Little Progress in Talks as Iraq, Kurds Trade Blame for Tensions

Peshmearga Forces Move into Disputed Regions

Attempts to negotiate a mutual stand-down from the recent tensions between the Iraqi military and the Peshmearga across the disputed territory between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the rest of Iraq are making little progress, as both sides trade blame and continue to add troops in the area.

Iraqi Army commanders accused the Peshmearga forces of being deliberately provocative, saying they had not only moved into Khanaqin, along the Iraq-Iran border, but had been deploying fighters in civilian clothes into Kirkuk.

Peshmearga leaders denied that they had really advanced, saying the moves were routine re-deployments and primarily a response to aggression by the Maliki government. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has sought to impose direct control on the Peshmearga forces, which is the largest and materially only armed faction not under the direct control of the Office of the Prime Minister.

Sadr faction officials familiar with the situation downplayed its seriousness, saying both sides were being deliberately provocative but doubting that either was ready for a war, adding that they expect the situation to end in a month or so, after more bluster.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.