Alwaght- In the middle of the Iraqi political infighting over the 2021 budget, terrorist groups continue to pose substantial threats to the nation’s political and social structures.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Staff of Peshmerga Ministry Jamal Iminki in an interview with Khandan news outlet said that the latest estimations suggest that over 5,000 ISIS remnants are active in Iraq and Kurdistan region north of the country.
The autonomous region’s military official said that central government has declined to prepare for possible confrontations with the ISIS and has not set a date for discussions for coordination between the Kurdish Peshmerga ministry and the Iraqi army to counter ISIS and fill the security vacuum. In other words, Iminki finds the cleansing operations against ISIS militants insufficient and somehow accuses the army and the central government of not doing enough to deter threats of the terrorist group.
According to the Kurdish military official, there is a serious security vacuum in Tuz Khurma in Salahuddin province and Palkana town of Kirkuk, an area separating fields of operations of the Peshmerga and the army, and that the Iraqi forces cannot safeguard them as waves of terrorist attacks and security challenges are on the rise.
The remarks are coming as earlier political and military leaders in the Kurdish region said they would not allow the Iraqi army to station its forces inside Kurdistan’s borders. To fill the vacuum caused by the Iraqi absence, they asked the US-led Western military coalition to provide support to the Peshmerga fighters against ISIS remnants.
There are some points regarding the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) stances on the fight against ISIS and the security and defense cooperation with Baghdad.
Presence of 5,000 ISIS fighters and KRG’s strategic mistake
Erbil’s concerns about ISIS presence on the borders of the Kurdish region with a massive number of militants comes as since the beginning of ISIS emergence in Iraq in 2014, there were speculations about the existence of coordination between the region and some of pro-ISIS Sunni tribal leaders with American and Saudi mediation. Proof of this was ISIS's arrival at Baghdad gates and the meaningful silence of Erbil.
Even when ISIS after the Sinjar assault attacked Erbil-controlled regions, word spread that the Peshmergas intentionally retreated from their positions allowing the militants to seize vast lands without resistance. During the years of anti-ISIS combat, the Kurdistan region made the least coordination with Baghdad, putting all of its eggs in the one basket of the western alliance.
The existence of 5,000 ISIS terrorists is a product of the policy of relying solely on the US and Europe, on which Erbil still insists. Instead of shifting the blame and misinforming the Kurdish citizens, now the time has come for the Kurdish leadership to wonder about the fruits of all of their cooperation with the US and the West as a whole. Could 5,000 ISIS fighters build up a presence on the Kurdish region borders without secret plans?
Erbil seeks the US and coalition military stay
Highlighting the presence of such a big number of ISIS militants and Baghdad’s failure to offer help to Peshmerga forces implies their intention to urge the US for help. The Kurds in the present period want to persuade Washington to maintain its military presence in Iraq as Joe Biden assumes the presidency on January 20.
This interest is while on January 5 last year, Iraqi lawmakers approved the US military expulsion act. Now that the US exit from Iraq is largely definite, Erbil wants to prepare for American stay by raising insecurity and questions about Iraqi ability to combat ISIS. But all field developments prove Erbil wrong. Currently, the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), voluntary units founded in response to ISIS rise, and the army forces hold the security of the central and southern parts at the highest possible levels. The PMF, called Hashd al-Shaabi in Arabic, has been enormously successful, for example, in safeguarding Kirkuk as one of the hot spots of crisis in the country. But the Kurds by ignoring the home potentials and setting hearts on the US support make a historical mistake.
Paradoxes of security threats to Kurdistan region and unfounded excuses
One crucial and worth attending point is that if the Kurds are really weak in securing the areas under their control and cannot counter potential attacks by the 5,000 terrorist fighters, they better leave control of their areas to the powerful PMF and army units.
The region’s leaders seem to be caught by a serious paradox. On the one hand, they claim to be incapable of security provision and on the other hand do not want to cooperate with the regular Iraqi forces and entrust them with the security of the Kurdish regions. This shows how much their excuses are baseless and devoid of reliable and logical documents.