A Turkmen militia has formed
against Kurdish control of Kirkuk:
Wearing a flak jacket with a pistol on his hip, the president of the
Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF), Arshad Salihi, announced yesterday the
mobilisation of a new Turkmen militia in the city of Kirkuk, saying that
if the Kurdish Peshmerga forces "refuse to return Kirkuk [to the Iraqi
government] we will fight back"...
Yousif Mohammed Sadiq, the parliamentary speaker of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), said
that the KRG has no plans to hand back control of Kirkuk, a city which
has long been at the centre of disputes between the KRG and Baghdad.
Kirkuk has been extremely important to the Kurds both culturally and
economically. It is a mixed city with Kurdish, Arab, Turkmen and
Assyrian populations and is frequently subject to attacks on the
security forces and civilians carried out by militants aligned with
al-Qaeda. Large oil reserves in the region of Kirkuk are a major factor
in the dispute over control of the city.
(Sadiq) went on to clarify that he was referring to the KRG framing his response in belligerent terms.
"If they try to impose something that we do not accept, how can we live
together? If today we don’t have forces, tomorrow we will have. We are
asking people to carry weapons and defend themselves."
Labels: Iraq, Kurds