ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) Masrour Barzani on Sunday met with Chief of Office Security Cooperation – Iraq Major General Bradley Becker to discuss cooperation between Iraqi and Peshmerga forces.
According to a readout of their meeting, Chancellor Barzani discussed “the political and security situation in Iraq” with Major General Becker, including the reemergence of the Islamic State (IS) in the region.
A high-level delegation accompanied Becker, the statement said, as he “discussed at length confidence-building measures necessary to advance security cooperation between Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and Peshmerga in disputed territories.”
With IS’ reemergence, and security deteriorating in the disputed areas between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Iraqi government, cooperation between the Iraqi and Kurdish forces is being renewed.
The security situation in Kirkuk has notably weakened since the Oct. 16 takeover by the Iraqi army and Iran-backed Shia militias in response to Kurdistan’s Sep. 25 independence referendum.
Peshmerga had advanced to protect the areas from IS after the extremist group’s emergence in mid-2014 and the collapse of the Iraqi army but was forced to withdraw following the military takeover.
With Iraqi forces now in charge of Kirkuk’s security, IS has taken advantage and continues to wreak havoc, carrying out random assassinations, bombings, and kidnappings.
In their meeting, both Chancellor Barzani and Major General Becker “had a candid exchange on the political conditions required to build trust between Iraqi communities in general and Erbil and Baghdad in particular,” the statement read.
“Both officials also expressed concerns over IS’ resurgence in several provinces and noted opportunities for both ISF and Peshmerga forces to work together to combat the shared threat,” it added.
The Major General also briefed Barzani “on future US support for integrating, reorganizing, and training programs for ISF, including Peshmerga,” while the KRSC Chancellor highlighted the importance of providing “a fair share of training, weapons, and equipment” to Kurdish forces.
Met MG Bradley Becker of Office Security Cooperation - Iraq. Explored shared interests for ISF-Peshmerga cooperation in disputed territories; practical measures necessary to advance trust and integration benefits. Readout: https://t.co/EO5OjtCcLJ pic.twitter.com/GXwiA7Mfky— Masrour Barzani (@masrour_barzani) April 15, 2018
Contacted by Kurdistan 24 earlier this month, Col. Ryan Dillon, Spokesperson for the US-led Coalition, affirmed via e-mail, “Continued pressure from security forces—both ISF and Peshmerga—is necessary to prevent an [IS] resurgence.”
“Iraqi security forces and Peshmerga have proven they can overwhelm [IS] when they cooperate together and share information,” Dillon stated, although he declined to confirm press reports suggesting the US was promoting renewed security coordination between the two.