Kurdish forces of Peshmerga arrive in Khanaqin, Iraq’s Diyala province

KHANAQIN, Diyala, Iraq,— shafaaq.com – 21.11.2012 – A local official source revealed Wednesday, bringing a “substantial” military force of Peshmerga to the Kurdish district of Khanaqin in anticipation of the entry of any forces belonging to Dijla operations to the district.

Tension prevailed on the disputed areas after the formation of Dijla Operations Command stationed in the provinces of these regions, where Baghdad believes that it is its right to move the Iraqi army in any place, while Kurds believe that the formation of Dijla operations is a violation of the constitution and political agreements. The source told Shafaq News, that since Tuesday military forces of the Kurdish Peshmerga came to Khanaqin district and it is stationed in multiple areas of the district. He added that the purpose of bringing these forces in anticipation of the entry of forces belonging to Dijla operations to the district. Khanaqin district is considered as the disputed areas between Baghdad and Erbil with a religiously mixed of population of multiple nationalities and sects, but the majority are of Kurds.

Diyala province, a restive part of Iraq outside the Kurdish autonomous region of Kurdistan but home to many Kurds. The Diyala district,www.ekurd.net which includes a string of villages and some of Iraq’s oil reserves, is home to about 175,000 Kurds, most of them Shiites.

In June 2006, the local council of Khanaqin proposed that the district be integrated into the autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq.During the Arabisation policy of Saddam Hussein in the 1980s, a large number of Kurdish Shiites were displaced by force from Khanaqin. They started returning after the fall of Saddam in 2003. Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution is related to the normalization of the situation in Kirkuk city and other disputed areas like Khanaqin. Kurdistan’s government says oil-rich Khanaqin should be part of its semi-autonomous region, which it hopes to expand in a referendum in the future. In the meantime, Khanaqin and other so-called disputed areas remain targets of Sunni Arab insurgents opposed to Kurdish expansion and vowing to hold onto land seized during ex-dictator Saddam Hussein’s efforts to “Arabize” the region.