Kurdish Forces Mobilize to Defend from 'Iraqi Threat'

Modesto Morganelli
Ottobre 13, 2017

Kurdish TV channel Rudaw has reported that tens of thousands of Kurdish fighters have been deployed in the Kurdistan region of Iraq's capital of Kirkuk to defend the region from possible "threats" from Iraqi forces.

"Thousands of heavily armed Peshmerga units are now completely in their positions around Kirkuk", a top aide to Kurdistan regional president Masoud Barzani posted on social media on Friday.

The orders came after the Kurdish authorities accused the Iraqi government of massing forces in readiness for an offensive to seize Kurdish-held oil fields in the province.

Hawrami urged the global community to intervene and call on Iraq's prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, to "order PMF to pull back if he can or if they listen to him". "Just defend and roll them back if they attack", the senior Barzani adviser said. Haidar Al-Abadi went on to call for joint administration between the Iraqi government and the KRG over the disputed areas in Kirkuk under the leadership of the federal government in Baghdad, without giving further details on how this would work.

Polling was held in the three provinces that have long formed an autonomous Kurdish region as well as neighbouring areas, including Kirkuk, that Kurdish forces seized from the Islamic State of the Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group during the fightback against the armed group's 2014 offensive through areas north and west of Baghdad.

Baghdad continues to reject decades-old Kurdish ambitions to incorporate Kirkuk and other historically Kurdish-majority areas in their autonomous region.

"These forces are approximately three kilometres (two miles) from peshmerga frontline positions", it said.

The Kirkuk province along with parts of the provinces of Nineveh, Saladin (northern Iraq) and Diyala (eastern Iraq) are disputed between Baghdad and the KRG and inhabited by a mixture of ethnic Kurds, Arabs, and Turkmen.

The federal government severed ties between the Kurdish autonomous region and the outside world after the independence referendum by cutting global air links.

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