JOC praises cooperation with Peshmerga in addressing security vacuums: official

JOC praises cooperation with Peshmerga in addressing security vacuums: official

Shafaq News/ Iraq's Joint Operations Command (JOC) on Thursday praised the security and military cooperation with the Kurdistan Region, highlighting the role of two joint brigades in addressing security vacuums.

The move, according to an official JOC statement, is "a step forward" in security cooperation between the federal government and the KRG, which have long grappled with tensions surrounding territorial control.

"This initiative reflects ongoing security and military coordination with the Kurdistan Region," said JOC spokesperson Major General Tahsin al-Khafaji. "We collaborate closely with the Peshmerga Ministry, exchanging information and pursuing terrorist groups together."

The newly formed brigades, each composed of roughly 3,500 personnel, will be deployed in areas identified as security vacuums, particularly susceptible to exploitation by the Islamic State (ISIS) extremist group. These brigades will be comprised of both Arab and Kurdish soldiers, with leadership mirroring this diversity.

"Joint operations will enhance stability, prevent smuggling, and close security gaps," he said. "This collaboration sends a clear message: Baghdad and the KRG are committed to working together for regional security."

Peshmerga Ministry data estimates 560 kilometers of security vacuums exist between their forces and Iraqi federal troops. These gaps have previously been exploited by ISIS remnants for attacks.

To combat ISIS in these areas, Baghdad and Erbil agreed in 2021 to form two joint forces that will be under full control of the federal government.

Despite the agreement, the formation of the brigades was delayed because of turmoil around forming the government after the 2021 election and lack of funding. There is also a historic lack of trust between the two forces. In October, a misunderstanding between them in the Makhmour area led to a deadly altercation.

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