KFC, foreign franchises being victims of Gaza war

The US Embassy in Baghdad has issued a warning, urging US citizens to avoid traveling to Iraq and advising those already in the country to stay away from American and English-named restaurants, businesses, and educational centers.
US and British Brands that are being targeted. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)
US and British Brands that are being targeted. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – All KFC branches in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities have been closed for more than two weeks, except for those in the Kurdistan Region. This comes amid a push by several Shiite lawmakers to remove all US and Israeli brands from Iraq.

The US Embassy in Baghdad has issued a warning, urging US citizens to avoid traveling to Iraq and advising those already in the country to stay away from American and English-named restaurants, businesses, and educational centers.

Political observer Nada al-Kaabi highlighted the implications of these developments, noting, "The Vienna agreement signed by Iraq is about protecting diplomats and the interests of countries. The protection of foreign investment companies is part of the agreement because the companies are without protection and security guarantees. They cannot stay and continue their investment activities without this protection and a guarantee of safeguarding their businesses. If Iraq fails to comply with the agreement, it will certainly be punished and lose international credibility, while this country needs to open up and develop.”

As a gesture of support for the people of Gaza, a number of Shiite lawmakers have called on the Iraqi government to enforce a law that criminalizes dealing with Israel. They aim to remove all US and Israeli interests from Iraq and bring those who engage with them to justice.

Saud al-Saadi, an Iraqi member of parliament and a member of the Coordination Framework—a coalition of Shiite Iraqi parties—stated, "Although Iraq supports Palestine and its people and stands with the defense groups, there are some business activities that are slipping outside the government's control, such as the growing presence of foreign companies operating under Arabic names and supporting Israel. This is a flagrant violation of the law banning normalization of relations with the Zionist entity voted in the Iraqi parliament.”

In May 2022, the Iraqi parliament passed a bill banning the normalization of relations with Israel.

According to the law, any normalization of relations with Israel and propaganda for Israel is a crime, and anyone who violates the law is punishable by the death penalty.

These recent developments reflect ongoing tensions and the complex geopolitical landscape in Iraq, impacting both domestic and international business operations within the country.