Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Attack on Sulaimaniyah donkey statue sparks outrage

ERBIL - An attack on the statue of a donkey in Sulaimaniyah, the second largest city in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region, has set off outcry among artists and journalists who deemed it as an assault on freedom and the "terrorization of thought".

pay kar The statue was unveiled earlier this month in central Sulaimaniyah city’s Nali Park - that has been named after  famous Kurdish poet who wrote a famous poem about donkeys - by a political party in the region called the Donkeys’ Party.

The statue shows the head and shoulders of a donkey dressed in a suit, shirt and tie. It is a 1.8 by 1.1 meter bronze statue that took Zirak Mira, a Kurdish sculptor, seven months to create.

Donkeys’ Party leader Omar Klol had hoped during the unveiling ceremony on April 13 that the statue would help people better understand the four-legged animal and treat it with respect.

Klol believes that donkeys offered help to the Kurdish armed struggle against the former Iraqi governments in the second half of the twentieth century when Kurds were fighting for greater political rights.

He has on several occasions said that the donkey played a very important role in the Kurdish liberation movement and described the animal as the Kurdish fighter's “only friend” during the struggle for Kurdish rights. Donkeys were used to move fighters' weaponry and food supplies from the villages to their hideouts on the jagged mountains.

“I can't describe the way I feel today which is similar to the feeling I had on my wedding day,” Klol said during the ceremony.

“Kurdish government, parliament and other governmental institutions failed to help our party establish the statue, but Mira was the only person who raised the donkey’s head high in central Sulaymaniyah.”

But the statue lasted unharmed for only 10 days and was attacked by unknown people last night. There is damage to one of the donkey's eyes as well as its tie. The attack followed a verbal attack on the city of Sulaimaniyah on Facebook, stating that erecting such a statue was a foolish thing to do. Unknown groups also threatened to remove the statue.

But for creator of the statue Mira, the physical and verbal attacks on the statue and Sulaimaniyah city is a “terrorization of thought”.

"They [the attackers] have not stopped by this and have launched a verbal attack against Sulaimaniyah where the statue was placed, which shows that the Kurdish community has not developed in this respect yet.”

The Kurdistan Artists Syndicate (KAS) issued a statement following the attack.

“We condemn any attack or assault on the artistic works on any political, religious or social pretext." The syndicate also called on the court and the relevant parties to take legal steps against the perpetrators.

Also, a number of intellectuals, artists and journalists launched a campaign to support the donkey statue and criticize the attack. The campaign group described the attack on the statue as an attack on freedom and creativity in a statement circulated by the Kurdish media.

“After threats and insulting the artistic work of Mira, here the hands of the dark put their threat to action and distorted the statue,” the statement said.

“We condemn this attack and consider it as an attack on artistic freedom and creativity.”

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mysterious death of Sulaimaniyah mayor accused of corruption casts doubts on officials in the region

On April 14 in the afternoon,
 Hama Salih was reported dead by the Asayish.
ERBIL - Zana Hama Salih, mayor of Sulaimaniya city, the Kurdistan Region’s second largest city, who was arrested by the Asayish (Kurdish security police) last week on corruption charges, died in prison in mysterious circumstances. Authorities said he committed suicide, as he waited for the day of his trial, by hanging himself.

The alleged suicide of the mayor has now raised doubts that he was in fact murdered by other officials who may have been involved in the corruption and feared that Hama Salih might talk.

Hama Salih was accused of accepting bribes, as well as the illegal selling of plots of land worth about 400 IQD ($325,000) in Sulaimaniyah. He was arrested on such charges on April 8. An attempt by the court to try him was blocked after relatives of the official gathered in front of the court and protested. He was then moved to Sulaimaniyah Asayish Directorate for investigation.

The relatives claimed that Hama Salih was not arrested on legal grounds, but was rather arrested on political grounds. The same day, they gathered in front of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) headquarters in the city to protest Hama Salih’s arrest and efforts to try him. The PUK is the major ruling party in the Sulaimaniyah province. The security agencies are controlled by the PUK.

Following the incident, the opposition forces in Kurdistan quickly voiced their suspicion that the incident may not have been suicide and called for an investigation into the death.

The vice president of Kurdistan Region, prime minister and the parliament each ordered a separate committee to look into the incident.

Hawlati Newspaper reported that minutes before Hama Salih died his wife had visited him. “I visited Zana yesterday [Saturday, the same day he was announced dead] and stayed with him until 2pm. He was very well and optimistic that he would be released [on bail]” the newspaper quoted Hama Salih’s wife.

The body of Hama Salih was moved to the forensic department for an autopsy to establish whether his death was suicide. A period of 48 hours was set for the autopsy to be conducted and the results revealed. The relatives however wanted an autopsy in Baghdad rather than in Sulaimaniyah.

Mohammed Nouri, Sulaimaniyah Forensic Department’s chairman, said the inspections and checks were still ongoing though there were no signs oftorture.

Hama Salih’s family and relatives took to the streets following his death and called for an investigation into the case. They were highly suspicious of Hama Salih’s death. One brother of Hama Salih, Rahman Hama Salih, went so far as to say the relatives knew who was behind the death of his brother.

The relatives also wanted to see the room in which Hama Salih was held. There were allegations that the room is four meters high and Hama Salih’s belt and shoe laces were taken from him as part of the regulations in the prison to prevent detainees from such suicide attempts.

Sherzad Hafez, a member of a parliamentary committee formed to look into the incident, suggested that Hama Salih might have been strangled. According to reports, Hama Salih hung himself from the bathroom window using a wire.

“Zana is said to have hung himself in the bathroom where there is only one faucet that cannot stand the weight of anyone stepping on it [to reach for the window] especially that the mayor had a heavy body and the window is rather low from the ground, this cannot form the necessary weight for self-hanging," said Hafez.

"It's not clear where did Zana got the wire by which he hung himself and how [the wire] got into the room because there was only the refrigerator wire in the room which is still there."

Hama Salih's relatives were finally convinced by a representative of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani to bury the corpse on condition that an independent committee be formed to look into the incident and they family members beallowed to see the room in which Hama Salih was kept.

Ali Karim, head of the Kurdistan Institute for Human Rights, wrote on hisFacebook page that “Hama Salih’s case is yet another test for the rule of law and governance in the Kurdistan Region".

“In order for the executioner and the victim not to be confused and in order to respect the will of the people of the Kurdistan Region who want to know the truth as it is, we call for a fair and transparent probe into both the death of Hama Salih, Sulaimaniyah mayor, and the charges on which he was arrested," wrote Karim.

Spokesperson for the PUK politburo Azad Jundyani said: “The conclusions of the investigation are not out yet. We can't view the case only from the perspective that there might be other people behind the incident. Why not view it from the psychological perspective that a official who was at the prime of his work but faced a case that involved investigation [and corruption charges] thus had to take this decision [suicide].”

Sulaimaniyah’s prosecutor general Judge Farhad said: “We'll try to settle the mayor’s case with criminal and forensic evidence.” He also called on anybody, in particular the family of the late mayor, to provide any information orevidence to the court in a bid to establish the facts.

The burial of MR Zana Hama Salih (Courtesy of Hawlati Newspaper)
The burial of MR Zana Hama Salih (Courtesy of Hawlati Newspaper)
The burial of MR Zana Hama Salih (Courtesy of Hawlati Newspaper)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

My interview with an American forum moderator about the removing of the three zeros from the Iraqi Dinar and its effects

By Ward Welch
Erbil, Kurdistan, Iraq  April 12, 2012

Ward Welch: Mr. Aziz, thank you very much for taking my questions today.

For years now we've been hearing about the CBI's plan to "remove the zeros" from the Iraqi Dinar and equalize the value of the IQD with the other major currencies of the world, including the American Dollar. With the success of the recent Arab summit in Baghdad, and the imminent release of Iraq from the United Nations sanctions (Chapter 7), what are your thoughts concerning this subject?

Raber Aziz: I think the removing of the zeros will have its own benefits and consequences for the country alike. It will be good for Iraq to remove the zeros because this address; when the Iraqi dinar is strong in the face of US dollars it will help keep inflation down as much as possible. It will also facilitate, for Iraq, economic cooperation with the international banks as it will increase the international confidence and credibility of it the new Iraqi Dinar. Also, it will reduce the size of the bank notes in circulation and will simplify Iraq's payment system.

But the having a new and strong Dinar is expected to have consequences as well. one of the consequences will be money laundering. The CBI has said the zero-removing process, which is expected to take place in September as it has announced, will see the bank  re-print 30tr dinars ($26bn) and the process of switching currency will last a full year where both the old and new currencies will be dealt in the market. This is too long a period and could witness lots of money laundering, as well as fraud.

Ward Welch:  With Iraq taking its place in the world as a completely sovereign nation and a major power in the Arab world, how can Iraq continue to trade with the world using a highly undervalued currency? Certainly the impetus of the GOI and the CBI must be to rectify this condition very soon or risk losing billions of dollars (trillions of IQD) in foreign investments in Iraq.

Raber Aziz: Iraq cannot continue to trade with the world using the current undervalued currency. Iraq's current money, printed after the 2003 US-led war, is 150 times bigger in quantity than the Swiss edition of the Iraqi Dinar used in the country. Iraq's smallest bill used in the markets is the 250 Dinar bill (approximately US$0.2) and this is definitely not a good currency for the country that sells over 2 million bpd of oil (roughly over 6 billion US Dollar per month). Besides, Iraq is planning to increase its oil production to reach at least 6 million bpd in the next few years and ultimately 12 million bpd. That's even three times and six times the size of Iraq's current revenues. This will mean Iraq's annual revenues will hit US$210 in the coming days and over US$400 billion ultimately. And for this, Iraq requires a currency with strong value in the world market.

Ward Welch: With this new economic power in hand, will this increase the desire of Kurdistan to gain complete independence and sovereignty?

Raber Aziz:   The desire of the Kurds to become independent is, and has always been, there with or without the economic power in hand. Every single Kurd dreams of an independent Kurdistan state. Though economic boom is a factor for any nation to proclaim independence, in the case of Kurdistan there are other factors that determine whether the Kurds want to be independent from Iraq or not. The first of these factors will be an international recognition of a Kurdish state. Who is ready to recognize a Kurdish state in north of Iraq? Kurds first need guarantees that if they proclaim independence their state will be recognized on an international level and be protected by some of the world's super powers, among them the US. Another factor will be the Kurds' relations with the regional nations. Kurdistan, I mean the greater Kurdistan that spans Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran, and the Kurdish part of Iraq as well, is a landlocked country. Kurdistan cannot survive without strong friendly relations with these countries in case they wanted to become independent.

Ward Welch: How will this rebirth of economic power in Iraq effect the relationship between the political blocks? (Will the new wealth encourage them to put religious, secular, and tribal differences aside and truly work together?)

Raber Aziz:  I don't think that it will result in the political blocs putting their differences aside. Iraq's Prime Minister Mr Nouri al-Maliki who has been controlling power over the past few years has unfortunately been playing on a very sensitive cord, namely sectarianism. He has appointed many of his Shiite Dawa Party officials as ministers or high-ranking officials in the government and has been running many other ministerial and senior positions like the ministries of interior, defense, national security as acting minister despite him being the PM. He has been rejecting candidates of the rival al-Iraqiya list, the main Sunni bloc in Iraq, for the empty ministries each time with a different excuse since the end of 2010 when the political blocs finally, after an 8-month impasse came to a power-sharing deal, in Erbil, to form the new cabinet. And, last year, his Shiite dominated government started removing Sunni academics on charges of belonging to the former Baath Party. They detained about 600 former Iraqi army officials on charges of planning a coup by the end of 2011 when the last US troop left Iraq, and also started hunting down other top Sunni leaders in the country on terror charges, among them VP Tariq al-Hashimi for involvement in 150 armed attacks. Therefore, it is not easy to undo these, and thus the sectarian disputes which are in fact the core of the political disputes as well, will remain.

Ward Welch:   Thank you very much for your valuable time sir.

Raber Y. Aziz is a Kurdish journalist and blogger from Erbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdish Region. He works for AKnews as English News Editor and is formerly their Managing Editor. You can follow his blog at http://kurdishobserver.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sheikh Muhammadawi warns Kurds to leave Arab areas or face death

ERBIL- The leader of the Brave Sons of Iraq, Sheikh Abbas al-Muhammadawi, has warned Kurds in Baghdad and other Arab-majority areas to leave or be killed.

The Brave Sons of Iraq, a Shiite group, gave one-week for Kurds to leave Arab cities after which they threatened to carry weapons against the them.

Iraqi media circulated a statement from Abdullah al-Muhammadawi, a spokesperson for the military wing of the group, the 9th Division of Badr.

The group stated that they would also carry weapons against Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani and those who are with him.

“Who has warned is excused” concluded the statement, meaning that following one week period given, the killings would begin if Kurds did not leave the Arab areas.

The threats come as tensions between Baghdad and Kurdistan Region escalate over accusations that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is becoming an autocrat and a dictator.

Muhammadawi said in a press release that Kurds in Baghdad and other Arab majority areas should be “displaced to and moved to Kurdistan region, and must ask for visas if they want to enter Baghdad or any other Arab land in Iraq as retaliation for the way they deal with Arabs who want to enter Kurdistan.

“Kurds must know who gave them prestige and value” he added.

Muahhamadawi’s statement quickly set off criticism from Kurdish MPs and organizations. The Kurdish group Supporters of Change called on Kurdish MPs in Baghdad to file a lawsuit against Muhammadawi on charge of terror for his threats to kill Kurds.

Mohammed al-Afandi, secretary of the group called on the authorities in a statement for “severe measures about it, and restrain the groups that are trying to undermine security and safety in the country.

"This behavior is contrary to law and the constitution.”

Following al-Afandi’s call, the Kurdish Blocs Coalition (KBC) member Saman Fawzi said Muhammadawi’s threats against the Kurds go under the label of “terror”.

“Even the Baathists did not go this far in their threats and intimidation of Kurdish people,” he said.

Fawzi said the Kurdish MPs are working on a lawsuit against the Arab leader.

The threats were also condemned by al-Iraqiya list, the main Sunni bloc in Iraq. Their spokesman, Maysoon al-Damluji, described the statements as “mere harbingers of bad will that aims at breaking up Iraq”.

She added: “Kurds are an integral part of the Iraqi society and the Kurdish leader displayed a pivotal role in fighting dictatorship and in the establishment of the principles of democracy in Iraq.

"The mountains of Kurdistan and the honorable Kurdish people hugged the opposition [during the time of Saddam Hussein], among them the Wifaq Movement, Supreme Islamic Council in Iraq, the Dawa Party and a large number of other opposition forces and Iraqi patriotic figures.

"And they [Kurdish people] have faced big risks for that.”

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s office said the day before yesterday that any Iraqi citizen has the right to choose the place they want to live and it is the Iraqi government’s responsibility to protect them.

The Badr Organization also announced that it has nothing to do with Muhammadani whose military wing carries the same name, Badr division.

Qasim al-Araji, a leading member of the Badr Organization, told a press conference that the Badr Organization does not have any armed wings, and that “Muhammadani is not related to us.”

“We call on the security authorities to prosecute any group that spreads terror and tries to provoke hatred between the sons of one nation” he added.

Soon after the media hype about Muhammadani’s threats, the sheikh backtracked on his remarks regarding killing Kurds in Baghdad and other areas.

“I did not threaten Kurds living outside the Kurdistan Region or pose their lives to danger. The majority of my friends are Fayili Kurds," he said.

But in any case, the threat is still there. Kurds from the semi-autonomous region have relatives in Baghdad and family members who work in Baghdad - in the political arena or in other cases have paperwork that needs to be done in Baghdad such as a US visa, UK or other visa interviews.

Besides, Arabs of Iraq do not require visas when they enter Kurdistan Region. This year, over 100,000 Arabs from southern and central Iraq visited Kurdistan Region during the three-day Nawroz festivities.

"And many of them have bought properties in Kurdistan, in particular housing projects that the Kurdish government launched over the past few years to address the housing crisis in Kurdistan Region. But the with the big number of Arabs from other parts of Iraq buying from these projects, the housing crisis is much the same."

 A report published by Hawler Newspaper last year said that 25% of the housing units tendered by the Kurdistan Region’s Investment Board to companies so that people of the region could buy them to ease the housing crisis was in fact bought by Arabs from Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq.

The only thing that might be disturbing for the Arabs who come to Kurdistan Region might be the strict measures taken by security forces such as the inspection of the cars of Arab families who come to Kurdistan.

This is justified when taking into account the security situation in other parts of Iraq where al-Qaeda and other armed groups carry out daily bombings and attacks.

The security, stability and economic development in the Kurdish region, which has been spared of such violence since 2003, has been because of the strict security measures.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Efforts mount to remove Maliki

ERBIL – Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who has been accused of running an autocracy and dictatorship, may face a vote of no confidence if he continues his current political behaviors, claim political parties.

The accusations against al-Maliki increased recently after his Shiite-dominated government started firing Sunni academics from universities on charges of belonging to the outlawed Baath party, detained former Baath Party affiliated Sunnis on charges of planning a coup after the withdrawal of the US forces and chased after Sunni politicians with terror charges.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki
He also went against the allies in Kurdistan Region over long awaited issues of oil and gas. The political crisis erupted between Baghdad and Erbil recently after Kurdistan Region stopped the export of crude oil in protest against the federal government's non-payment of dues owed to foreign companies operating in the region.

The Kurdistan Regional Government claims to have asked Baghdad to pay the foreign companies some $1.5bn (1.7tr IQD), while the latter stated it would pay only $450m (522bn IQD).

On Sunday, Maysoon al-Damlouji, the spokesperson for al-Iraqiya bloc - the main Sunni bloc in the Iraqi parliament - said the list was seeking a consensus to remove al-Maliki from his position.
Al-Iraqiya Spokesperson Maysoon al-Damluji
Damlouji said a national consensus would be sought to withdraw confidence if Iraqiya and the Kurdish Blocs Coalition (KBC) were able to collect 163 votes. He added, Iraqiya has also established ongoing dialogue with parties in Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's own National Coalition (NC) bloc for this purpose.

Damluji's statement was immediately echoed by Kurdish observers. Falakaddin Kakayi, a former KRG minister, said Kurds may join other Iraqi forces in an attempt to remove the prime minister if he continues his current political behavior.
Falakaddin Kakayia has been known as a close personality to President of the Kurdistan Region Massoud Barzani,
"I believe that if Maliki continues his current behavior, and dealing with the Kurdistan Region, then I think the Kurds in the future will join those parties who are after such a bid."

Maliki has been accused of creating more issues in Iraq than solving them - those of a national level that affect all Iraq and others regarding Erbil-Baghdad relations.

On a national level, the PM has rejected al-Iraqiya's candidates for the ministerial positions they were entitled to under the 2010 Erbil agreement, when political parties came to a power-sharing deal following an eight-month deadlock.

But ever since, Maliki has been working as acting Defense Minister, National Security Minister, Interior Minister and acting intelligence chief – and this has been described by the political parties as a monopoly of authorities.

Bukhari Abdullah, a Kurdish political sciences academic said: "The administration of these positions is not Maliki's specialty and this is a serious indication that Maliki's behaviors have lead him to a dictatorship. "Over the last two years he has even entered disputes with parties who are his allies too. His disputes are not only with the Kurds and the Sunni Arabs, but also with some of the Shiites as well."

President of Kurdistan Region, Massoud Barzani, also criticized Maliki for his "autocratic" rule last month in an address during the Nawroz festivities in Kurdistan Region. 
Barzani with US Vice President Joseph Biden
He also warned that if problems between Kurdistan Region and Baghdad remained unsolved then the Kurdish leadership would take action according to the will of the Kurdish people.

Barzani also said during a U.S. Congress address last week: "Iraq is heading towards a crisis, autocracy has emerged; control of the majority of state institutions is growing every day.

"After I am back [to Kurdistan] we will seriously make efforts to find radical solutions for them in a specified time frame. "We will not be convinced with futile promises like before."

MP Salman al-Musawi, who is close to Nouri al-Maliki, said Sunday that the Iraqi PM has instructed all Iraqis to remain silent about the ongoing crisis with Kurdistan Region, to preserve the historic relationship which brings together Shiites and Kurds.

"On the Kurdish side, [they] must understand that our position comes from our sense to keep a good relationship with Kurds and that does not mean or is interpreted as a position of weakness," he said.

Barzani warns that autocracy and dictatorship is no longer accepted in Iraq

President of Kurdistan Region Massoud Barzani told a US Congress audience last week that Iraq was heading towards dictatorship as Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is controlling the majority of the state institutions. Below is a translation s his address with a link to the video on Youtube.

"My Washington visit came upon the invitation of the US government. Yesterday, I met with President Obama and Mr. Biden and other US officials, we talked about the current situations in the region in general, but the Iraq and the relations between the [Kurdistan] Region and Baghdad were tackled in detail. We conveyed our opinion very frankly that Iraq is heading towards a crisis, autocracy has emerged; taking over the majority of the state institutions is growing every day. Therefore, the situation requires a solution and we have called on the Iraqi political forces to sit together and solve the situation, or as I said earlier in Kurdistan during the Nawroz, that "eventually, we will be obliged to go back to the opinion of our people. Whatever our people decides we will do that"

"Of course, their opinion [US officials] was that they cared about the situations in Iraq, Mr. Obama personally stressed several times that 'We emphasize on our commitment to Kurdistan Region and the achievements, and we support the solution of the issues' and after I am back [to Kurdistan] we will seriously make efforts to find radical solutions for them in a specified timeframe. We will not be convinced with futile promises like before"

"It should be clear to everyone that the current Iraqi government was formed on the Kurds shoulders and with Kurdish blood, this is one. Second, unlike before, Kurds will not leave Baghdad for other people. It is the people who are against the Kurds who have to go out of Baghdad. Therefore, yes we have issues, some of which are related to the way of governance regarding Iraq as a whole; autocracy and controlling all state institutions is by no means acceptable. Others are related to issues between the [Kurdistan] Region and Baghdad such as the Article 140 [of the Iraqi constitution] for which we as Kurds showed maximum flexibility. And the issues of Kirkuk and other territories, the Peshmarga, oil and gas. It is now openly said that federalism should not be there while one of the conditions for Iraq to stay united is that it has to be a federal, democratic and plural Iraq. The Constitution itself states that commitment to this constitution is a condition for Iraq to remain united. They [Baghdad authorities] are playing with fire; they are playing with the fate of a nation. Therefore, we will never accept the return of dictatorship top Iraq. We Kurds, as I said, have only found 3 or 4 thousand remains of a total of 182,000 Kurds, the majority of whom are women and children, in the deserts of southern Iraq. We will not accept these catastrophes happen to Kurds or dictatorship re-emerge in Baghdad again"

Monday, April 2, 2012

Increased attacks against Shabaks in Nineveh

ERBIL, April 2 (AKnews) – Militant groups have increased attacks against Shabaks who are being actively targeted in the northern province of Nineveh amid failure of security forces in the province to protect the minority group.

Over the last month, there have been at least six deadly attacks against Shabaks in Nineveh province. Some of them have been covered by media outlets, which are mainly Kurdistan-based, while others have kept the public in the dark.

On Sunday, a Shabak secondary school headmaster in Mosul was shot dead by a gunman in the school library - the story was not covered by the media. Zakariya Yahya al-Ali was the headmaster of al-Mas'oudi Secondary School for Boys in Mosul's al-Ta'mim neighborhood.

"A gunman pretending to be the guardian of one of the school boys, who wanted to talk to the headmaster, entered the school and asked where he could find Mr Ali.

"The man was shown the way to the library where Ali was. He shot him three times. One of the deadly bullets went through his throat," said one of Ali's brothers.

Media coverage of the Shabak killings has been relatively low and officials have withheld information or avoided mentioning the ethnicity of the victims.

All the attacks against Shabaks have targeted civilians, in the majority of the cases, ordinary self-employed people unlike assassinations in Baghdad and Anbar where mainly security personnel and government employees are targeted.
  • Last month, an explosion in Mosul's Nabi Younes area left five casualties. One of the dead was later revealed to be a Shabak student from Jilwa Khan village. Nabi Younes is located in an area known locally as Souk al-Akrad (Marketplace of the Kurds) because the majority of the residents are Kurds and Shabaks.
  • On March 4, a Shabak man was gunned down with a silencer in the North Garage area in Mosul. He was identified by Shabak News as Husam Al-Dean Shehab Mawlood .
There were also at least nine deaths among Shabaks after two separate attacks in January this year.

On January 16, at least 8 Shabaks were killed and four others injured in a car bomb attack in Bartilla district, east of Mosul city.

The car went off in the Al-Ghadeer residential complex that is resided predominantly by the Shabaks. A second car bomb set to explode in a nearby neighborhood was disarmed by security forces.

On January 18, militants in Mosul city shot dead a Shabak man and wounded his brother as the two were leaving home for work.
Shabaks are a mainly civilian and peaceful minority, who are not much involved in the government. The only motive for armed groups to attack them is that they are Shiites and support Kurdish nationalism.

There are an estimated 450,000 Shabaks in Iraq, according to the United Nations, with 90% of them living in Nineveh, the provincial capital of Mosul - which is one of Iraq's most dangerous cities.

Since 2003, the area has witnessed some of the deadliest militant attacks, and in recent months has become the scene of daily armed attacks.

"In general the Shabaks are targeted because they belong to Kurdish nationalism and the Shia Shabaks are the most targeted," said Salem 
Khudr al-Shabaki, the head of the Shabak Advisory Board in Nineveh.

"The al-Qaeda and remnants of the Baath Party are behind these massacres," al-Shabaki added.

Shabaks are not only suffering at the hands of the armed groups. They also complain about discrimination by, and Arabization policies of the mainly Arab Nineveh Provincial Council.

Khudr al-Shabaki says Nineveh Provincial Council is deliberately Arabizing areas inhabited by ethnic Shabak people through the distribution of land to Arabs.

In June 2011, Nineveh provincial council handed out approximately 6,000 residential lots among state employees in the Nineveh Plain district. Shabaki said the land was largely given to Arabs at the expense of Kurds and Shabaks.

The council said the lots were allocated through a random draw. However, if this was the case this would still result in a large number of Arabs moving into Shabak areas because the number of Arabs across the region is higher than those of the minority group.

There is great sensitivity around the issue of demographic shifts in the province.

During Saddam Hussein's rule thousands of families from minorities were pushed out of their homes to be replaced with Arabs.

Shabak families were forced to migrate to Harir in Kurdistan region in the 1980s, after refusing to register their nationality as Arab.