Iraqi Turkmen: Minorities United Against US Bill
The US Congress has released a draft of its annual defense bill, through which it urges the Government to recognize the Sunni and Kurdish States and to give them a significant portion of the money they are planning to give to Iraq. Various Iraqi minorities are united in their concern that this will disunite Iraq even more.
Below is an article published by PressTv:
The Iraqi Turkmens and Christians have stressed that such a move would be the first step toward dividing Iraq, which could jeopardize Iraq’s future.
“If this country is divided, we as a minority, our fate is unknown,” Aydin Saleem, a Turkmen Iraqi lawmaker, told Press TV.
The northern and western parts of Iraq have been in chaos since ISIL started its campaign of terror in early June 2014. The terrorists are in control of the second-largest city of Mosul and have swept through parts of the country.
“Turkmens in Iraq mostly live in Kirkuk, Tal Afar and Mosul, all regions in north Iraq currently threatened by ISIL. We as Turkmens support an accord which allows all of Iraq’s religious and ethnic components to take part in a political process,” the MP added.
Yaacoub Korkees, an Iraqi Assyrian parliamentarian, also opposed the US bill, stressing that a united Iraq is the demand of all Iraqis.
All Iraqi minorities “in general are against the division of Iraq. We want Iraq to remain united as it has been throughout history,” the Assyrian lawmaker said.
“However, if they want to divide this country into Sunni, Kurdish and Shiite states, then we will call for a fourth state, that is a Christian state,” he demanded.
The draft of the US annual defense bill, which was released on April 27 by the House Armed Services Committee, urges the US government to recognize separate Kurdish and Sunni states and provide them with at least 25 percent of the USD-715-million aid money allegedly planned to be given to the Iraqi government to help it fight the ISIL terrorist group.
The draft bill also says the figure could even amount to 60 percent of the money, about USD 429 million.
The bill mandates that “the Kurdish Peshmerga, the Sunni tribal security forces with a national security mission, and the Iraqi Sunni National Guard be deemed a country,” adding that doing so “would allow these security forces to directly receive assistance from the United States.”
Iraqi politicians and clerics are opposed to the idea, saying that only the Iraqi people can decide about the future of their country.
In a phone conversation with US Vice President Joe Biden, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi denounced the bill, saying he is opposed to such a plan which is aimed at weakening the unity of Iraq.
“This scenario is not new, it goes back to 2007 and 2008 when [then Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee] Joe Biden said that Iraq must be divided into three states; Kurdish, Shia and Sunni. Now other countries are trying to impose this project and control this situation in Iraq,” Najem Qassab, an Iraqi political analyst, told Press TV on Saturday.
Influential Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has warned against the bill , saying that if the bill is passed, Iraq will no longer be a safe place for the US, and its interests will become the target of attacks by the Iraqis who will never accept the “division of their country.”
"We are obliged to lift the freeze on our military wing … and begin hitting US interests in Iraq and outside it,” said Sadr, who once led the powerful Mahdi Army and still enjoys huge influence among the Shia population.
Iraq’s army has been joined by Kurdish forces, Shia volunteers and Sunni tribesmen in operations to drive the ISIL terrorists out of the areas the Takfiri militants have seized.