Firstly, I ask my brothers in brotherly Morocco to accept, from my simple person, my deepest condolences and sincere sympathy for the divine catastrophe that befell them. I pray to the Almighty to grant them patience, to have mercy on their martyrs, to make their resting place Paradise, and to heal their wounded, and that this calamity be a reason for broad Arab solidarity that is consistent with the scale of the disaster. We belong to God and to Him we shall return.
Kirkuk Governorate, or Tamim, as the Baath Party regime dubbed it in commemoration of the oil nationalization process (1972), is once again in the spotlight following the outbreak of internal clashes between its Turkmen and Arab residents on one side and Kurdish supporters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (Barzani) on the other. The current government’s approval, without any in-depth study of the issue, for the return of the Kurdistan Democratic Party and its militants to Kirkuk and all positions they occupied before being removed from it in 2017 by the Iraqi army, following the regional government’s well-known referendum on independence. It was also not examined before being imposed on the Kirkuk Governorate.
The tension was reignited in 2014, when militants from the Kurdistan Democratic Party stormed and took control of Kirkuk, raising the Kurdish flag above its official buildings, claiming that they had (unilaterally) implemented Article 140 of the Constitution (which will be discussed in the second part of the article). The party’s militias then carried out operations to bulldoze many Arab villages, deport their residents, and resettle Kurdish families (mostly Kurds from Syria and Turkey), claiming that they were deported residents of the governorate by the previous regime, all in a clear policy to (Kurdish) the governorate. This was hardly the first effort to disrupt Kirkuk’s social fabric. Arab tribes have been relocated by central administrations since the early 1960s.
This was hardly the first effort to disrupt Kirkuk’s social fabric. Since the early 1960s, central governments have relocated Arab tribes to the governorate in order to increase the Arab presence there. The party’s militias then carried out operations to bulldoze many Arab villages, deport their residents, and resettle Kurdish families (mostly Kurds from Syria and Turkey), claiming that they were deported residents of the governorate by the previous regime, all in a clear policy to (Kurdish) the governorate. This was hardly the first effort to disrupt Kirkuk’s social fabric. Since the early 1960s, federal administrations have allocated Arab tribes to the governorate.
The basis put forward to determine the identity of the governorate in the attempts of various governments to address the problem (and even in the latest constitution) was the necessity of adopting the 1957 census of the population, which took place in calm and normal conditions during the royal era. Even if nationalism was not used as a foundation for the census, the linguistic criteria was. Its findings revealed that 33.53% of individuals spoke Kurdish in Kirkuk (the city center), whereas 37.62% spoke Turkish and 22.53% spoke Arabic. The percentages for the governorate as a whole were as follows: Turkmen make up 48.24% of the population, Kurds 21.44%, and Arabs 28.19%. A number of Kurdish-majority areas signed the March Declaration in 1970.
With the increase of calls for the establishment of a Kurdish state in northern Iraq, and the presence of oil and gas resources in Kirkuk, the desire to annex it became a priority for those who hold this view. They even deemed it the capital of the newly formed state or Kurdish nation. External parties such as the United States, Britain, and Israel supported these claims, particularly during the Baath administration. However, with the exception of Israel, this support dwindled significantly during the occupation of Iraq, as Mr. Masoud Barzani reminded the renowned Paul Bremer that (Kirkuk is the Holy of Holies) for the Kurds. Bremer responded bluntly, saying that one Jerusalem problem is enough.
However, in keeping with colonial countries’ practice of leaving hotspots for future problems, Bremer and those who worked with him planted a mine that could explode at any time, represented by inserting a new concept in the permanent Iraqi constitution (2005), and before that in the Interim State Administration Law (2004), entitled (Disputed Territories). on her). This poor idea is regarded as a constitutional novelty with no equivalent. It is well known that states, particularly after significant conflicts, demand and contemplate disputed areas, but it has never happened that a state that is meant to perceive its people and territories as one cohesive entity has adopted such a provision in its constitution.
One of the terrible ironies must be that most Kurdish politicians who insist on annexing Kirkuk to the region, especially when confronted with a forceful rejection of this demand, come back and declare that Kirkuk is an Iraqi and diverse governorate and must stay such. This is what the late Jalal Talabani said and wrote as he prepared to sign a reconciliation agreement with the Iraqi government in 1984, and it was repeated when he became President of the Republic, and it was repeated by others after the occupation when they felt there was regional and international opposition to the idea of establishing an independent state.
Despite these statements, the various Kurdish leaders continue, and whenever there is a financial dispute with the central authority, they demand the implementation of Article 140 of the Constitution, and talk about the need for a referendum in the “disputed areas,” particularly in Kirkuk, primarily to embarrass the central authority. These remarks must and must force us to discuss this item, which remains a ticking time bomb more hazardous than the Kirkuk situation itself, especially since the US just joined the call to execute the article, with the Iraqi Communist Party and other Israeli mouthpieces.
Without going into many side issues that I have previously written extensively about since 2013, and in detail in today’s opinion (Iraq’s Constitution is a forged document 11/21/2019), I say that anyone who demands that this article be implemented is either ignorant or has a preconceived agenda. This is not an insult against anyone, but rather something based on undeniable facts. This item was effectively fabricated and unlawfully and illegitimately put to the constitution, and its inclusion is an insult to Iraqi citizens who voted on the constitution in a public referendum in 2005. As a result, it cannot be legally invoked or invoked in any disagreement between the center and the region.
For those who are unaware, the constitution imposed by Bremer, like the Transitional State Administration Law before it, was authored by a young American Jewish university professor and consisted of only 139 items. Because the American goal was to approve the constitution as soon as possible, in the shortest time possible, and in any way possible, even if it meant adopting fraud (which is what happened), and as a result of the leaders of the Sunni parties objecting to the draft and demanding amendments to it, (they were ordered) by the American delegation that was following up on the issue of approving the constitution.
(This article has become number 142 in the current constitution). As a result, the leader of the Islamic Party at the time went public and pushed his supporters to vote in favor of the constitution. When the Kurdish parties learned of this proposal, they objected strongly, and to appease them, five new articles were added instead of one, the first of which was Article 140, which reinstated Article 58 of the defunct Transitional State Administration Law, which discussed (a referendum in Kirkuk and all the disputed areas).
The poor faith in this article is that it assumed there were contested territories in all of the Arab governorates around the designated Kurdish zone, including Mosul, Salah al-Din, and Diyala. In other words, it dug a lot of holes for the future and the constitution. The most essential point is that these revisions and additions were not brought to the Constitutional Committee when the constitution was passed, nor to the National Assembly when it was put to a referendum, and they were not included in the wording of the poll. As a result, they are deemed invalid, and their inclusion is an obvious counterfeit, and the Federal Court must rule on the subject. Her authority.
Of course, the US’s recent entry into the line, and its demand that the Iraqi state respect the article, is for other reasons, in light of suspicious American movements in the region, which are not limited to military movements in Iraq and Syria, but have even reached the point of announcing the formation of a large new military force of Kurdish militants (the Peshmerga). It has a total of 80,000 armed troops. The US says it would train and equip them, as well as cover their expenses, and that they will not be beholden to the current Kurdish parties. This is in addition to reports of its support for armed organizations in western Iraq and Iranian Kurdish militants in the Kurdistan region.
After clarifying everything that has been said, the Kurds of Kirkuk still have the right to have someone represent them in the governorate and in any fair elections, as long as it is not done in the manner that occurred between 2014 and 2017, and even before that, of attempting to marginalize the Turkmen and Arab components and imposing many arbitrary measures. They are talking about the people of the governorate, and this is the major reason for their strong resistance to the return of Kurdistan Party fighters to their city. It should be noted that the major headquarters that the Kurdistan Party is asking is an Iraqi government headquarters that is controlled by the Iraqi Ministry of Oil and was not previously owned by the Kurdistan Party.
The Iraqi government is still obliged to defuse the Kirkuk issue, which it started, and any delay in finding a swift solution that satisfies all parties risks inviting external intervention that does not wish Iraq and its people well.