Iraq : Popular Forces Commander Warns that US Bases and Turkish Interests Will be Targeted

TEHRAN (FNA)- Head of Iraq’s Badr Organization Hadi al-Ameri said his forces are fully prepared to launch strikes at the US military bases and Turkish troops in Iraq.

“We will target all the military bases of the US in Iraq,” the Arabic-language al-Mosle news website quoted al-Ameri as saying in reaction to the US interferences in Iraq.

He, meantime, pointed to Turkey’s interferences in Iraq, and said, “The Turkish government should know that we will destroy all its tanks if it does not withdraw from the city of Mosul.”

On Sunday, a senior commander of Iraq’s volunteer forces lashed out at the US for planning to send special forces to Northern Iraq, and said that Washington is in pursuit of specific political incentives through such measures.

“The recent statements of US Secretary of Defense about dispatch of elite forces to Northern Iraq on the pretext of fighting the ISIL is aimed at eliminating the quadrilateral coalition of Iran, Russia, Syria and Iraq from the battle against the ISIL,” Spokesman of Iraq’s Volunteer Forces (Hashd al-Shaabi) Karim al-Nouri told FNA.

Al-Nouri’s remarks came after US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced that Washington will send its special forces to Iraq to fight against the ISIL Takfiri terrorists.

Al-Nouri said that Carter’s statements come at a time when the ISIL is collapsing and it is strange because the Iraqi volunteer forces can terminate the ISIL.

“When the ISIL was very close to Baghdad none of the western countries did anything to prevent the terrorist group; and now that they claim to be willing to take action against the Takfiri terrorist group, they should thus be after some ill-intentions,” he added.

The Iraqi volunteer forces spokesman underlined that the quadrilateral coalition (Russia, Iran, Iraq and Syria) will defeat the ISIL without the US help.

On Saturday, Iraq’s Hashd al-Shaabi volunteer forces warned that they will strike at Ankara’s interests in retaliation for the Turkish army’s illegal border crossing and deployment in Iraq’s Northern Nineveh province.

The Hash al-Shaabi’s reaction came after Turkey dispatched a battalion comprising 130 soldiers to an area near the city of Mosul in Nineveh province on the pretext of providing military training to the Kurdish Peshmerga fighters.

In reaction to Turkey’s unsolicited dispatch of forces to Iraq, a battalion of Iraq’s volunteer forces threatened that they will target the Turkish government’s interests on Iraq’s soil.

On Wednesday, several commanders of the Iraqi popular forces underlined that they will surely confront and fight against the US troops in case of their deployment in the Muslim country.

“We do not accept the presence of the US forces in Iraq and we will fight against them,” the Iraqi commanders said.

On December 1, Carter announced that the US plans to deploy more special forces to Iraq to put greater pressure on the ISIL militants.

In early November, Iraq’s Ahl al-Haq Popular Forces Spokesman Naim al-Aboudi warned Washington against hatching plots for his country, and meantime underlined that the Baghdad government would never accept the presence of the US forces in Iraq.

“The Iraqi government is against the presence of foreign military forces, including Americans or non-Americans in Iraq, because it is aware of the reaction of the great nation of Iraq to such a move,” al-Aboudi told FNA.

He reiterated that the Iraqi popular forces, specially Ahl al-Haq, will deal with the US troops in Iraq like occupying forces, implying that the popular forces will kill the US troops on sight.

Al-Aboudi said that the US is plotting to confiscate the victories that the Iraqi popular forces have gained in Iraq.

He underlined that the Iraqi nation and popular forces do not trust the US and the US-led anti-ISIL coalition.

Turkey Refuses to Withdraw Its Troops From Northern Iraq Despite Ultimatum
Turkish soldiers

Sputnik – Middle East

In the face of fierce protests from the Iraqi government and the international community, Turkey is refusing to withdraw troops from northern Iraq.

Over the weekend, Ankara deployed approximately 600 additional troops to a camp in Iraq’s Ninevah province, close to the city of Mosul.

“It is our duty to provide security for our soldiers providing training there,” Turkish foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, told Kanal 24. “Everybody is present in Iraq…The goal of all of them is clear. Train-and-equip advisory support is being provided. Our presence there is not a secret.”

But the Iraqi government, viewing the move as a clear breach of sovereignty, condemned the action, and gave Turkey 48 hours to remove its troops.

But Turkey has refused to comply with the order, insisting it informed the Iraqi government of its actions, and that there was demand for Turkish support in the area.

“The military personnel for training will stay. Not because we them [there] particularly but because there is a demand from the Iraqi side,” a Turkish official told reporters, according to the Guardian. “The discussion with the central government still continues.”

Iraq had previously indicated that if Turkey failed to withdraw its troops, a complaint would be filed with the United Nations.

“In case we have not received any positive signs before the deadline we set for the Turkish side, then we maintain our legal right to file a complaint to the [UN] security council to stop this serious violation to Iraqi sovereignty,” said Iraqi government spokesman Saad al-Hadithi, according to the Guardian.

Turkey’s actions were also condemned by the Arab League, which described the troop buildup as “blatant intervention.” Nabil Elaraby, Secretary-General of the Arab League, released a statement saying that his organization would also support Iraq’s appeal to the UN Security Council.

Even the United States, one of Turkey’s key allies, has stressed that it does not support troop deployments on Iraqi territory without the consent of the central government.

While Turkey is ostensibly in Iraq to fight Daesh, also known as ISIL/The Islamic State, Ankara has, in actuality, been more focused on combating Kurdish militias. Russia has presented evidence that Turkey benefits directly from Daesh’s illegal oil trade, and thus has little interest in eliminating the terrorist group.

On Friday, Iran also said it has “irrefutable evidence” of Turkey’s involvement in illegal oil smuggling.

“Iranian military advisors in Syria have taken photos and filmed all the routes used by ISIL’s oil tankers to Turkey,” Iran’s Expediency Council Secretary Mohsen Rezaie told reporters.

“If the Turkish authorities are unaware of the Daesh oil sales in their country, then we can provide them with such intelligence.”

Ankara has faced intense criticism since the downing of a Russian bomber along Turkey’s Syrian border. An unprovoked attack, the incident left two dead.

Ankara’s intrusion into Iraq is yet another act of defiance of international law
Turkish tanks

Tamara Zamyatina

MOSCOW, December 7. /TASS/. Intrusion by Turkish troops and armored vehicles into Iraq was yet another challenge to international law and a confirmation that Ankara does nothing to fight against the Islamic State in reality, its real target being the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, polled analysts have told TASS.

Last week, up to 150 Turkish troops and about 25 armored vehicles, including tanks, intruded into northern Iraq near the city of Mosul. According to Turkish media, the Turkish military crossed the Iraqi border allegedly while chasing Kurdish militants responsible for Sunday’s attack that claimed the lives of 16 Turkish soldiers. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu explained that the troop redeployment was nothing but routine rotation of troops providing support for a camp of Iraqi Kurds who had volunteered to fight against the Islamic State. Davutoglu also claimed that the operation had been agreed with the Iraqi Defense Ministry. Iraq’s Defense Minister Khaled al-Obaidi denied this. Syria and Iraq have formally condemned Turkey’s intrusion.

Baghdad has lodged an official protest with Ankara and demanded the Turkish forces leave the country’s territory within 48 hours. Otherwise Iraq will ask the UN Security Council for protection. Iraq’s ultimatum expires on December 7.

The president of the Middle East Institute, Yevgeny Satanovsky, believes that the shooting down of Russia’s Sukhoi-24 frontline bomber over Syria and the ground intrusion into Iraq demonstrated Ankara’s flagrant defiance of international law and of the sovereignty of an independent state. “Ankara regards northern Iraq as a zone of its inalienable interests and feels free to act regardless of international law, precisely the way the United States does,” Satanovsky told TASS.

He pointed to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Davutoglu’s allegations only ten percent of operations by Russia’s air group in Syria are targeted against DAESH (Arabic name of the Islamic State), while all other attacks against hit Syria’s moderate opposition. “Ankara finds its annoying Russia is fighting terrorists who enjoy its support. In the meantime, Turkey’s own armed forces, while professing struggle against the Islamic State, have long waged a war exclusively on rebels from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, in this way pursuing its own territorial aims,” Satanovsky said.

He is certain that neither Washington nor other allies in the international coalition will try to call Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan to order over the intervention in Iraq. “The Western allies are in no mood of quarrelling with Erdogan. Their common aim is to depose the regime of Bashar Assad in Syria, and they will not stop at anything in attempts to achieve their aims.”

Satanovsky sees a confirmation of that in the pro-US coalition’s air raid against a camp of Syrian government troops near Deiz ez-Zor, which left three men killed and 13 injured. The Syrian Foreign Ministry slammed the attack as an act of “outright aggression.”

The leading research fellow at the Oriental Studies Institute under the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladimir Akhmetov, said the Turkish military’s intrusion into Iraq was “Ankara’s customary illegal practice.”

“The Kurdistan Workers’ Party is Turkey’s enemy and an opponent of the Turkish state system and the Turkish citizens loyal to the authorities. While fighting against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party Turkish troops more than once crossed into neighboring Iraq illegally in the past without incurring punishment. But in this particular situation against the backdrop of soaring tensions in the Middle East over the Russian Sukhoi-24 bomber the Turks had shot down that intrusion caused particular anger in Iraq, Syria and Iran, of which the social networks and television broadcasts in both countries are clear evidence,” Vladimir Akhmetov told TASS.

“At this particular moment, on the eve of another round of talks in Vienna over a settlement in Syria Turkey is keen to exert influence on those Western countries which tend to agree with Russia Bashar Assad should stay in power until the full elimination of the Islamic State and the beginning of a political process in Syria. This is precisely why Ankara dares violate the border of a neighboring country while stepping up its operations against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which supports Assad. Also, it charges Moscow with bombing Syrian opposition,” Akhmetov said.

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