Shafaq News/ Coordination failure between the Federal security forces, the Peshmerga, and Asayish (Kurdistan’s intelligence agency) as well as the intersection of their goals -according to observers- contributed to the growth of terrorist organizations and has provided a safe environment for their movements in Diyala. Hence demands resurfaced for the Peshmerga to reinstitute in those areas, in coordination with the Iraqi security forces, to restore security after ISIS’s attacks and IEDs explosions became a daily event with high costs for civilians and the security personnel as well.
Regarding that, Sherko Muhammad, the deputy of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) in Diyala stated to Shafaq News, “Meetings and discussions between the Kurdish delegation and Diyala’s administration resulted in practical agreements to launch joint security plans between the Federal security forces, the Peshmerga, and Asayish in the disputed areas, especially in Khanaqin (105 km northeast of Diyala) as it witnessed a major security retrogression recently.”
On the other side, social and local media reported demonstrations carried by clans in Jalawla (70 km northeast of Diyala) opposing the return of the Peshmerga. Concerning that, Burhan Zangana - the social blogger- told Shafaq News agency, “many of the tribesmen - who are participating in the protests against the Peshmerga’s return – are the same who wore Kurdistan’s flag during the separation referendum in 2017. Such narrow-minded priggishness contradicts with the disputed areas’ citizens’ aspirations. Authorities should review and follow the acts of incitement and abuse against the security forces and the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) by a few that claims to prioritize the interests of the people in the disputed areas.”
While Al-Saadiyya district’s manager, Ahmed Thamer Al-Zarkushi believed that, “the demonstrations against the Peshmerga presence are a constitutional right to express the freedom of opinion. Only the security ministers and authorities are entitled to make decisions about the Peshmerga return, as they are fully aware of the security file and its repercussions”. Al-Zargushi urged the tribesmen to cooperate and support the security forces against the threats of ISIS.
In a statement to Shafaq News, Zahid Taher Al-Dalawi, a member of Diyala’s dissolved provincial council, shared Al-Zargushi his opinion, as he believes that, “the authorities are the most knowledgeable regarding the security file", even though he explicitly indicated that demonstrating is a right that is guaranteed by the constitution and the protests that took place protesters did not defame the Peshmerga forces that offered, "(172) martyrs during their bid to liberate Jalawla from ISIS in 2014.” Al-Dalawi recalled the events that took place back in 2017; when some security members removed the pictures of the martyrs from the entrance of Jalawla and then removed the picture of the late president, Mam Jalal. Those actions, in his opinion, aimed to an escalation in Diyala that would have –consequently- dragged the region to national conflict.
Al-Dalawi added, “With the same number of demonstrators, Jalawla’s invasion by ISIS was preventable. So, is the Peshmerga responsible for what happened in Jurf Al-Sakhar, Baghdad’s belt, northern Muqdadiya, Mansuriyye, and Saadiyye?” he also revealed that, “many of those who organized Jalawla’s demonstrations have criticized and attacked the PMF and the security forces and launched sectarian slogans which are documented by videos when they were the displacement camps in Kurdistan and Khanaqin”.
In addition, he considered the return of the Peshmerga to Diyala as a menace to ISIS agents and conspirators that can refrain their plans, restore security and revive the agricultural fields, abandoned by their owners in the past 3 years because of ISIS’s ambushes.