Masoud Barzani, leader of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), met with the so-called force commanders in Kirkuk after the illegitimate referendum held on Sept. 25 in northern Iraq. Barzani visited the Peshmerga headquarters in Kirkuk on Monday and the former governor Najmiddin Karim, who is occupying his office despite being discharged by the Iraqi central government. Sources in the region who evaluated the closed-door meeting said he was insinuating that he was ready for war.
ERDOĞAN SAID ‘YOU ARE NOT A PART OF KIRKUK’S HISTORY’
Kirkuk is a controversial area, and they are claiming to own Kirkuk. You are not a part of Kirkuk’s history,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Saturday at a party consultation meeting in Turkey’s eastern province Erzurum. Oil-rich Kirkuk is ethnically mixed.
“An independent state is not being established in northern Iraq. On the contrary, it is a bleeding wound that is always going to be prodded by foreign forces," he continued.
As a response to joint military exercises of Turkey and Iran, the Barzani administration deployed Peshmerga forces to the border.
Iraqi-Kurd opposition in N. Iraq defies ruling parties
Two opposition parties in northern Iraq’s Kurdish region -- Komel and Gorran -- have chosen to boycott a “political leadership” initiative unveiled Sunday by Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) President Masoud Barzani. According to a Monday statement released by the Kurdistan Islamic Society Party (Komel), the decision to boycott the initiative was taken in order “to deliver a warning” to the region’s ruling parties. The KRG is currently led by a governing coalition consisting of Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. On Sunday, the KRG’s High Referendum Council, which had been mandated with overseeing last week’s illegitimate poll on regional independence, was officially replaced by a new committee dubbed the “Political Leadership of Kurdistan-Iraq”. The new committee is reportedly tasked with following up on the results of last week’s unconstitutional referendum on regional independence. “President Barzani on Sunday convened a meeting of political parties to announce the launch of the new committee, which is supposed to replace the referendum council,” Komel said in its Monday statement. “The meeting, however, was not attended by either Komel or the Kurdish Movement for Change (Gorran) party,” it added. On Monday, Gorran went so far as to formally request the dissolution of the newly-established committee. While the exact reasons for the move remain unclear, Gorran, in its Monday statement, asserted that KRG institutions had to be “depoliticized and improved”. The latest developments come in the wake of last week’s illegitimate regional poll in which Iraqis in KRG-held areas -- and in certain areas disputed between Baghdad and Erbil -- voted on whether or not to declare independence from Iraq. According to poll results announced by the KRG, almost 93 percent of registered voters cast ballots in favor of independence. The referendum had faced sharp opposition from most regional and international actors, many of whom had warned that the poll would only serve to distract from Iraq’s ongoing fight against terrorism and further destabilize the already-volatile region.
BARZANI’S KIRKUK VISIT AN OPEN PROVOCATION
Kirkuk deputy Hasan Turan said, "Barzani is provoking all sides. The visit to Kirkuk while Iraqi Federal Forces are fighting against Daesh in Hawija is an open provocation.”
"The exhibited provocation further strengthens the situation in the region," said Turan, adding that in the coming days, anything could happen.
The first provocative visit to Kirkuk, which is not affiliated to the Erbil-based KRG, was made by the so-called minister of education in the early hours of the morning.
A delegation from Erbil, accompanied by Pashtivan Sadiq and dismissed governor Najmiddin Karim, spoke about the new education-training period that began on Monday.
Iran deploys tanks at border with KRG
Iran deployed on Monday a dozen tanks supported by artillery at the border with Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), a Kurdish official told Reuters.The move is believed to be part of joint drills planned by the Iranian and the Iraqi government armed forces in retaliation for an illegitimate independence referendum held a week ago by the KRG.“The tanks can be seen from the Kurdish side,” said the official in the KRG capital Erbil.Iranian state television on Saturday quoted a military spokesman as saying Iran and Iraq “agreed on measures to establish border security and receive Iraqi forces that are to be stationed at border posts”.
"Kirkuk is now linked to Kurdistan," Najmiddin Karim said.
Masoud Barzani arrived in Kirkuk at noon, and held a closed-door security meeting with so-called force commanders in which the joint military exercises on the Iraqi, Iranian and Turkish borders that sources in the region have evaluated as a message declaring that they “are ready for war.” The sources also said that it was significant for Kirkuk to be selected as the location of the meeting.
SUPPORT OF FOREIGN FORCES
Sources informing Yeni Şafak about the provocative trip made by Barzani to Kirkuk argue that the U.S. and Israel supported Barzani in taking these steps. On the other hand, the U.S. supports all border lines in the possible interventions against Barzani with arms and ammunition.
Iraq urges KRG to cancel referendum results
The Iraqi government has called on the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) to cancel the results of an illegitimate independence referendum before engaging in dialogue.''The KRG has to cancel the illegitimate referendum results to empower Iraq's unity for a serious dialogue with Baghdad,” Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi’s office said in a statement on Monday.The statement called on the KRG to ''end provocation in the areas it seized and abide by the decisions taken by the Federal and Constitutional court.''Tension has been high between Baghdad and Erbil since the latter held a controversial referendum last week on secession from Iraq.The poll has been denounced by Iraq and its neighbors, who view it as illegitimate, and Baghdad has moved to ban international flights into KRG-held areas and close foreign missions in the Kurdish region.According to figures released by the KRG, almost 93 percent of voters cast ballots in favor of independence from Baghdad.
Erdoğan to meet opposition leaders over Northern Iraq
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet Turkish opposition leaders this coming week over the Kurdish Regional Government's (KRG) illegitimate referendum in Northern Iraq.Responding to journalists' questions after delivering the opening speech at the Turkish parliament's third legislative session on Sunday, Erdogan said he would meet with leaders of the Republican People's Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).''I will meet with [ MHP's Devlet] Bahceli on Thursday,'' said Erdogan. ''After that, according to circumstances, I will take the opinion of [CHP's Kemal] Kilicdaroglu ''Erdogan added that he would form an opinion on the illegitimate referendum after the meetings.Monday's illegitimate poll saw Iraqis in KRG-controlled areas -- and in a handful of territories disputed between Erbil and Baghdad, including ethnically mixed Kirkuk and Mosul -- vote on whether or not to declare independence from Iraq's central government.Prime Minister Binali Yildirim also spoke to journalists at the parliament and called on the KRG to work with the Iraqi central government to find a solution to the crisis in the region.He said: ''It is clear what to do. They should come together with the Iraqi government and they should guarantee the rights of Northern Iraq's administration.''Erdogan's Iran visitYildirim added that Turkey would support such diplomatic contacts.''So that this issue is smoothed over,''he added.According to preliminary figures released by the KRG, almost 93 percent of voters cast ballots in favor of independence from Baghdad.The illegitimate referendum in northern Iraq had faced sharp opposition from most regional and international actors, many of whom had warned that the poll would further destabilize the Middle East.Yildirim also addressed the Catalan independence referendum, saying Turkey was against it.''It is normal that we are against it because we are also against the referendum in northern Iraq,'' he said.Tension between Madrid and Barcelona has risen because of a proposed independence referendum on Sunday, which has been deemed illegal by Spanish courts.If Catalans vote Yes for independence, which is expected as No voters are boycotting the vote for the most part, the pro-separatist Catalan government has said it will declare independence if they consider the vote valid.The Spanish government remains firm that this will not be a legitimate vote no matter what happens.President Erdogan also addressed his one-day oficial visit to Iran on Oct. 4.Noting that Turkish Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar had gone to Iran before his visit, Erdogan said he would discuss the KRG's illegitimate referendum with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Turkish military deployments to Syrian border continue
A convoy of armored vehicles, communications and military personnel vehicles deployed by the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) arrived in Reyhanlı, a district near Turkey’s border with Syria.The convoy, which consisted of Turkish military vehicles with fully equipped commandos from multiple divisions, travelled to the Syrian border The convoy moved toward the Syrian border after arriving in Reyhanlı. The military convoy advanced with high security measures with the aim of providing reinforcements to the military troops at the border.Turkey previously transferred fully equipped commando units as part of military reinforcements along its southern border with Syria in late September.Turkey, Iraq, Iran to take over KRG bordersUS deploys troops, arms near Turkish border to protect BarzaniTurkish airstrikes hit PKK arms dumps in northern Iraq
Turkey, Iraq, Iran to take over KRG borders
Military responses in reaction to the Kurdish Regional Government’s (KRG) refusal to hand over border crossings to the Iraqi government.The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has refused to hand over control of its border crossings to the Iraqi government, as demanded by Iraq, Iran and Turkey in retaliation for the independence referendum.The Iraqi Defense Ministry has said it planned to take control of the borders "in coordination" with Iran and Turkey, without indicating whether Iraqi forces were to move toward the external border posts controlled by the KRG from the Iranian and Turkish side.US deploys troops, arms near Turkish border to protect BarzaniFollowing Iraqi Chief of General Staff Osman Ganimi’s visit, it was decided to hold a joint military drill with Special Forces officers.After Ganimi’s visit to Iran, a similar decision was reached. Iran and Iraq will conduct joint border drills within days. Top military commanders "agreed on measures to establish border security and receive Iraqi forces that are to be stationed at border posts."The control of four border gates, which provide Erbil with significant revenue, will soon change ownership as a result of the military operations. President Erdoğan says KRG will ‘pay the price’HABUR ROUTE TO CHANGEThe operations near the border gates by Iraq, Turkey and Iran span across four border gates. Iraqi soldiers will take over the Habur border gate with the support of Turkish troops. KRG normally uses the Habur border gate for trade, and altering this route is on the agenda.Among the planned routes, there is a plan to connect Mosul via Zaho, Zumar and Bashika. After the commissioning of the road, it is stated that the Turkish soldiers in Bashika may secure the trade route.SOURCE OF REVENUE TO BE CUTIn Iran, three border gates are under the control of the KRG: Hacı Omeran-Temerçin Border Gate in Çoman county bounded to Erbil in the north, Başmak Border Gate in the south of Suleymaniye in the east and Peravizhan Border Gate in the town of Kelar.KRG is ‘solely responsible’ for what’s to come: PM YıldırımWith the operations to begin soon, the control will be taken over by the central government with Iraqi military support. While it is expected that the security of the trade routes will be ensured by Iraqi troops, it is stated that Turkey and Iran will take charge if necessary.Together with the control of border gates to Baghdad, Erbil will be deprived of a major source of income.Turkey, which has already threatened economic sanctions and a military response to any security challenges posed by the referendum result in neighboring northern Iraq, has threatened to cut off the Kurds' oil export lifeline - a pipeline that runs through Turkish territory.Iranian, Iraqi government forces to hold joint border drillsBacked by Ankara and Tehran, the Iraqi government has demanded that the KRG cancels the result of the referendum or face sanctions, international isolation and possibly a military intervention.Monday's illegitimate referendum saw Iraqis in KRG-controlled areas -- and in a handful of territories disputed between Erbil and Baghdad, including ethnically mixed Kirkuk and Mosul -- vote on whether or not to declare independence from Iraq's central government.Kurdish region urges Iraq, UN to lift air embargoMacron's invitation to visit France not related to Kurdish referendum: Iraqi PMFlight ban enters effect in Iraq’s Erbil, SulaymaniyahUS opens new military base in Iraq’s Nineveh provinceUS does not recognize KRG's independence poll