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Iraq: KRG putting PKK in Kirkuk a 'declaration of war'

Presence of PKK terrorists in Kirkuk, a disputed area, is 'declaration of war' against non-Kurdish Iraqis, says Baghdad

15.10.2017
Iraq: KRG putting PKK in Kirkuk a 'declaration of war'

By Haydar Hadi

BAGHDAD

Amid mounting tensions between both sides, Iraq on Sunday accused the northern Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) of crossing a line by putting PKK terrorists in Kirkuk, calling this “a declaration of war.”

Kirkuk is a longtime disputed area between the KRG and Iraq’s central government in Baghdad.

In a statement, Iraq’s National Security Council warned the KRG about having armed groups outside the legal security mechanism.

Iraq cannot remain silent to two major KRG Kurdish political parties -- the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) and the PUK -- moving to bring PKK terrorists into Kirkuk, it said.

"This is a declaration of war against other [non-Kurdish] Iraqis and legal security forces,” it added.

The council also cited other grounds for criticizing the KRG’s military move.


Illegitimate poll

In June 2014, the Kurdish Peshmerga forces moved onto a number of strategic positions in Kirkuk when the Daesh terrorist group swept through northern Iraq and the army collapsed.

Tension has been on the rise between Erbil and Baghdad since last month when the KRG held an illegitimate referendum on the independence of the Kurdish region.

The Sept. 25 illegitimate poll was strongly opposed by most regional and international actors -- including the U.S., Turkey, and Iran -- who warned that it would distract from Iraq’s fight against terrorism and further destabilize the region.

The Iraqi parliament has approved a set of measures against the Kurdish region, including the deployment of federal forces in disputed areas, including Kirkuk.

The PKK is classified as a terrorist group by Turkey, the UN, and EU, among others.

For more than 30 years, the PKK has waged a terror campaign against Turkey leading to the deaths of more than 40,000 people -- security forces and civilians alike -- including more than 1,200 since July 2015 alone.

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