Baghdad and KDP agree on US plan for Shengal

At the urging of the US, an agreement has been reached between the South Kurdistan’s ruling party KDP and the central government in Baghdad on the further fate of the Yazidi settlement area Shengal.

For a while now, talks have been taking place on the order of the US between the KDP-controlled regional government in Southern Kurdistan and the central government in Baghdad on the situation of Shengal (Sinjar). In this scope, an agreement was announced to have been reached yesterday, October 9, by Ahmed Molla Talal, spokesman of the Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi.

According to a statement from the Prime Minister's Office, “With the historic agreement sponsored by the Mustafa Al-Kadhimi in coordination between the Kurdistan Regional Government, the central government will be responsible for the security of Shengal and end the existence of uninvited guest groups will be ended. The agreement will also pave the way for the full reconstruction of the district and the return of those displaced.”

The declaration further states that the agreement concluded will have positive effects at local and international level, reminding the fact that there is still no stability in Shengal is due to the "Islamic State" (IS), and even today there are still insufficient services in the region. Al-Kadhimi had promised to make every effort to find the Yazidis who are still missing. For a successful implementation of the agreement, the central government will cooperate with the Kurdish regional government in a coordinated manner, he said and added that the help of the population of Shengal is also necessary for this.

Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, the representative of the UN General Secretariat in Iraq, was also present at the signing of the agreement in Baghdad. The former Dutch Minister of Defense heads the UN mission UNAMI (United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq).

"Agreement within the framework of a US plan"

Asked for his opinion on the content of the agreement and possible further developments, an informant who wishes to remain anonymous stated: "Preparations for this agreement have been going on for a long time. Yesterday it was concluded. Behind it is the US, their demands have been met. The KDP has been involved on behalf of the regional government. The agreement contains provisions for the withdrawal of military forces from the city area and for security to be guaranteed by the federal police. Instead of the KDP District Administrator Mehma Xelîl and the District Administrator later appointed by the population, another District Administrator is to be appointed. The road between Shengal and Duhok is to be opened. While peshmerga units will not return to Shengal, all parties including the KDP and PUK will be able to establish representations in the region."

Shengal Council: The talks don’t involve the people of Shengal

The Council of Democratic Autonomous Administration in Shengal criticised the agreement saying that the people from the region were not involved in the negotiations.

In a statement published on Saturday, the Council of Democratic Autonomous Administration in Shengal said the following: “We in the Shengal Autonomous Administration have been following the talks between the Iraqi government and Kurdistan government on the controversial territories covered by Article 140. The people of Shengal are not informed of these meetings on Shengal. A proposed solution in which the people of Shengal are not involved is unacceptable. We are following developments on the disputed regions closely and want a permanent status for our people. The demands of the Yazidis must be decisive. We have been administering Shengal for six years, during which no problems arose, and therefore we will continue to serve the people. No decision that is imposed on Yazidi society against its will can be constructive. This is a warning to all parties involved. For a discussion on the right basis, we too must be recognized as one of the parties involved. We side with peace and dialogue. However, we cannot accept anything that is contrary to the interests of our people. The people of Shengal should also express their reaction on this matter.”

In the meantime, a day after Baghdad and Hewler signed an agreement about Shengal, Iraq’s Joint Operations Command said on Saturday that the federal Ministry of Interior will be the lead agency for security in the district.

Spokesperson for the Command Major General Tahseen al-Khafaji told the state-run Iraqi News Agency that the agreement stipulated that the federal police will be exclusively responsible for security inside the district.