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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/KURDISTAN

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:38 pm

Five civilians killed in two bomb attacks in Kirkuk

Five civilians were wounded in one of two bomb blasts that targeted coffee shops in Kirkuk city on Saturday, security source said.

Unidentified people attacked a coffee shop on al-Quds street in central Kirkuk using two IEDs, which left five civilians wounded, the source told Shafaq News.

A similar attack was launched using three bombs on Tese’in street in Kirkuk, with no casualties reported, the source added.

Violence in the country has surged further with the emergence of Islamic State Sunni extremist militants who proclaimed an “Islamic Caliphate” in Iraq and Syria in 2014.

A total of 117 Iraqi civilians were killed and another 264 injured, excluding police, in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in Iraq in November, according to casualty figures recorded by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

Baghdad was the worst affected Governorate, with 201 civilian casualties (51 killed, 150 injured). Salahuddin Governorate followed, with 24 killed and 60 injured, and Kirkuk had 12 killed and 28 injured.

Iraqi forces, backed by a U.S.-led coalition and paramilitary troops, have been fighting since October 2016 to retake territories Islamic State had occupied.

The war against IS has displaced nearly five million people, with tens of thousands of civilians and militants killed since the launch of the offensives to recapture occupied cities.

https://www.iraqinews.com/iraq-war/five ... ks-kirkuk/
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Jan 01, 2018 1:07 pm

Commission prepared to hold Kurdistan elections in April

The Kurdish election commission is capable of holding general elections in the Kurdistan Region in mid-April, according to Rudaw sources.

Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani is expected to hold a trilateral meeting with the commission and the Kurdish parliament this week to set a date for the parliamentary and presidential elections.

Shwan Shekh Ahmad, a Kurdish MP, told Rudaw that the PM has the power to call for elections, in consultation with the Kurdish parliament.

One of the main demands of Kurdish parties, especially from Kurdistan's largest opposition party of Gorran, is to demand the voter record be audited to ensure a fair and clean election. PM Barzani said in late December that his government is ready to help the election commission with this task, adding that it is the wish of every party including his ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).

Removing names of the dead or duplicates from the records of the commission may take about a month, Rudaw understands.

Shirwan Zirar, spokesperson for the election body, told Rudaw that they will submit an official budget in their upcoming meeting with the parliament and the government officials.

He said they had initially requested 23 billion Iraqi dinars ($19.3 million) when they met with the KRG last week, but that figure may change once the commission meets to calculate the spending associated with the process.

Jutiyar Adil, a member of the commission, told Rudaw in August last year that the KRG had dedicated $31.8 million for the general elections in order to prepare for the now-delayed November 1 elections.

On December 12, PM Barzani asked the Kurdish parliament to set a date for parliamentary and presidential elections within three months.

Iraqi parliamentary and provincial elections are scheduled to take place on May 12. The Iraqi parliamentary election will also include the Kurdistan Region, but will be organized by the Iraqi election commission.

The Kurdish parliament in late October decided to postpone the election that was initially scheduled for November 1, mainly because of the Iraqi military's incursion into disputed or Kurdistani areas claimed by both Erbil and Baghdad, such as oil-rich Kirkuk that fell to the Iraqi forces on October 16.

Also in late October, the parliament extended its current term for eight months.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/010120181
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Jan 03, 2018 7:36 pm

Tribal fighter killed, two police personnel wounded in clashes with ISIS in Kirkuk

Kirkuk (IraqiNews.com) A tribal fighter was killed, while two police personnel were wounded in confrontations with Islamic State members, northwest of Kirkuk, according to a security source and eyewitnesses.

“Armed confrontations occurred in the evening between the Tribal Mobilization Forces and ISIS members in Dibs town, northwest Kirkuk,” the source told Baghdad Today. “One of the personnel was killed.

Moreover, eyewitnesses told Shafaq News that Federal Police personnel carried out a campaign in the vicinity of Ghurra village in Dibs town.

While inspecting the region, according to the witnesses, the personnel were trapped by IS members in an ambush. Two of the personnel were wounded.

According to the monthly release by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), a total of 69 civilians, excluding police personnel, were killed, while 142 others were wounded in December due to acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict across the country.

The worst affected province was Baghdad with 122 civilian casualties (24 killed, 98 injured). Salahuddin ranked the second place, with 7 killed and 25 injured, then Kirkuk came third with 15 killed and 6 injured.

The figures saw a significant decline from November’s which reached a total of 117 Iraqi civilians killed and another 264 injured.

Violence in the country has surged further with the emergence of Islamic State extremist militants who proclaimed an “Islamic Caliphate” in Iraq and Syria in 2014.

Last month, Abadi announced full liberation of Iraqi lands, declaring end of war against ISIS members.

https://www.iraqinews.com/iraq-war/trib ... es-kirkuk/
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Jan 03, 2018 7:46 pm

Iraqi parliament will consider Kurdish demands

The Iraqi parliament will consider the demands of Kurdish lawmakers, saying that the budget is a national issue that must be resolved through consensus, the parliament speaker said, striking a markedly different tone to that of the prime minister.

Kurdish and Sunni MPs boycotted the parliamentary session on Wednesday that was due to discuss the controversial budget and elections. Kurdish lawmakers released a number of demands they want to see addressed in the budget, including bringing the KRG’s share back up to 17 percent.

“The reservations are essential and important, and they have been sent to the Council of Ministers,” Salim al-Jabouri, speaker of the Iraqi parliament, said in a press conference on Wednesday.

The parliament did not meet quorum because of the boycott and the day’s session was postponed.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi took a hardline stance on the budget, saying on Tuesday that he will not allow parliament to increase the KRG’s share to be increased to 17 percent, up from the 12.6 percent provided in the draft budget bill. X(

Jabouri, however, said the budget must be reached by agreement. “This is not an issue of institutions, but rather a national issue. It requires agreement,” he said.

The Sunni and Kurdish MPs said they would attend parliament on Thursday on the condition that the topics of the budget and elections are not touched upon.

When asked whether the parliament was hampering the job of the executive branch on purpose, Jabouri said this was not the case and that the observations by the Kurdish MPs have to be taken into consideration.

The heads of the factions have agreed to discuss the issues with Abadi himself and the Council of Ministers, Jabouri said.

The Kurdish and Sunni MPs also raised objections about the process of provincial elections in the disputed province of Kirkuk.

Sunnis are concerned about elections taking place despite large numbers of civilians still displaced. They want to see elections delayed until the situation is normalized in areas affected by war, the majority of which are Sunni.

The Kurdish MPs have raised concerns about power-sharing in the disputed province where provincial elections have not been held for over a decade.

“There is no intention to delay the elections, but some preconditions and necessary steps have to be taken for it to take place on time,” said Jabouri.

The Independent High Electoral Commission is invited to the parliament for Thursday’s meeting to take part in discussions about when elections can take place and what conditions need to be met.

The office of Abadi has previously announced that parliamentary elections will be on May 12, 2018.

Jabouri said the parliament will also discuss Kurdistan’s independence referendum.

"We have received a document concerning the annulment of the referendum. If all the parties agree to declare that the referendum is invalid, the situation will be normalized again," he said.

He added that he believes Abadi’s figures with respect to the KRG’s revenues may be right. Abadi said on Tuesday that the KRG earns more than enough to pay its employees.

The KRG has disputed Abadi’s numbers, and promised to release official figures, including an audit on the oil and gas sector by Deloitte. The regional government maintains its income has been slashed by about half since losing Kirkuk’s oil fields to Iraq.

A delegation from KRG is set to meet with Iraqi officials in Baghdad on Thursday. Jabouri said these meetings at the technical level are a good first step.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/030120181
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:13 pm

Flight ban crippling Kurdistan’s economy, humanitarian aid, health

Baghdad’s international flight ban on the Kurdistan Region has had a crippling effect on the Region’s economy, health of the residents, and deliverance of humanitarian aid, the KRG stated in a new report.

“The ban has directly affected the citizens, but not the leadership as repeatedly claimed by the imposing authorities,” stated the KRG’s Ministry of Interior’s office responsible for humanitarian aid – the Joint Crisis Coordination Centre (JCC).

In September, 219 tons of humanitarian aid – health and non-food items – were brought into the Region through Erbil and Sulaimani airports.

After the flight ban came into effect on September 29, that number dropped dramatically. In October, a mere 2 tons of aid was brought in through the airports and none at all in November and December, the JCC stated.

When introducing the flight ban, Baghdad insisted that humanitarian aid would not be affected. The Kurdistan Region is hosting over 273,000 refugees, mainly from Syria, and 1.19 million displaced Iraqis.

According to the JCC, most NGOs are unable to pay for private cargo flights. As a result, smaller amounts of aid are being brought in through “routes which are unsafe.”

Extra transportation and operational costs means smaller portions of resources are reaching the people in need of aid.

“UN agencies and humanitarian organizations have expressed mounting concerns over the impact of the ban on movement of humanitarian staff and supplies,” JCC reported.

Many of the foreign staff of NGOs who left the Kurdistan Region had to pay fines in Baghdad and cannot return because of “lengthy delays in issuance of visas or intentional refusal by the Iraqi embassies abroad to issue visas.”

Bringing general cargo into the Region has also become difficult under the flight ban, leading to rising prices of market goods.

Cargo arriving at Erbil airport dropped from 2,500 tons to just 10 after the flight ban, and in Sulaimani it has dropped to almost zero, down from 550 tons, according to JCC.

“Roads and transportation infrastructure in the region are damaged and insufficient to satisfy the region’s trade and commercial activities. The cargo embargo has therefore far-reaching consequences on the economy of the region,” the report stated.

The JCC also reported the deaths of 15 thalassemia patients due to lack of medicine or needed medical care.

Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder. According to JCC, of 3,600 thalassemia patients in the Region, only 211 have been able to travel abroad for necessary treatment since the flight ban. Their health is put at further risk because Baghdad has failed to send the Region the medicines needed to treat the disease.

Peshmerga injured in the war against ISIS have also been unable to travel abroad for health care. The JCC documented 1,320 individual Peshmerga who are suffering medically under the flight ban.

The Kurdistan Region, which had marketed itself as a safe tourist destination under the slogan ‘The other Iraq,’ has seen its tourism sector hobbled by the flight ban.

The number of tourists arriving in the Region dropped by 72 percent in October 2017 over the year before, and some 12,000 jobs in the travel industry have been lost.

While domestic flights are still operating, many people do not want to travel through Baghdad. The JCC noted reports of violations against travelers at Baghdad airport. Many Kurds are afraid to take that route, “some are banned from doing so and others fear for their safety and dignity,” JCC stated.

As a result, those who need to travel are departing the Region overland to Turkey and from there taking international flights. The increased time and money, however, has made it difficult for many to travel.

JCC notes that Iraqi Airways continues to operate, confirming that the Erbil and Sulaimani airports are safe and fully functional. This means that the purpose of the ban “is to collapse the stability and to harm the economy of the region by isolating it from the rest of the world,” the KRG office stated, stressing that the ban is a violation of the constitution.

In late December, the flight ban, first imposed as one of several punitive measures Baghdad took in response to Kurdistan’s vote for independence, was extended for another two months until February 28, 2018. An Iraqi official, however, has said that the ban has no expiry date and will remain in place until Baghdad chooses to lift it.

Iraq’s Interior Minister Qasim al-Araji, in a meeting with a Kurdistan Region delegation on December 25, said he would support Kurdistan’s call for the flight ban to be lifted and would raise the matter at the Council of Ministers.

Baghdad insists that it must have federal control over the Kurdistan Region’s international border points, including the airports. The KRG leadership, while condemning the flight ban, has stated they are prepared to discuss the matter and resolve it as per Iraq’s constitution along with other issues existing between the two governments.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/030120182
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:15 pm

Erbil gives updated education, health employee lists to Baghdad

A delegation from the KRG’s education and health ministries handed over their employee list to Iraqi officials to be audited, the first step in the process of the central government paying KRG civil servant salaries.

A technical team from the two ministries is in Baghdad to meet with Iraqi officials, and the Iraqi team will visit the Kurdistan Region in the future after they select representatives to conduct the audit, the Kurdish delegation said in a statement.

The Iraqi government has formed a committee of seven to audit the KRG’s health and education employee lists. Two members of the committee are from the KRG.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said on multiple occasions that his government is committed to paying salaries of state employees after an audit is conducted by the federal government.

He doubts the accuracy of the KRG's payroll list, saying it contains many people who receive more than one salary, so-called ghost employees, people who receive money but do not work.

The Iraqi team includes representatives from Baghdad’s education, health, and planning ministries as well as auditing authorities, the Kurdish delegation stated.

The payroll lists presented by the two KRG ministries is based on updated information collected under the biometric system, a digital record introduced by Erbil as part of reforms announced to cancel double salaries and ghost employees.

The list handed over to the Iraqi government is based on the full salaries of the employees, the delegation said, unlike a similar list that details the partial salaries the KRG has paid its employees since 2016 due to the ongoing financial crisis.

The health and education ministries have the most number of people on their payroll, after the Peshmerga ministry.

Reduced or late payments of state salaries was the main cause of a week of anti-government protests that took place in some Kurdish cities in December. Three people were killed in the protests.

The KRG maintains that they have to carry out radical reform of their salary system and the pension fund in order to afford to pay salaries on time in 2018 if Erbil and Baghdad fail to reach an agreement on the budget dispute and other outstanding issues.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/040120185
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:18 pm

Aid distribution for displaced from Tuz Khurmatu, Kirkuk in Erbil

Italy has donated funds to purchase winter essentials for families displaced from Tuz Khurmatu and now sheltering in Erbil. :ymapplause:

The Italian Consulate provided $31,000, said Sirwa Rasool, acting director of the Joint Crisis Centre (JCC) of the KRG’s Interior Ministry.

Rasool said they were hoping to receive more aid in the future, especially for medical supplies.

Ismail Abdul Azia, a worker for the Barzani Charity Foundation helping to distribute the aid, explained to Rudaw English that they were giving cookers, heaters, winter jackets, and carpets for 100 families.

“Part of our plan here today is to monitor the distribution of the aid as well as speak to families and find out on what the basis the first 100 were chosen to receive aid,” said Mustafa Ma’ad, head of GIS Systems for the JCC.

This aid was the first assistance the 100 families had received since fleeing their homes in mid-October, Ma’ad added.

There are approximately 86,000 individuals displaced from Tuz Khurmatu and Kirkuk, according to JCC figures.

They fled the disputed areas when Iraqi forces and Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi militias took over the area. The United Nations has confirmed widespread destruction in primarily Kurdish areas of Tuz Khurmatu along with reports of violence and intimidation directed at the Kurdish population.

Italy is among the many international voices who have urged Erbil and Baghdad to hold talks to solve problems, including resolving the disputed areas.

"We encourage all the political parties to hold talks and assist each other," Italian Prime Minister wrote in a letter to KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani.

Italy also provided humanitarian aid, mainly first aid kits and emergency relief supplies, after the November earthquake. Three planeloads of aid were delivered through Sulaimani airport.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/040120182
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Jan 05, 2018 5:58 pm

To end conflict in Iraq, Kurds, Shias and Sunnis
need to recognize common ties and reorganize

By Falah Mustafa Bakir foreign minister of KRG

We in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, after the 2003 war that the United States called Operation Iraqi Freedom, opted for a genuine partnership within the new Iraq, believing that it would be federal and democratic; a federal government based on consensus, wealth and power-sharing.

With many promises made by the international community before and after 2003, the system that was “planned” for Iraq clearly failed as a whole. We were assured that replacing platonic, non-functioning plans with a well-structured system of confederation for Iraq and Kurdistan could save us all.

Rewinding back to 1991, followed by years of bloodshed in the Kurdish parts of Iraq, it was only through the efforts of the international community that the people of Kurdistan established a government and system of their own after the uprising against the former dictator. Against all the odds, this marked a new era for the nascent Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in the eyes of the international community.

Although we went through tough times in the early days of the establishment of our pluralistic government, we developed our own system, a market economy, and worked to nurture our democracy. We built bridges with the rest of the world. Unfortunately, because of the sectarian politics of the government at the center, among other reasons, our efforts were never reflected in the rest of Iraq, and our success shined too brightly in their eyes.

The failure pile-ups of the relationship between the KRG and Baghdad naturally led to the Kurdistan Region seeking an alternative path. However, we were denied the right to determine our fate.

The people of Kurdistan hold their own culture and identity, content with values of pluralism, democracy and peaceful coexistence, and denial of this will only lead to unwanted outcomes. If we are expected to stay as part of Iraq, the status quo needs to shift. This limbo of not being allowed independence — and yet not being granted the legitimate rights to which we are entitled as Iraqis — is not sustainable.

The question here is, what is the future of Kurdistan if we are denied our rights to be separate and yet we are not presented with an alternative for peaceful coexistence in Iraq? Is this realpolitik, double standard politics or hypocrisy?

The issues don’t end here. The political vacuum and unhealthy competition among different interest groups have resulted in dire consequences of instability and the emergence of terror. The U.S. Federal Government and the international community need to address the current situation on a more serious level in order to prevent further chaos.

Baghdad is responsible for the lack of resources and revenue in our region, which is causing great disappointment among the people of Kurdistan. They are not receiving their fair share of bread and water for sustain life. Economic sanctions, bans on international flights, and attempts to isolate the Kurdistan Region of Iraq from the outside world are causing even more harm to the economy of the region.

The damage affects not only the Kurdistan Region locals but also the nearly 1.5 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees hosted in the safe haven of Kurdistan. There are no grounds for power and wealth-sharing in Iraq.

In addition, media headlines glorifying Iraq these days neither positively serve the status quo nor properly portray the reality of the deep-rooted conflicts plaguing the country as a whole. Pretending otherwise is to allow bigger problems to ferment for the future.

The international community is responsible for supporting Iraq as a whole and not Baghdad alone, at the expense of Kurdistan. A strong, stable and thriving Kurdistan Region will positively contribute to a strong, peaceful Iraq that can be the beacon for co-existence in a part of the world where this is a rarity.

Kurds, Shias and Sunnis in Iraq need structural reorganization of the relations that bind them together. The current state of relations causes increased tensions between the groups. A modus operandi, in form of a confederation, is the most convenient escape for the different groups in aiming to resolve the pressing issues of today.

The only way for Iraq to bring about internal stability is to reorganize itself based on healthy dialogue with entities within the country. Otherwise, in its current state, the country will remain unstable and on the edge of turmoil, which is not in anyone's interest.

http://thehill.com/opinion/internationa ... ize-common
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Jan 05, 2018 6:50 pm

Army kills, captures Daesh militants in Iraq’s Kirkuk
By Hussein al-Amir

BAGHDAD

More than 40 Daesh militants were killed Friday -- and almost a dozen others captured -- in a wide-ranging security sweep in Iraq’s northern Kirkuk province, according to local security sources.

Iraqi joint forces began the operation on Thursday after the terrorist group reportedly carried out several attacks on security personnel in southwestern Kirkuk.

“Joint security forces -- including elements from the army, police and the Hashd al-Shaabi -- killed 44 Daesh militants in Kirkuk’s Al-Riyadh, Al-Hawija and Al-Abbasi areas,” Police Captain Hamed al-Obeidi told Anadolu Agency.

Eleven others, al-Obeidi said, had been captured by Iraqi forces.

“The militants were hiding out in different areas of southwestern Kirkuk," he added, going on to note that the mopping-up operation was still underway.

Last October, Iraqi forces captured Kirkuk’s Hawija district (roughly 45 kilometers west of Kirkuk city), which had been considered one of the terrorist group’s last strongholds in northern Iraq.

In recent months, Daesh has suffered a string of major defeats in both Iraq and Syria after overrunning vast swathes of territory in both countries in mid-2014.

http://aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/army-ki ... uk/1023400
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:58 am

Shiite leader promises to withdraw Hashd forces from Tuz Khurmatu

An influential Shiite leader has promised to withdraw Hashd al-Shaabi forces from Tuz Khurmatu and allow the return of Kurds within the matter of a week.

A delegation of Kurds from Tuz Khurmatu accompanied by Aram Sheikh Mohammed, deputy speaker of the Iraqi parliament, met with Hadi al-Amiri, leader of the Shiite Badr Organization on Friday.

Mohammed said Amiri asked the Kurdish delegation to hold on for a few days as an operation against a group of ISIS militants is underway in the area.

He promised that Iraqi government forces would take over Tuz Khurmatu once the operations are concluded.

“It is believed that he is going to respond in a week,” Mohammed said of Amiri.

Thousands of Kurds are still unable to return to their homes in Tuz Khurmatu.

“We are in touch with the Iraqi government, Hashd al-Shaabi and Salahadin governor to improve the situation,” Mohammed told Rudaw.

Some personalities from Tuz Khurmatu have begun visiting Iraqi authorities in Karbala and Baghdad, he added, and “today we met with Amiri conveying the call of the people of Tuz Khurmatu for their return because the city has recently seen a degree of calm.”

He named the Badr Organization, Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, and the Hezbollah Regiment, three Shiite militias present in Tuz Khurmatu.

Mullah Hawar Hamawandi, a member of the Kurdish delegation, told Rudaw that Iraq’s Shiite Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani and Ammar al-Hakim, head of the ruling Shiite National Alliance, promised to send teams to Tuz Khurmatu to investigate reports of violence and find a mechanism to resolve the situation.

Tens of thousands of Kurdish people were displaced as a result of the violence in the multi-ethnic town, mainly because of abuses committed by the Shiite paramilitias, such as looting, arson, and bombing houses of Kurdish residents, as reported by various rights organizations including Amnesty International, the United Nations, as well as Iraqi and Kurdish officials.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/050120185
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:29 pm

KDP to discuss joint list for Iraqi elections, timing for Kurdistan's with PUK

Setting a date for the looming elections in the Kurdistan Region and forming an alliance for the Iraqi elections will be on top of the agenda of a visiting Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) to Sulaimani, said an official

A high-level KDP delegation is set to visit Sulaimani to welcome back Kosrat Rasul, acting Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) leader who returned on Saturday after being hospitalized for two months in Germany.

“The visit by the KDP politburo to the PUK is made for several reasons: welcoming Mr Kosrat back and some other important matters,” Dler Mawati, head of the PUK bloc in Kurdistan parliament told Rudaw.

He went on to add that “determining the timing of elections in Kurdistan and the question of forming an alliance for Iraqi elections will be the two most important questions of the meeting."

Rasul landed in the International Airport of Sulaimani late Saturday, two months after he was flown to Germany to seek medical treatment. He fell ill in early November in Sulaimani a day after attending Jalal Talabani’s memorial service. He underwent an emergency surgery in Sulaimani on November 11 for a stoppage of blood flow to his small intestine and a second surgery on December 15, a month after he was flown to Berlin for further treatment.

Iraq’s general elections are set to be held on May 12, 2018.

The PUK and KDP have in the past experienced running for elections in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq on joint lists.

Concerning the position of the parliament speaker which is left vacant after former speaker Yousif Mohammed from the Change Movement resigned on December 26, Mawati said the issue will not be discussed in the meeting.

“Filling this position requires dialogue with other parties too, which is why this issue will not be decided in this meeting.”

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/07012018
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:30 pm

Kirkuk’s Kurdish parties ponder forming joint list for Iraqi elections

Kurdish political parties, except for the KDP, met in Kirkuk on Sunday in order to discuss the creation of a joint single list for the parties to run for the May 2018 general elections in Iraq.

“In today’s meeting of the Kurdistani parties, forming a joint list of the Kurdistani parties to run for the parliament and provincial elections in Kirkuk will be discussed. We are seeking to create the list,” Jamal Shakur, a Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) official in Kirkuk, told Rudaw.

The list will be open and thus “our Arab and Turkmen brothers could join it,” he added.

Concerning the Kurdistan Democratic Party’s refusal to participate in the meeting, Shakur said the KDP had liked the project and did not reject it.

“It is true that a KDP representative did not participate in the meeting, but they preferred the idea and did not reject it. We wish we could make the project happen as it is important for Kirkuk at this time,” he explained.

Mohammed Khurshid, the head of the KDP branch in Kirkuk, said they were not ready to hold meetings in an “invaded” city.

“In our opinion, Kirkuk is occupied and sold out. Therefore, we are not participating in meetings in an invaded city,” he said.

However, Khurshid echoed the need for forming a joint list for the Kurdish parties in Kirkuk to run for the elections.

“We deem a single list and unanimity of Kurds in Kirkuk or anywhere else as good,” he voiced. “The creation of this joint list in Kirkuk is contingent upon the outcome of today’s meeting between the KDP and PUK in Sulaimani.”

In Sulaimani, KDP and PUK leaders met, saying the Kurdistan Region is in a “new phase,” while prioritizing the resolution of crises facing the Region.

“Both sides agreed that what could lead us to success is that we, as all the Kurdistani parties, be united including all the other components and together pass the current hard phase engulfing the Kurdistan Region,” said KDP deputy head Nechirvan Barzani, who is also KRG prime minister.

Iraqi provincial and parliamentary elections are scheduled for May. The KRG is yet to set a date for theirs.

Kirkuk, unlike the rest of Iraq, has held only one provincial election in 2005 since the US-led invasion about 14 years ago. The election law therefore that regulates the work of the rest of the Iraqi provinces does not apply to Kirkuk.


In the 2014 parliamentary elections, the KDP and the PUK were the two major parties in Kirkuk. But despite running on a joint list in most previous Iraqi elections, they decided to run separately in the April 30 polls due to political disagreements.

As of November 2017, the offices of most of the Kurdish, Arab and Turkmen parties in Kirkuk were open, but the provincial headquarters of the KDP was under the control of Iraq’s Counter-Terrorism Service (ICTS).

Despite Kirkuk’s large Kurdish population the province’s Arab and Turkmen candidates present a formidable force.

Oil-rich and diverse Kirkuk city historically has been a PUK stronghold.

Iraq's army abandoned the city in June 2014 ahead of an ISIS offensive. It was controlled by Kurdish Peshmerga.

Rakan Saeed al-Jabouri, a Sunni Arab was appointed to the post by the prime minister temporarily after the Iraqi parliament voted to remove Najmaldin Karim as governor. Karim is a member of the PUK. The position of Kirkuk governor was given to the PUK as part of the party’s election entitlement.

Kirkuk participated in Kurdistan Region’s 2017 independence referendum. On October 16, Iraqi forces supported by Iran-backed Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitias began an operation to control of Kirkuk and its oil fields. The province remains Kurdistani or disputed and is claimed by both Baghdad and Erbil, until Article 140 is implemented.

The KRG’s interior ministry stated more than 168,000 civilians were displaced from Kirkuk, Khanaqin, Khurmatu, Zummar, and Rabea to the Kurdistan Region, a week after the incursions. Some have reportedly returned home, while others have said their homes were destroyed by the Iran-backed Hashd and no longer feel safe to go back.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/070120183
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:34 pm

PUK, KDP push for a united Kurdish list in Iraqi elections

Top leaders from the KDP visited PUK headquarters on Sunday, where they agreed the Kurdistan Region is in a "new phase" and "unity" has to be the priority of both parties amid economic crises and upcoming Iraqi elections.

Following a meeting, KDP Deputy Head Nechirvan Barzani and Mala Bakhtiyar, a senior PUK leader, each spoke with the media in Sulaimani.

"The meeting was very important given the current phase in Kurdistan and the negotiations in which we hope start with Baghdad. We exchanged views. And we reached an agreement to continue such meetings in the future," said Barzani.

Barzani, who is also KRG prime minister, called on Kurdish parties to participate in Iraqi elections as a united coalition.

"Both sides agreed that what could lead us to success is that we, as all the Kurdistani parties, be united including all the other components and together pass the current hard phase engulfing the Kurdistan Region," he added.

Iraq has parliamentary and provincial elections scheduled for May 12. Official high-level talks between the federal and regional governments have not taken place following tensions created by Baghdad taking control of most of the disputed or Kurdistani areas like Kirkuk claimed by both capitals.

Both leaders stated that they were not aware of a visit by a delegation of Kurdish opposition parties to Baghdad earlier this week where they met with Iraqi officials including PM Haider al-Abadi.

"We were not aware of the visit to Baghdad," said Barzani. "We thought it would be better if all the other parties had gone with them to Baghdad, even if it was [not meant to be on a government level] … in order to defend the Kurdistan Region with one voice.

"It would be much, much better than three parties going to Baghdad alone," he said.

Barzani reiterated KRG's willingness to enter into talks with Baghdad within the framework of the Iraqi constitution to solve outstanding issues.

The Change Movement (Gorran), the Islamic Group (Komal), and the Coalition for Democracy and Justice (CDJ) of the former KRG PM Barham Salih, defended their visit to Baghdad with Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi independent of the KRG, citing a lack of PUK and KDP interest to form an interim government.

"Our government has obtained its legitimacy from the parliament and the vote of the people," said Barzani while standing next to Bakhtiyar.

The PUK and KDP have a combined 56 of 111 seats in the Kurdish parliament following the 2013 elections.

PM Barzani, however, welcomed any "positives" that may come out as the result of the opposition delegation that visited Baghdad including with regards to their budgetary disputes.

Barzani described PUK-KDP relations as “historical” and “important” and that it “has to be deepened and sustained.” The late PUK founder Jalal Talabani, like many other of his followers, were originally KDP members and instrumental in creating the foundation for the modern Kurdistan Region. The two parties share alliance pact since 2007, called the Strategic Agreement. It paved the way for a power-sharing system between the two parties ever since.

The only condition which "makes us succeed at this period of time is unity," urged Barzani about the bond between the PUK and KDP, as well as other Kurdish parties.

Bakhtiyar, from the PUK, described the recent time as a “new phase” and urged the resolution of the economic crisis to be the priority of both parties.

"We opened a new door in order for talks to continue so as to know where we head and reach and how we could altogether resolve the economic crisis," he said.

Bakhtiyar said the three opposition parties to visit Baghdad "did not discuss the details of their visit with any party yet."

"[N]egotiations must be only through the KRG," he said. "American, British, the EU, and the UN have emphasized that the KRG carries the responsibility of the negotiation within a united Iraq per the constitution"

Echoing Barzani's stance, Bakhtiyar said, the KDP-PUK strategic agreement “fulfilled its historical duties” and no conspiracies could stand against it.

While no formal agreement was announced between the ruling KDP and PUK, Bakhtiyar revealed both are currently pondering “new relations."

Barzani answered a question about Iran claiming that Erbil somehow had interfered in Iranian affairs by colluding with the US Central Intelligence Agency to incite anti-government and regime protests in Iran which began on December 28.

The Kurdish premier emphasized the importance of the stability of Iran for the Kurdistan Region, denying Iranian claims.

“It is more like a comedy than reality, even the way it was said. We, in the Kurdistan Region, do not have a hand in these problems with Iran. Iran is an important neighbor," he said.

Also on Sunday, Kurdish parties, less the KDP, met to discuss forming a joint list of the Kurdish parties to run for the parliament and provincial elections in Kirkuk. Bakhtiyar said that party officials from the PUK and KDP in Kirkuk have been asked to reach an agreement in this regards within the next few days.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/070120181
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:46 pm

Three months after Baghdad took control, tensions high in Kirkuk

In a Jan. 4 meeting with a delegation representing Kurdistan’s opposition parties, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said that an agreement has been reached to calm the situation in Kirkuk province and in the district of Tuz Khormato.

The retaking of Kirkuk by the Iraqi army in October has changed the balance of power in the oil-rich town that had been under full control of the Kurds since 2014. The operation was part of Baghdad’s retaliatory measures after the Kurds held an independence referendum that has since been declared illegal.

In Kirkuk, some signs of the three years of Kurdish control have already been erased. Some pictures of Kurds who fell in the battle against the Islamic State (IS) have been replaced by images of other Iraqis who were killed, and the 20-meter-tall (65-foot) statue of a Kurdish peshmerga fighter on the motorway into the city now has an Iraqi flag.

In his office in the Kirkuk provincial council’s compound in downtown Kirkuk, with the bodyguards of Turkmen and Arab colleagues hanging around in the corridor, independent Kurdish council member Awad Amin said, “All the balances have changed. Some feel that now is the time to readjust all the wrong decisions made by the Kurds.”

Kirkuk is a mixed city shared by Kurds, Arabs, Turkmens and Christians. Politically, the Kurds were a majority and held the governor’s post, but the deadlock over new elections, power sharing and the status of the disputed city has remained impossible to break. Since the Iraqi takeover, the departures of the governor and a number of Kurdish politicians have changed the political balance of power.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein confiscated hundreds of acres of agricultural land from the Kurds and gave the land to Arabs in order to Arabize the area. Some of the Arabs were expelled from the city while the Kurds controlled it.

The new Iraqi Constitution introduced after Saddam’s removal in 2003 includes clauses related to settling the fate of the city and its residents. But the process has been difficult and slow.

“Only a few of the 6,000 cases have ever been resolved,” Amin said. “Now we see Arabs coming back. The Kurds feel hopeless.”

Most recently, the Iraqi police were involved in threatening Kurds in the village of Palkana in Kirkuk province. They reportedly ordered them to leave their homes within 72 hours, as members of an Arab tribe were waiting to take them over. After urgent complaints, the authorities in Baghdad prevented this from happening.

The Kurds lost their own security forces when the Iraqi army took over Oct. 16.

According to Rawla Hamid al-Obeidi, a member of the Arab Committee on the provincial council, the Kurdish forces cannot return. “They caused many problems here. They were tied to the Kurdish parties and working to further their interests. We are against those kinds of forces.”

Obeidi said that since the situation is now stable and safe, all Kurds are welcome to return. It is just a rumor that those who voted in favor of Kurdish independence are not welcome, she said. Still, the fact that the Kurds imposed both their referendum and the Kurdish flag on the people of Kirkuk is “a big problem for us. The Kurdish flag should only fly in those places where the Kurds rule.”

The Kurds saw the flying of their flag to be within their rights, as they had taken control of the city after chasing IS away. But Obeidi brands it as “imposing their vision on the city. They used their domination to push things through, which is bullying. We are supposed to pass laws by agreement.”

While the Kurds complain about Arabization, the Arabs accuse the Kurds of Kurdification. Now that Kurdish rule has ended, Obeidi is working on taking the peshmerga to court over the destruction of Arab villages in the battle against IS. Human rights organizations have confirmed that dozens of villages in Kirkuk province were razed and flattened and its inhabitants expelled. While the peshmerga branded them IS villages, the operation was seen as a move by the Kurds to take over disputed areas.

Some 82 villages were destroyed, said Obeidi, and over 22,000 people were displaced and made homeless. “The peshmerga trespassed on the rights of the Arab people living there,” she added. Obeidi wants to bring the matter to the international courts so those responsible will be punished, and she mounted a campaign to help the villagers go back home.

Both Arab and Turkmen members of the provincial council say the situation is better than before, but that opinion is not shared outside the council compound. “You do not know whom to trust,” said freelance Turkmen journalist Omar Hilali. “Before, people feared the Kurds. Now anyone can pick you up.”

Hilali was himself picked up and forced by Iraqi security forces to sign a document stating that he had no links to the Kurdish media. “But many of my friends are Kurdish journalists. Now I dare not even pick up the phone when they call me.” The same thing has happened to nongovernmental organization workers, he said.

The first weeks after the takeover saw many revenge attacks. Following the looting and destruction of thousands of Kurdish homes after their owners fled the nearby Turkmen-Kurdish town of Tuz Khormato, a Kurdish resistance group was formed to fight the Shiite militias controlling the area.

Hilali fears for the fragile relations between the different groups in Kirkuk. “Before, we thought the ties between the different components were strong. Now we know they could break under the slightest pressure.”

Amin agrees that the problems between the groups have been aggravated. “The different groups are moving further and further apart.”

“Normalization can only happen after Erbil and Baghdad have entered into direct negotiations. Our problems can only be solved at the highest level,” Amin said.

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/origin ... rmatu.html
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK/KURDISTAN

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:16 pm

Tuz Khurmatu council ousts Kurdish mayor despite missing members

Tuz Khurmatu Mayor Shalal Abdul was ousted from office by a council vote in the absence of seven Kurdish and two Arab members of the district council on Wednesday. The mayor says he will appeal the decision in courts and calls it illegal, claiming the Kurdish councilmen were threatened not to attend.

“I will appeal the decision in the Saladin provincial council and the administrative court of Baghdad,” Abdul told Rudaw.

The district’s council removed Abdul from office despite the absence of the council’s Kurdish members.

“I am sure the decision will be revoked when I appeal it in the provincial council and in the court,” the Kurdish mayor said.

The council has 21 members. The city and district’s three ethnicities each have seven members. Just 12 members — 7 Turkmen and 5 Arabs — were present. Seven Kurdish members and two Arab members were not present.

He claimed that some council members were forced with the threat of weapons to attend the council meeting to obtain a legal quorum, thus making the vote null and void.

The multi-ethnic town of Khurmatu is in Saladin province and is about 155 kilometers south of the Kurdistan Region’s capital city of Erbil. Tuz is a disputed or Kurdistani area claimed by both Erbil and Baghdad.

The Iraqi parliament voted to establish a multi-ethnic committee to investigate events that took place in Tuz Khurmatu after the city came under the control of Iraqi forced and by Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitary forces (PMF) in October 2017.

A Rudaw field investigation on November 26 found that thousands of houses in Kurdish neighborhoods had been looted, burned and bombed, or appear to have been appropriated by the Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi.

Thousands of Kurds from Tuz Khurmatu are sheltering in the Kurdistan Region, still unable to return to their homes.

The Kurdish parliament has dubbed the events “genocide.” Amnesty International has also confirmed that there was looting and violence committed against the Kurdish population.

PM Nechirvan Barzani and other Kurdish officials have called for the situation of Khurmatu to be normalized.

A delegation of Kurds from Tuz Khurmatu accompanied by Aram Sheikh Mohammed, deputy speaker of the Iraqi parliament, met with Hadi al-Amiri, leader of the Shiite Badr Organization on Friday.

The Kurdish delegation was promised by Amiri to withdraw Hashd forces and allow the return of Kurds within a week.

Mohammed said Amiri asked the Kurdish delegation to hold on for a few days as an operation against a group of ISIS militants is underway in the area.

The security situation in the Tuz Khurmatu area remains volatile, as was evident when the city again came under mortar fire by unknown forces on Monday.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/100120181

Just shows Kurds cannot turn their back on Arabs or Turkmen because these people are vile backstabber X(
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