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Washington welcomes Sinjar accord between Erbil, Baghdad
by Laurie Mylroie for kurdistan24.net
12-10-2020 - According to the agreement, administration of Sinjar and establishing security will be the responsibility of the federal government—specifically, the Nineveh provincial government, but it will be implemented in coordination with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG.)
The US embassy in Baghdad welcomed the accord on its Facebook page, as it congratulated “the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government on reaching an agreement of cooperation in Sinjar.”
The statement from Washington, reinforcing the embassy’s message, underscored the importance with which the US views the accord.
Ortagus stressed the need to “create conditions that foster the revival of Sinjar and the safe and voluntary return of those who were displaced by ISIS.”
The interests of Sinjaris, particularly the victims of genocide, should remain at the heart of any plan to restore lasting peace and security,” she affirmed.
The agreement has also been hailed by UNAMI, the Iraqi leadership, as well as the Kurdish leadership, Jordan, and France.
Among other measures, the accord calls for militias to leave the area, both the Popular Mobilization Forces (Hashd al-Shaabi), as well as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK.)
Iranian-supported Militias Backing Down?
The leader of one of those militias, Qais al-Khazali, who heads Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, which the US has designated a terrorist organization, criticized the agreement on Saturday, but no particular threat seemed to accompany his remarks.
Indeed, on Sunday, the extremist militias within the PMF announced a “conditional ceasefire” in their attacks on US and Coalition targets, contingent on the government drawing up a plan for the withdrawal of US forces from the country.
Although the Coalition denied any plans to leave Iraq, “the militia factions’ comments indicate some deescalation following weeks of tensions,” the Associated Press said.
Sunday’s statement from the extremist militias, who are using the name, “Coordinating Body of the Iraqi Resistance,” came amid Iraqi media reports of the deployment of heavy government security in Baghdad.
Strong US Threat to Attack Militias?
These developments follow warnings last month from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in separate telephone conversations with Iraqi President Barham Salih and Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, to close the US embassy in Baghdad, if the militia attacks on US and Coalition targets did not end.
The London-based Middle East Eye, headed by the veteran British journalist David Hearst and reporting from Baghdad, said that even more dramatic and serious threats were a central part of Pompeo’s discussions with Iraqi leaders.
The United States has drawn up a list of 80 sites in Iraq linked to Iranian-backed groups that it plans to target, if it follows through with a threat to close its embassy in Baghdad,” the news outlet stated on Friday.
The sites include secret headquarters and shelters used by Hadi al-Amiri and Qais Khazali, the respective leaders of the Badr Organization and Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, as well as sites associated with Kata’ib Hezbollah,” it continued.
Political leaders and armed group commanders told MEE” that Pompeo had “shared hundreds of satellite images of the 80 sites with Iraqi President Barham Salih during a phone call on 20 September.”
Of course, something like that would certainly get the attention of figures like Khazali. And it would be accorded an enhanced credibility, because they would recognize that it would be quite popular with the American public, as it prepares to vote in the November 3 US presidential elections.

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