Friday, October 1, 2010

Ninewa Unwilling To Hold Census As Long As Kurdish Peshmerga Are Present

Source: U.S. Embassy, Baghdad
Ninewa’s governor Atheel Nujafi told the press that he would block the national census as long as there were Kurdish peshmerga present in his province. Iraq’s Planning Ministry intends on conducting the census on October 24, 2010, and Ninewa is the only governorate that has not prepared for it. Since Nujafi was elected in the January 2009 provincial elections, he and his Al-Hadbaa Party have been calling for all Kurdish forces to withdraw, and be replaced by the Iraqi Army and police. Al-Hadbaa is opposed to Kurdish desires to annex the disputed territories in the province, and believe that the peshmerga are in Ninewa to achieve that goal. Not only that, but after al-Hadbaa took all the positions in the governorate’s council after the 2009 elections, the Kurdish Fraternal List has been boycotting the provincial government, and the peshmerga even refused to allow al-Hadbaa officials from visiting areas under their control. In mid-2010 the United Nations and Iyad Allawi’s Iraqi National Movement began mediating between the parties. The two sides have agreed upon a number of issues such as the budget and distributing government positions, but not security.

If the census were not conducted in Ninewa, the second largest governorate in the country, it would be a major setback. The last time Iraq held a census was in 1997, but it did not include the three provinces in Kurdistan that were not under the administration of Saddam Hussein’s government. They were included in the 1987 census. This year’s census has already been postponed twice before. It was originally planned for 2007, but was cancelled because of the lack of security. The Planning Ministry tried two years later, but political parties were afraid of political manipulation in the disputed territories in Ninewa, Tamim, and Diyala. It’s those same types of objections al-Hadbaa is currently voicing and may hold up this year’s attempt.


Karim, Karzan, “Nineveh governor says no census in his province,” AK News, 9/21/10

Khallat, Khudr, “Kurdish delegation go to Baghdad to discuss census,” AK News, 9/21/10

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