Delivering the Kurdish Voice to Washington 
Kirkuk Minute July 1, 2021
A weekly brief of events and news occurred in the disputed territories.
  • Kirkuk province continues suffering from a lack of basic services. Amid an extreme heat wave in the region, citizens protested against the administration due to the lack of electricity. For the second time in two weeks, taxi drivers protested due to a lack of government supplied fuel and high retail fuel prices. Moreover, graduates from Kirkuk University’s engineering department held a protest in front of the governorate, demanding employment. Previously, the Iraqi Oil Ministry vowed to hire 1000 graduates, but the process stalled due to corruption in the hiring process. 
  • Since removing Kurdish-led administration and Peshmerga forces on October 16 ,2017, Kirkuk has become the main route for drug trafficking, mainly by Iranain-backed militias. During an event organized on the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, the police department commander to Combat Narcotics and psychotropic substances, Homa Rawouf, announced that 170 people were arrested in 2021 on narcotics distribution charges. According to General Rawouf, the number of arrests increased drastically compared to the first six months of 2020. 
  • According to the Iraqi Oil Ministry, Kirkuk’s oil production reached 3,075,237 barrels in June, grossing about 217 million USD. In a separate statement, the oil ministry said it foiled a smuggling attempt of 20 tankers of crude oil after the perpetrators drilled a hole in a pipeline between Hawija and Dibis districts. 
  • On Tuesday, June 26th, the Integrity Commission issued arrest warrants for the former police chief Khatab Omar and his deputy general Turhan Abdulrahman. The Integrity Commission’s ruling came after Kirkuk’s police filed a complaint about the “refusal of civilian employees to return their weapons owned by the police department,” in the past when the two officials held their posts.  
  • For the first time since October 16, 2017, a delegation of the Democratic Party of Kurdistan (KDP) visited Kirkuk and held a meeting in the city on Tuesday. The KDP delegation met with the communist party of Kurdistan. Members of the delegation told the press that their visit was to meet with organizations and public figures. KDP plans to return to the province and participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections on October 10, 2021 if the situation in the province is normalized.   
  • ISIS (Da’esh) continues to pose a significant security threat in the disputed territories, mainly in Kirkuk. On Friday June 25th, five Iraqi Federal Police were killed at a checkpoint following clashes with Da’esh near Shabeha village of Daquq district. Da’esh terrorists were able to damage the thermal cameras installed at the checkpoint in order to avoid detection before attacking. Following the attack, the Iraqi prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhimi ordered an investigation of the commander of the Federal police’s fifth division in charge of the security in the area. Further, Da’esh terrorists launched more attacks in the area, including on Thursday, July first near Hassan Shalal village of in Daquq, which they controlled after 20 minutes of clashes with the federal police. As a result, five people, including two civilians, were injured severely. On Sunday June 27th, near Riyad sub-district, Daesh terrorists attacked a security checkpoint, killing one Iraqi soldier and wounding three others. Da’esh also attacked a team of electricity technicians attempting to fix power towers that were damaged by the terror group last week. The electricity ministry announced “material damages” from the IED attack. The disabled towers connect Kirkuk’s electricity to other provinces. As the security situation in Kirkuk remains unstable, a senior Iraqi security delegation visited the province on Wednesday. The delegation headed by National Security adviser Qasim al Arajy met with Iraqi security officials and the joint command operation between the Iraqi and Kurdish forces.  
  • General Mohammed Rostam, commander of the second Peshmerga axis near Qaratapah and Hamrin, said that terror attacks have decreased by 80% since the launch of a joint command operation between Peshmerga and the Iraqi forces. 
  • On Thursday July 1st, an anti-government protest in Khanaqin demanded the Iraqi government provide more electricity. Khanaqin is experiencing a severe power shortage since Iran has stopped supplying power despite having an active contract with the Iraqi government to supply the area with electricity. The protestors shut down the international road between Iraq and Iran outside the town. 
  • The agricultural department announced a 33% decrease in wheat production in Khanaqin compared to 2020 due to a drought facing the region. The drought was caused by a lack of precipitation and Iran’s cut-off water supply to two main rivers in the Khanaqin. 
  • On Thursday, July 1, Turkish warplanes struck a vehicle believed to be of the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS) near Zardasht valley. No information has been released about the casualties. Turkey repeatedly has threatened to occupy the Yazidi town.

Welcome to Kirkuk Minute
Since the establishment of the Iraqi state, the ruling Arab regimes forcibly displaced native Kurds and repopulated the area with Arab tribes. The change of demography known as “Arabization existed in both Kurdish majority agriculture and urban lands. These policies were part of a larger Iraqi campaign to erase the Kurdish identity, occupy Kurdistan and control its wealth. The Iraqi government’s campaign against the Kurds amounted to genocide and eventually destroyed Kurdish communities and the social fabric of Kurdistan. The areas affected by the Arabization stretch from eastern to northwestern Iraq, incorporating major cities, towns and hundreds of villages. After the fall of Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship, these areas were referred to as “Disputed Territories” in Iraq’s newly adopted constitution of 2005. Article 140 of Iraq’s constitution called for the normalization of the “Disputed Territories,” which was never implemented by the federal government of Iraq. Kirkuk province, Khanaqin city of Diyala province, Tuz Khurmatu District of Saladin Province, and Shingal (Sinjar) in Nineveh province are the main areas that continue to suffer from Arabization policies implemented in 1975.
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