Kurdish forces threaten to cut ties with Iraqi military

Kurdish forces threaten to cut ties with Iraqi military

2 min read
24 July, 2016
Peshmerga Forces have threatened to end co-operation with the Iraqi federal military, as both sides prepare to recapture the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants.
Relations between Baghdad and the Kurds have long been marred [Getty]
Peshmerga Forces have threatened to end co-operation with the Iraqi federal military, as both sides prepare to recapture the city of Mosul from the Islamic State group [IS].

The Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs said on Saturday that its troops are not "not for rent" and should be treated appropriately.

A statement obtained by The New Arab said Peshmerga Forces would stop co-ordinating with the Iraqi military "if we feel there is unfitting treatment towards the bravery of the Peshmerga and its great sacrifices."

"We announce to every faction that the Peshmerga's weapons are not for rent… if some people in Baghdad think that Peshmerga weapons are for rent and that we are dependent on their permission, they are wrong," it said bluntly.

This month, the United States and the Kurdistan Autonomous Region signed a deal to provide more military and financial support to the Peshmerga Forces fighting to recapture Mosul.

The statement also said that Peshmerga forces will not withdraw from areas they have recaptured from IS over the past two years around the extremist-held city of Mosul, which lies south of the Kurdistan Autonomous Region.

"The withdrawal is just from Mosul city."

     
       

The recapture of Mosul poses a serious political challenge.

The city is near the fracture line between Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region and the Arab centre, a point of tension between the local anti-IS forces.

Both federal and Kurdish forces have battled the militants, fighting largely independent wars.

But that will need to change for Mosul, with Kurdish forces deployed north, west and east of the city, federal soldiers pushing up from the south, and both expected to play significant roles in the campaign.

Relations between Baghdad and the Kurds have long been marred by a series of disputes over money, oil and territory, and Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani has called for a referendum on the region's independence.

This week, Iraqi officers said that Kurdish security forces detained and tortured several soldiers, an event that will likely further undermine trust between the two sides when cooperation against IS is needed.