Saad Hadithi, spokesperson of the Iraqi government. Photo: Rudaw video
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - The spokesperson of the Iraqi government says Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Quds Force is a “military advisor” to the Hashd al-Shaabi forces in Iraq.
Speaking to Rudaw TV on Sunday night, Saad Hadithi, the spokesperson of the Iraqi government said that Soleimani plays a role in Iraq as “military advisor” to the Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi as there are Iranians and Americans existing in Iraq as well.
He said Soleimani has good relations with the Kurdistan Region as well as “he is now in Kurdistan.”
Concerning mounting tensions, Hadithi said they planned to resolve the Baghdad-Erbil relations through the constitution but the Kurdish leadership violated it when they unilaterally held the referendum on independence.
“The position of the Iraqi government has stemmed from the constitution. The Iraqi constitution has to be respected as it has been drafted by the political parties including the Kurdistan coalition,” said Hadithi.
He said the “constitution is the reference we rely on to resolve the problems.”
Hadithi believes the Kurdistan Region violated the constitution when they unilaterally held the referendum.
There is nothing called “Kurdistan nation“, he added, and that all Kurds are Iraqi because the Kurdistan Region is part of Iraq.
He said Baghdad stopped sending the Kurdistan Region’s 17 percent budget share when the Region independently started selling oil.
Baghdad under the reign of former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki cut off Erbil's budget share in early 2014.
In the wake of the independence referendum, Baghdad took a set of punitive measures against the Region, mainly the deployment of troops to disputed or Kurdistan areas, notably Kirkuk, a flight ban to and from the Kurdistan Region and border closure which was enforced by Iran on Sunday per Baghdad's request.
Hadithi also said border areas and airports must be brought under Baghdad’s control.