US, European allies condemn attacks in Kurdistan Region, as do Arab states
WASHINGTON DC (Kurdistan 24) – The US and four of its European allies in the anti-ISIS Coalition issued a statement on Friday, denouncing Wednesday’s militia attacks in Erbil and Bashiqa.
Several Arab states issued similar statements, and the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Masrour Barzani, welcomed the expressions of support from “friends and partners of Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.”
I welcome this clear, unanimous condemnation by friends and partners of Iraq and the Kurdistan Region of the recent attack on Erbil.— Masrour Barzani پابەندین# (@masrour_barzani) April 16, 2021
We have a common goal: stability and security for all the Iraqi peoples and victory in the war on ISIS.
“We, the governments of France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America condemn in the strongest terms the April 14 attacks in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region,” the joint statement from the US and its European allies began.
One of the two near-simultaneous assaults on April 14 involved an attack by an explosives-laden drone on Erbil International Airport, where anti-ISIS Coalition forces are based.
Only one drone was involved. It landed on a storage hangar and did not cause any casualties, while material damage was very limited.
Nonetheless, the assault marked the first time a drone was used in such an attack, which the US attributed to an “Iran-backed militia.”
Hoshyar Zebari, who served as Iraq’s first post-Saddam Foreign Minister, from 2003 until 2014, called the new use of such a weapon “a clear and dangerous escalation.”
Tonight there was yet another #terrorist rocket - drone attack on #Erbil airport to undermine the security of #IraqiKurdistan. It seems the same #militia who targeted the airport two months ago are at it again. This is a clear & dangerous escalation.— Hoshyar Zebari (@HoshyarZebari) April 14, 2021
The second assault involved three rockets fired at a Turkish base camp near Bashiqa, where Turkish troops are based. One rocket hit the Zelikan camp, killing a Turkish soldier. The two other rockets landed in the nearby village of Zelikan, injuring one civilian.
Bashiqa lies in northern Nineveh province, some 12 kilometers northeast of Mosul, in territory disputed between Iraq’s federal government and the KRG. Bashiqa fell under ISIS’ control in 2014, as the terrorist group burst out of Syria into Iraq, occupying a third of the country.
Two years later, Kurdish Peshmerga drove the terrorist organization out of the town, which is now under the control of Baghdad.
“We are united in our view that attacks on US and Coalition personnel and facilities will not be tolerated and reiterate our steadfast commitment to the fight against ISIS,” Friday’s statement from the US and its allies affirmed.
“Together, our governments will support the Government of Iraq’s investigation into the attacks to ensure that those responsible will be held accountable,” it said.
However, the Baghdad government is under strong pressure from the pro-Iranian militias, and its ability to act against them has proven limited.
Arab States Condemn Attack
The day before, on Thursday, a number of Arab states issued their own, individual denunciations of the attack on Erbil.
Relations between Baghdad and the Sunni Arab states have much improved under Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who, in late March, visited Riyadh where he met with the Saudi leadership, addressing their security concerns, as well as reaching agreements to boost Saudi investment in Iraq.
Thus, on Thursday, the Saudi Foreign Ministry issued a statement condemning the attack on Erbil, which “threatens the stability of Iraq and the region and the safety of air navigation in the country.”
“It also undermines the efforts of the international coalition to help Iraq combat terrorism,” Riyadh affirmed.
Egypt and Jordan issued similar denunciations, as did the UAE, Bahrain, and the 57-member Organization of Islamic Coordination (OIC.)
“Cairo condemns in the strongest terms the terrorist attack on Erbil International Airport yesterday evening,” Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday, as it affirmed its “vehement condemnation of these despicable terrorist acts.”
The spokesman for Jordan’s Foreign Ministry, Dhaifallah Fayez, issued a statement condemning the attack on Erbil airport, as well as an assault by ISIS on a Baghdad market, describing them as “cowardly” assaults that aim to destabilize regional security and stability.
Similarly, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) “strongly condemned the terrorist attack on Erbil International Airport in the Iraqi Kurdistan region,” as it “called for de-escalating tensions, self-restraint, and avoiding any destabilizing behavior in the region.”
Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry affirmed, “The Kingdom of Bahrain strongly condemns the terrorist attack that targeted Erbil International Airport in the sisterly Republic of Iraq, in a cowardly terrorist act that violates international humanitarian law.”
In addition, on Friday, the Saudi-based OIC “condemned in the strongest terms the rocket attack on the city of Erbil in the north of Iraq,” while it “reaffirmed its constant position denouncing all forms of terrorism.”
Editing by Khrush Najari