Iraq PM to visit Iran, Turkey as US sanctions bite

Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi is to visit top trading partners Turkey and Iran next week. (File photo / AFP)
Updated 11 August 2018

Iraq PM to visit Iran, Turkey as US sanctions bite

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi is to visit top trading partners Turkey and Iran next week, an official said Saturday, days after Washington slapped new sanctions on Tehran and piled economic pressure on Ankara.
Abadi “will head to Turkey on Tuesday and Iran on Wednesday to discuss economic affairs with the two countries,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
Iraq is the second-largest importer of Iranian non-hydrocarbon products, buying some $6 billion (5 billion euros) worth of goods from its eastern neighbor in 2017.
It also buys Iranian-generated electricity in efforts to deal with chronic power cuts that have been a key factor sparking mass protests in recent weeks.
Abadi on Tuesday said Iraq would reluctantly comply with sanctions against Tehran which took effect the same day.
It came after the administration of US President Donald Trump’s , unilateral withdrawal from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
“We don’t support the sanctions because they are a strategic error, but we will comply with them,” Abadi said.
Baghdad is allied with Washington, a strategic partner in the war that saw Iraq declare “victory” over Daesh militants in late 2017.
But it also has strong ties to Tehran, which is heavily involved in Iraq’s political affairs.
Abadi’s visit to Ankara is also overshadowed by a bitter row between NATO allies Turkey and the US.
Trump said Friday he was doubling steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey as part of an ongoing row over the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson and other issues.
The row has caused the Turkish lira to crash, dropping 16 percent against the dollar on Friday.


Eastern Libya forces say 16 Turkish soldiers killed in fighting

Updated 23 February 2020

Eastern Libya forces say 16 Turkish soldiers killed in fighting

BENGHAZI: Forces loyal to Libyan eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar said on Sunday they had killed 16 Turkish soldiers in recent weeks, a day after Turkey acknowledged it had lost several "martyrs" in combat in the north African country.
Khalid al-Mahjoub, a spokesman for Haftar's Libya National Army (LNA), said the Turks were killed in the port city of Misrata, in battles in Tripoli and in the town of al-Falah south of the capital.
Turkey backs Libya's weak internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) and has sent Syrian soldiers along with some of its own soldiers and weapons.
Haftar's forces are backed by the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday acknowleged some Turkish losses in Libya's "struggle".
"We are there (in Libya) with our (Turkish) soldiers and our teams from the Syrian National Army. We continue the struggle there. We have several martyrs. In return, however, we neutralized nearly a hundred (of Haftar's) legionaries," Erdogan said.
The Syrian National Army, also known as Free Syrian Army, is a Turkey-backed Syrian rebel group fighting against pro-Damascus forces in northern Syria, where 16 Turkish soldiers have been killed so far this month.
The deployment of Turkish soldiers and sophisticated air defences has erased small gains made by the LNA with the help of Russian mercenaries, returning the frontline roughly to where it was at start of Haftar's campaign in April 2019.
Ceasefire talks between Libya's warring sides resumed on Thursday after the GNA had pulled out of negotiations following the shelling of Tripoli's port by Haftar's forces.