Comment posted in the Guardian:
What Ranj Alaaldin omits to mention in his article: “The Kirkuk conundrum”
Facts about the demography and ethnic composition of Kerkuk.
Kerkuk was a TURKMEN city until 1958 when the Communist Iraqi government invited Mustafa Barzani the Kurdish rebel leader back from his exile in Russia. Barzani’s first demand was to include Kerkuk in his proposed autonomous Kurdistan region. From that date the Kurds poured into the city to change its demographics. This campaign intensified in 1970 when Saddam, without consulting the Iraqi people, gave autonomy to the Kurds.
Upon Kurdish insistence on annexing Kerkuk to their autonomous region, Saddam brought Arabs from the South and settled them in Kerkuk.
According to the ration card data base, considered by the United Nations to be a reliable source for information on the Iraqi population, some 12.000 families (Turkmens and Kurds) were expelled from Kerkuk city under the previous regime, one third being Turkmens!
In April 2003, after the US-UK invasion of Iraq the Kurdish militias (peshmerga) invaded Kerkuk city with the blessing of the US military, they took control of the city and appointed Kurds in all the important positions. The first thing the Kurds did when they invaded Kerkuk was to loot and put fire to the city’s land registry office, in order to destroy the deeds which were proof that Kerkuk was a Turkmen city.
Since 2003 the Kurds have been trying to include Kerkuk officially into their Kurdistan through a referendum that they are sure of winning. For that purpose they settled 600.000 Kurdish emigrants from Iran, Syrian and other parts of Northern Iraq in Kerkuk, changing the demographics of the city from 750.000 on 10th April 2003 to 1.35 million nowadays.
Today, citing ‘Article 140 of the constitution which was written under US OCCUPATION (see: http://gulfanalysis.wordpress.com/2009/10/19/new-information-in-the-tawke-gate-affair-galbraith-was-also-a-paid-dno-consultant/ )
the Kurds insist to start the ‘normalization process in Kerkuk Province. But their interpretation of ‘normalization is to establish Kurdish hegemony in a region of Iraq which is inhabited by Turkmens, Arabs and Kurds and which has never been part of ‘Kurdistan’.
Arabs and Turkmens are opposed to the annexation of oil rich Kerkuk to the Kurdish Region, they maintain that Kerkuk is an Iraqi city and that its wealth belongs to all the Iraqi people.