Peshmerga Seek to Keep Control of Crossing Between Rojava and Northern Iraq
The Peshmerga are currently in negotiations with the Iraqi government to hold onto control of the Fish Khabur and Ibrahim Khalil. They have let it be known to the Iraqis that they have no desire to give control of these two key areas to Iraqi and Shiite Militias.
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The move by the Peshmerga favors Rojava, a region that can ill afford to see its border controlled by the Iraqi government, as it has signaled its willingness to go along with Turkey’s desire to push a total and complete embargo on the region.
The Peshmerga, in talks with an Iraqi military delegation to resolve a territorial dispute and reach a lasting ceasefire, have told their Iraqi counterparts that they are not ready to hand over the border crossings of Fish Khabur and Ibrahim Khalil to the Iraqi army and Shiite militias, Sarbast Lazgin, deputy Peshmerga minister, told Rudaw.
The two sides have met in Mosul several times since October 28 after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared a ceasefire following deadly clashes, mainly in disputed areas.
The Iraqi side has several demands that centre on exerting sole federal control over disputed areas and the international borders. Kurds have proposed joint deployments, including civilians and coalition forces, and complained that the Iraqi delegation is not leaving any room for negotiation.
Lazgin also hinted that the Iraqi army was building up its forces in the north of the country, near Peshmerga positions, after concluding operations against ISIS in Anbar province.
The Peshmerga are also facing internal difficulties after some units pulled out of Kirkuk area and allowed Iraqi forces and Shiite militias to take over on October 16. Some Kurds have subsequently accused others of treason.
Lazgin said that while there were plans to reorganize the forces, no units have been dismantled and the Peshmerga as a whole remain united.