Karim Nuri spokesperson of the Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi organization. Photo from Rudaw video
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - A Shiite militia official issued a strong warning to the Kurdish Peshmerga on Saturday, saying that the Peshmerga should retreat from all areas they have liberated from Islamic State (ISIS) in Nineveh Province and that they “do not need the Peshmerga” to support Iraqi armed forces in the looming battle for Mosul.
“We are going to take part in the battle for Mosul and we do not need Kurds or the Peshmerga to assist our forces,” Karim Nuri, spokesperson for the Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi militias, told Rudaw TV, warning that they “advise the Peshmerga to protect the Kurdistan Region borders and do not distract themselves with entering Mosul. If they do, they will definitely play with fire.”
Nuri said that they in no way will allow “the annexation of Mosul areas including Shingal, Makhmour, and Bashiqa into the Kurdistan Region.”
“We are calling our Kurdish brothers and the Peshmerga to protect their region’s border. We could liberate the city without them and even do not need them. All they have to do is protect their own borders.”
Nuri warned that Kurds should not claim that they are “redrawing their borders with blood,” referencing previous speeches from Kurdish President Masoud Barzani. “We are partners and in one trench together. Please, let the love and respect that existed between us remain as it is. Mosul should not be put under Kurdish administration, at all. The same for Shingal and other areas.”
He reiterated that the Shiite militias will “play a decisive role” in the anticipated Mosul offensive, despite calls from local Nineveh populations, including Sunnis and Christians, that the Shiite militias should not be involved in order to avoid sectarian clashes.
“Of course we will participate in the battle and play a decisive role in it. We are committed to orders being issued from the Iraqi Armed Forces Command” led by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Nuri said.
He stressed that “ISIS cannot be defeated without help from the Hashd forces. It has been proven in previous battles that we can end the battle. When ISIS hears the Hashd is coming, they will be defeated. Again our forces will participate in the battle and nobody can deter us. We do not need permission from any party.”
He said that the Shiite militias will participate in the battle on multiple fronts but would not provide details for operational security reasons.
Last month, top Peshmerga commander Shiekh Jaafar Mustafa told Rudaw that any offensive to retake Mosul would be impossible without Kurdish support because “the Peshmerga surrounds and controls many areas and supply routes on the eastern and western sides of Mosul city.”
When that issue was raised to Nuri, he stressed that Kurdish and Shiite forces are in the same trenches together, and have coordinated in many previous battles. We “have the same destiny,” he said.