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Recovery of Kirkuk thwarted 'plot' to divide Iraq: PM

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BAGHDAD, 09 May 2018 [Fik/News Sources]: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Tuesday said his government had foiled a “plot” to divide the country by retaking Kirkuk province and other disputed areas within the semi-autonomous Kurdish region late last year.

Al-Abadi made the remarks in a speech delivered to supporters in Iraq’s eastern Wasit province amid preparations for parliamentary elections slated for May.

Al-Abadi said the Daesh terrorist group had succeeded in “cutting off” the northern Kurdish region in a move that amounted to the de facto division of the country.

“Iraq faced the specter of division. International media outlets reported that Iraq was divided -- cut up into cantons -- with one part under Daesh’s control,” al-Abadi said.

He praised the central government in Baghdad for defeating Daesh and foiling this attempted division, which, he said, had been initiated by a referendum on regional independence held by the Kurdish Regional Government on Sept. 25 of last year.

“We took Kirkuk back, along with other disputed areas. These territories are not reserved for particular ethnicities, but for all Iraqis,” al-Abadi said.

Iraqi forces seized control of Kirkuk in mid-October following the withdrawal of Peshmerga forces loyal to the KRG.

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