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IRAQ POLITICS: Kurds Abandon Territory in the Face of Iraq Government Advance

IRAQ POLITICS: Kurds Abandon Territory in the Face of Iraq Government Advance

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Tuesday the referendum “is finished and has become a thing of the past”.

Addressing a news conference in Baghdad, he called for a dialogue with Kurdish leaders “under the constitution”.

Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) President Masoud Barzani said the vote for independence “won’t be in vain”. He did not call for dialogue, but added, “Kurds have always been against waging wars and have worked in pursuit of peace.”

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IRAQ POLITICS: Iraqi Forces Reestablish Security in Kirkuk

IRAQ POLITICS: Iraqi Forces Reestablish Security in Kirkuk

Iraq’s Alforat news agency also said army forces were now in control of all of the city’s government buildings, state-owned North Oil and North Gas companies, the Kirkuk International Airport, and K-1 Airbase.

Cited by Reuters, an Iraqi army officer said government forces had also taken control of all oilfields operated by the North Oil Company in the province. Government troops have also reopened the highway linking the Kirkuk City and the capital Baghdad, Iraq’s al-Sumariyah television network reported.

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IRAQ POLITICS: Iraq ‘To Take Control of Kurdistan Borders’

IRAQ POLITICS: Iraq ‘To Take Control of Kurdistan Borders’

The Iraqi Defense Ministry said the move to take over the borders would go underway “in coordination with the relevant authorities and neighboring countries, and there is no delay in the procedures.”

An Iraqi force has been deployed on the Turkish side of the border as part of joint drills with the Turkish army.

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IRAQ POLITICS: Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani Opposes Kurdistan’s Secession, Urges Iraqi Government to Preserve Rights of Kurds

IRAQ POLITICS: Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani Opposes Kurdistan’s Secession, Urges Iraqi Government to Preserve Rights of Kurds

The Kurdish vote “is an attempt to divide Iraq and take its northern part by setting up an independent state,” said his message, adding that all parties should respect the Iraqi constitution.

The “unilateral steps” toward dividing Iraq will lead to internal and external reactions that will have consequences on our “dear Kurdish citizens and could have more dangerous repercussions,” said Grand Ayatollah Sistani.

The cleric also called on the Iraqi government and parliament to preserve the rights of Kurds.

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IRAQ POLITICS: Iraqi Kurds Shrug Off Threats to Stage Independence Referendum

IRAQ POLITICS: Iraqi Kurds Shrug Off Threats to Stage Independence Referendum

“Iraq is against the Kurds, so are the Turks, the Iranians, the whole Arab region and Europe. They are going to live in a cage,” said Mohammed Mahdi al-Bayati, a Shi‘ite Turkmen and a local leader of the Iranian-backed Badr Organisation paramilitary group in Tuz Khurmato, south of Kirkuk.

“We have seen worse, we have seen injustice, killings and blockades,” said Talat, waiting to cast a vote in the regional capital of Erbil, as group of smiling women, in traditional colorful Kurdish dress, emerged from the school showing their fingers stained with ink, a sign that they voted.

The Kurds also say the vote acknowledges their crucial contribution in confronting Islamic State after it overwhelmed the Iraqi army in 2014 and seized control of a third of Iraq.

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IRAQ POLITICS: Iraqi Kurdish Legislators Approve Independence Referendum

IRAQ POLITICS: Iraqi Kurdish Legislators Approve Independence Referendum

The plan for the non-binding Kurdish referendum was approved in the Iraqi city of Erbil, the capital of a northern province with the same name, in the 111-seat parliament consisting of Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) of Iraq’s former president, Jalal Talabani, and the independent Goran and Jamaa Islamiya opposition parties.

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IRAQ POLITICS: Kurdistan Independence Will Breakup Iraq: Analyst

IRAQ POLITICS: Kurdistan Independence Will Breakup Iraq: Analyst

“Independence means that we will enter into a conflict which actually Barzani is pushing for. He moved his tanks and he moved a number of his special troops into Kirkuk and adjacent areas. So it seems that he understands that it is too late for him to use the referendum as a blackmail against the Iraqi government for more political gains. Now he is trying to use the status quo or the matter of fact that he is trying to occupy certain areas which are outside the control of KRG (the Kurdistan Regional Government) and hence leading to an armed conflict,” Sa’ad al-Muttalibi, member of the State of Law Coalition said.

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IRAQ POLITICS: Iraqi Parliament Rejects Iraqi Kurdish Referendum: Lawmakers

IRAQ POLITICS: Iraqi Parliament Rejects Iraqi Kurdish Referendum: Lawmakers

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s government had previously rejected the referendum as unilateral and unconstitutional.

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IRAQ POLITICS: Iraqi Kurdish Referendum Potential Reason for War: Turkish Nationalist Leader

IRAQ POLITICS: Iraqi Kurdish Referendum Potential Reason for War: Turkish Nationalist Leader

Devlet Bahceli, the leader of Turkey’s Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), said Thursday that Ankara should oppose plans by the leader of Iraq’s Kurdistan region, Massoud Barzani, to hold the referendum in September, adding that the move could ignite turbulence in Turkey’s southeast, which is populated by millions of Kurds.

“This is a rehearsal for Kurdistan. If necessary Turkey should deem this referendum as a reason for war,” said Bahceli, adding, “A position must be taken to the end against Barzani’s preparation for an independence referendum which incorporates Turkmen cities.”

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IRAQ POLITICS: Kurds Might Put Off Independence Referendum in Return for Concessions From Baghdad: Official

IRAQ POLITICS: Kurds Might Put Off Independence Referendum in Return for Concessions From Baghdad: Official

The Kurds have been seeking an independent state since at least the end of World War One, when colonial powers divided up the Middle East and left Kurdish-populated territory split between modern-day Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. Turkey, Iran and Syria, which together with Iraq have sizeable Kurdish communities, all oppose an independent Kurdistan. Prime Minister Abadi’s government has rejected the planned referendum as “unilateral” and unconstitutional.

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IRAQ POLITICS: US Created ISIS Now Claims Victory Over It: Iraqi VP al-Maliki Talks Tough

IRAQ POLITICS: US Created ISIS Now Claims Victory Over It: Iraqi VP al-Maliki Talks Tough

“Yes, they supported us with aviation, but the main credit goes to the Iraqi soldiers, people’s militia, Iraqi air force,” al-Maliki stated in his interview with the Russian news agency.

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IRAQ POLITICS: Iraq Successfully Test-Fires Indigenous Short-Range Yaqeen-1 Rocket

IRAQ POLITICS: Iraq Successfully Test-Fires Indigenous Short-Range Yaqeen-1 Rocket

Iraq has successfully test-fired a locally designed and manufactured rocket as part of efforts to revive its defense industries and use indigenous military hardware in the fight against Daesh Takfiri terrorist group and potential foreign threats.

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IRAQ POLITICS: 36 Hours After Haider al-Abadi Declared Victory in Mosul Iraqi Forces Strike ISIS in Mosul

IRAQ POLITICS: 36 Hours After Haider al-Abadi Declared Victory in Mosul Iraqi Forces Strike ISIS in Mosul

“There are still going to be losses from the Iraqi security forces as they continue to secure Mosul.”

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IRAQ POLITICS: Amnesty International Calls for Special Mosul Commission to Probe Potential War Crimes By Coalition, Islamic State

IRAQ POLITICS: Amnesty International Calls for Special Mosul Commission to Probe Potential War Crimes By Coalition, Islamic State

The often disproportionate and imprecise use of deadly force by the coalition fighting terrorists in Mosul has prompted major criticism from Amnesty.

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IRAQ POLITICS: Fall of Mosul Won’t Stop Islamic State Spreading Fear

IRAQ POLITICS: Fall of Mosul Won’t Stop Islamic State Spreading Fear

“Several dozen people directed by Islamic State may be currently present in Europe with a capability to commit terrorist attacks,” the EU warned.

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IRAQ POLITICS: Mosul Grand al-Nuri Mosque Destroyed By Islamic State

IRAQ POLITICS: Mosul Grand al-Nuri Mosque Destroyed By Islamic State

“Blowing up the al-Hadba minaret and the al-Nuri mosque amounts to an official acknowledgement of defeat,” Iraqi Prime Minister said.

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IRAQ POLITICS: 100,000 Children in Dangerous Conditions in Mosul: UNICEF

IRAQ POLITICS: 100,000 Children in Dangerous Conditions in Mosul: UNICEF

“In some cases, they have been forced to participate in the fighting and violence,” Peter Hawkins, representative of UNICEF in Iraq added.

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IRAQ POLITICS: ISIS Car Bomb Attack Ripped Baghdad

IRAQ POLITICS: ISIS Car Bomb Attack Ripped Baghdad

At least 27 people have been killed and dozens injured in twin car bomb attacks in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. The first explosion, which ripped through an ice cream shop, has been claimed by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

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IRAQ POLITICS: Civilians Lack Food, Water, Medicine as Mosul Battle Mounts: UN

IRAQ POLITICS: Civilians Lack Food, Water, Medicine as Mosul Battle Mounts: UN

Up to 200,000 people still live behind Islamic State lines in Mosul’s Old City and three other districts, U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator Lise Grande told Reuters late on Sunday.

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IRAQ POLITICS: Some 10,000 People Fleeing West Mosul Every Day: UN Migration Agency Warns

IRAQ POLITICS: Some 10,000 People Fleeing West Mosul Every Day: UN Migration Agency Warns

“International law is unambiguous. The protection of civilian lives is legal and moral duty that stands above all other objectives,” underscored the UN aid chief.

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