Kirkuk (IraqiNews.com) An Iranian-backed deal has been reached between Iraqi paramilitary leaderships and Kurdish Peshmerga troops to avoid clash and share power in Kirkuk province, a Kurdish parliamentarian said Tuesday.
Masoud Haider, a member of the Iraqi parliament’s finance committee, said on Facebook that a deal was reached between Kurdish Peshmerga forces and the Popular Mobilization Forces to end the military tensions in the oil-rich province of Kirkuk.
Iraqi government forces, backed by PMF, have been taking over major government facilities, military bases and oil fields in Kirkuk as part of a plan to recapture Kurdish-held areas adopted after Kurdistan Region’s September vote for independence from Iraq. The government forces’ movements were largely unresisted as Peshmerga troops left their positions, according to reports.
According to Haider, the deal was reached between Pavel Talabani, Peshmerga commander in Kirkuk, and PMF senior leader Hadi al-Ameri. It was achieved under the auspices of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, and the head of the َQuds Corps at the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Qassem Suleimani.
Based on the deal, Kirkuk could see a split into two regions, with the Iraqi and Kurdish governments sharing administration of its precincts, but with vital facilities, such as the K1 military base, oil fields and the airport, under the federal government’s command.
The semi-official Iraqi Media News Agency added that the Iraqi government, under the deal, is required to pay salaries of public servants in Kirkuk and Sulaymaniyah, including Peshmerga fighters’ wages.