ERBIL — The ousted Kurdish governor of Kirkuk, Najmaddin Karim said on Thursday during his latest interview that Kirkuk province is indeed “occupied” by the Iraqi army and Iranian-backed militias of Hashd al-Shaabi.
Speaking to Kurdistan 24, Karim said he is still the only legitimate governor of Kirkuk who assumed office through the votes of the people.
Karim is now in Kurdistan Region since he was threatened with death at the wake of Iraqi troops’ invasion of Kirkuk last October. Karim criticised some senior members of his party (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan or the PUK) for helping the Baghdad forces attack Peshmerga then.
The Shi’ite militia group of Hashd al-Shaabi has now appointed Karim’s deputy (an Arab figure) to the position of “acting governor”. Karim warned of a widespread Arabisation campaign taking place in Kirkuk at the hand of Hashd al-Shaabi.