Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Military Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



THE STANS
Iraq PM denies attack plan as tensions rise with Kurds
By Abdel Hamid Zebari
Arbil, Iraq (AFP) Oct 12, 2017


Iraq Kurd fighters block roads to second city Mosul
Arbil, Iraq (AFP) Oct 12, 2017 - Kurdish peshmerga forces on Thursday blocked roads from Iraqi Kurdistan to the country's second city Mosul in response to Iraqi troop movements, a senior Kurdish military official told AFP.

"The two main roads connecting Arbil and Dohuk to Mosul were cut off on Thursday with sand embankments as a precautionary measure after we detected an increase in deployments and movements of Iraqi forces near the front line with the peshmerga," he said.

The move came after Kurdish authorities said late on Wednesday they feared Iraqi government forces and allied paramilitary units were preparing to launch an assault on the autonomous northern region.

"We're receiving dangerous messages that the Hashed al-Shaabi (paramilitary forces) and federal police are preparing a major attack from the southwest of Kirkuk and north of Mosul against Kurdistan," the Kurdistan Regional Government's Security Council said.

The warning came amid spiralling tensions between Iraq's Kurds and central authorities in the wake of last month's Kurdish independence referendum.

In the oil-rich region of Kirkuk, which is disputed between the Kurds and Baghdad, a local commander told AFP there were no immediate signs of movement.

"We have seen no unacceptable movement on the part of Iraqi forces," Wasta Rasul, the commander of peshmerga forces in southern Kirkuk, told AFP.

He said the peshmerga were in meetings with the US-led coalition that has intervened in Syria and Iraq against the Islamic State group and that "its aircraft are monitoring the situation carefully".

The coalition has worked with the peshmerga, as well as Iraqi pro-government forces, in the battle to oust IS from areas it seized in Iraq in mid-2014.

Security sources said that Iraq's elite Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) and Rapid Response Force had deployed more forces near Rashad, a village some 65 kilometres (40 miles) south of Kirkuk, near peshmerga positions.

Asked by AFP, the spokesman for Iraq's Joint Operations Command, refused to confirm or deny any preparations for an offensive.

"What I can say is that our forces in Hawija have accomplished their duty and have started to clear the region of explosives and restore the law in order to allow people to go home," said the spokesman, Brigadier General Yahiya Rassul.

Iraqi forces last week retook control of Hawija, one of IS's last enclaves in the country, which is close to Kurdish majority areas.

Baghdad and Arbil have been locked in a stand-off since voters in Kurdistan overwhelmingly opted two weeks ago for independence in a referendum that the central government slammed as illegal.

Iraq has cut Kurdistan off from the outside world by severing air links to the region, while neighbouring Turkey and Iran have threatened to close their borders and block oil exports.

Iraq's prime minister on Thursday denied an attack on the Kurds was imminent, in a bid to defuse tensions that had prompted Kurdish peshmerga fighters to temporarily seal off road links with the rest of the country.

"We are not going to use our army to fight our people or to make war on our Kurdish citizens or others," Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said.

"Our duty is to preserve the unity of our country, to implement the constitution, and to protect citizens and national forces," he told a meeting of tribal leaders in the western province of Anbar, where Iraqi security forces are battling to seize the Islamic State (IS) group's last bastion in the country.

The rise in tensions came two weeks after Kurdish voters overwhelmingly backed independence in a non-binding referendum that the central government condemned as illegal.

Iraqi Kurdish forces closed the two main roads connecting Arbil and Dohuk with the northern city of Mosul for several hours, a Kurdish military official said.

"The closure was prompted by fears of a possible attack by Iraqi forces on the disputed areas," held by Kurdish forces but outside the autonomous Kurdish region in the north of the country, the official said.

Kurdish authorities said late Wednesday they feared Iraqi government forces and allied paramilitary units were gearing up to launch an assault on the autonomous region.

"We're receiving dangerous messages that the Hashed al-Shaabi (paramilitary forces) and federal police are preparing a major attack from the southwest of Kirkuk and north of Mosul against Kurdistan," the Kurdistan Regional Government's Security Council said.

- 'Fighting a single enemy' -

Security sources said Thursday that Iraq's elite Counter Terrorism Service and Rapid Response Force had deployed more forces near peshmerga positions around Rashad, a village some 65 kilometres (40 miles) southwest of Kirkuk city.

The oil-rich province of the same name, areas of which took part in the referendum, is disputed between the Kurds and Baghdad.

On a conciliatory note, Iraqi Kurdish leader Massud Barzani's government reached out to Abadi.

It reiterated that it was "ready for dialogue and negotiations, based on the constitution, on border posts, internal trade, citizens' services, banking and airports".

For its part, Iraq's Joint Operations Command, which groups all pro-government forces, played down the tensions, expressing confidence that dialogue would resolve the problem.

"Our mission is clear: we are fighting a single enemy, Daesh," Brigadier General Yahiya Rassul said, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

"All that interests Iraqis... is to liberate our country and beat the terrorist group," he said. "We do not forget the role played by the peshmerga."

He said Iraqi government forces had previously operated close to peshmerga lines near the northern city of Tal Afar.

Asked if there had been movements of Iraqi forces close to peshmerga positions, Colonel Ryan Dillon, spokesman for the US-led coalition battling IS in Syria and Iraq, said: "We don't see that."

The coalition has worked with both peshmerga and Iraqi pro-government forces in the battle to oust IS from areas of Iraq it seized in mid-2014.

"Our mission is clear -- to defeat Daesh," Dillon said.

"We have done that throughout Iraq. We will support the Iraqis in the same way we have in the last three years to make sure that Daesh is defeated".

- Ties cut -

Central authorities severed ties between the Kurdish autonomous region and the outside world after the referendum by cutting international air links.

Neighbouring Turkey and Iran, which fear that Iraqi Kurdish moves towards independence could fuel demands from their own sizeable Kurdish communities, have also threatened to close their borders to oil exports.

An Iraqi court on Wednesday ordered the arrest of senior Kurdish officials responsible for organising the referendum, saying they had done so "in contravention of a ruling by the Iraqi supreme court".

The warrant is likely to prove toothless as Baghdad's security forces do not operate inside Kurdistan, but it could stop the officials leaving the region.

Iraq has also launched a probe into Kurdistan's lucrative oil revenues and pledged to expose "corrupt" officials in the region who might have illegally monopolised the market.

Iraq court orders arrest of Kurd independence vote organisers
Baghdad (AFP) Oct 11, 2017 - An Iraqi court on Wednesday ordered the arrest of senior Kurdish officials responsible for organising an independence referendum, in the latest salvo by the central authorities over the disputed vote.

The decision ratchets up pressure on Iraqi Kurdistan just over two weeks after voters in the autonomous region overwhelmingly backed independence in the non-binding ballot slammed as illegal by Baghdad.

Acting on a request from the National Security Council headed by Iraq's prime minister, a court in east Baghdad issued warrants against the chairman of the vote's organising commission Hendren Saleh and two other members, Supreme Judicial Council spokesman Abdel Sattar Bayraqdar told AFP.

It ruled that the three "organised the referendum in contravention of a ruling by the Iraqi supreme court," which had found the vote unconstitutional and ordered it called off.

The supreme court ruling came one week before the September 25 referendum, but the organisers went ahead with it regardless.

In retaliation the central authorities have already severed ties between the region and the outside world by cutting international air links, while neighbouring Turkey and Iran have threatened to close their borders to oil exports.

- 'Political decision' -

The court's arrest order is likely to prove toothless as Baghdad's security forces do not operate inside Kurdistan, but it could stop the officials leaving the region.

Vote commission chief Saleh shrugged off the ruling as of "no importance", insisting that it was a purely "political decision".

Even if it does prove symbolic, the move still represents the latest step in a broader onslaught designed to tighten the legal and financial screws on Arbil.

The National Security Council on Monday said "a list of names" of Kurdish officials who helped organised the referendum had been compiled and "judicial measures have been taken against them".

Iraq has also launched a probe into Kurdistan's lucrative oil revenues and pledged to expose "corrupt" officials in the region who might have illegally monopolised the market.

Baghdad -- which has already demanded to take over Kurdistan's airports and borders -- is looking to reclaim control over mobile phone companies in the region, including two of the largest providers in Iraq.

The authorities also announced Tuesday that they are looking to reopen a key oil pipeline to Turkey that would rival a competing Kurdish export route.

The Iraqi pipeline was cut off after the Islamic State group seized swathes of the country in 2014, halting a flow of oil to Turkey of up to 400,000 barrels a day.

The angry dispute over the referendum -- also rejected by the United States -- is the latest twist in the decades-long movement by Iraq's Kurds to break away from Baghdad.

Iraq is pushing Turkey and Iran -- which both opposed the ballot over fears of fuelling demands from their own sizeable Kurdish communities -- to close their border posts with Kurdistan and stop all trade with the region.

Washington warned the referendum could "increase instability" in the region and have an impact on the battle against IS, in which Kurdish fighters have been a key force.

THE STANS
Trump sends lieutenants to Pakistan with tough message
Washington (AFP) Oct 7, 2017
President Donald Trump will dispatch his top diplomatic and military advisors to Pakistan in the coming weeks, turning up the heat on a nuclear-armed ally accused of harboring terror groups. Weeks after Trump angrily accused Islamabad of providing safe haven to "agents of chaos," Secretary of State Rex Tillerson plans to depart for Pakistan late this month. He will be followed by Secreta ... read more

Related Links
News From Across The Stans


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

THE STANS
Australia's new frigates to feature long-range missile defence system

PAC-3 MSE Test Successful from Remote Launcher

Saudi intercepts Yemen rebel missile

Lockheed Martin to replace USS Fitzgerald's SPY-1D AEGIS radar

THE STANS
Missile test fears as N. Korea marks key party anniversary

Raytheon integrates Stinger missile with armored vehicle

BAE contracted for additional advanced guided rockets for the Navy

Japan to purchase AMRAAM missiles from United States

THE STANS
New long range drones expected in 2018

BAE Systems, Cranfield University envision dual-mode UAVs

IAI unmanned helo performs proof-of-concept demo

Driverless hover-taxi makes first 'concept' flight in Dubai

THE STANS
SES GS to Provide More MEO-enabled SATCOM Solutions for U.S. Government

L3 satellite terminals for Air National Guard

82nd Airborne tests in-flight communication system for paratroopers

Asia-Pacific nation orders Harris communications gear, network

THE STANS
Australia seeks small diameter bombs from U.S.

Israeli artillery shells becoming precision guided weapons

Rheinmetall, Paravan team on autonomous vehicle technology

Orbit Logic Awarded Navy Autonomy Contract

THE STANS
UK defence giant BAE Systems to axe almost 2,000 jobs

Leonardo opens new site in Australia

Australia to upgrade submarines, frigates

BAE Systems Australia to support Indigenous companies

THE STANS
Trump makes cryptic 'calm before the storm' remark

Philippines hails US as top ally, welcomes war games

Hong Kong lawmaker guilty of desecrating Chinese flag

Trump accepts Duterte's ASEAN summit invite after all

THE STANS
Tungsten offers nano-interconnects a path of least resistance

Nanoscale islands dot light-driven catalyst

Nanoparticle supersoap creates 'bijel' with potential as sculptable fluid

Creative use of noise brings bio-inspired electronic improvement




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement