Before a crowd of Peshmerga forces amassed on the outskirts of Kirkuk, the president of Iraq’s Kurdistan region, Massoud Barzani, averred the need to maintain a sense of brotherhood, peace and servitude among all people of Kirkuk.
According to the commander of a Peshmerga brigade in Kirkuk, Brig. Sherko Raouf, President Barzani inspected the Peshmerga forces stationed on the outskirts of Kirkuk, including the towns of Qorah, Injihl and Laylan. The president also met with Kurdish fighters alongside the Minister of Peshmerga, Jaafar Sheikh Mustafa.
Raouf quoted Barzani as saying that the solution to Iraq’s problems lies in applying the articles of the constitution. Regarding the dilemma of the disputed areas between Baghdad and Erbil, the president said he believed that Article 140 of the constitution will serve as a solution, since it provides for a referendum on the future of Kirkuk.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki undermined the statements issued by the head of the Sadrist Movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, concerning the arming of the Iraqi army. Maliki stressed that Sadr’s accusations should be considered invalid until they are legally proven.
On his official website and in response to questions from journalists, Maliki said that Sadr’s statements have become trite and are no longer important as they are contradictory, and his words do not match his actions.
When asked the question: “Muqtada al-Sadr issued a statement last week regarding the Iraqi army, with some serious accusations. Sadr claimed that Iraq is buying arms for itself and not for another country. What is your response to that?” The prime minister said that those who are hurling accusations ought to legally prove their claims; otherwise they will be prosecuted for slander.
On another note, Baghdad is hosting today [Dec.11] the international conference of solidarity with Palestinian and Arab prisoners in Israeli jails, with a number of Arab and international figures attending.
Maliki criticized the concept that human rights in Iraq are limited to detainees alone, however, he stressed that his government does not allow for any violation of prisoners’ rights.
During a ceremony that was held on the occasion of World Human Rights Day, Maliki delivered a speech saying that human rights in Iraq are increasingly limited to prisoners only. “What about the rights of women, children, the poor and martyrs?” he asked. He added that Iraq would never allow any violation of the rights of any prisoners.
Maliki also stressed that those who commit crimes and hinder the state-building process will be held accountable, as this will be in the community’s best interest.