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Iraq's Sinjar Deal Threatens Iranian Regional Ambitions

Iraq's Sinjar Deal Threatens Iranian Regional Ambitions

Saturday, 10 October, 2020 - 04:15
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi. AFP file photo

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Friday met with a senior Kurdish delegation headed by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Interior Minister, Reber Ahmed, and reached a historic deal over the governance and security of the disputed district of Sinjar in Nineveh province.

Erbil and Baghdad had been in conflict over the district’s standing.

The deal, which collides with the Iranian plans to establish a Shiite crescent in the region, was signed with international presence and was welcomed by Washington.

Sinjar Mayor Mahma Khalil, in a statement, said the deal stipulates the removal of all armed factions, including those tied to the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

The deal is predicted to end the authority of intruding groups and paves the way for the reconstruction of the city and the full return of its people in coordination with the KRG.

Member of the Nineveh Provincial Council Dawood Chiekh Jundi, in a phone call interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, warned of the negative fallout of the agreement if it fails to assimilate all parties with forces on the ground.

All forces must participate in the administration-forming process and the selection of officials, Jundi said.

Salman Dawoud, an Iraqi journalist focused on affairs of minorities, confirmed that the deal will be rejected by the Iran-aligned PMF, which currently controls the land.

The PMF will refuse complying with the agreement because it directly threatens Tehran’s regional agenda and ambitions, Dawoud explained.

Writer and political analyst Saman Noah believes that “it is not conceivable that the PMF will relinquish gains it achieved in the region.”

PMF presence in Sinjar secures a land corridor linking between Iran and Syria, a route belonging to what is known as the Shiite crescent.

The Crescent is the notionally crescent-shaped region of the Middle East where the majority population is Shiite or where there is a strong Shiite minority.

In recent years the term has come to identify areas under Iranian influence or control, as Iran has sought to unite all Shiite Muslims under one banner.

Areas included in the Shiite Crescent are Lebanon, Syria, Bahrain, Iraq, Iran, Azerbaijan, Yemen, and western Afghanistan.

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