Abadi Orders Suspension of Military Operations for 24 Hours

Abadi Orders Suspension of Military Operations for 24 Hours

 Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered suspension of “movements by the armed forces for 24 hours” in zones disputed by Baghdad and the Kurdistan Region.

The Iraqi PM’s office issued a statement on Friday (October 27) saying Abadi, who is also commander-in-Chief of Armed forces, ordered the suspension to allow a joint team of Kurdish and Iraqi forces to work on the deployment of federal forces at international border crossings and in all disputed areas.

The aim of the suspension is to prevent “clashes and bloodshed” between the Iraqi and Kurdish forces.

The announcement came just a few hours after the Coalition’s press office said Iraqi and Kurdish forces reached an agreement to halt fighting.

Coalition Forces’ spokesman Colonel Ryan Dillon, however, tweeted he “incorrectly” said there was a ceasefire between the Iraqi forces and the Peshmerga fighters.

“Both parties talking w/ one another, but not an official “ceasefire.” @CJTFOIR encouraging dialogue w/o further conflict,” Dillon tweeted.

Meanwhile, the Coalition’s press office said that the U.S.-led Coalition “is not directly involved in discussions between ISF and Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq.”

“But we welcome and encourage any dialogue that prevents destabilizing actions that undermine Iraq's stability and unity, and that distract from efforts to defeat ISIS,” the Coalition said.

The U.S.-led Coalition said dialogue remains “the best option” to defuse the recent tensions and longstanding issues, expressing support for a unified Iraq.

“We call on all actors in the region to focus on this common threat,” it continued.

Tensions have soared between the erstwhile allies in the war against ISIS, since a Kurdish vote for independence last month -- drawing urgent appeals for calm from the US-led coalition.

Iraqi forces on Thursday mounted a new assault on Kurdish fighters in the disputed oil-rich Zummar area of Nineveh province, triggering heavy artillery exchanges.

On October 16, federal troops and Hashid al-Shaabi retook the province of Kirkuk and its lucrative oil fields, and days later entered the formerly Kurdish-held areas of Nineveh and Diyala provinces -- all outside the Kurdistan region’s administration. Just days after taking Kirkuk, they entered Tuz Khurmatu and re-activated long simmering tensions between various ethnic groups.