Prime Minister Maliki is attending a Council of Ministers conference in Mosul, where claims over disputed territories could be the main topic of discussion. Over 100 political and tribal leaders are expected at the meeting, except for Kurdish leaders. They will also talk about the poor services and ongoing violence that plague the region.
Mosul is the capital of Ninevah province, which has authority over some of the territories claimed by the Kurds. During the Saddam regime, many Kurdish areas of northern Iraq were "Arabized" and remain under the authority of the current federal government. Other smaller ethnic groups — such as the Turkmen, Yazidis and Shabaks — also live in the region.
Under Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution a de-Arabization plan was to have been implemented, a census taken, and then a plebiscite would have decided whether these areas would join the Kurdish Regional Government or be given their own special status. The plebiscite was to have taken place in 2007, but Baghdad has been deliberately slow to apply Article 140. More recently, Maliki has promised to stop all attempts to loosen Baghdad’s grip.
The Kurds say that Ninevah province is also suffering from mass arrests. Many of the detainees are then transferred to Baghdad, which has a history of secretly torturing detainees from Ninevah. They also are quarreling with Baghdad over oil rights. Not coincidentally, much of the territory in dispute sits on vast oil fields.
Meanwhile, at least two Iraqis and two Pakistanis were killed and another four Iraqis were wounded.
In Garma, a policeman was killed and two others were wounded when a roadside bomb was detonated.
One Iraqi civilian was killed and another was wounded in an I.E.D. blast in Abu Ghraib.
A bomb in Samarra wounded a Sahwa member.
A bombing left no casualties in Baquba.
Read more by Margaret Griffis
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