Statement: Imminent attack by Iraqi Forces and Iranian-backed PMF in North West Mosul


At 0600hrs Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) began an unprovoked, four-pronged assault on Peshmerga positions in North West Mosul; Bardiya and Hamad Agha towards Ain Ouais, Mosharaf towards Sufaya and from Rabia towards Mahmoudiya.

Following Iranian-backed PMF are part of the attacks: Kataib Imam Ali, Harakat Al-Najba,Tofuf Brigade, Hussein Brigade,Badr Corp, Al-Abbas Brigade, Kataib Jund Al-Imam and Raad Al-Saree’ Division all under command of Hadi Ameri and Abu Mahdi Mohandes.

Frontline reporting confirms Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed PMF continue to use U.S. weapons given to Iraq for the anti-ISIL campaign, including Humvees, Armored Personnel Carriers and Badger infantry vehicles. This is a blatant violation of the Iraqi Constitution which forbids the use of the army to settle political disputes. We condemn Iraq’s military aggression in the strongest terms.

As of 1200hrs, Peshmerga heroically repelled today’s attacks, destroying 3 tanks, 5 US Humvees and 1 Badger. Having retreated from the areas, Iraqi forces have resorted to shelling Peshmerga positions. Peshmerga forces will defending their positions against Iraq’s wanton aggression and will continue to protect the region and its peoples.

These attacks must stop immediately; Iraq must withdraw all forces and return to negotiations to address political differences. The international community must denounce Iraq’s reckless behavior in the last two weeks. It has destabilized some of the country’s safest areas, displaced over 150,000 individuals and created dangerous security vacuums.

We are alarmed by intelligence signaling an imminent attack by Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces in North West of Mosul. Despite KRG’s flexibility and repeated calls for dialogue, the US-led Global Coalition and US Government in particular has signaled tacit approval by dangerously — and incorrectly, referencing the need to implement the law. That position sanctions forces reporting to Hadi Ameri and Abu Mahdi Mohandes to launch unprovoked attacks against the people of Kurdistan Region. It also gives Iran an opening to expand its influence and destabilize the Kurdistan Region.

In the last six days, Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed PMF have deployed heavy weapons in preparations for this major attack. In Zummar, heavy artillery and tanks are positioned in offensive posture towards nearby Peshmerga positions. In Rabia, U.S. equipment, including significant number of Humvees and Armored Personnel Carriers, have arrived to reinforce tanks and artillery deployed in recent days – again barrels positioned towards Peshmerga forces. This is unconstitutional.

The KRG has implemented obligations under the tripartite agreement in October 2016 between Erbil, Baghdad and Washington D.C. requiring a withdrawal to areas prior to the anti-ISIL campaign in Mosul. That agreement stipulates the Iraqi Government would not deploy PMF to areas bordering Kurdistan. Their continued deployment and use of heavy equipment, including many American, signals intent to use military means to settle political disputes. That too is unconstitutional. This behavior continues because the US-led Global Coalition fails to apply the pressure necessary to stop Iraq’s aggressive military attacks.

We call on the international community to intervene immediately to stop Iraq’s reckless behavior. Baghdad should withdraw all forces from nearby areas and accept KRG’s offer for unconditional talks to settle political differences. The United States in particular must apply the pressure necessary to stop Iraq. It must not allow Iranian-backed forces to use American equipment.