Talabani’s PUK Worried about Iraqi Army in Kirkuk

The USG Open Source Center translates a Kurdish newspaper article warning of Iraqi central government aspirations to have its army take over the northern oil city of Kirkuk (where the police and security forces are largely Kurdish). The Kurdistan Regional Government wishes to annex Kirkuk to itself, but this move is being resisted by Baghdad and by the Arabs and Turkmen of Kirkuk. This dispute has the dark potential to kick off another civil war in Iraq, this one not Sunni-Shiite but rather Arab-Kurdish.

Iraqi president’s party concerned of army’s attempt to ‘control’ Kirkuk – paper
Monday, January 26, 2009 . . .
Document Type: OSC Translated Text

Iraqi president’s party concerned of army’s attempt to “control” Kirkuk – paper

Text of report headlined “Iraqi army wants to put Kirkuk under its control; PUK forms emergency action committee”, published by privately-owned Iraqi Kurdish newspaper Hawlati on 18 January

Iraqi army wants to drive peshmerga forces out of Kirkuk and its surrounding area and put the security of the area under its control. (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) Secretary-General Jalal) Talabani’s spokesperson in Peshmerga Forces General Command states that they do not accept the Iraqi army’s control over Kirkuk and they will stand against it.
Cont’d (click below or on “comments”)

According to information obtained from many sources by Hawlati, the Iraqi army intends to come as far as checkpoints which were under the Ba’th regime’s control until 19 March 2003 to force peshmerga forces out or make them withdraw form all the disputed areas, and the Iraqi army’s 12th Division and its regiments will be deployed in their places.

According to a source: “The army will be deployed as far as Bani Maqan on the Sulaymaniyah (-Kirkuk) motorway, as far as Sherawa on the Arbil motorway and from the other side (north-west of Kirkuk) the army will be deployed near Qushtapa, Makhmur and Dibagah.”
He also said: “This is a success (as published) of the plan according to which the army wants to control the area stretching from Khanaqin (town in Diyala Governorate) to Makhmur (town in Mosul Governorate). “

According to information obtained by Hawlati, the PUK Political Bureau has formed an emergency action committee. The committee consists of Mustafa Sayyid Qadir, in charge of security, Uthman Hajji Mahmud to supervise police, Mahmud Sangawi to supervise peshmerga and Mustafa Chaw-Rash to take charge of border guards.”

In a statement to Hawlati, PUK Leadership Council member and Jalal Talabani’s representative in Peshmerga General Command Mustafa Chaw-Rash said that the army’s intention was obvious, and that is why they oppose their coming to Kirkuk. He also said: “Our final word is that we don’t accept that at all.”

Mustafa Chaw-Rash also said: “We held a meeting with the commander of the US forces; we discussed the possibility of Iraqi army’s coming. We stated our final word there, namely we do not accept the army’s coming and stand against any such move. Because there are no elections in Kirkuk and those areas, and there are neither terror threats nor insecurity. It is obvious they have other aims.”

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

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