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Iraq Press Roundup

By HIBA DAWOOD, UPI Correspondent   |   July 29, 2008 at 6:07 PM
The al-Ittihad newspaper of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan Party said in its Tuesday editorial, "Kirkuk: The divisions and avidity," that the issue regarding the status of Kirkuk likely would go unresolved in Parliament because of the cruel tendencies of ethnic figures who once again try to betray the Iraqi Kurds.

The editorial in the Kurdish newspaper said Kurdish people have suffered miseries not only in the city of Kirkuk but also in other areas throughout Iraq.

The newspaper also said lawmaking is not as essential as applying them logically and with justice relative to the reality of the Kurdish situation.

"The laws must reform past oppression and not force an unjust division or ethnically cleanse the Kurds, nor should it legislate deals that only touch the surface of the matter," the newspaper said in reference to Saddam-era policies enforcing the "Arabization" of Kirkuk.

It noted the people of Iraq have acknowledged the inhumane displacement of the Kurds and the forced takeover of their land, farms and property in Kirkuk.

The daily al-Ittihad said the Sunni Arabs who replaced the population in Kirkuk did not go there to look for work, nor did they volunteer to go there. They were forced to live in the city according to the evil plans of betrayal perpetrated by Saddam Hussein.

It said the Saddam government aimed to rid Iraq of the Kurdish population through ethnic cleansing operations, assassinations, mass killings and other crimes against humanity.

"There is a question that still needs to be raised here," the newspaper said, addressing Iraqi authorities involved in the constitutional provision regarding Kirkuk. "Why are there more Sunnis in a major Kurdish city than elsewhere in the country?"

It said all parties, non-governmental organizations and associations agree that ethnic cleansing by forced displacement or mass killings are methods used to change the demographics of the city.

"Today the devotion to keep the displacement situation as it exists is a conspiracy against the Kurds by the Iraqi government and political parties," the newspaper said.

Criticizing the inconsiderate behavior of organizations and parties of interest, the paper said those who claim they represent freedom, democracy and human rights insisted on supporting what took place during Saddam's time.

"The Kurds and their political powers will not allow the past oppression to be materialized by a law today. … Any law that does not take into account the oppression and complaints of the Kurds will not be passed successfully," the newspaper commented.

Article 140 of the Iraqi Constitution seeks to reverse Saddam-era policies regarding Kirkuk. Delaying the application of Article 140, which would designate Kirkuk a Kurdish city and grant the Kurds the right of return, should be considered a main point to preserve Kurdish rights and not something "left on the shelf" and called invalid, even though the article has no deadline.

The newspaper held the Iraqi Parliament and federal government responsible for delaying Article 140 and said it must take all the necessary steps to reform the issue before holding provincial council elections.

The editorial concluded by stating the matter of Kirkuk and the Kurds would likely go unresolved unless national, democratic and humane groups took part in negotiations regarding the oppression of the Kurdish people.

A democratic or humane action is not meant to satisfy political parties, but rather the people who suffered, the newspaper said.

"The debate that states Saddam oppressed all Iraqis equally is an illogical equation. … Saddam embarked on ethnic cleansing campaigns and buried the Kurds in mass graves on a daily basis, and not passing Article 140 today is unjust for the Kurdish people, who are never out of the agenda of the Iraqi government," al-Ittihad said.

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