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Iraq in April, 2024

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2024-4-2

  1. Iran-Sponsored Iraqi Militant Group Vows to Arm Thousands of Jordanian MilitantsThe Iraqi Hezbollah Brigades’ security chief, Abu Ali al-Askari, announced plans to equip the Jordanian Islamic Resistance with weapons for 12,000 fighters, including light and medium arms, anti-tank launchers, tactical missiles, millions of rounds of ammunition, and tons of explosives. This move aims to defend Palestinians and disrupt land routes to Israel. Meanwhile, the group claimed responsibility for attacking Eilat, Israel. The announcement follows a reduction in attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq, as noted by U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller. The Iraqi Resistance, aligned with Iran, has been active in attacks on U.S. and international forces in Iraq and Syria since mid-October, escalating since the Gaza conflict began. In response, the U.S. has launched airstrikes against Iraqi militia leaders, resulting in several deaths.
  2. Iraq Connects its Power Grid to Jordan, Opening the Way for Jordanian Electricity Exports Iraq will initiate a 340-kilometer power line from Jordan, enhancing its energy diversification efforts and addressing chronic power shortages. Starting operation on Saturday, this line will initially supply 40 megawatts to the Al-Rutbah region, eventually increasing to 500 megawatts for Anbar province. This move aims to alleviate dependency on Iranian imports, which are subject to U.S. sanctions and intermittent disruptions. Iraq, despite its significant oil resources, faces daily power outages, exacerbated during summer’s extreme heat, driving the need for reliable energy solutions.
  3. US Ambassador Urges KDP not to Boycott June Elections US Ambassador to Iraq Alina L. Romanowski is actively encouraging the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) to participate in the upcoming June 10 elections in the Kurdistan region. The KDP announced last month it will boycott due to concerns over election fairness, particularly after Iraq’s Supreme Federal Court invalidated the minority quota seats in February. Romanowski’s discussions in Erbil with Kurdish leaders focused on seeking a peaceful resolution and the importance of KDP’s involvement for a legitimate election process. 
  4. Iraq and Saudi Arabia Partner to Clear Cluster Bombs in Southern Iraq Iraq has teamed up with Saudi Arabia to tackle the removal of cluster bomb remnants in the Muthanna governorate, with the signing of a memorandum of understanding facilitated by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre. This initiative aims to clear about 91 square kilometers of land contaminated with explosive ordnance, marking a significant step in addressing one of the highest concentrations of explosive remnants in the world. This effort aligns with Iraq’s commitment to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, targeting a mine-free status by 2028, following extensive contamination from historical conflicts and defensive measures by ISIS.
  5. Iraqi Militants Ease Confrontation with US, But Target Israel Following attacks on Iraqi Hezbollah leader Abu Bakr al-Sadr in February, Iraqi militant factions, operating under the “Axis of Resistance,” are showing restraint towards US military targets, but announcing assaults on Israel, with the latest targeting Eilat. The Israeli military confirmed an aerial attack on Eilat from the east, causing no casualties. The Iran-backed Iraqi factions, labeled as “Islamic Resistance in Iraq,” claimed responsibility for the strike. Iraqi armed factions also announced they have targeted the Israeli Tel Nof Airbase in Rahovot using drones. 
  6. Iran-Linked Iraqi Federal Court to Review Legality of US Forces’ Presence in IraqThe Iraqi Federal Supreme Court is poised to review a lawsuit challenging the presence of US forces in Iraq. The suit, lodged against the Iraqi Prime Minister and President, seeks reparations for damages since January 1, 2009. Initiated by Iraqi MP Basim Khushan, the lawsuit disputes the legality of the US military’s stay under the existing security pact with Iraq and calls for its cancellation. Khushan contends that the US military presence has been detrimental and advocates for their departure. The legal action coincides with ongoing negotiations between Iraq and the US over a new military accord. Iran-backed militias are calling for the withdrawal of US forces after targeted strikes on Iran-aligned militia leaders and facilities.

2024-4-3

  1. Iran-Backed Iraqi Militants Claim Attack on Haifa Airport in Israel Iraqi armed groups claimed responsibility for a drone strike on Haifa Airport in Israel early Wednesday morning. The “Islamic Resistance in Iraq” vowed to continue targeting Israeli sites as part of their response to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza since October 7. Following the attack, the Israeli military activated warning sirens for potential threats in southern Israel, with media reports confirming the activation of the aerial intrusion alert system in the Arava Valley.
  2. Iraqi Government Rejects Iran-Backed Militia’s Call for Arming of Jordanian Militants The Iraqi foreign ministry told Arabic media that the Iraqi government will not tolerate any violation of Jordan’s sovereignty by Iraqi factions. An Iraqi official said the Iraqi government rejects a recent call by the pro-Iranian militia Kata’ib Hizballah to arm “resistance fighters” in Jordan. Meanwhile, Jordanian security institutions dismissed the Iraqi militia’s statement as mere media posturing, aimed at stoking regional tensions, and said the Jordanian security institutions had successfully thwarted attempts by militants to infiltrate Jordan.
  3. Baghdad and Washington Continue Talks on US Military Withdrawal A new round of dialogue between Baghdad and Washington, marking the fourth since last February, will focus on the withdrawal of U.S. troops and the end of the international coalition’s role against ISIS. The latest round of talks come ahead of Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani’s visit to the White House in the coming weeks. The talks face several challenges, including differing views on the withdrawal’s advisability, an unclear U.S. stance on a withdrawal timetable, and pressure from pro-Iran militias demanding a full withdrawal. The Iraqi government wants the discussions to evaluate whether the coalition’s presence is still necessary, seek a clear timeline for U.S. withdrawal, and define the nature of future American support for Iraq.

2024-4-16

  1. In Meeting with Iraq’s PM, Biden Commits to Containing Middle East Conflict and Defending Israel President Joe Biden emphasized his commitment to preventing the escalation of the Middle East conflict while affirming robust support for Israel after a significant aerial attack by Iran. In discussions with Iraq’s Prime Minister at the White House, Biden expressed determination to secure a ceasefire to return hostages and contain the conflict. He highlighted the U.S.’s role in thwarting Iran’s assault, stressing the necessity of strategic responses to avoid broader conflict. The U.S. denied receiving prior notice of Iran’s attack, countering assertions that Tehran had carried out a premeditated failure intended to minimize damage.
  2. Biden and Sudani Discuss $550M U.S. Military Assistance Package President Joe Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Mohamed Shia al-Sudani discussed a forthcoming $550 million military assistance agreement aimed at enhancing Iraq’s security capabilities, including in the Kurdish region. The Pentagon confirmed the joint action protocol which seeks to fortify Iraq against aerial threats.
  3. Erdogan’s Upcoming Visit to Iraq: A Milestone for Bilateral Relations? Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is scheduled for an official visit to Iraq this month. Analysts view the visit as a pivotal opportunity to enhance the ties between the two neighboring countries. Iraqi National Security Advisor Qasim al-Aaraji describes the visit as potentially transformative and anticipates the signing of important memoranda of understanding in strategic areas such as transportation, energy, security, and economic cooperation. Water issues, security, and energy are expected to top the agenda.

2024-4-17

  1. Biden Urges Iraqi PM to Cease Support for Iran-Backed Militias in Iraq In meetings with Iraqi Prime Minister Sudani, President Biden urged his Iraqi counterpart to reduce Iranian influence in Iraq, including by ceasing Iraqi government support for Iran-backed militias. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan extensively discussed this issue during meetings with the Iraqi delegation on Tuesday. Additionally, the US government denied visas to two Iraqi ministers due to alleged allegiance to Iranian-supported militias.
  2. Iraqi Prime Minister Denies Knowledge of Missile Launches from Iraqi Territory in Iranian Attack on Israel In a media interview during his visit to the United States, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohamed Shia Al-Sudani denied reports that missiles were launched from Iraqi territory during Iran’s recent attack on Israel. Sudani made the claim despite US and Israeli official reports saying that Iran-backed Iraqi militants had taken part in the Iranian missile attack over the weekend. Al-Sudani stressed Iraq’s commitment to neutrality and urged de-escalation in the region. He condemned Israeli attacks on Iran’s consulate in Damascus and advocated for diplomatic solutions to regional conflicts. 
  3. Iraq Pursues Arms Deal with General Dynamics Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Sudani met with General Dynamics to discuss an arms deal during his official visit to the US. Talks in Washington DC focused on tank sales and establishing a workshop for tank development. The move underscores Iraq’s push to enhance its military capabilities.
  4. US-Iraq Security Partnership Confirmed; Coalition Troop Exit Evaluation Set for July Iraq and the US will assess military and ISIS threats in July to decide whether to set a timeline for the Global Counter-ISIS coalition’s departure from Iraq. President Biden and PM al-Sudani affirmed commitment to Iraq’s stability and implied that U.S. troops will remain in Iraq for the time being. Both leaders stressed the importance of Iraqi forces in curbing any ISIS resurgence. Biden pledged support to bolster Iraqi defense capabilities. Initial talks to review the coalition’s military mission have suggested no immediate withdrawal plan.

2024-4-18

  1. Iraqi Prime Minister Rejects Pressure for U.S. Troop Withdrawal Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said that the U.S. forces in Iraq serve in an advisory, non-combat role and said he opposes their withdrawal. In discussions with U.S. administration officials, al-Sudani clarified that there are no combat troops in Iraq to withdraw. He emphasized the transition from the international coalition’s mission to a bilateral relationship with the coalition countries, led by the United States. Al-Sudani highlighted Iraq’s progress since 2014 and the ongoing dialogue with the U.S. to eventually end the coalition’s operation and strengthen bilateral ties.
  2. Iraq Signs 18 MoUs with American Companies to Enhance Bilateral Ties Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani announced the signing of 18 memorandums of understanding with U.S. companies during meetings in Washington. These agreements, aimed at bolstering various sectors including energy and technology, grew out of discussions held at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. These initiatives are part of Iraq’s broader strategy to stimulate economic development and support American corporate activity in the region.
  3. Erdogan to Visit Iraq for the First Time Since 2011Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is scheduled to make an official visit to Iraq on Monday, marking his first trip there since 2011. During this visit, significant discussions, including a potential strategic agreement between Baghdad and Ankara, will take place. Water resource management and energy cooperation, including oil and natural gas flows to Turkey, are set to be key topics. This visit follows recent preparatory meetings between defense and foreign affairs leaders from both countries, underscoring the importance of these bilateral talks.
  4. Kurdish Leader Qubad Talabani Warns Oil Has Become a Curse for Iraq Qubad Talabani, Deputy Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, emphasized the unstable and unbalanced nature of Iraq’s economy due to its heavy reliance on oil, which he termed a “curse” for the people. Speaking at the Sulaimani Forum, Talabani advocated for a shift towards a diversified economic foundation and stressed the need for experienced individuals to drive this change. He underscored the importance of developing the private and banking sectors to achieve a stable economy independent of oil revenues, highlighting the critical role of youth and technological advancements in this transformation.

2024-4-22

  1. Iraq’s Hezbollah Brigades Deny Resuming Attacks on U.S. Forces Iraq’s Hezbollah Brigades denied a Reuters report that they have resumed attacks on U.S. forces. The denial followed another statement allegedly linked to the group announcing an end to a three-month halt on such activities. Additional sources from Alhurra TV and Iraqi security also confirmed the absence of new attacks. These reports have come immediately after Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ Al Sudani visited Washington for talks on U.S.-Iraq strategic relations.

2024-4-23

  1. Sudani Tells Erdogan Iraq Will Not Allow Use of Its Territory for Attacks on Neighboring Countries Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani affirmed Iraq’s commitment to not allowing its territory to be used for attacks against neighboring countries. Speaking alongside Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, al-Sudani emphasized a balanced policy based on mutual interests and good neighborliness. The leaders discussed various agreements, including water management and security cooperation, and signed several memoranda aiming to bolster economic and regional stability. 
  2. Kurdistan’s Oil Exports Not Discussed in Erdogan’s Talks with Iraq During Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Iraq, discussions on resuming Kurdistan’s oil exports through Turkey’s Ceyhan port were notably absent. The delay in negotiations with foreign oil companies operating in the autonomous region remains unresolved. The pipeline closure has removed nearly half a million barrels of oil daily from the market, with no set timeframe for resolving the export impasse. 
  3. Iraq and Turkey Unveil $17 Billion “Development Pathway” to Connect Europe and the Gulf Iraqi government spokesman Basim Al-Awadi announced a $17 billion development project funded through oil revenues. The initiative, agreed upon with Turkey, involves constructing dams, new waterways, and converting some river evaporation to pipelines. This multi-year project, supported by a strategic quadrilateral agreement with Turkey, Qatar, and the UAE, aims to boost economic and financial stability in the region. This comprehensive plan also includes collaboration on the sale and pricing of oil.
  4. Erdogan Did Not Discuss Ending Sulaimaniyah Airport Ban Wafa Mohammed Karim from the Kurdistan Democratic Party stated that the Turkish ban on Sulaimaniyah Airport was not discussed during President Erdogan’s visits to Baghdad and Erbil. The ban, imposed due to alleged activities of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) at the airport, remains in place, pending conditions set by Turkey for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. Ghayath Surji, a leader in the Patriotic Union, emphasized that Sulaimaniyah is governed by Iraqi federal laws and is free of any terrorist activities, urging the Iraqi government to clear the city from such accusations by Turkey.

2024-4-23

  1. Sudani Tells Erdogan Iraq Will Not Allow Use of Its Territory for Attacks on Neighboring Countries Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani affirmed Iraq’s commitment to not allowing its territory to be used for attacks against neighboring countries. Speaking alongside Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, al-Sudani emphasized a balanced policy based on mutual interests and good neighborliness. The leaders discussed various agreements, including water management and security cooperation, and signed several memoranda aiming to bolster economic and regional stability. 
  2. Kurdistan’s Oil Exports Not Discussed in Erdogan’s Talks with Iraq During Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Iraq, discussions on resuming Kurdistan’s oil exports through Turkey’s Ceyhan port were notably absent. The delay in negotiations with foreign oil companies operating in the autonomous region remains unresolved. The pipeline closure has removed nearly half a million barrels of oil daily from the market, with no set timeframe for resolving the export impasse.
  3. Iraq and Turkey Unveil $17 Billion “Development Pathway” to Connect Europe and the Gulf Iraqi government spokesman Basim Al-Awadi announced a $17 billion development project funded through oil revenues. The initiative, agreed upon with Turkey, involves constructing dams, new waterways, and converting some river evaporation to pipelines. This multi-year project, supported by a strategic quadrilateral agreement with Turkey, Qatar, and the UAE, aims to boost economic and financial stability in the region. This comprehensive plan also includes collaboration on the sale and pricing of oil.
  4. Erdogan Did Not Discuss Ending Sulaimaniyah Airport Ban Wafa Mohammed Karim from the Kurdistan Democratic Party stated that the Turkish ban on Sulaimaniyah Airport was not discussed during President Erdogan’s visits to Baghdad and Erbil. The ban, imposed due to alleged activities of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) at the airport, remains in place, pending conditions set by Turkey for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. Ghayath Surji, a leader in the Patriotic Union, emphasized that Sulaimaniyah is governed by Iraqi federal laws and is free of any terrorist activities, urging the Iraqi government to clear the city from such accusations by Turkey.

2024-4-24

  1. Washington Calls on Baghdad to Protect U.S. Forces Following New Militia Attacks The U.S. military has urged the Iraqi government to protect American forces in Iraq and Syria after thwarting two attacks by Iran-aligned militants on Monday. This resurgence of hostility, including the first drone and missile attack since January’s deadly incident in Jordan, comes as tensions with Iran escalate. The Pentagon emphasized the need for Baghdad to ensure the safety of U.S. personnel, warning that continued attacks could prompt defensive actions by the U.S. Approximately 2,500 U.S. troops remain in Iraq, with an additional 900 in eastern Syria.
  2. Official Iraqi Media Say Militia Camp Explosion Was Caused by Stored Ammunition, not Israeli Strikes Iraqi official media reported that the massive explosion at Camp Kalsu, used by the Iran-backed Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi forces, was caused by highly explosive weapons and materials stored on-site, not by a missile strike. Technical investigations confirmed no aircraft movement over Babil Province before, during, or after the incident. The explosion created a large, irregular crater and resulted in the death of a militia member, along with significant material losses and injuries.
  3. Hezbollah Brigades Deny Resuming Military Operations Against U.S. Forces in IraqThe Iran-backed Hezbollah Brigades in Iraq have officially denied claims of reactivating military operations against U.S. forces after a three-month hiatus. The group reaffirmed its alignment with the Iraqi government’s stance toward U.S. forces. This clarification follows rumors circulated on social media and Telegram channels that the militias were restarting attacks on U.S. bases, particularly after an explosion at Camp Kalsu in Babil spawned speculation that Israel had conducted a strike. The Pentagon has urged the Iraqi government to protect U.S. forces, attributing recent failed attacks to factions allied with Iran.

2024-4-25

  1. U.S. Imposes New Sanctions on Iran Following Cyber Attacks The U.S. has announced fresh sanctions on Iran, targeting individuals and companies linked to cybercrimes. The sanctions include two firms, Dadeh Afzar Arman and Mehrsam Andisheh Saz Nik, believed to be fronts for Iran’s Revolutionary Guard cyber command. The targets, mainly defense contractors and other businesses in New York, were attacked through spear phishing and malware from 2016 to 2021, affecting over 202,000 accounts. The move comes as a response to Iran’s cyber operations against more than a dozen U.S. entities.
  2. Escalating Criticism in Iran Over Economic Mismanagement In Iran, criticism is mounting from politicians, clerics, and media against the government’s handling of the economic crisis, with inflation set to exceed 50%. Ayatollah Abdollah Javadi-Amoli, a significant religious leader, expressed concern over the impact of economic struggles on faith. Reports highlight unaffordable housing and rising food costs unrelated to external factors, but due to poor governmental policies. This dissatisfaction extends to conflicts among Iranian leaders overseeing economic policies that experts and the public charge are ridden with corruption and inefficiency.
  3. Nuclear Weapons Debate Triggers Sharp Criticism in Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, has compared U.S. pressures on Iran’s nuclear ambitions to the disarmament of Muammar Gadhafi’s regime in Libya. Khamenei warned that if Iran disarms as Gadhafi did, the Islamic Republic could suffer the same consequences as Gadhafi. His statement comes at a time when Iranians are discussing the implications of developing nuclear weapons if cornered by the regime’s foreign enemies. Many in the Iranian political sphere have expressed opposition to developing nuclear weapons, which they believe would provide Western powers with grounds for increased sanctions. Khamenei criticized those within Iran advocating compliance with U.S. demands, emphasizing that the U.S. intentions are to dismantle Iran’s nuclear capabilities entirely and impose on Tehran the same fate imposed on Gadhafi.

2024-4-26

  1. Turkey Reduces Security Demands on Iraq Regarding PKK Confrontation Turkey reportedly has reduced its security demands on Iraq, which originally included armed involvement against the PKK in northern Iraq. After sharp criticism from Iraqi Shia factions and parties, the agreement anticipated during President Erdogan’s visit to Baghdad will be limited to a joint security committee to further assess the two countries’ military cooperation. Turkish officials have expressed readiness to assist Iraq with border security technologies to prevent PKK movements.
  2. Water Resource Management Agreement with Turkey Stirs Controversy Among Iraqi Experts Iraq’s recent 10-year water resource management agreement with Turkey, aimed at securing Iraq’s “fair share” of water from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, has incited backlash from Iraqi water experts. Critics argue the agreement lacks clarity in terms of water quantities to be released and fails to resolve the dispute over whether these rivers are international or Turkish domestic waters. While the agreement includes collaborative water management projects, experts express concerns over vague commitments and the absence of a clear mechanism to ensure equitable water distribution. The water dispute between the two countries has become a major political issue in Iraq as the country suffers drought, especially in lands drained by the Tigris.
  3. Iran-Backed Iraqi Militias Claim 243 Operations Since Gaza War OutbreakThe Iran-backed Islamic Resistance in Iraq reported conducting 243 operations across Iraq, Syria, and Israel over 200 days since the Gaza war began following Hamas’s unprecedented attack in October 2023. These operations targeted 90 sites in Iraq, 65 in Syria, and 88 in Israel. The group’s latest action included an attack on Israeli soldiers in the Golan Heights on April 21. In response, U.S. airstrikes targeted Iraqi militia leaders, resulting in several casualties among the faction’s leadership.
  4. Masoud Barzani Says KDP Will Boycott Elections if Minority Quotas Are Not Reinstated KDP leader Masoud Barzani reaffirmed his party’s stance: no participation in Kurdistan’s elections unless minority quotas are reinstated. The region is scheduled to hold elections on June 10, but a delay looks increasingly likely. The KDP announced its position earlier this month in response to unprecedented rulings from Iraq’s federal court mandating changes to the Kurdistan region’s electoral system.

2024-4-29

  1. Former PM Maliki Affirms Says Kurdistan Region Will Determine Its Own Election Schedule Speaking at a press conference, Nouri al-Maliki, leader of Iraq’s State of Law Coalition, said that the Kurdistan region was in charge of setting its own election guidelines, including their timing. He said the federal government will continue funding the salaries of Kurdistan region employees. Referring to attacks by Iran-backed forces against Kurdistan’s major gas plant, Maliki said Iraq will not tolerate any foreign aggression on its territory. He expressed optimism about fostering stronger inter-regional cooperation and upholding constitutional commitments.
  2. Erbil Accuses Iran-Backed Militias of Drone Attack on Kurdistan’s Major Gas Field Kurdistan Regional Government officials have accused Iran-backed factions within the Popular Mobilization Forces of orchestrating the recent drone attack on the Kormor gas field, which resulted in four fatalities and extensive material damage. Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani has committed to pursuing those responsible. The attack, believed to be economically and politically motivated, is seen as an attempt to undermine Iraq’s gas self-sufficiency and disrupt Baghdad-Erbil relations over gas agreements.
  3. Former Iraqi Defense Chief Calls for Missile Defense in Kurdistan General Babikir Zebari, the former Chief of Staff of the Iraqi army, has emphasized the necessity of air defense systems to protect Kurdistan’s vital oil and gas resources from drone attacks. He highlighted the ongoing threat from militias that compromise regional stability and economic security. Zebari argued for international support to equip the Kurdistan Region with anti-missile technology, noting the critical role of the Khor Mor gas field in national energy supply and the broader economic implications of potential future attacks.
  4. Iraqi Lawmakers Demand Expulsion of U.S. Ambassador After U.S. Criticism of Anti-LGBT Law Members of Iraq’s Coordination Framework have initiated a campaign to declare U.S. Ambassador Alina Romanowski as persona non grata, accusing her of meddling in Iraq’s internal affairs. The movement follows her comments on Iraq’s new anti-LGBT legislation, which lawmakers argue infringes upon national sovereignty. Over 61 signatures have been collected to urge the government to expel her, criticizing her involvement in domestic legislative processes and her recent statements opposing the law aimed at preserving Iraqi family values and principles.

2024-4-30

  1. Former PM Maliki Affirms Says Kurdistan Region Will Determine Its Own Election ScheduleSpeaking at a press conference, Nouri al-Maliki, leader of Iraq’s State of Law Coalition, said that the Kurdistan region was in charge of setting its own election guidelines, including their timing. He said the federal government will continue funding the salaries of Kurdistan region employees. Referring to attacks by Iran-backed forces against Kurdistan’s major gas plant, Maliki said Iraq will not tolerate any foreign aggression on its territory. He expressed optimism about fostering stronger inter-regional cooperation and upholding constitutional commitments.
  2. Erbil Accuses Iran-Backed Militias of Drone Attack on Kurdistan’s Major Gas Field Kurdistan Regional Government officials have accused Iran-backed factions within the Popular Mobilization Forces of orchestrating the recent drone attack on the Kormor gas field, which resulted in four fatalities and extensive material damage. Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani has committed to pursuing those responsible. The attack, believed to be economically and politically motivated, is seen as an attempt to undermine Iraq’s gas self-sufficiency and disrupt Baghdad-Erbil relations over gas agreements.
  3. Former Iraqi Defense Chief Calls for Missile Defense in Kurdistan General Babikir Zebari, the former Chief of Staff of the Iraqi army, has emphasized the necessity of air defense systems to protect Kurdistan’s vital oil and gas resources from drone attacks. He highlighted the ongoing threat from militias that compromise regional stability and economic security. Zebari argued for international support to equip the Kurdistan Region with anti-missile technology, noting the critical role of the Khor Mor gas field in national energy supply and the broader economic implications of potential future attacks.
  4. Iraqi Lawmakers Demand Expulsion of U.S. Ambassador After U.S. Criticism of Anti-LGBT Law Members of Iraq’s Coordination Framework have initiated a campaign to declare U.S. Ambassador Alina Romanowski as persona non grata, accusing her of meddling in Iraq’s internal affairs. The movement follows her comments on Iraq’s new anti-LGBT legislation, which lawmakers argue infringes upon national sovereignty. Over 61 signatures have been collected to urge the government to expel her, criticizing her involvement in domestic legislative processes and her recent statements opposing the law aimed at preserving Iraqi family values and principles.

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