Haider al-Abadi, Iraq’s Prime Minister, has confirmed that the Iraqi military is forming plans to cross it’s border with Syria in an effort to combat terrorism. The move comes in the wake of Turkish military aggression on Iraq’s northern border while Turkey simultaneously has conquered the formerly Kurdish controlled Canton of Afrin in northern Syria. In Kirkuk, Hashd al-Shaabi military forces have also traded blows consistently in and around Kirkuk with ISIS sleeper cells as of late; there effort to maintain public security in the region a constant struggle.
Abadi elaborated on the situation during a weekly press-conference saying, “The situation in Syria remains a real challenge and we are focused on finding a solution. We have gone from fighting terrorism in Iraq to fighting terrorism in Syria. Our project has developed from fighting terror in Iraq to fighting terror in the region. We do not want to exceed our limits, and we will not transgress those of other countries.” The Prime Minister went on to say, “I ensure the citizens that our security forces are in control of all of areas in Iraq.”
The Prime Ministers enthusiasm is an interesting anomaly given that Iraq has yet to fully secure it’s own country despite have the perceived fortitude to secure a neighboring countries territory. One can only imagine the thoughts running through the minds of his various military commanders when prospect was initially proposed. Abadi while adamantly denying that Iraq intended to violate the sovereignty of another country does not have the best track record if the history of Iraq and the autonomous Kurdistan region is examined.
Abadi addressed several concerns over the operational ban of Iraq’s air force in the Hamrin Mountains and sections of Anbar. He responded to the criticism with, “This is a part of the propaganda, there is a ban on American jets over Iraq. Now when they want to fly over Iraq, they need our permission. Every American military air flight has to get permission from Iraq.” He closed with a patriotic sentiment of urging his citizens to go out and become registered voters, “Iraqi sovereignty exists over everyone. I urge all people to obtain their [voter] cards as soon as possible so that they do not give the opportunity to fraudulent [individuals] to steal them.” This was in reference to the future Iraqi elections that are scheduled to be held in May this year.
Iraq’s military has risen from the ashes of the Islamic States rapid caliphate expansion. ISIS forced much of the Iraqi army to flee the Anbar province in 2014 but since then the army has made a serious comeback. A renewed force comprised of better trained soldiers with more experience operating independently has been sent forth; this is the Iraqi army that conquered Mosul and re-captured Ramadi. no doubt they have played an integral role in countering the Islamic State supported terrorism that afflicts the region. That being said, they need to handle their own business first and foremost.
Featured Image Courtesy of U.S. Army, photo by Staff Sgt. Sergio Rangel/RELEASED