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The counterreaction came Monday, as Iraqi troops, backed by Shiite militias, took control of a key military base and oil fields in the region around Kirkuk, an area controlled by the Kurdish peshmerga militias but claimed by Baghdad.Some members of Barzani's regional government in Irbil described the Iraqi move as a military assault, but a statement by U.S. Central Command, which oversees operations in Iraq, reported "coordinated movements, not attacks". While Tehran and its Iraqi allies may have encouraged Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to move on Kirkuk, U.S. officials said that it was Abadi's decision – and that he would have faced heavy Iraqi opposition if he hadn't responded strongly to the referendum and its breakaway bid.Having cautioned Barzani against the referendum, U.S. officials were peeved when he went ahead anyway.
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