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LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

A place to post daily news of Kurdistan from valid sources .

Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Oct 22, 2017 10:08 am

Kurds defeated, displaced and divided after Iraq reclaims oil-rich Kirkuk

An independence referendum supposed to strengthen the Kurds’ position ended in a retreat in which Iranian influence was key

When the guns fell silent on the Kirkuk-Erbil road, just after noon on Friday, a fresh border had been scythed through the oil-rich soil – and a new line of influence carved across northern Iraq.

Their gun barrels still hot, vanquished peshmerga forces began another withdrawal a few miles closer to the seat of government in the now shrunken boundaries of Iraqi Kurdistan. A few miles south, closer to Kirkuk, Iraqi forces were digging in, their conquest of the entire province complete, and their five-day sweep through the rest of the north having seized up to 14,000 sq km from the Kurds, with a minimum of bother.

Baghdad has now reasserted its authority over territory that the Kurds occupied outside their mandated borders, most of which they had claimed during the three-year fight against the Islamic State (Isis) terrorist group.

The extraordinary capitulation – which followed an indepedence referendum that was supposed to strengthen their hand – has not only shattered Kurdish ambitions for at least a generation; it has also laid bare an evolving power struggle in Iraq, and a regional dynamic that is fast taking shape in the wake of the shattered so-called caliphate declared by the Isis leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in mid-2014.

Lining up to claim the rout of the Kurds were Iraq’s prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, and Iran’s omnipresent general, Qassem Suleimani, whose influence in the days before last weekend’s attack was key to shaping the aftermath even before a shot had been fired.

Iranian government officials, too, were celebrating the win in Kirkuk, which the Kurdish leader, Massoud Barzani, had in effect annexed by including it within the boundaries in which the referendum was held. “We were never going to let a Zionist project like this claim Kirkuk,” said a senior leader of the Shia-led forces, known as the Popular Mobilisation Units (PMUs). “Kirkuk is central to Iraq’s economy and it will never belong to Barzani.”

Contested throughout history, Kirkuk is home to Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen, as well as oilfields, an airport, a strategic military base – and at least 8,000 million barrels of subterranean oil. It has powered the oil-dependent Kurdish economy for the past three years, with up to 600,000 barrels a day exported through a pipeline it built to Turkey, much to Baghdad’s chagrin.

The fall of Kirkuk has also unearthed a faultline that lay at the heart of the decision to hold the referendum, which won 93% endorsement among those Kurds who turned up to vote, but was never wholeheartedly endorsed by the Talabani clan, whose peshmerga forces had been responsible for defending its southern approaches.

“They could never get past it being led by Barzani,” said an Iraq-based European diplomat. “Beyond that, it was always going to put them in an impossible situation with Iran, who would invade Iraq before losing it. And I think deep down they probably saw this as not something you could resolve through a unilateral declaration.”

In Baghdad, the Iranian claims of being central to the victory were repeatedly being disavowed. “The popular myth is that a certain Iranian general has a hand in everything in this country, that he is a viceroy of some sorts,” said a senior Iraqi minister. “That’s not true. This is a country that has been through a lot and is getting back on its feet through the blood of its martyrs and the sacrifice of its citizens.”

Asked why he declined to put his name to his remarks, the MP cited “the sensitivity of the situation”. He then added: “It isn’t wise to upset [Iranian officials].”

While Iraq’s military indeed played a prominent role in reclaiming Kirkuk, so, too, did Shia groups who report to Suleimani and the joint leaders of the PMU forces, Hadi al-Amiri and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. Days before the referendum, it was al-Amiri who sent an envoy to Barzani threatening “war” if the poll went ahead. Suleimani also sat opposite the de facto Kurdish president to try to dissuade him, according to a senior Kurdish officials. When that did not work, he requested – and was refused – a second meeting. And, over the past two months, he had been a regular visitor to the rival political camp in the Kurdish north – the Talabani family, in the region’s second city, Sulaymaniyah.

The US, which was vehemently opposed to the ballot – especially the decision to include Kirkuk – insisted that despite the latest Iraqi move the areas that the central government has “seized” remain disputed.

Washington sat out the past week of clashes, even as forces loyal to Suleimani helped lead the assault.

The spectre of an ascendant Iran has been central to the Trump administration’s rhetoric in the past week, as the US president ponders tearing up the Iran nuclear deal – the centrepiece of his predecessor’s detente with Tehran.

“You have to say that this defiance [by Iraq] was at odds with what clearly happened,” said a former US diplomat in Iraq. “Yes, the Iraqis did fight and no, they weren’t a distant second in influence. But the Iranian role here can’t be denied. And nor can the fact that this is a prime example of a bigger struggle for the Iraqi street. This is Najaf v Qom [Shia power bases in Iraq and Iran] writ large.”

“The political and military campaigns around Kirkuk were organised by Suleimani,” said an Iraqi minister. “Make no mistake about it. Anyone who thinks he defers to Abadi does not understand how business is done in Iraq.”

On Saturday, 15 October, with Iraqi and Shia forces massed near Kirkuk, the Kurdish factions – the KDP, which is led by the Barzanis, and the PUK, a fiefdom of the Talabanis – sat down to talk in the lakeside town of Dukan. Barzani arrived with his son Masrour, and other senior officials. On the PUK side, Hero Ibrahim Ahmed, the widow of the PUK father-figure Jalal Talabani, who had died just over a week earlier, led a delegation including her eldest son, Bafel, and security tsar Lahur.

“Bafel said he had met with Abadi and discussed allowing the golden division (Baghdad’s counter-terrorism forces) into Kirkuk. He said the Republican Guard might take control of some of the sites,” said a senior Kurdish official. “We asked him if he had made an agreement, and he said ‘no, they were just discussion points’. We said if he had agreed to that, we would have to adjust our force posture accordingly.

“They lied. It was a historical betrayal. The deal was done while condolences were received for Talabani, first in Sulaimaniya, and then in Baghdad. The second meeting is where Abadi was also informed.”

KDP officials also believe that Bafel and Lahur held two previous meetings with leaders of the PMUs – one of which Suleimani attended – in Tuz Khurmatu, 37 miles south of Kirkuk.

Speaking on Friday, Bafel Talabani described the decision to hold a referendum as “a colossal mistake. And even in the fighting in Kirkuk, there was an opportunity. Prime Minister Abadi, his excellency, reached out to us and we reached an honourable compromise,” he said of the move to withdraw peshmerga forces.

As the defeated peshmerga forces redrew their defences on Saturday, the new boundary north of Kirkuk – where a de facto line marked out areas disputed between Kurds and Arabs after the fall of Saddam Hussein – was busily being fortified by Iraqi forces, among them Shia groups.

“This has been the most painful lesson they have faced,” said a PMU member further along the road in Kirkuk.

“Let them reflect on that, and on history. Kirkuk will never be Kurdish.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/ ... CMP=twt_gu
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Oct 22, 2017 10:24 am

I am becoming REALLY p****d off as everyone seems to have forgotten the fact that Saddam stole Kirkuk from the Kurds and some of the vile Arab thieves still live in the property they stole from Kurdish families X(

In the UK if anybody steals something from somebody else they are arrested and imprisoned

How can it be right for Arabs to steal homes, farms, businesses and the entire area of Kirkuk (not forgetting the oil) from innocent hardworking Kurdish families and the entire world think the thieves should be allowed to have any claim what so ever on what they have stolen X(

In many countries Muslims cut the hands off thieves they do not reward them
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:21 pm

KRG: Estimated 400 civilians killed, 200 missing in Kirkuk

A Kurdish official claimed that some 400 civilians were killed in Kirkuk and 200 others are missing after a military incursion of the Iraqi army and Iranian-backed Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi was launched on the city of Kirkuk and disputed areas on October 16. He blamed the Hashd as largely responsible for most of the deaths and disappearances.

“According to reports by some organizations, 400 civilians in Kirkuk and its surroundings have been killed,” claimed Dr. Dindar Zebari, head of the Kurdistan Regional Government's High Committee to Evaluate and Respond to International Reports.

“Some 200 people are missing in Kirkuk,” he added.

“Mass killing by Hashd al-Shaabi is not something new,” he said, calling to mind to the battles of Fallujah and Ramadi in which the Hashd spearheaded offensives to drive ISIS out of these areas and were accused of committing large scale human rights abuses against the Sunni civilian populations.

Zebari also claimed that "around 150 to 200 people have also been killed in Tuz Khurmatu. These numbers only include the killed civilians."

Asked about the accuracy of the death tolls, Zebari said “we have people in Tuz Khurmatu and Kirkuk telling us.”

He said they have tens of very detailed cases.

Official investigations in the field, however, are not possible, he said, because "the Hashd al-Shaabi does not allow any international organization to go to Kirkuk to investigate.”

He noted that the United Nations and Human Rights Watch have both published reports, documenting the burning and looting of homes, and some deaths.

Speaking by phone to Rudaw, Karim Nuri, a commander of the Hashd al-Shaabi in Kirkuk, dismissed the claims, saying the Hashd was not involved in any "crimes against civilians in Kirkuk."

He, however, did not deny that there were violations conducted against Kurdish civilians in Kirkuk and Tuz Khurmatu.

“I was aware of that, there were evil doers there doing bad things against houses. There must be security forces there to preserve people’s properties,” he said.

“Anyone making any mistakes against our Kurdish brothers is wrong and a criminal and is threat to Kurds and civil people,” Nuri said. “We have to work to stop bloodshed.”

He described burning and looting of civilian homes as “cowardly acts” and the Hashd al-Shaabi has no connection to such behaviour.

Human Rights Watch had reported that Iraqi security forces did nothing to prevent the looting of homes for at least a full day.

Nuri said he does not believe Human Rights Watch.

An Iraqi minister on Saturday described Tuz Khurmatu as “out of control” and unsafe for Kurds to return to.

Nuri said that no single Hashd remains in Kirkuk and described the incursion into the city as not a fight, “but the process of the redeployment of forces to secure stability."

“Peshmerga are our brothers and part of us,” he insisted.

He condemned desecrations of the Kurdistan flag. “Those who offend the Kurdistan flag will definitely want to serve ISIS,” he said.

Concerning a ban on Rudaw Media Network working in Kirkuk, Nuri said that was imposed because of Rudaw’s “discourse.”

Iraqi forces, including the Hashd al-Shaabi, took over control of disputed areas in Kirkuk, Diyala, and Nineveh provinces last week, including Kirkuk, Khanaqin, Tuz Khurmatu, Makhmour, Zummar, and Shingal.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has warned of the possibility of a humanitarian crisis if confrontations and insecurity escalate in the disputed areas, causing more people to flee their homes.

“So far, one hundred sixty-eight thousand and three hundred seventy-two (168,372) civilians have been displaced from Kirkuk, Khanaqin, Khurmatu, Zummar, and Rabea to Kurdistan Region,” read a statement from the Ministry of Interior on Saturday.

The government is worried that many more may flee because of “indiscriminate violence, torture, looting, burning civilians’ homes and properties, especially the Kurdish people in these areas,” by the Iraqi and Hashd al-Shaabi forces, the KRG stated.

The United Nations and Human Rights Watch have reported civilian deaths, looting, arson, and forced displacements, mainly of Kurds, in Kirkuk and Tuz Khurmatu.

The UN had reported that many displaced on Monday, in the first day of confrontations, were already returning home by Tuesday. Subsequent waves of civilians have fled, however, as fears of insecurity remain.

“The situation remains volatile, and many people are returning to their homes only to flee for a second or third time when hostilities erupt again,” said Lise Grande, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, on Saturday.

The takeover of the disputed areas is part of a series of measures taken by the central Iraqi government as it seeks to exert federal authority in the Kurdistan Region and Kurdistani areas after the September 25 referendum that saw 92.7 percent of people voting for independence, despite Iraqi opposition.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/221020176
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:27 am

THE HILL

Don't sacrifice our Kurdish allies to Iranian hegemony
By Rebeccah L. Heinrichs, opinion contributor

The American people owe their support and solidarity to the Kurdish people, but U.S. inaction is threatening outright abandonment.

In his short time in office, President Trump has set out to define his foreign policy agenda as one that is willing to upset the Washington consensus, to defend American interests even when it offends European sensibilities, to reward those who match their verbal support of the United States with action, and to exhort other nations to fight to defend themselves.

The Kurdish people embody exactly what President Trump has extolled. They want freedom and self-determination. They are willing to fight and die for it. And they are fully committed to an American-led anti-terror military campaign.

In a part of the world that is convoluted and difficult to discern ultimate tribal and ideological loyalties, the Kurds stand apart. Kurdistan is a haven for women in the middle of a region that brutalizes and subjugates them. It is a haven for Christians and Yazidis who, outside of Kurdistan, are often hunted and eradicated.

The Peshmerga is a highly disciplined fighting force with heart. The Kurds have bled and died for our cause, which is, jointly, their cause — to destroy ISIS, or any other Islamist militancy, and to live at peace with their neighbors.

But this week, soon after President Trump delivered a bold and refreshingly honest assessment of the Iranian regime, and the Trump Treasury Department designated as terrorists Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Iranian-backed Iraqi forces seized the oil city of Kirkuk from the Kurdish people.

This was a stunning rebuke to Trump's strategy to push back on Iran's hegemonic ambitions in Iraq and Syria. It was also a tragic and humiliating rebuke of the recent Kurdish independence referendum. The Kurds know Iran is seeking to establish a land bridge through, and ultimately, control, Iraq. They know that unless the United States wrests Iraq from Iran's grip, its hope for a peaceful existence is over.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) recognizes it. On Thursday he issued a stunning press release in which he stated: “Should the Government of Iraq continue down this path and effectively act as a puppet of Iran, it would require a reevaluation of U.S. support to the country.”

Most of the media’s reporting of the seizing of Kirkuk made no mention of the Iran’s relevance and the State Department has mystifyingly so far denied it. But, on Thursday, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies scholar Juan C. Zarate, asked CIA Director Mike Pompeo, “When we talk about pushing back, what does that mean from your perspective, because I reflect on Qasem Soleimani, the head of the IRGC, the revolutionary guard corps, sort of showing up in all of the wrong places at all of the wrong times from a U.S. perspective. He was just in Kirkuk in the middle of this conflict.”

Pompeo acknowledged, “I’m aware of that." He added, as reported by the Daily Caller, that the best response to IRGC’s activities in the Middle East is to use “all the tools available of U.S. power, so I’ll begin with a handful. … It has been far too inexpensive for the Iranians to conduct this adventurism. We should raise the cost of that. The agency has an incredibly important role there.”

The Trump administration's failure to offer solidarity to Kurdistan and strong military backing against Iran's influence is not only shameful, it makes zero sense. The Trump administration was put in office by a "common sense” constituency. Only too-clever-by-half "nonpartisan" diplomats (almost certainly Obama administration hold-overs) would insist that the Kurdish people must be abandoned for the sake of good relations with the Iraq, regardless of the nature of the Iraqi government, or worse, the Turkish one.

The United States can navigate the relationships with those governments while unequivocally supporting the Kurds. For the sake of everything worth fighting for, it must.

The United States and its allies have nearly defeated the Islamic State and the long road to a political solution is underway. U.S. official policy doesn't have to support a separate Kurdish state. Not yet. But if President Trump, a longtime critic of the Iraq War, can defend and protect the Kurdish people and push Iran’s influence out of Iraq, he will be instrumental in redeeming true and lasting victories in this long, hard-fought war.

http://thehill.com/opinion/national-sec ... n-hegemony
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Oct 23, 2017 8:37 am

'The Peshmerga sold us out':
Kurdish shock and disbelief after losing the gamble for independence

Not much more than a month ago, Iraqi Kurdistan's leaders seemed sure that their path to independence was all but guaranteed.

The autonomous region controlled swathes of disputed territory once administered by the federal government in Baghdad, including vast oil reserves and energy infrastructure.

Its armed forces, known as Peshmerga, enjoyed a formidable reputation and had cooperated closely with the US and other powerful allies in the fight against Islamic State. The way, they thought, was clear.

But on Monday October 16, Iraqi government forces ousted Peshmerga from the disputed city of Kirkuk along with nearby oil fields that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) had counted on for revenues to sustain an independent state.

The defeat came shockingly fast and prompted a disorderly retreat from other territories that KRG president Masoud Barzani had pledged would never be returned to Baghdad.

It was a rout that blindsided many of Iraq’s Kurds and left their long held dream of secession in tatters. In the regional capital of Erbil, officials, soldiers and civilians alike are still struggling to come to terms with this profound humiliation.

“The Kurdish community never expected such a reaction from the Iraqi government,” said Alan, 26, who asked that he be known only by his first name. “We didn't expect them to attack us and take Kirkuk by force, it has become like a siege now.”

The crisis was largely impelled by last month's controversial independence referendum, which faced near-universal opposition.

Neighbouring Turkey and Iran found a rare moment of unity to agree retaliatory counter-measures, while Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi threatened military action if the results were not annulled. Even allies — with the exception of Israel — begged the KRG to postpone or cancel the vote, for fear it would destabilise the entire region.

But Mr Barzani pressed on, seemingly confident the results would trigger secession talks in which they would hold a major advantage.

That now appears to have been a miscalculation of epic proportions. Voting went ahead as planned on September 25 and results reflected an overwhelming desire to leave the rest of Iraq.

The backlash was rapid. At first, Baghdad chipped away at existing aspects of autonomy by banning international flights from landing in the region and demanding control of oil exports.

Eventually though, Mr Abadi made good on his threats. Soon after retaking Kirkuk he called for a return to talks. “The illegal referendum is over, its results invalid and belongs in the past,” he said on Twitter. “We call for dialogue based on Iraq’s national constitution.”

A return to the negotiating table now seem to be the only option open to Mr Barzani, though he will be in a far weaker position than before.

Saudi oil minister Khalid al-Falih made a high-profile visit to Iraq on Saturday, as the countries begin strengthening ties in the sector and frosty relations between the countries thaw. On the same day, Mr Abadi left Baghdad for a visit to Saudi Arabia.

Over the weekend, angry protestors in Erbil waved Kurdish flags outside the US embassy and UN consulate, some carrying signs saying, "We need our country". People outside the Iranian consulate cheered as a man tore down its flag.

The Kirkuk crisis has bred widespread resentment and acrimony and not just between the two rival governments. Iraq’s Kurds now see betrayal from every side.

Control of the Peshmerga is split between Iraqi Kurdistan’s two largest political factions, Mr Barzani’s ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).

It was the PUK that first withdrew from Kirkuk after making an Iran-backed deal with the Iraqi government forces, although KDP peshmerga subsequently retreated too.

Nevertheless, KDP officials and media outlets wasted no time in labelling the PUK traitors. Even Mr Barzani, who a week later, still has yet to make a public appearance since losing the city, blamed “persons within a certain internal political party of Kurdistan” in a statement.

Others are less circumspect. “The Peshmerga sold us out, it was a PUK leaders, they made a deal for the whole of Kirkuk,” said Dana, 25, a student from the city.

PUK officials and followers have in turn levelled accusations of graft and egotism at the KDP while criticising Barzani for forcing through the referendum. “This is Barzani’s fault, because he asked for a country and his soldiers can’t even fire two bullets,” said one Erbil resident, who asked not to be named for fear of repercussions.

The crisis revealed deep-seated Kurdish rivalries, said Chatham House fellow Renad Mansour. “This showed the disunity of the Kurdistan region not only as a sub-state but with Peshmerga loyal to political parties and even individuals.”

Divided and isolated, Iraq’s Kurds now feel abandoned by even their staunchest allies. The US has been slow to react to both the referendum and crisis in Kirkuk, at first describing clashes between Iraqi and Kurdish forces that killed nearly 30 people as a “misunderstanding.”

And when government troops pushed Peshmerga out of the fringes of Kirkuk province on Friday, a statement from the Kurdish General Command made sure to highlight that they faced “American weapons that have been supplied to the Iraqi Army”.

For Baran Abdullah, 25, a Peshmerga fighter whose unit recently retreated from the disputed town of Makhmour, the US was no longer a friend.

“We don’t trust Americans anymore and we don’t need them anymore,” he said angrily. “We are finished with them.”

https://www.yahoo.com/news/apos-peshmer ... news_index
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:08 am

ANALYSIS: How the tide turned against Iran in Iraqi Kurdistan

Despite all the brouhaha made over Iran’s “lightning” advances in Iraqi Kurdistan, the entire scene change in less than 48 hours.

Tehran desperately needed to respond to US President Donald Trump’s lambasting October 13th speech launching a major policy shift and designating the Iranian regime’s crown jewel, the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), as a terrorist organization.

The flag representing the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), brought down by Iran-backed militia forces known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), was raised once again Wednesday night.

Despite the tens of thousands of locals who fled their homes, footage on social media showed armed residents stationed in the streets of Kirkuk, Khaneqein and a number of other cities.

With locals taking matters into their own hands, and international pressure escalating on Baghdad, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered all armed forces other than local security units to withdraw, forcing the PMF to retreat.

This is literally a slap in the face for Tehran.

Conflicting Reports

Rumors and various reports stream out of Iraqi Kurdistan on a constant basis. Reports indicate forces loyal to the Kurdistan Democratic Party led by KRG President Masoud Barzani arresting a number of ISIS commanders in the town of Hawija.

Further reports claim of these ISIS units coordinating attacks with Iran’s Quds Force and its commander, Qassem Soleimani. In this regard, allegations have been raised accusing the PMF of launching attacks targeting Kurdish areas aimed at releasing these very ISIS commanders.

As always, rumors and allegations are endless. Without a doubt, however, is the fact that the Iran-backed PMF units, considered Tehran’s “national treasure” in Iraq, have been forced to withdraw from Kurdish cities.

Many reports of these units attacking Kurdish homes, plundering people’s property and even setting their residents on fire were posted in the mere 48 hours of their presence in these cities. PMF units are known to have committed similar crimes in Sunni Arab cities following their cleansing of ISIS forces.

The United Nations expressed its worries and Washington called an end to all clashes and disputes.

The Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran issued a statement strongly condemning the IRGC’s “aggression and occupation,” adding Suleimani had been “plotting for it in Sulaimaniya and Baghdad and other areas of Iraq.”

Iran’s True Colors

The actions of Iran’s IRGC and the Quds Force in Iraqi Kurdistan, parallel to Suleimani’s presence, made Tehran’s deceitful role and intentions crystal clear for all parties.

Various outlets have accused the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), defragmented following the death of former leader and Iraqi president Jalal Talibani, of signing behind-the-curtain deals with Iran.

Suleimani has been in Kurdistan for at least two weeks and there are rumors of Talibani’s family agreeing to stand down in the face of PMF units entering Kirkuk and other Kurdish regions.

Iran, of course, has not remained silent and used its influence in an attempt to save face and make further threats. The Iraqi judiciary issued an arrest warrant for PUK Deputy Director General Kosrat Rasul. In contrast to Iraqi Kurdish politician Barham Salih and members of the Talabani family who expressed their gratitude for Iran’s “support” of the Kurds, Rasul described the events taking place in Kirkuk as an occupation, going on to accuse certain figures of becoming Tehran’s 5th column.

There are now even reports heard of the Iraqi judiciary summoning Barzani himself to a court of law on charges of threatening Iraqi security, illegal oil smuggling, along with other administrative and legal violations.

America Steps In

There is word of senior Trump administration officials contacting al-Abadi, threatening military action if the PMF refuses to withdraw from Kurdish cities. Rumors also indicate Moscow made similar threats, as all parties sense the dangers of a fresh round of military conflict in Iraq playing into the hands of the all but completely annihilated ISIS, and more importantly Tehran.

Fresh in the minds of all parties are scenes of PMF units staging attacks on Sunni communities, committing atrocities against entire towns and villages. Such an outcome would only play into the hands of Iran as the sole benefactor of increasing turmoil in Iraq.

The Big Picture

Without a doubt the expansion of PMF units across Iraq, and as a result the IRGC Quds Force’s influence in this very important stretch of land, has raised eyebrows and concerns in Washington.

The PMF is specifically seeking to occupy certain areas to facilitate the land bridge sought by the Quds Force between Tehran and Damascus, stretching to Lebanon and the shores of the Mediterranean. With such means the Quds Force would enjoy the ease of providing necessary arms and equipment for the Lebanese Hezbollah, and beyond.

As various forces enter and exit the restive cities of northern Iraq, efforts are also underway to launch talks between Baghdad and the KRG capital, Erbil.

Iraqi President Foad Masoum, himself a Kurd, has been travelling between these two cities in attempts to have al-Abadi and Barzani agree to sit for negotiations. Al-Abadi was also recently the guest of Saudi King Salman in a visit to Riyadh that certainly caught the attention of Tehran.

“We are open and we want to move away from the past,” he said in the Saudi capital. “The region cannot tolerate any further divisions. Interference in the internal affairs of other state should stop.”

Looking Forward

Iraq will be holding general elections next year and al-Abadi is currently under pressure from two Shiite fronts.

Tehran-backed elements led by former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki have long been planning their return to power. Supporters of Muqtada Sadr, a Shiite cleric distancing from Iran and establishing closer ties with Saudi Arabia, is seeking to institute his position. It is a very high probability – and a nightmare scenario for Tehran – that Sadr may ally with secular Shiites led by Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi, alongside a number of Sunni groups to establish a coalition government.

The developments in Kurdistan have raised the intensity level in Iraq. Iran understands very well that the fall of the ISIS will allow the US and international community to focus on the main element threatening the entire region.

As explained in a White House press release prior to US President Donald Trump’s landmark October 13th Iran policy speech:

    • Over the last decade and a half, United States policy has also consistently prioritized the immediate threat of Sunni extremist organizations over the longer-term threat of Iranian-backed militancy.

    • In doing so, the United States has neglected Iran’s steady expansion of proxy forces and terrorist networks aimed at keeping its neighbors weak and unstable in hopes of dominating the greater Middle East. Recently, the Iranian regime has accelerated the seeding of these networks with increasingly destructive weapons as they try to establish a bridge from Iran to Lebanon and Syria.

    • The Trump Administration will not repeat these mistakes.

Iran sought to recover following the IRGC’s terrorist designation by the US Treasury Department under Trump’s orders. With its supported units forced to withdraw from Kurdish cities, this crusade has not only backfired, but transformed into yet another slap in the face for Tehran’s rulers.

These major developments have sparked major diplomat efforts, as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has launched a trip to the Middle East, with a first stop in Riyadh and making a call for Iranian “militias” to leave Iraq.

Analysts view this as a Washington push to establish a Saudi-Iraq alliance aimed at countering Iran’s regional belligerence.

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/feature ... stan-.html
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:29 am

Kurdistan Region issues arrest warrants for 11 Iraqis as tensions brew

SULAIMANI – Kurdish authorities said Monday they had issued arrest warrants for 11 Iraqis including leaders in a powerful paramilitary group, in an apparent tit-for-tat move after Baghdad took similar measures.

The moves come amid brewing tensions between Baghdad and the Kurds, who last month held an independence vote in defiance of the federal government.

The prosecution in the autonomous region of Kurdistan said in a statement it had issued the warrants for 11 people and asked a court in regional capital Erbil to take legal steps to pursue the matter.

Among those targeted is Qais al-Khazali, founder and leader of Asaib Ahl al-Haq, an Iran-backed Shiite militia that is one of the main components of the Hashid al-Shaabi paramilitary group.

The powerful Hashid, also called Popular Mobilization Forces, has been a key player in the fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq alongside federal forces.

Last week, they also took part in an operation by government forces that retook Kurdish-held areas outside the autonomous region in northern Iraq.

Also facing an arrest warrant issued by the Kurds are Rayan al-Kaldani, the head of a Christian militia that fights in the ranks of the Hashid, and Shiite lawmaker Hanan al-Fatlawi.

It was not immediately clear why they were wanted.

Tensions have been high between Erbil and Baghdad since the Kurdistan Region organized an independence vote on September 25, which Iraq's supreme court deemed unconstitutional.

Since then, Baghdad courts have issued several arrest warrants for Kurdish leaders on several charges.

On Sunday, an Iraqi anti-corruption task force said it had issued a warrant for the arrest of Babaker Zebari, a Kurd and former Iraqi army chief of staff, over misappropriation of public funds.

A statement from the anti-corruption body said Zebari is accused of having gifted "civilians seven vehicles that belonged to the defense ministry".

On Thursday, a warrant was issued for the vice president of Iraqi Kurdistan, Kosrat Rasul, on charges of "provocation" against Iraq's armed forces.

Earlier this month, another court ordered the arrest of the three senior Kurdish officials responsible for organizing the independence referendum.

Kurdistan officials have expressed their opposition to annul the results of the independence referendum, which saw over 92 percent vote “Yes.” Reports that Abadi has dropped his demands to cancel the election result, may help bring them to dialogue soon.

http://www.nrttv.com/en/Details.aspx?Jimare=17152
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Oct 23, 2017 5:52 pm

Iraq rejects U.S. call for Iran-backed forces to end operations

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The Iraqi government dismissed a call from U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for Iranian-backed paramilitary units that helped Baghdad defeat Islamic State and capture the Kurdish-held city of Kirkuk to end operations in Iraq.

The paramilitary units have been expanding their reach to northern Iraq, supporting government forces which seized the Kurdish-held city of Kirkuk one week ago in a lightning advance in retaliation for a referendum on independence.

Iraqi forces are deploying tanks and artillery just south of a Kurdish-operated oil pipeline that crosses into Turkey, a Kurdish security official said, the latest in a series of Iranian-backed operations against the Kurds.

Speaking after a meeting on Sunday with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, Tillerson said it was time for the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation forces and their Iranian advisers to “go home”.

U.S. SEEKS TO CONTAIN IRANIAN INFLUENCE

Washington is concerned Iran will use its expanded presence in Iraq and in Syria to expand its influence in the region.

But Abadi showed unwillingness to meet Tillerson’s demand.

“No party has the right to interfere in Iraqi matters,” a statement from his office read. It did not cite the prime minister himself but a “source” close to him.

Predominantly Shi‘ite Iran and its Sunni rival Saudi Arabia are locked in a proxy war for influence in the Middle East.

The international battle against Islamic State fighters in northern Iraq since 2014 saw the United States and Iran effectively fighting on the same side, with both supporting the Iraqi government against the militants.

Washington has 5,000 troops in Iraq, and provided air support, training and weapons to Iraqi government forces, even as Iran armed, trained and advised the Shi‘ite paramilitaries which often fought alongside the army.

But the latest twist in the Iraq conflict, pitting the central government against the Kurds, is trickier for U.S. policymakers. Washington still supports the central government but has also been allied to the Kurds for decades.

Iran exhibited its sway over Baghdad’s policies during tensions over a referendum last month in which the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region voted to secede from Iraq against Baghdad’s wishes, Kurdish officials say.

Baghdad responded to the vote by seizing the oil city of Kirkuk, which the Kurds see as the heart of any future homeland.

Major-General Qassem Soleimani, commander of foreign operations for Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, repeatedly warned Kurdish leaders to withdraw from Kirkuk or face an onslaught by Iraqi forces and allied Iranian-backed fighters, Kurdish officials briefed on the meetings said.

Iraq’s Sunni neighbors, including Saudi Arabia, share Washington’s concerns over Shi‘ite power Iran’s influence in Iraq, where the population is predominantly Shi‘ite.

The office of Abadi, himself a Shi‘ite, said the paramilitary forces were under the authority of the Iraqi government.

“Popular Mobilisation are Iraqi patriots,” it said in the statement.

IRAN DISMISSES TILLERSON REMARKS

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also rejected Tillerson’s statement. The paramilitaries could not go home because “they are at home” already, he was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA.

Abadi has asserted his authority with the defeat of Islamic State in Mosul and the Iraqi army’s sweep through Kirkuk and other areas which were held by the Kurds.

The buildup at the Kurdish oil export pipeline is taking place northwest of Mosul, an official from the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) security council said.

The loss of Kirkuk dealt a major blow to the Kurds, who had been steadily building an autonomous region in northern Iraq since a U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein, who oppressed them for decades.

“We are concerned about continued military build-up of Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces toward the Kurdistan Region,” said the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) in a statement.

Elections for Iraq’s Kurdistan region’s presidency and parliament set for Nov. 1 will be delayed because political parties failed to present candidates, the head of the electoral commission Hendrean Mohammed told Reuters.

Parties have been unable to focus on the elections because of turmoil that followed the referendum, a Kurdish lawmaker said on condition of anonymity.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-midea ... ld+News%29
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:41 pm

Following Kirkuk fall, Tillerson tells Abadi to avoid ‘confrontation'

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The US Secretary of State met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Baghdad on Monday as he urged Iraq to avoid “confrontation” following a week-long military standoff between the Kurdish Peshmerga and Iraqi forces.

It is the second time the two met in two days. The two were both in Saudi Arabia on Sunday as part of a new era of relations between Baghdad and Riyadh.

“Tillerson stated that Washington supports the unity of Iraq and the importance of commitment to the constitution,” read the Iraqi readout of their meeting in Baghdad.

It added that America's top diplomat expressed his country’s call for “dialogue and avoiding any confrontation.”

Earlier in the day, the Kurdistan Region Security Council stated that Iraqi forces have “shown zero signs of de-escalating their military aggression” on the borders with the Kurdish-controlled areas.

Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani told reporters Monday that Iraq’s continued military operations hinder launching talks between the two sides. He said, however, that they are ready to enter serious discussions with the Iraqi government on the basis of Iraq’s constitution.

PM Abadi told Tillerson that what took place in Kirkuk and other disputed areas was “redeployment [of forces] and returning state authority.” They do not want to wage war against any of Iraq’s components, he said.

The war against ISIS is still Iraq’s “priority” and Abadi said his forces will continue to liberate the remaining areas.

The two had earlier sparred over Iranian influence in Iraq. Tillerson on Sunday said that “Iranian militia” in Iraq must “go home” now that the war on ISIS is ending.

Abadi responded that the Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi is an official institution under Iraqi command and all its fighters are Iraqi.

“We have to encourage the Hashd because they will become the hope for the country and the region,” Abadi was quoted as telling Tillerson Monday evening.

There was not an immediate readout from the American side.

The Kurdistan Regional Government has already welcomed a statement from the US State Department on Friday that called on Baghdad and Erbil to coordinate their movements in the disputed areas and to begin dialogue. The US also stressed the status of the disputed areas according the Iraqi constitution.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/231020172
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: dyaoko » Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:02 am

Iraq: Fresh evidence that tens of thousands forced to flee Tuz Khurmatu amid indiscriminate attacks, lootings and arson
24 October 2017, 10:45 UTC
Within hours the lives of countless men, women and children were devastated in Tuz Khurmatu.
Lynn Maalouf, Director of Research for the Middle-East at Amnesty International
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Amnesty team analysed satellite imagery, videos, photos and dozens of testimonies
Lootings, arson and house demolition targeted predominantly Kurdish areas
At least 11 civilians killed by indiscriminate attacks
Tens of thousands now displaced afraid to go back home
Satellite images, videos, photos and dozens of testimonies collected by Amnesty International show that civilians were forced to flee their homes after fierce clashes erupted between Iraqi government forces, supported by the Popular Mobilization Units, and Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraq’s multi-ethnic city of Tuz Khurmatu on 16 October 2017.

Residents reported that at least 11 civilians were killed by indiscriminate attacks, while hundreds of properties were looted, set on fire and destroyed in what appears to be a targeted attack on predominantly Kurdish areas of the city.

“Within hours the lives of countless men, women and children were devastated in Tuz Khurmatu. Thousands have lost their homes, shops and everything they owned. They are now scattered in nearby camps, villages and cities, wondering whether they will ever be able to return,” said Lynn Maalouf, Director of Research for the Middle East at Amnesty International.

“The Iraqi authorities already stated they would not tolerate any attacks against civilians, and would hold perpetrators accountable. They must now put word to action, and promptly initiate impartial investigations into these violations. Victims must receive full reparation and those responsible held to account.”

Between 18 and 23 October, Amnesty International interviewed 42 displaced residents of Tuz Khurmatu, conducted analysis of satellite imagery of the city and analyzed and authenticated photos and videos provided by residents showing damage to homes and other civilian property caused by arson and looting.

Tuz Khurmatu residents told Amnesty International that heavy clashes broke out after midnight on 16 October. Most of the civilians interviewed reported that they fled the city between 2am and 6am as a result of the fighting. The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) informed Amnesty International that nearly 35,000 civilians have fled Tuz Khurmatu since 16 October.

“When I got to my house, I saw that the door was broken, and the TV and the refrigerator were burned…When I went in, I realized my house was still on fire…We went to my son’s room, and it was like a pressure cooker inside. I fell over from the shock of the heat, and I almost fainted. My house was beautiful - it had two storeys. I loved that house. I kept trying to put out the fire, but finally my nephew said, ‘Uncle, we have to go - it’s not safe for us here’.”

“Hameed”, a 68-year-old man, told Amnesty International that on 19 October he travelled from Zinana, the village to which he had fled on 16 October, to Tuz Khurmatu to check on his house, which is located near Sitar Mosque in al-Jumhuriya neighbourhood. He described what he saw:

“Sangar” returned briefly to the city to check on his house. He told Amnesty International: “I was creeping through the city, trying to avoid seeing anyone…The market in al-Jumhuriya was completely burned out. And I saw some houses that had been exploded. They were completely collapsed. My house was burned, too…It looked like 90% of the buildings in al-Jumhuirya were burned.”

Witnesses reported receiving threatening messages or phone calls from their Turkmen neighbors. Those who had returned briefly to the city reported seeing extensive damage to homes in al-Jumhuriya and Hai Jamila, both Kurdish-majority neighbourhoods. Amnesty International authenticated photos and videos it received from witnesses showing the damage caused to civilian homes and property by looting and arson in Tuz Khumatu.

Residents who are still in the city, as well as others who fled and then attempted to return, described how Iraqi government forces, as well members of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), Turkmen fighters and Turkmen civilians engaged in rampant arson, looting and demolition of civilian homes.

“I can’t describe what I saw. There is so much destruction - you can’t even imagine this was a city.” Zargos

Burning, looting, and house demolitions

According to “Sarhang”, who stayed in al-Jumhuriya neighbourhood until 6pm on 16 October: “More than 100 people on motorcycles were riding around the neighborhood…They knew the houses [and entered them] one by one. They took anything valuable or worth something. Then they set fire to a blanket and threw it into the house. The fire is [then] lit, and the whole house catches fire. They leave it to burn. I saw trucks and lorries [driven by] the PMU and Turkmen. The Turkmen are PMU anyway. They would take kitchen counters, fridges, stoves - whatever they can.”

Residents also mentioned the history of clashes and revenge attacks between Kurdish and Shi’a Turkmen residents of Tuz Khurmatu. In a chilling example of the tension between the two groups, “Sherine” a resident of al-Jumhuriya neighborhood told Amnesty International that on 15 October, her Turkmen neighbour saw her buying plates and pots in the market. She told her: “Keep buying. I want Kurds to buy things, because in the end it will be left behind for me.”

Indiscriminate attacks

Tuz Khurmatu residents reported that the weapons used in the densely populated city included mortars, RPGs, DShk heavy machine guns and Kalashnikov assault rifles. Civilians interviewed by Amnesty International were unable to determine whether the attacks they experienced were attributable to Kurdish or Iraqi government forces; however, in several of the cases documented by Amnesty International, the indiscriminate fire was launched into crowds of Kurdish residents fleeing the city.

According to “Sherine”,:

“One [mortar] fell very close to our front door. It was about 2am and very dark. The children started screaming and I screamed too. I didn’t take anything. I’m still wearing the same dress as I wore that night. It’s so filthy, but what can I do? I don’t know how I managed to get the children into the car. Everyone was on the street. People were running and in their cars. It was so dusty. The mortars kept coming. We heard the Peshmerga were running away, and that really frightened us. We drove into the emptiness and didn’t stop until Qala Dawoodi [a village about 12km from Tuz Khurmatu]. We slept outdoors until dawn.”

“Sherine” told Amnesty International that there are no military installations near her house.

“Soran”, an 18-year-old man from Hai Jamila, told Amnesty International:

“A mortar fell near my house, and because of that, we fled. I was with my family. We are six people - my mother, father, my brother, two sisters and me. I saw at least a thousand people fleeing with us - it looked like a sea of people. We had to get through the irrigation project to get out. There are all of these ditches and small ponds we had to get through. The mortars were falling around us, and snipers were shooting at us. Some of the elderly people were left behind. Others were carried in blankets - we had to carry them so they didn’t fall in the water. I saw one man who was hit in the leg by a sniper’s bullet. He fell down, and I don’t know what happened to him. Another man was shot in the head and died instantly, in front of me.”

“Soran” told Amnesty International that there were no military installations near his house and that the crowd fleeing was made up solely of civilians.

“Jamil” also fled Tuz Khurmatu with his family, around 3:30am on 16 October. He explained:

“We left on a tractor. It was all we had. We had to go out by a route that goes by the mountains and the irrigation system. It was really difficult - there were bullets whizzing by our head and mortars flying around us. We were so scared. I was with my wife and four children. When we left, I thought to myself: I will definitely lose my house to the burning and the looting, so now I need to take care of my family.”

“Jamil” told Amnesty International that there were no fighters near him during his flight outside the city.

Nowhere to Turn

Of the 42 civilians interviewed by Amnesty International who fled the city and are now sheltering in nearby villages, camps and cities, none felt safe enough to return to Tuz Khurmatu. Amnesty International spoke with four Tuz Khurmatu residents who had returned briefly to check on their homes or shops, but all had returned within hours, citing concerns for their safety. Tuz Khurmatu residents who had fled the city also consistently reported that none of their Kurdish neighbours have returned to the city permanently after 16 October or had any plans to do so.

“Abbas” told Amnesty International:

“I want you to know that for us as Kurds, we can’t go back to Tuz Khurmatu… At any moment they can come in a car and pick me up, for any reason…If I need to get a national ID or get some official documents, I would have to go to the intelligence. If I go there, I might never come back…They could kill me, or hold me hostage. We are afraid. And we are sure this is what will happen.”

“Othman” added: “I will never go back until we have guarantees for our safety. They even burn our mosques - how can we be safe there?”

“Residents of Tuz Khurmatu have suffered repeated cycles of violence in past years, and violations such as these lead to future cycles, unless the Iraqi government sends a strong signal – not only in word, but by way of concrete action – that perpetrators will be held to account, victims compensated and that the authorities will take all necessary steps to protect the displaced civilians,” said Lynn Maalouf.

“Humanitarian support for the tens of thousands of people who have fled Tuz Khurmatu must be earmarked and provided as a matter of urgency, both by the international community and the Iraqi government. It is also essential that the authorities swiftly restore security and the rule of law and establish conditions conducive to the safe, voluntary and sustainable return of tens of thousands of displaced residents.”

Background:

Tuz Khurmatu was under the joint control of the Kurdistan Regional Government forces, the Population Mobilization Units (PMU) and local police, until Iraqi government forces supported by factions of the PMU took control of the city on 16 October. Its population of more than 100,000 is multi-ethnic, comprised of Kurds, Turkmen and Arabs. The city has been the site of sporadic clashes and communal violence since 2003.

The most recent clashes had occurred between October 2015 to January 2016, when Kurdish Peshmerga and members of Shia Turkmen militias killed, wounded and abducted civilians and destroyed hundreds of homes and shops.


https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/ ... and-arson/
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:06 am

KRG parties agree to postpone elections, extend parliament term

A preliminary agreement has been reached between three major Kurdish parties to postpone parliamentary and presidential elections by eight months and extend the current term of parliament until election day, said an official on Tuesday.

The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), PatriotIc Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) have agreed to extend the parliament term by eight months as well as the election amid an uncertain atmosphere the Kurdistan Region is reeling from in the wake of growing tensions between Erbil and Baghdad after the Iraqi government’s troops and Shiite militias launched an incursion into the disputed or Kurdistani areas on October 16.

Dler Mawati, head of the PUK faction in the Kurdistan parliament also added that as part of Tuesday’s parliament session agenda, Begard Talabani of the PUK will be appointed the secretary of the parliament in place of Fakhradin Qadir, from the Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal), who resigned on September 30.

The parliament will address “the situation of Kirkuk, the coming of the Hashd al-Shaabi, and the appointment the secretary of the parliament,” Omed Khoshnaw, head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) faction in the Kurdistan parliament, had earlier told Rudaw.

The agenda will also include elections, Khoshnaw added.

Election preparations were halted two weeks before the Kurdistan Region was to go to the polls. The Electoral Commission “decided to halt all the preparations for the elections of November 1, 2017, because of not having candidates at the specified time and current new developments.”

The commission said it was waiting for the Kurdistan parliament to make a decision on the matter.

Presidential and parliamentary elections were scheduled to be held simultaneously on November 1.

The Change Movement (Gorran) and Komal who have been seen acting on one side and at odds with the other three parties, are believed not to attend the session.

Gorran, the second-largest party in the parliament, earlier this week called on the Kurdistan Regional Government to be dissolved and an interim government be established to prepare for elections and lead talks with Baghdad. Gorran has not attended parliamentary sessions since the legislature was reactivated in September after being shut for two years amid a political row between Gorran and the ruling KDP.

The call was rejected by the KDP and PUK.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/241020171
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Piling » Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:30 am

Organizing some elections now is impossible. Kurds don't even know which parts of their country will stay free or not. And all the security forces have to mobilize against war.

The other problem is that none party is able to present some candidates. For PUK, the reason is obvious. For KDP it is less clear.

I do not often agree with Gorran, but in the present circumstances, an interim government gathering all the political parties still loyal to Kurdistan would have been better. In all wars even in Democracies, such 'National Union Government' is the rule. And it could have present the traitors of PUK more isolated than they claim.
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Oct 24, 2017 11:05 am

Kurds in Iraq demand the end of Iraqi military build up near Kurdistan region

The Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) on Monday warned that a continued build-up of Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) was taking place around the areas of the Kurdistan Region.

They also called for an immediate withdrawal from all territories occupied by the Iraqi Government.

“In the last 48 hours, Iraq has continued to deploy tanks and artillery, as well as American equipment, including Humvees and Armored Personnel Carriers.” The statement by the KRSC said.

The KRSC connected the dots between the military build-up and the recent attacks that occurred in Kirkuk and Altun Kupri. They argue that both are the consequence of the almost total impunity that Iraqi forces and Popular Mobilization forces have in their assault of Kurdistan and the disputed territories.

While the Iraqi Kurdish leadership have said they are ready for unconditional talks to solve the problems between the Kurdistan region and Baghdad -- which worsened after the independence referendum held on the 25th of September -- the KRSC believes that the military buildup across the Kurdistan Region is directly related to the unprovoked attacks that occurred recently by PMF forces in Kirkuk and Altun Kupri.

“As the political leadership of the Kurdistan Region has said time and again, Iraq must commit to unconditional talks to settle political disputes through peaceful means,” the KRSC emphasized in their public statement to the global community.

The attacks on Kurdish Regions
On 20 October, Iraqi forces launched a large-scale attack on Kurdish positions on two fronts in Altun Kupri.

“Preliminary reports indicate Peshmerga forces destroyed 10 US Humvees and two tanks, including an M1 Abrams tank. These weapons were given to Iraq for the war on Islamic State, and are now used by Iraq's Army and PMF against the people of Kurdistan,” the KRSC said.

The attack followed a large-scale offensive in Kirkuk on October 16 in which many disputed territories were taken. As a result of the Iraqi attacks, at least 100,000 individuals are now displaced in Erbil and Slemani, seeking food and shelter.

“PMF have damaged, looted and burnt hundreds of Kurdish and Turkmen properties in Kirkuk, Tuz Khormatu and Khanaqin in a campaign terrorizing local populations. In Khanaqin, PMF fired on peaceful demonstrators calling for their exit from Kurdish areas, killing and injuring many,” the KRSC said.

Moreover, the Kurdish intelligence service says several Iranian-backed proxies have taken part in operations against Peshmerga such as Asaib Ahl al-Haq; Badr Corp; Kata'ib Hezbollah; Abbas Division; Ali Akbar Brigades; Khorasan Companies, and Imam Ali Battalions.

“The deafening silence from the international community has emboldened Iraq and neighboring countries to attack Kurdistan. The army ostensibly created to defend the people is used today to attack the people of Kurdistan. Iraq's continued attacks have confirmed Kurds' legitimate fears about our future in this country. The international community must now intervene and condemn Iraq's aggressive military attacks,” the KRSC said.

http://theregion.org/article/11838-kurd ... tan-region
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Oct 24, 2017 3:46 pm

Iraqi Kurdistan parliament delays presidential elections by eight months

(Reuters) - Elections for the presidency and parliament of Iraq's Kurdistan region set for Nov. 1 have been delayed by eight months, the regional parliament announced on Tuesday.

The decision came after the electoral commission said on Monday that political parties had failed to present candidates for both elections amid turmoil in the region following the independence referendum it held on Sept. 25.

The proposal to delay the two elections was approved by 60 of 68 MPs who attended the parliamentary session in the Kurdistan Regional Government in Erbil, Rudaw TV said.

Eight MPs opposed the proposal and 43 didn't attend, mainly politicians opposed to Kurdistan Regional Government President Masoud Barzani, one of the MPs said.

Last week, Iraqi forces captured the oil city of Kirkuk and other territory claimed by the Kurds in retaliation for holding the referendum, dealing a severe blow to Barzani.

The current KRG presidency, held by Barzani since 2005, and parliament, elected in 2013, are expected to continue until new votes are held.

The loss of Kirkuk prompted calls from Gorran, the main opposition party, for Barzani to resign.

(Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli; Editing by Catherine Evans and Hugh Lawson)

http://uk.mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUKKBN1CT1JA
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Oct 24, 2017 4:00 pm

To the 43 who didn't attend

    1) you are being extremely childish

    2) you were elected to represent the wishes of the people, your wishes are not important

    3) the Kurdish people clearly wish for an independent Kurdistan

    4) online polls show the majority of Kurds are in favor of Barzani remaining in control

    5) by failing to attend and representing those who elected you, you have given up your right to act on their behalf
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