Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Leading Sadrist Member Slams Turkey, Iran for Attacking Iraq

Leading Sadrist Member Slams Turkey, Iran for Attacking Iraq

Monday, 25 April, 2022 - 06:30
A picture taken on April 19, 2022 shows smoke billowing from behind the mountains of Matin (Jabal Matin) in the town of Chiladze following a Turkish offensive targeting fighters in the north's autonomous Kurdistan region. (AFP)

Iraq's First Deputy Speaker of Parliament Hakim al-Zamili accused on Sunday Iran and Turkey of exploiting his country's weakness to launch military attacks and operations on its territories.

Zamili, who is a leading member of the Sadr movement of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, noted that the violations by Ankara and Tehran had increased in recent weeks.

He made his remarks at a meeting at parliament aimed at addressing the repeated Turkish and Iranian attacks. The meeting was attended by Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein and head of the Sadrist parliamentary bloc Hassan al-Athari.

Athari said the violations pose a threat to Iraq and undermine its diplomacy.

Addressing Hussein, he asked what Iraq was doing to address the violations.

He also wondered whether there was any credibility to reports that spoke of an agreement between Iraq and Turkey that allows Turkish forces to enter 30 kilometers deep into Iraqi territory.

Last week, Turkey announced the start of a new ground and air campaign in northern Iraq, targeting Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants.

Dubbed Operation Claw-Lock, Ankara says the offensive is a measure to prevent the PKK from using Iraq as a base to carry out attacks in Turkey.

Last month, Iran fired 12 ballistic missiles at Erbil, the capital of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region. Iran said the barrage was retaliation for an Israeli strike in Syria that killed two members of the Revolutionary Guards that month. Iranian state media said the Guards had launched the attack against Israeli "strategic centers" in Erbil.

Global media professor Dr. Ghaleb al-Daami told Asharq Al-Awsat there was a difference between what Turkey was doing in Iraq versus what Iran was doing.

He explained that Ankara had informed the Iraqi and Kurdish governments that internationally designated terrorist groups were operating in Iraq and so it moved to attack them.

He criticized Turkey for deploying forces to Iraq under the pretext of fighting these groups, describing their presence there as a form of occupation and violation of Iraqi sovereignty.

As for Iran, he said it also has alleged that an armed Iranian opposition group was operating in Iraq and so it shelled their positions.

Tehran, however, failed to inform the Iraqi government that it was going to attack Erbil, he added.

That attack was politically-motivated, al-Daami charged. That sort of meddling is categorically rejected.

Turkey and Iran must understand that their meddling in Iraqi affairs and violations against its territories is illegal. They must be deterred, he urged.

The Iraqi government must purge Iraqi territories from armed groups, whether they are Turkish or Iranian, so that neighboring countries no longer have an excuse to meddle in Iraq's affairs, he remarked.

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