NINEVEH, TA’MIM, DIYALA GOVERNORATES, Iraq (October 17, 2017) – After the Kurdistan Region fails to comply with the ultimatum implemented by the Iraqi Parliament and Ministry of Interior, the Iraqi Army and its allies retake massive areas of largely disputed areas between the two regions.
An offensive beginning nearly three days ago, the Iraqi Armed Forces, along with allies such as the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) as well as other militias, were given orders to enter disputed territories between the Kurdistan Region and the Iraqi State. The territories have been informally contested since the fall of the previous regime in 2003 but only in 2014 when the Iraqi Armed Forces fled several parts of Northern Iraq did the split become more formal, with Kurdish units such as the Peshmerga stepping up to take lands left behind such as the widely known city of Kirkuk.
Following the Iraqi Armed Forces, Iraqi Federal Police, and other allied militias regaining control of the vital cities of Tal Afar, Mosul, and Hawija, the Iraqi state was able to mobilize freely against the Kurdistan Region without having possible issues such as the presence of ISIS. The goal of such operations, as stated by Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi to parliament, is to: “…impose our federal authority all over Iraq, including the Kurdistan region, as per the power of the constitution and law”.
Iraqi Loyalist elements were easily able to take the areas of Kanaqin, Jalawla, Tuz Khormato, Daquq, Tabuz Awah, Kirkuk City and its outskirts, Dibis, Gwer and its outskirts, Bashiqah, Tall Asqaf and surrounding areas, Shingal (Known as Sinjar), Rabia border crossing, and massive numbers of villages. The Iraqi Armed Forces and the PMU also begin removing earth berms on the outskirts of these towns which indicate the formal borders of the Kurdistan Region, signifying that the Iraqi Army in most probability will not stop the offensive this early.
The widely known Peshmerga of Kurdistan quickly withdrew from all the aforementioned cities without major fighting, leaving a vacuum to which the Iraqi Army seized the opportunity of. These withdrawals, according to President of Kurdistan Masoud Barzani, “was the result of unilateral decisions of some persons within a certain internal political party of Kurdistan, which eventually led to the withdrawal of the Peshmerga forces, as was seen….We are assuring the people of Kurdistan that we are doing our utmost to preserve our achievements and the security and comfort of all people”.
“The referendum is now over, and has become history,” says Abadi, although such claims may appear to be too early. With the SDF recently liberating the ISIS capital of Raqqa and a decreasing frontline against ISIS, a counterattack in some form is definitely a possibility in the ongoing controversial developments.
To return to the map, click here.