Monday, April 28, 2003

In Kurdish Iraq, Ethnic Recleansing?
This week, thousands of Kurdish families started to move back to their old lands from around the country. Families from the autonomous Kurdish area further north had begun to return the week before. The Baath party forced most Kurdish families into internal exile to remote and poor areas. Some 200 families from Al-Zendi were driven to Ramadi located in the dry and dusty desert towards Jordan. Kurds are happy to return to their green and fertile fields in the north. But strangers now occupy their land, and some seem ready to fight for it.

PUK officials are now supporting the claims of the returning Kurds. "The occupiers will have to go back to their home districts," says Nur Eddin Daoudi, a political officer who says his task is to escort Kurds to their original homes. "Some of them are not even real Iraqis." The PUK is clearly aiming to reverse the Arabisation introduced by the Baath party. About 750,000 "Arabs and Bedu" in Kirkuk district will have to leave because they were "instruments of the Baath party," Daoudi says.

Though the Kurds promise to respect the human rights of these non-Kurds, this situation should be closely monitored.

Update: More information from the Asia Times. It could get nasty over there.