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[casi] [Fwd: [ARTICLES] Nomads/IDPs; and patience running out on Arabizationissue]

-------- Ursprüngliche Nachricht --------
Betreff: [ARTICLES] Nomads/IDPs; and patience running out on Arabization
Datum: Sat, 17 May 2003 15:59:48 +0200
Von: KRGinGermany <>

Office Berlin: Please, foward from my private account to

"Nomads" is the wrong term; it should be "IDPs." What is needed is an
IDP program for the Arabs\, and Kurds, who return to their original
homes. At the end of the day, the bottom line is that the occupier-Arabs
will have to leave and go somewhere. A sensitive, well-designed, and
well-funded IDP program for them would serve the interests of all concerned.

The Chicago Tribune
Iraq gets a new class of nomads
Hundreds of displaced farm families and villagers wander the northern
region looking for a place to call home after Kurdish gunmen reclaim
land seized during Saddam Hussein's reign
By Tom Hundley
Tribune foreign correspondent
May 16, 2003

KHAN BENI SAAD, Iraq -- In the first days after the fall of the old
regime, men with assault rifles came into their homes and ordered them
to leave.

In some villages, the gunmen gave them 24 hours. In others, they were
more generous, offering the villagers a week to pack up and even
promising that they could return to harvest their crops.

No hard feelings. Just the reality that the men with the guns make the

In this case, the gunmen were Kurds, members of the Patriotic Union of
Kurdistan, a militia that has the Pentagon's blessing to operate in
northern Iraq. They said their orders came directly from Jalal Talabani,
the PUK leader and a man with close ties to the U.S. leadership in Iraq.

The victims were Shiite tribesmen from the south who had been living in
villages around Khanaqin, near the Iranian border.

There is no personal enmity between the two groups. The men with the
guns were simply reclaiming homes seized during Saddam Hussein's
genocidal purge of the Kurds, which lasted from the mid-1970s through
the 1980s and resulted in the emptying of 3,800 villages and the deaths
of 200,000 people.

The Shiites were originally from the southern city of Nasiriyah.
Landless peasants, they, too, were forcibly transplanted to Khanaqin in
a Stalinist effort by Hussein to "Arabize" the north and weaken Shiite
solidarity in the south.

"I always knew it was their land--the Kurds' land. That's why I didn't
feel so angry when they came back," said Dauod Selman Jabber, 38, a farmer.

Sent packing into desert

So Jabber's family and hundreds of others from their tribe, the
al-Sherafeyyeen, packed meager belongings into battered vehicles and

They have taken shelter where available. In the town of Khan Beni Saad,
about an hour north of Baghdad, one group of about 250 from another
tribe has found refuge in an abandoned prison. They spruced up the cells
with family pictures and carpets.

Jabber and about a dozen other families from his tribe have settled at
abandoned army barracks in the same village. Their cows and goats now
graze where soldiers once trained.

Before the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March, humanitarian agencies feared
a war would trigger a flood of refugees, up to a million or more. That
never happened. Thus far, the biggest population transfers have been
Iraqis evicted from houses that are being reclaimed by Kurds.

Human Rights Watch, which has looked into the matter, estimates that
5,000 people from the Khanaqin area have been forced from their homes.

"People are on the move all through Iraq. This group is the largest that
we have identified so far, but we believe there are displacements in
Mosul and Kirkuk and other places," said Peter Bouckaert, a senior
researcher for the humanitarian group in Baghdad.

"I wouldn't call it ethnic cleansing--I reserve that phrase for nastier
folks--but something has to be done for these people," he said.

Jabber blamed one man for his tribe's plight.

"It's Saddam's fault. If we had stayed in Nasiriyah, this never would
have happened. But he moved the Kurds out of their lands and then he
moved the Arabs, so it's his fault," he said.

Placing blame for plight

"After 33 years of work and 12 family members, I now have nothing
because of this man," Hamid Mayh, another farmer from the village, said
in agreement.

What the villagers are hoping for is that someone in authority will give
them land.

"We are now asking the authorities--whoever they are--to allow us to
have someplace in the shade," said Ali Murad Hussein, 66, one of the
village elders.

But there is no authority in the Iraqi hinterlands. Only men with guns.

"Before, if I had a quarrel with you, I went to court to settle it. Now
I have to shoot you or you will shoot me to reach a settlement," said
Murshid Shilfat, 45, another displaced farmer.

And for this state of affairs, they blame the United States.

"The Americans came and got rid of Saddam Hussein, but what did they do
for the people?" asked Shilfat. "The Americans are responsible for this

Because of the security crisis, very few aid agencies operate in Iraq,
and none has ventured into Khan Beni Saad. The few supplies these
farmers managed to bring with them are running low, and they are worried
that soon they will be hungry.

"The people are restless. But if the Americans would give us some
rations, they would relax," said Mayh. "The people don't want a
rebellion against the Americans, but if we are hungry, things can go wrong."


May 17, 2003
The New York Times
Among Kurds, Impatience and Anger Is Growing

KIRKUK, Iraq, May 15 — Old and painful fault lines are beginning to open
in the messy ethnic patchwork of Iraq's north.

Since the end of the war, Kurds in the area have been making the trek
from the towns to which they were banished by Saddam Hussein during
brutal ethnic cleansing campaigns of the 1970's and 1980's back to the
places where they grew up.

But the homecomings can be awkward affairs. In many instances, returning
Kurds confront Arabs who were brought in to replace them as part of the
government's strategy of establishing a firm hold over the rich oil
resources of the north.

Now Kurdish leaders want them out but the Americans want to move
deliberately in order to protect legitimate property rights. In an
interview this week, Sami Abdul Rahman, one of the highest-ranking
members of the Kurdish Democratic Party of Massoud Barzani, criticized
the American approach as too slow.

"We can compromise on everything but Arabization," Mr. Rahman said. "The
Arabs are leaving the land they stole, but Americans are bringing them
back. This is the biggest insult to the Kurdish people. Those who delay
decisions will have to face popular anger."

The American authorities say they do not have the manpower or the system
to sort out property claims. Their objective is to temporarily freeze
living arrangements in their prewar condition, intervening on occasion
when a weapon is involved. In some cases, American forces have asked
returning Kurds to stay away from vacant villages. Kamal Kerkuki, 49, a
Kurd from this city whose land was taken away in the 1960's during the
first sweep of the area by the Baath Party, said some of the more
aggressive Kurds have even been jailed for short stretches.

Sorting out the truth can be difficult. Stories are exaggerated and
emotions often run high. The problems in the city proper peaked a few
weeks ago, said Col. William Mayville of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. But
the provinces are still tense. Just today, Colonel Mayville agreed on a
split of the harvest between the Arabs who planted it and the Kurds who
own the land.

The Kurds "are the victims," Colonel Mayville said. "But part of what
they are asking to redress could cause more victims."

While the debate goes on, many Arabs who fear retribution are simply
abandoning the farms and villages they occupied decades ago. A drive
through the foothills here is a surreal tour through a land of empty
villages, some slowly being resettled by Kurds. Here in Kirkuk, the
heart of the Kurdish enclave, Arabs have even been beaten, taken hostage
and threatened with guns.

But cool-headed Kurds are working with American forces to defuse a
potentially explosive situation. Mr. Kerkuki spent this afternoon
persuading a Kurdish family to protect an Arab husband and wife who had
fled in fear.

Mr. Kerkuki, the Kurdish representative to the American forces here, has
worked 18-hour days on ethnic conflicts in Kirkuk since the war began,
resettling both Kurds and Arabs. He also speaks his mind.

"Americans have one policy: everything should wait until a solution can
be found through law," he said in his car between interventions. "But I
told them, 'If you went home now and saw someone in your house who
kicked you out 12 years ago, you wouldn't want to wait around.' "

Consider Muhsen Zanganah, a father of five who has been living in a camp
about 60 miles from here since losing his home in the late 1980's. Two
weeks ago, he packed up his family and brought them here, to his old
neighborhood. Finding his house gone, he occupied the first empty one he

Today, American soldiers told him he had two weeks to leave.

"I have lived for years in a tent," he said angrily, sitting on the
porch of the house. "If I have to leave, where will I go? The Americans
are protecting the Arabs. Kurds are very angry about Americans in Kirkuk."

The Arab who made the complaint "was a senior member of the Baath
Party," Mr. Zanganah said. "If he comes back to force my family to
leave, I will kill him."

Arabs are afraid. In Qadesiya, "For Sale" signs hang on the walls of
courtyards. In interviews today, three families said they felt
threatened; two said they planned to leave. One Arab woman, a teacher,
said Kurdish militias were coming into neighborhoods at night and firing
guns to scare people away.

"They are correcting a mistake with a mistake," said the woman, who
moved to Kirkuk in 1980. "On TV, Kurds are saying Kirkuk is only for the
Kurds. They say only 'original Arabs' can remain here. What are we, fake?"

Kurds have been using hard language. The regional parliament, located in
the city of Erbil, drew up a law during its Monday session that will set
up some ground rules for "cleaning the traces of the Arabization
process" from the region.

People continue to wait to return to their hometowns. About 50 Kurdish
families are living in the Iraqi Army's Emergency Reserve barracks on
the edge of town. More families are living in a sports stadium nearby.
Thousands still reside in tent cities.

"They will have to wait, but they are not willing to wait for a long
time," Mr. Kerkuki said. "We cannot control them. America cannot control
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