Mosul: Peshmerga reported digging in, claiming a promise from Maliki
Having supposedly cleared Mosul of "insurgents", and ordered all non-government entities to vacate government buildings they have been occupying, the Maliki administration now faces a situation where the Kurdish Peshmerga forces not only refuse to vacate their stronghold in the city, but are reportedly fortifying it, and defying the Iraqi Interior Minister to try and dislodge them. The deputy governor Khosro Goran (central figure in the Al-Akhbar story on Saturday), in Irbil, is quoted as saying Maliki has made a promise to Kurdistan regional president Barzani in this regard. Badeel al-Iraq, citing a news agency called Iraqiun, quotes Goran as follows:
For his part, Khosro Goran, from his headquarters in Irbil, said Maliki will back off, because he has promised Barzani that he would exempt the Kurds from the decision to vacate [government buildings]. And [Goran] said of the current Interior Minister Jawad Bolani that he is playing with fire, and that the Peshmerga is prepared to protect the strongholds [in Mosul] and "we will expel from Mosul any force that tries to dislodge us from the buildings."The gist of the Saturday story in Al-Akhbar was that Iraqi authorities are getting ready to arrest Goran on charges of running a death-squad in Mosul. A feature common to these two stories is the odor of undisclosed agreements in favor of the Peshmerga. Al-Akhbar referred to a request by Barzani to Hashemi (vice president of the republic and head of the Islamic Party of Iraq) to let him (Barzani) deal with Goran quietly and keep the affair out of the press; and here Goran is quoted as claiming a "promise" by Maliki to exempt the Peshmerga from his order to clear out of all government buildings. As it was originally reported before the start of the "Mosul operations", the Sunni community feared that this operation would be used to extend Kurdish control to parts of Mosul.