After Hawija: Iraqi and Kurdish Forces Face Off

“Peshmerga have deployed in the areas the army has left in order to avoid a security vacuum,” he explained. “And we are ready to face any emergency or incident.”

As for the locals in the area, they simply want both sides to back down and comparative peace.

“The local council has also asked the peshmerga to withdraw,” Hussein Ali Saleh, head of Hawija’s local authority, told NIQASH. “We asked them to withdraw and go back to their original stations before the incidents here because we’re worried there will be further clashes if they stay.”

“If these political and military issues are not resolved, then we may see more violence such as that seen in Hawija,” the governor of Kirkuk, Najmuddine Karim, said. Karim blames the Tigris Operations Command for the instability in his area. “The army attacked the protesters inhumanely,” he said. “It’s going to be difficult to heal those wounds and I think the Tigris Operations Command is to be blamed because it is the source of all this current chaos.”

On April 29, a delegation of Iraqi Kurdish politicians, headed by Iraqi Kurdistan's Prime Minister, Najirvan Barzani, met with Prime Minister al-Maliki with a view to resolving these issues. And the two sides did agree to come to an arrangement even though, as yet, it doesn’t seem as though anything has changed.

“We saw al-Maliki and Barzani together in Baghdad on television,” comments one Kirkuk local. “It looked as if everything was fine and that there was no dispute between them. But from here all we see is the Iraqi army and the peshmerga taking up positions and it feels as though new problems and violence could erupt any time.”

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