Massoud Haidar, a Kurdish Gorran (Movement for Change) party member, released details of the alleged deal reached between the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) on October 16.
The released info argues that PUK-linked Peshmerga units are to surrender control of the contested territories to the PMU. Reports based on it was widely spreaded by media outlets linked to the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and its leader, Masoud Barzani.
The agreement was supposedly signed by the son of the leader of PUK, Pavel Talabani, and states that the contentious regions are to be surrendered to the PMU.
The released document further stipulates that a new region with a new government should be created in the provinces of Kirkuk, Sulaymaniyah and Halabja. 17 territorial districts of Kirkuk are to be handed to the Iraqi government. For six months 15 districts are to be controlled by the Kurds, and 25 districts are to select which government they want. Sulaimaniyah International Airport is to be allowed to function again; all contested territories are to be returned to Iraq along with control over oil deposits. Baghdad is to pay salaries to the civil servants in Sulaimaniyah and Kirkuk, as well as select PUK Peshmerga according to a list devised by Talabani.
The same day Iraqi forces had moved into Tuz Khurmatu and Kirkuk, as well as its airport and a military base. Kurdish party headquarters inside Kirkuk had been abandoned. Baghdad said the Peshmerga had withdrawn “without fighting”.
Following this, Rakan al-Jibouri was appointed the new governor of Kirkuk instead of Najmiddin Karim, who had supported Kurdish independence. A new mayor was also reportedly appointed in Tuz Khurmatu.
On October 4, Major General Qasem Soleimani of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was meeting with members of the PUK. KDP-affiliated media outlet Rudaw called the meeting an attempt to discourage a referendum on independence in the Kurdistan Region.