ERBIL — The Erbil-Baghdad agreement on the predominantly Kurdish Yezidi region of Sinjar is yet to go into effect and its reflections on the ground are hoped to be seen after the formation of the new government in Baghdad.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the federal government of Iraq announced the agreement in October 2020, based on which Baghdad is required to expel all armed forces operating outside the control of the state. The groups are mainly those affiliated with the Iran-backed Shia militias of Hashd al-Shaabi and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
In an statement made to BasNews, MP Majid Khalaf Hamo, who represents Sinjar at the Iraqi Parliament, said the current Iraqi government is a caretaker until the new government will be formed, and that is when the Sinjar Agreement should practically go into effect.
He also pointed out that his party, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), has made it clear that its allies in Baghdad that it will join the next government if the agreement is on the agenda.
“Sinjar is going through very difficult days now. The current nighttime curfews is because of the PKK fighters targeting the Iraqi Army. Therefore, the Sinjar agreement is expect to be implemented after the formation of the new government of Iraq,” MP Hamo said.
The KRG and Iraqi federal government held several rounds of negotiations throughout 2020 until they reached an agreement on 9 October the same year to stabilize the security and administration situation in Sinjar and help the hundreds of thousands of Yezidi IDPs safely return home.
Sinjar was once controlled by the Islamic State in 2014 after the extremist group led a horrific genocide against the religious minority. The town and its surrounding villages were later liberated by the Kurdish Peshmerga forces, but a retreat from the region in the wake of tensions between Erbil and Baghdad in 2017 allowed the PKK to move in and, jointly with the Shia militias of Hashd al-Shaabi, tighten grips on the strategic area.
Based on the agreement, Baghdad is required to replace the PKK and Shia militias with forces under the full control of the state, restore the legitimate administration in the region, and secure it for the return of the IDPs. However, the KRG has, on multiple occasions, blamed the Iraqi government for failing to take action and begin the implementation of the agreement.
“Today’s agreement between the Federal and the Kurdish Regional governments is a first and important step in the right direction. High time to reach out to the people of Sinjar and to make them feel that they are, indeed, part of the broader community,” Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq , Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, said at the time.
Content of the Agreement
The agreement generally emphasized on six issues:
⚫ Election of a new mayor for Sinjar.
⚫ Taking control of the security of Sinjar.
⚫ Employment of 2,500 people from the original residents of Sinjar to form a local force to ensure the stability of the region and security of the population.
⚫ Expelling the PKK fighters and Shia militias and all the armed groups affiliated with these sides.
⚫ The PKK should not be included in the local force established by Baghdad.
⚫ All the efforts should be in line with the plan of helping the residents of Sinjar to return home safely and enjoy a dignified life.