Kurds restricting movement of Iraqi troops fighting ISIS

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Azzaman, July 17, 2014

Kurdish peshmerga troops are denying Iraqi armed forces free access to chase militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant in areas under their control, a senior Iraqi leader said.

Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who heads the powerful State of the Law Coalition, said restrictions on the movement of Iraqi troops by Kurds mainly took place in the so-called dispute areas.

Kurdish militias, known locally as peshmerga, have taken advantage of turbulence in northern and eastern Iraq and have occupied large swaths of territory including the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

“There is prevention of free movement by Iraqi troops in some joint areas to launch operations against terrorist organizations, aggravating security conditions,” in the country, Jaafari said.

Relations between the Kurdish regional government in Arab and Baghdad are at their lowest ebb.

Jaafari said the Kurds were even not giving refugees fleeing ISIS the freedom to use their territory as a passage to reach safer areas in southern Iraq.

A deputy from the same coalition lashed out at Kurdish peshmerga troops, whom he said had driven out employees from the oil fields they have occupied in Kirkuk.

Aliya Nasif urged the government to report the Kurds to international bodies for what she said was “a flagrant violation” of Iraq’s sovereignty.

She charged that Kurdish authorities had sacked government oil employees and replaced with Kurds.