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Abadi Says Most of Fallujah Retaken from ISIS, Political Parties Warn against Dividing Iraq | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Iraqi counter terrorism forces are pictured in Fallujah’s southern Shuhada neighborhood during an operation to retake the area from ISIS on June 16, 2016. AFP Photo/Jean Marc Mojon

Baghdad-Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced on Friday that Iraqi security forces were in control of the city of Fallujah except for a few small pockets of jihadists.

He went on state television to make the announcement.

“We promised you the liberation of Fallujah and we retook it. Our security forces control the city except for small pockets that need to be cleared within the coming hours,” Abadi said.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter also announced that Iraqi security forces recaptured part and not all the city of Fallujah which was under the control of ISIS.

Meanwhile, Iraqi politicians and representatives of parliamentary blocs expressed concern over calls made by Masrour Barzani, the head of the Kurdish region’s National Security Council in Iraqi Kurdistan, to divide Iraq.

Barzani has said that the country should be divided into three different entities after ISIS’s defeat.

An area should go to Shi’ites, another to Sunnis and the third to Kurds to stop more bloodshed, he said.

In separate remarks to Asharq al-Awsat newspaper, several Iraqi officials refused to make harsh retorts, saying their statements could lead to more tension and divisions among the country’s politicians.

Member of the Kurdish Change movement Sarwa Abdul Wahed said in reaction to Barzani’s proposal that Iraqis reject to divide the country, adding any willingness for division comes from the international community and not Iraqis themselves.

The movement has several disputes with the Kurdistan Democratic Party, which is led by Massoud Barzani, the father of Masrour.

The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), whose leader is Jalal Talabani, also said that Masrour Barzani’s remarks do not represent all Kurdish factions in Iraqi Kurdistan.

PUK member Shwan Dawoudi said the Kurdistan region is not united. “Decision-making is not unanimous because the legitimate institutions of the region are paralyzed.”

The viewpoint to divide Iraq “represents a single political side and not the entire region,” he added.

As for Iraqi Turkmen MP Arshad Salehi, he told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Turkmen are the “biggest losers” in the country.

“If Mr. Barzani thinks that he is marginalized by Baghdad, then we the Turkmen, who make a dividing line between Arab Sunnis and Kurds, are living a true marginalization by both Baghdad and Erbil,” he said.