In consolidating move, PUK’s Bafel Talabani orders all Counterterrorism Service IDs replaced: reports

Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) Co-President Bafel Talabani (File)

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SULAIMANI — Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) Co-President Bafel Talabani on Wednesday (July 21) moved to further consolidate his faction’s control over the security forces affiliated with the party, declaring that all identification cards for the elite Counterterrorism Service (CTS) would need to be renewed and those who were "illegally” issued cards would have them revoked.

The decision comes nearly two weeks after Talabani and his brother, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, launched a series of dramatic moves to oust the PUK’s other co-president, Lahur Sheikh Jangi, from his position.

The opening move on July 8 was to reject Sheikh Jangi’s nominee to lead the party’s Zanyari intelligence agency, which was quickly followed by the replacement with their own pick of Sheikh Jangi’s brother Polad as the head of the CTS.

After a sustained campaign against his position, Sheikh Jangi would transfer his powers as co-president to Talabani on July 17, pending changes to the party’s leadership structure after Eid al-Adha.

"All fake identities issued by the [CTS] will be revoked and anyone who has not been legally employed by [CTS] and has benefited from land, cars, and weapons for personal purposes and breaking privileges will have them taken away,” media outlets affiliated with the PUK reported Talabani as saying.

The outlets reported Talabani as alleging that as many as 12,000 identity cards were "illegally created and used for special purposes and many illegal acts” while the unit was under the influence of Sheikh Jangi’s faction.

The reports said that identification cards with a new design would be created and all previously issued documents would be canceled.

In the Kurdistan Region, the security forces are major sources of power and patronage for the PUK and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), with individual leaders within each party operating their own units as a way to project their personal power and influence.

(NRT Digital Media)