Iraqi PM Adil Abdul-Mahdi has ordered the restructuring of the Joint Operations Command to include the Kurdish Peshmarga forces.
According to a decree issued by the PM’s office on September 15, Abdul-Mahdi will himself become commander of the joint forces, while Lieutenant General Abdul-Amir Rashid Yaralla will be deputy commander.
The joint command will be comprised of representatives of the various armed forces, the defense ministry, the interior ministry, the Peshmarga and the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF).
“The commander-in-chief has ordered the formation of a joint operations command to combat remnants of the Islamic State (IS) group; the command will operate in all areas which witness militant activities, including the disputed territories,” Nasr Harki, member of the Iraqi parliament’s security and defense committee told KirkukNow.
He added that the PM wants “all the components of Iraq to have a role in combating terrorism and maintaining security.”
Despite that two years have passed since the Iraqi government declared final victory over the Islamic State, the group continue to carry out sporadic attacks, particularly in the disputed territories.
Jamal Eminiki, chief of staff of the Kurdish Peshmarga forces, speaking to KirkukNow said the ministry of Peshmarga has not received any such formal orders so far.
Earlier in July, the Iraqi ministry of defense and the Kurdistan Region’s Peshmarga forces reached an agreement under which security vacuum in Kirkuk province and other territories disputed by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the federal government.
Both sides formed joint committees tasked with overseeing and assessing the security situation in these territories. Meanwhile, they conducted joint military operations against IS.
Following the IS incursion in 2014, the Peshmarga forces were deployed in most of the disputed territories, before they were forced to withdraw in the wake of the October 16, 2017 events, when federal forces regained control of these territories as a repercussion of a referendum on independence in the Kurdistan Region.