The General Command of the Peshmerga Forces has issued a statement Monday angrily condemning the Iraqi government for its offensive into the city of Kirkuk, saying it amounts to a “declaration of war” against Kurdistan.
Kirkuk has been under Kurdish control since 2014, and have historic claims on the city. Iraq’s parliament authorized the deployment of the military to retake the oil-rich province, which they did today.
Peshmerga officials vowed to make Iraq’s central government “pay a heavy price” for the offensive, and also accused one of the Kurdish political parties of “treason” for giving some support to the central government for the move.
In the meantime, Iraqi Prime Minister Hayder Abadi has appointed Rakan Saeed, an Arab politician, as the new governor of Kirkuk, replacing the Kurdish leader. Saeed had been a deputy governor in the past, but most recently was head of the “Arabic Council,” a political umbrella group of Arabic factions that remaining in the city during Kurdish rule.