The new rule has an out clause that can be invoked when the security crisis caused by the extremist group known as the Islamic State ends. At that stage, any Iraqi, no matter whether Kurdish or not, will once again have the right to own property in Sulaymaniyah province.
While some have welcomed the move, others are uncertain and even angry about it. Some have argued that the decision is the result of ever-increasing racism in Iraqi Kurdistan directed at displaced Arabs living there now – many locals suspect that the Arabs are terrorists or are dangerous and, as the security crisis continues, anti-Arab sentiment continues to run high.
“The decision made by the Sulaymaniyah council is completely unconstitutional and in fact, the council doesn’t have the authority to make a decision like this,” argues Jassim Mohammed Jaafar, a Kurdish MP who is also Iraq's Minister of Immigration. “I don't know how this decision will be enforced. But having said that, I haven’t heard any complaints about it yet either from Arabs.”
The influx of Iraqi Arabs is having a major economic impact on Iraqi Kurdistan in many ways. And some of those who benefit financially from the fact that so many Arabs have had to come to their hometown, are not sure if it's wise to make such rules.