Iraq: Maliki Accuses Kurds of Aligning with Islamic State
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki declared Wednesday that he suspected Iraq’s northern autonomous Kurdish region of hosting militants from the Islamic State, the group formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).
“Honestly, we cannot be silent over this and we cannot be silent over Arbil being headquarters for ISIS, and Baath, and al-Qaeda and terrorist operations. We cannot be silent over a movement that exploited the circumstances and expanded,” said Iraq’s Shiite Muslim Prime Minister, after hearing that the Kurds had plans to announce that they were going to be holding a referendum on self-determination; debating whether to become an independent sovereign state of Kurdistan.
“They (Islamic State) will lose and so will their hosts, because they failed to provide an example of patriotic partnership,” said Maliki, angry that the Kurds had decided to independently bring about a vote as to whether they want to be a part of Iraq.
The Kurds decided upon a referendum just days after the Islamic State declared a Sunni Islamic caliphate throughout Iraq and Syria, with hopes to further expand.
In a show of military dexterity, the effective and battle tested Kurdish forces, known as the Peshmerga, moved into the strategically important oil city of Kirkuk last month, located in a disputed territory on the edge of Kurdish territory.
In a show of solidarity in late June, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that Jerusalem would fully support an independent sovereign state of Kurdistan.
The Obama administration has thus far, preferred Iraq to stay a unified state, consisting of Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds living in harmony with one another. However, some in the administration, such as Vice President Joe Biden, have favored a decentralization approach in which Iraq would be divided into three sovereign entities, populated by Iraqi citizens with the three distinct backgrounds.