Current affairs of Kirkuk Arabs and their future
Following PM Maliki’s decision to abolish the remnants of Baath regime by nullifying North Affairs Committee decisions concerning lands, the disputes among Arab factions in the province exploded, even some of the Arabs are publicly denounced the decision. To normalize the tension between Iraqiya list and Kirkuk Arabs, Arab Political Council sent an envoy to Baghdad last Friday, to meet with the leaders of the Iraqiya list.
Although the statement that followed the meetings was calm and balanced, the sources from the meetings describe their discussions as tense and fury, deepening the differences between them. The meetings were hold to no avail, since as I described, some of them reject Maliki’s decision harshly, while the others support it. The third faction, while having notes on the decision, criticizes Iraqiya leaders’ silence.
Some of the Arab MPs from Kirkuk took part in the meetings, while the Turkmen MPs warned them that such decision was in the interest of the Turkmens. They also warned them that rejecting Maliki’s decision could pave the way for a Turkmen split from the Iraqiya list. Observers predict that the tensions could not only split the Turkmens, but make new splits among the Arabs of Kirkuk.
On the other hand, the Arab Movement Project harshly criticized Arab representative in the 140 committee Muhammad Khalil al-Jabouri, for he was there when the decision was made to abolish all the agricultural contracts agreed on while in times of Baath regime. To ease the tension, it’s said that al-Jabouri visited Baghdad to see officials, including Sa’ad Asim Janabi secretary general of the Republic Assembly, asking him to return to Kirkuk, while there is a huge tension between the Republic Assembly and the Arab Political Council.
Sheikh Wasfi Asi, a notable Arab figure, has appeared on the scene again and took part in some social events. He held a broad meeting with the prominent figures of the Rashad area on situation in Kirkuk, and the future of Arabs with Kurds and Turkmens on the spectrum of the changes emerging in the region. Asi is to form a new political party, to compete in the next elections. We should take it to the consideration that Asi is PM Maliki’s advisor, his close assistant in the tribal affairs and national reconciliation project.
Another issue has appeared among the Arabs: who should lead the Farmer Groups.
Baath has also interfered in the political scene. The banned party, unlike its previous moves, encourages its members and affiliates to support an Arab group against the other. The Baathists support Arab Project Movement led by Ahmed al-Obeidi against the Arab Political Council, called as the Abdulrahman Munshid al-Asi group.
After the fall of Baath regime, the current situation of Arabs, stemmed from wrong policies and internal tensions, is considered the worst and most dangerous situation for them in the province. I believe, the best scenario case (For the Arabs) is, the Arabs would split into two. A faction will go to the Shias, while the other goes to the Kurds. This is the best opportunity for the Kurds to attract the majority of the Arabs.