The US military is reportedly building a new permanent base in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region as part of attempts to perpetuate its occupation of the conflict-ridden Arab country indefinitely, regardless of all opposition from religious figures and people from all walks of life.
Iraq’s Kurdish-language Rudaw television network reported on Tuesday that the base is being constructed in Kariz village of Zummar district, located 60 kilometers northwest of Mosul, stressing that 60 percent of the work has already been done.
The report added that 120 US soldiers and 300 long-range artillery systems have also been stationed in the area.
Hassan Khalo Ali, a Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) official, said the base is being built on an area of 20 acres of land, local people can see helicopters continuously taking off and landing and entering the base is prohibited in every way to ordinary people.
The new US base would mark the fifth of its kind in Iraq’s Kurdish region.
A Kurdish military official, requesting anonymity, said US officials, President of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Masoud Barzani as well as officials from the Ministry of Peshmerga have reached a tripartite agreement on the construction of the base.
The Kurdish official went on to say that the base will help Americans to monitor movements in a vast expanse of land, which stretches from the western bank of the Tigris river to Tal Afar city, located 63 kilometers west of Mosul.
Meanwhile, Deputy Peshmerga Minister Sarbast Lazgin said the base will be a reinforcement facility for Tal Afar liberation operation.
On American bases in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, Lazgin stated that a joint operations room is now operating in Erbil, noting that there are US military bases in Harir and Khazir sub-districts of Shaqlawa district.
The report comes as Iraq’s Kurdistan region plans to hold an independence referendum late next month.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told the state-run TRT Haber television news network on August 16 that the vote will lead to “civil war” in Iraq.
Hoshyar Zebari, a close adviser to Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani, told Reuters on August 12 that Kurdish authorities were determined to hold the referendum on September 25 irrespective of all objections.
In June, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi described as untimely the decision by Barzani to hold the referendum.
“We have a constitution that we’ve voted on, we have a federal parliament and a federal government…The referendum at this time is not opportune,” Abadi said on June 13.
Iran has also expressed opposition to the “unilateral” scheme, underlining the importance of maintaining the integrity and stability of Iraq and insisting that the Kurdistan region is part of the majority Arab state.