With the soup sandwich that is the conflict in Syria ramping up, no one seems to be watching the ISIS presence in Iraq get snuffed out. The Iraqi government is watching however and they have a close eye on where their borders currently are. Their message to the Kurds was very clear last month; return the land Peshmerga occupies to Iraq or prepare for war. It still remains to be seen if they have the tenacity to back up their threats with force at this stage though.

In mid-August a Shia Iraqi MP named Mohammed Saihoud stated, “If Peshmerga forces do not retreat from the liberated areas, they will be considered as occupiers, not liberators.” And, “IS and Peshmerga forces are equal before the gunfire of the Iraqi security forces and Hashd al-Shaabi if they insist on the occupation of the liberated areas.”

A Kurdish Regional Government spokesman responded to the MP bluntly by insisting that Peshmerga forces will not advance any further towards Mosul specifically but that, “The areas were liberated by the blood of the Peshmerga forces. Peshmerga will not retreat.”

So for now there appears to be an understanding between the two powerhouses of the region but the big question is, will that maintain after ISIS has been completely removed from the playing field? More than likely we will see clashes with Hashd al-Shabi, also known as Shia Militia, forces and Peshmerga before anything takes place between the two governments. However as soon as that happens it is likely the Iraqi Government will step in as they have backed and armed the Shia Militia as a proxy force to combat ISIS.