Kurdish parties opposed to Barzani claim attacks on offices

The Movement for Change, Gorran, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) said in separate statements several of their offices in the Duhok region, north of the Kurdish capital Erbil, were looted or burnt overnight.

We welcome the recent decision from Prime Minister Abadi to begin a new dialogue with the KRG, under the Iraqi constitution, and avoid further confrontations.

Barzani, 71, said on Sunday he would give up his position as president on November 1 after an independence referendum he championed in northern Iraq backfired and triggered military and economic retaliation by the Iraqi government.

An Associated Press team witnessed dozens of protesters attacking the building, parliamentarians and journalists as Barzani addressed the Kurdish region in his first televised speech since the referendum's fallout turned violent earlier this month.

Barzani said the vote was meant to provide a way to find a peaceful solution to the governing of the Kurdish area.

Within two days of the referendum Iraqi forces took over territory that had been held by the Kurds, including Kirkuk. He appeared pleased with the security forces' quick victory over Kurdish Peshmerga in Kirkuk and emphasised that the central state will now seek to control all of Iraq's borders, as well as its oil pipelines.

Baqeri warned that if the Kurdish autonomous region seceded from Iraq "there would be bloodshed in Iraq and neighboring countries would be affected".

He said the central Iraqi government was closely monitoring what he described as "attempts to create chaos and disorder" in the Kurdish cities of Erbil and Dohuk.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is calling for calm and a respect for the law in the northern Kurdistan region, a day after its leader announced he was stepping down as president, Voice of America reports.

The referendum on support for independence held in September has since left the region increasingly isolated. He told VOA that Barzani's move could ease concerns of the Baghdad government and of Turkey, Iran and other countries opposed to Kurdish independence.

At Baghdad's request, Tehran closed its borders with Iraq's Kurdish region and halted all flights to and from the region after the referendum.

Mr. Barzani, himself a former guerrilla leader, has run the KRG since 2005, presiding with a firm hand as the region prospered while the rest of Iraq struggled in civil war.

  • Joey Payne