First Published: 2013-04-27


New tensions in Kirkuk as Peshmerga deploy near disputed city


Kurdish official says move aims at combating militants but Iraq army bills move of peshmerga as political manoeuvre.


Middle East Online

Security move or political manoeuvre?

KIRKUK (Iraq) - Kurdish security forces deployed near the disputed northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, a Kurdish official said Saturday, a move allegedly aimed at combating militants in the area.

In the past week, a wave of violence has killed more than 200 people, including 40 in Kirkuk.

"After consultations with the governor of Kirkuk, there has been a decision for Peshmerga (security) forces to fill the vacuums in general, and especially around the city of Kirkuk," Jabbar Yawar, secretary general of Iraqi Kurdistan's peshmerga ministry, said in a statement.

"The intelligence service of the peshmerga has information that terrorist groups have plans to launch terrorist attacks in these regions," Yawar said. "Our only goal is to preserve the life of citizens."

But the Iraqi army ascribed different motives to the deployment.

"After the latest movements of the peshmerga forces, the army is on alert," a high-ranking army officer said. "The army sees the move of the peshmerga as a (political) manoeuvre and not to fill any vacuum."

Kirkuk province and its eponymous capital, home to Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen, fall within the territory the autonomous Kurdistan region wants to incorporate, despite strong objections from the federal government in Baghdad.

Diplomats and officials say the territorial dispute between Baghdad and Kurdistan -- a three-province region with its own government, security forces, borders and flag but which still receives a portion of the federal budget -- is a major threat to Iraq's long-term stability.


Israel confirms it hit suspected Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007

Syrian rebels reach evacuation deal in Eastern Ghouta town

Abbas calls US ambassador to Israel 'son of a dog'

UN says Turkey security measures 'curtail human rights'

'Saudization' taking its toll on salesmen

UN launching final push to salvage Libya political agreement

Conditions for displaced from Syria's Ghouta 'tragic': UN

Sisi urges Egyptians to vote, denies excluding rivals

Rights Watch says Libya not ready for elections

Saudis revamp school curriculum to combat Muslim Brotherhood

American mother trapped in Syria’s Ghouta calls out Trump

Syria workers say French firm abandoned them to jihadists

Grim Nowruz for Kurds fleeing Afrin

Sarkozy back in custody for second day of questioning

Netanyahu says African migrants threaten Jewish majority

US Senate votes on involvement in Yemen war as Saudi prince visits

What a ‘limited strike’ against Syria’s Assad might mean

Natural gas in eastern Mediterranean fuels increasing tensions

Erdogan tells US to stop ‘deceiving’, start helping on Syria

IS controls Damascus district in surprise attack

French ex-president held over Libya financing allegations

NGO says Israeli army violating Palestinian minors’ rights

Human rights chief slams Security Council for inaction on Syria

US warns Turkey over civilians caught in Syria assault

Saudi crown prince keen to cement ties with US

Erdogan vows to expand Syria op to other Kurdish-held areas

Kurdish envoy accuses foreign powers of ignoring Turkish war crimes

Morocco authorities vow to close Jerada's abandoned mines

Israeli soldier sees manslaughter sentence slashed

Turkey insists no plans to remain in Afrin

Cairo voters show unwavering support for native son Sisi

Forum in Jordan explores new teaching techniques

Gaza Strip woes receive renewed attention but no fix is expected

Kurds, Syrian opposition condemn Afrin looting

36 jihadists killed in Egypt’s Sinai

Israel arrests French consulate worker for gun smuggling

Pro-Turkish forces loot Afrin

Israel prepares to demolish Jerusalem attacker's home

Saudi crown prince says his country to seek nuclear bomb if Iran does

Arab women artists in diaspora focus on identity and loss

Tunisia’s Central Bank targets inflation but may hurt growth prospects

Libya’s health system reflects a larger humanitarian crisis

Israel blasts Gaza underground tunnel

Abu Dhabi awards France's Total stakes in oil concessions

Erdogan says Afrin city centre under ‘total’ control