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Iraq Assembly Bars Non-Govt Forces From Disputed Areas

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Move comes as Iraqi forces move to lock down areas ‘disputed’ between Baghdad, Erbil.

Iraq’s parliament on Tuesday adopted a resolution prohibiting any armed forces except those affiliated with the central government from maintaining a presence in Kirkuk or in other “disputed” parts of the country.

Iraqi government forces have recently moved into several parts of Iraq “disputed” between Baghdad and northern Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), including the oil-rich Kirkuk province.

Parliament also voted on Tuesday to take legal steps against anyone found displaying the Israeli flag in public areas.

Tension has steadily mounted between Baghdad and the Erbil-based KRG since Sept. 25, when Iraqis in KRG-controlled areas -- and in several “disputed” areas, including Kirkuk -- voted on whether or not to declare independence from the Iraqi state.

Last month’s poll, which was broadly opposed by the international community, saw a number of people in the Kurdish region waving the national flag of Israel, which had openly supported the referendum.

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