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Sunday, October 22, 2017

State Department ‘Not Aware’ of Iranian Role in Iraqi Invasion of Kirkuk

State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert continued efforts to tamp down the flames threatening to ignite northern Iraq in war Friday.
Since the Kurdistan Regional Government held a successful independence referendum last month against the wishes of the Iraqi national government, the administration has tried hard to avoid taking sides in what could become yet another inter-ethnic conflict in the war-torn country. Both sides in the potential conflict, the Kurds and the Shiite Arab-majority government in Baghdad, are putative American allies in the region. The task became even more difficult Friday as reports came in of violent clashes between the Iraqi Army and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters north of the oil-rich, multi-ethnic city of Kirkuk, in a town called Altun Kupri.
“We are monitoring the situation closely, and call on all parties to cease all violence and provocative movements, and to coordinate their activities to restore calm,” Nauert said in a statement on the fighting Friday, continuing:
In order to avoid any misunderstandings or further clashes, we urge the central government to calm the situation by limiting federal forces’ movements in disputed areas to only those coordinated with the Kurdistan Regional Government. We are encouraged by Prime Minister Abadi’s instructions to federal forces to protect Iraqi Kurdish citizens and to not provoke conflict. READ MORE