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24. October 2023 17:07
The U.S. State Department has released a statement following a phone call between U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani.
The statement says that the U.S. urges the Iraqi Prime Minister to take action against those responsible for attacks on coalition bases. It also calls on Iraq to fulfill its commitment to ensuring the security of these installations. The tone of this statement is stronger than the earlier one issued by the Department of Defense.
The below is attributable to Spokesperson Matthew Miller:
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shiaa al-Sudani yesterday. The Secretary welcomed the Government of Iraq’s condemnation of the recent attacks and threats to U.S. and Coalition personnel in Iraq.
The Secretary urged the Prime Minister to pursue those behind the attacks and fulfill Iraq’s commitment to maintain the security at these installations. He also spoke with the Prime Minister regarding the ongoing conflict between Israel and the terrorist organization Hamas. The Secretary and the Prime Minister committed to work together to ensure regional stability.
They discussed the humanitarian situation in Gaza and our continued commitment to coordinating with partners in the region to ensure sustained and safe access to food, water, medical care, and other assistance required to meet humanitarian needs.
The Secretary also conveyed his appreciation to the Prime Minister for Iraq’s efforts to deliver humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza. Secretary Blinken and Prime Minister Sudani renewed their commitment to continue strengthening the U.S.-Iraq 360-degree partnership and reaffirmed the principles in the bilateral Strategic Framework Agreement.
The below is attributable to Spokesperson Matthew Miller: Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shiaa al-Sudani yesterday. The Secretary welcomed the Government of Iraq’s condemnation of the recent attacks and threats to U.S. and Coalition personnel in Iraq. The Secretary urged the Prime Minister to pursue those behind the […]
United States Department of State
24. October 2023 17:00
Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder issued a statement saying that U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III expressed gratitude to Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani for “his government's full commitment to protect U.S. forces who are in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi government.”
Here is the full readout from the Pentagon:
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III spoke today by phone with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani. The Secretary thanked the Prime Minister for today's announcement reaffirming his government's full commitment to protect U.S. forces who are in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi government. U.S. and Coalition forces remain in Iraq in support of the Iraqi Security Forces to achieve the enduring defeat of ISIS. This mission is critical for regional stability and security. The Secretary conveyed the importance of protecting U.S. and Global Coalition personnel and advisors, convoys, and diplomatic facilities from aggression and attacks.
PM Sudani is not getting an easy ride reassuring U.S. officials of protecting the coalition advisors in Iraq as he is surrounded by powerful pro-Tehran groups.
The Al-Nujaba Movement, an Iraqi pro-Iran militia, has criticized the statements made by the Iraqi Prime Minister in response to recent attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq. “We deplores the government media office's statement, which describes the military bases housing US military occupation forces as Iraqi bases housing advisors of the international coalition in Iraq upon an official invitation from the government,”Al-Nujaba Movement said in a statement.
Al-Nujaba is part of the Islamic Resistance in Iraq which has claimed responsibility for recent attacks on military bases housing U.S. troops in both Iraq and Syria. The group has threatened to target U.S. interests in response to U.S. involvement in the Gaza conflict.
Here are excerpts from their statement, translated from Arabic:
These occupying forces are continuously causing disruption and violating Iraq's sovereignty, both on land and in the air. According to former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, they entered Iraq by misleadingly bypassing the agreement. Their helicopters and military patrols continue to operate in the skies over Baghdad and other provinces without the government's permission or approval,” the statement goes on to say.
The government is unaware of the scale and capabilities of these forces, as well as their movements between Jordan, Syria, Kuwait, and Iraq. Additionally, Zionists are said to be present among these troops, with permanent centers and headquarters established within their bases. Such official statements serve to legitimize the occupying forces in the media, painting a picture that contradicts the harsh reality. This inconsistency indicates a lack of commitment to fulfilling the government's pre-formation pledge to remove these forces and end their presence in Iraq.
Clear and transparent stances, along with accurate descriptions of the situation, are essential for the government to build trust and credibility with the people. The Al-Nujaba Movement emphasized that the million-man demonstration and the parliamentary decision to end the occupation serve to legitimize and legalize resistance at all levels.
Any hindrance to the path of resistance or the removal of occupying forces is a violation of law, Sharia, and national values and principles. They called for a unified stance from Iraq's government, its people, and resistance groups to end the occupation. The government is urged to hold accountable those who distort the truth to deceive society and to present an accurate picture of the situation to the public.
شفق نيوز/ ردت حركة النجباء احد الفصائل المسلحة المناهضة للوجود الأمريكي في العراق وترتبط بعلاقات وثيقة بإيران، على بيان اصدر المتحدث العسكري باسم القائد العام للقوات المسلحة، ندد فيه بالهجمات ضد القوا
24. October 2023 14:09
The PUK has stated that the arrest of two journalists affiliated with the KDP are not politically motivated. It has also called on the courts in Sulaymaniyah to exercise leniency in their cases.
A PUK official has contested reports about the arrest of two journalists stating that these reports are not accurate and contradict the message of PUK leader Bafel Talabani, who aims to foster good relations among the political parties in the Kurdistan Region.
PUK Media shared a press conference by Latif Nerawayee, PUK’s media chief and the designated representative of Talabani for this specific case involving journalists Jamal Abdulla and Imad Bilal. Nerawayee said that an investigative team, assigned by Talabani, has concluded that the counter-terrorism forces and the Asayish security forces were not involved in the arrests. Instead, the detentions were carried out by the official police forces.
Nerawayee added that the Sulaymaniyah police forces have clarified that Jamal Abdullah detention is not politically motivated but instead relates to older cases dating back to 2013.
He added that he also met with Imad Bilal, who informed him that his detention is based on the misuse of mobile technologies and is not connected to the PUK.
Nerawayee conveyed to the Bas News reporter that the PUK's commitment to protection extends not just to its own journalists, but to all journalists. He claimed that both Abdulla and Bilal have stated their cases are unrelated to their journalistic work.
Here is the English statement from Bas News on the arrests of its two journalists:
Regrettably, within the past 24 hours, two prominent journalists in Sulaimaniyah and the wider Kurdistan Region, Jamal Abdullah, a multifaceted professional who serves as a lawyer, writer, and journalist with a dedicated column on the BasNews website, and Emad Bilal, a respected journalist from Sulaymaniyah, have been detained by the city's security agencies and are presently in custody.
It is essential to underline that Bas Media Group remains committed to the pursuit of truth and stands resilient against any external pressures. We strongly urge the judicial authorities in Sulaymaniyah to handle the apprehended journalists in accordance with the Kurdistan Journalism Law No. 35 of 2007.
As Bas Media Group, we hold the Sulaymaniyah authorities, specifically the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), responsible for the safety and well-being of these two journalists. Past events have demonstrated a concerning track record in the city regarding the treatment of journalists and detainees.
24. October 2023 13:44
Over the past several days, two journalists have been detained in Sulaymaniyah province while a third was released after over three weeks of detention.
The Sulaymaniyah branch of the Kurdistan Journalists' Syndicate, which is affiliated with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), has stated that the detentions are not related to journalistic work. In contrast, the head of the Kurdistan Journalists' Syndicate, affiliated with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), has issued a strong statement claiming that these detentions constitute an attack on freedom of expression.
What we know so far:
The Kurdistan Region Journalists' Syndicate has described the arrests as threats to freedom of expression and called for clarification from Sulaymaniyah authorities.
According to the journalists' rights advocacy group Metro Centre, Jamal Abdulla, a prominent figure and lawyer who writes for the KDP-affiliated Bas News, was arrested in relation to a 16-year-old case involving an alleged assault with a handgun.
Bas News reporter Imad Bilal has been arrested over a libel case filed by a fellow journalist affiliated the Islamist Kurdistan Justice Union (Komal). His arrest is said to be based on the misuse of mobile and communication technologies.
A third journalist, Azad Baiz, who is also an employee of the ministry of Culture, has reported being detained for 23 days in the town of Chamchamal, located in Sulaymaniyah province. He claimed that the PUK’s counter-terrorism forces have detained him over fabricated cases of threat online. The counter terrorism forces however, since rejected his claim saying he was not arrested by its members.
PUK Media, the PUK's official mouthpiece, has published a report indicating that both Abdulla and Bilal are detained for reasons unrelated to their journalistic activities.
In the Kurdistan Region, where courts are often criticized for being influenced by political parties, rulings on journalist cases are frequently seen as constraints on journalistic work and freedom of expression. While the PUK frequently criticizes the KDP for unfairly targeting journalists and activists, the recent detentions serve as a reminder that the PUK is also culpable for the shrinking space for free speech in the Kurdistan Region in recent years.
Top security officials from both Iraq and the Kurdistan Region are scheduled to visit Mount Qarachogh in Makhmour district on Tuesday as part of an ongoing investigation initiated by PM Sudani into a recent fatal clashes between Peshmerga and Iraqi military forces.
Iraqi National Security Advisor Qasim Al-Araji arrived in Erbil early Tuesday and was welcomed by Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Minister of Interior Reber Ahmed, pro-KDP Kurdistan 24 reported.
The security advisor has been tasked with leading an investigation that Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ Al-Sudani launched on Sunday into the skirmish.
24. October 2023 12:32
Canada is also issuing alerts to its citizens regarding the deteriorating security situation in Iraq
The Canadian Embassy has stated, "The security situation in the country can deteriorate without warning."
Canada currently maintains an "Avoid all travel to Iraq" advisory due to the ongoing volatile, unpredictable, and potentially hazardous security conditions. The embassy advises those already in Iraq to consider leaving the country via commercial means if it is safe to do so.
Canada, a member of the coalition forces, has military personnel stationed in Iraq where they advise and train both Iraqi and Kurdish security forces. The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) are engaged in military training and support activities not only in Iraq but also in Jordan and Lebanon.
In Iraq, the CAF's involvement is "aimed at bolstering the capabilities of Iraqi security forces in collaboration with both the Global Coalition and NATO. These efforts are intended to enable Iraq to secure its territory and citizens over the long term."
The Canadian military's mandate for these activities has been extended until March 2025.
#Canadians in #Iraq – The security situation in the country can deteriorate without warning. Read our travel advice for...
24. October 2023 12:02
Full English statement from the PM's media office on the phone calls with the U.S. officials:
Prime Minister Mohammed S. Al-Sudani received a phone call from the US Secretary of State, Mr. Antony Blinken. They discussed the escalating events in the Gaza Strip and the dire humanitarian situation. They emphasized the importance of coordinated efforts to ensure the safe delivery of supplies such as food, water, medical care, and other humanitarian assistance to address the needs of the Palestinian people.
The US Secretary of State appreciated Iraq's humanitarian aid to Gaza and stressed the importance of joint efforts to ensure regional stability and prevent the expansion of the conflict.
The Prime Minister and US Secretary of State reaffirmed their countries commitment to strengthen partnership according to the principles of the Strategic Framework Agreement between Iraq and the United States.
The Prime Minister also received another call from the US Secretary of Defense, Mr. Lloyd Austin. They discussed the presence of military advisors and teams of the Global Coalition Against Daesh in Iraq, supporting the Iraqi security forces with advice and training, and the importance of sustaining the victory over Daesh (ISIS).
During the phone call, the Prime Minister reaffirmed Iraq's commitment to protecting military advisors and diplomatic missions operating in the country.
Prime Minister Mohammed S. Al-Sudani Receives Calls from US Secretaries of State and Defense ...... Prime Minister Mohammed S. Al-Sudani received a phone call from the US Secretary of State, Mr. Antony Blinken. They discussed the escalating events in the Gaza Strip and the dire humanitarian situation. They emphasized the importance of coordinated efforts to ensure the safe delivery of supplies such as food, water, medical care, and other humanitarian assistance to address the needs of the Palestinian people. The US Secretary of State appreciated Iraq's humanitarian aid to Gaza and stressed the importance of joint efforts to ensure regional stability and prevent the expansion of the conflict. The Prime Minister and US Secretary of State reaffirmed their countries commitment to strengthen partnership according to the principles of the Strategic Framework Agreement between Iraq and the United States. The Prime Minister also received another call from the US Secretary of Defense, Mr. Lloyd Austin. They discussed…
24. October 2023 12:01
On Monday, Iraqi Prime Minister Sudani had separate phone conversations with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, addressing the escalating security concerns affecting the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq.
In his discussion with Austin, PM Sudani emphasized Baghdad's commitment to ensuring the safety of military advisors and diplomatic missions operating within Iraqi territory. Speaking with Blinken, he conveyed Iraq's intent to fortify its partnership with the U.S. based on the principles laid out in the Strategic Framework Agreement.
The Strategic Framework Agreement, first signed in November 2008, outlines broad defense cooperation between the United States and Iraq and signifies both nations' interest in a lasting relationship.
The heightened security situation comes against a backdrop of increased attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq, coinciding with the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Adding to the tension, the Iran-backed Iraqi militia Kataib Hezbollah (Hezbollah Brigades) has issued warnings to target U.S. bases in Iraq and the surrounding region should U.S. troops get involved in the Gaza conflict.
24. October 2023 11:13
In the wake of new drone attacks targeting coalition forces in Iraq this Monday, Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammed Shia al-Sudani held a phone conversation with U.S. officials. During the call, he 'reaffirmed Iraq's commitment to safeguarding military advisors and diplomatic missions operating within its borders.'
This development follows the U.S.'s recent actions of issuing a travel advisory against visiting Iraq and evacuating non-essential staff from both Baghdad and Erbil over the past weekend.
The U.S. government has expressed concerns that its troops and personnel in the Middle East may be at risk of increased attacks, particularly as the conflict between Israel and Hamas shows signs of escalating into a broader regional crisis.
In other news, authorities in the Sulaymaniyah province, which is under the control of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), are currently holding three journalists in custody. Two of these journalists are affiliated with media outlets connected to the rival Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).