Thursday, June 19, 2014

Turkmen Militia in Kirkuk

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."

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