Iraq: Tensions Between Federal Government and Kurdish Regional Government Rise
Sean Kane, writing at Foreign Policy, examines the overlooked tensions that have been simmering in Iraq since waves of popular unrest have swept across the Middle East. Recently, the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) deployed units of the Peshmerga, the Kurdish regional security forces, south of Kirkuk following popular protests there in February. The KRG is worried about anti-Kurdish sentiments in the ethnically diverse city and has reportedly deployed, according to Kane, a disproportionate force of 12,000 troops along with small and medium artillery. Such actions have previously led to tensions between the central government in Baghdad and the KRG producing standoffs between the Iraqi Army and Peshmerga. The U.S. has implemented the Combined Security Mechanism (CSM) with aims to greater integration and cooperation between the two forces and the U.S. military. Despite the CSM however, tensions clearly remain, alludes Kane. Denials by Iraqi Prime Minister Nour al-Maliki of his consent to the recent deployment and subsequent demand that Peshmerga forces return to their base north of the city, once again complicate U.S. strategy as it prepares to withdraw its forces.