Security vacuum necessitates revival of joint operation room in Iraq's disputed territories

A soldier of the 2nd Brigade of Peshmerga forces standing near an observation point on a hilltop. Photo from Peshmerga Ministry website

Soran Mohammed - Kirkuk

The security vacuum created in the disputed areas has compelled the Iraqi MInistry of Defense and Kurdistan Region Government’s Peshmerga Ministry to start a new round of negotiations on the areas’ security.

A high-level meeting with the two ministries was held on 2 June 2020 and discussed the security conditions of the disputed areas in the provinces of Kirkuk, Nineveh, Diyala and Salahuddin.

Jabar Yawar, Secretary General of the Peshmerga Ministry, who took part in the talks, told KirkukNow that “the meeting was about the security issue in the disputed areas. We discussed mutual cooperation to fill the security vacuum that has been created there.”

“There was agreement on many aspects. It has been decided for the discussions to continue and a date has been set for another meeting next week.”

The two sides agreed on the importance for a joint operation room to exist for oversight and cooperation in the disputed areas.

“The operation room will be located at the areas where a security vacuum exists. The necessity to set up checkpoints jointly manned by Peshmerga and Iraqi forces was also discussed.”

Such meetings have been ongoing since the events of 16 October 2017 (when Iraqi forces took control of Kirkuk and other disputed areas after KRG held a referendum on independence of Kurdistan Region of Iraq). But those meetings have so far been fruitless.

According to the Iraqi Constitution, forces under direct command of the central government in Baghdad and those under KRG command are allowed to jointly oversee security in the disputed areas. But KRG’s Peshmerga forces have no presence there since 16 October 2017.

Security in some disputed areas is in dire conditions, as unknown militants often attack security forces and civilians.

  • FB
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • YT