Pro-Iran protesters torch Kurd party offices in Baghdad

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A member of the Iraqi security forces intervenes as demonstrators, supporters of the Hashed al Shaabi, burn down the Kurdish Democratic Party's headquarters in the capital Baghdad on October 17, 2020. (AFP)
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Iraqi demonstrators, supporters of the Hashed Al-Shaabi, tear up a portrait of Masoud Barzani, former leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, as they burn and ransack the party's headquarters in the capital Baghdad on October 17, 2020. (AFP)
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Iraqi demonstrators, supporters of the Hashed al Shaabi, burn down the Kurdish Democratic Party's headquarters in the capital Baghdad on October 17, 2020. (AFP)
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Iraqi security forces intervene as demonstrators, supporters of the Hashed Al-Shaabi, burn down the Kurdish Democratic Party's headquarters in the capital Baghdad on October 17, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 17 October 2020

Pro-Iran protesters torch Kurd party offices in Baghdad

  • Protesters burned Kurdish flags while others carried posters of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and his Iraqi lieutenant Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis
  • Hoshyar Zebari said the government needed to “clean up the Green Zone from the presence of Hashed militias”

BAGHDAD: Supporters of Hashed Al-Shaabi, an Iraqi paramilitary network dominated by Iran-backed factions, Saturday burned down the main Kurdish party’s headquarters in Baghdad after criticism from a Kurdish ex-minister.
Hundreds of Hashed demonstrators swept past a security detail and stormed into the offices of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which runs the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq, and torched them.
Protesters burned Kurdish flags while others carried posters of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and his Iraqi lieutenant Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, who were killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad last January.
The Hashed paramilitaries were formed in 2014 from mostly-Shiite armed groups and volunteers to fight Daesh.
Hashed has since been formally integrated into Iraq’s armed forces and has representation in parliament, and it has spawned several ideologically affiliated armed groups.
Earlier this month, Hoshyar Zebari, Iraq’s longtime former foreign minister and a key Kurdish power-broker, said the government needed to “clean up the Green Zone (in Baghdad) from the presence of Hashed militias.”
They were operating “outside the law,” Zebari, a KDP member, said in comments to the US-funded Al-Hurra television.
Vian Sabry, head of the KDP bloc in parliament, condemned Saturday’s attack.
“This isn’t a protest because protests are supposed to be peaceful as per the constitution,” she told AFP.
She blamed “unaccountable factions for being behind such acts,” without elaborating.
On October 1, Kurdish authorities accused Hashed militants of firing rockets at the airport in Irbil, the capital city of Iraqi Kurdistan, where US troops are based.
Around 90 rocket attacks have targeted the US presence in Iraq since the January drone strike, with several claimed by pro-Iran factions.


Turkey condemns Iran scientist killing as ‘terrorism’

Updated 29 November 2020

Turkey condemns Iran scientist killing as ‘terrorism’

ISTANBUL: Turkey said Sunday that the killing of a key Iranian nuclear scientist was an act of “terrorism” that “upsets peace in the region.”
“We regret the death of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh following an armed attack. We condemn this heinous murder and offer our condolences to the Iranian government and the dead man’s relatives,” Ankara’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
“Turkey is against all initiatives aimed at disrupting peace in the region and against all forms of terrorism, no matter who their perpetrator or target are.”
Ankara also urged “all parties to act with common sense and restraint.”
Fakhrizadeh, 59, was killed on Friday in a car bomb and gun attack against his own vehicle, the Iranian defense ministry said.
It added that he had been head of the ministry’s research and innovation department.
Tehran has accused Israel and the US of being behind Fakhrizadeh’s killing.
Neighbouring Turkey and Iran are regional powers with a history of complex relations.
While they often line up on opposing sides, recent years have seen them build up cooperation in some areas like energy.