First Published: 2012-11-21

 

Iraq parliament speaker seeks to contain Arab-Kurd conflict

 

Nujaifi launches ‘initiative aimed at bringing views between two sides closer in order to defuse crisis’.

 

Middle East Online

Self-appointed mediator

BAGHDAD - Iraqi parliament speaker Osama al-Nujaifi on Wednesday launched talks with political leaders in Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdish region to contain a crisis and avoid "civil war," his office said.

The initiative comes after Massud Barzani, the president of Iraqi Kurdistan, said Kurdish and Iraqi forces clashed in a disputed town last week and as both sides issued warnings and reportedly sent reinforcements to the area.

Nujaifi launched "an initiative aimed at bringing the views between the two sides closer in order to defuse the crisis, and spare the country" from "civil war," a statement from his office said.

The speaker began "a series of meetings with political leaders in Baghdad and Arbil to reach fundamental solutions to end the crisis and save the country from an internal crisis that could result in serious consequences," it said.

A subsequent statement said Nujaifi met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Wednesday to discuss the crisis, and planned going Thursday to Arbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, for talks with Kurdish leaders.

Barzani has said that Kurdish security forces, known as peshmerga, clashed with Iraqi forces in the disputed town of Tuz Khurmatu on Friday, leaving one person dead and others wounded. An Iraqi general denied the peshmerga were involved.

Barzani, in a statement posted on his website, said he 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."

Maliki's office later warned the peshmerga "not to change their positions or approach the (federal) armed forces."

Kurdish leaders want to the 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.

Relations between the two sides are also marred by disputes over oil and power-sharing.

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 troops, and peshmerga.

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

 

France carries out first air strike in Iraq

Iran, six powers return to negotiating table

Airlines suspend flights to Sanaa for 24 hours

Jihadists to change tactics to avoid air strikes

Saudi Arabia to restore Egypt's Al-Azhar mosque

Neighbourhood in Iraq’s Dhuluiyah stands against jihadists

British photographer Cantlie twice held hostage by IS

Turkey opens border to desperate Syrian Kurds

US accuses Assad of breaking pact on chemical weapons

‘Concerned’ US urges Iran to cooperate in UN nuclear probe

Syrian children given anaesthesia not measles vaccination

France ready to provide ‘aerial support’ in Iraq

Tunisia denies existence of plot to assassinate Beji Caid Essebsi

Majority of Americans believe Obama mishandled terror threats

‘Islamic State’ releases video of captive British journalist

Libya cannot take more than 10 ministers

France approves bill to crack down on jihadists

Assassination of Libya ex-air force chief in Benghazi

14 Bahraini Shiites sentenced to life in prison for bombing

IS jihadists close in on Syria third largest Kurdish town

Yemen rebels clash with Sunni Islamists

New Turkish safety law costs 5,000 coal miners jobs

Bahrain slams Qatar for offering citizenship to Sunni nationals

Libya PM presents new cabinet in Tobruk

US House gives green light to plan to arm Syria rebels

Davutoglu denounces ruling against Turkey’s religion courses

South Sudan to revoke expulsion of foreign workers

Algeria to tighten grip on imam training

Libya Islamists unleash another offensive on Benghazi airport

Iraqi bishop: Operations against IS in Iraq came very late

French parliament approves new anti-terror bill

World Bank calls for sweeping reforms in Tunisia

Obama to meet with generals planning IS assault

UN brokers Israeli-Palestinian deal on Gaza reconstruction

Iraq parliament votes down PM's security nominees

Qaeda branches urge jihadists to unite against US

Despite war, South Sudan replaces foreign workers with locals

IS jihadists shoot down Syria warplane

Renegade former general claims air raid on Libya militia position

Six Egypt policemen in Sinai bomb attack

Erdogan: Turkey would welcome exiled Brotherhood leaders

US warplanes carry out first strikes on IS near Baghdad

UEFA urged not to award 2020 European Championship to Israel

Israel sees future war with Hezbollah

Germany tries first 'Islamic State jihadist'