US Secretary of Defense James Mattis has urged Iraqi military and Kurdish Peshmerga forces against facing each other and rather focus on overcoming the Daesh (ISIL) terror group amid surging tensions between the two over the disputed, oil-rich Kirkuk region in northern Iraq.
“Everybody stay focused on defeating ISIS,” Mattis stated on Friday as quoted in an AP report on Saturday. “We can’t turn on each other right now. We don’t want this to go to a shooting situation.”
His remarks came during his flight back to Washington from a three-day visit to southeastern state of Florida, where he went to hold talks with his top military commanders, including General Joseph Votel, who leads the US Central Command that oversees the Middle East, as well as General Tony Thomas, who heads US Special Operations Command, and the chief of US Southern Command Admiral Kurt Tidd.
In additional comments to Pentagon reporters later on Friday, Mattis further…