Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi said his country’s military forces have plans to launch a cross-border operation to fight against terrorists on the territory of Syria. “The situation in Syria remains a real challenge and we are focused on finding a solution,” Abadi said, speaking to reporters during his weekly press conference on Sunday night. “We have gone from fighting terrorism in Iraq to fighting terrorism in Syria,” Abadi said as quoted by Rudaw news agency. He explained that the matter in question was discussed on Saturday with Iraqi military commanders for countering terrorism beyond Iraq’s borders. “Our project has developed from fighting terror in Iraq to fighting terror in the region,” the premier said, stressing that the aim is not to violate other countries sovereignties. “We do not want to exceed our limits, and we will not transgress those of other countries,” the prime minister emphasized, saying his country is playing a pivotal role in countering terrorism.
Iraq’s parliament failed on Saturday to approve May 12 as the election date. Shafaq News reported that parliament speaker Salim al-Jubouri, a Sunni, ordered a secret poll among representatives over holding the legislative elections on time while postponing local elections. The Iraqi parliament approached the country’s top court to settle a political dispute over the holding of legislative elections as the chamber fails to reach a consensus over the schedule of polls. Both processes were already slated for May 12th by the Cabinet, but divisions grew as Sunni blocs favored a postponement to give time to displaced voters to return to their home regions after the end of military operations against Islamic State militants. News websites also quoted officials at the parliament’s presidency saying that a letter directed to the Federal Court asked judges to pronounce on the legality of postponing the polls. On the contrary, Shiite politicians, including Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, insist on holding the election as planned on May 12, saying a delay would be against the constitution. On Thursday, the Iraqi parliament called off to Saturday one more session to debate on the elections’ timetable and regulations.
BAGHDAD – Speaking during his weekly press briefing on Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi remained inflexible to run parliament and local elections on time, saying there will be “no postponement of elections at all”. He also promised to resolve pending issues with Kurdistan Region, including employees’ salaries. Some Sunni groups have shown a preference to call off elections which the Cabinet had slated for May 12th in order to give time to civilians displaced by the war against the Islamic State militants to repatriate and vote. Speaking about the crisis with Kurdistan Region Abadi said: “We seek to resolve all pending issues with Kurdistan Region, and we are serious about disbursing the salaries of all of the region’s employees”, adding that his government remains eager to resolve all disputes with Erbil. Representatives of the governments of Baghdad and Erbil have discussed over the past week to resolve pending issues caused from a poll the region held in September considered unconstitutional, in which a majority voted for independence from Iraq. Baghdad also prompted it to take over disputed areas and border crossings, and to impose an air embargo on Kurdistan. Another contentious issue between both governments has been the payment of Kurdish employees’ salaries: Baghdad has asked Erbil to make an accurate count of its employees, suggesting paying the salaries from its oil exports’ revenues. Erbil, meanwhile, argued that the revenues would not suffice for the payments, and had also objected to its share in the proposed federal budget.
Turkey told Iraq it would deal only with the Iraqi government on crude oil exports, the office of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Thursday. In a phone call with Abadi, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım “confirmed the support of his country to all decisions” taken or sought by the Iraqi government after the non-binding independence referendum held in the Kurdistan Regional Goverment (KRG) on Monday, Abadi’s office said in a statement. Among these measures, the statement mentioned “restricting oil export (operations) to the Iraqi government”. It didn’t give more details or say how Ankara would deal with current crude exports from the KRG.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the government of Iraq will not discuss the results of the Kurdistan independence referendum, a few hours after Kurdish supervisors began counting referendum votes. Abadi said on Monday (September 25) the referendum was “unconstitutional and illegitimate”. “We are not ready to discuss or have a dialogue about the results of the referendum because it is unconstitutional”, Abadi added. He further said procedures have started to hold those responsible for the referendum, not the Kurdish citizens. Iraqi Government Spokesman Saad Hadithi told Voce of America on Monday that the central government in Baghdad would not admit the results of the referendum and it would hold dialogue with the Kurdistan Region as part of Iraq.
Turkish armed forces started a military drill at the Iraqi border on Monday, the army said, a week ahead of a Kurdish referendum in northern Iraq which Turkey has asked to be called off. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the planned Sept. 25 referendum was as an issue of national security, and warned that Turkey would take any necessary steps in response. President Tayyip Erdoğan said on Sunday that he will meet Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi this week to discuss their concerns about the referendum. Turkey, the United States and other Western powers have advised authorities in the semi-autonomous region to cancel the vote, worrying that it would create tensions that would distract from the war on Daesh in Iraq and Syria.
Iraq is prepared to intervene militarily if the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) planned independence referendum results in violence, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview Saturday. Iraq’s Kurdish region plans to hold the referendum on support for independence from Iraq on Sept. 25 in three governorates that make up their autonomous region, and in disputed areas (like Kirkuk for example, a rich-oil city) controlled by Kurdish forces but which are under the rule of Baghdad. “If you challenge the constitution and if you challenge the borders of Iraq and the borders of the region, this is a public invitation to the countries in the region to violate Iraqi borders as well, which is a very dangerous escalation,” al-Abadi said. The leaders of KRG have said they hope the referendum will push Baghdad to come to the negotiating table and create a path for independence. However, al-Abadi said such negotiations would likely be complicated by the referendum vote. In a statement released late Friday night the White House called for the Kurdish region to call off the referendum “and enter into serious and sustained dialogue with Baghdad”.