ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Kurds on social media expressed strong disappointment toward the US' commitment to the Kurdistan Region as Iraqi Forces and Iranian-backed Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi militia entered the city of Kirkuk.
Security forces early Monday morning mobilized on the city of Kirkuk and took control of local administrative offices after the Iraqi Government repeatedly threatened the Kurdish administration following the Sep. 25 independence referendum.
“We are very concerned by reports of violence in Kirkuk and deplore any loss of life. We call on all parties to immediately cease military action and restore calm while we continue to work with officials from the central and regional governments to reduce tensions and avoid further clashes,” the US Embassy in Baghdad declared in a statement released Monday.
“We support the peaceful exercise of joint administration by the central and regional governments, consistent with the Iraqi Constitution, in all disputed areas. ISIS remains the true enemy of Iraq, and we urge all parties to remain focused on finishing the liberation of their country from this menace.”
Kurds, however, took to social media to sharply criticize the US for its lack of a strong response to the “invasion of Kirkuk” by Iranian-backed militias and Iraqi Forces.
“We were repeatedly called by US officials a reliable ally in the Middle East, so why is our ‘ally’ suddenly silent and takes no action regarding the invasion of Kirkuk?” Ali Kamaran, a Kurdish resident in Kirkuk, wrote on Facebook.
“The word ‘very concerned’ does not change anything unless you do something,” said another Kurdish citizen from Kirkuk. “We had too much faith in the US, but it once again shows that we have no friends but mountains.”
Others highlighted that it was their democratic right, and that of all of the people in the Kurdistan Region, to express their will in the Sep. 25 referendum.
“The US calls for democracy everywhere in the world, but it doesn’t support it. Isn’t it a sort of hypocrisy?” Saman Mohammed posted on Twitter.
Thousands of people in Kirkuk fled to Erbil and Sulaimani in fear of sectarian abuses and punishments the Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi militia, also known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), could carry out on them.
Kirkuk is a multi-ethnic province made up of Arabs, Turkmens, and Christians, with Kurds being the largest group. The disputed territory is also rich in natural resources, namely oil and gas.
Kirkuk and its surrounding areas have been under the protection of the Peshmerga Forces since mid-2014 after the Iraqi army collapsed when faced with the threat of the Islamic State (IS).
Editing by G.H. Renaud