ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) Masrour Barzani on Monday said Baghdad’s obsession with violence had caused instability in the region, adding Arabization in the disputed province of Kirkuk must end.
The KRSC head’s comments came during a meeting in Erbil with the United Kingdom’s Ambassador to Iraq, John Wilks.
Barzani stated that “the mentality of rulers in Baghdad has caused a state of distrust among Iraqis,” while emphasizing that the ongoing Arabization campaign in Kirkuk and Tuz Khurmatu was “unacceptable.”
“The current situation in Kirkuk and Tuz Khurmatu regarding the Arabization policies imposed by authorities in Baghdad will not be accepted in any way,” the KRSC head said.
According to recent reports, the disputed province of Kirkuk is witnessing a demographic change in favor of Arabs at the expense of Kurds similar to the campaign enforced by former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
Kirkuk and Tuz Khurmatu have seen widespread violations against the Kurdish population since Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militias took control of the area on Oct. 16 in response to the Kurdistan Region’s independence referendum.
The historic vote received overwhelming support for secession from Iraq, but Baghdad refused to acknowledge the results and instead reacted by imposing several punitive measures on the Region, including an international flight ban and military force in disputed areas.
The military takeover of Kirkuk resulted in the displacement of over 180,000 civilians, mostly Kurds, who fled to the Kurdistan Region as their properties were burned and looted by the Shia militias.
“All parties should work to stop these practices and resolve the differences regarding these [disputed] areas according to the Iraqi Constitution,” Chancellor Barzani stated.
“The mentality of the rulers in Baghdad has created a lack of confidence among the Iraqi components, and as long as this mentality is in governance, the ground will be fertile for problems, violence, and extremism,” he added.
Meanwhile, Wilks stressed the need to speed up the start of a dialogue between Erbil and Baghdad, hoping the upcoming elections in Kurdistan and Iraq were conducted successfully.