Iraqi Kurdistan gov’t requests US force deployment on border with Syrian Kurdistan: spox

Posted on December 24, 2020 Jutyar Adil, the spokesman of the KDP-dominated Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Erbil, 2020.

HEWLÊR-Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan region,— The KDP-dominated Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has officially requested that the United States deploy its forces on Iraqi Kurdistan Region-Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) border to patrol the area and prevent clashes between Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party KDP Peshmerga militias and the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a KRG spokesperson said on Wednesday.

“To express the Kurdistan Region’s goodwill and show that it does not campaign for war, it [KRG] has requested that the American forces become a moderator between both forces [Peshmerga and YPG] so that no fighting happens,” spokesperson Jotyar Adil told reporters in Erbil.

“The Kurdistan Regional Government aims to protect the Kurdistan Region’s institutions and people,” Adil said.

The request follows a string of clashes between Peshmerga forces affiliated with the ruling KDP and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) after KDP militants attack the PKK, and a clash between the KDP-affiliated Peshmerga and the YPG on Iraqi Kurdistan Region’s border with Rojava.

Top commander of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Rojava General Mazloum Abdi (Kobani) slammed KDP attack on PKK in Duhok province as “shameful”

The clash with the YPG allegedly came after a number of PKK members wanted to enter the Kurdistan Region’s Sihela area which borders Rojava earlier this month according to KDP, but were captured upon entry by Peshmerga militants.

Peshmerga commanders accused the YPG of attacking them – an accusation the YPG denied. Though tensions have somewhat subsided, relations between the two armed groups remain thorny.

Adil did not give more information about when and why they have made such a request at this time. However, a KRG official told Al-Monitor on Tuesday that the request was made to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to help curb the movement of the PKK.

Barzani’s deputy chief of staff Aziz Ahmad told the US-based news outlet that the KRG wants the US forces stationed in and around the strategic Fishkhabour border crossing between the Kurdistan Region and Rojava.

The US forces would also independently verify smuggling attempts on the border, Ahmad added, saying this “would be good” for both Erbil and Ankara.

In recent months, tensions have mounted between the PKK and the KDP, which the dominant political party in Duhok and Erbil governorates, and has close political and economic ties with the Turkish government, against which the PKK has fought a decades-long insurgency.

Iraqi Kurdistan’s ruling Barzani family has close ties with the Turkish government, which is an important economic and political partner of KDP, and opposes PKK.

Barzani’s KDP which opposite the ruling PYD party doesn’t recognize the Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration in Syrian Kurdistan. Political experts say KDP leader Massoud Barzani, sees Syrian Kurdistan as potential political competition.

Barzani has imposed embargo on Syrian Kurdistan for many years to please Turkey.

The worldwide-respected PYD-led Autonomous Administration in Syrian Kurdistan has a secular decentralized self-rule, where equality between men and women, direct democracy, and environmental responsibility are emphasized.

In 2013, the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party PYD — the political branch of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) — has established three autonomous Cantons of Jazeera, Kobani and Afrin and a Kurdish government across Syrian Kurdistan in 2013. On March 17, 2016, Kurdish and Arab authorities announced the creation of a “federal region” made up of those semi-autonomous regions in Syrian Kurdistan.

On December 16, 2020 The Foreign Relations Committee of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the political umbrella group that includes the PKK said that “the KDP has been making anti-propaganda among the Kurds and beyond. The aim is to legitimize the Turkish attacks on our Movement and our people. It tries to vindicate the genocidal, fascist AKP-MHP government propaganda and target our Freedom Movement. The KDP wants to create a certain perception by providing various pretexts and distorting previous events. As part of these activities, the attack on guerrilla forces two days ago in Amediye [Duhok province] was also turned into a part of the KDP propaganda. The aim is to build the basis for even broader attacks.”