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LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

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

Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Nov 05, 2017 1:07 pm

My heartfelt sympathy goes out to this family

It is so shocking there is nothing else to say
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Nov 05, 2017 1:41 pm

Civilian killed, 16 wounded in two suicide attacks in Kirkuk
(Possibly a third bomb but unconfirmed)

Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Two suicide attacks have left a civilian killed and 16 others wounded in Kirkuk, Interior Ministry said.

“Two terrorist attacks carried out by two suicide bombers took place on Atlas street in central Kirkuk,” Brig. Gen. Saad Maan, the ministry’s spokesperson said in a statement on Sunday.

“The two blasts left a civilian killed and 16 others wounded, as preliminary information,” he added.

https://www.iraqinews.com/iraq-war/civi ... -ministry/
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Nov 05, 2017 2:13 pm

How the Kurdish Quest for - Independence in Iraq Backfired

The referendum did NOT backfire

The referendum gave us a way to tell the entire world that we as Kurds want our INDEPENDENCE

We were betrayed by some members of the Talabani clan - I am certain that they were paid much more than 30 pieces of silver


    Iraqi Kurds voted overwhelmingly for independence
    in late September, but in the month since that
    referendum Iraqi government forces have seized
    about one-fifth of Kurdish-controlled territory

That loss of territory has handed the Iraqi Kurdish leadership a humiliating setback in their generations-long push for statehood.

We are NOT humiliated - we are FURIOUS

Kurds in Iraq are mostly concentrated in a semiautonomous region whose legal status has been in limbo despite an Iraqi constitutional directive in 2005 to negotiate the borders.

The boundaries of the Kurdish autonomous region have been long contested, but they are often defined by a cease-fire line unilaterally established by the Iraqi government after it suppressed a Kurdish uprising in 1991.

    Kurds took control of disputed
    territories that are rich in resources

WRONG Kurds had retaken areas that were stolen from them by Saddam Hussein during the Anfal slaughter

The additional territories included oil-rich areas, beyond the boundaries of the area controlled by Kurds when the United States invaded Iraq in 2003. And they included Kirkuk, a historically multiethnic city that is home to about a million people.

YOU like everyone else - have ignored the FACT that by 2003 Saddam had already STOLEN that land from us

But days after September’s referendum, government forces swiftly reclaimed control of Kirkuk, along with its oil fields and nearby towns claimed by the Kurds.

In 2014, as Iraq faced a fight against the Islamic State, the Kurds capitalized on chaos in the region and took control of contested areas that the Kurdish leadership had long claimed as its people’s ancestral lands.

Link to Full Article containing many more lies and properganda

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/201 ... fired.html
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Nov 05, 2017 7:53 pm

Talks hit a snag after Iraqis reject joint force deployment: Peshmerga

Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga ministry has suggested joint deployment of Iraqi and Kurdish forces to the disputed areas and international borders between the Kurdistan Region and its neighbors, but Iraq has so far refused the proposal, Secretary General of the Peshmerga ministry told reporters.

Kurdish and Iraqi military officials have so far met three times to find a solution to tensions between the two sides. The main obstacle to reaching an agreement is that the Iraqi military “want all their demands be implemented, without leaving any space for negotiation,” Jabar Yawar said at a press conference Sunday evening in Erbil.

The US-led anti-ISIS Coalition has been overseeing the talks and acting Peshmerga minister Karim Sinjari will meet with the Coalition on Monday in Erbil, Yawar said.

The Peshmerga have also shared their position and progress on the talks in a Sunday meeting attended by Kurdish political officials, including the head of the Department of Foreign Relations, with foreign missions present in Erbil.

Kurds and Iraqis have each presented the other with their suggestions for how to resolve tensions that escalated in the wake of Kurdistan’s independence referendum and Iraq’s takeover of the disputed areas.

One issue to be resolved is control over Kurdistan Region’s international borders and the disputed territories claimed by both governments. The Peshmerga want to joint deployment of forces to these areas.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said that the international borders must be under the “exclusive” authority of the federal government. The Iraqi parliament on October 31 voted to allow only federal forces to be stationed in disputed areas, including the oil-rich Kirkuk province.

“They have backtracked from a joint mechanism” that had been agreed before the war on ISIS, Yawar said, explaining that Iraqi forces want exclusive control over the borders and disputed areas.

On October 31, Iraq’s Joint Operations Command stated that the army’s chief of staff General Othman al-Ghanim, who is part Iraq’s team negotiating with the Peshmerga, visited Iraqi troops both in Iraq and across the border in Turkey to put the final touches on the deployment of federal forces to all areas that had come under Kurdish control after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Yawar said negotiation is about give and take, but the Iraqis have so far shown that they are not prepared to do that. He added that the Kurdish side has “no red lines” for the talks, provided they are held in light of the Iraqi constitution.

He revealed that the Peshmerga had offered to set in place a joint mechanism with Iraqi forces in the disputed areas before the Kirkuk takeover on October 16, but this was rejected by Baghdad.

Regarding the issue of the border crossings, he said it is up to the ministries of interior, finance, and commerce from the governments of the Kurdistan Region and Iraq to “establish a mechanism to administer the border gates.”

He said the border crossings fall under civilian authority and so military forces should not be needed. However, he added, if Baghdad “insists” on the deployment of forces, the Peshmerga are ready then to allow for a unit from the Iraqi military and the Peshmerga to be jointly deployed.

He said the Iraqi side wants to replace existing border guards with Iraqi ones to control the Kurdistan Region’s frontiers with both Iran and Turkey.

Asked about the demand from Abadi that the Peshmerga should either come under Iraqi command and receive their salaries from the central government or be downsized to a small, local force paid by the Kurdistan Regional Government, Yawar said this question had been settled about a decade ago.

In 2007, there was an agreement between the Iraqi and Kurdish forces signed by their respective defense ministers, Yawar explained. But it was not presented to the Iraqi parliament.

The agreement outlines the mission, types of weapons, and budget of the Peshmerga as part of the Iraqi defense system, as well as the mechanism on how to cooperate with the Iraqi army and security forces. This agreement was sponsored by the US-alliance that invaded Iraq in 2003, Yawar explained.

He said the Iraqi parliament should ratify this agreement, just as it did for the mainly Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi in 2016 when it approved the move in a matter of hours.

Yawar said they believe the current problems between Erbil and Baghdad are “political, not military” and so called for political dialogue to resolve the military tensions.

Saying that the Peshmerga do not want to engage in a fight with the Iraqis, Yawar stressed that “Our only enemy is terrorism.”

Asked about the twin suicide attacks in Kirkuk on Sunday that killed five people, Yawar said extremists will take advantage of the situation as the military standoff continues. This danger, he said, will pose a threat to the Kurdistan Region and the rest of Iraq.

He said the two sides should be focused on the war against ISIS, instead of using their resources against each other.

The Peshmerga lost 60 soldiers and another 150 have been injured in fighting against the Iraqi forces and the Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi since October 16, Yawar stated.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/051120175
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:12 pm

PM Barzani extends olive branch to Baghdad, open talks, no military language

The Kurdish government and political parties are ready to fully engage in negotiations with Baghdad in order to resolve all disputes through understanding and based on the constitution, said Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani at a press conference in Erbil on Monday, adding that the military is not the right approach to solving any issue.

“The KRG is ready for talks that would achieve the best interests of Iraq and Kurdistan Region,” PM Barzani told reporters. “We don't think issues could be resolved militarily. They need serious political talk.”

The Kurdish Prime Minister said: “The last fourteen years have been a good lesson that we can't resolve differences by the mindset of who is strong and who is not.”

He added that Erbil may have a different view of the Iraqi constitution “but we can still solve all issues through dialogue.”

Barzani described recent military confrontations between the Peshmerga and Iraqi forces as unfortunate, adding that “there was no need for the deployment of the army and Hashd al-Shaabi.”

“We ask for a complete and inclusive ceasefire and urge Baghdad for talks.”

He maintained that there were talks between Kurdish and Iraqi military officials, “but to this point there is no agreement between them and nothing has been signed,” he said, stressing that “the solution does not lie in the military but in serious political negotiations.”

“We are even ready to talk to Iraqi political parties who genuinely want to understand the situation and find a solution for it,” the Prime Minister said, “The talks do not necessarily have to be only with the government.”

Responding to a question from a reporter about Kurdistan Region’s oil revenues since the October events and loss of Kirkuk, Barzani said, “More than half of Kurdistan Region’s oil has been reduced and that certainly affects our revenues. What’s important to us, and all our efforts now are to reach a deal with Baghdad.”

“We say this now and we have said it before, if Baghdad is willing to fully pay the 17 percent share of our budget we are ready to hand over to them the oil dossier.”

“There has not been a census in Iraq and until that happens things should remain as they are agreed on in the constitution. The Iraqi constitution gives the Kurdistan Region 17 percent of the budget.”

PM Barzani said that Kurdish political parties are united in their belief in negotiations with Baghdad and they pursue that through the KRG.

“Can Iraq’s issues be resolved with force?” Barzani said all Iraqi and Kurdish leaders should ask themselves. “No, Iraq’s history shows us that that is not the case.”

“Baghdad and Erbil issues can be solved through straightforward negotiations and with an open mind and not a mentality of who is victorious and who is not,”

“If we really want peace and stability and for all groups to live in geography called Iraq, serious talks must then be held far from who has lost and who has won,” PM Barzani said. “With this mindset we can expect a bright future for all Iraqis.”

Barzani urged Baghdad to be genuine in its statements and not resort to political games of “saying they will pay KRG employees’ salaries but not doing so”, reminding all sides that a policy of starvation will not serve anyone including Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

On the home front, PM Barzani said that ministers of the Change Movement (Gorran) are welcome to return to their posts and rejoin the cabinet of the Kurdistan Regional Government. X(

The Prime Minister said that his government will do its best to continue paying its civil servants and guarantee their pay. Meanwhile he called on Baghdad to avoid actions aimed at ending the Kurdistan Region as a constitutionally recognized entity.

“The Kurdistan Region is a recognized political entity by the Iraqi constitution and the international community,” he said. “Unfortunately the attitude now is to dismantle this entity completely which is a real risk for all of the Kurdistan Region.

“He [Abadi] is the Prime Minister of all Iraq and must act that way, he must care for the payment of Mosul, Basra and the Kurdistan Region equally,”

Barzani said that Erbil still maintains ties with Iran and Turkey and that the Kurdistan Region wants to live in peace and harmony with its neighbors.

“We are interested in talking to all our neighbors and show our interest for peace and understanding,” he said. “Turkey is an important neighbor and has helped the people of Kurdistan during the hard times,”

“We also remember help of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he added. “The Kurdistan Region wants to live in peace with its neighbors and be a force for stability, including Turkey with whom we have had good relations in the past,”

“We want to continue talks with Turkey and Iran and have them help us solve our disputes with Iraq, too.”

PM Barzani revealed that he is personally in contact with both countries by way of negotiations.

Barzani concluded the press conference by saying that the disputed territories remained “disputed” as outlined in the Iraqi constitution and must remain so “whether the Iraqis are in control of it or us.”

And, he added, “We want the displaced people to be able to return but only if they feel safe and secure.”

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/061120172
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Piling » Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:54 pm

They don't stop to offer peace, while Iraq wants war. They only understand the language of weapons.
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Nov 06, 2017 6:49 pm

PM Barzani is too naive, Abadi has stated several times that he wants to destroy Kurdistan X(
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:14 pm

Gorran rejects PM Barzani’s invite to rejoin KRG

The Change Movement (Gorran) has declined to send its suspended ministers back to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) after Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said he would be “happy” to see them serving in their posts.

Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) suspended the Gorran ministers, including those from the key Ministries of Finances and Peshmerga, in 2015 when relations between the two parties hit their lowest point over unresolved disagreements, particularly the term of then President Masoud Barzani.

PM Barzani said on Monday that the decision to suspend the Gorran ministers was unfortunate and it was now time to end the suspension.

“Gorran are part of the political process in this country. I have said before, and now I repeat, they have a number of seats in the Kurdistan parliament. We cannot ignore these seats,” PM Barzani told reporters in Erbil. Gorran has 24 seats.

“I will be happy to see their ministers to come back to the cabinet and begin their work.”

Gorran spokesperson Shorsh Haji told Rudaw that the party is sticking to their earlier call for the KRG to be dissolved.

“The KDP and PUK [Patriotic Union of Kurdistan] and the Kurdistan government have failed in a big way. Not only did they bring failure, but they also brought catastrophe on our nation,” Haji said on Monday.

“That is why we have asked the rulers to resign. Mr Masoud [Barzani] resigned under whatever pretext. We demand the Kurdistan Regional Government resign and form an interim salvation government whose only mission will be to negotiate with Baghdad and prepare for the election,” he added.

A government that has failed and lost the war with Iraqi forces should not enter talks with “victorious” Iraq, Haji argued.

PM Barzani met with the leader of Gorran, Omar Sayyid Ali, in early October. He said they had “frank discussions” and was hopeful it was a first step to further talks and ultimately resolving problems between the two parties.

Gorran, the Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal), and the Coalition for Democracy and Justice (CDJ) of former Kurdistan Region PM Barham Salih, have jointly called for the establishment of an interim government.

The KDP and PUK, who have great influence over the Peshmerga and security forces and hold 56 seats in the 111-seat parliament, have rejected the demand to establish an interim government.

Asked about the call from Gorran, Kurdistan’s second-largest party, to dissolve the government, PM Barzani said on October 23 that they are open to listening to the concerns of Gorran and other parties, but stressed that the current government is inclusive.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/061120175
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Nov 07, 2017 12:54 pm

100 offices of Kurdish parties and organisations
destroyed or looted in disputed territories


Kirkuknow reporters have established that in Kirkuk and other disputed territories nearly 100 offices of Kurdish political parties and organizations have been targeted in less than a week after the Iraqi security forces and the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) launched an operation on October 16 and retook these areas from the Kurdish peshmerga forces.

Kirkuknow reporters in Kirkuk, Nineveh, Diyala and Tuz Khomrato have investigated the events on the ground where the houses of Kurdish officials and the party offices have either been taken over, burnt or looted without any group taking responsibility.

Kirkuk and Tuz Khormato

The activities of Kurdish parties in Kirkuk have been restricted since October 16 when the Iraqi forces returned to the city. The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) alone has lost 16 party offices and 28 offices belonging to organisations affiliated with it, in Kirkuk and areas around Kirkuk according to Adnan Kirkuki a top KDP official in Kirkuk.

However, in Tuz Khomrato the situation has utterly changed and Kurdish parties have no activities in the city anymore. Over 50 offices of NGOs, political parties have been looted, burnt or taken over in Kirkuk, Dibis and Daquq. Kirkuki says the KDP offices in Kirkuk have been taken over by PMF.

Kirkuknow investigation has revealed that the offices of Kurdistan Communist Party and their TV station Rega have been looted in Kirkuk. Other parties such as Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU), Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal), Islamic Movement (KIM), Change Movement ( Gorran), Freedom Movement close to the Kurdistan Workers Party have been looted. A number of Turkmen party offices deemed close to the Kurds have been taken over or looted.

According to data from the mayoral office in Tuz Khormato, where the Kurdish parties have ceased to exist, four offices of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), KDP, Komal, Communist and Freedom Movement of the PKK have either been burnt or detonated.

Diyala

Iraqi forces retook these areas on October 17 and the offices of the Kurdish parties have suffered the least damage compare to other disputed areas.

Kirkuknow has learned that only the PUK, the communist, and the KIU have partially returned to Khanaqin and no KDP official or organizations have returned to the area.

In Jalwla, Qaratappa, and Mandali no Kurdish party has returned and over 10 offices of the PUK and KDP mainly have been occupied by the Iraqi forces.

Nineveh

In Nineveh, no Kurdish party has returned to either Mosul or other areas considered disputed under the iraqi constitution. Some of the bases of the Kurdish parties have either been burnt or looted.

The tension in the area is still high where peshmerga forces have taken up position against the Iraqi forces in several points.

The offices of the PUK and the KDP in Sinjar, Telkeyef, Makhmour, Bashik have been taken over by the PMF forces.

Kurdish forces took over the security of the disputed areas in June 2014 after thousands of Iraqi forces fled the battlefield as Islamic State militants swooped across northern Iraq.

Iraq High Human Rights Council delegations have visited the disputed areas to inquire about the abuses that took place. The commission is calling on the central government to investigate the abuses by forming a committee to assess the damage and compensate the victims.

http://kirkuknow.com/english/?p=21615
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Nov 07, 2017 2:47 pm

Iraq stops KRG medical supply, causing shortage for locals and IDPs
By Sirwa Hawrami

The Iraqi government has cut off Kurdish Region’s share of medical supplies for more than a month now, said an official in Erbil, warning of a crisis in the health sector.

“It has been four to five weeks since hospitals in the Kurdistan Region started suffering lack of medicines,” said Saman Barzinji, general manager of the Erbil Health Department. “The reason is the mechanism of the sending of medicines from Baghdad to Erbil."

Barzinji added that this is not the first time the federal government fails to send the Kurdish region its medical supplies.

He said that Baghdad did send Erbil its full 17 percent share of medicine only two or three years before reducing the amount in subsequent years and then stopping a month ago altogether.

“Baghdad has not sent any medicines since last month, discriminating against the provinces,” he added.

Dr. Nizar Ismat, of the Duhok Health Department, told Rudaw Radio on Monday that despite caring for the majority of refugees from Mosul and being overwhelmed by the large number of patients, the Iraqi government covered “only 10 percent of the medical needs of Duhok province,” in 2016.

Ismat added the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has done its part by “allocating two billion Iraqi dinars to buying medical supplies. As there is no cash in the banks, we are forced to buy them on loans.”

Much of the medicine they have to purchase, Ismat said, “Goes to Iraqi refugees from Mosul, the center and south of Iraq.”

To offset this shortage of medicine the KRG has turned to borrowing medicine from private companies to the amount of $100 million so far.

After the ISIS takeover of much of several Sunni provinces in the summer of 2014, 1.8 million people were displaced and many of them sought shelter in the Kurdistan Region.

Great numbers settled in cities, especially in Duhok.

Ismat described the situation in Duhok as “dire”.

In 2016 alone two million refugees and IDPs visited the health centers of Duhok, 20,000 on a daily basis.

The head of the Erbil Health Department said that Baghdad even fails to send medicine for the IDPs.

“The supplies supposed to be sent to the IDPs were not sent at all,” Barzinji said. “And the medical needs they sent didn’t last even a week.”

“This lack of medicines is alarming and has to be solved before a catastrophe happens.”

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/07112017
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:12 am

German forces should remain in Kurdistan to deter civil war

Germany’s outgoing foreign minister appealed to his country’s parliament on Tuesday to extend its mission training the Peshmerga, arguing that international presence in the country would help prevent a civil war.

“The more international groups are active there, the lower the chance of a new escalation,” Sigmar Gabriel told reporters, according to Reuters. “A withdrawal would be the wrong signal to the parties to the conflict, as if we were resigned to accepting the danger of a new civil war.”

About 130 German soldiers are based at the international anti-ISIS Combined Joint Operations Command Center, where they have worked with Iraqi and Kurdish commanders, in addition to Peshmerga units through the Kurdistan Training Coordination Center (KTTC).

German lawmakers last month agreed on a short-term extension of their deployment pending the formation of a new government after elections. The parliament must renew troop deployments annually.

Gabriel’s Social Democratic party suffered heavy losses in the September vote and he will be stepping down from his post.

He said he remained hopeful that a “fragile ceasefire” between Kurdish and Iraqi forces will hold and political solution can be found.

“A new civil war in Iraq would bring unbelievable suffering to this country, which has already suffered too much as a result of political conflicts in recent years.”

Kurdish and Iraqi military leaders are engaged in talks after clashes between them following Kurdistan’s independence referendum and Iraq’s retaking of disputed areas.

Talks have recently snagged as the Kurds claim the Iraqis are refusing to budge from their hardline stance.

No political talks have yet taken place, despite repeated calls from the Kurdish leadership and the international community.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/071120175
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:44 am

The other Iranians fighting in Iraq
By Fazel Hawramy

As Kurdish defenses collapsed in Kirkuk province on Oct. 16, the top leadership of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), a critical part of Baghdad’s offensive to recapture the disputed areas, received an urgent call from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). According to a senior source within the PMU, there was a request: Dispatch a unit to kill or capture a battalion of peshmerga stationed in the village of Kharabarut, near the oilfields of Bai Hassan and Avana in Dibis. Two senior Kurdish commanders confirmed to Al-Monitor that they were aware of an effort by Iran to hunt down this specific peshmerga, but did not know which Iraqi force was involved.

The peshmerga fighters who were about to be targeted were exclusively Iranian: members of the Kurdistan Freedom Party (PAK), an Iranian Kurdish opposition group with the stated aim of fighting Tehran to establish a Kurdish state. The group is a strong ally of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) of Massoud Barzani, and it is seen by Iran as a threat to its interests in Iraq.

“We realized in the afternoon that the other peshmerga around us had retreated,” Saiwan Sahrayi, a prominent PAK commander, told Al-Monitor on the front line near Kirkuk, referring to the events of Oct. 16. "We packed our things and left around 2:30 p.m., but we could see from the distance that our base was bombed shortly after we left.”

The unit that swooped in to target the PAK, according to the PMU source, belonged to the al-Abbas Combat Division (Firqat al-Abbas al-Qitaliyah). While it is unclear why it was chosen for the task, it notably has a commando battalion.

The PAK peshmerga pulled back to Altun Kupri, a Turkmen-Kurdish town bisected by the Little Zab River, 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of Erbil, where they would face the Iraqi forces four days later. IRGC commanders hoped to strike a deadly blow at their fellow Iranians, just as they had done in Iraqi Kurdistan in the past.

In one such incident, as 5,000 civilians lay dead following chemical gas attacks in Halabja in March 1988 by the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein, the IRGC, which had seized the Kurdish town a few days earlier, tracked down a battalion of peshmerga from an Iranian Kurdish opposition group and killed or captured all except for two, who escaped to tell the tale. But on Oct. 16, the IRGC failed to strike a deadly blow to PAK, whose fighters have honed their skills fighting Islamic State (IS) militants for the past three years in the vicinities of Mosul and Kirkuk.

In the chaos of Baghdad’s offensive against the Kurds, many groups and individuals with various loyalties were pitted against each other. In the early hours of Oct. 20, a 30-year-old American volunteer was sleeping alongside a group of PAK peshmerga behind a berm in Altun Kupri — along with two former British soldiers — when mortars and shells started falling all around them. The Iraqis, buoyed by their seizure of Kirkuk four days earlier, were on the offensive again, now pushing toward Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region. The battle that day, which lasted for over 12 hours and resulted in a halt to the Iraqi forces’ advance, is now the stuff of legend in the Kurdistan region. What is little known is that at the heart of it were the very Iranian PAK peshmerga that had withdrawn from Dibis only four days earlier.

As the battle intensified on Oct. 20, the American trooper — Ryan O’Leary, a former US Army sergeant who has volunteered with various groups of Iranian Kurds for the last three years — set up an 81 mm mortar tube aiming at the area where an Abrams tank was firing. "I fired the first five or six mortars and then I handed over the operation to the PAK peshmerga," O’Leary, who served in Iraq in 2007-2008 at the height of sectarian war, fighting a cluster of terrorist groups and sectarian militias, told Al-Monitor. Soon afterward, the Kurds fired a guided missile and destroyed the American-made tank. “We destroyed two tanks, including one Abrams, and 11 Humvees,” Kamal Kirkuki, the commander in Altun Kupri, told Al-Monitor. Asked what missile system was used to destroy the Abrams and the Humvees, he said, “I am not going to tell you with what we hit them.”

"PAK peshmerga are one of the best groups fighting on my front line,” Kirkuki, who has had Iranian fighters under his command for three years in Dibis, said. "The stretch of land they guarded was always very secure." In the battles in the area between Kirkuk and Erbil, PAK used a variety of weapons, including Russian and other weapons supplied by the anti-IS coalition.

PAK’s fighters are headed by a 51-year-old Iranian Kurd with a long, bushy moustache. "I have been a peshmerga since I was 13," Hussein Yazdanpanah told Al-Monitor on the front line just outside Altun Kupri on Oct. 29. "We'll fight in any part of Kurdistan that needs us," he said. PAK was set up in Iraqi Kurdistan by Yazdanpanah's brother, Saeed, in 1991. It was established as a party whose ultimate aim was to set up a single Kurdish state that includes parts of Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran, where tens of millions of Kurds live. "My brother was assassinated four months after he set up the party by Iranian agents in Sulaimaniyah," Yazdanpanah said. "We are still fighting the Revolutionary Guard and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis here in [Altun Kupri]," said Yazdanpanah, referring to the deputy commander of the PMU.

PAK commanders refused to divulge their strength, but they are estimated to be made up of around 1,000 battle-hardened young Iranian Kurds — including 200 women. Each fighter receives 20,000 Iraqi dinars ($17) a month to buy toiletries and the like.

O’Leary and a number of Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga described the PAK fighters — both men and women — as a “highly disciplined and agile" force that can maneuver its various small units fast in the battlefield. “I think the PAK peshmerga are more disciplined. They are a professional force,” O’Leary said. “But they need more training in mortar systems.”

Over three years of fighting IS, PAK lost 13 men with 31 wounded. In Altun Kupri, half a dozen of its fighters were injured. "Last December, my younger brother was a lookout guard facing Hawijah when he was hit by a Daesh [IS] sniper," Deldar Mohammadi , a 36-year-old who has fought for PAK for two years and prior to that spent three years in Iranian prisons for political activism, told Al-Monitor.

“I don’t believe in federalism as a solution for the Kurdish issue,” said Yazdanpanah, who does not hide the fact that, for him, the enemy is Iran. “For us, the real battlefield is Rojhalat," referring to the Kurdish-inhabited region of Iran by its Sorani name.

Fazel Hawramy is an independent journalist currently based in Iraqi Kurdistan. Twitter: @FazelHawramy

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

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Nov 08, 2017 8:35 pm

Iraqi Central Bank orders banks to halt operations in Kurdistan

The Central Bank of Iraq has called on all Iraqi banks in the country to halt their operations in the Kurdistan Region indefinitely. Any bank that disobeys will no longer receive foreign currency transfers from the central bank.

The move is seen as part of the punitive measures taken by the government of Iraq against the Kurdistan Region in response to the vote for independence held on September 25 despite the opposition of Iraq, neighboring countries, and others including the United States.

A good leader listens to the needs of his people - Barzani is a good leader - he people wanted to have their say :D

In an official letter dated November 7, a copy of which Rudaw has obtained, the Central Bank points to instructions from the Iraqi parliament sent on October 12 that stipulate the Central Bank must “not sell foreign currencies to the banks working in [Kurdistan] Region or those who have branches there.”

Banks were given one week to inform Iraq’s financial regulator of what steps they have taken to halt their operations in the Kurdistan Region if they want to continue to buy and sell foreign currencies with the Central Bank.

It added that the measures will be in place until otherwise announced at a later date.

Iraq has taken a number of punitive measures against the Kurdistan Region following the independence vote, including military operations and a ban on international flight to and from the Region.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has described such measures as “collective punishment.”

The KRG has offered to freeze the outcome of the nearly 93-percent vote for independence in return for open dialogue with Baghdad, but the Iraqi government has so far rejected this offer.

An Iraqi Federal Court has ruled that the Iraqi constitution does not allow any component to separate from the rest of the country. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Tuesday that this decision is in effect in every part of the country, include the Kurdistan Region.

The United Nations mission in Iraq called on the KRG to declare that it will “respect and endorse” the verdict.

The KRG has yet to comment on the ruling.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/08112017
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:47 am

EU Parliament Calls on Iraqi Gov. to Respect Kurdistan’s Autonomy

The European Parliament’s Delegation for relations in Iraq (DIQ) has urged Erbil and Baghdad to engage in dialogue “on the basis of the Iraqi Constitution and in recognition for the need of respect for autonomy in the Kurdistan Region”.

“As Chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation for relations in Iraq (DIQ), I strongly encourage both Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Nechirvan Barzani to endeavour to de-escalate the situation on the ground in an effort to avoid conflict,” reads a statement by Chairperson David Campbell Bannerman MEP.

He also called on the sides of the conflict to agree on “a timetable to seek a swift and peaceful resolution to the current tensions”.

“We also call on the Iraqi Government to unequivocally demand for the total and unilateral withdrawal of all Iranian proxy Shi’ite militia forces in Iraq. These battalions, such as Kata’ib Hezbollah, have no place in a free and democratic Iraq, and only help to inflame the already fragile situation. Their immediate withdrawal is the only option,” the statement added.

http://www.basnews.com/index.php/en/new ... tan/391578
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Re: LAST NEWS ABOUT KIRKUK

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Nov 09, 2017 12:48 pm

I strongly suspect the following to be based more on propaganda than actual fact:

Iraq is a Client State of Iran

The recent takeover of Kirkuk by the Iranian backed militias and the Iraqi army clearly illustrates that Iran is controlling every important decision in Iraq. The whole operation and withdrawal of Peshmerga forces without resistance to advancing Iraqi forces was planned by Iran Quds force commander Major General Qasem Soleimani.

What role the Iraq Prime Minister’s office had in this whole episode is still unclear but one thing is certain: decisions were made in Tehran and Baghdad only followed them. Geopolitical observers are now criticizing Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi for being too quick to resort to force against the Kurds at the behest of Iran rather than engaging in talks with Erbil which helped Baghdad in the fight against ISIS.

There are number of ways in which Iran gains from this current crisis. Not only does the conflict undermine Kurdish unity, it also boosts the role of Iranian backed militias operating in Iraq and makes them look like guardians of national unity rather than sectarianism.

The fall of Kirkuk clearly shows the extent to which Iraq today is an Iranian controlled territory. And it demonstrates the currently unparalleled efficacy of the Iranian methods of revolutionary and political warfare, as used by Iran Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) throughout the Arab world to promote Iran’s geopolitical interests. Iran’s influence in Iraq is not just ascendant, but extends to almost all areas.

During Saddam Hussein’s rule, Iran granted asylum to a number of Iraqi opposition parties and part of its ability to greatly affect Iraqi political theatre today is linked to the fact that the individuals comprising a significant portion of the Iraqi political map formerly resided in Iran. Politically, Iran has a large number of allies in Iraq’s Parliament who can help secure its goals. Even the most senior Iraqi cabinet officials take instructions from Iran’s leadership.

Tehran has been the principal backer of mainly Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) formed to fight the Islamic State and is now formally absorbed into the Iraqi military. Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRCG) overseas arm, the Quds Force, provides the bulk of logistical support and advice to Popular Mobilisation Forces. In turn, Iran uses PMF to exert military leverage over the Iraqi government much like Hezbollah did in Lebanon.

Trade between these two nations is primarily one directional favoring Iran and years of sanctions and the internal conflicts have rendered Iraq dependent on Iranian imports. The only place outside Iran where the Iranian currency is used as a medium of exchange is southern Iraq. Iran is dumping cheap, subsidized food products and consumer goods into Iraqi markets and is undercutting its neighbor’s agricultural and manufacturing sectors. Iran’s damming and diversion of the rivers feeding the Shatt al-Arab waterway has greatly undermined the Iraqi agriculture sector in the south and hindered efforts to revive Iraq’s marshlands. Iran has withheld water flows of the Kalal River, which flow into Wasit province, and of the Karun and Karkha rivers, which flow into Basra province.

Moreover, Iran is also pursuing a long-term strategy to expand its religious authority in Iraq in many ways by using financial and political leverage to ensure the primacy of clerics trained in the Iranian seminary of Qom and loyal to the Iranian ideology, over clerics trained in the relatively non-political tradition of the Najaf seminary. Iran is reconstructing the shrines in Iraq and consequently, taking control of their long term management. Iran has also taken control of the pilgrimage observances in Iraq’s shrine cities, notably the Arbaeen procession which attracts millions of devotees every year in Karbala.

Despite this great degree of Iranian influence on the Iraqi nation there is a ray of hope. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has the potential to be pulled away from Iran’s influence and act as an independent figure. He has stood up against Iran’s pressures on some occasions. But still al-Abadi government officials must prove their allegiance to the Iraqi people and not to the Iranian regime. The Iraqi judiciary is also heavily under Tehran’s influence, as noted when the country’s Supreme Court last October blocked al-Abadi’s reform package. Efforts have been made to cleanse the judiciary and make it independent. Current Iraqi leadership should also try to bridge the gulf with its Sunni and Kurdish minorities by establishing an equal method of governance across the country. Not all Iraqi Shia are pro-Iranian, in fact, many are fervently nationalistic. Prime Minister Abadi can tap into Iraqi nationalism to combat further sectarian division.

https://intpolicydigest.org/2017/11/09/ ... e-of-iran/
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