Baghdad and the region face a common enemy after years of isolation

Shafaq News / The political openness between Erbil and Baghdad resulted in effective military coordination for the first time in years between the Iraqi army and the Peshmerga forces to confront the cells of ISIS gangs that penetrated in some areas between the Iraqi provinces and the region, benefiting from the absence of security and the distance between the two capitals politically before the government of Mustafa Al-Kazemi . 

Each side walked one step towards the other to achieve this fruitful encounter. From the support of the Kurds in the Iraqi parliament to the nomination of Al-Kazemi to head the government, to the political and military delegations that went from Arbil to Baghdad to enhance coordination and arrangement of interests, to the visit of the President of the region Nechirvan Barzani last June to Baghdad to meet Al-Kazemi, and their agreement according to the official statement issued at the time on the importance National cooperation and solidarity in order to overcome the current challenges, and their agreement that the challenges facing Iraq require the cooperation of all to address them and cross the country towards the correct path that it is moving forward, in order to build a safe, stable and united Iraq.

Two days later, the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Masroor Barzani, announced on June 22 that his government was ready to resolve the differences “radically” with Baghdad, which constituted an additional dose of support for Al-Kazemi days after his election. 

And this clear political understanding had to begin to appear in the field, because the intervening phase between the last months of the era of Adel Abdul Mahdi’s government and the formation of Al-Kazemi’s government, ISIS gangs were recording an escalation in their operations and attacks, taking advantage of the security voids left by the lack of cooperation between the Iraqi forces and the Peshmerga Especially in the border areas of the region. 

Security statistics and estimates showed that the number of attacks increased dramatically, as did the number of civilian ISC victims in cities, villages, and farms located on the borders of the so-called disputed areas. In the field, it appears that ISIS has exploited the area free from any military presence of the Iraqi and Peshmerga forces, which extends to a depth of 10 kilometers in some areas within the boundaries between the region and the provinces of Diyala (east), Kirkuk and Nineveh (north). 

If it is necessary to work. Consequently, the participation of the peshmerga forces charged according to the Iraqi constitution to protect the borders of the region, in the joint military operation with the federal forces, comes in a logical and natural context, and it is indispensable, and it mainly culminated in long weeks of negotiations and coordination between the Iraqi Ministry of Defense and the Peshmerga, with the aim of forming Joint focal points to address the remnants of ISIS, which attack safe civilians and security forces. 

Deputy Representative of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, Dylan Ghaffour, told Shafaq News, about a move to form a joint operations room between the Iraqi security and the Peshmerga, explaining that “the Peshmerga forces are within the military and security system in Iraq, and at what time the Iraqi government needs to be present or move to these forces, then they It will be present, especially in areas where security tensions are present without hesitation. ” 

In fact, on July 13, the counter-terrorism apparatus of the Iraqi army announced a high-level security and intelligence coordination between its forces and the Peshmerga forces during the fourth stage of the current campaign called “Heroes of Iraq” to pursue ISIS in Diyala Governorate. 

The first stages of the “Heroes of Iraq” campaign began in February, that is, during the era of the Abdul Mahdi government, after ISIS attacks escalated in the areas between Kirkuk, Salah al-Din (north) and Diyala (east), known as the “Triangle of Death”. 

But it is the first time now, that is, in the fourth stage that coordinates in the Iraqi army with the Peshmerga forces since the relations between Erbil and Baghdad were strained in 2017 in the wake of the independence referendum in the Kurdistan Region.

The Iraqi counter-terrorism agency announced in a statement received to Shafaq News that the Operation Heroes of Iraq in its fourth phase witnessed high intelligence security cooperation and coordination between the forces of the anti-terrorism and anti-terrorist forces in the Kurdistan Region while tracking the remnants of ISIS in Diyala province, noting “This coordination came Within the new strategy of the anti-terrorist agency, it is necessary to unify the security effort in order to tighten the screws on ISIS gangs and facilitate the process of monitoring and tracking them. ” 

It is evident that without this coordination, it would not have had impressive results, as ISIS gangs have shown remarkable success since the announcement of their defeat three years ago, in infiltrating safe havens, security voids, covering up behind the civilian population, recruiting young men, organizing their various networks of surveillance, collecting information, and terrorizing the population, Down to the implementation of the attacks. 

Therefore, it was easy for these gangs to redeploy and hide if the military operations against them were taking place on one side of the border, while joint action would reduce the areas of withdrawal and hiding available to them, and it would serve as a military pincer applied to their hiding places. 

And the Iraqi army announced last Saturday, the launching of “Heroes of Iraq / Fourth Stage” operations on the border strip with Iran in areas separating the federal forces and the Peshmerga. To stress the importance of the operation, Al-Kazemi visited one of the military operations sites in Diyala.

“The operations of the heroes of Iraq / the fourth stage were launched, to pursue the remnants of terrorism and impose security and stability in Diyala province, with the clearing and inspection of the border strip with the Islamic Republic of Iran and entry into special operations Among the areas that ISIS has exploited to exist and carry out its terrorist operations are the areas separating the federal forces and the Peshmerga forces. 

Al-Shammari emphasized that these operations were launched “under the direction of the Prime Minister and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, under the supervision of the Joint Operations Command,” adding that “at this stage, they target a wide area estimated at 17,685 km2 and involve forces from the (Ground Forces Command, Diyala Operations Command, Operations Command Salah al-Din, Samarra Operations Command, Federal Police Forces Command, Rapid Response Forces, Popular Mobilization Forces, two special forces brigades, Eighth Brigade, Border Force, Counterterrorism Agency / Second Special Operations Command, Anti-Terrorist Regiment from Sulaimaniyah, Diyala Governorate Police Command, With the support of the army, air force and international coalition aircraft. 

The Joint Operations Command stated in a statement that “the rapid reaction forces and the popular crowd entered the border (Mandali and Munthiriya) border crossings and imposed full control and inspection of them,” noting that “elite forces are allocated to their permanent possession to combat and eliminate corruption, apply measures smoothly and according to the law, and impose prestige Country”. 

In a parallel context, the representative of Diyala Province, Sherko Mirwais, told Shafaq News, “While we welcome and support the operations of the fourth Iraqi heroes in the outskirts of the Khanaqin, Tuz, Amerli, and Nineveh regions, however, the threat of ISIS still exists due to the security voids in the disputed areas that extend from The Nineveh borders are to the outskirts of Diyala, which are still sanctuaries and hotbeds of ISIS. ” 

Mirwais considered that “unilateral security operations are futile and require security and intelligence coordination between the Peshmerga and the Iraqi army to end the presence of incubators and terrorist nests in most of the disputed areas that are still suffering from security tension and ongoing terrorist operations.” 

In conclusion, the imminent threat posed by ISIS to the lives of the population in the region and the rest of the Iraqi provinces requires an attack such as the “heroes of Iraq” process, but rather to serial operations like this, as long as it is carried out in high-level coordination between Erbil and Baghdad because it brings more important fruits, and is supposed to constitute A positive example of the rapprochement between the two parties can reap successes, beyond politics, to economy and security, and the livelihood of all of Iraq’s components.

But it is also important to pay attention to the inevitable fact that ISIS gangs, despite cutting many of their external arteries, do not only feed on the elements of their internal strength, and still derive much of it from their regional surroundings, a factor that the Iraqi forces and peshmerga can only Take it into account in any other joint military action in the future.



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