ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Kurdish President Masoud Barzani is to release a statement on Tuesday following the crisis in Kirkuk where the Kurdish Peshmerga have lost control of the valuable oil-rich city, plus a series of other towns, to a military incursion of Iraqi forces since Sunday night, a senior source told Rudaw.
President Barzani is expected to discuss the Kurdish referendum as well as the crisis in Kirkuk.
The key message will be about the Kurdish division that partly played a role in the fall of Kirkuk on Monday, the source said.
He is expected to tell the Kurdish nation that he wants to prevent a Kurdish civil war.
“They want to drag us into a civil war, but we will in no way be doing this,” the president is expected to relay to the nation later today, the source said.
The Peshmerga General Command, under the control of President Barzani as he is the commander-in-chief of all armed forces, stated on Monday that the fall of Kirkuk came partly as the result of a historic treason committed by some leaders of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), an ally of Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).
The two parties championed the Kurdish referendum, but some of the PUK leaders then put their doubt on the historic vote both before and after the referendum.
The PUK has rejected the accusations, and instead put much of the blame on Barzani's party for going ahead with the vote despite the opposition from Baghdad, regional and international powers.