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Kurdistan

German forces should remain in Kurdistan to deter civil war, argues outgoing minister

By Rudaw 8/11/2017
German military trainers take Peshmerga forces through urban warfare tactics in Erbil. File photo: Farzin Hasan/Rudaw
German military trainers take Peshmerga forces through urban warfare tactics in Erbil. File photo: Farzin Hasan/Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Germany’s outgoing foreign minister appealed to his country’s parliament on Tuesday to extend its mission training the Peshmerga, arguing that international presence in the country would help prevent a civil war. 

“The more international groups are active there, the lower the chance of a new escalation,” Sigmar Gabriel told reporters, according to Reuters. “A withdrawal would be the wrong signal to the parties to the conflict, as if we were resigned to accepting the danger of a new civil war.”

About 130 German soldiers are based at the international anti-ISIS Combined Joint Operations Command Center, where they have worked with Iraqi and Kurdish commanders, in addition to Peshmerga units through the Kurdistan Training Coordination Center (KTTC).

German lawmakers last month agreed on a short-term extension of their deployment pending the formation of a new government after elections. The parliament must renew troop deployments annually. 

Gabriel’s Social Democratic party suffered heavy losses in the September vote and he will be stepping down from his post. 

He said he remained hopeful that a “fragile ceasefire” between Kurdish and Iraqi forces will hold and political solution can be found. 

“A new civil war in Iraq would bring unbelievable suffering to this country, which has already suffered too much as a result of political conflicts in recent years.”

Kurdish and Iraqi military leaders are engaged in talks after clashes between them following Kurdistan’s independence referendum and Iraq’s retaking of disputed areas. 

Talks have recently snagged as the Kurds claim the Iraqis are refusing to budge from their hardline stance. 

No political talks have yet taken place, despite repeated calls from the Kurdish leadership and the international community. 

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pre-Boomer Marine brat | 8/11/2017
Gabriel is correct. However, Hashd members might be enthused, undisciplined or ignorant enough to shoot at anyone and everyone. ... In the Thirties in China, the Japanese Army repeatedly shot, bombed and killed citizens of neutral foreign nations. ... (So did Mao's Communists, but they weren't a Geneva/Hague signatory.)
Non kurd | 8/11/2017
Why train Iraqis who perpetrate sectarian violence?
Muraz Adzhoev | 8/11/2017
That’s not only a civil war at all, because what’s already imposed and going on is the fascist Iraqi-Iranian war wth the legitimately self-determined People and the authorities of Southern Kurdistan to occupy the region and not to let them establish their sovereignly independent state.
Gerbert d'Aurillac | 8/11/2017
The USA & allies should not have sided with the iranian -iraqui invasion of Kurdistan, in first place . Kurdistan was the only stable place in that part of the world .They have turned that stable place into a nightmare of occupation ,death and war zone under iranian control.
hawzhin | 9/11/2017
Germans can stay or leave. Doesn't really matter at this stage. There are many big social problems are coming for Kurdistan. It is definite that foreign allies are not really allies. There is no real brotherhood between armies, or nations. Coalition left Kurdistan alone. Kurdish pershmerga is still doing the dirty job for them. Independence hope is postponed to another generation. Peshmerga can be heros for we Kurds but in fact they are just a tool used by coalition. At some point, when they got what coalition want the have no longer need Peshmerga.

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