Iraqi Kurdistan Votes To Deploy Peshmerga Troops Into Diyala Province

Lawmakers in Iraqi Kurdistan have decided to send Peshmerga fighters into a neighboring province of Iraq to secure the unstable region and act as negotiators with Iran over a brewing water crisis. Meanwhile, at least 16 Iraqis were killed and 22 more were wounded in ongoing violence elsewhere.

The Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament, which operates as part of the Kurdish Regional Government and is separate from Iraq’s main parliament, has voted to resume sending Peshmerga security forces into Diyala province. Although the province is politically separate from Iraqi Kurdistan, which is made up of three northern provinces, a high number of Kurds reside in some border areas. Many of them have recently demonstrated for the return of the Peshmerga troops.

Nearly three years ago the Peshmerga were forced to quit providing security for Diyala when Iraq’s central government reasserted its control of the province. More recently, a similar deployment in nearby Kirkuk earlier this year created tensions with the central government, further suggesting that Iraq will not welcome a new Peshmerga operation in Diyala. Adding to the confusion is the recent ending of U.S. participation in a combined U.S.-Iraq-Peshmerga operation along the de facto border between Kurdish and Arab areas of Iraq.

Separately, Arif Tayfur, who is the deputy speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, yesterday warned that the non-implementation of Article 140 of the Iraqi Constitution is what has created instability in the region. Under Article 140, a reversal of the Arabization program carried out under the Saddam regime would be implemented. Then a referendum could take place that would decide if traditionally Kurdish areas of Diyala, Kirkuk, Salah ad-Din and Ninewa provinces should be annexed into Iraqi Kurdistan. Some Kurds have returned to these areas already, but the referendum has been postponed several times due to political and security concerns.

Should this new deployment be implemented, the Peshmerga troops would not only provide security services for Diyala’s residents but also attempt to negotiate with Iran over water rights. In recent weeks, water from the Wand River has been diverted in Iran, preventing it from reaching agricultural areas of Iraq.

In Baghdad, two soldiers were killed and three more were wounded during a raid in Yarmouk that netted one suspect but left four others dead. A blast in Bayaa left two wounded. Yesterday in Ghadeer, a roadside bomb killed a policeman and wounded another. Also, a bomb targeted a U.S. patrol but left no reported casualties.

In Mosul, gunmen shot into a car, killing an off-duty policeman and wounding three others.A civilian was shot to death near his home.

A suicide bomber drover into an al-Baghdadi checkpoint, where the ensuing blast killed three policemen and wounded five others.

In Garma, a sticky bomb planted on a car killed a Sahwa member and wounded a passenger in his car.

Gunmen stormed a home in Abu Ghraib where they killed one policeman and wounded two others.

An unidentified body was found in Tal Afar.

A policeman and a bystander were wounded when gunmen shot at them in Taji.

A bomb in Ramadi wounded two bystanders. Police foiled a suicide bombing.

An aluminum factory owner was wounded during a shooting at his lab in Kirkuk.

In Hilla, a police officer was not harmed in an assassination attempt.

A joint U.S.-Iraqi raid involving helicopters took place in Duquq and Riyadh and netted 11 suspects.

Three suspects were arrested in Tuz Khormato.

Also, Turkish warplanes continued an assault on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets in northern Iraq.

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Author: Margaret Griffis

Margaret Griffis is a journalist from Miami Beach, Florida and has been covering Iraqi casualties for Antiwar.com since 2006.