A Peshmerga base in the Kirkuk area. Photo: Rudaw
KIRKUK, Iraq – Field surveys of Iraqi and Peshmerga positions in the disputed areas will begin on Sunday.
Joint delegations from the Peshmerga Ministry and the Iraqi Defence Ministry will visit each other’s posts in order to paint a complete picture of the reality on the ground as they prepare to combat ISIS remnants together.
This is the first stage of the process since sub-committees were formed under an order
from Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi. Their purpose is to coordinate the establishment of joint operations between the two forces in the disputed areas.
Both sides have selected their representatives for the committees.
“The long-awaited coordination will materialize in practice soon,” said Major General Hiwa Abdulla of the Peshmerga.
“It will go beyond words and meetings as ISIS militants are active in many places around Kirkuk. We should hurry the formation of joint delegations so that there can be coordination between armed forces,” he added.
Peshmerga took control of security in the disputed province of Kirkuk when ISIS swept across the country and the Iraqi army dissolved in the face of the threat. Federal forces retook the area by force in October 2017 after the Kurdistan independence referendum. Security gaps exist between their respective territories and ISIS militants have used these areas to hide out and launch attacks.
Rebuilding the relationship between the Peshmerga and Iraqi forces is seen as key to containing and ultimately eliminating the threat of ISIS.
After their surveys, the committees will determine the positions that need both Iraqi and Peshmerga forces. Expectations are there will be nine such posts in the Kirkuk area.
Now that the process has started, hopes are it will progress smoothly and forces will be in place within a few months.
“Peshmerga and the Iraqi army will be jointly deployed in areas surrounding Kirkuk in a matter of two to three months. Internal police forces will run Kirkuk inner city,” said Iraqi MP Bestun Zangana.
Reporting by Hardi Mohammed