“Mosul has to be returned to its administrative units as it is and all the forces who have asserted new borders by force under the name gain by force have to withdraw,” Nouri al-Maliki, who is now a vice president, said without making a clear reference the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
The KRG has controlled some areas around Mosul since the Iraqi army turned and fled in June 2014 when some 1,500 ISIS militants routed the much larger Iraqi army.
“This is a manipulation of the circumstances and the developments that have happened,” said Maliki, who was Iraq’s prime minister and commander-in-chief of its armed forces at the time.
Kurdish authorities have said they have extended their territories by as much as 40 percent, and on some occasions senior Kurdish officials have stated that the Peshmerga will not withdraw from areas taken by blood from ISIS.
Maliki also directed his comments at Turkish troops, who maintain a training camp in Bashiqa in northern Iraq.
He said the presence of the Turkish troops around Mosul “is a dangerous intervention that will have catastrophic consequences.” But he was also critical of the Iraqi parties that made it possible for the Turkish troops to enter the Iraqi territory.
“I ask how did the Turkish troops enter Mosul? Did they not enter through the Iraqi territory and gates? Why weren't they stopped?,” Maliki asked rhetorically in his statement.
“Why was the Iraqi army being stopped from entering Mosul in some areas and the Turkish troops were not stopped from entering Mosul?” the statement added, without mentioning incidents in which the Iraqi army was stopped from entering Mosul.
The presence of Turkish military forces at Bashiqa has been a cause of recent tensions between Baghdad and Ankara. Baghdad opposes the Turkish participation as well as Turkish participation in the Mosul operation.
Maliki, a Shiite who is backed by Iran, welcomed the participation of the Iraqi army, the Iraqi police forces and the Iranian-backed Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi militia, whose participation in the Mosul operation has been questioned, including by the US-led coalition.