By Ibrahim Saleh
A Baghdad court on Thursday issued an arrest warrant for Kosrat Rasul, vice-president of northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), according to a statement released by Iraq's Supreme Judicial Council (SJC).
“The Rusafa investigations court has issued an arrest warrant for Kosrat Rasul following the latter’s recent statements in which he referred to Iraqi Federal Police units in Kirkuk as ‘occupying forces’,” read the SJC statement, which was broadcast on Iraqi state television.
“The court views Rasul’s statements as a kind of incitement against the Iraqi Armed Forces,” it added, going on to note that the arrest warrant had been issued in line with Article 226 of Iraq’s penal code.
In a Wednesday statement, Rasul, who is also a leading member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), compared the recent “invasion” of Kirkuk by Iraqi forces -- along with other disputed parts of Iraq -- to the “Anfal operation”.
Rasul was referring to a series of ethnic cleansing campaigns carried out in northern Iraq by former President Saddam Hussein during the 1980s.
On Monday, Iraqi military forces assumed control of the northern Kirkuk province following the withdrawal of Kurdish Peshmerga fighters loyal to the KRG.
The operation, in which Iraqi troops were also sent to other disputed parts of the country, came on the heels of the KRG’s illegitimate Sept. 25 referendum on Kurdish regional independence.
In 2014, Peshmerga forces seized oil-rich Kirkuk, which lies outside Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region, after the Daesh terrorist group overran vast swathes of territory in northern and western Iraq.