Iraqi VP warns of ‘civil war’ over Kirkuk if talks on Kurdish independence unresolved

Iraqi Vice-President Ayad Allawi told AP on Monday there could be a “civil war” over the Kurdish-administered city of Kirkuk if talks over Kurdish independence are left unresolved. Allawi urged Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani, as well as Iraq’s central government and its Iranian-backed militia forces, to show restraint and resolve their disputes over the oil-rich city. The head of the Asaib al-Haq militia, Qais Khazali, told worshippers on Sunday that Iraq’s Kurds were planning to claim much of north Iraq, including Kirkuk, for an independent state. He said it would be tantamount to a “foreign occupation,” Afaq TV channel reported. Allawi, a former prime minister, said any move by the country’s Popular Mobilization Front militias to enter Kirkuk would “damage all possibilities for unifying Iraq.”