Kirkuk des­tiny vague af­ter par­lia­men­tary elec­tions

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE -

The dis­puted ar­eas, and the city of Kirkuk in par­tic­u­lar, have been a core con­cern for Arabs and Kurds, es­pe­cially since the US in­va­sion and the po­lit­i­cal re­struc­tur­ing in Iraq in 2003. Kurds gained ter­ri­tory to the south of Iraqi Kur­dis­tan. The Kurds con­sider the land his­tor­i­cally theirs.

Dis­puted ter­ri­to­ries of Iraq, or Dis­puted In­ter­nal Kur­dish-Iraqi Ar­eas are re­gions that are de­fined by the ar­ti­cle 140 of the Iraqi Con­sti­tu­tion as ar­eas be­ing eth­ni­cally cleansed and ara­bized dur­ing the Baath Party rule.

Ar­ti­cle 140 of the 2005 Iraqi con­sti­tu­tion guar­an­teed to place the Dis­puted Ar­eas un­der the ju­ris­dic­tion of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Govern­ment (KRG) by the end of 2007. The three phases of this process in­cluded nor­mal­iza­tion, cen­sus, and ref­er­en­dum.

The con­sti­tu­tion states that dis­placed and up­rooted Kurds will be given com­pen­sa­tion and a chance to re­turn to their old homes, and Arabs who were brought in by Sad­dam will like­wise be com­pen­sated to re­turn to their old cities and vil­lages.

Kurds have been pow­er­ful in these prov­inces. They dom­i­nate and con­trol these ar­eas. The po­lice direc­torate, se­cu­rity com­man­ders, and other cru­cial ad­min­is­tra­tive po­si­tions are cur­rently in the hands of the Kurds. Nev­er­the­less, the ar­ti­cle has not been im­ple­mented fully yet.

The cit­i­zens of Kirkuk are wor­ried about the up­com­ing par­lia­men­tary elec­tions due to the il­lad­vised strug­gles among the Kur­dish po­lit­i­cal par­ties es­pe­cially be­tween the Kur­dis­tan Demo­cratic Party (KDP) and the Pa­tri­otic Union of Kur­dis­tan (PUK).

In De­cem­ber 2013, six- teen Kur­dish po­lit­i­cal par­ties de­cided to form a united Kur­dish bloc to con­test in the next par­lia­men­tary elec­tions. But as a re­sult of po­lit­i­cal row, the list dis­in­te­grated.

Fir­sat Sofi, who has PhD in law, said: "if the Kurds want to gain more power, then they should try to win a lot of votes to se­cure an over­all ma­jor­ity".

“If the Kurds win 60% of the vote, their politi­cians can use their pop­u­lar sup­port as pres­sure cards in or­der to set­tle both po­lit­i­cal and le­gal dis­putes with Bagh­dad. But par­tic­i­pa­tion with dif­fer­ent lists and blocs would leave neg­a­tive im­pacts on the elec­tion re­sults. Kurds' share of the vote may de­crease this time,” said Sofi.

The two main Kur­dish par­ties, in­stead of get­ting to­gether to pre­pare an am­bi­tious pro­gram about how to serve Kirkuk, they have al­ready started fab­ri­cat­ing ac­cu­sa­tions against each other. The mem­bers of both par­ties tear the op­po­nent's posters down.

“Kirkuk has fallen vic­tim to the strug­gles be­tween the PUK and the KDP. The two par­ties have signed a strate­gic al­liance pact, but now they do not care about if the elec­tions will pro­ceed smoothly. This means that they do not re­spect what they have agreed upon,” noted Jumha Ad­ham, a Gor­ran Move­ment List can­di­date.

Many think that the Ar­ti­cle 140 has not been im­ple­mented so far in Kirkuk and the other dis­puted ter­ri­to­ries be­cause of the on­go­ing dis­putes be­tween the KDP and the PUK.

If the Kurds are will­ing to re­gain con­trol of Kirkuk, they have to think strate­gi­cally and deliver an un­equiv­o­cal mes­sage to all the in­hab­i­tants in the city. It looks as if it is an up­hill task, but it is not an im­pos­si­ble one.

This pic­ture shows elec­tions posters for the can­di­dates of Iraqi Par­lia­men­tray Elec­tions.

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