April 28, 2009
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Is Baghdad Trustworthy or ever has been? - By Amed Demirhan  in Hawler, Kurdistan

Dealing with Baghdad has been greatest challenge for the Kurdish people under every regime since Iraqi independence in 1932. Up until now no Arab Government have ever adhered to their treaties with Kurds or obeyed their own laws. Some part of the international community has not much better reputation. For example the United Nation “Oil for food” program was guilty of the worst corruption in the history of that organization when it was dealing with the Kurds. During Oil for food program UN effectively killed agriculture in Kurdistan by refusing to buy local products. Now the Kurdish people and their leadership are at a critical moment in their dealing with the Iraqi government that refuses to follow the constitution as many other Iraqi governments did in the past.

Successive Iraqi governments have always exaggerated even the most minimal Kurdish demands and claims to constitutional rights to justify its chauvinistic and oppressive policy toward Kurds. For example, Iraqi governments have claimed for years that Kurds are seeking independence where as in reality no major Kurdish Party or movement has ever had independence in its program. Today the Iraqi government and its gullible backers like the infamous “International Crisis Group” claim if people of Kirkuk use their constitutional right to join Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) the Kurds will seek independence or will cause a war.  (1)These outrages claims are made to make Kurds be in defensive position or make concision from their right. In fact the under the UN laws of shelve determination right and under customary international law, Kurds have the right to be independent but in reality no major Kurdish party is seeking independence in its program.

When (2) Iraq joined to the League of Nations in 1932, it declared guaranties for the “Protection of Minorities”.   Article 9 made the following commitment to the League: 

  • Iraq undertakes that in the liwas of Mosul, Arbil, Kirkuk and Sulaimaniya, the official language, side by side with Arabic, shall be Kurdish in the qadhas in which the population is predominantly of Kurdish race.
  • In the qadhas of Kifri and Kirkuk, however, in the liwa of Kirkuk, where a considerable part of the population is of Turcoman race, the official language, side by side with Arabic, shall be either Kurdish or Turkish. 

However, this was never properly implemented. Instead the Iraqi Government tried to create an artificial division between Kurdish dialects and thereby complicate the creation of a standard language. The Kurdish treaty with Iraq in the March 11, 1970 the Iraqi government formally recognized the autonomy of Kurdistan within Iraq’s borders and made the legal commitment that in Kirkuk after a census where ever Kurds are majority, they will become part of the autonomous region of Kurdistan including all other disputed places. It took only four years for Saddam to violate the treaty he himself signed.

Today is not different. It has been four year since the Iraqi constitution has been approved by more than 70% of Iraqi people and with consensus of current Iraqi leadership but Baghdad Government still refuses to implement it. Instead Mr. Al Maliki is seeking to modify constitution, clearly to in violation of Kurdistani people’s rights. No people in the world would allow any government to violate their constitutional rights.

Kurdistani people and Kurdish leadership have time and again declared its commitment to the Iraqi constitution and to the settling of disputes in accordance with the Iraqi constitution. For the Kurds, “enough is enough” when it comes to the Iraqi government not obeying or following the Iraqi constitution. Kurds and other must ask the following questions: Does the Iraqi government have any legitimacy when it refuses to implement its own constitution? What is the basis of the Iraqi government legitimacy? Why should any Kurd or Iraqi obey a government that doesn’t have constitutional legitimacy?

In the Middle East the major issues are to adhere to the laws, treaties, and obey them, however, so far the absence of these has been the major reason for terror and genocide. Therefore it will be to every one benefit to solve the dispute between KRG and Federal Government based on Iraqi constitution not by the UN or any other agencies meddling or re-negotiation of the constitution but on existing treaties. The burden of proof is on the Iraqi Arab leadership to demonstrate to the world and to the Kurds they can adhere to their legal treaties and moral obligation and they are trust worthy to deal with them. 

About the Author

Amed holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies with a minor in Spanish, a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a Master of Arts Degree in Dispute Resolution from Wayne State University in Michigan. His languages spoken are: Kurdish, Swedish, Turkish

(1)  “International Crises Group or Crises Creation Group
               By Demirhan, Amed  February 9, 2008
(2) “Iraq Admission to the League of Nations”               


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