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Iraq

Shiite militias staying in ‘disputed territories’ could cause problems: officials

By Rudaw 15/12/2014
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Shiite militias staying in ‘disputed territories’ could cause problems: officials
The Shiite militias have regrouped to fight ISIS. AP photo.
 

KIRKUK - Shiite militias remaining in Iraq’s northern “disputed territories” could pose a future threat to the Kurdistan Region, officials say, noting simmering tensions and minor clashes that have already taken place between the militias and Kurdish Peshmerga forces.

 

The Shiite militias, formed with the blessing of Baghdad and Iraq’s highly influential religious authorities, have taken part in some of the fighting against the Islamic State (ISIS), since the jihadists stormed across Iraq and captured a third of the country in June. The Shiite forces were involved in the fighting for Sadiya and Jalawla.

"The staying of the popular mobilization forces (Shiite militias) in the areas... will cause problems for the Kurdistan Region in the future, especially in the areas of Sadiya and Jalawla," said Amal Emran, a member of the Diyala provincial council.

Tensions have been running high between the Kurdish forces and the Shiite militias in the area since the ISIS eviction. Several low intensity clashes have taken place between the two antagonistic forces that are wrestling for control.

According to Sadiya’s mayor, the militia forces are not inside the town: "There is no other force or militia inside Sadiya, except the army and police forces, which are there to maintain security."

Ahmad al-Askari, a member of Kirkuk’s security committee, rejected any other forces dispatched to the area. "We reject any force outside the framework of the constitution and the law in the region, especially in areas that do not need other forces," he said.

He said that Kirkuk would not need other forces because the Kurdish forces are there for protection. "The areas that are under the control of the Peshmerga forces do not need more troops, except for the forces that have been agreed upon,” Askari added.

The Kirkuk official explained there is a deal between Kurdish forces and the commander of the Shiite militias Hadi al-Amiri about the movement of forces: “If they need to move their forces to an area where there are Peshmerga forces, they should first consult with Peshmerga officials.” 

 

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