Full Statement by the High Committee for the Implementation of the Joint Security Agreement
In accordance with the joint security agreement between the Republic of Iraq and the Islamic Republic of Iran, and through the collaborative efforts of the Federal Government, the Regional Government, and the Joint High Committee, we have successfully dismantled positions near the Iranian border that were previously occupied by Iranian opposition groups.
We have relocated these groups to an area distant from the border and have disarmed them as a step toward reclassifying them as refugees, in line with the guidelines set by the refugee commission. Federal security forces have been deployed to these border areas and will remain there on a permanent basis, with the Iraqi flag raised.
The representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations attended meetings held in Erbil and Baghdad and expressed full support for the Iraqi government's implementation of the agreement's provisions. It was agreed that interactions with these groups are permissible, provided they have civilian status.
Iraq recognizes that border security is a shared responsibility and views this agreement as the benchmark for resolving any future disputes or conflicts. This mutual understanding strengthens the long-standing relationship between our nations, as evidenced by the blessed 40-day pilgrimage.
The removal and relocation of these groups away from the caves and shelters near the border signify a significant and crucial step. It is our collective responsibility to ensure their protection and to implement the subsequent phases of the agreement. We call on all parties to refrain from making negative statements and to support ongoing collaborative efforts for the mutual benefit of both countries.
19. September 2023 15:11
Translated statement on Sudani's meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken
The Prime Minister of Iraq, Mr. Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani, met with U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in New York on Tuesday morning. The meeting took place on the sidelines of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
The discussions covered various aspects of cooperation between Iraq and the United States, including ways to strengthen partnerships across multiple sectors and levels. Mr. Blinken extended an invitation from President Joseph Biden for Mr. Sudani to visit the White House for further dialogue on bilateral relations.
Mr. Sudani expressed gratitude for the invitation and indicated his willingness to accept it at a date to be determined. He emphasized the need to resume the activities of the joint Iraqi-American committee concerning the strategic framework agreement between the two countries. The Prime Minister also highlighted significant milestones in bilateral cooperation, such as the successful visit by an Iraqi delegation led by the Minister of Defense to Washington and discussions about Iraq's relationship with the international coalition against terrorism.
Mr. Sudani expressed Iraq's interest in expanding partnerships with the U.S. in areas like climate change mitigation and energy sector investment. He invited American companies to explore investment opportunities in Iraq. He also reiterated the importance of joint security efforts to combat ISIS, especially given the enhanced capabilities of Iraqi security forces to maintain national security.
Secretary Blinken acknowledged the practical steps Iraq has taken to diversify its energy sources, optimize gas investment, and achieve self-sufficiency through contracts with Total and electrical links with neighboring countries. He affirmed the U.S.'s eagerness to collaborate with Iraq on climate change, infrastructure development, and other sectors, while renewing U.S. support for Iraq's stability, development, and prosperity.
19. September 2023 15:04
BREAKING: The High Committee for the Implementation of the Joint Security Agreement between Iraq and Iran has announced the 'final evacuation' of bases located near the Iran border.
This comes on the deadline day imposed by Iran on Iraq and the Kurdistan Region to disarm Iranian Kurdish opposition groups based in the Kurdistan Region and relocate them away from camps Iraq-Iran border areas.
19. September 2023 15:02
PM Sudani and U.S. Treasury officials discussed 'financial fraud, sanctions evasion, terrorist financing'
Iraqi PM Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani and Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson met in New York and "aimed to implement meaningful reforms to bolster the Iraqi financial sector against fraud, sanctions evasion, terrorist financing, and other illicit activities," the Treasury Department said in a Monday statement.
Nelson acknowledged the significant progress Iraq has made in its efforts. The two sides agreed to maintain their close, regular dialogue as Iraq works to ensure its long-term economic growth and prosperity.
This comes as Baghdad faces pressure from the U.S. to curb money laundering to countries under U.S. sanctions, such as Iran.
Readout by U.S. Department of the Treasury
On September 18, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson met with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shiaa al-Sudani on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, NY. The U.S. Treasury has been working closely with the Government of Iraq as they seek to implement meaningful reforms to strengthen the Iraqi financial sector against fraud, sanctions evasion, terrorist financing, and other illicit activities. Under Secretary Nelson acknowledged the significant progress Iraq has made in their efforts. Prime Minister al-Sudani and Under Secretary Nelson agreed to continue their close, regular dialogue as Iraq moves forward with its work to ensure its long-term economic growth and prosperity. The meeting followed Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes Elizabeth Rosenberg’s trip to Iraq last week, where she also met with the Prime Minister.
19. September 2023 14:52
Qais Al-Khazali, the leader of the Iran-backed militia group Asaib Ahl al-Haq (League of the Righteous), described the incident as "a clear violation of Iraqi sovereignty" and called on "the government and all political forces to stand together to stop these repeated attacks."
Washington welcomes Kurdistan Region budget payments
In other news, Washington welcomes "constructive dialogue" between Erbil and Baghdad and vows to "remain intensively engaged to promote a stable and secure Iraq and to promote durable resolutions to outstanding issues."
Full statement by Jake Sullivan
"We welcome the constructive dialogue conducted last week between the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) meant to resolve outstanding issues in a manner consistent with the Iraqi constitution. We are encouraged by the Government of Iraq’s decision to release additional funds to the KRG to help ensure civil servants receive their salaries and to promote stability and economic growth. The United States will continue to work with all relevant parties to expeditiously reopen the Iraq-Turkey pipeline as soon as possible. The United States will also continue to remain intensively engaged to promote a stable and secure Iraq and to promote durable resolutions to outstanding issues."
We welcome the constructive dialogue conducted last week between the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) meant to resolve outstanding issues in a manner consistent with the Iraqi constitution. We are encouraged by the Government of Iraq’s decision to release additional funds to the KRG to help ensure civil servants receive their…
The White House
19. September 2023 14:50
Ammar al-Hakim, the head of the National Wisdom Movement, denounces Arbat drone attack
"We condemn the attack on Arbat Agricultural Airport in Sulaymaniyah Governorate and extend our deepest condolences to the families of the victims who lost their lives in this incident. We also offer our prayers for the swift recovery of the injured.
Additionally, we call for an immediate, thorough, and transparent investigation to identify those responsible for this attack, safeguard Iraq's sovereignty, and ensure the security and stability of the nation and its citizens."
The Sulaymaniyah Governorate Council is calling on the international community and the Iraqi government to intervene and stop repeated attacks on the Sulaymaniyah Governorate, underscoring the area's security and stability.
In a press conference attended by Shafaq News Agency, Azad Muhammed Amin, chair of the Sulaymaniyah Governorate Council, said, "The ongoing attacks on various parts of Sulaymaniyah by neighboring countries are legally and internationally unacceptable."
Amin added, "We urge the international community and the Iraqi government to intervene in the crisis and halt the continuous attacks on Sulaymaniyah." He emphasized that "thanks to the efforts and sacrifices of its security forces, Sulaymaniyah remains a bastion of security, stability and coexistence, posing no threat to anyone. However, there are those who aim to undermine this stability."
19. September 2023 14:07
Busy day for Iraq’s top diplomat at the UN as he met several foreign ministers, but what stood out was his meeting with the Iranian counterpart. Fuad Hussein was in Tehran earlier this week ahead of today’s deadline given to the Iranian opposition groups who are based in the KRI to disarm and relocate to refugee camps.
Full text of statement by the Iraqi FM
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fuad Hussein, met with his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, on Monday, September 18, 2023, on the sidelines of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
During the meeting, the two discussed a range of issues of mutual interest. Minister Abdollahian expressed appreciation for Hussein's visit to Tehran on September 13, 2022, which paved the way for implementing a security agreement between the two countries.
In a joint effort with the Kurdistan Regional Government, the Iraqi government has already taken necessary measures in this regard.
The meeting also covered developments in US-Iran relations, including the release of five American citizens in exchange for the release of approximately 6 billion euros in funds held by South Korea.
Additionally, the political and security situation in the region and Iranian-Gulf relations were discussed, with an emphasis on enhancing regional security and stability.
19. September 2023 14:04
Full statement by President Rashid
"Day after day, systematic military attacks on Iraqi territory, particularly in the Kurdistan region, continue to escalate without any military or security justification. These attacks target innocent civilians as well as military and security installations. We have previously communicated to the relevant Turkish authorities that Iraq is willing to engage in dialogue with them to address any security concerns Turkey may have. However, there has been no meaningful response to our overtures.
"While occasional security breaches and military operations between neighboring countries might occur, the persistent and targeted military attacks against cities, civilians, and military personnel are unacceptable under international law. These attacks violate principles of good neighborliness, particularly when executed with weapons typically reserved for open warfare, such as drones. These drones have become a common tool in Turkey's aggression against Iraqi soil, threatening the stability and security that Iraq has worked to achieve since 2003. We strongly condemn these ongoing assaults on our region's safe cities.
"Since 2003, successive Iraqi governments have conveyed messages of reassurance to neighboring countries and the world. The new Iraq believes in dialogue as the primary means of resolving disputes. Our nation has built bridges of communication, re-established weakened relationships, and initiated joint ventures, particularly with Turkey. However, the response to Iraq's openness and goodwill has been unacceptable, characterized by ongoing drone attacks. The Iraqi state will not remain silent on this issue.
"Iraq has paid a high price in its fight against terrorist organizations, particularly ISIS. This organization aimed not only to claim Iraq as its territory but also to use it as a launching pad for attacks on our neighbors. We confronted this threat with all our resources, eventually defeating it and defending both our territory and that of our neighbors.
"After all these sacrifices, our land continues to face systematic attacks, indicating bad faith and an absence of interest in establishing stable, secure relations. We have initiated a detailed review of the situation with the relevant Iraqi security ministries and will engage extensively with the international community. We will also summon the Turkish ambassador in Baghdad to deliver a formal letter of protest to the Turkish presidency.
"We pay tribute to the heroic martyrs of Iraq—both civilians and military personnel—who have lost their lives due to repeated Turkish aggression. We are committed to stopping and condemning such attacks. The new Iraq believes solely in the language of dialogue for maintaining its security, dignity, and stability, and will not stand idly by when these principles are compromised."
19. September 2023 14:03
Iraqi president condemns Turkish Attacks on Kurdistan Region
In a pointed statement, Iraqi President Latif Rashid strongly condemned the continued systematic military attacks on Iraqi territory, particularly in the Kurdistan region, which he says are escalating "without any military or security justification."
"These attacks target innocent civilians as well as military and security installations," Rashid said. He noted that Iraq has reached out to Turkish authorities for dialogue to address Turkey's security concerns but has received "no meaningful response."
The president stressed that while occasional security breaches between neighboring countries might occur, the persistent and targeted military strikes are "unacceptable under international law."
"These attacks violate principles of good neighborliness, particularly when executed with weapons typically reserved for open warfare, such as drones," Rashid added. Drones have become a common tool in what he described as Turkey's aggression against Iraq, threatening the stability and security that Iraq has worked to achieve since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.
Since defeating IS, Iraq has aimed to build bridges of communication and initiate joint ventures with neighboring countries, including Turkey. "However, the response to Iraq's openness and goodwill has been unacceptable, characterized by ongoing drone attacks," Rashid said. "The Iraqi state will not remain silent on this issue."
Rashid revealed that Iraq is initiating a detailed review of the situation with its security ministries and will engage extensively with the international community. "We will also summon the Turkish ambassador in Baghdad to deliver a formal letter of protest to the Turkish presidency," he stated.
Paying tribute to the "heroic martyrs of Iraq," both civilians and military personnel who have lost their lives due to repeated Turkish aggression, Rashid said Iraq is committed to stopping and condemning such attacks.
"The new Iraq believes solely in the language of dialogue for maintaining its security, dignity, and stability, and will not stand idly by when these principles are compromised," he concluded.
19. September 2023 13:53
In a meeting in Baghdad, Faiq Zidan, chairman of Iraq's Supreme Judicial Council, urged Kuwaiti Ambassador to Baghdad Tariq Al-Faraj to respect and implement judicial agreements and treaties between Iraq and Kuwait.
"Iraq respects the history, present and future of the State of Kuwait and its independence through various historical stages," Zidan said.
The Iraqi Federal Supreme Court recently ruled that the parliamentary approval of a maritime agreement between the two countries was unconstitutional. The deal involves navigation in the disputed Khor Abdullah waterway. The court said the ratification violated Article 61, Section Four of the Iraqi Constitution, which requires a two-thirds majority in the House of Representatives to enact laws regulating the ratification of international treaties.
Not sure the Iraqi Federal Supreme Court's jurisdiction extends to Kuwait so this is an odd statement considering the history between both nations.
شفق نيوز/ أكد رئيس مجلس القضاء الأعلى القاضي فائق زيدان، يوم الثلاثاء، احترام وتنفيذ القضاء للاتفاقات والمعاهدات المبرمة بين العراق والكويت.جاء ذلك خلال استقباله السفير الكويتي لدى بغداد طارق الفرج لب
19. September 2023 13:25
Deputy PM Qubad Talabani's statement calling on Iraqi authorities to respond
"I strongly condemn the attack on the Kurdistan Anti-Terror Forces in the Arbat district.
"This incident represents yet another violation of Iraqi sovereignty, carried out by drones targeting our anti-terror forces while they were engaged in routine, daily training exercises.
"Regrettably, this attack resulted in the martyrdom of three heroic members of our forces and left three others injured. We extend our deepest condolences to the grieving families of the martyrs and emphasize that there can be no justification for such attacks on a courageous Kurdish force. This force is responsible for maintaining security and stability in Kurdistan and has played a crucial role in combating terrorism in the region.
"We urge the relevant authorities within the federal government to step forward and take measures to prevent such violations from recurring.
"I also call upon the pertinent parties in Kurdistan to conduct a comprehensive investigation to uncover all facts and disclose them to the Kurdish public."
A drone strike on Arbat Airport in Sulaymaniyah province, Kurdistan Region, killed three members of the Counter-Terrorism Group (CTG) and wounded three others. The attack, which occurred on Monday, September 18, at 17:00 local time, has raised tensions in the region and garnered responses from various stakeholders, including the KRG, the PUK, and international organizations like the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (Unami).
How it happened
According to General Yehya Rasool, the spokesman for the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces in Iraq, the drone entered Iraqi airspace from the border with Turkey. The attack targeted Arbat airfield, primarily used for crop-spraying. The incident constitutes "a violation of Iraq's sovereignty," said Rasool, who warned that Iraq "reserves the right to put an end to these violations."
PM Barzani expressed sadness over the incident and urged for a thorough investigation. "We condemn any violation of the sovereignty of Kurdistan and Iraq, as well as all illegal actions that disrupt the security and stability of the Kurdistan Region," he stated.
Rewaz Faiq, most recently the speaker of the Kurdistan parliament and a member of the PUK, paid tribute to the "heroic martyrs" from the CTG. He emphasized that anyone who justifies this terrorist attack "is a betrayer and a traitor."
Bafel Talabani, the president of the PUK, condemned the attack vehemently and called for unity among political parties in Kurdistan to face security threats. "In response to these repeated violations, it is the duty of all political parties in the region to face the security threats and challenges together," he said.
Unami also condemned the attack. It urged for the cessation of attacks that violate Iraqi sovereignty and emphasized the importance of addressing security concerns through dialogue and diplomacy rather than military strikes.
The drone attack comes in the backdrop of escalated drone strikes from Turkey targeting Kurdish areas in both Iraq and Syria. While these attacks have principally aimed at the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) and its Syrian Kurdish ally, the People’s Defence Units (YPG), incidents directly affecting the security forces in Iraqi Kurdistan are relatively rare.
Note: CTG is the PUK's party intelligence service. Both the KDP and PUK control their own security services, and Turkey has previously accused the PUK's services of supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) of which the YPG is a part.
PM Masrour Barzani's statement citing 'illegal actions' is potentially a thinly veiled hint at the presence of YPG/SDF/PKK (take your pick) personnel at the facility or the PUK's increasingly public cooperation with them in general. Both parties have been conducting joint drills and missions out in the open recently. The SDF and YPG have been making good use of PUK hospitality in Sulaymaniyah. PUK officials and many other commentators haven't reacted kindly to what they feel are victim-blaming sentiments by Barzani.
Earlier this year, there was a suspected attempted hit on the SDF commander Mazloum Abdi, who was in Sulaymaniyah at the time.
"On Monday, September 18, at 17:00, a drone entered Iraqi airspace from the border with Turkey and bombed Arbat Airport in Sulaymaniyah Governorate, located in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. This attack led to the martyrdom of three heroes from the Counter-Terrorism Service and the wounding of three others.
"This act of aggression constitutes a violation of Iraq's sovereignty, security, and territorial integrity. It also represents a breach and a threat to peace and security in both the region and the world, violating the provisions of international law and the principles and objectives of the United Nations Charter.
"These repeated attacks do not align with the principle of good neighborly relations between countries and threaten to undermine Iraq's efforts to build balanced political, economic, and security relations with its neighbors.
"Iraq reserves the right to put an end to these violations.
"Mercy and eternity to our honorable martyrs, and we wish a speedy recovery to the wounded.
"Spokesman for the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces"
"We strongly condemn the terrorist attack on the Agricultural Airport of Arbat in Sulaymaniyah, which resulted in the martyrdom and injury of six heroic Peshmerga of the Kurdistan’s Counter-Terrorism Group (CTG).
"This criminal act is an open trespassing of the border of the Kurdistan Region and Iraq and is part of the conspiracy aimed at disturbing the peace and stability of the Kurdistan Region, especially the border of Sulaymaniyah province.
"In the response of these repeated violations, it is the duty of all political parties in the region to face the security threats and challenges together and protect Kurdistan from its enemies.
While expressing our deepest condolences to the families of the three heroic Counter-Terrorism Group (CTG) martyrs who are martyrs of Kurdistan's peace, I wish a speedy recovery to the wounded. We urgently request for these violations to stop and we also call on the Iraqi government to fulfill its constitutional and national duty to protect Iraqi territory and airspace, including the Kurdistan region and to no longer allow these violations to happen again.
"We call on all our friends, countries of the world and all freedom fighters to take a serious stance and unite with us to stop these terrorist acts. We, Kurds, who have been at the forefront of the fight against terrorism in recent years and have made great sacrifices, cannot be targeted by such terrorist acts.
"Dear people of Kurdistan,
By relying on God and you, together, we will overcome this hideous situation and establish stability in the region.
"Bafel Jalal Talabani
President of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan"
19. September 2023 10:32
Unami condemns the strike
Unami strongly condemned the attack on Arbat Airport in Sulaymaniyah province, highlighting the casualties that resulted from the incident. The UN organization emphasized the need for an immediate cessation of attacks that violate Iraqi sovereignty. Unami advocates for addressing security concerns through dialogue and diplomacy rather than through military strikes.
Unami stands for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq. It is a UN mission established to support Iraq in matters of governance, development, and humanitarian needs, among other objectives. Its role also includes facilitating dialogue and assisting in conflict resolution within the country.
Statement by the former speaker of Kurdistan's parliament
"Eternal honor to the heroic martyrs of the Counter-Terrorism forces; may God grant peace and patience to their families and a place for them in Paradise, God willing.
The Counter-Terrorism unit is a vibrant, active, and reliable component of the international coalition against terrorism across the region. They are committed to their cause.
Anyone who justifies the terrorist attack on Arbat Airport for any reason is a betrayer and a traitor. Such a person acts as an accomplice to the invaders of Kurdistan. The Kurdish people are highly aware, and everyone knows this very well."
19. September 2023 09:59
Statement by PM Masrour Barzani
"We are saddened by the incident at Arbat Airport. The relevant parties should conduct a thorough investigation into the cause and nature of this incident and reveal the facts as soon as possible. We condemn any violation of the sovereignty of Kurdistan and Iraq, as well as all illegal actions that disrupt the security and stability of the Kurdistan Region."
ڕووداوەکەی فرۆکەخانەی عەربەت دڵگرانی کردووین. پێویستە بە زووترین کات لایەنە پەیوەندیدارەکان لێکوڵینەوەیەکی ورد لە هۆکار و چۆنیەتی ئەم ڕووداوە بکەن و ڕاستیيەکان ئاشکرا بکرێن.سەرکۆنەی هەر جۆرە پێشێلکردنێکی سەروەریی خاکی کوردستان و عێراق و هەموو کارێکی نایاسایی دەکەین کە دەبێتە هۆی شێواندنی ئاسایش و سەقامگیریی هەرێمی کوردستان.
حکومەتی هەرێمی كوردستان
19. September 2023 09:57
Last night, three Counter-Terrorism Group personnel were killed, and others were injured in an apparent attack on Arbat Agricultural Airport. This airport hosts training facilities for forces affiliated with the PUK in Sulaymaniyah province.
Just a few minutes ago, KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani issued a statement expressing his 'sadness' and calling for a prompt investigation. The PUK has been much more direct in their response, with CTG head Wahab Halabjay labeling the event a 'terrorist crime' last night.
We will bring you all the reactions and fallout as the day progresses.