Iraqi MPs hold emergency meeting after Iranian and Turkish attacks

Ankara and Tehran recently intensified their cross-border operations against Kurdish dissident groups

A man injured by Iranian attacks on the Iraqi city of Koye receives hospital treatment. Reuters
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The Iraqi Parliament met on Tuesday to discuss a series of Turkish and Iranian attacks against Kurdish dissident groups in country’s north.

However, the deeply-divided legislature failed to come up with a unified stance, according to a politician who attended the session.

Ankara and Tehran have intensified cross-border attacks recently, mainly against the headquarters of Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, and the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran.

Both countries accuse these groups, who have been based in the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq for decades, of using Iraqi territories to destabilise security.

Ankara has accused the PKK of responsibility for last week's bomb attack in Istanbul, which killed six people, including two children, and wounded 80 others.

No group has claimed responsibility for the explosion on the busy pedestrian Istiklal Street, and the PKK and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces have denied involvement.

This week, Turkey launched a military operation in northern Iraq and Syria to pursue the Kurdish militants.

Meanwhile, Iran has been launching missile and drone attacks against the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran, an armed opposition group, accusing it of fanning protests across the country.

Iraq's MPs met behind closed doors to discuss the issue of “protecting Iraq’s sovereignty”, according to the parliamentary agenda. No official statement or specific decisions have been made.

“There were different opinions inside the Parliament given the different ideologies and backgrounds,” an MP told The National after the meeting.

“There were parties who offered justification for Iranian and Turkish attacks and blamed the Kurds for harbouring the Kurdish opposition groups,” the MP said.

Among those who blamed the Kurds are members of biggest parliamentary group, the Co-ordination Framework, which is made up of Tehran-allied Shiite militias and political parties.

“It was better to have first agreement between the leaders of the blocs or the government in order to be in a better position to face these attacks,” the MP said.

In defiance of Parliament, Iran renewed attacks as the meeting was under way, hitting the town of Perdi and the Degala area outside Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan region.

Iran attacked Kurdish positions in Iraq with missiles and drones hours after MPs in Baghdad met for an emergency meeting on attacks by the Iranian military against what it calls “terrorists” operating near its borders.

The attacks have drawn widespread local and international condemnation.

Baghdad described Iran's Monday attack on Iraqi territory as “aggression”.

“The repeated attacks carried out by Iranian and Turkish forces with missiles and drones on the Kurdistan region are a violation of Iraq's sovereignty,” the Foreign Ministry said.

It comes as President Nechirvan Barzani of Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government arrived in Baghdad on Tuesday and met Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani.

A joint statement from two officials stressed the need for “co-operation to protect Iraq's sovereignty, to work collectively to ensure Iraqi territory is not used as platform for attacking any neighbouring country”.

The UN said that these attacks could further destabilise the security situation, and demanded an immediate end to the violence.

“Repeated attacks, violating Iraqi sovereignty, must cease,” the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq said on Monday.

“Such aggression not only recklessly heightens tensions but also causes tragedy,” it added.

“Whatever external score a neighbouring country is seeking to settle, the use of established diplomatic instruments is the only way forward.

“Iraq should not be used as an arena to settle scores and its territorial integrity must be respected.”

The Iranian government has been struggling to contain widespread demonstrations against it caused by the death in custody of a young woman who, officials said, defied its modesty laws.

The death of Mahsa Amini, 22, who was detained by the morality police in Tehran, triggered unrest in the capital and Iran's provinces.

Her family is from Iran’s western Kurdish region on the border with Iraq.

Demonstrators initially called for more women’s rights before demanding improved living conditions amid high inflation and shortages of basic goods.

About 400 protesters and 50 members of the security forces have died over two months of protests in Iran.

Updated: November 22, 2022, 2:51 PM