Iraq renews ties to Kurdish Peshmerga after re-emergence of ISIS

by WorldTribune Staff, April 5, 2018

Islamic State (ISIS) has re-emerged in Iraq in the absence of the Kurdish Peshmerga, prompting the Iraqi military to renew ties to the fighters who were a key factor in dismantling the terror group’s Iraqi “caliphate.”

Kurdistan 24 reported that “cooperation between the Kurdish Peshmerga and Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) is being renewed.”

The Kurdish Peshmerga has been a key force in the fight against ISIS in Iraq.

Sources told Kurdistan 24 that “The U.S.-led coalition is urging the formation of a joint task force between the Peshmerga and Iraqi forces. The animosity associated with Baghdad’s attack on Kirkuk last October appears to be giving way to a pragmatic recognition that cooperation is necessary to prevent a common foe from returning.”

Iraq’s government and the Kurds in the country’s north had a falling out in October 2017 when the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) voted in favor of independence from Baghdad. The U.S. also opposed the independence referendum.

Meanwhile, ISIS has increased attacks in Iraq in recent months, according to a report in Geostrategy-Direct.com’s April 3 edition.

On March 22, ISIS jihadists attacked the Alas oil field in the Salah al-Din Province and an oil pipeline in northern Iraq, the report said.

At about the same time, ISIS terrorists killed five members of the Iraqi security forces north of Mosul in the Nineveh Province and killed and wounded ten Hashd al-Shaabi fighters near Tuz Khurmatu, south of the city of Kirkuk in northern Iraq.

“ISIS’s proto-state no longer exists. Their flag doesn’t fly over Iraqi territory,” Fareed Yasseen, the Iraqi ambassador to the United States, told Foreign Policy. “But that doesn’t mean they’ve disappeared. They are reverting to old tactics used by Al Qaida before 2014.”

Iraqi Kurdistan Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani recently indicated the Kurds are ready “to cooperate and coordinate” with the U.S.-led coalition, especially “where the threat of terrorism remains.”

U.S.-led coalition spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon told Kurdistan 24 that “Continued pressure from security forces – both ISF and Peshmerga – is necessary to prevent an [ISIS] resurgence. Iraqi security forces and Peshmerga have proven they can overwhelm [ISIS] when they cooperate together and share information.”

Baghdad has acknowledged that it is repairing its relations with the KRG.

“We are creating security cells under the leadership of the federal government’s Counter Terrorism Forces with the participation of security forces from the Kurdistan Region to fill the security vacuum,” Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said last month.

On April 3, KRG representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman said the Iraqi Kurds will require the assistance of the U.S. to keep fighting ISIS.

“We need you to stay the course in Iraq and help our society to recover from the most recent trauma that we faced,” Rahman said during a panel discussion hosted by the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP).


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