Masoud Barzani stepped down on Wednesday as President of Iraqi Kurdistan. He leaves his nephew, Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, in charge. The younger Barzani has better relations with opposing Kurdish parties and even Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, so the handover could serve Kurdistan well. Elections were to have been held today but have been postponed until next year due to the chaos of the independence referendum and subsequent retaliation by Iraqi forces. The elder Barzani says he will continue to have an active political life.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi accused the Kurds of going back on their word to hand over all disputed territories and international border crossings to Iraqi authority and threatened an end to the truce. The Kurds say that they authorized Iraqi oversight at the border crossing but not complete control and had given the Iraqi government a list of demands. Peshmerga forces warned Baghdad that they are ready for attacks. Mortars have reportedly been fired.
Several U.S. Congressmen jointly expressed their disappointment in current U.S. policy towards Iraq, especially in regards to Kurdistan. Rep. Trent Franks went as far as accusing P.M. Abadi of breaking his word after promising not to attack the Kurds.
At least 19 people were killed, and eight were wounded:
In Mosul, a car bomb killed five Shi’ite militiamen; one civilian was killed and four were wounded as well. Six members of one family were killed when they returned to their booby-trapped home. A similar situation left three people dead at another home.
Three civilians were killed and one was wounded in landmine explosion over the course of the last month in Sulaimaniya.
A bomb in Baghdad left two civilians with injuries.
Security forces near Tikrit killed one suicide bomber and wounded another.
Read more by Margaret Griffis
- Truffle Hunters Executed; 17 Killed in Iraq – February 19th, 2019
- Fresh Dangers for Truffle Hunters; 12 Killed in Iraq – February 18th, 2019
- Attack at Military Base Near Kirkuk; 11 Killed in Iraq – February 17th, 2019
- Elderly Shrine Tender Among Eight Killed in Iraq – February 16th, 2019
- More Truffle Gatherers Kidnapped; Four Killed in Iraq – February 15th, 2019