Celebrations in Kurdistan with the launch of the campaign «referendum independence»

An Iranian warning that the Kurds’ move would cause a “new crisis” in Iraq
Wednesday – 15 Dhu al-Hijjah 1438 H – 06 September 2017 AD Issue Number [14162]
Arbil – London: «Middle East»
The official media campaign for the referendum on the independence of Kurdistan, scheduled for September 25, kicked off in the city of Arbil, capital of the Kurdistan region, on Monday night.While the Independent High Commission for Elections and Referendum in Kurdistan called upon citizens, political parties, media institutions and civil organizations to abide by its instructions for a successful media campaign, Iran stepped up criticism of the Kurdish move and considered it the cause of a “new crisis” in Iraq.
Tens of thousands of Irbil residents gathered in the city’s park, near the historic citadel, to take part in the media campaign for the independence referendum, holding the flag of Kurdistan. On Monday night, at midnight, the campaign was announced in the presence of political leaders, intellectuals, activists, government and party officials and representatives of various national and religious components in the region in an atmosphere dominated by national Kurdish songs. B “Yes” to the referendum.

The representative of the Yazidi component of the Supreme Council for the referendum in Kurdistan, Sheikh Shamu, told Asharq Al-Awsat: “We are proud of the launch of the campaign to announce the referendum. The most important thing that the people of Kurdistan are proud of is the seriousness and determination of the Kurdistan political leadership to hold the referendum on time. This will be an incentive for the people who fought terrorism, and won it, to be determined to achieve his dream ».

“As a component of Yazidi, we continue to hold activities to motivate citizens to participate in the referendum, such as the mass rallies in Yazidi areas. “The Supreme Council for the Referendum in Kurdistan continues its efforts to unify the Kurdish House, activate the Kurdistan Parliament, solve the problems between the political parties, In addition to sending committees emanating from him out of Kurdistan to deliver the “voice of the people” of Kurdistan to the international community.

The celebration of the start of the media campaign for the referendum in Erbil continued until the early hours of the night, citizens decorated their cars with the knowledge of Kurdistan and slogans that urge participation in the process and vote yes for the establishment of the Kurdish state.

Sarbest Mohammed, a young Kurd from Duhok, barely 20 years later, stood with another group of his young peers in Erbil Park, covered his back with the knowledge of Kurdistan, and shouted at the top of his voice: “Yes to the Kurdish state.” He told Asharq Al-Awsat: I came with all the family to the city center to participate in this historic celebration. We will celebrate again, and from this place, the day of the declaration of the establishment of the state of Kurdistan ».

For his part, Kamran Farhad supported what his friend Sarbest said, and explained to Asharq Al-Awsat: “We chose the referendum, and through it we can only reach our goals in establishing the state. We hope that all of us will be one in order to reach this goal for which we sacrificed. For more than a hundred years ago, and call on the Arab world and the international community to support the state of Kurdistan because it will be a source of stability in the region ».

Omar Karim, from Mosul, who lives in Erbil for years, told Asharq Al-Awsat: “I am an Iraqi Arab citizen. I have lived here in Kurdistan for more than three years with my family. The situation here is the best. The territory opened to us in the worst conditions we were going through, and gave us power and care, and therefore we Arabs in Kurdistan support the referendum and independence and the establishment of the Kurdish state ». The Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum in Kurdistan issued a set of instructions for the media campaign, in particular the emphasis on not using public money, state institutions and places of worship, or raising slogans that lead to rivalry and conflict in the campaign ». “The media campaign for the referendum process has officially begun, and will continue until 12:00 midnight on September 22,” UNHCR spokesman Sherwan Zarar told Asharq Al-Awsat. We call upon all political parties, citizens, international and local media organizations and civil organizations to abide by our instructions in order to obtain a successful media campaign. “

Yesterday saw the cities of Kurdistan, and the Kurdistan regions outside the administration of the (disputed), the start of the media campaign for the referendum of independence, and participated citizens of different groups and segments and components in this campaign.

– Iran: Kurdish referendum crisis

In Tehran, Tasnim quoted the special assistant to the head of the Iranian Shura Council, in charge of international affairs, Hussein Amir Abdullahian, as saying that the referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan would lead to a new crisis. He said that during his meeting with the diplomatic advisor to French President Eric Chevallier, “The issue of holding a referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan will not be a solution to the problems, and there will be a new crisis in Iraq, especially as finding differences in Iraq will provide a new opportunity for terrorism.”

A new US general is leading the coalition against Da’ash

Journal September 5, 2017
Baghdad – Agencies


US General Paul Funk led the US-led international coalition against a pro-Iraqi organization in Iraq and Syria on Tuesday.
General Funk assumed command of the joint forces of Operation Solid Steel at a ceremony at a military base in the area, officials said in a statement. General Funk took over from General Stephen Townsend, who took command a year ago.
“The existence of a self-proclaimed organization is a threat to the civilized world and our way of life,” Funk said. “We have to defeat them, our joint efforts can defeat them.”
In a bid to establish a “caliphate”, the organization controlled many areas in Iraq and Syria in 2014, but the organization has suffered a series of defeats in recent months.

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Referendum rift unlikely to damage US-KRG tiesAuthor: Hamdi Malik 

IRAQ PULSE
An Iraqi Kurdish man decorates a car with a poster bearing the image of Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani and urging others to vote in the upcoming independence referendum, Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan, Aug. 30, 2017. (photo by SAFIN HAMED/AFP/Getty Images)

Posted September 5, 2017
The United States has been trying to prevent the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) from holding a referendum on its independence, with Washington using its substantial support to the peshmerga forces as leverage against the KRG to stop the plebiscite scheduled for late this month. However, the strong alliance between the two sides will likely prevent any further escalation during this period.
Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon told TV channel Al-Hurra Aug. 17 that the United States intended to suspend financial aid to the KRG peshmerga forces. Quoting the US Defense Department, Al-Hurra reported, “Hundreds of millions of dollars have been handed over to the Peshmerga Ministry since 2014 in batches. The Pentagon will no longer provide funds to the Ministry of Peshmerga.”
High-level sources in the US Defense Department, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that these threats to suspend aid were a direct result of the announced referendum on the independence of the Kurdistan Region scheduled to be held on Sept. 25.
The United States has contributed to the restructuring and modernization of the Kurdish peshmerga forces in recent years and has helped them at the level of arming and training, as well as paying part of their salaries.
The United States could use the aid card as leverage against the Kurdish parties that are in dire need of such support, especially in light of the severe financial crisis that has plagued the Kurdistan Region since 2014. In June, the US Congress threatened to cut off funds to peshmerga forces should the KRG carry on with the referendum process. 
Things did not stop at this point. On Aug. 22, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis visited the Kurdistan Region to reiterate his country’s dissatisfaction with the referendum. In his meeting with Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani, Mattis said the announcement of the referendum last June was “not expected,” according to a statement by the region’s presidency.
Peshmerga Secretary-General Jabbar Yawar denied reports on the US aid cut to the KRG. “There is no indication that the United States is going to cut its aid to the peshmerga forces,” Yawar said in an Aug. 17 statement. He added that the US administration “continues to provide the peshmerga with weapons, experts and trainers, in their war against terror.”
Previously, US Ambassador to Iraq Douglas Silliman had confirmed during his meeting with Barzani on July 28 that US aid to the peshmerga forces would continue.
This confusion is due to the fact that the Kurdish forces are considered to be one of America’s most important allies in its war against the Islamic State (IS). Despite the desire of the United States to postpone the issue of independence, at least for the time being, it does not want to give up this important ally in the region.
“Both sides have leverage, but the United States, with its superior capabilities and resources, has more. It already cut military cooperation to the KRG briefly last spring, when the KDP [Kurdistan Democratic Party] blocked US military assistance to the YPG [People’s Protection Units] in northern Syria. Within less than two days and after hurried high-level meetings, the KDP reversed course,” Joost Hiltermann, the MENA program director for the International Crisis Group, told Al-Monitor.
Hiltermann added, “But the United States will have to use this leverage judiciously as it cannot afford to lose the KRG/KDP as an ally either.”
The United States is well aware that the independence of the Kurdistan Region will open the door to conflicts between the region and the central government in Baghdad, providing an opportunity for armed groups to be active in the stateless areas caused by these conflicts. In the past, IS and al-Qaeda took advantage of the security vacuum in the disputed areas to move there more freely.
On the other hand, the Kurdistan Region banks on its strategic alliance with the United States, not only in the face of jihadi armed groups but against Iranian expansion. The KRG has become increasingly important as a US military ally under President Donald Trump’s policy of curbing Iranian influence in the region.
Ranj Alaaldin, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, told Al-Monitor, “Withdrawing military support for the Kurds damages the broader anti-[IS] coalition, while also emboldening America’s enemies. This would make little sense at a time when the current administration is keen to ramp up pressure on Iran and its proxies.”
He added, “If anything, the current administration seems reluctant to repeat the mistakes of the past that saw Iran fill the gap left by the United States after it withdrew from Iraq.”
Moreover, the United States does not favor changing the maps of countries in the Middle East as this poses a threat to the political order in the region.
“It has been a consistent US policy not to support any change to the post-WWI borders in the Middle East. The United States — and most other states — believe that if you change one border, you open a Pandora’s box,” Hiltermann said.
It seems that the lack of enthusiasm to support the independence of regions within countries is not limited to the Middle East. Many countries around the world face demands from some regions for independence, leading to their reluctance to support any independence projects, as that may establish a precedent that threatens their territorial integrity.
The United States will continue to leverage against the holding of the KRG referendum, despite the KDP’s insistence on conducting it. However, both sides are likely to maintain good relations because of their strong alliance and given the fact that independence is not guaranteed immediately after the holding of such referendum.
 

HAMDI MALIK

Contributor, Iraq Pulse

Hamdi Malik is a doctoral student in sociology at Keele University, United Kingdom, and a researcher at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies in London. He has published a number of articles on Iraqi affairs.

Al-monitor.com

Union “resolves” the subject of the Parliament of Kurdistan after the rejection of change

 Twilight News    

 10 minutes ago


The news of the political bureau of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, on Wednesday, a meeting to discuss a number of topics “sensitive” that concern the internal situation of the Kurdistan Region, led by the issue of activation of the Parliament of Kurdistan.
According to the sites of the National Union, and followed by the twilight news, that is scheduled to meet the Political Bureau of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan on Wednesday, to discuss the issues of the referendum and the activation of the Parliament of Kurdistan and the parliamentary elections and the presidency of the region.
According to the information, the meeting will discuss the issue of resolving the situation of the activation of the Parliament of Kurdistan without the participation of the Movement for Change, as the Union refuses to activate because of the unwillingness of change to attend the parliament so far.
“The joint leadership of the two sides presented today the light of the existing problems to the National Union, so the Union is expected to make a number of decisions on this issue tomorrow,” the information quoted an unnamed leader as saying.
The joint leadership of the Union and change had held a meeting today, but without reaching any result, despite previous speculation that a decision could be reached to activate the parliament of Kurdistan.

http://www.shafaaq.com/ar/Ar_NewsReader/2c750663-26df-4253-8b81-e03d8e556c1f

Badr attacks Barzani: Without the Americans, the Kurds would have been in the news

Journal September 5, 2017


Baghdad – Journal News
The response of the Turkmen leadership for the Badr Organization Muhammad Mahdi al-Bayati, on the statements of the President of the Kurdistan region (outgoing), Massoud Barzani, on Kirkuk, while stressing that Kirkuk was not one day Kurdish throughout history. 

“The province of Kirkuk has not been Kurdish for one day throughout history,” Badr official Mohammed al-Bayati said in a statement on Tuesday. “If the Americans did not help and support them, the Kurds would have been in Kirkuk.”
“Those who have kept silent about this fact,” al-Bayati said, “are a betrayal of the history of Kirkuk for their ignorance of this history.”
The head of the Kurdistan region (outgoing), Massoud Barzani, confirmed in an interview a few days ago that the region is ready to negotiate with Baghdad after the referendum on the border, including Kirkuk, while noting that Kirkuk is a Kurdish city and its identity as a Kurdistan, stressed that the people of Kurdistan ready to die In order to defend Kirkuk.

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Exclusive: Abdel Wahab al-Saadi named as commander of Hawija operations

 

September 05 2017 05:30 PM
Abdel Wahab al-Saadi
Abdel Wahab al-Saadi

Lt. Gen. Abdel Wahab al-Saadi has been nominated as commander of Hawija liberation operations, sources told The Baghdad Post on Tuesday.

Currently, necessary preparations are under way to recapture Hawija city of Kirkuk Governorate from the terrorist group.

On Sunday, sources revealed that ISIS terrorists were massively withdrawing from their stationing points in the city.

This comes after War Media Cell said on Saturday that additional federal police forces left Baghdad heading towards Hawija.

http://www.thebaghdadpost.com/en/story/16536/Exclusive-Abdel-Wahab-al-Saadi-named-as-commander-of-Hawija-operations

Barzani: My mission will end when I achieve independence for my people

 

Kurdistan
By Ziad al-Haidari 8 minutes ago
البارزاني: ستنتهي مهمتي حينما أحقق الاستقلال لشعبي
Barzani: My mission will end when I achieve independence for my people

RODAO – Agencies

The President of the Kurdistan Region, Massoud Barzani, that his mission will end when he can achieve independence for the people of Kurdistan.

This came in an interview with Al Arabiya channel, which will be presented next Thursday, at 7 pm Saudi time, Barzani pointed out that “was agreed with the Iraqi parties to form a democratic, federal and democratic state, and now we live in the shadow of a religious and sectarian state “He said.

He added, “We have made great efforts to not reach the decision of the referendum, and those who ask us to postpone, we asked them and told them to give us the alternative.”

The President of the Kurdistan Region during the interview, “My goal is to achieve independence for my people and when this is done, my mission ends.”

The Kurdistan region intends to hold a referendum to prepare for their independence from Iraq on September 25. And will involve most of the citizens of the Kurdistan Region, including Turkmen, Christians and other communities and will also participate citizens of the Diaspora.

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