|Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki|
[Prime Minister Nouri al-] Maliki, who is commander-in-chief of the Iraq armed forces, ordered in a statement that Hidayat Abdul Karim, a Kurd and Iraqi army commander, face trial in a military court for the battlefield defeat.
This move has infuriated Kurdish Peshmerga officials and members of the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
According to a statement read on state television, Maliki said the dismissed commanders included Lt. Gen. Mahdi al-Gharawi, his deputy Maj. Gen. Abdul Rahman al-Handal Mahdi, and chief of staff Brigadier General Hassan Abdul Razzaq Ghazi.
It said Karim had fled for an unknown destination and would be tried in absentia. In the meantime, the Iraqi premier said other officers would face legal action for defection, but he did give any more names.
The KRG's ministry of Peshmerga denounced Maliki’s move of targeting Karim alone for court martial, and demanded all the other top commanders also be held accountable for the defeat in Nineveh in the northwest, which is in the hands of insurgents.
"Third Division Brigadier General Hidayat Abdul Karim is a Kurd and has been recently appointed in that post -- only 40 days ago," said Brigadier General Halgurt Hikmat, a spokesman for the Ministry of Peshmerga.
Hikmat said that if Maliki wants to investigate the reasons behind his army’s defeat in Mosul, the capital of Nineveh which fell to the insurgents early last week, he should hold all the top commanders accountable, not just a Kurd.
"Maliki must hold the commander of ground forces, Lt. Gen. Ali Ghaidan, and the commander of joint operations, Lt. Gen. Abod Qanbar, in Nineveh province, because they are directly responsible for the incident,” he said.