Firebrand Iraq leader warns US on Israel embassy move

Prominent Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. (Reuters file photo)
Updated 25 January 2017
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Firebrand Iraq leader warns US on Israel embassy move

NAJAF: Moving the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would be a declaration of war on Islam, influential Iraqi cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr said on Tuesday.
“Transferring the US Embassy to Jerusalem would be a public and more-explicit-than-ever declaration of war against Islam,” he said in a statement.
In a break with previous administrations, new US President Donald Trump has pledged to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocate the US Embassy there from Tel Aviv.
Al-Sadr, a firebrand Shiite cleric whose militia once fought US occupation forces in Iraq, called for the “formation of a special division to liberate Jerusalem were the decision to be implemented.”
Al-Sadr said the Cairo-based Arab League as well as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the world’s main pan-Islamic body, should take a decisive stand on the issue or dissolve themselves.
The Najaf-based cleric also called “for the immediate closure of the US Embassy in Iraq” should Washington go ahead with its promised embassy transfer in Israel.
Al-Sadr supporters protesting against the lack of services and widespread corruption in the Iraqi state stormed the so-called “Green Zone” in Baghdad twice last year.
The protesters entered the Parliament buildings and the prime minister’s office but did not attempt anything against the US Embassy there, which is Washington’s largest foreign mission.
The US works with Iraq on a range of issues, notably with military backing for the Iraqi offensive to retake large parts of the country seized by the Daesh group.
The final status of Jerusalem is one of the thorniest issues in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Israel considers Jerusalem — including the eastern Palestinian sector it annexed in 1980 — as its indivisible capital. The Palestinians want to make East Jerusalem the capital of their future state.
The White House on Sunday appeared to play down suggestions that a move was imminent, with press secretary Sean Spicer saying: “We are at the very beginning stages of even discussing this subject.”


Turkey launches air strike on Iraqi Kurdistan after killing of diplomat

Updated 19 July 2019
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Turkey launches air strike on Iraqi Kurdistan after killing of diplomat

  • Turkish vice consul to Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region was shot dead Wednesday in the local capital Irbil
  • Turkish separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is suspected to be involved in the killing

ANKARA: Turkey on Thursday launched an air attack on Iraqi Kurdistan in response to the killing of a Turkish diplomat in the region, the country’s defense minister said.
The Turkish vice consul to Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region was shot dead Wednesday in the local capital Irbil. Police sources said two other people were also killed.
There was no claim of responsibility for the shooting, but many Iraqi experts have pointed to the probability that the Turkish separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Ankara considers a terrorist group, was behind the attack.
“Following the evil attack in Irbil, we have launched the most comprehensive air operation on Qandil and dealt a heavy blow to the (PKK) terror organization,” defense minister Hulusi Akar said in a statement.
Targets such as “armaments positions, lodgings, shelters and caves belonging to terrorists” were destroyed.
“Our fight against terror will continue with increasing determination until the last terrorist is neutralized and the blood of our martyrs will be avenged,” he added.
The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which now leads the regional government, enjoys good political and trade relations with Turkey.
But Turkey has been conducting a ground offensive and bombing campaign since May in the mountainous northern region to root out the PKK which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.
Earlier this month, the PKK announced that one of those raids killed senior PKK leader Diyar Gharib Mohammed along with two other fighters.
A spokesman for the PKK’s armed branch denied the group was involved in Wednesday’s shooting.