Apartheid for Arabs in Irbil?
Iranian Kurds Riot
An eyewitness has described for me by email driving through the north of Kurdistan and seeing enormous posters of Massoud Barzani (the new president of the Kurdistan super-province) after the manner of a cult of personality.
When the Kurdistan parliament is in session, Irbil is closed to Iraqi Arabs. Iraqi Arab immigrant laborers are said to be stopped at checkpoints and turned back.
There is apparently a plan to have Iraqi Arabs visiting Irbil register with the Kurdistan ministry of the interior.
Reports from northern Kurdistan suggest that there is a severe gasoline shortage. Some suspect it is deliberate, as a way of cutting down on traffic that might endanger security.
In his speech at his swearing-in earlier this week, Barzani had pledged himself to the ideals of the rule of law, constitutionalism, and the unity of Iraq.
On hearing of Barzani’s swearing-in as president of Kurdistan Iranian Kurds celebrated riotously in Mahabad. Iranian police intervened to suppress the celebrations. Iran, with some 4 million Kurds of its own, fears that Kurdish nationalism could lead to the break-up of the country. Iran has Persian-speaking populations on the central plateau, but on the peripheries are ethnic and religious minorities, including Turkic Azeris, Kurds, Lurs, Arabs, Baluch, Tajiks and Turkmen. Aside from the Azeris and Qashqai, most of the peripheral minorities are Sunnis. Most Iranians are Shiites.