We are on the verge of a new civil war in Iraq between the Kurds and Baghdad’s authority, which is dominated by Shiite parties. The sectarian part of the war will be between the Kurdish Peshmerga and the Popular Mobilization while on another hand it will be between the Iraqi army forces and Kurdistan’s army.
The line of fire, which may spark clashes, is the Kirkuk front, the Iraqi city known for its petroleum and mixed identity as the Kurds insist that it is Kurdish and belongs to the Kurdistan region.
Baghdad is using the constitution as a pretext to confirm that the Kurds, led by Masoud Barzani, violated the constitution and created a de facto power base. Baghdad concluded that the independence referendum is worthless and unconstitutional.
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Baghdad has Arab and Islamic regional and international support while Erbil stands alone due to Barzani’s stubborn decision to hold the referendum. What’s interesting though is the argument brought up by the Iraqi authority regarding the Kirkuk battle.
The Iraqi authority reproached the Kurds, and we wish it reproached them for something shameful! They said Erbil resorted to foreign fighters from the Kurdistan’s Workers Party and this, according to the Ministerial Council for National Security’s statement, amounts to “dragging the country to domestic fighting to achieve the aim of fragmenting Iraq and the region to establish a state on ethnic basis.” Baghdad’s statement also accused Iraq’s Kurds of “seeking to make demographic changes.”
Baghdad has Arab and Islamic regional and international support while Erbil stands alone due to Barzani’s firm decision to hold the referendumMashari Althaydi
The Iraqi Kurds
How are the Iraqi Kurds supposed to respond to these accusations? An official of the Kurdistan Region Security Council said the Popular Mobilization forces who stand at the gates of Kirkuk and threaten the Peshmerga consist of Shiite factions supported by Iran.
The right thing to do here is to look into what led to the current disastrous situation instead of standing still at the present moment! Yes, Baghdad’s government is right about wanting to maintain the constitution and protect Iraq’s unity and it is right about rejecting the Iraqi Kurds’ move of seeking the help of an armed Kurdish-Turkish group –Erbil of course denies this accusation.
However what about the philosophy and doctrine of the so-called Popular Mobilization in Iraq? Who are they? Where do they derive their ideology from and who trains them? What about Qais Khazali, Aws al-Khafaji, Hadi Al-Amiri and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis?
What is the nature of the link between the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and the Quds Brigade, under Qassem Soleimani’s command, to these militant formations? What about protecting the sense of Iraqi patriotism that is not flavored with sectarian chants? This is the point and this is what led the Kurds to say what they said and do what they did.
IRIB reported that Revolutionary Guard Major General Abdullah Khosrawi died in Syria on Saturday after going there “to defend the shrines of Ahl al-Bayt.”
This article is also available in Arabic.
Saudi journalist Mashari Althaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Althaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists. He tweets under @MAlthaydy.