Iranian-Iraqis returning, Expelling New Owners
A reader writes from Iraq:
“I picked up this document [Arabic pdf] from a disgruntled Iraqi in the Baghdad airport about a week ago.”
[Cole: The Arabic petition complains that a regulation issued by Paul Bremer is having the effect of tossing him and many others out of their homes, as Iranian-Iraqis return to demand their old property back. They only have 60 days to vacate, and often are large extended families having lived there for many years. With a housing shortage, they don’t have much of anywhere to go. Although they receive compensation, it is only about a third what their home is worth and not enough to get a proper replacement. Iranian-Iraqis had been expelled in the tens of thousands by Saddam, even though many of their families had been resident in Iraq for centuries. If hundreds or thousands of Sunni Arab families are being displaced now, in favor of the previous residents who had been in exile in Iran, one suspects it helps fuel the guerrilla war.
Back to the letter from Iraq:]
“When Iranians were kicked out of Iraq some years ago, their homes were confiscated and sold to Iraqis. Now the new government has granted but 60 days to those now occupying those homes to vacate, so that they can be returned to the original Iranian owners.
This is causing a lot of consternation in Baghdad for at least two reasons:
1) there is a property claims order and commission that could be utilized to mediate and find an equitable solution to this problem, which all admit is difficult; and
2) this again exemplifies the close position of the government to Iran. As the weeks go on, we are becoming more and more convinced that Iran and the Badr Brigade are running the country. Your blog has been particularly helpful at making that trend known.
In the meantime, here in my exile in [the North], the days are hot and there is again fear on the street following the bomb the other day. My contacts say that it is difficult for the Barzani government to get good information from the population because so few like or pay any attention to his regime. Last month we discovered that the security forces in Erbil were highly infiltrated with Ansar Al-Islam. Since then, the forces have cleaned house, but everyone has been put on notice that things are not so perfect here as some may think.”