By Jareer Mohammed
Azzaman, October 1, 2009
Thousands of students went to the streets in the northern city of Mosul protesting the presence of Kurdish militia fighters in their city.
The students, mainly from secondary and high schools, carried placards denouncing the militias and demanding their immediate withdrawal from Mosul."The protesters shouted slogans against peshmerga fighters and asked the government to have them replaced by Iraqi troops," a provincial sources told the newspaper on condition that his name not be revealed.
Peshmerga is the local name for the Kurdish militias thousands of which were deployed in Mosul, a predominantly Arab city, shortly after the 2003-U.S. invasion.
Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, is one of the most restive places in the country. Attacks, particularly on its ethnic and religious minorities, have escalated recently.
Despite the killings and the uprooting of thousands of people, the government has failed to bring any individuals or groups to justice.The inhabitants blame the Kurdish militias for the unrest but Kurdish leaders categorically deny the accusations.What prompted the latest demonstrations was the close coordination the militias have with U.S. occupation troops.Most of Mosul inhabitants disdain U.S. troops and see them as invaders and occupiers.
U.S. military commanders were reported to have held a ceremony in Aski Mosul, north of the city, in which they rewarded several Kurdish militia leaders and conferred medals on them.
This particular ceremony was reported to have sparked the latest demonstrations.