ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC), Masrour Barzani, met with Hendrik Van de Velde, the Belgian Ambassador to Jordan and Iraq, on Thursday to discuss the danger of a resurgence of violence by the so-called Islamic State (IS).
“Met @hendrik_velde — I emphasized the importance of stable and secure conditions in liberated territories to facilitate the return of displaced families and prevent a resurgence of violence and extremism,” Chancellor Barzani wrote on Twitter.
The Belgian Ambassador, meanwhile, tweeted that the two officials discussed the “conditions in liberated territories for [the] return of displaced families,” noting that the Kurdistan Region still hosts 1.2 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
Moreover, they spoke about the “danger of resurgence of violence and extremism and [addressed] root causes by delivering good public services.”
📍Erbil - Iraqi #Kurdistan— Hendrik Van de Velde 🇧🇪 (@hendrik_velde) November 8, 2018
Meeting w/ @masrour_barzani.
We focused on
▪️Conditions in liberated territories for return of displaced families (KRI still hosts 1,2 million!)
▪️Danger of resurgence of violence and extremism
▪️Address root causes by delivering good public services pic.twitter.com/POtcN1eegb
On Sunday, the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) warned that terrorist attacks using car bombs are re-emerging, and assassinations of village leaders and the striking of electrical grid remain persistent in contested areas.
The KRSC’s statistics for October indicate “a re-emergence of [vehicle-borne improvised explosive device] VBIED-based attacks in Kirkuk and Mosul,” the Kurdish security agency said in a tweet.
Elsewhere, a car bomb on Thursday went off near the Abu Layla restaurant in west Mosul killing three, security forces said.
According to David M. Witty, an adjunct professor at Norwich University and former advisor to the counter-terrorism service in Iraq, IS activity in Mosul and surrounding areas has indeed increased in recent months.
“Residents and local officials have been calling for increased security,” He told Kurdistan 24. “It is not surprising this has happened.”
Moreover, the security vacuum created after Iraqi security forces took disputed territories from the Kurdish Peshmerga in October 2017 has led to the resurgence of IS violence. The areas were seized with the use of military force as Baghdad’s response to the Kurdistan Region’s historic independence referendum.
A Defense Department inspector general report to the US Congress noted that resolving disputes between Erbil and Baghdad “has been a key to Iraq’s future and could help confront or prevent an [IS] insurgency.”
According to Maxwell B. Markusen, CSIS Associate Director and Associate Fellow, “the lack of cooperation between Peshmerga and [Iraqi security forces is] one of the biggest challenges to a lasting defeat of IS in Iraq.”
“Throw in instability due to rampant corruption, economic stagnation, youth bulge, and unemployment, and the long-term outlook for IS in Iraq looks good if these factors do not begin to be addressed,” he warned.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany