By Haidar Hadi
BAGHDAD (AA) - The Iraqi government has obtained information -- including names -- about those responsible for a recent wave of attacks on members of Kirkuk’s Turkmen community, an Iraqi MP said Monday.
“Turkmen in Kirkuk province, along with Arabs of a particular political orientation, have been subject to assassination and marginalization at the hands of certain parties,” Hakem al-Zameli, head of the Iraqi parliament’s security committee, said.
Such parties, al-Zameli asserted, believe their interests were hurt when Iraqi government forces moved into Kirkuk -- and other “disputed” parts of the country -- following northern Iraq’s ill-fated referendum on Kurdish regional independence late last year.
Following last year’s Iraqi army deployments, al-Zameli said, these parties began targeting Turkmen -- especially in Kirkuk and surrounding areas -- with a view to destabilizing the region.
According to the lawmaker, subsequent investigations by the army’s Joint Operations Command had revealed the names of the individuals and groups involved.
Al-Zameli alleged that these parties -- which, he said, frequently used different names -- were actively working to destabilize post-Daesh Iraq.
He did, however, provide some names, including Al-Rayat al-Bayda (the “White Flags”); the Ansar al-Islam group; and the Naqshbandi Order, an insurgent organization purportedly founded by Izzat al-Douri, late President Saddam Hussein’s last vice-president.
Al-Zameli expressed his belief that these groups are backed by foreign intelligence agencies and Iraq-based militias that supported last year’s illegitimate poll on regional independence.
According to human rights activists, at least 19 Iraqi Turkmen -- including several academics and political figures -- have been murdered in Kirkuk within the last four months.