Kirkuk is a Kurdish city by history and geography

By Mufid Abdulla:

Maliki at Kirkuk cabinet meeting

Maliki at Kirkuk cabinet meeting (Photo - Alsumaria)

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s visit to Kirkuk yesterday has caused a lot of anger and frustration among Kurdish commentators due his statement that Kirkuk has an Iraqi identity. He said this to a cabinet meeting of the Kirkuk council which was boycotted by the Kurdish members who make up a majority.  This was Maliki’s first visit to Kirkuk as prime minister. It took place against a background of chilly relations between the Iraq central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government which are grappling over several unresolved issues, including the status of Kirkuk.

“Kirkuk is special. It is special because it is a microcosm of Iraq,” Maliki told ministers in a televised portion of the meeting. “In the truest meaning of the word, its identity is Iraqi”, he continued. “Its communities are Iraq: Kurd, Arab and Turkman; Shiite, Sunni and Christian.”

Maliki added : “This province will stay in this political, social and economic situation.”

This speech angered Kurds because Maliki has enough problems to solve without needing to go out of his way to create more of them.

Maliki is the leader of the Dawa party, among the most brutal of parties in the Middle East. In 1980 this party had an invovlvement in the bombing of the US embassy in Lebanon which killed 241 American serviceman.

Maliki and his party promote Arab chauvinist nationalism and offer Iraq nothing but destruction and the stirring of ethnic conflict. According to a UN report released on Monday, more than 11 million people are living below the poverty line in Maliki’s Iraq. In Baghdad, people have just three hours of electricity daily.  Basically, the Maliki government is a gang that properly controls only the Green Zone in Baghdad.

I would like to remind Maliki and his followers about the true history of Kirkuk. They should refer to the documentary evidence published by Professor Kamal Mudhir Ahmed. It took this scholar 10 years to gather almost 500 primary sources on the origins of Kirkuk. To quote Professor Ahmed, they will discover:  “… the historical legitimacy of the Kurd’s claim to Kirkuk. The city was  built five thousand years ago by the antecedents of the Kurds, a view endorsed by a group of Egyptian historians. The Kurds are descendants from a northern origin … and they had an ancient country, whose capital was Arapkha, which is the present Kirkuk. For much of the eighteenth century Kirkuk was controlled by the Kurdish Baban emirate. The Treaty of Sevres promised the Kurds the right to self-determination, including independence, and the British clearly regarded Kirkuk as part of Kurdistan. …The 1957 general census shows a majority of Kurds living in the Kirkuk governate: the total number of Arabs in the governate was 109,620, alongside 83371 Turkomen and 187,593 Kurds.”*

Kirkuk is a Kurdish city historically and geographically. All these themes are documented in Professor Ahmed’s book.

*Ahmed, K M (2010), ‘Judgment of History and Conscience: A documentary study of the Kurdish issue in Iraq’ (Introduced and translated by Mufid Abdulla)

Copyright © 2012

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