Kurds, Arabs and others!

July 11, 2010

The recent tour of President Barzani to the arab neighbourhood was a new reminder to the arab world that Iraqi Kurdistan is not against being part of its arab surrounding and that Iraq’s Arab component is the one that has arab phobia not the Kurdish one.
Since the beginning of the new Iraq, ie, 2003 many attempts were made to ostracise the kurds and create the anti-arab beast out of the new Iraq.
The majority of those who were trying to do so were people who were part of the old regime or those who cannot bare the view of a pluralistic Iraq.
But the key issue here is that the Kurds should not display any behaviour that that they are an anti-Arab component of the new Iraq.
One of the key aims of Al-qaida and the enemies of the new Iraq is to drive a strong wedge between the Kurds and Arabs and put all the other ethnic minorities on the Arab side of the divide. The Kurds should be careful not to fall into that trap.
While the Kurds and especially their leadership always emphasises that the new Iraq is one of equality and fraternity, there still are some traces of xenophobic and racist behaviour in certain parts of Kurdistan.
This has to change and especially in certain apects of the public service and its political setup in Iraqi Kurdistan. Already some damage was made on this front. And the sooner the Kurds act the quicker they can restore their status as a key player in the new Iraq. The results of the recent election and the declining number of the Kurdish lists in the Arab areas of Iraq should serve as weak up call.
There are a few measures that can be taken in Kurdistan and a some in Baghdad.
In Kurdistan, although there is words of praise from a lot of the large Arab community in Kurdistan that ran away from the violence in the centre and south and the treatment is largely satisfactory but there still are some pockets of racist and unwelcoming remarks that could create the wrong tension between the people.
This is mostly seen at checkpoints and at some government offices. Interestingly enough the business people seem to have a much better relationship than that of the politicians and the public servants.
The Arab community of Iraq is now going through tough times, sooner or later they would restore their powerful position in the new democratic Iraq. The stories of today are the ones that would make their minds tomorrow.
At the end of the day, the Kurds of Iraq are in more need of the Arabs than the Arabs of the Kurds.
One key element here is also the treatment of the other ethnicities in Iraqi Kurdistan. Again the kurds should not just talk about equality they should also do it. Although religious and ethnic tolerance is at a good stage in Iraqi Kurdistan.
The region should also send the following message to Iraq and the rest of the world: Kurds, Turkomans, Kaldo-assyrians, arabs and others make todays Iraqi Kurdistan. This should also be reflected in their policies and behaviour not only in Kurdistan but also in Baghdad.
Politically speaking, the Kurds should also take a more active role in Baghdad. They should transform their role from being representatives of the Kurdish region in Baghdad to being an active Kurdish partner in running the affairs of the country.
Over the past few years, every Thursday afternoon, Baghdad’s airport is heaving with Kurdish officials; ministers, deputy ministers, mp’s, DG’s you name it. The time that is usually used to socialise and creat a stronger network in Baghdad is usually spent in Arbil or Sulaymaniya.
As a result, relationship with the political establishment in Baghdad remained very official and stayed in meeting rooms.
Now is the time for the Kurds to have a good role in Baghdad. They can move their centre of political gravity to Baghdad and be able to be at the centre of events.
Many anti-Kurds say that Iraq was taken away from its Arab surrounding, now is the chance for the Kurdish leadership to bring Iraq back to its arab surrounding through arbil.

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