A top ranking delegation from Iraq's armed forces headed to neighbouring Iran on Wednesday "to coordinate military efforts", according to a statement from the Iraqi military.
The statement did not give any details about the aim of the visit, believed to be part of retaliatory measures taken by the government in Baghdad following the non-binding independence referendum held in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on Monday.
Iran and Turkey also oppose any move towards secession and their armies have started joint drills near their borders with the KRG in recent days. Iraq and Turkey have also held joint military drills.
Iraqi parliament asks leader Abadi to take back Kirkuk
The Iraqi parliament on Wednesday asked Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to send troops to Kirkuk and take control of its oilfields from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).Kirkuk’s population is mainly composed of Arab, Turkmen and Kurdish inhabitants. The KRG allegedly included it in the so-called independence referendum held on Monday."The government has to bring back the oilfields of Kirkuk under the control of the oil ministry," said the resolution voted by parliament in Baghdad, seen by Reuters.It called on Abadi to "issue orders for the security forces to deploy in the disputed areas, including Kirkuk".KRG poll had no legitimacy: Turkish oppositionIraqi PM calls on Kurds to cancel independence referendum's outcomeKRG rejects Iraqi order to hand over airports
KRG poll had no legitimacy: Turkish opposition
A top official of Turkey’s main opposition has blasted the decision by Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) head Masoud Barzani to hold an illegitimate independence referendum, calling it "irresponsible and provocative"."Statements since day one have made it evident that it had no international legitimacy," Republican People's Party (CHP) Deputy Chair Ozturk Yılmaz told Anadolu Agency."A difficult process -- one including Turkey -- has begun," said the opposition lawmaker of the aftermath of Monday’s illegitimate referendum by northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG).The illegitimate referendum saw Iraqis in KRG-controlled areas -- and in a handful of territories disputed between Erbil and Baghdad, including ethnically mixed Mosul and Kirkuk -- vote on whether or not to declare independence.Barzani-PKK alliance backed by US, Israel to attack AnatoliaNumerous Turkmen, Arab, and Christian groups living in disputed areas of Iraq boycotted the illegitimate referendum.Along with Iraq’s central government, Turkey, the U.S., Iran, and the UN spoke out against the illegitimate poll, saying it would distract from the ongoing fight against Daesh and further destabilize the region.The CHP lawmaker said the illegitimate vote had worsened regional tensions, adding: "Though it has not reached the point of warmongering, I would like to express the CHP's concerns about some small incident possibly lighting the fuse due to the instability in the region.""The CHP never wants to wage war. Nevertheless, Barzani has taken a very irresponsible and provocative step. This step will not strengthen the KRG's hand for legitimacy but rather weaken it," he said.Turkey vows to respond to Baghdad's call for support‘Demographic structure disrupted’Yılmaz spoke in favor of joint action in the aftermath of Monday, saying: "We have suggested that the government establish a crisis mechanism and joint consultation between Turkey, Iran, and Iraq's central administration. Though it has not been officially named, we are seeing some steps towards this... I hope that a process of longstanding conflict is not triggered in the region once again due to the Kurdish central administration, as it did with Israel."The CHP lawmaker, who once served as Turkey's consul in the ethnically mixed city of Mosul, warned that the region's demographic structure was being altered.Affirming that after the Saddam Hussein era the Turkmen population in Iraq's Kirkuk province had grown, he added: "We then found that the population in Kirkuk had seriously changed in favor of the Kurds and a decline in the Turkmen population was evident."KRG rejects Iraqi order to hand over airportsBaghdad to halt flights to northern IraqIraq: Barzani urges 'series of dialogues' with Baghdad
Iraqi PM calls on Kurds to cancel independence referendum's outcome
Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi demanded on Wednesday that Kurdish authorities "cancel" the outcome of the independence referendum in northern Iraq, as a condition for dialogue to resolve an escalating crisis.In a speech to parliament, Abadi renewed his ultimatum to Masoud Barzani's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to hand over control of international airports by Friday or face a ban on direct international flights to the Kurdish region.People in northern Iraq voted overwhelmingly in favour of independence in Monday's non-binding referendum. Any idea of secession is bitterly opposed by the governments in Baghdad, Turkey and Iran. The United States pressed Kurdish leaders to call off the poll."We won't have a dialogue about the referendum outcome," Abadi told parliament. "If they want to start talks, they must cancel the referendum and its outcome."KRG rejects Iraqi order to hand over airportsHis demand was rejected by KRG Transport Minister Mowlud Murad on Wednesday. He told a news conference in the Kurdish capital Erbil that keeping control of airports and maintaining direct international flights to Erbil was necessary for the fight against Islamic State militants.Kurdish leaders say the referendum was held to give them a mandate to negotiate the peaceful secession of their region with Baghdad and Iraq's powerful neighbours Iran and Turkey.Murad expressed the hope that the crisis could be resolved by Friday, saying it would damage Kurdistan's economy.The Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority sent a notice on Wednesday to foreign airlines telling them international flights to Erbil and Sulaimaniya in the Kurdish region would be suspended on Friday at 1500 GMT and only domestic flights allowed. Baghdad to halt flights to northern IraqBarzani-PKK alliance backed by US, Israel to attack Anatolia