ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdish lawmakers in the Iraqi Parliament have reportedly submitted a document requesting the formation of a committee to monitor the implementation of an article in the Iraqi Constitution related to contested regions between Erbil and Baghdad.
As tensions rise in Kirkuk, one of the disputed areas between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Federal Government of Iraq, the leaders of Kurdish factions within the Iraqi government have called for the creation of a committee to monitor the application of Article 140, Iraqi media reported on Saturday.
Kirkuk, populated by Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, and Christians, is claimed both by the autonomous Kurdish region and Iraq.
The fate of disputed territories between Erbil and Baghdad, specifically Kirkuk, was constitutionally determined based on Article 140, which requires a referendum to be held in the province for people to decide on the future of the province: whether it should be part of the KRG or the federal government.
The date of the referendum was set to December 2007, but over a decade has since passed. The article goes unimplemented and is one of the long-standing disputes between Erbil and Baghdad.
Moreover, the military ousting of Peshmerga forces from Kirkuk and other disputed areas in October 2017 by Iraqi forces and Iran-backed Shia militias has led to a deteriorated security situation in the region.
There are also complaints of an ongoing campaign of demographic change in the province with Kurds forcibly removed from their homes and replaced with Arabs.
Multiple Kurdish communities have been forced to leave their areas because others have made claims to the land using the same deeds they were given during previous Arabization campaigns enacted during the reign of Saddam Hussein.
Local Kurdish farmers in the northwest part of Kirkuk complained on Friday that a group of ethnic Arabs is secretly harvesting wheat cultivated over the past few years on hundreds of acres of Kurdish-owned property.
Iraqi security forces on Thursday demolished the homes of four Kurdish families in Kirkuk in what locals claim is another discriminatory action meant to intimidate Kurds into leaving the region.
On Tuesday, around 200 Arab Sunni citizens reportedly arrived in Kirkuk’s Sargaran subdistrict to settle and occupy properties using the previously mentioned documents issued during the era of Iraq’s former dictatorship.