Iraq appeals for US help in Turkey row

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, Aug. 17, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 23 August 2020

Iraq appeals for US help in Turkey row

  • Turkish strikes are violation of sovereignty, warns foreign minister

ISTANBUL: Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi has described Turkish attacks on Iraqi soil as “unacceptable” and urged the US to resolve the dispute in a meeting with US President Donald Trump.

Ankara and Baghdad have been negotiating since mid-June to solve the dispute over Turkish offensives in Kurdistan and other disputed territories. However, alienating Turkey could pose an economic threat to Iraq as Ankara is a key trading partner.

The Iraqi constitution bans the use of its territory to attack neighboring countries.

“The only potential US card to play is the personal relationship between Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He could ask Ankara to temporarily halt its cross-border activities,” Joe Macaron, a Middle East foreign policy analyst at the Arab Center, told Arab News.

Macaron doubts that the US will impose sanctions or threaten Erdogan to achieve this objective.

On Aug. 11 a Turkish drone strike in northeastern Iraq killed two Iraqi border guards and the driver of their vehicle. The Iraqi military called it “flagrant aggression”.

The drone attack coincided with alleged meetings of Iraqi high-ranking officials with members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), who are based in northern Iraq.

Baghdad canceled a Turkish ministerial visit and summoned the Turkish ambassador in response to the strike.

The Kurdistan Regional Government Ministry of Interior also urged Turkey and the PKK to continue fighting outside Iraq.

Macaron said there is an informal meeting between Turkey, Iran and the Kurdistan Regional Government against the PKK in northern Iraq. He added that there is little the US can do on an issue that is viewed as low-priority.

FASTFACT

Ankara and Baghdad have been negotiating since mid-June to solve the dispute over Turkish offensives in Kurdistan and other disputed territories.

“Turkey has military bases inside the Iraqi border and there are several pending challenges between Ankara and Baghdad, including the water quota in the Tigris and Euphrates rivers,” he said.

During the 1990s Turkey launched several military incursions into northern Iraq and established a dozen military bases in the region.

Macaron says the success of any mediation will require Arab pressure on the US to become involved.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein also urged his Egyptian, Jordanian, Saudi and Kuwaiti counterparts, as well as the Arab League, for diplomatic backing to confront Ankara and force it to “pull out its troops who have infiltrated Iraq.”

France also criticized Turkey’s strikes in the region and emphasized Iraqi sovereignty in a statement.

However, Ankara has accused Iraq of “turning a blind eye to the presence of PKK terrorists on its soil.”

Aaron Stein, director of Research at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, said the US supports Turkey’s right to strike against PKK in northern Iraq and has a mechanism to deconflict the two countries’ operations.

"That deconfliction doesn’t always work well, but I don’t see US policy changing. Turkish strikes are making US partner operations in the north more difficult, but I don’t see how policy will change because of that fact," he told Arab News.

 


Egyptian expats to start voting in country’s parliamentary elections

Updated 6 min 31 sec ago

Egyptian expats to start voting in country’s parliamentary elections

  • About 140 polling stations in the state’s embassies and consulates in 124 countries are available for Egyptians abroad to vote
  • A total of 568 seats are up for grabs in the elections, with an additional of 28 seats chosen by the president, bringing the total to 596

DUBAI: Egyptian expats will begin voting in the first phase of the country’s parliamentary elections, which starts Wednesday and runs until Friday, local daily Ahram Online reported.
Approximately 140 polling stations in the state’s embassies and consulates in 124 countries are available for Egyptians abroad to vote via mail-in voting, the National Election Authority (NEA) said.
“Voters will select candidates from the individual list system depending on their electoral district, and others from the closed list system,” the report added.
Expats were requested to have their ballot papers printed on Monday and Tuesday by inserting their registration code on the NEA website.
The ballot papers must be submitted in envelopes with a voter declaration, photocopies of the voter’s national identification card or passport, and residency papers. The documents must be submitted through express mail to the electoral committee of their country’s diplomatic mission.
The first stage of the election – between Oct. 21 and Nov. 30 – covers 14 provinces including Alexandria, Luxor, Aswan, Giza, Fayoum, Beni Suef, Minya and Assiut.
Meanwhile, the first stage of election run-offs will be held from Nov. 21 to Nov. 23 for Egyptians abroad, and Nov. 23 and Nov. 24 at home with the final results declared on Nov. 30 at the latest, the report said.
A total of 568 seats are up for grabs in the elections, with an additional of 28 seats chosen by the president, bringing the total to 596.