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 U.S. offers deploying its troops in Iraq's disputed areas

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U.S. offers deploying its troops in Iraq's disputed areas  18.11.2012 

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November 18, 2012

ERBIL-HewlÍr, Kurdistan region 'Iraq',ó An informed Kurdish source said on Sunday, that Washington entered on crisis line after Iraq forming Dijla forces between Baghdad and Erbil to end it, while offered to re-deploy the U.S. troops in the disputed areas and considered the armed clash with Kurdish Peshmerga troops as a ďred line."

The source said in remarks quoted by a Kuwaiti newspaper, that" U.S. diplomats in Baghdad have begun contacts and meetings with the two parties, (Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki )and (Kurdistan Regionís President Massoud Barzani) to end the problem and reach a joint agreement to manage the disputed areas," Shafaq news reported.

"One of the submitted solutions is to re-deploy the U.S. forces in the disputed areas to ensure there are no clashes between the army and between the Kurdish Peshmerga", adding that "al-Maliki rejected this proposal."

He added that "Washington does not oppose to re-deploy its military forces in the region if the disputes parties wanted that," stressing that "U.S. Vice President , Joe Biden responsible of the Iraqi file is excited for this step because the U.S. administration will not allow the outbreak of any fighting between Baghdad forces and Erbil forces on the basis that any development represents a severe strike to the United States, which supported the political process in Iraq for nearly ten years,"

The source pointed out that "Biden told Maliki that the armed clash with Kurdish Peshmerga is a red line", warning that "U.S. forces will intervene in the event of the outbreak of fighting in Kirkuk and any other area."

"The U.S. National Security Chancellery is convinced that the movements of al-Maliki to impose his military control on Kurdistan is due to the Iranian and Syrian regimes," adding that "moving in this period under the name of Dijla Operations Command established by Iraqi Prime Minister aims to undermine the Turkish influence and countries in the Gulf Cooperation Councilís influence, which has grown dramatically in Kurdistan Region recently,"

The president of Iraq's Kurdistan region has ordered its Peshmerga security forces on high alert, a statement issued on Saturday said, attributing the move to clashes with central government forces. An Iraqi general however said that the clashes in question came during an arrest attempt and did not involve the Peshmerga.

The disputed areas between Erbil and Baghdad witnessed major security tensions after Iraqi government announced the formation of Dijla Operations Command, which has subjected the army and police forces in Kirkuk, Diyala and Salahuddin provinces and Erbilís rejection of these forces because no one discussed the matter with it when it was formed.

Tuz Khurmatu, on Friday witnessed fierce clashes between Kurdish Peshmerga forces and Iraqi Tigris (Dijla) Operations troops, during which Two people were killed and 10 others wounded.

The clashes erupted in Tuz Khurmatu district in Salahuddin province when Iraqi soldiers attempted to search a house belonging to a Kurdish official Goran Najam, a member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan PUK, officials said. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani is the current leader of the PUK, Reuters reported.

The ethnically mixed town of Tuz Khurmato is part an area claimed by the semiautonomous region of Kurdistan and by the Baghdad government.

The oil-rich province of Kirkuk is one of the most disputed areas by the regional government and the Iraqi government in Baghdad.

The Kurds are seeking to integrate the province into the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region clamming it to be historically a Kurdish city, it lies just south border of the Kurdistan autonomous region, the population is a mix of majority Kurds and minority of Arabs, Christians and Turkmen, lies 250 km northeast of Baghdad.
Kurds have a strong cultural and emotional attachment to Kirkuk, which they call "the Kurdish Jerusalem." Kurds see it as the rightful and perfect capital of an autonomous Kurdistan state.

Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution is related to the normalization of the situation in Kirkuk city and other disputed areas through having back its Kurdish inhabitants and repatriating the Arabs relocated in the city during the former regimeís time to their original provinces in central and southern Iraq.

The article also calls for conducting a census to be followed by a referendum to let the inhabitants decide whether they would like Kirkuk to be annexed to the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan region or having it as an independent province.

The former regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had forced over 250,000 Kurdish residents to give up their homes to Arabs in the 1970s, to "Arabize" the city and the region's oil industry.

The last ethnic-breakdown census in Iraq was conducted in 1957, well before Saddam began his program to move Arabs to Kirkuk. That count showed 178,000 Kurds, 48,000 Turkomen, 43,000 Arabs and 10,000 Assyrian-Chaldean Christians living in the city. 

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