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.

 

Angry protesters storm Iraq Green Zone

War continues in Aleppo, with US-Russia agreement

Rouhani allies win second round of Iran parliament elections

Yemen government forces seize Qaeda training camp

Aleppo mourns paediatrician killed in air strike

UN council votes to bring back full Western Sahara mission

Air strike hits clinic in rebel-held Aleppo

US, Russia 'agree freeze' on two Syrian fronts

Libya unity government vows to end jihadist 'scourge'

Turkey demands 5 years jail for UK academic over 'terror propaganda'

UK pair accused of giving money to Brussels, Paris attacks suspect

Turkey says Bursa bomber linked to PKK

UN rights chief calls Syrian crisis 'shameful realpolitik'

Kuwait steps up deportations of expat workers

South Sudan unveils unity government

Iranians vote in second round of parliamentary elections

Palestinians support, Israel opposes French peace initiative

Biden in surprise Iraq visit to support embattled government

MSF condemns strike on Aleppo hospital

Lifeline to millions in Syria 'may be broken' as violence intensifies

Turkish journalists get two years for publishing Charlie Hebdo cartoon

Greece making 'incredible effort' to tackle migration issue

Iraq shuts Al-Jazeera bureau for 'instigating violence and sectarianism'

Syria regime readies for major Aleppo offensive

Israel nuclear reactor defects spark secrecy dilemma

Suicide bomber targets Aden police chief

Death toll in Syria's Aleppo rises despite UN truce plea

Italy to introduce migrant fingerprinting at sea

UN envoy plans to hold another round of Syria peace talks

US proposes full restoration of Western Sahara mission

27 Yemeni soldiers dead in key offensive

Global press freedom drops to lowest level in 12 years

Constitutional amendment grants Jordan king more powers

Suicide bomber blows herself up in Turkey northwestern city

Austria adopts one of EU's toughest asylum laws

Netherlands warns no safety 'guarantees' for visitors to Turkey

Battered Aleppo residents ask: Where is Syria ceasefire?

Libya kidnappers release Serbian worker

Sinai bombing kills three Egypt policemen

UAE considers tough safety code after skyscraper fires

UNESCO says Palmyra retains 'authenticity' despite damage

Khamenei says US 'fomenting Iranophobia'

Russia applauds cooperation with US on Syria

Etihad Airways sees $103 million profit in 2015

Russia asks UN to list Syria rebel group as 'terrorist'