Falih al-Fayyadh, the Chairman of the Popular Mobilization Committee –the leadership body of the Popular Mobilization Forces (Hashd al-Sha’bi)– said today that the events of 16 October 2017, when forces of the Federal Government retook Iraq’s disputed territories from Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) by force, was due to the independence referendum held by the KRG.
He also urged all the religious and ethnic components of Iraq to unite in expelling foreign forces from Iraq.
al-Fayyad’s made those statements in a speech at a special ceremony held today (10 January 2021) in Kirkuk commemorating the killing of Qasim Solaymani, the commander of the Iranian Quds Force, and abu-Mahdi al-Muhandis, al-Fayyadhs own deputy.
“It is true that ISIS brought war and trouble upon Iraq, but on the other hand, it led to all Iraqi forces, the Peshmerga, Army and Hashd to unite against them, as we have seen in liberating Mosul. Those forces fought that group together without thinking of any religious or ethnic ideologies,” al-Fayyadh said.
“But we were faced with a situation that brought the events of 16 October 2017. And that was because some people in Erbil decided to hold a referendum and the situation ended up like that.”
On 25 September 2017, the KRG held a referendum in the Kurdistan Region and the disputed territories, including Kirkuk, but in less than a month, on 16 October, military forces of the Federal Government staged and assault on KRG’s Peshmerga forces, expelling them from the disputed areas and ending KRG’s rule there.
“All of us have learned a lesson from those events, which is that we must focus on things that unite us not the things that divide us.”
al-Fayyadh’s visit to Kirkuk came less than 48 hours after being sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department.
“For Iraq to remain stable, all the ethnic groups and political parties must unite in expelling all the foreign forces, and that in accordance with parliamentary decisions.”
For Iraq to remain stable, all the ethnic groups and political parties must unite in expelling all the foreign forces
After the killing of Qasim Solaymani in 2020, the Iraqi Parliament voted on expelling all foreign forces from Iraq.
Qasim Solaymani and abu-Mahdi al-Muhandis were killed in an American airstrike on 3 January 2020.