Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior member of Iran’s Expediency Council, rejected the notion that the Islamic Republic helped the central government in neighboring Iraq to take full control over the disputed region of Kirkuk, which was previously held by Kurdish Peshmerga forces.

“Iran has no role in the Kirkuk operation,” Velayati told reporters on the sidelines of his meeting with Special Envoy of France to Syria Franck Gellet in Tehran on Tuesday.

He further pointed to the independence referendum recently held in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region and said the majority of Iraq’s Kurdish people are opposed to the ambitions of Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Masoud Barzani.

“We saw that the region (Kirkuk) was captured by the Baghdad government almost without any clashes,” said Velayati, who is also an international adviser to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution.

Iraqi forces completed an operation to take control of all oil fields operated by state-owned North Oil Company in the Kirkuk region on Tuesday, according to a senior military officer.

They took control of the Bai Hasan and Avana oil fields northwest of Kirkuk on Tuesday, after seizing the Baba Gurgur, Jambur and Khabbaz fields on Monday, he said, Reuters reported.

Oil officials in Baghdad said all the fields were operating normally.

The fields were previously held by Kurdish Peshmerga forces, but they pulled out of the area in the face of an advance by forces of the Iraqi central government.

Tuesday’s deployment of Iraqi government forces in Dibis, where Bai Hasan and Avana are located, is part of an operation ordered by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to take control of Kurdish-held areas outside the three provinces that form Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region.

The latest incidents come amid simmering tensions between the central government in Baghdad and the KRG over a recent controversial referendum on the secession of the semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdish region.

The plebiscite took place on September 25, sparking strong objection from Baghdad. Iraq’s neighbors and the international community also voiced concerns about the repercussions of the vote, which was only supported by Israel.

Kirkuk, with some 10 percent of Iraq’s oil reserves, has long been contested by Baghdad and Erbil.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

By Zep Kalb for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.

In the aftermath of the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, the country’s educational system all but collapsed. Illiteracy rates have exploded. Universities have turned into sectarian battlegrounds.

Systemic violence — including beatings, rape and death threats — has forced students and faculty out of campuses. As state provision of higher education has receded, private donors have set up alternative institutions, often with a sectarian and religious twist. Foreign actors have also stepped in to fill the void.

Before the US-led invasion, education indicators in oil-rich, Baathist-controlled Iraq improved similarly as in other middle-income countries, and in several ways even more so. The country’s first university, Baghdad University, opened its doors in 1957. In 1968, the government made education free and compulsory at all levels.

In 1977, the eradication of illiteracy was made legally binding. The developmental push appeared to be working. By 1980, Iraq had already achieved near universal primary school enrollment.

Saddam Hussein’s devastating eight-year war with Iran in the 1980s and the sanctions imposed by the West over his invasion of Kuwait in the 1990s slowed these gains.

By 2000, the literacy rate of youth aged 15-24 years old stood at 84.8%, slightly higher than that of regional neighbor Egypt. The gender gap was also narrowing: Female literacy rates stood at 80.5% in 2000, a figure Egypt reached only in 2006. At the same time, underinvestment in education by a cash-strapped government led to an aged and creaking infrastructure.

For all its ills, the collapse of the Baathist regime in 2003 and its replacement with a US-installed government wrecked the country’s educational system. Junior, inexperienced American officers who failed to understand the complexities of maintaining peace between the sects were put in charge of higher education.

US senator warns the Iraqi government: Do not misunderstand it will have serious consequences

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US Senator John McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, on Tuesday warned the government of Iraq of "serious consequences" for any misuse of weapons it obtained from the United States against Kurdish forces.

"The United States has provided equipment and training to the Iraqi government to fight against the external threats and not to attack elements of one of its regional governments, which is an old and valued partner of the United States," McCain was quoted as saying.

"Do not misunderstand, there will be serious consequences if our vision of US equipment continues to be misused in this way," he said.

US President Donald Trump said Monday that his country "does not favor the current conflict" between Arbil and Baghdad, while noting that it "does not favor" any of them.

The Iraqi security forces entered the city of Kirkuk, under the guidance of Prime Minister Haider Abadi, aimed at imposing the rule of law in the province, which took control about a year ago, the Kurdish Peshmerga forces, a month after the authorities in the Kurdistan region to referendum secession from Iraq.

Security experts for the {morning}: move the government {positive step}


Baghdad / Omar Abdul Latif
Security experts expressed their support for the federal government’s efforts to redeploy security forces in all areas, including Kirkuk, as a "positive step" to extend the rule of law on all Iraqi soil and restore the prestige of the state and preserve the unity of the country.

The security expert Hisham al-Hashimi said that "the operation was launched to secure the districts of Tuzharmatu, Daqouq and Dibs, control of the oil fields in Bai Hassan and Baba Karkar, and re-control of the base of Ki One, Kirkuk airport, southern Kirkuk and Lilian."

"Until now, the federal forces have not fully exercised their control over the official facilities and have not achieved all their objectives," he said. "The objectives achieved were to control large areas of Dibs, Tuzhermato and Tal al-Ward."

While a member of the security committee in Kirkuk province Ali Mahdi stressed the need to maintain security and stability in the province without shedding one drop of blood.

Mahdi said in an interview with al-Sabah that he hoped that the regional government would correct its mistake and revert to the national constants adopted by the federal government in a way that avoids the citizens’ military clashes near their homes and in safe cities.

While the security expert Abdul Karim Khalaf, that "the goal of the movements of the state of the redeployment of federal forces in Kirkuk extended the powers of the Federal Constitutional Government to the three provinces of the region (Sulaymaniyah, Erbil and Dohuk) to ensure the implementation of law and order and the application of financial control and integrity and accountability and justice and control of sites Sovereign, airports, borders, ports and customs, "noting that all this must be borne by the province and meet its obligations to the state.

As for the security expert, Safa al-Aasem, he saw that "the federal government began to apply the Constitution in the province of Kirkuk after it saw that all that is happening is outside the controls and laws," noting that the security forces deal with "sons of astray" may return to their

The political analyst, Basil al-Kazimi, pointed out that the religious authority and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi wanted Iraq to remain united and stood against division, sectarianism and racism.

Academics: Constitution to move Iraq to democracy


The enemy of the people’s vote on it (a decisive moment) to eliminate the dictatorship
Baghdad / Muhannad Abdul Wahab
The Constitution is the decisive moment for the elimination of the remnants of the dictatorship and the transition to a wide area of ​​freedom, "he said.

Establishment of the stage of democracy
He said the media and academic Hassan Nassar: "The stage of writing the Iraqi constitution was very bitter, as Iraq passed an important historical milestone of salvation from dictatorship to establish an important stage of democracy,
" noting that "the Constitution was the decisive moment to eliminate the dictatorship and the transition to a large area of ​​freedom "He said.

He pointed out that "despite the political obstacles suffered by the Constitution, it is the basic and legal basis for the country, as it is one of the important constitutions in the Arab region," explaining that "the stage written by the Constitution is almost a flash of time, In a very short time for a country that has suffered from dictatorship for 35 years. "

The Nassar said that "
He pointed out that "the problems that hinder the law is not because of the paragraphs of the law, but because of political conflicts that have always been an obstacle to the manipulation of the laws in accordance with the political wills and pressures exerted by the political blocs of the consensus to violate the laws," calling for "political blocs to work to accelerate the enactment of laws Associated with paragraphs under a paragraph and regulated by law ".

"The legislature should examine the constitutions of countries that have gone through difficult circumstances such as Iraq and then turned into big states in democracy," he said.

The constitution was founded legally, as researcher and academic Nassim Abdullah pointed out that "the constitution was founded legally, and is considered the basic rule of law, some of its paragraphs were not practically compatible, so the legislative authority to amend these paragraphs, although the mechanisms of amendment difficult, because The constitution is one of the rigid constitutions. "

"Despite the legal gaps in the constitution, he has laid down plans for the future. Our proof is that all the countries that are at the top of the democratic list started writing constitutions and took years to reach true democracy," he said. Tangible and effective we see through the exercise of democratic action. "

He pointed out that "the transition to the stage of democracy goes through several stages, first writing the Constitution, in addition to the collective awareness of the legislative authority and the people," explaining that "the Iraqi constitution was interpreted according to the wishes of the political blocs, there is supposed to be a clear interpretation supervised by the Federal Court, Interpretations according to the wishes of the political blocs. "

He added that "some paragraphs of the Constitution gave the powers of the provinces at the expense of the center at a time when it should be the strength of the Center on the provinces, and this would give power to the central administration and a large area to follow services and reconstruction and the development of the provinces."

The finest constitutions in turn, between the researcher and academic Amer Saleh , said that " the Iraqi constitution is one of the most prestigious constitutions as it is based on a set of visions , " noting that " the Constitution was written by mostly experts lived in the world countries, and they know that democracy is established countries important in all fields "He said.

He stressed in a statement to "morning" that "the legal basis of the Constitution, clear and explicit, but the real problem is in the application, because Iraq contains a large mosaic differ in its components from all neighboring countries."

He added that "some paragraphs of the Constitution is difficult to achieve on the ground, because the practical experience proved that the reality is different, so we need a culture and awareness is very high in order to consolidate the principles of democracy."

Saleh stressed that "the real problem is not in the number of articles of the Constitution, but in the importance of these paragraphs that would be problematic," pointing out that "the paragraphs of the Constitution 80 percent of them workable, and the other 20 percent, complex and bear many interpretations and interpretations, In the march of the political process in Iraq, so you need to adapt to the political and social reality of Iraq. "

"The constitution was an important station from the history of Iraq, written at a difficult time, so it is realistic to contain gaps that need to be modified by informing the people and then vote on them democratically," said academic Jawad al-Aqabi.

He said in his speech to "morning" that "the Constitution is the most important law in the country, so it needs to change and amendment in order to develop it commensurate with the stage of Iraq’s political and societal developments."

He also pointed out that "the importance of public participation in building the paragraphs of the Constitution, because Iraq through important stages of democracy, although the political consensus was the largest share of political work and the adoption of laws."

"Over time, the political decision will be governed by the constitution, and beyond the political consensus and the global experience of large countries that have proved that experiences offer opportunities for change and development," he added.

By John Lee.

Iraq is reportedly considering using security forces to prevent Kurdistan from blocking oil output from Kirkuk.

A spokesman for the North Oil Company (NOC) told Reuters that Kurdish officials indicated that they would shut down production at the Kirkuk oilfield, ostensibly for security reasons, but as a means of putting pressure on Baghdad.

Kirkuk produces around 200,000 barrels per day, out of total Kurdish production of over 600,000 bpd.

More from Reuters here.

(Source: Reuters)

Federal forces in control of large areas of Kirkuk city; further Kurdish withdrawals in Nineveh/Diyala

Over the course of October 16, Iraqi federal forces advanced into many parts of Kirkuk city and adjacent military and energy facilities. The Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS), supported by the Iraqi Army and Federal Police took control of the K1 military base, the governor’s palace, the Kirkuk Provincial Council headquarters, the North Oil Company and North Gas Company headquarters, the Kirkuk Regional Air Base, and key areas of Kirkuk city and road junctions.

While Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) took part in operations in rural areas, they were not deployed into the Kirkuk city area.  Local Kurdish forces aligned with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) offered minimal resistance as federal forces moved into the area, many media reports have focused on an agreement in place between the PUK leadership and Baghdad for an orderly transfer of the facilities listed.

As a result, Baghdad is now in control of the portions of PUK-controlled Kirkuk that it held prior to the 2014 military collapse.   Government forces were also reported to have moved into the oil fields of Dibis district that have been held by forces loyal to the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) since 2014. These fields produce 275,000 barrels of oil per day, or nearly half the 620,000-barrel output of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

Some media reports claimed that thousands of Kurdish civilians have fled Kirkuk city and its surrounding area.  Other reports claimed that crowds of ethnic Turkmen who opposed Kurdish control of the city celebrated on the streets of Kirkuk.  The US has not opposed Baghdad’s return to Kirkuk in part because the move was framed in terms of restoring the status quo before the Islamic State (IS) crisis.  This theme has been echoed by the majority of the international community.

Separate unconfirmed reporting has indicated that Sinjar, 100km west of Mosul in Nineveh province, is now under the control of ISF/PMU forces following the withdrawal of Peshmerga forces from the town. Reporting on October 16 had indicated a build-up of government forces to the south and east of Sinjar.

Reporting last night indicated that talks were underway for a peaceful handover. Yazidi elements of the region’s majority Shia PMU forces had apparently stated their unwillingness to confront Peshmerga owing to the close ties between the groups.  Reports from Diyala province have also claimed that Kurdish forces have withdrawn from positions in the Mandali district northeast of Baquba as Iraqi federal forces entered Khanaqin district to the south of Mandali.

(Source: GardaWorld)

The decline of Iraq’s dollar bonds with the escalation of tension with the Kurds

Iraq’s dollar bonds fell on Monday as tensions rose in Kirkuk province between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

Sovereign bonds fell 2028 cents to a two-and-a-half-month low, while 2023 bonds fell 0.9 cents to a record low, according to Thomson Reuters data.

There has been a dispute between the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government since the referendum held by the province on the separation on September 25, which was rejected by Baghdad and described as illegal.…AF%D9%8A%D8%A9

Masoum and US ambassador discuss Kirkuk events today

President Fuad Masoum met with US Ambassador to Iraq Douglas Seleman on Monday, calling for an end to the conflict in Kirkuk and an immediate return to dialogue.

The President of the Republic said in a statement received by "Sky Press" that "President Fuad Masum received at the Peace Palace in Baghdad this morning, the US ambassador to Iraq, Douglas Silliman," indicating that "discussed with him the relations of cooperation and friendship between the two countries."

She explained that "during the meeting focused on the political and security developments in the country, especially recent developments in the province of Kirkuk."

He stressed that "infallible", according to the statement, "the need to stop the escalation of the conflict in Kirkuk, and the need to make the utmost efforts to return immediately to dialogue to resolve differences on the basis of the Constitution and through dialogue leading to the spread of peace and political stability and security."

He called on "the media and all parties to the dispute to keep away from escalation and rhetoric," expressing his hope "to understand all the political forces in the country the danger of worsening conditions that would negatively affect the future of all Iraqis."

The statement pointed out that the President of the Republic "focused on the need for political leaders to work to find acceptable ground and understandings contribute to the development of immediate solutions to the problems plagued Kirkuk and all the problems of the country, especially between the federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government," noting the "importance of preserving national unity And the lives of citizens. "

For his part, Ambassador Silliman stressed "the United States’ keenness to stabilize Iraq" and its readiness to "provide any support to help Iraqis overcome this problem."

The Joint Operations Command announced Monday that security forces had taken control of a number of areas in Kirkuk and confirmed that the units were continuing to advance.

Abadi calls on the people of Kirkuk to cooperate with the Iraqi armed forces

The Prime Minister, Haidar al-Abadi, on Monday, the people of Kirkuk, calling them to cooperate with the Iraqi armed forces, against the backdrop of the city witnessed the redeployment of federal forces.

"My duty is to work according to the constitution to serve the citizens and protect the unity of the country, which was at risk of partition as a result of insisting on holding the referendum organized by the controllers," Abadi said.

In the Kurdistan region and unilaterally, and at a time when we are engaged in an existential war against terrorism represented by a terrorist gang. "

Abadi stressed that "Baghdad tried to dissuade the brothers in the region from taking it and not to violate the Constitution and focus on the fight and urged, did not listen to our appeals and then asked them to cancel the results and to no avail also, and showed them the magnitude of the danger that will be exposed to Iraq and its people,

" noting that they "preferred their personal interests And the party on the interest of Iraq and its Kurds and the rest of the spectrum and exceeded the Constitution and came out of the national consensus and national partnership in addition to their disregard for the international rejection of the comprehensive referendum and the division of Iraq and the establishment of a state on a national and racial basis, "the statement.

On the security situation in Kirkuk, the prime minister reassured the people of the Kurdistan region and the people of Kirkuk in particular that "the Iraqi forces are keen on their safety and their interest,"

stressing that "it has only fulfilled its constitutional duty to extend the federal authority and impose security and protect the national wealth in this city,

"He called on them to cooperate with the armed forces, which are committed to its strict directives to protect civilians in the first place, impose security and order and protect state institutions and institutions.

He also called on the Peshmerga forces to perform their duty under the federal leadership as part of the Iraqi armed forces, and called on all employees in Kirkuk to continue their work normally and not to disrupt the interests of citizens.

The local police and intelligence agencies in Kirkuk are protecting citizens and their properties and be very vigilant To prevent "the promoters of temptation to sign between the sons of one nation," as he put it.

Sections of the fight against terrorism and rapid intervention, the federal police, the Iraqi army and the popular crowd, at dawn today, began a process of redeployment of the federal forces in Kirkuk.

This was followed by sporadic clashes between the forces of the crowd and the Peshmerga forces in the area of ​​Tuzkhurmatu and recorded casualties between the two sides, while the two exchanged the bombardment in Taza south of Kirkuk.

Federal forces have taken control of several vital sites and oil facilities in Kirkuk province so far.

Tension between the Peshmerga and the Iraqi forces in recent days in the seam areas between the two sides south of Kirkuk province, and took control of the Peshmerga on Kirkuk in the wake of the withdrawal of the Iraqi army from them before the invasion of the organization "Daash" north and west of the country in the summer of 2014.…%D9%86-%D9%85/