Iraqi PM chides interior minister over interference in army deployments

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi during a visit to the joint opreations central command

Baghdad ( Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has rebuked his interior minister for interfering into army deployments, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Saudi newspaper Okaz, quoting Iraqi presidency sources, said Abadi chided Minister Qassem al-Araji for “interfering in army affairs in Sulaimaniya”, the Kurdistan Region province. It said Abadi criticized the minister for “trespassing his mandate”.

According to the newspaper, Araji had directed military units not to advance towards villages and towns surrounding the province.

“Araji informed Abadi that his interference had prevented an armed clash between Iraqi forces and Kurdish Peshmerga troops”. It added that “Peshmerga were about to attack the Iraqi forces which were preparing to take control over a road between Jalawla and Kalar towns”.

According to Okaz, Araji made the directives voluntarily, which enraged Abadi as his action “impeded the advance of Iraqi forces which were prepared to take over a road controlled by Peshmerga”.

Abadi asked the minister to withdraw the troops he had deployed to separate Iraqi army and Peshmerga forces.

As per Abadi’s orders, Iraqi troops took over several Kurdish-held areas in Kirkuk, Nineveh and Diyala in mid October in response to a referendum Kurdistan Region held a month earlier on independence from Iraq.

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