evac­u­a­tion of 1 200 fam­i­lies, ac­cord­ing to un­of­fi­cial sta­tis­tics.

Ac­cord­ing to sta­tis­tics pro­vided by the Shabak Con­sul­tant Board, more than 1 270 Shabaks have been killed since 2003, and 6 000 Shabak fam­i­lies have been dis­placed from vil­lages in dis­puted ter­ri­to­ries. This makes the Shabaks the most tar­geted mi­nor­ity group in Iraq, ac­cord­ing to Salim Shabak, the head of the Shabak Con­sul­tant Board.

"We call on the KRG to send Pesh­marga forces to Shabak ar­eas in co­op­er­a­tion with Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment to con­trol the se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion and pro­tect Shabak Kurds," the head of the Shabak Con­sul­ta­tive Board says. "Al­though Shabaks have now left their own city, a day will come when they re­turn back to Mo­sul, be­cause it is their an­ces­tral land," Salim told the Globe, de­mand­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of Ar­ti­cle 140 en­abling Shabak-pop­u­lated ar­eas to re­turn to the ad­min­is­tra­tion of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion.

He says the Iraqi po­lice and army have been in­fil­trated by in­sur­gent groups, which is why the se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion in Mo­sul con­tin­ues to worsen and the po­lice and army have no con­trol over the city.

The vil­lages in the Baas- hiqa dis­trict are cur­rently un­der the pro­tec­tion of Pesh­marga forces, but the sub-dis­tricts of Bartla and Qaraqosh are un­der Iraqi Army con­trol, and this is where the ma­jor­ity of Shabaks live. "We de­mand that Pesh­marga forces be sent to our ar­eas, be­cause our peo­ple trust them more than they trust the Iraqi po­lice and army," says Salim. "We are Kurds—that is why the Kur­dish gov­ern­ment should pro­tect us."

Al­though the town of Aoth Kharab was un­der Pesh­marga con­trol, Salim says what hap­pened there was ex­cep­tional and could have oc­curred any­where. Gen­er­ally speak­ing, the Pesh­marga and Kur­dish se­cu­rity forces have been able to pro­vide se­cu­rity in th­ese ar­eas.

The Shabak Con­sul­tant Board was founded in 2007 to de­fend the rights of Shabak Kurds. It has 560 mem­bers in­clud­ing in­tel­lec­tu­als and per­son­al­i­ties within the Shabak com­mu­nity and tribes."We are now strug­gling to im­ple­ment Ar­ti­cle 140, so we can over­come this com­plex sit­u­a­tion and re­turned th­ese ar­eas to the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion," con­cluded Salim. Gazwan Da­woody, a Shabak rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the Mo­sul Pro­vin­cial Coun­cil, told the Kur­dish Globe that the Iraqi po­lice are in­ca­pable of pro­vid­ing se­cu­rity in Shabak ar­eas of Mo­sul, and de­manded that the KRG pro­vide se­cu­rity for Shabaks, be­cause they are Kurds. "We call on the KRG to re­cruit peo­ple in th­ese ar­eas into the Pesh­marga," de­manded Da­woody, say­ing they have hun­dreds of young peo­ple ready to serve as Pesh­marga to pro­tect their ar­eas from ter­ror­ist at­tacks. “We have had many meet­ings with the gov­er­nor of Mo­sul re­gard­ing the pro­tec­tion of Shabaks, but there have been no de­vel­op­ments and we are con­cerned about the re­cent threats is­sued against Shabak Kurds,” ar­gued Gazwan.

Shabaks were also tar­geted dur­ing the era of the top­pled Baath Regime. The Board re­veals that Shabaks were forced to evac­u­ate their ar­eas in Mo­sul in 1988, when they were moved to con­cen­tra­tion camps in Harir, Cham­chamal and else­where in the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion. All in all, 1 660 fam­i­lies were forced to leave their homes, and Shabak vil­lages were de­stroyed be­cause of their Kur­dish iden­tity dur­ing the An­fal Cam­paign.

The Shabaks are Mus­lims; 65% of them are Shi­ite, the re­main­ing 35% are Sunni. They re­side in Nineva prov­ince in over 50 vil­lages in, mainly, the dis­tricts of Tilkef, Ham­daniya and the sub-dis­trict of Baashiqa. Ac­cord­ing to the Shabak Con­sul­tant Board, their es­ti­mated pop­u­la­tion is be­tween 350 000 and 400 000. There are also con­sid­er­able num­bers of Shabak fam­i­lies in Mo­sul, which they claim as their home city.

So­cially, Shabaks are com­posed of sev­eral Kur­dish tribes such as the Ba­jalan, Zi­rar, Shikak and Ro­jbiyan, all of which have links with and bear the same names as Kur­dish tribes in other ar­eas of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion. As the Head of the Board ar­gues, this is proof of the Kur­dish ori­gins of the Shabaks.

A mem­ber of Shabak com­mu­nity hold­ing Kur­dish flag.

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