Iraqi Kurdish leader says region will defend itself
ARBIL, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraqi Kurdish President Masoud Barzani said on Saturday the region was fully prepared to defend itself, after a skirmish between Iraqi forces and Kurdish troops along their disputed internal border.
Tensions have been building between the autonomous Kurdish region and the central government in Baghdad since the departure of U.S. forces from Iraq in December, which removed a buffer between the two sides.
Relations have been strained further by the formation of a new command centre for Iraqi forces to operate in an area over which both Baghdad and the Kurdistan regional government (KRG)claim jurisdiction.
One person died in a shootout on Friday between Iraqi forces and Kurdish troops in Tuz Khurmato, 170 km (100 miles) north of the Iraqi capital.
"The Kurdish region is fully prepared to confront any undesirable occurrence, with the goal of defending our territory and our citizens," Barzani said in a statement on the Arabic page of the KRG's website.
"I have asked the Ministry of Peshmerga to take all necessary measures," Barzani said, referring to the Kurdish region's troops. He gave no details of what the measures entailed.
The fighting is a dramatic illustration of a broader feud over autonomy, oil and land that risks upsetting Iraq's uneasy federal union.
A standoff between Iraqi troops and Kurdish forces earlier this year came close to confrontation. Washington intervened and helped avert a potential clash.
(Reporting by Isabel Coles; Editing by Alison Williams)
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this
- UPDATE 5-U.S. aid workers who survived Ebola leave Atlanta hospital
- REFILE-Slain journalist's employer publishes email to family from Islamic State
- U.S. strikes have slowed Iraq militants but not weakened them - Pentagon
- Ukraine's Poroshenko talks tough ahead of meetings with Merkel, Putin
- Insight - As Ukraine forces gain in east, focus of German diplomacy shifts
The sophistication, wealth and military might of Islamic State militants represent a major threat to the United States that may surpass that once posed by al Qaeda, U.S. military leaders said on Thursday. Full Article
Africa tightens Ebola travel curbs as affected countries face food shortages. Full Article
Insight - Syria sees Islamist threat bringing detente with West, but not soon Full Article
Iran says wants progress in nuclear talks before action on Islamic State Full Article