Iraqi army vehicles are seen parked near a former Kurdish military position on October 13, 2017 in Tuz Khurmatu, near the oil-rich province of Kirkuk. Photo: AFP/ Marwan Ibrahim
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani has called on the international community, including the UN Security Council, to rapidly intervene to prevent a “new war” between Iraqi and Kurdish forces in the aftermath of the Kurdish independence referendum.
A potential war, if caused by Iraqi forces with the support of foreign countries, will lead to “direct, grave consequences” whose impact not only will be felt in Iraq, but across the entire region, he said.
PM Barzani put out the statement
following tensions between Peshmerga and Iraqi forces near oil-rich Kirkuk city where the Kurdish military say Iraqi and Shiite forces have been preparing for an attack since Thursday night. Iraq has denied that they are preparing to attack the city.
PM Barzani said that since Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s press conference on Tuesday, various Iraqi forces have been prepared to attack the Kurdish forces.
"It has been several days that more and more Iraqi forces and Hashd al-Shaabi have being gathered around Mosul, Kirkuk, and Khanaqin with the aim of attacking the Peshmerga forces," PM Barzani said.
On Tuesday, Abadi 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.”
The Kurdish PM extended his plea to Iraq’s Grand Ayatollah Sistani, all Iraqi parties, the United Nations, the UN Security Council, the United States, the European Union, the anti-ISIS Global Coalition, and neighbouring countries.
As the Kurdistan Regional Government, he said, they call on the above-mentioned individuals and bodies “to play their rapid role and to intervene to pull the region back from a new war. We request the Iraqi forces and any foreign force to not try to cause this war because it will have direct, grave consequences on Iraq and the region. It will create an environment for ISIS and other terrorist organizations to grow strong again in the region.”
He said the Kurdistan government is ready to enter “constructive talks” with Baghdad in order to find “real solutions” to the problems between the two sides. He warned at the same time that “we hold the other side, the commander-in-chief Mr. Haider al-Abadi, responsible for a war and its negative consequences.”
PM Barzani also called on all the people of Kurdistan to support the Peshmerga to defend all the cities of Kurdistan, “so that our cities will not have a similar fate to that of Mosul and Anbar, which suffered from mass killing and destruction.”
He extended his call to all the parties of Kurdistan to have the same stance to “protect peace and defend Kurdistan.”
He said the Iraqi forces failed to defend many of the areas that are now under the control of the Peshmerga in the disputed or Kurdistani areas when ISIS made advances in 2014.
The Kurdistan Region is now enjoying unprecedented peace and security, provided by the Peshmerga, Barzani said. This fact has helped the Kurdistan government host more than a million displaced Iraqis.
“It is surprising that the Iraqi government wants to destabilize the peace in these areas through a military attack,” PM Barzani said.