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Turkey’s refusal to withdraw a military force from northern Iraq, following their highly-publicized entry on 3 December, has created yet another political storm for PM Haidar al-‘Abadi. The move has been seized on by rival Shia groupings to present themselves as the most reliable guarantors of Iraqi sovereignty.
Turkey’s incursion is not within Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) territory proper, but rather Bashiqa, in an area near the Nineveh provincial capital of Mosul – still under occupation by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) – in which Kurdish forces have security control.
Unlike the long-standing Turkish presence in the Kurdistan region’s Dohuk province north of Erbil, to counter the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), this force is located in camps run by loyalists of former Nineveh Governor Athil al-Nujaifi, who was impeached by parliament with Mr ‘Abadi’s support on 28 May and now resides in Erbil.
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