First Published: 2012-11-19

 

Iraq PM warns peshmerga to stay put

 

Maliki’s warning comes as response to Kurd security forces’ deployment in disputed Tuz Khurmatu.

 

Middle East Online

Tensions escalating

BAGHDAD - Iraq's premier has warned Kurdish regional security forces not to advance towards government troop positions, a military spokesman said on Monday, after deadly clashes in a flashpoint northern town.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's office warned the Kurdish forces, known as peshmerga, "not to change their positions or approach the (federal) armed forces," Iraqi military spokesman Colonel Dhia al-Wakil said in a message.

The warning was an apparent response to the deployment of thousands of troops from the autonomous Kurdistan region as reinforcements to disputed Tuz Khurmatu, though many of them were subsequently withdrawn, a high-ranking Kurdish officer said.

Clashes in the town on Friday that killed one person and wounded others took place between peshmerga and Iraqi government forces, Kurdistan president Massud Barzani said, but an Iraqi general denied Kurdish forces were involved.

Tensions between Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq have been running high after the establishment of a new military command covering disputed territory, and over various other long-running disputes.

Barzani ordered the peshmerga "to exercise restraint in the face of provocations, but also to be in a highest state of readiness to face any aggressive acts."

Kurdish leaders want to expand their autonomous region across a swathe of territory that stretches from Iraq's eastern border with Iran to its western frontier with Syria, against strong opposition by Maliki's government.

The unresolved row poses the biggest threat to Iraq's long-term stability, diplomats and officials say.

US forces played a coordinating role between Kurdish and Arab forces in the disputed territory, forming joint patrols and checkpoints comprised of US soldiers, Iraqi soldiers and troops, and Kurdish peshmerga forces.

But US troops withdrew from Iraq last year, removing a buffer to Arab-Kurd tensions.

 

Turkey warns Syria against protecting Kurds

Two hardline Syria rebels announce merger

IS kills 25 Iraqi militiamen near Kirkuk

Sudan frees dozens of activists detained after protests

Saudi Arabia to host first Arab Fashion Week

Somalia appoints new police, intelligence chiefs

Iran plane crash rescue search halted for second night

France reaffirms commitment to Iran nuclear deal

Abbas warms up to Moscow amid cold US-Palestinian ties

Israel strikes 'historic' gas contract with Egypt

Are Iranian satellite channels aiding regime change?

Israel pounds Gaza with air strikes after rocket attack

Iraq orders deportation of French jihadist

Pro-Assad militias to enter Syria's Afrin

Three Egyptian soldiers killed in Sinai

Israeli, US officials meet over gas row with Lebanon

Iran's supreme leader says progress needed on justice

Syria Kurds claim striking positions in Turkey

Netanyahu warns Iran, brandishes piece of metal

66 feared dead as plane crashes in Iranian mountains

Saudi women to open businesses without male permission

Netanyahu slams 'outrageous' Holocaust remark by Polish PM

Israeli air strikes kill 2 in Gaza

Six suffer breathing difficulties after Turkish shelling in Afrin

Russian mercenaries - a discrete weapon in Syria

Iran protests ban on wrestler who threw bout to avoid Israel

Fears of expanding Syrian war could trigger peace deal

Battle to free Mosul of IS 'intellectual terrorism'

Turkey frees Garman-Turk journalist after one year without charge

Turkey hands life sentences to 3 journalists for Gulen links

Turkey, US agree to ‘work together’ in Syria

Thousands protest corruption in Tel Aviv amid PM indictment call

Prominent jihadist commander killed by rival Syria rebels

300 Russians killed in Syria battle last week

Tillerson, Erdogan have ‘productive, open’ talk

Iran raises rates, freezes accounts in bid to shore up rial

Kremlin says five Russians killed in US Syria strikes

Oman FM in rare visit by Arab official to Jerusalem

Senior IS leader extradited to Iraq from Turkey

Strikes hit another hospital in Syria's Idlib

Churches snub Jerusalem reception over tax dispute with Israeli authorities

Tillerson says US never gave 'heavy arms' to Kurdish YPG

Captured foreign IS suspects claim innocence

Yemeni mother awaits death penalty for spying for UAE

Fuel shortage shuts down Gaza's only power plant