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Rudaw

Iraq

Iraqi court issues warrant against ex-governor, as troops fight ISIS for Mosul

By Rudaw 20/10/2016
Former Nineveh governor Atheel al-Nujaifi. Photo: from Rudaw video
Former Nineveh governor Atheel al-Nujaifi. Photo: from Rudaw video
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – An Iraqi court issued an arrest warrant against former provincial governor Atheel al-Nujaifi for allegedly allowing Turkish troops into Iraq last year, a controversy that has resurfaced as Iraqi and Kurdish forces are locked in an offensive to evict ISIS from its stronghold of Mosul.

Nujaifi, a Sunni, was the governor of Nineveh Province – where Mosul is the capital -- when it fell to ISIS in June 2014.  The Iraqi parliament removed him from his position the year after.

According to Turkish authorities, Nujaifi had agreed to allowing Turkish troops into Iraq during his governorship.

Abdulstar Birqdar, the spokesman of the Iraqi judiciary, said Thursday that three Iraqi MPs had filed a complaint against Nujaifi in December last year, claiming he had “sought the help of a foreign state whereby he facilitated the Turkish troops and empowered them to open a military base in the Zilkan military camp north of the province.”

The court warrant accuses Nujaifi of spying for a foreign country.

According to Turkish authorities, it was Nujaifi who gave the green light for troops to set up base in Iraq. Turkey says its role at the Bashiqa camp had been to train the Sunni Nineveh Guard militia, formerly known as the Hashd al-Watani.  Nujaifi is in command of the militia, which enjoys good relations with Turkey.


Nujaifi said in a Facebook posting after news of the warrant that the Mosul offensive was the priority at this time, and that his Turkish-trained forces would be fighting alongside the Iraqi army for Mosul. He downplayed the accusation, saying he would leave the issue to those interested in “trivia” until “the dust of war” is settled and the matter can be dealt with legally.

For months, in the run-up to the Mosul offensive that kicked off Monday, Iraq had publicly urged Ankara to withdraw its troops from its base in Bashiqa and warned against Turkish involvement in the liberation of Mosul.

Comments

 
guest | 21/10/2016
The authorities in Baghdad can dream of getting Nujaifi because thanks to the Turks he now has a 5000 Sunni Arab militia, and also Turkey behind him. It will take both Peshmerga and the Iraqi army to bring him to justice and that's not going to happen, Baghdad is still stalling all payments to Kurdistan and some Shia figures like the corrupt Iranian puppet Maliki still runs his mouth against Kurds. This cooperation between Peshmerga and Iraqi army is temporary, the Shias need Kurds at the moment.
Non kurd | 21/10/2016
This shows that the corrupt and sectarian regime in Baghdad has not lifted a finger to reform itself. All of the problems that led to the rise of daesh remain. America must take note of this before investing more resources in a so called ally that harbors terror groups, assists iran in skirting sanctions and persecuting minorities.

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