Fact Check: Talabani Did NOT Reveal That Fall of Mosul Was In Coordination With Israel And Barzani In France24 Interview

Fact Check

  • by: Rebaz Majeed
Fact Check: Talabani Did NOT Reveal That Fall of Mosul Was In Coordination With Israel And Barzani In France24 Interview Other Topic

Did Bafel Talabani, the current leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), say that the fall of Mosul to the Islamic State (ISIS) was in coordination with Israel and Masoud Barzani, the former president of the Iraqi Kurdistan region? No, that's not true: The video claiming that Talabani reveals such a document is actually about the Kurdish peshmerga forces losing Kirkuk to Iraqi forces.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) on TikTok by @reko1973000 on July 17, 2023, under the title (translated from Arabic to English by Lead Stories staff) "Bafel Talabany reveals with document: The occupation of Mosul by ISIS was in coordination with Israel and Barzani." The video contained the following text (also translated by Lead Stories staff):

During his interview with France24, Bafel Talabany, the son of the late Kurdish leader Jalal Talabany, presented a secret document revealing that the occupation of Mosul by ISIS was in coordination with Israel and Barzani, to get the control over Kirkuk and to declare separation and independence.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-07-19 at 15.38.16.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Wed Jul 19 10:28:27 2023 UTC)

The video on TikTok shows an excerpt of an interview with France24, where Talabani shows a document. The Talabani interview with France24 on October 20, 2017, was exclusively about losing Kirkuk, a disputed territory between Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan, to Iraqi forces. He also responded to the accusations that he had committed treason against the Kurdish people and the Kurdish leadership by "selling out" Kirkuk after holding an independence referendum in the Iraqi Kurdistan region that led to tension between Erbil and Baghdad.

A few weeks after this referendum on September 25, 2017, Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed Shiite militias attacked Kirkuk on October 15, 2017, and took the city back from the Kurdish peshmerga forces, who had controlled the city since 2014. After losing Kirkuk to the Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed Shiite militias, the Talabani family leading PUK were accused of treason by Barzani.

The fall of Mosul being coordinated with Israel and Barzani was not mentioned at all in the France24 interview. At the 6:29 mark, Talabani says:

After a day of negotiation we came up with the following proposal. We came up with a proposal that rather than Iraqi troops unilaterally returned to K-1 military base, that K-1 military base would become a hub, a hub for the coalition against ISIS. It was to be full of the United States troops, of British troops and other troops in the coalition as well as conventional Iraqi troops. This single thing would've prevented the catastrophe that has befallen Kirkuk. This is the only deal I have supported. I have a document here signed by 38 out of 50 of the Patriotic
Union of Kurdistan leadership supporting this proposal.

This is a screenshot of the scene where Talabani presents the document during the interview with France24:

Screenshot 2023-07-19 at 16.13.16.png

(Source: YouTube screenshot taken on Wed Jul 19 14:15:00 2023 UTC)

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  Rebaz Majeed

Rebaz Majeed is a fact-checker at Lead Stories. He is a multilingual freelance journalist and researcher. He worked for five years as a reporter for Voice of America (VOANews) in Iraq. Currently, he is pursuing his MA in Interdisciplinary Studies of the Middle East at Free Berlin University. Rebaz brings extensive knowledge and expertise to his role at LeadStories.

Read more about or contact Rebaz Majeed

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