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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 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 1:13 pm

I believe strongly in:

Good Thoughts - Good Words - Good Deeds

and

Do what you will save that it hurt none

Then I think of the Gorran and all my earlier beliefs vanish in a puff of smoke

If someone is not part of the solution - they are part of the problem

English adage:

Don't rock the boat

Gorran are not only rocking the boat they are doing their best to sink it X(

Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal) are obviously more interested in uniting with Iraq, especially now Iraq is becoming less secular - a secular Kurdistan where al religions and cultures are welcome does not give conservative Islam much of a power base

Do what you will save that it hurt none - unless they are leaders of the Gorran :ymdevil:

I believe the PUK should break away form it's treasonous Talabani leaders and firmly unite with the rest of KRG :ymapplause:
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Nov 21, 2017 3:02 pm

Deadly car bomb rocks Tuz Khurmatu

A powerful car bomb exploded Tuesday afternoon in Tuz Khurmatu city.

Initial, unconfirmed reports put the number of dead as high as 20 with another at least 40 injured.

The bombing targeted a crowded local market in the Kurdish al-Askari neighbourhood, according to Rudaw sources.

The injured have been taken to a hospital in Kirkuk, about 75 km to the northwest.

Tuz Khurmatu, located in Saladin province, came under the control of Iraqi forces and the Iranian-backed Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi on October 16 when they drove out the Kurdish Peshmerga.

The town has witnessed intra-ethnic violence in the past, though the situation had been calmer this year. Tuesday's explosion is the first such incident since the town came under Iraqi control.

No group has yet claimed responsibility.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/211120173
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Nov 21, 2017 3:07 pm

Unity the byword as KRG leadership sits down with Kurdish parties

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After a busy day of meetings with Kurdish parties in Sulaimani, the prime minister told reporters they were pondering two options to overcome the current crisis – holding a general election or establishing an interim government until elections can be held – stressing that the difficulties could be overcome if the parties are united.

The final decision lies with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), “once we have discussed this matter with the political parties," said Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani. He and his deputy, Qubad Talabani, have been sitting down to talk with the various parties this week.

In the wake of Baghdad’s rejection of Kurdistan’s independence vote and Iraq’s assertion of federal control over the disputed areas, several parties have called the KRG a failure and demanded its dissolution, the formation of an interim government to lead talks with Baghdad and manage affairs, and preparations for elections.

Barzani said he needs more information about what role an interim government would take on. He said the current government is itself interim after parliament voted in late October to postpone elections for eight months and extend its mandate until elections can be held. The legislature made the move in light of uncertainties in the Region after the referendum. Presidential and parliamentary elections had been scheduled for November 1.

All parties are opposed to any action that would split the Region into two administrative zones, namely Erbil and Sulaimani, said Barzani, a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), after meetings on Tuesday with Gorran, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), and the Socialist Democratic Party.

He said they also agreed that talks with Baghdad have to be held on a government level and no party should enter talks with the Iraqi government individually.

“As the government… with all the parties involved, we will go to Baghdad,” Barzani said, adding that no time frame had been set yet for talks.

Meetings with the parties will continue and decisions will be made public. Barzani is hopeful of a positive outcome.

“It is true that the situation is unstable, but if united, we can overcome it together,” he said.

The financial crisis, specifically lack of full, regular payments of the salaries of public employees, is an issue Gorran and other parties have said must be a priority for the government.

Barzani promised transparency on the matter: “We will provide the salaries of civil servants as far as we can. When we are unable to do, we will come out and explain it to our people.”

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/211120174
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Nov 21, 2017 4:01 pm

The Kurds and Kirkuk before and after October 16

Returning Kirkuk to Kurdistan has always been a crucial dream for the Kurds of south of Kurdistan. Yet, the dream has not come true.

The regime of Saddam changed the demographics of Kirkuk. Saddam settled thousands of Arab families in the city so that the city would become an Arab city. When the Saddam regime collapsed, thousands of Kurds, including my family, moved back to Kirkuk and started living there again. Kurds wanted to return Kirkuk to Kurdistan by implementing article 140 of the 2005 Iraqi constitution.

The article states that the situation of Kirkuk and other disputed territories should be normalized and that a census should be done, then a referendum will determine the will of the citizen by a date that should not have exceeded December 31, 2007. Unfortunately, ten years have passed since then and the article has not been implemented yet.

In 2015, when Iraqi forces fled the city due to the threat of ISIS, Kurdish Peshmerga forces took control of Kirkuk. ISIS attacked the city many times. The Peshmerga repelled and destroyed them with the help of the international coalition, led by the United States. The city was under the control of PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan) since the governor, Najmadin Karim, was a senior PUK leader, and PUK’s so-called 70 force were on the frontline against ISIS.

In March 2017, the Kirkuk provincial council voted for raising the flag of Kurdistan on the official buildings of the city. Likewise, Kirkuk and other disputed territories were included in Kurdistan’s independence referendum that was held on September 25. The central government and other regional powers, such as Turkey and Iran condemned the raising of Kurdistan’s flag and holding the referendum in Kirkuk, but the two decisions seemed historic decisions for the Kurds. Hoisting Kurdistan’s flag showed Kirkuk as a Kurdistan city and the referendum was supposed to create an independent Kurdistan that would have Kirkuk as its Jerusalem!

The Iraqi government deliberately delayed the liberation of Hawija so that they would be able deploy a huge amount of force for the fight of Hawija, which is a district of Kirkuk and 45 km away from the city. Iraq deployed a gigantic force to liberate Hawija, and cleaned Hawija from ISIS without any fight! Then, they started threatening Peshmerga, saying they will attack Kirkuk if Kurdish forces do not handover K1 military base and Havana and Bai Hasan oil fields. Kurds did not agree to hand over K1 and especially the oil fields because they were the source of KRG revenue.

On October 16, clashes between PMU and Peshmerga started around 1 am. I remember my brother, a Peshmerga, was in Tuz Khurmatu, where the clashes took place, called me and told me, “Come to Kirkuk and take your sister in law to Sulaimani because they (Iraqi forces and PMU) are bombing us and we are outnumbered.” Then I immediately called my brother in law, who was in Tal Alward, a town to the southwest of Kirkuk and only 31 kilometers away from the center of Kirkuk. He told me that no clashes had occurred there.

After that, I thought that the clashes might be small and would not last longer. I woke up early at 7 a.m. to the sound of my parents’ talking. I asked them what was going on. “Peshmerga have withdrawn from Kirkuk,” my dad angrily responded. Around 10 a.m., thousands of Kurds started fleeing the city as PMU and other Iraqi forces marched on the center of Kirkuk.

After October 16, I heard different news about the situation of Kirkuk. Therefore, I decided to go there to see exactly what was going on. I visited Kirkuk on November 16. While I was going towards the entrance Checkpoint of Kirkuk, I was somehow afraid because I was told that the police officers strongly investigate people in the checkpoint. I entered the checkpoint and passed through it. The police officer of the checkpoint did not even ask for my ID, but a tank and several Humvees were stationed there.

It was around 8 p.m. when I reached the city center. What I noticed was that the city was very calm because most of the shops were closed and there were few people on the streets. Before October 16, shops remained usually opened until 10 to 11 pm and people used to go anywhere and whenever they wanted. It was also surprising when I saw alcohol shops open because Iraqi forces had banned alcohol sales for many days.

I stopped the car and went into an alcohol shop. I asked the owner what time he opened. He said alcohol shops are opened from morning until 9 p.m. When I heard that, I realized that life in Kirkuk is returning to normal. I went to my cousin’s house. My cousin and I went out at 10 pm to see how the situation was late at night. We went to several districts in Kirkuk, including Rahim Awa, the Bazaar, Tapa, and Kurdistan Street. There were Iraqi police and Iraqi anti-terror forces, but they were not bothering people about why they were out late at night.

About a month later on November 17, I went to many different places to see how daily life in Kirkuk was adjusting. I saw that life in Kirkuk seemed normal because shops, restaurants, cafeterias and oil stations were all open. However, I also noticed that still there were very few Kurds left in the city. Most of the people I saw were Arab and Turkmen. When I went to Kurdish areas, I saw that most of the houses were empty.

Even though Iraqi Forces seem to treat Kurds well, a good number of them have left the city and have not yet come back, for two main reasons:

    The first reason is that Kurds think that their lives are threatened. Kurds of Kirkuk are mostly PUK and PDK supporters, so if the Iraqi forces harass them or someone belonging to Iraqi forces kidnaps them, their parties have no power to rescue or protect them. In the same way, PUK and PDK authorities cannot live in the city because they are neither able to have their guards with them nor are they able to carry guns.

    Additionally, I very rarely saw PDK supporters still living in Kirkuk because there was a real threat on their lives when the PDK buildings were blown up. That is probably because PDK was strongly behind Kurdistan’s independence vote and has had a terrible relationship with Baghdad officials, especially with Shia leaders. However, the situation seems better for PUK supporters as PUK leaders have a strong relation with the Iraqi officials, especially Shia leaders.

    Through my journey, I went to PUK’s headquarter in Kirkuk. The headquarters were closed and only two PUK Peshmerga were protecting the building. However, I saw several Humvees of Iraqi anti-terror forces controlling the PDK politburo and the Asayish Building.

    The second reason is that Kurds are fearful of living under the control of Iraqi forces. From 2005 to 2015, uncountable numbers of explosion occurred as the federal police could not secure the city. I, personally, lost seven of my relatives in only one explosion that took place in Kirkuk in 2006. From 2015 until October 16, 2017, no explosion occurred in Kirkuk because the Peshmerga were protecting the borders of the city and the Kurdish Asayish secured the city itself.

    Consequently, the people of Kirkuk, including all ethnicities, enjoyed the good security provided by the Kurds. Now the situation is completely different, especially for the Kurdish. The Kurds of Kirkuk do not come out at night because they are afraid and do not trust Iraqi forces. Before October 16, Kurds were the ones who ruled the city but now they are treated as a minority there.

    Moreover, the city might face explosions and instability due to sectarian conflict between Sunni-Shia and Shia- Shia Arabs in Kirkuk. For example, on November 5, 2017, only a few days after Kirkuk came under the control of the Iraqi Forces and Shia militias, two-suicide attacks targeted the building of Saraya Alsalam, which is a Shia militia, led by Muqtada Sadr. Three days later Muqtada Sadr ordered them to withdraw from Kirkuk. Therefore, living under Iraqi Forces might be dangerous for the Kurds, as experience has amply demonstrated.

    Another point that I want to mention is the way Kurds of Kirkuk think of PUK and PDK. As I mentioned above, the city was under the control of PUK, and the city was known as the green castle of PUK. Now the people of Kirkuk feel that they were betrayed by PUK. Their main and strong argument is that they say, “Why didn't PUK tell us that they were going to withdraw from Kirkuk?” The people state, “It would have been fine if they had only handed over K1 military base and the oil fields, but allowing the Iraqi forces to control the city itself is not okay.”

    PDK leaders have also accused some PUK leaders of conspiring with Shia leaders to handover Kirkuk. At the same time, many Kurds in Kirkuk also see PDK leaders as traitors. Someone said to me, “Ok PUK leaders are traitors because they handed over Kirkuk, but why were PDK leaders not traitors when they handed over Makhmour and Sinjar?” Another person said, “PDK only cared about the oil, not the Kurds.” “If PDK cared about us, why would they not defend us?” he added. Generally, the Kurds of Kirkuk are disappointed in PUK and PDK. I personally believe these two parties and particularly PUK will pay a heavy price in the next Iraqi elections in Kirkuk.

    The Kurds of Kirkuk are also concerned about those “volunteers” who occasionally attack Iraqi forces in Kirkuk. They think it is not a good idea because they believe Kirkuk will not be retaken from the Iraqi government by destroying a Humvee or killing two to three persons. They think it will further destabilize the city as it would make the Iraqi forces angry and that will lead them to harass the Kurds or search the Kurds’ houses to disarm them.

    The last point I want to mention is the economic situation of the Kurds of Kirkuk. Regarding those Kurds who are KRG employees and have moved to different places of Kurdistan such as

    Sulaimani, Erbil, Chamchamal, and Taq Taq.These families are going through a hard time as KRG gives them only half of their salaries. Almost all of them have rented houses that cost a great amount of money. Other Kurds, who still live in Kirkuk and have their own businesses, are also facing economic losses. Owners of shops do not earn the amount of money that they had previously before October 16. For instance, I talked to the owner of a market in a Kurdish district. He stated he used to earn 125,000 IQD ($100) daily but now he only earns 30,000 IQD (25$). “What’s the reason for the fall of sales?” I asked him. “Our clients are Kurds and they have left the city. That’s the reason,” he responded.

As the history of Kirkuk shows, neither Kurds nor Arabs will give up on Kirkuk. Therefore, the Kurds and Arabs need to solve the conflicts over Kirkuk peacefully.

http://www.nrttv.com/EN/birura-details.aspx?Jimare=8319

I strongly believe that all the Arabs Saddam PAID to take over Kurdish homes, properties, farms, businesses in Kirkuk as part of his Arabisation program, should be removed

In NO country in the world is someone who steals a person's home allowed to keep it
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Nov 21, 2017 7:30 pm

Statement on the Federal Supreme Court Decision concerning Kurdistan Referendum [EN/AR/KU]

Report from UN Assistance Mission for Iraq
Published on 21 Nov 2017


Baghdad, 21 November 2017 – The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) acknowledges the Iraq Federal Supreme Court’s Decision of 20 November 2017 concerning the Kurdish independence referendum.

In its decision, the Federal Supreme Court confirmed that the referendum conducted in Kurdistan on 25 September 2017, and the purpose for which it was conducted, the independence of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KR-I) and other areas outside of it, has no constitutional reference and violates its provisions. Accordingly, the FSC decided that the referendum was unconstitutional and all of its results and effects shall be cancelled.

UNAMI urges the authorities of the KR-I to acknowledge and respect this ruling of the Federal Supreme Court and the Constitution.

UNAMI also takes note of the statement of Prime Minister Abadi, welcoming the ruling and calling on all to respect the Constitution.

UNAMI urges the Federal Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government to start negotiations without delay, based on the Constitution, on all current issues between the two Governments. This should include measures that will allow the establishment of federal authority over the external border crossings of Iraq located in the KR-I; and the early re-opening of the international airports in Erbil and Suleimaniya to international flights. Agreement is also needed with regard to the appropriate share for the KR-I in the federal budget, the payment of salaries and management of oil exports.

UNAMI also urges that all Members of Parliament from the KR-I be allowed immediately to return to the Council of Representatives, to take part in its proceedings and enable their full participation in its deliberations, including on such important matters as the budget law.

At the same time, UNAMI encourages continuation of the high-level intergovernmental co-ordination mechanisms on military and security issues, to avoid the possibility of further violence and confrontation. UNAMI reaffirms its opposition to the threat of use of force, inflammatory statements or confrontational actions, especially at this time when the issue of the referendum has found its resolution, based on full respect for the Constitution.

UNAMI commends the pivotal role played in this respect by the Federal Supreme Court. X(

https://reliefweb.int/report/iraq/state ... dum-enarku
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:22 pm

Gorran and PUK discuss 'interim government' in meeting

Gorran and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) met in Sulaimani, their first meeting since the independence referendum.

Kurdish parties have been engaged in intensive talks after Baghdad rejected the vote and Iraqi forces pushed the Peshmerga back to 2003 borders. In the wake the losses, Gorran has called for the establishment of an interim government tasked with talking to Baghdad and preparing for elections.

Hero Ibrahim, among other PUK leaders, met with Gorran's leadership and head Omar Sayeed Ali on Wednesday.

The PUK's Imad Ahmad told reporters they discussed "catastrophic" events that led to the loss of Kirkuk and other areas, among other issues of concern.

Asked about Gorran's proposal for an interim government that has been officially presented to both the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Ahmad said cryptically, "This will become a project for all of us."

Gorran, which had initially called for the dissolution of the KRG, is now pushing for an "interim government" after the PUK and KDP refused the more drastic move.

Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and his deputy Qubad Talabani, who have been praised internationally as "new leadership," met with Gorran on Tuesday.

PM Barzani said he does not fully understand Gorran's position, saying the current KRG is "interim" itself. The parliament voted in October to postpone elections for eight months and extend its own mandate until elections are held.

Gorran also put forward several proposals: addressing the delayed and reduced salaries of KRG employees, ensuring the protection of the sovereignty of the Kurdistan Region and preventing other countries from fighting proxy wars in the Kurdistan Region, and holding free and fair elections on time.

Barzani said he has listened to their demands. He was also expected to invite Gorran's ministers who were suspended in 2015.

Gorran only returned to the parliament after Masoud Barzani resigned from the presidency on November 1. The party had called Masoud Barzani's term illegal, after it was twice extended. The dispute soured relations between Gorran and Barzani's KDP.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/221120174

Hero Ibrahim, among other PUK leaders, met with Gorran's leadership

Actually, I think this says it all X(
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Nov 22, 2017 11:22 pm

New Jewish group supports independence for Kurdistan

Several prominent Jews in Europe and North America joined an organization fostering Jewish-Kurdish friendship and supporting independence for Iraqi Kurdistan.

The Jewish-American lawyer Alan Dershowitz joined the honorary board of the Brussels-based Jewish Coalition for Kurdistan last month, along with Irwin Cotler, a former justice minister of Canada, and Serge and Beate Klarsfeld, two well-known hunters of Nazis from Germany, the group’s founder and president, Joel Rubinfeld, told JTA Wednesday.

Also on the honorary board of the coalition are Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Charles Tannock, a British lawmaker at the European Parliament and foreign affairs and human rights spokesman for the UK Conservative delegation.

The unveiling Wednesday of Rubinfeld’s group is among several high-profile actions in support of Kurdish national aspirations by Jews following the September independence referendum in Kurdistan, the autonomous region in northern Iraq.

On Friday, Bernard-Henri Lévy, a French-Jewish philosopher and longtime supporter of Kurdish independence, will attend a screening at the United Nations headquarters in New York of his documentary film on the subject titled “Peshmerga,” which is the Kurdish-language name of the Kurdish combatants. Levy is not a member of the Jewish Coalition for Kurdistan.

Rubinfeld is a former president of the federation of French-speaking Jewish communities of Belgium and founder of the Belgian League against Anti-Semitism. He unveiled the pro-Kurdish group while in Israel, where he is slated to attend a first-of-its kind conference on Kurdish independence at Israel’s Knesset.

Scheduled for Nov. 29, the 70th anniversary of the successful vote on the UN Partition Plan for Palestine, the event is titled “Kurdistan and Israel: Together Toward Peace and Stability in the Middle East.” The conference is being organized by Zionist Union lawmaker Ksenia Svetlona. In addition to Israeli lawmakers, members of the Kurdish Jewish community and activists like Rubinfeld, Kurdish civil society leaders also will attend.

“It’s natural that such an event should take place in Israel, which is today the best ally of Kurdistan today, and perhaps its only one, unfortunately,” said Rubinfeld, who began lobbying for the Kurdish national cause two years ago. “There is widespread understanding of the rightfulness of the Kurdish cause and its strategic importance” in Israel, he added.

Israel was among the first countries in the world to support the establishment of a Kurdish state following a statement on the issue by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Israel in the past had remained silent on Kurdish national ambitions, which Turkey, a major trade partner of Israel and previously also a key ally, has long opposed.

While a majority of voters in Kurdistan supported independence in the September referendum, the Iraqi government said it does not recognize the referendum’s results and implemented various sanctions, including a ban on all outgoing and incoming flights from the Kurdish autonomy. Amid pressure from Baghdad, Kurdish militia soldiers last month ceded dozens of forward positions to Iraqi army troops, in what Rubinfeld decried as “a great accomplishment for Iran.”

Iran is widely seen as dictating various policies and actions of the government of Iraq. “The Peshmerga were abandoned by the United States under Donald Trump,” charged Rubinfeld.

Following clashes between Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers and Iraqi Security Forces in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk in October, President Trump said he is “not taking sides.” The State Department said it “strongly opposes” the referendum on independence, preferring a dialogue facilitated by the United States and United Nations.

“There is a kinship between the two peoples, the Jewish one and the Kurdish one, that transcends merely political calculus,” Rubinfeld said. “We are two nations of several millions people who by and large both stand for Western values such as tolerance, progress, equal rights for women and who, in the Middle East and beyond, stand up to tyranny and fanaticism.”

Rubinfeld added that the Israeli flag is to many Kurds a second national symbol “because they identify with Israel and the Jews.”

Iraq’s parliament in Baghdad voted last month to criminalize flying the Israeli flag in the country, after they appeared at several Kurdish rallies in the lead up and aftermath of the referendum.

https://www.jta.org/2017/11/22/news-opi ... -kurdistan
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Nov 23, 2017 12:12 pm

Boris Johnson: 'Serious effort' underway to bring Erbil, Baghdad to table

British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson informed Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani that there is a "serious effort" underway to jump start dialogue between Erbil and Baghdad, according to a statement from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

PM Barzani received a letter from Johnson on Wednesday, delivered by the country's new ambassador to Iraq, Jonathan Wilks.

Johnson "reaffirmed that there is a serious effort in place to begin dialogue to resolve disagreements between Erbil and Baghdad in light of the constitution," the Kurdish statement read.

The United Kingdom appreciates Erbil's efforts to deescalate tensions with Baghdad, it added.

PM Barzani thanked Mr Johnson for his effort, and repeated that Erbil has always favoured dialogue with Baghdad to resolve their outstanding issues. He said the international community should do more to bring Baghdad to the table.

The UK's Deputy National Security Advisor Christian Turner met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Baghdad on Monday.

The two discussed the final phases of the war with ISIS, as well the Erbil-Baghdad rift. The British official urged the two sides to come together.

"I also emphasised the importance of dialogue between the Iraqi Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government as a vital step towards building a secure, stable and unified Iraq," Turner said.

A number of countries have stepped in with offers to help facilitate the anticipated talks, including the United States and France, as well as the United Nations.

Kurdistan Region's foreign minister, who is currently in the United States where he met with a number of officials like US National Security Advisor HR McMaster, told the Wall Street Journal this week that Erbil asked Washington to send an envoy to meditate diplomatic talks.

He said that while the US has a special envoy in the Middle East, Brett McGurk, his mission is limited to the anti-ISIS efforts, very different from the dispute between Erbil and Baghdad.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said she was not aware of a formal request for an envoy, but said the United States does not think such a move is necessary.

"There's a very long history here," she explained. "These folks have lived together, have fought together, have raised families together. We think that they can probably work it out on their own as well."

Nauert did add that the United States would continue to "try to facilitate conversations."

Almost a month ago, Iraqi and Kurdish forces exchanged heavy fire in Pirde (Altun Kupri), about 50 km outside south of Erbil and then further north near Kurdistan's international border at Fishkhabur. The situation is now calm with the two sides observing a ceasefire since October 28.

Erbil has offered to freeze the results of the Kurdistan referendum on independence and stated that it respects a ruling from the Iraqi Federal Court that stipulates no part of the country has the right of separation. The KRG has, however, not said it would respect a second ruling from the court found the referendum unconstitutional and cancelled the result.

If the KRG cancels the results of the referendum it goes against the will of almost the entire population it was elected to represent and thereby becomes a DICTATORSHIP

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi praised the decision by the Court and called on Erbil to respect the verdict.

The UN mission in Iraq (UNAMI) stated Tuesday that the referendum issue has been resolved after the verdict and asked the KRG to commit to it.

PM Abadi has insisted that federal authority must extend to the 2003 borders and over the Kurdistan Region's international borders. Arguing that these demands are constitutional, he called on Erbil to cooperate.

Kurdistan borders should return to exactly where they were BEFORE Saddam stole Kurdish land

The KRG argues that Baghdad violated almost one third of the constitution, thereby pushing Erbil to hold the referendum.

Erbil's main objections are Baghdad's failure to implement Article 140, addressing the disputed areas, and the draft 2018 budget bill that attempts to cut the KRG's share of the 2018 budget and downgrade the official status of the Kurdistan Region.

Abadi said his government has not violated the constitution by naming the Kurdistan Region as the provinces of the Kurdistan region. "There are provinces in the Kurdistan Region," he said in a press conference on Tuesday. He added that the official name of "Kurdistan Region," remains in place.

He also said Baghdad would pay state salaries, but only after an audit of the payroll, claiming the current numbers are inflated.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/221120173
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:00 am

Gorran unveils 7-month interim government roadmap =;








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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:29 am

Iraq must cancel measures against Kurdistan after federal court’s ruling

The government of Iraq must cancel the measures taken against the Kurdistan Region in the wake of the referendum following a decision by Iraqi Federal Supreme Court, a spokesman for the Kurdish government said on Thursday (November 23).

“Based on the decision of federal court on November 20, all the measures and consequences taken by the federal government and Iraqi parliament against the Kurdistan Region in the wake of the referendum must be cancelled,” said Safin Dizayee, spokesman of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

The Iraqi Federal Supreme Court said on Monday that the Kurdish referendum was unconstitutional and the court cancelled its results and consequences.

Since the Kurds held a referendum on independence of Kurdistan on Sept. 25, the Iraqi government has taken security and economic measures against the Region.

In Mid-October, Iraqi government launched an operation to retake disputed areas from the Kurdish forces in the wake of the referendum. The central government also banned international flights to and from the Kurdistan Region.

Regarding the payment of salaries, the KRG spokesman said the Iraqi government has not taken any steps despite remarks from the Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to send the payment of the employees.

“They are not even ready to take the biometric system of the wage earners from the Kurdistan Region,” Dizayee added.

Salaries for KRG employees have been plagued by delays since 2014 and Kurdish authorities have repeatedly said they cannot make payments due to a number of crises affecting the region.

Salaries are to be paid according to the region’s new biometric payment management system. The system was set up to address the issue of “ghost employees,” to keep track of the names and spending on the KRG’s payroll. According to KRG’s statistics in the new biometric system, the number of Kurdish employees is 1,249,481, down from 1.4 million.

Over 897 billion Iraqi dinars per month are needed for the employees’ payroll, according to the KRG.

http://www.nrttv.com/EN/Details.aspx?Jimare=17624
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Nov 25, 2017 12:54 am

Flight ban continues to cause travel headaches

The Iraqi government’s international flight ban is causing headaches for Kurds from the diaspora trying to travel to the Kurdistan Region – they complain of long layovers and fare hikes.

Baghdad imposed a ban on all international flights in and out of Kurdistan Region’s Erbil and Sulaimani airports after Kurdistan voted for independence in a referendum. The ban came into effect on September 29.

Baghdad demanded Erbil hand over control of the two airports to federal authorities.

The airports operate under regulations and supervision of the Iraq Civil Aviation Authority.

Kurdish authorities have condemned the ban as collective punishment.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/241120172
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:26 pm

Hundreds of militants appear at regions between Kirkuk, Diyala, Salahuddin

An armed group of militants have recently appeared at regions between Kirkuk, Diyala and Salahuddin, experts were quoted saying.

In a report, published on Sunday, the London-based Al-Arab newspaper said that unidentified armed militants appeared at northern Iraq regions between locations of both federal and Peshmerga troops. The report raised concerns that Islamic State could take advantage of the disputes between Baghdad and Erbil to redeploy its members and launch attacks.

Hundreds of gunmen are there at regions, where there is no Iraqi security, between the borders of Diyala, northern Salahuddin and eastern Kirkuk, the sources said.

Eyewitnesses said they saw convoys carrying hundreds of gunmen there. However, the militants abstained from dealing with people at villages, where they appeared at.

The experts believe that those militants belong to IS, who escaped from Hawija, southwestern Kirkuk, as Iraqi troops invaded it in late October.

The report indicated that several suicide attacks targeted areas in Kirkuk since Iraqi troops gained control on in it in October.

“The presence of such extremist groups there will allow launching attack at inhabited regions and against oil establishments,” the report said.

Maj.Gen. Ali Fadel Umran, Kirkuk Operations Commander, said military operation was launched on Thursday to comb regions that stretch between northwest of Kirkuk reaching to borders of Salahuddin.

https://www.iraqinews.com/iraq-war/hund ... in-report/
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Nov 27, 2017 5:20 pm

KRG PM: Erbil has nothing to cancel post-referendum, but Baghdad does

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The KRG has not taken any action on the independence referendum, contrary to the Iraqi government that has closed the Region’s airports and deployed forces, said Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani. His government, therefore, has nothing to cancel or back off from, while Baghdad does, he argued.

Commenting on the Federal Court decision cancelling the referendum, Barzani said his government respects the court verdicts and called on Baghdad to follow suit by cancelling all punitive measures taken against the Kurdistan Region.

"We said it before, too. We respected the decision of the Federal Court," Barzani said in his weekly press conference in Erbil on Monday.

"But the decision taken last time by the Federal Court stipulates 'cancelling the consequences after the referendum.' Now I ask, what has happened after the referendum?” he continued, noting that his government did nothing after the vote.

“But what are the things that Iraq did?” he asked.

The Iraqi parliament passed a series of measures against the people of Kurdistan and the Council of Ministers did the same, he elaborated.

“They did whatever they could. These are the things, the consequences that have to be cancelled per the decision of the Federal Court. These things must be annulled," Barzani said. :ymapplause:

The KRG has repeatedly called on the Iraqi government to begin unconditional dialogue in light of the Iraqi constitution. Baghdad has asked Erbil to meet several pre-conditions, however, including handing over international borders and oil exports. X(

PM Barzani said the KRG is not ready to meet Iraq’s demands before negotiation begins.

"The current situation as we see it, whereby [the Iraqi government] says 'hand over the borders, hand over the oil, and do this and that, and then we will start negotiation,' does not make sense,” said Barzani. “We should first talk. And then we have a constitution that should judge between us and them, to decide what are our duties, rights, and demands, and what their rights and duties are."

He added that it is not clear what Baghdad means by "handover." If it means changing Kurdish-speaking staff at the borders for Arabic-speaking ones, he said the important question is whether the Iraqi authorities will regard Kurds as citizens or not. He added that they would welcome and "cooperate" if Iraqi officials want to visit the borders to see and assess the situation for themselves.

The current situation, where the two sides are talking to each other through the media, is not helping to improve matters, Barzani said, and it is now up to Baghdad to initiate talks.

KRG state salaries

The government of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said on more than one occasion that it is ready to pay the salaries of state employees in the Kurdistan Region, but only after an audit of the payroll is carried out and oil exports are handed over to Baghdad.

PM Barzani accused the Iraqi government of making statements but not following them up with action, saying this indicates Baghdad does not care about the interests of the Kurdish people.

After the loss of Kirkuk on October 16, the KRG lost about half of its oil exports, its main source of revenue, and this has added to the financial difficulties of his government, Barzani explained. He said that Baghdad is not exporting Kirkuk’s oil and at the same time is preventing the KRG from doing so – creating a situation where both sides lose.

Baghdad could help Erbil pay its salaries by allowing the KRG to export Kirkuk’s oil, he said.

His government is still capable of paying state employees and will do so as long as they are able. "Whenever we come to realize that we are no longer able to pay the salaries, we will declare it to the people on the same day," Barzani said.

The KRG, claiming financial straits, has had to reduce or delay salary payments of its employees for the past couple of years.

KRG working on relations with neighbours

Kurdistan Region’s relations with Iran and Turkey have suffered as a result of the referendum. Both Tehran and Ankara strongly opposed the vote.

PM Barzani said their relations with Iran, an important country for the KRG, have continued to this date and that Erbil wants to have good relations with its eastern neighbour.

As for the Turkey, with whom the KRG has vital security and economic ties including oil exports, PM Barzani said that Salahadin Bahadin, head of an Islamic party, will visit to Turkey to play a role in normalizing relations.

"He has done everything in his power as the Secretary General of the Kurdistan Islamic Union to normalize the current situation. We see his visit to Turkey within this framework. It will definitely be helpful for the situation of the Kurdistan Region," Barzani said.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/271120173

The KIU, a moderate Kurdish party whose origin comes from the global Muslim Brotherhood movement, has friendly ties with Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Parliament and presidential elections

The KRG has begun a series of talks with all parties to consult on several issues, including the now-delayed general election that had been planned for November 1.

Barzani said the KRG will set a date once the inter-party talks are concluded. He did not rule out a meeting between the five major parties.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/271120173
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Nov 27, 2017 5:31 pm

Iraqi president urges Kirkuk council to convene, elect governor

Kirkuk’s Provincial Council will remain in place until the next elections are held, Iraqi President Fuad Masum said during a visit to Kirkuk city on Monday. Security will be the responsibility of police and counter-terrorism forces, he added.

“The Kirkuk Provincial Council will remain as it is until elections are held," Masum said during a joint press conference at the governorate's building with Rakan al-Jabouri, acting Kirkuk governor.

The council "must convene and elect a governor for the province and decide on other questions as well,” he said.

The beleaguered council has not convened since the Kirkuk crisis when Iraqi and Shiite forces took control of the province in mid-October and members of some Kurdish parties fled the city. The first scheduled meeting was postponed last week due to a disagreement over the location.

Kirkuk fell to Baghdad on October 16 after Peshmerga forces pulled out in the face of a major assault.

Kirkuk’s Kurdish governor, Najmaldin Karim, ordered out of his post by a court order in September, was replaced by Arab Rakan al-Jabouri, nominated by the prime minister, when the province came under federal control.

“I hope October 16 will leave no influence on the co-existence between the components of Kirkuk and the province and they all live as brothers," Masum said.

Describing the ethnically diverse province as a "mini picture of Iraq," Masum said, "No group in Kirkuk is above the other or has more right than the other."

Baghdad is [b]NOT ethnically diverse - it is driving out non-Arabs and also closing down churches [/b]

Oil-rich Kirkuk is a flashpoint between Erbil and Baghdad, who both claim proprietorship in the province. It is one of the disputed areas and as such falls under Article 140 of the constitution. Masum confirmed that is still the case and the constitutional provision “will remain as it is until it is implemented.”

Masum last week decided to form a committee to investigate constitutional violations. Explaining the mandate of the committee, Masum told reporters in Sulaimani on Monday that the committee will review all the articles of the constitution as some violations have occurred.

“We, from the presidential office, have formed a committee consisting of major advisors and parties from the state tasked with observing any violations being done to the constitution or the ignoring of any constitutional articles."

Under the constitution, the issue of the disputed areas was to have been resolved through the implementation Article 140 by 2007. That has never occurred.

Security in Kirkuk city is currently the responsibility of police and counter-terror forces, Masum said.

In Tuz Khurmatu, also taken over by Iraqi forces and where the Hashd al-Shaabi now have a significant presence, there have been confirmed reports of looting, arson, killings, and ethnically-motivated attacks.

Responding to recent reports that Iraqi presidential guards, who are Kurds, would be deployed to Tuz Khurmatu, Masum said "due to some circumstances, this question has been delayed."

Masum was on a tour in the Kurdistan Region this weekend, trying to rebuild relations between Erbil and Baghdad.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/271120174
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Nov 27, 2017 7:21 pm

HotspotKurdistan
Written by Klaus Dodds Published in Geopolitical Hotspot

Klaus Dodds turns his attention away from Europe, to a referendum shaking up borders in the Middle East

Everywhere you turn at the moment, somebody in Europe seems to be holding a referendum, threatening to have a one, or coping with the messy aftermath of one. While those of us in Europe have probably had ample opportunities to read and listen to news stories about the Brexit and Catalonia referenda (with the latter being declared illegal by the Constitutional Court of Spain), there are others outside of Europe that deserve our collective attention.

The Kurdish referendum would be a prime candidate. In September 2017, an independence vote for the area of Kurdistan in the northern portion of Iraq revealed that over 92 per cent of voters wanted to declare independence. Some three million people voted. While the referendum was declared to be non-binding, the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) nonetheless used the overwhelming result to posit a vision of an independent Iraqi Kurdistan. The authorities in Baghdad, unsurprisingly, have taken a different view and have been swift to question its legality.

The Kurdish referendum was the culmination of a process that started somewhat earlier. After the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, Kurdish separatists were already mobilising their political energies in favour of separation from a country that was created artificially in the aftermath of the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire. Independent from the UK in 1932, Iraq’s territorial and ethnic composition has been subject to schism in the past. But in the post-Saddam era, there was a 2005 referendum which recorded over 95 per cent support for independence from Iraq and in 2014 plans were again afoot to hold a second referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The 2014 plans were put on hold because of the disintegration of Iraq and the onset of civil war and the onslaught of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. As the authority of Baghdad receded, opportunities existed for the KRG to enhance its autonomy and sense of distinct regional and ethnic identity. The (now ex-)Kurdish president, Masoud Barzani, working with Kurdish political parties such as the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and Kurdistan Democratic Party agreed upon a referendum for September this year. Apart from a general sense of disillusionment with the Iraqi government, the KRG was also angered by Baghdad’s attempts to prevent Kurdish authorities from exporting oil via Turkey.

International support for the September referendum is divided. Turkey and the US were not in favour of it and threatened sanctions fearing that it might add further to the destabilisation of not only Iraq, but also Turkey, Syria, and Iran.

The referendum occurred at a time when Iraq is having to come to terms with a post-Islamic State era – an epoch where a country has to come to terms with months of devastation and wreckage. But to put the blame on ISIS is to miss a wider context. In 1975, the US betrayed Kurdish separatists at a time when Iran was a close ally. In 1991, the US backed away from previous support after fearing a geopolitical vacuum in Iraq. Post-Saddam Iraq is populated with Iranian stakeholders and their interests.

Devastated cities in Iraq will need rebuilding. Thousands of people have been internally displaced and/or driven into exile. The position of ethnic and religious minorities inside and outside of Iraq, including Kurdistan to the north, will be precarious. Non-Kurds have already complained that the KRG is using the legacy of conflict to consolidate its control. Anyone who is not Kurdish is likely to face more, not less surveillance and endure marginalisation and dispossession of property. But the KRG is also bearing the price for outsiders reaffirming the territorial and constitutional integrity of Iraq.

There are parliamentary elections in Iraq in 2018 and Kurdish parties are eager to press their demands (and associated grievances). A large minority, namely Sunni Muslims (who make up about 30 per cent of Iraq’s population), is also resentful of Shia-dominated Iraq (with links to Iran). Suspicions and mistrust linger across the country.

Baghdad is wary of Kurdish separatism, and held military exercises with Iran and Turkey in a deliberate attempt to secure regional support for its territorial integrity. Kurdish airports have also been subject to sudden closure by the central government in a deliberate show of force. Visitors to the northern Kurdish region often have a far easier time entering the country than those travelling to Baghdad because the KRG is keen to showcase its regional autonomy and encourage Kurdish connections with the wider world.

The position of the US and Russia will be interesting to watch. Kurdish political leaders might look to Russia for help after encouraging the latter to invest in a pipeline to the Black Sea region. The plan being to bypass Turkey if Ankara’s support cannot be assured. The United States faces a dilemma – having supported and then betrayed Kurds in the 1970s and 1990s. Does the Trump administration undermine the authority of the central government in Baghdad?

Iraq is likely to move against key Kurdish actors who voted in favour of independence in the September referendum. The US and UK have pledged their support for a federal and democratic Iraq. The question remains whether Kurds will garnish enough international support for an independent homeland.

Klaus Dodds is Professor of Geopolitics at Royal Holloway, University of London and author of Geopolitics: A Very Short Introduction

http://geographical.co.uk/geopolitics/h ... -kurdistan
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