A senior Kurdish official visited Baghdad to discuss Iraqi Army (IA) deployments to the so-called disputed territories. Mohammed Ihsan, minister of “territories outside the region affairs” said he met the defense minister and other senior officers to discuss Iraqi Army movements in Makhmour.
According to Ihsan, an IA brigade was to be redeployed from Diyala province to Makhmour, southeast of Mosul. The Kurdish official described the planned deployment as “unnecessary because Makhmour is safe area. No terrorist activity, comparable to other regions, exists there”. He went on to say that there needs to be coordination between Baghdad and Irbil regarding military movements in disputed territories; otherwise “such movements would be seen as provocations”. Despite the obvious anxiety, the Kurdish official says an understanding was reached with Baghdad, “The minister of defense understood the situation and took steps to resolve the issue…we agreed on a mechanism for coordination among the main parties that exist in those regions”.
For more details on the confrontation in Makhmour, I recommend this article from the Washington Post.
PM Nouri al-Maliki has adopted a more belligerent stance in dealing with the issue of “disputed territories”. He seems to be emboldened by the growing sense of unity among Sunni and Shiite Arabs in the face of Kurdish ambitions in areas outside the three provinces; Irbil, Duhok and Sulaymaniah.
Both Arab and Kurdish keep saying that these problems must be solved by adhering to what the constitution says. Beautiful! If negotiations, compromises and the law are sufficient to avert catastrophe, that would be great. My only concern is that for more than eighty years, armed conflict has been the state of affairs between Baghdad and the Kurds. It was only constant U.S. intervention since 1991 that produced the current state of peace. It will be a huge challenge for Arab and Kurdish leaders to perpetuate this peace when the American peacemaker leaves.
*For an approximate map of Kurdistan and disputed territories click here.