U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Iraq on Monday for an unannounced meeting with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and President Fuad Masum. At the meeting, P.M. Abadi complained to Tillerson over recent remarks requiring the Iran-backed Shi’ite militias disband. Instead, militiamen are redeploying to Anbar for what is hoped to be the last major battle with the Islamic State militants.
While in Baghdad, Tillerson encouraged dialogue between Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government to avoid escalation over Kurdish self-determination and disputed territories. Although the United States has sided with Baghdad on Iraq’s “territorial integrity”, Tillerson also said “the Kurdish people have a number of unfulfilled expectations, rights that were promised them under the constitution that were never delivered upon, and so there are a number of actions that need to be taken.”
Iraqi forces are massing near Rabeaa just south of a border crossing at Faysh Khabur, possibly in advance of an operation to take control of the border. This border crossing is within the undisputed borders of Iraqi Kurdistan. On the other side is Kurdish-held territory within Syria. The Iraqi government has not admitted it plans to capture the territory, but it does want control of the crossing. Militia members may be among the forces, and Peshmerga troops have blocked a main road to delay troop advancement.
A Yazidi Peshmerga member is accusing Shi’ite militias of breaking their agreement and looting homes in Sinjar.
At least 36 were killed and 17 were wounded in recent violence:
Gunmen killed a teacher and a student in Muqdadiya.
Two Kurdish Asayesh members were killed during a home invasion in Khanaqin. Shi’ite militiamen are being blamed.
A bomb in Madaen wounded four people.
Four people were wounded during a blast at a Baghdad livestock market.
Two people were wounded by an explosion in Abu Ghraib.
In Hawija, six militants were killed while trying to escape.
Militiamen killed six militants in Tuz Khormato.
Six militants were killed in clashes in Sarha.
Read more by Margaret Griffis
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