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 Kurdish Peshmarga forces didn't cross borders of disputed areas in Diyala: Khanaqin council

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Kurdish Peshmarga forces  didn't cross borders of disputed areas in Diyala: Khanaqin council  12.5.2012  

Khanaqin (Xaneqin) photo: UKS See Related Links 
May 12, 2012

DIYALA, Iraq, — The department of Khanaqin has assured that the Kurdish Peshmarga forces did not cross the borders of the disputed areas in Diyala and that they are still stationed at the outskirts of Khanaqin within joint checkpoints with the Iraqi army.

The head of Khanaqin local council Samir Mohammed Noor said the Peshmarga forces are performing their security tasks outside of the cities and disputed administrative units in Diyala. Noor denied the existence of any incidents of provocation by the Peshmarga or Iraqi army.

Noor added that the presence of Peshmarga forces in Khanaqin is to protect services and facilities and to compensate some deficiency in security, adding that the coordination between the Peshmarga and the Iraqi army out of the disputed city is going well without any problems or tensions.

In media statements yesterday, Maliki accused Kurds of expansion in the disputed areas in the provinces of Kirkuk and Nineveh, adding that the Peshmarga forces rushed to the territories of Kirkuk and Mosul but they do not allow even the Iraqi army or police to enter.

Officials in the federal government said the Peshmarga controls 16 administrative units in the Nineveh plain areas and their presence is even larger than the number of Iraqi army members in Kirkuk, Khanaqin district and other nearby areas in Diyala province.

Member of the security and defense committee for the Kurdish Blocs Coalition (KBC) Hassan Jihad: "The formation of Sahwat and joint emergency security battalions from all nationalities in the disputed areas will not achieve any security progress in northern Diyala."

He renewed the invitation of the Kurds to expand the coordination between the Iraqi army and Peshmarga in keeping security in areas of tension in the disputed areas.

Despite continued campaigns of displacement that Kurds have been suffering from in Saadia and Jalawla since late 2008, the Peshmarga forces have not intervened effectively in these areas despite the demands of Kurdish officials and the families that were forced to flee to safe areas.

Diyala province, a restive part of Iraq outside the Kurdish autonomous region of Kurdistan but home to many Kurds. The Diyala district, which includes a string of villages and some of Iraq's oil reserves, is home to about 175,000 Kurds, most of them Shiites.

In June 2006, the local council of Khanaqin proposed that the district be integrated into the autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq.

During the Arabisation policy of Saddam Hussein in the 1980s, a large number of Kurdish Shiites were displaced by force from Khanaqin. They started returning after the fall of Saddam in 2003.

Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution is related to the normalization of the situation in Kirkuk city and other disputed areas like Khanaqin.

Kurdistan's government says oil-rich Khanaqin should be part of its semi-autonomous region, which it hopes to expand in a referendum in the future. In the meantime, Khanaqin and other so-called disputed areas remain targets of Sunni Arab insurgents opposed to Kurdish expansion and vowing to hold onto land seized during ex-dictator Saddam Hussein's efforts to "Arabize" the region.

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