Oil minister talks Kirkuk petroleum security with mobilization leader
Iraq’s oil minister has discussed with a senior paramilitary leader efforts to secure petroleum wells in Kirkuk province after Iraq took over the city from Kurdistan Region’s troops.
The media service of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) said Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi met with PMF deputy chief, Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, to discuss means to protect oil wells in Kirkuk.
It said the meeting discussed collaboration between government security authorities and the PMF in that respect.
Iraq declared mid October that its forces, including PMF, recapture of Kirkuk’s oil facilities, military establishments and government offices in Kirkuk after a military standoff with Kurdish Peshmerga troops. The sweep came after a political crisis erupted when Kurdistan voted for independence from Iraq in a referendum held in September.
Kirkuk’s oil output accounts for a considerable portion of Iraq’s total production, and has been a central issue of conflict between the Baghdad-based Iraqi government and Kurdistan authorities.
PMFs have played a vital role in Iraq’s war against the Islamic State and most recently in its push to retake Kirkuk from Kurds. The operations by the force, recognized by the government as a national armed entity late 2016, has been subject to occasional criticisms by human rights groups, the United Nations and major powers like the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Turkey.