Kurds Approve Heavy Weapons For Themselves, Baghdad Says No

Just days after the Kurdish Regional Government called on the United States to cancel an order of fighter jets headed to Iraq, the K.R.G. approved for its own use all types of weapons. Baghdad quickly warned the Kurds that their possession of tanks and warplanes is against the Iraqi constitution.

M.P. Sami al-Askari, a close aide to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, further stated that any heavy weaponry seized after the fall of Saddam must be turned over to the central government. The Kurds countered by saying that the constitution does not specify what types of arms they are allowed.

The Kurds clearly fear an authoritarian Baghdad, but Baghdad gave a more subtle reason for fearing Kurdish weapons. Sa’ad al-Motallebi, another member of the State of Law coalition, claimed in an interview with Press TV that the weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists (meaning Kurdish rebels), who would then use them against Turkey or Iran, undermining international relations.

Motallebi also conceded that Baghdad does not have the means to take the weapons by force. Besides using the weapons to protect themselves from Baghdad, the Kurds could also use the weapons to defend themselves from Turkish and Iranian incursions. Ankara and Tehran have frequently crossed into Kurdish territory to attack rebels.

Meanwhile, new violence at least three Iraqis killed and 17 more wounded.

A bomb targeting an army patrol exploded in Abu Ghraib, killing one officer and wounding six others, including two civilians. A civil servant was wounded in a separate blast.

Gunmen killed two policemen and wounded another at a checkpoint near Baquba.

In Baghdad, a bomb in the Karrada district wounded three people when it exploded.

Three people were wounded in Tal Kief when an I.E.D was detonated.

Gunmen wounded a civilian in Falluja.

A woman was wounded in a small arms attack in Buhriz.

In Hawija, a blast wounded a Sahwa member.

Author: Margaret Griffis

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