Preparations are just beginning for the liberation of Hawija in southern Kirkuk, but the Kurds are arguing with the Iraqi forces over the plans and who can participate.
Various Iraqi officials have been saying that Hawija will start very soon. The latest was Hashd spokesman Ahmed al-Asadi. Forces are being organized by the Joint Operations command into a Hawija We Are Coming command. Reinforcements are being sent to the area, with the latest being Federal Police units. Depending upon which forces are used this could take a few weeks to a month to complete. The problem is over who will participate.
The major conflict over the upcoming operation is due to complaints from the Kurds. According Hashd spokesman Ali Husseini they would take part in Hawija. The Peshmerga commander for west Kirkuk Kamal Kirkuki however objected to their presence. Hashd leader Aws al-Khafaji said that if the Kurds thought they could dictate the terms for the campaign they were mistaken. On the other hand, Sheikh Mustafa of the Peshmerga Ministry claimed Baghdad had not sent any requests to the ministry about Hawija. He stated that without an agreement between Baghdad and Irbil, the Peshmerga would not allow any forces into Kurdish areas. Deputy Chief of Staff of the General Staff of the Peshmerga General Qaraman Sheikh Kamal also called for a new battle plan for Hawija, saying that the existing one was old and needed to be revised. The Kurds and the Iraqi forces cooperated in the Mosul campaign. There were complaints and accusations being bandied about before and after that deal was made. The same will happen this time around. All sides want Hawija taken. They need to confer and work out the details.
Bas News, “Hawija Operation to Start within Days: Official,” 9/4/17
- “New Plan for Hawija Assault Needed: Peshmerga Official,” 9/3/17
Hath al-Youm, “Popular crowd: The Kurds do not have the ability to impose conditions on the battle of Hawija,” 9/4/17
Iraki, “Abdul Wahab al-Saadi will be leader of the counter terrorism forces in Hawija We Are Coming,” 9/4/17
Mostafa, Mohamed, “Police reinforcements sent to Kirkuk preparing for IS haven’s invasion,” Iraqi News, 9/2/17
Rudaw, “Anti-ISIS Hawija offensive expected to begin within days,” 9/1/17
- “Peshmerga commanders are ready for Hawija offensive,” 9/3/17
- “Peshmerga leader: We will not allow any forces to cross our lines to Hawija without an agreement,” 9/4/17
Sherwani, Leyla, “Shi’ite Militias Preparing for Hawija Operation: Spokesperson,” Bas News, 9/1/17
Wardana, “Joint Operations are preparing to establish headquarters for Hawija We Are Coming,” 8/31/17