US, Iran Separately Seek to Resolve Baghdad-Erbil Crisis

Article Summary
As the dispute between the Kurdistan Regional Government and Baghdad intensifies, Washington and Tehran both have intervened to defuse the crisis, Oday Hatem reports.

Washington and Tehran have involved themselves in the crisis between Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. It seems clear that both countries are seeking to settle the dispute in order to maintain stability in Mesopotamia.

Indeed, it is not in the interest of either country that the dispute between Baghdad and Erbil escalates into a war, especially given that both governments have already mobilized their forces in the disputed areas.

Meanwhile, Parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi continues to employ efforts to end the current crisis and the Kurdish Peshmerga ministry has already sent a “peace plan” to the Baghdad-based central government.

Yesterday [Dec. 5], Nujaifi informed Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdish region, had approved of a plan for “the army’s withdrawal from the disputed areas under the joint-management of the federal police and Kurdish forces.”

Furthermore, Tehran informed President Jalal Talabani that “it supports his efforts to find a peaceful solution to the crisis through national dialogue.”

During his meeting with Talabani yesterday, Iranian Ambassador to Baghdad Hassan Danaii Far confirmed his country’s keenness to “maintain Iraq’s stability and security and support the political process as a solution to overcome these difficult stages.”

According to a statement, “both sides addressed the latest developments and changes on the Iraqi and regional landscapes. Talabani stressed the need to continue the efforts to end differences and bridge the gap between both sides.”

For its part, the United States continued to employ efforts to contain the crisis. In this context, U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter visited Baghdad yesterday, and met with Maliki upon his arrival.

Meanwhile, the Peshmerga ministry announced that “it has sent a peace plan to Baghdad through the U.S. Army’s Office of Security Cooperation in Iraq.”

On the other hand, during a visit with the commander of the U.S. Army’s Office of Security Cooperation in Iraq Gen. Martin, Sheikh Jaafar Sheikh Mustafa — Minister of Peshmerga — confirmed that “mobilizing Peshmerga forces is for defensive purposes.”

He stressed that “Kurds want to live in a democratic Iraq without any problems.”

However, Mustafa launched a scathing attack on Maliki, stating that “he seeks to resolve problems through non-lenient policies and the threat of using the army. These policies are reminiscent of the era of the former regime, which monopolized power. Therefore, Kurds will continue with their efforts to restore peace and security in the region.”

He also urged Washington to “provide guarantees, because Kurds can no longer ignore their constitutional rights.”

On Dec. 4, a Kurdish delegation headed by Barham Salih arrived in Baghdad and met with Nujaifi.

Talks between Baghdad and Kurdistan reached a stalemate last week, as both sides took unyielding positions. Maliki refused to withdraw the Tigris Operations Command forces, while Kurds confirmed that “there will be no negotiations before the demobilization of these forces.”

Nevertheless, the situation seemed to be defused following the intervention of Washington and Tehran, and parliamentary efforts led by Nujaifi.

Found in: united states, us, peshmerga, kurdistan, kirkuk

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