Iraq says to work with Kurdish forces to retake Mosul

"There will be closer cooperation between Baghdad and the regional Kurdistan government to work together and flush out these foreign fighters," Hoshyar Zebari said

Iraq says to work with Kurdish forces to retake Mosul

World Bulletin/News Desk

Baghdad will cooperate with Kurdish forces to try to drive militant out of Mosul, Iraq's foreign minister said on Wednesday, a day after ISIL seized the country's second biggest city.

"There will be closer cooperation between Baghdad and the regional Kurdistan government to work together and flush out these foreign fighters," Hoshyar Zebari said on the sidelines of a EU-Arab League meeting in Athens.

He did not give details about the cooperation between the two forces. The Kurdish Peshmerga have long been a force in the jockeying between Shi'ites, Kurds and Sunnis for influence and control of northern Iraqi oilfields.

Describing the fall of Mosul as "dramatic", Zebari called on all Iraqi leaders to come together to face the "serious, mortal" threat to the country.

"The response has to be soon," he said. "You cannot leave these people to stay there to entrench themselves for a long time."

Earlier on Wednesday, security sources said militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), advanced into the oil refinery town of Baiji, setting the courthouse and police station on fire.

In the province of Salahuddin, they overran three villages in the Shirqat district, torching police stations, town halls and local council buildings before raising the ISIL banner.

Critics say the failure of Maliki, a Shi'ite Muslim in power for eight years, to address grievances among the once dominant Sunni minority led to a rise in Sunni militancy and pushed Sunni groups and tribes to rally behind ISIL.

Many Sunnis feel disenfranchised and some have made common cause with fighters, first against the U.S. troops that overthrew Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003 and now Shi'ite-led Iraqi forces.

Most families fled north towards the nearby Kurdistan region, where Iraq's ethnic Kurds have autonomy and their own large and disciplined military force, the Peshmerga.

Some officials in Baghdad spoke of seeking help for Mosul from Kurdish Peshmerga, which have long been a force in the jockeying between Shi'ites, Kurds and Sunnis for influence and, especially, for control of oilfields in the north of Iraq.

Two officials in the ministry of Peshmerga said on Wednesday that there was no military coordination between Baghdad and Arbil, but that on the ground locally there was some coordination between Iraqi army and Kurdish forces.

Peshmerga now control the Rabia area on the border with Syria after the Iraqi army allowed them to deploy there and also the Kusk base, 45 km west of Mosul, and some other brigade headquarters

Asked whether the Peshmerga would try to enter Mosul, Halgurd Hikmat, media officer at ministry of Peshmerga, said that depended on the President of the region and that a formal request would have to be made by Maliki, who is commander of the Iraqi armed forces.

Nearly 800 people were killed in violence across Iraq in May - the highest monthly death toll so far this year. Last year was the deadliest since the sectarian bloodletting of 2006-07.

Last Mod: 11 Haziran 2014, 14:13
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