Baghdad And Erbil Meet To Discuss Operations Against ISIL
Shallaw Mohammed / Yalla – Kirkuk
Nearly two years have passed and ISIL still controls significant swathes of Iraq, and for the first military and security officials from the central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) have met to discuss preparing forces to confront the group.
A number of Peshmerga and Iraqi Army officials arrived at the headquarters of Kirkuk Governorate on Tuesday 15 March. Although the media wasn’t officially informed about the issues discussed at the two-hour meeting, it is understood that they met to discuss driving ISIL out of Kurdistan and Iraq.
According to information obtained by Yalla the Iraqi Security Forces were represented by the Iraqi Defence Minister, Commander of the Air and Land Forces, head of the Badr Organisation, deputy of Joint Operations Command and the general leader of Hashd al-Shaabi.
KRG security forces were represented by the Minister of Interior and Deputy Minister of Peshmerga, commander of Brigade 70 of the Peshmerga Forces, in addition to the leaders of the west and south Kirkuk, and Gwer-Makhmour frontlines.
“This is the first meeting at this level between the sides and the objective was to discuss the capacity of the military and the security forces in order to to clean the entire area of Daesh [ISIL] with the help of both sides,” Dr. Najmaldin Karim, Governor of Kirkuk, who led the meeting, said. “It has been agreed to cooperate at the highest level between the central government and the KRG.”
The Iraqi and Peshmerga forces have recaptured vital areas of Kirkuk in the last two months but haven’t been able to liberate the Al-Hawija district 55 kilometres southwest of Kirkuk, and Al-Bashir village, only 22 kilometres from central Kirkuk. This has pushed locals in the area to pressurise the KRG and the Iraqi Government to liberate their areas.
“Economic and political disagreements shouldn’t extend to security matters, hence it was reiterated that the mission of the security forces is to fight Daesh [ISIL] militants and not be preoccupied with disagreements between the Central Government and the KRG,” Mahdi Taqi a leader of Hashd al-Shaabi said. “We talked about the plan to liberate Al-Bashir as the first step and then taking control of the Al-Hawija district, in order to get closer to retaking Mosul.”
According to Yalla analysts, one of the factors in the success of the cooperation between central government and KRG security forces is the lack of objection of any of the sides to cooperate.
“There have been cases of kidnapping and shooting at soldiers or Peshmerga fighters attributed to all the forces, in addition to provocative statements by military officials. We are aiming to solve these issues, and during the meeting all sides denied any disagreements,” Hadi al-Ameri, head of Badr Organization said. “Daesh doesn’t have the same capabilities it had at the beginning, but we can’t ignore the capabilities they have now, we realise the importance of such meetings.”