Iraqi Kurdish Troops Sent to Disputed Region

Brigade to 'Protect' Locals From al-Qaeda

by Jason Ditz, January 01, 2014

Iraqi Kurdistan has deployed a brigade of troops from the Peshmerga paramilitary into the Makhmur region, part of the disputed frontier between Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) territory and Iraq in general.

The move came at the behest of locals from the mostly-Kurdish towns, who express concern about growing al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) presences in nearby Arab cities.

Though they claim tacit support from local Arabs, the matter threatens to be controversial on a national level, as the KRG has made no bones about its intention to eventually annex a lot of the frontier region into Kurdistan outright, and has threatened to bring the Peshmerga and the Iraqi Army into direct conflict.

The AQI presence in the area is a very real problem, and that’s likely why the deployment didn’t spark an immediate condemnation from the central government, which is having problems enough tamping down an incipient revolt in the west. Still, once the Peshmerga shows up, they might not be so easy to unseat from the area, and their presence in the long run may fuel conflict between the Kurdish villagers and rural Arabs.

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