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.


New report accuses Syria of chemical attack in Qmenas village

For second day, Iraq forces clash with ISIS in Kirkuk

Battles rage in Yemen despite three-day truce

Turkey PM warns EU: Turkey has alternatives!

Food crisis reaching critical levels north of South Sudan

Turkey hits Kurdish group in Syria again

Kremlin aims to 'liberate' Syria with Assad in power

Egypt court upholds 20-year sentence for Morsi

Islamic Jihad stages show of force in Gaza

UN says 'crimes' in Aleppo are 'of historic proportions'

IS sniper kills Iraqi journalist in Kirkuk

US official says coalition should target IS in Raqa after Mosul

Moscow extends Aleppo ceasefire

Italy PM says officials should have voted against UNESCO Jerusalem resolution

Syrian ‘Toy Smuggler’ accused of fraud

UN: IS may use civilians as human shields in Mosul

Armed men attack refugee boat off Libya

US says will work with Turkey to deal IS 'lasting defeat'

Moscow ‘highly concerned’ at jihadists’ refusal to leave Aleppo

Four Palestinians arrested by their security forces for settlement visit

Mauritania president says no change to two-term limit

UN delays Aleppo evacuations due to lack of security assurances

Oman denies reports of arms smuggling to Yemen

Israel looking to buy three more German submarines

83 migrants rescued off Cyprus

Under pressure in Mosul, IS fighters attack Kirkuk

Air strikes hit Yemen rebels despite ceasefire

US officials: Iran boosting arms sales to Huthis via Oman

Iraq forces make gains against IS near Mosul

Arab coalition accuses Yemen rebels of breaching truce

Italian PM blocks EU sanctions threat against Russia over Aleppo

Pentagon chief in Turkey for talks on tensions with Iraq

Israeli occupation troops kill Palestinian teenager

Iraqis flee IS-held Mosul for war-torn Syria

Five years after his death, Kadhafi's 'Green Book' is ridiculed in Libya

Iraq issues warrant for former governor of Mosul

EU leaders threaten sanctions against Assad allies

Syria army urges residents to evacuate Aleppo during ceasefire

British warships shadow Syria-bound Russian naval force

Turkey unexpectedly keeps interest rate steady

British PM urges united EU response to Russia over Syria 'atrocities'

UN gets ‘green light’ from all parties for Aleppo evacuations

Iran president: we must be hospitable to foreign businessmen

British Al-Jazeera reporter freed in Somalia

Turkish planes raid US-backed Kurdish militias