Al-Qaeda Fights Unite Maliki, Iraqi Kurds

Iraqi Military, Peshmerga May Launch Joint Operations

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s centralization bids have cost him a lot of supporters and destroyed relations between the central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Could al-Qaeda bring them back together?

It’s possible, as officials familiar with the situation say that the growing al-Qaeda raids along the frontier between the two regions have spawned new security talks, with discussions of intelligence sharing and even possibly joint operations between the Iraqi Army and the Peshmerga, the KRG’s paramilitary force.

That could be an alliance with major impact not only in Iraq, where the Kurds at times seem on the brink of outright secession, but in neighboring Syria, where the KRG has been raising the prospect of intervening to help Kurdish factions in the nation’s northeast.

The Maliki government has tried to stay neutral in Syria’s Civil War despite strong interests among the nation’s Shi’ite majority in backing Assad. If a Maliki-KRG alliance comes to fruition against al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), the prospect of a limited rapprochement between Syria’s Kurds and the Assad government, who are both fighting AQI fighters, becomes a more realistic prospect.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.