Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Land disputes increase ethnic violence between Sunni Arabs and Kurds in northern Iraq

The struggle between Sunni Arabs and Kurds in northern Iraq has added to the civil strife that continues to plague the country. Sunni Arabs are forcing Kurds out Iraq’s third largest city, Mosul, and into Nineveh Province, The New York Times reported today.

Part of the Sunni Arab fears fueling this violent rush stems from the political makeup in the Nineveh region. Thirty-one of the forty-one available seats on the provincial council belong to the Kurdish coalition, which only represents about 35 percent of the province. Under the Constitution, the autonomous Iraqi Kurdish region may take control of the northern and eastern parts of Nineveh through a popular referendum. As Kurdish power increases, so does the likelihood for such a referendum passing.

However, the Sunni Arabs are calling for more elections that will better represent the population before the Kurds call for a vote. “We demanded elections a year ago, but it never happened” said Muhammad Shakir, a local leader in the Iraqi Islamic Party. Conversely, Khasro Goran, a deputy governor in a neighboring province to Nineveh claims that “If the vote is put off violence will soar even further between Kurds and Arabs as each group struggles for the land.” He then continued, “this is a good time to solve the problem.”

While the Sunni Arabs wait for new elections and Kurds wait for relocation, the violence against Kurds from the Sunni Arabs increases, as does Kurdish animosity towards the Sunni Arabs. Unfortunately, as the violence continues to intensify, hopes for a peaceful solution dwindle.

For the full article, click here.

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