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US criticizes Iranian role in Iraq

- NikkiHaleyUN - US criticizes Iranian role in Iraq


WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan 24) – The US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, criticized Iran’s role in Iraq in an emergency Security Council meeting on Friday which the US called for in response to the popular protests in Iran and the regime’s heavy-handed suppression of them. 

Haley affirmed that “freedom and human dignity cannot be separated from peace and security,” and she hailed the protests of the “brave people,” who have become so angry at “their oppressive government that they’re willing to risk their lives in protest.” 

Haley also said that the dictatorial nature of the Iranian regime caused it to “spread conflict and stability far and wide,” before citing the most egregious cases of Iranian aggression. 

The UN has reported that Tehran “spends at least 6 billion every year, propping up the murderous Assad regime in Syria,” Haley stated. “The people of Iran know this, and so they are telling the government, Let go of Syria. Think of us.” 

“The Iranian regime spends millions on militias in Iraq each year,” she continued. 

“It gives millions more each year to the Houthis in Yemen, including sending them ballistic missiles to fire at other countries.” 

Haley’s criticism of Iran’s spending on militias in Iraq is significant because it marks a rare US acknowledgment, and critique, of Tehran’s activities in the neighboring Arab state. 

In contrast, some two weeks ago, on the occasion of the publication of the Trump administration’s National Security Strategy, a senior administration official seemed oblivious to the problem. 

He claimed that the defeat of the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq had made an Iranian land bridge to the Mediterranean “a lot more complicated to establish.” 

But the opposite is true. Paul Davis, a former Pentagon analyst of Kurdish affairs, remarked, “That has got to be one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard.” 

Michael Pregent, an Iraq expert at the Hudson Institute, similarly dismissed that statement as “laughable.” 

The statement ignored the fact that the Iranian-backed militias have played an important role in defeating IS, and they now occupy the very territory that Iran would use for its path to the Mediterranean. 

The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz recently reported that some 100,000 Iranian-backed militia fighters operate in Iraq. “Though part of the funding for these militias” comes from Iraqi sources, “the lion’s share of their pay and weaponry is financed by Tehran,” it said. 

The UK generally supported the US position in the Security Council session, and it also raised the issue of Tehran’s activities in Iraq. 

“We’re deeply concerned about Iranian assistance to groups in Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq,” the British representative stated. 

On Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron, in a New Year’s address to the French diplomatic corps, called for the “gradual dismantling” of the Iranian-backed militias in Iraq. 

France has been the most outspoken Western power on this issue, calling for the dismantling of the irregular forces already a month ago, when the Kurdish Prime, Nechirvan Barzani, led an official delegation to meet with Macron in Paris.

Editing by Nadia Riva 



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Turkish President vows to crush any Kurdish protest against Afrin invasion

- TurkisStrikeK24 - Turkish President vows to crush any Kurdish protest against Afrin invasion


HDP’s Co-leader Serpil Kemalbay did not call for an uprising but urged “the people of Turkey not to remain silent to this invasion” which she said Erdogan launched to consolidate his rule.

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), however, urged “support for the resistance of Afrin.”

Erdogan equated the opposition HDP which his administration has paralyzed with an ongoing crackdown launched in late 2016 with the PKK—outlawed for waging decades-long guerrilla warfare against the Turkish state over Kurdish self-rule.

With a nation-wide state of emergency in place since a failed military coup a year and a half ago and more powers granted to the judiciary and the national police force, authorities have already banned walks, demonstrations, and public meetings in all provinces.

Meanwhile, prosecutors in Ankara launched investigations against HDP lawmakers Ayhan Bilgen and Nadir Yildirim for tweets criticizing Turkey’s offensive in Afrin.

“An operation targeting Afrin, if successful, will drag the country into civil war, and if unsuccessful will create the ground for a coup,” Bilgen tweeted a week ago amid rising threats from Ankara.

“An attempt to invade Afrin means a total war on the Kurdish people. Staying silent to this is dishonorable. Our honorable people in all four parts of Kurdistan will give the necessary response. Today is the day to mobilize,” Yildirim said in a tweet after attacks on Afrin began.

“Mind you, anyone making the mistake of getting out on to public squares will pay the heaviest price. I have to tell you because this is a national struggle. We will pulverize anyone standing in front of us,” Erdogan said, promising a swift victory.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany 



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Barzani and Kosrat Rasoul Meet in Erbil


Barzani and Kosrat Rasoul Meet in Erbil  - 66d399e9ab8adc124c65ca4320e22b6f L - Barzani and Kosrat Rasoul Meet in Erbil

ERBIL — Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani on Sunday met with Kosrat Rasoul, deputy secretary-general for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).

The meeting comes after Rasoul had spend weeks in Germany under medical treatment before he came back earlier this month.

The pair exchanged views on the current political situation in Iraq and the region.

No further details on their discussion were revealed to the media.



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Iran latest to condemn Turkish military campaign against Kurds in Afrin

- AfrinTurkey - Iran latest to condemn Turkish military campaign against Kurds in Afrin


ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Iran on Sunday called on the Turkish government to halt its military campaign against Kurdish forces in the Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) city of Afrin, noting the operation could “help terrorist groups.”

“Iran hopes this process will end immediately to prevent the deepening of the crisis in the border area between Turkey and Syria,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Bahram Qasimi was quoted by the state-run IRNA news agency.

On Saturday, the Turkish army stepped up its military incursion against Kurds in the northern Syrian region of Afrin, wounding at least five civilians following bombardments on the outskirts of the city.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the campaign, called “Operation Olive Branch,” was aimed at the People’s Protection Units (YPG) who his country labels “terrorists” for their alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The YPG, who make up a significant majority of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), was an integral part of the war against the Islamic State (IS).

Turkey’s military plans seem to have been accelerated by an announcement from the US that it will help the SDF build a new “border security force” to prevent the return of IS.

The YPG and SDF deny any terrorist links, a claim backed by the US government. However, Turkey’s President Erdogan called the border force a “terror army.”

Meanwhile, the Kurdish forces vowed to defend any attacks on the areas under their control.

“If attacked, we will have no choice but to defend ourselves and our people, but we state in front of the world that we harbor no hostile intent toward Turkey and would only take measures in our own defense in the event of hostile operations against our people,” an SDF statement read.



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