Rudaw

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Iraqi Army leadership should go to the Kurds: lawmaker

A Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) MP in the Iraqi parliament has urged the Kurdistan Region to mount pressure on Baghdad  to appoint a Kurd as chief of staff of the Iraqi Army.

“The post of the chief of staff is a Kurdish share and the Kurdish leadership must be determined in their talks with Baghdad that the post should be given back to the Kurds,” Nasir Harki, a member of the  Defense and Security committee told Rudaw on Saturday.

The position has typically been given to the Kurds since the collapse of the Baath regime.

After chief of staff Osman Ghanmi was elected Interior Minister last week, Prime Minister Mustafa Kadhimi elected Deputy Commander of Joint Operations Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Rashid Yarallah as interim chief of staff for the Iraqi Army.

Yarallah was a key figure in the fight against Islamic State (ISIS) militants and led the operation to liberate Tel Afar from the terror group. He was one of several figures appointed to interim positions until further votes can be held on the remaining vacant cabinet positions.

“The post of the chief of staff is sensitive and very important,” Harki said, adding that they have already reached out to the Kurdish leadership to vie once again for the post.

Iraqi and Kurdish officials have long agreed the position should be held by a Kurd in a bid to increase ethnic and religious diversity in the Iraqi army.

Following the US-led invasion of the country, veteran KDP member General Babikir Zebari was appointed as chief of staff of the Iraqi Army in 2003, a post which he held until 2015.

Since then, the post has not been held by a Kurd. Source