Sunday, 25 October 2009, 07:24 GMT
Joint forces to keep security in disputed areas

A U.S. Navy instructor assigned to Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School trains personnel from the Iraqi Riverine Police Force on special boat maneuvers and weapon handling at Stennis Space Center. File photo

The Kurdish Globe

U.S forces, the Iraqi army, and Peshmerga will maintain security in Nineveh and Diyala provinces.

The top commander of U.S. forces in Northern Iraq, Brig. Gen. Robert Brown, said his forces have coordinated with the Baghdad government and Kurdistan Regional Government to maintain security in the disputed areas during the upcoming national election.

Gen. Brown stated that according to the plan, U.S forces, the Iraqi army, and Kurdistan Region guards (Peshmerga) will maintain security in Nineveh and Diyala provinces.

Dialogue between the Iraqi army and Peshmerga is crucial so that al-Qaida cannot take advantage of any disagreements between the two, stated Gen. Brown.

«Al-Qaeda is trying to use any vulnerability in the disputed areas, especially those areas inhabited by minorities; that's why we have to work to fill those gaps.»

The U.N. Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) described its efforts at finding a political solution to disputed boundaries in the ethnically diverse north as positive.

The central government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government are at odds over northern territories along a de facto border stretching from Sinjar near Syria to Khanaqin in the eastern province of Diyala.

UNAMI said talks on disputed internal boundaries have progressed in terms of concerns expressed by local residents. Negotiations center on ways to resolve land and property issues in the disputed territories and considerations for native languages.

Analysts describe tensions between the KRG and Baghdad as a potential security concern as U.S. forces prepare to wrap up their mission in Iraq. Ad Melkert, the UN special envoy to Iraq, said political dialogue was the best way to avoid an escalation of the disputes.

«Dialogue between the government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Region remains critical for the stability of the country and for addressing numerous outstanding issues that are central to its functioning,» he said.