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 Barzani
The Pentagon, having raised U.S. flags to protect the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)-affiliated Democratic Union Party (PYD) terrorists from Turkish troops advancing toward Manbij during the Euphrates Shield Operation, is now preparing for a similar project of protection for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Masoud Barzani.The United States intensified its preparation against a possible Turkey-Iraq joint military operation targeting the area occupied by Barzani, who held an illegitimate referendum on Sept. 25.The Pentagon, dispatching troops, ammunition and armored vehicles to the towns of Makhmur, Zakho, Zummar and Kirkuk, has sent containers including missiles, helicopters and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to the Harir and Hewler air bases.UAVs fly over regionThe U.S. army is deploying trucks of ammunition to Hewler and Harir near Erbil and Soran. Among the weapons being sent are missiles and helicopters, as well as anti-tanks and anti-aircrafts. The Pentagon also dispatched a great number of unmanned “Predator” vehicles, which can carry rockets, to the region. The UAVs belonging to the U.S. are conducting observation flights in case of an operation to Northern Iraq.Preparation for regional warAn Iraqi retired general, evaluating the U.S. build-up in Northern Iraq, said such a large shipment could only be interpreted as the preparation for a regional war. “The United States, having armed the PYD in Syria for two and a half years, will deploy its own troops near the Turkish and Iranian borders in Iraq,” he said, adding that the U.S. attributes special importance to Kirkuk. Noting that the United States sent troops to Iraq in 2014 under the pretext of fighting Daesh although it had decided to withdraw in 2011, the general stated the number of U.S. soldiers, which was around 3,700 in February, is now more than 10,000 following the recent shipments.President Erdoğan says KRG will ‘pay the price’KRG is ‘solely responsible’ for what’s to come: PM Yıldırım
Following 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’
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) will be held to account for holding a referendum on whether to secede from Iraq at a consultation meeting on Saturday in Turkey’s eastern province Erzurum.“We have never regretted what we have done in the past. We have provided all kinds of support for an extended period of time,” said Erdoğan.“But now that the circumstances have changed, the northern Iraqi local government has taken a step in spite of my country, and will pay the price,” he continued.KRG is ‘solely responsible’ for what’s to come: PM YıldırımTurkey has said that it could cut off the KRG’s oil export pipeline, which runs through Turkish territory. Iran has banned the transportation of refined crude oil products by Iranian companies to and from the KRG.“Our only expectation was that they respect our territorial lines and not take steps despite us. They did not do this. Kirkuk is a controversial area, and they are claiming to own Kirkuk. You are not a part of Kirkuk’s history,” Erdoğan said. Oil-rich Kirkuk is ethnically mixed.The United States, major European countries and nearby Turkey and Iran opposed the referendum as destabilizing at a time when all sides are still fighting Daesh.Iranian, Iraqi government forces to hold joint border drillsFlight ban enters effect in Iraq’s Erbil, SulaymaniyahUS opens new military base in Iraq’s Nineveh provinceUS does not recognize KRG's independence poll
HABUR ROUTE TO CHANGE
The 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 CUT
In 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 Yıldırım
“Our Kurdish brothers are not the only ones who live there, there are many ethnic groups who live together. The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) is the sole one responsible for what will follow, because they acted stubbornly without taking into consideration other groups who live in the region and played with fire in order to gain political prosperity,” Yıldırım said on Saturday in Turkey’s western district İzmit.“Everyone must know that a status change on the southern borders of Turkey, an attempt to form an artificial state is a matter of Turkey’s national security. Turkey will not hesitate to take action and will use all of its bilateral and international rights, when it comes to the matter of national security,” he added.The KRG referendum held on Monday in northern Iraq faced sharp opposition from most regional and international actors, many of whom had warned that the poll would further destabilize the Middle East.US does not recognize KRG's independence poll“All our future relations with the region will be governed by the Iraqi central government, namely Baghdad. Iran, Iraq and Turkey are working in coordination to defeat the games being played in the region,” Yıldırım said.The poll has been denounced by Iraq and its neighbors, who view it as illegitimate.“It is not possible to conduct an operation in this region without Turkey. In the same way that we delivered the necessary answer with the Operation Euphrates Shield, when the appropriate conditions and foundations have formed, we will give the same response. There should be no doubt about this,” Yıldırım said.Illegitimate KRG poll referred to lands in N Iraq, Turkey, Iran and SyriaThe premier also commented on the third legislative session of parliament to be held on Sunday.“The parliament is convening tomorrow, and we would like for a sense of unity and solidarity to spread across the country. We need unison, not ideologies,” he said.The Turkish parliament will begin its third legislative session on Sunday with the speech of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.The General Assembly is set to reconvene on Tuesday to continue its legislative work after political parties' parliamentary group meetings.The parliament has been in recess since July 27.Turkish parliament to convene SundayTurkey to help its citizens leave Iraqi Kurdish regionSteps against KRG will not target civilians: Turkish PMIraq blocks international flights to KRG in retaliation for independence vote
With 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 drills
Iran’s state television announced that it will be conducting a joint military with central Iraqi government near the border.A military spokesman said the two countries decided to hold the drills during a meeting of Iranian military commenders who "agreed on measures to establish border security and receive Iraqi forces that are to be stationed at border posts."Iraq, Turkey and Iran continue to cooperate against Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) as President Masoud Barzani’s illegitimate referendum attempt has jeopardized Iraq’s territorial integrity.Kurdish region urges Iraq, UN to lift air embargoThe KRG referendum held on Monday in northern Iraq faced sharp opposition from most regional and international actors, many of whom had warned that the poll would further destabilize the Middle East.Turkey’s military drills were initiated in the early hours of Sept. 18, a week before the KRG independence referendum.Iraqi soldiers arrived in Turkey on Monday evening for joint military exercises due to be carried out on Tuesday in Habur.Flight ban enters effect in Iraq’s Erbil, SulaymaniyahUS does not recognize KRG's independence poll
Backed 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 embargo
Northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) has called on the federal government in Baghdad and the UN to lift an air embargo imposed on the Kurdish region following this week’s illegitimate independence referendum.A flight ban on the region came into effect on Friday after Erbil rejected a call by Baghdad to surrender control of the Erbil and Sulaymaniyah airports to the federal government.The move came amid tension between Baghdad and Erbil over the latter’s decision to hold a referendum on Monday on whether to secede from Iraq.In a statement issued late Friday, the KRG described the embargo as a "collective punishment", warning that the move would distract from the ongoing fight against Daesh.The ban "would hinder visits by patients and those injured in the fight against Daesh for medical treatment abroad," KRG spokesman Safin Dizayi said.Monday's 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.According to figures released by the KRG (of which Erbil serves as administrative capital), almost 93 percent of voters cast ballots in favor of independence from Baghdad.
Macron's invitation to visit France not related to Kurdish referendum: Iraqi PM
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Saturday an invitation from French President Emmanuel Macron to visit Paris was not related to the Kurdish independence referendum.The invitation was delivered to Abadi on Aug. 26 by the French foreign and defence ministers during a visit to Baghdad, Abadi's office said in a statement, adding its purpose was "to strengthen bilateral relations and concentrate efforts on fighting terrorism."A source in Macron's office said Abadi had accepted an invitation from Macron to visit Paris on Oct. 5 for talks on the Kurdish independence referendum.A phone call between Abadi and Macron, after Monday's referendum "did not mention in any way the need to recognize the rights of the Kurdish people," said Abadi's statement.Flight ban enters effect in Iraq’s Erbil, SulaymaniyahUS opens new military base in Iraq’s Nineveh provinceUS does not recognize KRG's independence poll
Flight ban enters effect in Iraq’s Erbil, Sulaymaniyah
A flight ban came into effect on Friday evening at the Erbil and Sulaymaniyah airports in northern Iraq’s Kurdish region.Earlier Friday, Talar Faiq, director of Erbil’s international airport, had announced that all international flights into the Kurdish region would be suspended as of 6 p.m. local time.Exceptions would be made for military, diplomatic and UN-affiliated flights, he added.U.S.-led coalition forces frequently use the Erbil airport for military purposes, while the UN uses both the Erbil and Sulaymaniyah airports to dispatch humanitarian aid to war-torn areas of Iraq.Friday’s flight ban comes as a response by the Iraqi government to Monday’s illegitimate referendum on Kurdish regional independence.“International flights will be suspended based on the demands of Iraq’s Civil Aviation Authority,” Faiq told reporters at a press conference held in Erbil. He added, however, that the airport’s administration had yet to be officially notified of the ban by the Iraqi authorities.“This flight ban won’t only harm the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), but all of Iraq,” Faiq asserted, calling on Baghdad to reverse the decision. Monday’s 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.According to figures released by the KRG (of which Erbil serves as administrative capital), almost 93 percent of voters cast ballots in favor of independence from Baghdad.
US opens new military base in Iraq’s Nineveh province
The U.S. has built a new military base in the Makhmour district of Iraq’s northern Nineveh province, according to a high-ranking Peshmerga officer.“U.S. forces are transferring supplies from the Qayara Base [near Mosul] to the new base to support forces now fighting to retake Kirkuk’s Hawija district from Daesh,” Jamal Iminiki, chief-of-staff of Kurdish Peshmerga forces (which answer to northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government), told Anadolu Agency. The new U.S. base in Makhmour, Iminiki explained, was built expressly to provide support to Iraqi troops and Peshmerga fighters currently fighting the terrorist group in Kirkuk.Nineveh’s Makhmour district is located roughly 40 kilometers southwest of Erbil, the KRG’s administrative capital.In March of last year, the U.S. opened the Qayara Base to support a wide-ranging Iraqi army assault on Mosul, which was recaptured from Daesh earlier this year.
US does not recognize KRG's independence poll
The U.S. does not recognize the Kurdish Regional Government's (KRG) quot;unilateral referendumquot; on independence from Iraq, the State Department said Friday.quot;The vote and the results lack legitimacy and we continue to support a united, federal, democratic and prosperous Iraq,quot; Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement.Tillerson said the U.S. remains concerned about the fallout from the poll in which Kurds overwhelmingly voted to leave Iraq, emphasizing that before the vote Washington worked with Erbil and Baghdad quot;to pursue a more productive framework and to promote stability and prosperity for the people of the Kurdistan region.quot;These aspirations, ultimately, cannot be advanced through unilateral measures such as this referendum,quot; he said.The poll has been denounced by Iraq and its neighbors, who view it as illegitimate, and Baghdad has moved to ban international flights into the KRG and close foreign missions in the Kurdish region.Earlier Friday, Talar Faiq, director of Erbil’s international airport, announced all international flights into the Kurdish region would be suspended as of 6 p.m. local time (2100GMT).Exceptions would be made for military, diplomatic and UN-affiliated flights.U.S.-led coalition forces frequently use the Erbil airport for military purposes, while the UN uses both the Erbil and Sulaymaniyah airports to dispatch humanitarian aid to war-torn areas of Iraq.In addressing the ongoing diplomatic row, Tillerson urged the parties to halt quot;vocal recriminations and threats of reciprocal actionsquot;, and pursue dialogue.quot;We urge Iraqi Kurdish authorities to respect the constitutionally-mandated role of the central government and we call upon the central government to reject threats or even allusion to possible use of force,quot; he said.quot;The fight against Daesh is not over, and extremist groups are seeking to exploit instability and discord. We urge our Iraqi partners to remain focused on defeating Daesh,quot; he added.According to figures released by the KRG, almost 93 percent of voters cast ballots Monday in favor of independence from Baghdad.