Iraqi Kurdistan Officials Deny Us Bases

Iraqi Kurdistan Officials Deny US Bases to be Opened in Kurdistan Region

The USG Open Source Center translates the following newspaper article from Kurdish:

‘ Iraqi Kurdish Officials Deny US Bases To Be Opened in Kurdistan Region

Unattribtued report: “Opening three US military bases and transfer of Incirlik base to Kurdistan”
Hawlati
Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Although it is expected that today responsibility for security will be handed over to the Kurdistan authorities, exclusive military sources have told Hawlati that the US forces intend to open three huge US military bases in the Arbil, Duhok, and Al-Sulaymaniyah areas. Meanwhile, senior peshmerga forces’ officials expressed their pleasure at such a move.

The three bases will be located in Qaradagh (south of Al-Sulaymaniyah), Zakho area (north of Duhok), while the third one will be based near Arbil. There is also a possibility that the Incirlik base in Turkey, opened in 1992, will be transferred to the Kurdistan Region, which is heralded as an important achievement by Kurdistan regional government military officials who said they would welcome such requests from the coalition forces.

However, some officials said the issue was not mentioned and thought to be a remote possibility.
Kurdistan Region Armed Forces Spokesman Maj-Gen Jabbar Yawar told Hawlati: “The coalition forces have not made such requests so far and nothing was mentioned about this in the general-command meeting of the armed forces with (Kurdistan) Region President (Mas’ud Barzani). However, we would welcome such a request because we and the US are allies. As far as I know, such a request was not made.”

Asked whether the US forces are unilaterally entitled to embark on such an action, the source said: “According to the memorandum signed between the coalition forces and the (Kurdistan) region president, they should inform us (of such actions). As far as I know, no such plans are in the pipeline. However, I do not know if such an action is considered for the future or if it was discussed it internally (presumably referring to the US).”
The source ruled out the possibility of transferring Incirlik base to the Kurdistan Region, adding that “I do not think the US will do that since Turkey is an important country for the US and is a member of the NATO, whereas we are a region inside a federal country.”

The (Kurdistan) Region’s minister for peshmerga affairs, Ja’far Mustafa, told Hawlati: “Such a request has not been tabled officially and I am not aware of it. If there is such a thing, the region’s presidency and the government should be aware of it, especially given that responsibility for security will be handed over to the Kurdistan regional government today.”

Regarding the transfer of Incirlik base to the Kurdistan Region, he said: “If the US does that, we will welcome it and that would be a good and important achievement for us.”

A few months ago, US infantry and air force surveyed villages near Qaradagh administrative sub-district for a day, throughout which they neither allowed the locals to approach them nor allowed local officials to visit them.

(Description of Source: Al-Sulaymaniyah Hawlati in Sorani Kurdish — weekly independent newspaper)