Iraqi Kurdistan Is On Brink of Civil War

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Iraqi Kurdistan Is On Brink of Civil War

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A senior leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) has warned that a possible political split may lead to a civil war in Kurdistan.

Mala Bakhtiyar, executive head of the PUK politburo office, said “there is a grave danger” of the government splitting into two administrations, due to alleged cooperation of high-ranking members of PUK with the Iraqi military. Among the alleged cooperators are the family members of the late former Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. They denied the accusations.

Bakhtiyar claimed his party is being controlled by one family who are making decisions outside the party’s organs. He said the PUK is also on the brink of a “big split.” He called on the Kurdistan parliament to open an independent investigation into what exactly happened in Kirkuk and other areas abandoned to the Iraqi forces.

On October 16 Iraqi forces moved into Tuz Khurmatu and Kirkuk, as well as its airport and a military base. Kurdish party headquarters inside Kirkuk was abandoned. Baghdad said the Peshmerga, the Kurdish military force, had withdrawn “without fighting”.

Following this development as well as retreats in other areas across northern Iraq, the Kurdistan Democratic Party of the KRG’s president, Masoud Barzani, and the PUK released multiple accusations each against other blaming the opponents for the current situation.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) “had no claim” to Kirkuk, adding that there is no “historical connection between the KRG and Kirkuk”.

The Kurdistan region used to be governed by two administrations during and after the civil war of mid 1990s. The PUK controlled Sulaimani and Halabja, otherwise called the Green Zone, and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) controlled Erbil and Duhok, the Yellow Zone. The two parties pushed for unification after the US-led invasion of Iraq that resulted in one united Kurdistan Regional Government based in Erbil, which proclaimed independence following the September 25 referendum.

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