Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The New Dispute In Kirkuk – The National Census

On October 24, 2009 Iraq is set to conduct a national census. This will be the first one held since the overthrow of Saddam. Its results will have the largest effect upon the disputed area of Kirkuk in Tamim province. Article 140 of the constitution called for a census in Tamim before a referendum on the future of Kirkuk could be conducted no later than December 31, 2007. Neither happened. The Kurds want the census to occur because they are the majority in the province, and it would create facts on the ground to support their claim to the area. Arabs and Kurds in Tamim are therefore opposed to it. They claim that the Kurdish parties moved in thousands of their followers into the province after the U.S. invasion, sometimes by force, thus gerrymandering the demographics in their favor. The Kurds dispute this, claiming that the returns were simply people who were forcibly displaced by Saddam’s Arabization policy. Neither side appears willing to compromise.

The government survey will also be of importance because it will determine the voting rolls for the province. Tamim has still not had provincial elections, which were held in January 2009, and unless the census happens there, may not participate in the January 2010 parliamentary elections either.

As usual, Iraq’s political leaders are unable to deal with this dilemma. Some Turkmen political parties say they want Baghdad to delay the census until it can figure out how many Kurds moved to Tamim after 2003. They have threatened a boycott of the census if this doesn’t happen, and the Arabs may join them. In parliament, one proposal is to simply drop Tamim from the national census. Another is to push ahead with a referendum and parliamentary elections in Kirkuk without one. A major sticking point is that the presidential committee, which includes Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, will veto any law devised by parliament unfavorable to the Kurds. The most likely scenario then, is that parliament will do nothing, and Tamim will be excluded from the census, and participation in voting again.


Gibbs, Nancy, “Unfinished Business,” Time, 4/28/03

International Crisis Group, “Iraq and the Kurds: Trouble Along the Trigger Line,” 7/8/09

Iraqi Constitution

Nordland, Rod, “Now It’s A Census That Could Rip Iraq Apart,” New York Times, 7/26/09

Williams, Timothy, “Turkmens in Contested Oil-Rich Province Vow to Boycott Iraq’s National Census,” New York Times, 7/24/09


BLUE WOMAN said...

Hereunder is the message addressed by Dr. Hassan AYDINLI, ITF E.U. Representative to Journalist TIMOTHY WILLIAMS , further to his article published in the NY Times “Turkmens in Contested Oil-Rich Province vow to Boycott Iraq’s National Census“:

To read comment please click on:

Dear Mr. Timothy Williams,

I read your article entitled “Turkmens in Contested Oil-Rich Province vow to Boycott Iraq’s National Census“ with great interest.

However, I would like to point out that there has been some confusion regarding the interpretation of the 2% mentioned in the last paragraph of the ITF Statement released on Thursday 23rd July 2009.

In order to clarify the contents of their statement and avoid any further misquoting, ITF Information Office has issued a communiqué on 25th July 2009 (please see hereunder).

I would be grateful if you could convey this important clarification to your readers.

Dr Hassan Aydinli
ITF Europe Representative (Belgium)


(Head Quarter)
Information Office
25th July 2009

Regarding ITF communiqué dated 23rd July 2009

We would like to clarify the contents of our statement of 23rd July 2009 – regarding the possible boycotting by the Turkmens of the general census in Iraq which is supposed to take place in October 2009 – which have been misquoted in some Western media.

In our statement we wrote: “Turkmens announce boycotting the census unless the concerned authorities respond to their demands” “the boycotting of the census by 12% of the Iraqi people will certainly make it loose its credibility”.

Census is a very important matter for a nation, it must be carried out with great care and precision, there should be no errors and all Iraqis must be counted. Even a margin of error of 1%-2% is unacceptable. Therefore, if the Turkmens who represent almost 13% of the Iraqi people were to boycott the general census it would certainly make it null and void.

Iraqi Turkmen Front
Information office

BLUE WOMAN said...

The « Fait accompli » imposed by the Kurds in Kerkuk is inadmissible!

Please see :

Looking at the maps of Kerkuk shown on Kerkuk Provincial Council website, it is clear that important infrastructures will be built to accommodate the thousands of Kurdish settlers who were brought to Kerkuk by the parties of the Kurdish warlords Barzani and Talabani (PDK and PUK) after 10th April 2003. These Kurdish settlers were settled in Kerkuk to alter the city’s demography.

Indeed, taking advantage of the chaos which prevailed in Iraq after the US-UK invasion the Kurdish militias invaded and occupied Kerkuk on 10th April 2008.
Subsequently the Kurdish parties brought over 600.000 Kurds from the Kurdish autonomous region as well as from neighbouring countries (Syria, Iran and Turkey) and settled them in Kerkuk and its surroundings. These newly arrived Kurds occupied Iraqi government buildings, sports stadium, military camps, military personnel housing and compounds in and around Kerkuk and the remaining are now living in makeshift houses and slums established on the lands belonging to the Turkmens.


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