Iraqi Kurds send reinforcements to disputed Kirkuk

13 October, 2017, 19:49 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Kurdish Peshmerga commander in Kirkuk Huseyin Yazdanpena

There are five oil wells in the Kirkuk region, two of which are controlled by the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG).

According to a report by the Iranian news agency Irna, Rapid Response, Counter-Terrorism and Popular Mobilization Units (Al-Hashad Al-Shabi in Arabic) take part in the operation.

Hemin Hawrami Tweeted early Friday that Hashd al-Shaabi fighters were preparing "to attack oil wells and areas controlled by Peshmerga forces", loyal to northern Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government (KRG).

There is concern about a meeting between Iraqi and Kurdish militaries as a result of increased tensions between Baghdad and Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan, a cause of a separatist referendum held last September.

Meanwhile, a Justice Ministry official from northern Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), denounced the Iraqi court's warrants as "politically motivated", stressing that Baghdad's judicial system has no jurisdiction in Kurdistan, which is allegedly ruled by its own legal body. Iraqi security forces moved into some of the positions evacuated in an orderly manner, without any clashes, they said. On the following day, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi refuted the claims.

On Sept. 25, Iraqis in KRG-held areas - and in several areas disputed between Baghdad and Erbil, including Kirkuk - voted on whether or not to declare independence from Iraq.

According to poll results announced by the KRG, nearly 93 percent of those who cast ballots voted in favor of independence.

The illegitimate referendum had faced sharp opposition from most regional and worldwide actors, many of whom warned that it would distract from Iraq's ongoing fight against terrorism and further destabilize the already-volatile region.

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