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US Defence Secretary makes lightning visit to Baghdad


Iraq

US Defence Secretary makes lightning visit to Baghdad



The war-of-words between Iraq and Turkey over Mosul is continuing.

Turkey’s Prime Minister has criticised the leadership of Iraq.

Binali Yildirim says Baghdad is “being provocative” with recent comments.

Ankara will continue to have a presence in Iraq, he insisted.



The context



Turkey has been locked in a row with Iraq’s central government over the presence of Turkish troops at the Bashiqa camp near Mosul.

Analysts say Yildirim’s comments could also cast doubt on chances of an agreement between Turkey and Iraq on the Mosul campaign.

US Defence Secretary Ash Carter said on Friday that the two countries had reached an agreement in principle that could eventually allow Turkey to play a part in the campaign to retake the city from ISIL.


What Iraq thinks


Baghdad views Turkish military moves on its territory with apprehension.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has declined an offer from Turkey to take part in the battle to dislodge ISIL from Mosul.

“The Mosul battle is an Iraqi one and Iraqis themselves wage it and have planned for it. I know that the Turks want to participate, we tell them thank you, but this is something the Iraqis will handle,” al-Abadi told reporters.


What Turkey thinks


Mosul was once part of the Ottoman Empire.

Analysts say Ankara still sees the city as firmly within its sphere of influence.

“In recent days, there have been warnings from Iraq. We will not listen to this, nobody can tell us to not be concerned about the region,” – Binali Yildirim told a conference of Turkey’s governing AK Party.



Carter’s third visit this year



Ashton Carter arrived in Iraq on Saturday as the battle to remove ISIL from its last major stronghold enters its sixth day.

It is his third visit to the country this year.

He met with the Iraqi prime minister and other military commanders to learn more about the progress in Mosul.

The city is the militant group’s last major stronghold in Iraq.

The meeting also comes as troops advance on the largely Christian town of Qaraqosh, also known as Bakhdida, located around 15 kilometres southeast of Mosul.


Usefuldiscussion withUS SECDEF Carter on coalition support for the Mosul liberationoperationspic.twitter.com/G6UiOQmOr9

— Haider Al-Abadi(@HaiderAlAbadi) October 22, 2016

The latest sit-rep



Officials say Iraqi and Kurdish forces are moving in on Mosul, while around 5,000 US troops are assisting with the elimination of the militant group.

It is expected to become the biggest battle fought in Iraq since the US-led invasion in 2003.


  • Qaraqosh – Iraqi units have entered the mainly Christian town 20 km southeast of Mosul
  • Karamless – action underway to seize the neighbouring Christian village
  • Bartella – Iraqi special units have captured the Christian village north of Qaraqosh
  • The authorities regained control of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk on Saturday, partially lifting a curfew in place


What they are saying



“We are very keen to have good, neighbourly relations with Turkey. We are also keen not to have confrontation with Turkey as it is a neighbouring country. The Mosul battle is an Iraqi one and Iraqis themselves wage it and planned for it. I know that Turks want to participate, we tell them thank you, this is something the Iraqis will handle. We would like to tell them that this battle will be settled by Iraqis. The Iraqi troops will liberate Mosul and other areas,” – Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

“In recent days, there have been warnings from Iraq. We will not listen to this, nobody can tell us to not be concerned about the region,” – Binali Yildirim told a conference of Turkey’s governing AK Party.

“Where we begin to support you as you said in this campaign against Mosul, and once again, I congratulate you on your leadership, the performance of security forces, on Iraqi unity,” – US Defence Secretary Ash Carter

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