"Security of Kirkuk is a red-line"

Kirkuk, January 19, 2022: the office of the second deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Shakhwan Abdullah, in RahimAwa neighborhood. Karwan Al-Salihi

By KirkukNow in Kirkuk

The head of the Turkmen bloc in the Iraqi parliament demanded not to make Kirkuk an arena for political conflict between the conflicting forces in the talks to form the next Iraqi government, following the explosion targeted the office of the second deputy speaker of the House of Representatives in Kirkuk on Wednesday evening.

Kirkuk Now correspondent in Kirkuk province, said a bomb was thrown by unidentified people into the courtyard of the office of Shakahwan Abdullah, the second deputy of Iraqi parliament speaker, a leader of Kurdistan Democratic Party KDP in Kirkuk, around 8 pm.

KirkukNow reporter, who went to the scene of the explosion, confirmed that the damage was only material and no human losses, while the security forces immediately launched investigations yet the results of which were not released.

Following the election of Iraqi parliament presidency in a consensus among a new Shiite-Sunni Arab- Kurdish alliance, violence acts have surged following January 9th session of Iraqi parliament.

The new allies have nominated Muhammed Al-Halbousi for the second term as Iraqi parliament speaker, head of Sunni-Arab Taqadum-Azim bloc which has earned about seventy seats of Iraqi parliament.

The sadrist bloc Sairoun, Marching Forward, led by Shiite Clreic Muqtada al-Sadir have nominated Hakim al-Zamili as first deputy speaker, in a step defiant of Shiite Corrdinative Framekwork, an umbrella for pro Iran groups led by Hadi Amiri, Nouri Maliki, Qais Kahza'Ii and others.

KDP candidate Shakhawan Abdullah earned the second deputy speaker, leaving the new three partners a target for criticism by the Coordinative framework, an umbrella for Shiite parties supported by Shiite paramilitary Popular Mobilization Forces PMF, which is pushing hard to be part of the new government, a matter rejected by Sadr who calls for “majority cabinet.”

Last week, grenades were thrown at offices belonging to Sunni Muslim and Iraqi Kurdish political parties in Baghdad. On Sunday, grenades were lobbed at two Kurdish-owned banks in the capital. Ahead of that, KDP office in Baghdad was targeted by a bomb yet no casualties reported.

Kirkuk, Iraq’s second largest reserves, located 238 kilometers north of Baghdad, is an ethnically mixed province for 1,7 million Kurds, Arabs, and Turkmens. It has long been at the center of disputes between Baghdad and the Erbil.

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Kirkuk, January 2022: Arshad al-Salihi, head of the Turkmen Bloc in the Iraqi Parliament. Salihi’s media office

The deputy speaker was defiant of the explosion and urged security forces for tighter procedures.

"The cowardly terrorists targeting our office in Kirkuk will not discourage our national resolve and work within the legislative institution to serve the citizens," Abdullah said.

At the same time, a statement issued by his media office called on Kirkuk security services to pursue terrorists and sleeper cells, address violations, and mount the intelligence effort.

Arshad Al-Salihi, head of the Turkmen bloc in the Iraqi parliament, stressed in a statement, a copy received by KirkukNow, that "the security of Kirkuk is a red line that cannot be crossed, and the opportunity must be missed for anyone who seeks to undermine the security and stability that the people of Kirkuk enjoy, and it is among the gains of the law enforcement plan."

“Some opposition political parties headed to court against election results and a cabinet for majority which we have not objected as long as it is legal and constitutional… It is not logical for a politician to resort to violence if he does not get what he wants. Politics is a day for you and a day against you,” said the leader of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, in a tweet on Wednesday, a message to those targets of the headquarters of the parties loyal to the majority government.

Last week, the Supreme Federal Court has suspended the Iraqi parliament presidency based on lawsuits filed by two Iraqi MPs objecting to the legitimacy of the first session of Iraqi parliament where the presidency was elected.

On Wednesday, the federal court has adjourned the case of Iraqi parliament presidency to January 25th.

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