Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Book review: Kirkuk by Dr Kamal Mudhir Ahmed - By Derek Pinnock0


Kirkuk is a disputed city. It is almost three years since the deadline for a referendum on its future passed, without action. Most Kurds want Kirkuk to join the Kurdistan Regional Government but this is probably opposed by most Turkoman’s and Arab’s living in the city. Only a fair vote, overseen by the United Nations, can pave the way to a lasting peace.

Prior to the discovery of oil in the 1920s, the essentially Kurdish character of Kirkuk was beyond dispute. But the British betrayed the Kurds, abandoning a promise of self-determination and bombing Kurdish villages. Following the defeat of Sheikh Mahmood, British and Iraqi authorities ensured that Kirkuk’s governors were hostile to Kurdish national aspirations. The Iraqi state encouraged Arab migration to the city and, from the 1960s; the Baathists pursued a genocidal policy of ethnic cleansing, directed mainly against the Kurds but also affecting the Turkoman minority.

Dr Kamal Mudhir Ahmed is a distinguished historian who played his part in the Iraqi Kurds' war of liberation. In this book he focuses on Kirkuk’s pre-oil history. He draws on a wealth of sources to trace back its Kurdish roots to the Hurrians who built the city five thousand years ago. He explains how the Ot tom ans generally allowed Kurdish princes to control Kirkuk and illustrates how the city became a trading centre for the south Kurdistan region. Throughout this period Kirkuk’s ethnic groups coexisted peacefully. Hopefully that harmony will be restored through a democratic solution in which the Kurds fully respect the rights of others.

This is an excellent resource for anyone interested in studying Kurdish history. For English readers this new edition has been clearly translated and succinctly introduced by Mufid Abdulla.

You can order copies at: or

Published in August 2010

by Mufid Publishing Ltd

62 Seymour Grove, Manchester M16 0LN

Copyright © Dr Kamal Mudhir Ahmed and Mufid Abdulla

Graphics by Alan McGlynn

Printed in Great Britain by

ISBN 978-0-9566352-0-4 - By Derek Pinnock07/09/2010 00:00:00