ERBIL — Iraqi government is intentionally delaying the operation to retake Hawija city, the last area held by the Islamic State (IS) in Kirkuk province, due to political agendas, said a member of the Iraqi parliament on Thursday.
Shakhawan Abdullah, a Kurdish member of the Iraqi parliament, told BasNews “There is a political intention behind delaying Hawija liberation and they [Iraqi government] intend to deploy Hashd al-Shaabi into the city to create issues for Kirkuk province while Kirkuk is the main victim of IS’s presence in Hawija.”
Abdullah called on Baghdad to launch soon the operation to liberate the city since most of the terrorists who carried out attacks in central Kirkuk had arrived and were directed from Hawija.
He noted that despite the threats against the city, the Peshmerga forces do not allow any forces to destabilize the situation of Kirkuk.
Under the pretext of liberating Hawija town in southern Kirkuk province, the Iraqi army is intending to return to the province after abandoning it in the wake of the IS emergence in 2014.
On the other hand, the Iraqi Shi’ite paramilitaries, known as Hashd al-Shaabi, are seeking to deploy a large number of militias near Kirkuk, ostensibly for Hawija offensive. However, the underlying intention of the Iraqi army and the paramilitaries is to impede the move by Kurdistan Region to adjoin Kirkuk officially to the region.
Baghdad has been procrastinating Hawija operation while it was slated to begin even before the Mosul assault. The IS militants are launching periodic attacks from the town against Kikruk and its vicinity. The time to launch the operation is yet unknown.