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Iraqi Defense Minister Denies Threatening to Use Army Against Kurdish Independence | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Iraqi Defense Minister Erfan al-Hayali. Reuters

Erbil- Iraqi Defense Minister Erfan al-Hayali denied news reports that he had threatened that the Iraqi army would interfere if the Kurdistan Region held a referendum and declared independence.

He told Rudaw that the issue of the referendum is “political” in nature and therefore the Iraqi army and his defense ministry are out of it.

Following his recent visit to Tehran and meeting with the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani, Iranian news outlet, IRNA, quoted Hayali as saying that the Iraqi army would intervene to “prevent any attempts or illegal measures aimed at dividing the country.”

It was believed he was referring to the possible establishment of a Kurdish State once the referendum, scheduled for Sep. 25, 2017, is held.

“The comments published under my name are far from the truth. We, as the military will not interfere in political affairs in the country, and we have not discussed this issue at all in the meeting.”

He highlighted the fruitful cooperation between the Iraqi army and Kurdish Peshmerga forces in the fight against ISIS in Mosul.

Along with senior army commanders, he often stressed the need to distance the Iraqi army from internal conflicts, especially those related to politics.

On the other hand, Badr Organization Secretary General Hadi al-Ameri warned Monday from Kurdistan independence referendum, noting that division would lead to civil war.

“No territory and no split, and Iraq will remain unified because we believe that split will lead to civil war,” Ameri added.

He then wondered where are the borders of Sunni or Shiite or Kurdish areas.