Disagreement between forces in Shingal on newly deployed Federal Police

Kirkuk, July 2020 – Federal Police units during a sweeping operation – photo: KirkukNow


Unlike the forces close to the PKK in Shingal, the PMF (Hashd al-Sha’bi) does not oppose the deployment of the Iraqi Federal Police in the district.

A Federal Police force of 2,000 was deployed from Kirkuk to Shingal on 19 November, and that has created friction between the different forces that are currently stationed there.

Haso Ibrahim, deputy chairman of the Self-Administration Council, which also speaks on behalf of the Shingal Resistance Units (YBŞ) - close to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) - told KirkukNow: “Shingal does not need deployment of new forces. The situation is stable in Shingal, but it will be upended now that a force of the Federal Police has come."

The Self-Administration Council and YBŞ are present in Shingal since it was retaken from ISIS militants.

"The deployment of that force is within the framework of the agreement between Baghdad and the [Kurdistan] Region, which is a dangerous scheme for Shingal. We oppose the deployment of that force."

Haso Ibrahim says that part of that force intended to go to Mount Shingal. "We will not accept that and we will not leave our headquarters for them, and if they force us out, we will resist."

A part of the Federal Police force has been deployed in and around the district, and another has been stationed at the Iraq-Syria border.

Nineveh, 2020 – a checkpoint in Sinuné subdistrict in Shingal – photo: KirkukNow


Khalid Ali, the commander of the PMF in Shingal, told KirkukNow: "The deployment of this force has nothing to do with the agreement between Erbil and Baghdad. They have come to the border areas between Iraq and Syria, and this is normal because Shingal belongs to Iraq, and the Iraqi government can deploy its forces in any city or region within its borders.”

The Kurdistan Regional Government and the Iraqi Federal Government signed an agreement on 1 October to form a new administration and to reorganize the security oversight for the district. But many in Shingal oppose it.

Major General Tahseen al-Khafaji, spokesman for the Joint Operations Command in Iraq, said: "The mission of the Federal Police forces in Shingal is to oversee the security of the district and implement the Shingal agreement."

According to Tahseen al-Khafaji, who spoke to the semi-official Al-Iraqiya channel, the agreement stipulates that only force under the within Federal Government will be stationed in Shingal and that “Peshmerga forces and others will not be allowed inside the district, and only the Iraqi flag will be hoisted.”

Next to the Federal Police, there are five other forces: PMF, YBŞ, Internal Police, Iraqi Army and Ezidkhan Peshmerga.

Farhad Hamid, the mayor of Shingal, told KirkukNow: “We weren’t informed about the deployment of that force beforehand. That’s why we don’t know why and to what end they have come. We only know that some of them are stationed on the border, and others in Sinuné subdistrict.”

The district of Shingal currently has two mayors: one of them is Mahma Khaleel (KDP) who resides in Duhok since the events of 16 October 2017 (when Peshmerga Forces were expelled from the disputed areas in the fallout of the independent referendum held by the Kurdistan Regional Government); the other is Fahd Hamid who was appointed mayor by a temporary council.

The district of Shingal is located about 120 km west of Mosul in Nineveh province. It is considered part of the disputed areas according to the Iraqi constitution.

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