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Division among Iraq's Shabak minority reveals Kurdish-Arab land rivalry

Minorities in Iraq's Ninevah plains are stuck between the federal government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government based in Erbil, which are competing for their lands.
Iraqi military personnel distribute water to Shiite Iraqi Kurds, known as "Shabak", displaced by fierce fighting between Kurdish peshmerga forces and jihadist militants from the Islamic State (IS) after arriving on the road between Kirkuk and Arbil having fled the area of Bartala near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, on August 8, 2014. Jihadists seized Iraq's largest dam north of their hub of Mosul, giving them control over the supply of water and electricity for a vast area, officials said. AFP PHOTO / MA
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BAGHDAD — The Shabak community is one of the ethnic minorities in Iraq, speaking a language distinct from Arabic and Kurdish. Its members live on the Ninevah plains with other religious minorities including Christians, Yazidis and Kakais.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced Aug. 10 the end of the first and second phases of the Mosul liberation operations. Since the third and last phase will take place this year, per his previous statements, minorities, especially Shabaks, are afraid of a Kurdish-Arab rivalry around their regions. This conflict will reveal divisions among Shabak leaders over their fate and identity.

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