Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"Peshmerga will stay in Diyala until there is a Baghdad-Irbil political solution"

AlHayat and AFP report that the Peshmerga unit that is deployed in northern Diyala province has refused an order from the head of the Iraqi army to vacate the area and return to Kurdistan region, on the basis that it responds only to orders from the Kurdish authorities, and so far it has received no such order from them., the Sadrist news-site, calls the standoff a "blatant challenge to the authority of the central government," and it cites some additional remarks, among them this remark by Jabbar Yawar, a Peshmerga spokesman:
"This is a secure area, and is not in need of the Iraqi forces coming in, nor is it in need of a military operation....Our forces were deployed in this area by a request from the American forces and the Iraqi forces, with the aim of protecting Kurdish residents, Shia and Sunni, from terrorist attacks," adding that his forces have made many sacrifices in the course of that.
And there is this from the Kurdish State Minister for Peshmerga Affairs, Jaafar Mustafa:
Our forces will remain in place until such time as there is a political determination made between the political leadership in the [Kurdistan] Region, and the central government in Baghdad."
So it is that what was no doubt thought of as a pragmatic military decision at the time by the Americans (inviting the Peshmerga in) threatens to blow up into an additional political crisis, on top of the Kirkuk issue.


On the topic of crises, AlQuds alArabi warns in its lead editorial this morning that the highly-touted "security improvements" in Iraq are superficial, warning in particular that the Parliamentary vacation this month will be followed by Ramadan (which starts this year on the last day of August or the first of September), a time when some extreme Islamist groups step up their attacks. Moreover:
The political process is threatened with collapse because of worsening differences between Iraqi sects, whether in the Kirkuk crisis and its elections, where the Kurdish parties are threatening to annex it by force to Kurdistan Region, against the fierce opposition of the Turkmen and Arabs--or whether as a result of the threats by the Sadr trend to ignite the security situation if the Americans do not set out a time-schedule for the withdrawal of their forces from Iraq.
On the topic of the bilateral agreement itself, the editorialist says this:
The security agreement might not be finalized in the era of the current American president George Bush and instead be rolled over to the new president, because finalization will be tantamount to suicide for Nuri al-Maliki, given the tremendous opposition to it, not only from his allies in his governing coalition, but also from the Iranians...
All of which, in addition to over-optimism about the demise of AlQaeda and other issues, is by way of stressing that the current "security improvements", while they are big in the propaganda announcements of both governments, are in reality based on a situation that is as desperate as can be.


Blogger Bruno said...

Badger, I think that the blatant insubordination of the Kurds to Baghdad is just more evidence that the fiction of a unified "ISF" under national command is, indeed, a fiction. It's all sectarian politics under the facade, yet many people seem to buy into the American propaganda of a National Army. Thanks for highlighting this.

12:53 AM  
Blogger Joel Wing said...

The Peshmerga units in northern Diyala are not part of the Iraqi security forces. They are independent militias that were legalized under the constitution and report to the two main Kurdish parties. Hence the Peshmerga saying they won't listen to the Iraqi army, only the Kurdish authorities because they are independent of the Min. of Def.

7:54 AM  

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