20:37 GMT +307 December 2019
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    Iraqi security forces members drive a military vehicle in Qaraqosh, near Mosul, Iraq December 9, 2016

    Some Don't Want Full Liberation of Mosul 'So That Many Things Can Remain Buried'

    © REUTERS / Alaa Al-Marjani
    Middle East
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    There are forces in Iraq that appear to be opposed to the large-scale operation aimed at wresting Mosul from Daesh, Iraqi Kurdish presidential press secretary Kefah Mahmud told Sputnik, naming former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his entourage, as well as generals and senior defense officials close to him.

    "They are the reason Sinjar, Mosul and Saladin were abandoned and 4 million Iraqis became refugees. This group could be planning something to prevent Mosul from been fully liberated so that many things remain buried," he suggested.

    Daesh seized Mosul and large swathes of land in northern Iraq in a blitz offensive on June 10, 2014, with many pointing out that Iraqi security forces and law enforcement officers fled offering no resistance when the militants entered the second largest city in the country. In October, Baghdad launched a military campaign aimed at retaking Mosul.

    Kefah Mahmoud further said that al-Maliki and his supporters, who "deliberately" don't want the Kurdish issue to be resolved, have constantly tried to put a spoke in Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's wheel.

    "For instance they have passed the budget bill without securing the approval of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, the largest political force block in the region," he said. "I think that al-Abadi is under immense pressure from this group. I mean the Islamic Dawa Party, which is led by al-Maliki. Perhaps this group is working on unseating the government."

    The relationship between Baghdad and Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, has been rocky since the Kurds have been pushing for greater autonomy, if not independence, but successes achieved during the offensive aimed at liberating Mosul have apparently shown that cooperation between the two sides could be fruitful.

    "The fact that Iraqi security forces and Kurdish fighters have cooperated and coordinated their activities aimed at liberating Mosul serves as a testament to the fact that the plan aimed at stabilizing the relations between Baghdad and Erbil is working. Perhaps for the first time since Iraq was founded the Iraqi Armed Forces have worked together with Peshmerga. They have secured major victories as a result."

    Kefah Mahmoud acknowledged that there are challenges in relations between Baghdad and Erbil, but said that both parties have reached a compromise on many issues.

    "Both sides have agreed on how the operation aimed at liberating the Nineveh Plains and Mosul will proceed. They have allocated responsibility for various operations aimed at liberating northern, western and southern districts of Mosul. They have also established efficient cooperation with US leadership," he said. "In addition, an agreement has been reached to establish a high committee on administering the Nineveh province to resolve issues which many expect to arise once the land is fully liberated."

    Kefah Mahmoud also said that Erbil does not intent to force any region to become part of Iraqi Kurdistan, indicating that this process will be democratic and legal.

    "It is clearly impossible to integrate Sinjar and the Nineveh Plains without the consent of the local population. I think that the decision of the locals corresponds with the notion of democracy. Sinjar, the Nineveh Plains or any other region which has become a bone of contention will not become part of Iraqi Kurdistan without a referendum. I think that this approach will resolve many issues between Baghdad and Erbil," he explained.

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