A Kurdish Peshmerga guarding against the ISIS group in Makhmur, near Erbil. Rudaw file photo
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – In a strongly worded statement, the General Command of Peshmerga Forces has accused the Hashd al-Shaabi and “mercenary Kurds” of violating an agreement made between Erbil and Baghdad prior to the launch of the Mosul offensive and warned them against creating problems.
The statement said that the mainly Shiite force’s operations in the Shingal area were in violation of the agreement signed between Erbil and Baghdad that had paved the way for joint military cooperation between the Iraqi and Kurdish forces against ISIS in Mosul.
“With regard to the operation west of Mosul, Tal Afar, and Shingal, in some of the places the agreement has been breached,” read the statement published by the Peshmerga General Command on Tuesday.
The Peshmerga command stressed that the main objective remains the eradication and defeat of ISIS.
“However, if some people in the Hashd al-Shaabi and some mercenary Kurds dream to take advantage of the war against ISIS in the area and try to create problems for the people of the area and the Peshmerga and transgress against the land of Kurdistan, we warn these dissonant voices that no force can or has the right to enter Kurdistan territory.”
The statement said that those who try to enter Kurdish territory will “beat their heads against the mountains of Kurdistan.”
The Peshmerga statement echoed comments made by a Hashd commander to Rudaw on Friday that the decision for the force to enter Shingal is made by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who is also commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
“Let them beat their heads against the wall if they do not like the decision,” Jawad Talibawi, spokesperson of the Asaib Ahl-haq, an armed group within the Hashd al-Shaabi, told Rudaw on Friday.
The Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi launched an operation against the extremist group on May 12 to recapture areas west of Mosul including the towns of Baaj and Qairawan. As the Baghdad-backed force carried out operations in Yezidi areas south of Shingal, Kurdish President Masoud Barzani ordered the Peshmerga that the Hashd must not enter these areas.
Following Barzani’s warning, Abadi revealed two weeks ago that the Peshmerga were not informed about the offensive launched by the Hashd al-Shaabi in the Yezidi area of Shingal and as a result the Kurdistan Region expressed its “concerns.”
Abadi said that the problem the problem was “resolved, God willing,” after he sent a delegation headed by Baghdad’s National Security Advisor Falah Fayadh, who is also the head of the Hashd board, to meet with Barzani.
A Kurdish official told Rudaw that Barzani and Fayadh agreed to “cooperation” in terms of military activities in Shingal.
“With regard to the fate of Shingal, only the people of Shingal can determine their future and we will not allow any party to impose their decisions on the people,” the Peshmerga statement read.
It added that the Mosul offensive that was planned jointly by Erbil, Baghdad, and the United States left no doubt that the Peshmerga would keep areas they had liberated before the October 17, start of the Mosul operation.
“With regard to whether or not the Peshmerga will stay in areas it liberated after that date, this should be left to a new agreement that all parties have to agree to and that could protect the security of the citizens and the components – this cannot be done in a unilateral decision,” the statement declared.