lundi 27 octobre 2008

Kurds have forced 13,000 Arab Families from Diyala Province: Iraqi MPs

Arab members of parliament have upped their criticism of Kurdish militia practices in provinces bordering their semi-independent enclave.

Latest accusations include the forcing of 13,000 Arab families to flee the restive Province of Diyala of which Baaquba is the capital.

Kurdish militias are present in larges numbers in the provinces of Diyala, Nineveh, of which Mosul is the capital, and Tameem of which Kirkuk is the capital.

These three provinces are now among the most restive in the country. Many in Iraq now openly blame the Kurds for the rise in the tide of violence in them.

"Kurdish Peshmerga (militias) are supposed to preserve security in these areas but they have forced 13,000 Arab families to flee Diyala," said Mohammed al-Dayni, an Arab parliamentary deputy.

He said Kurdish militias were in control of government buildings in the three provinces and were determined to bring about "demographic changes" in them.

He said conditions were precarious in the three provinces particularly in Nineveh where thousands of Christian families have fled the provincial capital Mosul.

Most Arab deputies in the parliament oppose Kurdish practices and Dayni said "a broad coalition" is gathering momentum in the parliament to force Kurdish militias to leave the three provinces.

Kurds are adamant to add the oil-rich Kirkuk to their areas and have sent their militias into the city of Mosul and large swathes of Diyala.

Kurdish politician and Deputy Fouad Maasoum denied the accusations.

He said the Kurds were part of the ruling coalition "and it is not logical for us to carry out actions that will be embarrassing for us and distance the Iraqi people from us."

By Mustafa Amara

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