ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The Baghdad-appointed Governor of Kirkuk has ordered citizens of two Kurdish-populated neighborhoods in the disputed province to leave their homes, referring to orders given by the former Iraqi Ba’ath regime.
According to a document issued on Jan. 21, Rakan al-Jibouri, the Governor of Kirkuk, asked Iraqi security forces to take necessary measures to oust the residents in Kirkuk’s Kurdish-populated neighborhoods of Nawroz and Kurdistan from their houses.
The order includes those families who according to the document have “squatted lands given to Iraqi army members during the Ba’ath regime’s era” as part of an Arabization campaign to change Kirkuk’s demography.
The Governor ordered al-Miqdad Police Station and the local authorities in both neighborhoods to inform the families “who had squatted in the areas to leave their homes voluntary within seven days and without any delay.”
The document stated that “if the families did not leave the areas, they would be evicted by the committee in charge of removing squatters.”
The former Iraqi Ba’ath regime, under Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship, implemented Arabization campaigns in Kirkuk Province and other Kurdish-populated areas in Nineveh, Salahuddin, and Diyala.
The campaign was meant to change the demography of the areas by forcibly displacing the Kurdish residents and replacing them with Arabs from central and southern Iraq.
Since Oct. 16, roughly 80 Kurdish officials in Kirkuk have been removed from their posts. Among them are the Governor, Kirkuk’s Security Director, the Mayors of Kirkuk city, Dibis, Daquq, and Khurmatu, as well as the District and Suburban Police Director.
The latest was the dismissal of the Kurdish Director of Agriculture in Kirkuk who was replaced with a Shia Turkmen as part of an ongoing “Shiafication” campaign being carried out since the Oct. 16 military takeover by Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed militias.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany