Q&A: Mohammed Zain Abedin, Hashid commander in Kirkuk

The top Hashid commander in Kirkuk discusses rising military tensions after Kurdistan's independence referendum.
Mohammed Zain Abedin at his office in Kirkuk city on Oct. 12, 2017. (RAWAZ TAHIR/Iraq Oil Report)

KIRKUK - Paramiiltary groups organized under the government's al-Hashid al-Shabi (Popular Mobilization) program are massed outside Kirkuk following the liberation of Hawija from the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) militant group.

Tensions are running high after the Kurdistan Regional Government's Sept. 25 non-binding indpendence referendum. By including Kirkuk in the vote, the KRG implicitly signaled that the oil-rich territory – which is claimed by both the federal government and the Kurdistan region – was included in its secession plans.

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