ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - The Kurdish government responded to comments Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi made against the engagement of Peshmerga in clashes with the Iraqi armed forces in disputed areas on Tuesday, saying the Iraqi premier threatened to attack the Region and that he was to blame for any eruption of clashes between the Kurdish and Iraqi forces especially in the Kurdistan or disputed areas claimed by both Baghdad and Erbil.
“Mr. Haider al-Abadi in his comments several times threatened the Peshmerga to not deter the army and armed forces of Iraq in the disputed areas. Hence, we are informing the whole world that after these threats made, Haider al-Abadi, the prime minister and commander-in-chief of the armed forces is to blame for any disputes or violence which may erupt in disputed areas.”
Abadi on Tuesday warned the Peshmerga against any “confrontation
” with Iraqi security forces, including the mainly Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi, in those areas, while calling on the Kurdish fighters to act on orders from the Iraqi government, as there should be “one leadership, not two.”
Earlier this evening, the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC)
also warned in a tweet that that they were “receiving dangerous msgs Iraqi forces, [including] PMU & Fed Pol, are preparing major attack in South/West Kirkuk & North Mosul on Kurdistan."
“There are no such intentions on the ground because the central government preserves the security of Kurdistan as it is part of Iraq,” said Saad Haditihi of attempts by Baghdad to attack Kurdistan.
In part of its counter statement responding to Abadi’s comments on Tuesday, the KRG urged dialogue as a means of resolving outstanding issues with Baghdad which have emerged in the wake of the independence referendum vote.
“We are telling Mr. Haider al-Abadi, the prime minister of Iraq that resolving the issues will not come about by sanctioning or collective punishment with the help of neighboring countries since it will result in bad implications as violating power-sharing bases and marginalizing the partnership bases in decision making and running Iraq’s affairs which were two essential bases of the Iraq constitution resulted in destroying Iraq and the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people and the displacement of millions."
Thus, the KRG stressed, “a governing and political dialogue should start between the Kurdistan Regional Government, the Iraqi government and all [parliament] factions and Iraqi and Kurdistan political parties in order to resolve all the problems.”
The KRG added that it “was and is still serious about dialogue with Baghdad, but their lack of seriousness forced the Kurdistan nation to hold the referendum. But because of the secret talks Mr. Abadi held before two months with the neighboring nations and continues doing so, in a very abnormal and illegal way, he rejects dialogue whilst we have showed willingness to hold dialogue unconditionally and welcomed Mr. Ayatollah Saed Ali Sistani’s initiative for an open dialogue with the Iraqi government for resolving issues.”
But Abadi very clearly on Tuesday rejected any calls for negotiation, mediation, or initiative with Erbil that includes discussing the Kurdistan referendum without rejection of the independence vote and confirmed coordination with Turkey and Iran as the central government seeks to exert control over the Kurdistan Region.
Addressing the Iraqi nation during his weekly press conference, Abadi said any talks with the Kurdistan Region must respect three conditions that are not up for negotiation: “the unity of Iraq, the Iraqi constitution, and rejecting the result of the referendum.”
“We will not discuss the referendum or its results,” Abadi stated as he refused Kurdish claims that they are open for dialogue as long as there are no pre-conditions. The Kurdistan Region has set a condition by refusing to cancel the effect of the vote, Abadi challenged.
The KRG lashed out at military drills jointly launched in the course post-referendum period, describing them as “intimidating” against the people of Kurdistan and “training to occupy the border-crossing gates with the help of Iran and Turkey."
The KRG says Abadi is calling neighboring countries to help implement its plans against the Kurdistan Region including border closure and other measures which amount to “political decisions” and are meant as “collective punishment” against the people of the Kurdistan Region with the help of neighboring countries which are “unconstitutional decisions” and that they are “outright calls” from the neighboring countries to punish a segment of the Iraqi nation.
The KRG urged “the Iraqi parliament not to be silent if it really wants to monitor the implementation of the constitution."
The KRG described the consequences of Iraqi government's punitive measures against Erbil which included flight bans, border closure, troop deployments and recently the relocation of telecommunication companies to Baghdad as “detrimental to the people of Iraq as well as a whole, making Iraq to suffer an internal sanction as currently the army, police and other Iraqi forces’ check points disallow the entering of fruits, vegetables and many kinds of food to other Iraqi areas from the Kurdistan Region, and thus, increase in prices are on the shoulders of the Iraqi citizens.”
The KRG added Baghdad had also cut oil shares to those areas in Diyala province who voted in the referendum.
To put an end to all these “collective punishments”, the KRG “once again calls on Mr. Haider al-Abadi that we are ready for every kinds of talks and helps according to the Iraqi constitution about border crossing gates, internal trading, the provision of services to citizens, banks and airports.”
Concerning the Hawija operation which the Iraqi army announced its conclusion, the KRG hinted that Abadi breaching its agreement with the Peshmerga signed prior to the offensive and unilaterally launching the assault was “provocative.”
“But to make the operation successful, the Peshmerga made all kinds of facilities to the Iraqi forces,” it added.
Responding to charges Abadi made against the Peshmerga when saying the Kurdish forces made ISIS militants flee the Hawija battle and then to be arrested by the Peshmerga “is absolutely weird” because the Peshmerga has never “prevented questioning ISIS hostages” by Iraqi government or coalition partners.