While Iraqi President Barham Salih recently headed to Riyadh for his first official trip, other Iraqi cabinet ministers visited Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). As a result, dialogue between Iraq and the two Gulf countries has reached a pinnacle. Prof. Dr. Mahir Nakip of Turkey’s Çankaya University evaluated these ties in an exclusive interview with Yeni Şafak daily.
Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed is paying special attention to Iraq and Syria as part of a regional project, Nakip said, adding: “The main aim is to support the project that plots to strike Turkey from Syria’s north.”
'Turkey will not allow fait accompli in Syria'
Turkey will not allow a fait accompli in Syria but will use its right to self-defense, Turkey’s national security establishment warned on Tuesday.In a statement after meeting in the capital Ankara, the National Security Council said that Turkey has always supported Syria's territorial integrity and political unity and stressed that the biggest threat to a political solution in Syria is the terrorist presence east of the Euphrates River.The statement also "strongly emphasized" that Turkey would not be indifferent to the terrorist PKK/PYD-YPG changing the demographic makeup in areas bordering Turkey through persecution and forced migration.4,000 Syrians return terror-free hometown in two weeksIt also stressed that Turkey will continue its determined fight against terrorism to protect its people from threats arising from terror groups along its borders with Syria and Iraq.The statement said that "some countries” failing to list terrorist groups such as the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FEÖO) and the PKK/KCK's Syrian branch the PYD/YPG as terror groups hurts counter-terrorism efforts.Turkey has long objected to U.S. support for the terrorist PYD/PYG, and has faulted both the U.S. and Europe for failing to do enough to fight FETÖ, the group behind a 2016 defeated coup in Turkey.Erdoğan urges Russia, Ukraine to resolve dispute through dialogueOn last month’s quadrilateral summit in Istanbul, the council stressed that the issues agreed on at the summit would contribute to peace in Syria and the region, as well as provide a permanent cease-fire by demilitarization in the northwestern province of Idlib.The summit held in late October was attended by the leaders of Turkey, Russia, France and Germany, who expressed their determination to end the bloodshed in war-torn Syria.“To find a lasting solution in Syria, a constitutional committee, working under United Nations observation, should be established as soon as possible,” the declaration stressed.Iraq's Sadr calls on prime minister to finalize cabinetIraq and CyprusThe National Security Council affirmed that Turkey would continue cooperation with the new Iraqi government in all areas, particularly security issues.The council also underlined that the Turkish Armed Forces would continue counter-terrorism operations against the terrorist PKK/KCK in Iraq.The council “reaffirmed that no development contrary to the rights and interests of Turkey or the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus would be allowed.”It also warned that unilateral moves in the region would not contribute to world peace, and urged consideration of Turkey’s determination based on international law.Turkish jets 'neutralize' 6 PKK terrorists in N. IraqIn early 2018, the Greek Cypriot administration unilaterally launched exploratory drilling activities for gas in the Eastern Mediterranean despite strong opposition from Turkish Cypriots, who argue that the island's natural resources should be exploited jointly to ensure equal rights for both parties.Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island's Turks and Ankara's intervention as a guarantor power.
Impact to deepen
“Iraqi President Barham Salih still has not visited Turkey, which was the first country to congratulate him [on his appointment] and expends a great deal of effort regarding Iraq’s independence. However, he visited Saudi Arabia recently and delivered some interesting messages. Following this, Finance Minister Fuad Hussein visited the UAE. Then Masoud Barzani visited the UAE,” Nakip said.
“These visits hold great importance in terms of deciphering the codes of the era. The period will have negative repercussions in Iraq. The political structure and Iraqi parliament will be affected. The inactive terror cells across the country may be revitalized by the developments. There is the risk of a new conflict line being formed,” he added.
Iraq's Sadr calls on prime minister to finalize cabinet
Prominent Shia cleric and politician Muqtada al-Sadr, the leader of Iraq’s Sairoon movement, has called on Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi to finalize his cabinet lineup. In a Tuesday statement released on social media, al-Sadr said Iraq should not be “governed from overseas” and should therefore safeguard its independence and sovereignty.“I urge the prime minister to move swiftly to fill the cabinet posts that are still vacant, except for those of defense and interior,” he said. “I cannot throw my support behind individuals who are not independent who have been nominated for these two cabinet postings,” he added. Al-Sadr went on to propose that the two strategic portfolios be given to military commanders who led Iraq’s three-year fight against the Daesh terrorist group, which finally ended late last year with the army’s capture of Mosul. Last month, Abdul-Mahdi, an independent politician, was given the go-ahead by parliament to draw up a government.Since then, however, only 14 of the prime minister’s 22 proposed cabinet ministers have been confirmed by parliament, with the eight remaining portfolios -- including those of defense and the interior -- still stitting vacant.Observers close to the government-formation process attribute the delay to ongoing differences between leading Sunni and Shia political groups.Sunni groups cannot agree on a single candidate for the post of defense minister, while al-Sadr -- whose Sairoon coalition dominated Iraq’s May 12 parliamentary poll -- rejects the candidate for interior minister proposed by Faleh Fayyad, a leading politician close to Iraq’s Hashd al-Shaabi group. Parliament was originally scheduled to vote on the eight remaining cabinet nominees on Tuesday, but the vote session has been postponed to Dec. 4, according to a parliamentary statement released Monday night.
“Another aspect of the attention paid to Iraq is the strategy to form easier access to the U.S.-supported terror corridor in Syria’s north. We are entering a period when the impact of the Gulf in ‘Divided Iraq’ and ‘Split Syria’ is going to deepen.”
In August, Riyadh pledged $100 million to northeastern Syria, which is occupied by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to “rebuild and stabilize” the area.
Turkish jets 'neutralize' 6 PKK terrorists in N. Iraq
Turkish military "neutralized" six PKK terrorists in northern Iraq's Zap and Metina regions, according to a statement on Tuesday. Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralized" in their statements to imply that the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.Turkish military's official Twitter account said the Turkish jets conducted airstrikes against PKK terrorists on Monday and Tuesday.Weapon emplacements and ammunition depots belonging to the terror group were also destroyed during the airstrikes, it added.In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people.
Iraqi parliament to vote on remaining ministers in next session
Iraq's parliament will vote in its next session scheduled on Tuesday on whether to approve the remaining eight candidates for Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi's cabinet, the speaker's office said on Monday.Lawmakers last month only confirmed 14 out of the 22 ministers Abdul Mahdi initially presented but granted his government confidence, allowing him to become prime minister.Eight ministries, including the vital defence and interior portfolios, remain vacant. Parliament initially said it would vote on the remaining ministers earlier this month but the vote was delayed due to political disagreements over nominees.The new government faces the daunting task of rebuilding much of the country after a devastating war against Daesh terror organization, as well as solving acute economic problems as well as power and water shortages.
Iraqi forces arrest 12 Daesh militants in Nineveh
Iraqi forces rounded up 12 suspected members of the Daesh terrorist group in the northern Nineveh province, according to a local police chief on Monday.“The militants have been arrested in crackdown campaigns in several areas in Nineveh,” Maj. Gen. Hamad al-Jabouri told Anadolu Agency.Meanwhile, a local official was shot dead in an attack in the town of al-Ayadia in western Nineveh.“Gunmen raided the house of the al-Ayadia local chief and killed him,” Maj. Abdel-Rahman al-Hamed said.He said the local chief’s wife was seriously injured in the attack.Last year, Iraqi officials declared that Daesh's military presence in the country had been neutralized following a three-year conflict with the army backed by the U.S.-led coalition.Nevertheless, Iraqi forces continue to carry out frequent operations with the aim of decisively ending the group’s lingering presence.