Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Kurdish Peshmerga forces have dismissed warnings by Kurdistan’s security council that Iraq was preparing for a major attack on Kirkuk province as untrue.
“We’re receiving dangerous msgs Iraqi forces, incl PMU & Fed Pol, are preparing major attack in South/West Kirkuk & North Mosul on Kurdistan,” a tweet by the autonomous region’s security council read, referring to Federal Police and allied Popular Mobilization Units.
But Jabbar Yawar, secretary general of the Peshmerga Ministry, was quoted by Alghad Press saying that “what is being circulated about military mobilization and preparations by Iraqi troops for a military operation in Kirkuk is untrue”.
There is no official reply yet from the government in Baghdad regarding the security council’s warning.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has recently repeated calls for Kurdistan Region to hand over security responsibilities at disputed areas, including Kirkuk, to the central government, urging Kurdish Peshmerga forces to cooperate in that respect. His call came as part of a set of demands that followed a referendum held by Kurdistan in September in which 92% voted for independence from Iraq.
Iraq and other world powers have deemed the move unconstitutional and untimely.
Other demands by Baghdad included Iraqi government control over airports, border crossings and communication networks in the region.
Kirkuk has been at the center of the political crisis which erupted as Baghdad and Erbil disputed over the controversial referendum. The Iraqi government had removed Kirkuk’s governor, Najm al-Din Karim, a Kurdish politician, for backing the poll.