Cathrin Schaer reports on rising anti-Arab sentiment in Iraqi Kurdistan
These are just a sample of the kinds of comments that Iraqi Kurdish
social media users have been posting online. Others added even more
vitriol, reporting that relatives serving in the Iraqi military, who
were fighting the Islamic State group, said they were shot at by
ordinary Arabs in contested areas. They also said that the ordinary
Arabs in contested areas were providing the extremists with
The online anger against Arabs that started as random messages on social
media has also evolved into online campaigning in some cases, with one
group starting a Facebook page “for the expulsion of Arabs from Iraqi
Kurdistan”. A group of Facebook campaigners also began to organise a
demonstration against Arabs in Iraqi Kurdistan, even though Iraqi
Kurdish authorities forbade it.
Two weekends ago, the UK-based website Middle East Eye reported on an impromptu demonstration
held in the Iraqi Kurdish capital of Erbil. The mostly young men
involved apparently set up checkpoints on the street to police anyone
driving by, that they suspected was Arab. The protestors also tried to
vandalise property they thought belonged to Arabs. Iraqi Kurdish
security forces broke the protest up.
From the article as a whole, it sounds like a lot of this relates to ISIS's coasting on Sunni Arab grievances against the Maliki government in Baghdad. Many Sunni Arabs either work directly with ISIS, seeing it as the lesser evil, or are openly hostile to the Shi'ite-dominated Iraqi army operating in their region even if they are neutral on or hostile to the ISIS against which that army is campaigning. Where Kurds and Shi'ites see ISIS as the primary issue, an evil against which all must unite, the nuances of Sunni Arab views and experiences easily become lost.
Labels: Iraq, ISIS, Kurds