The convening of a conference in the Kurdistan region that called for normalization with Israel sparked a wave of official and partisan condemnation and condemnation in Iraq, while the authorities of the Kurdistan region denied their connection to the meeting and threatened some of those who organized it with sanctions.
On Saturday, the authorities in the Kurdistan region stressed taking measures against the organizers of the conference, which called for normalization with Israel, including removing them from the region’s lands.
The Ministry of Interior in the Kurdistan Region said in a statement that some of the organizers of the conference had “distorted” it from its goals and used it for “political purposes.”
The statement added that the conference, which was held in Erbil on Friday, was aimed at “working on the concepts of coexistence and implementing the foundations of federalism in Iraq in light of the permanent Iraqi constitution.”
The statement added that the positions issued by the conference “do not conform in any way with the official policy of the Kurdistan Regional Government,” stressing that “the Ministry of Interior will take legal measures against the people who distorted the course of this meeting, and penalties will be imposed against violators, whoever they are.”
The statement stressed that “the people who did this will be excluded and will not have a foothold in the Kurdistan region.”
On the other hand, the Kurdistan Region Presidency denied its connection with the meeting, and confirmed that what was issued by it “does not express the region’s opinion, policy or position.”
In a statement, she called on “all Iraqi parties and forces to deal with the issue in a more calm manner, and to await the results of the investigation carried out by the Ministry of Interior of the Kurdistan Regional Government.”
Official rejection of a clan conference calling for normalization between Iraq and Israel pic.twitter.com/jE8spKmMwg
– Alhurra Channel (@alhurranews) September 25, 2021
More than 300 Iraqis, including tribal leaders, called for normalization between Iraq and Israel, in the first call of its kind launched during a conference sponsored by an American organization in the Kurdistan region, which sparked official and partisan condemnations on Saturday.
The Iraqi government, the presidency and political parties expressed their rejection of the conference organized on Friday evening by the “Peace Communications Center” based in New York, which dealt with the issue of normalization between Israel and Arab countries and the rapprochement between civil societies.
The influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr went further, calling on the government to “criminalize and arrest all those gathered.”
In turn, the deputy and spokesman for the Al-Fateh Alliance, Ahmed Al-Asadi, considered what was mentioned in the conference a “criminal act.”
The Iraqi Ministry of Culture also expressed its rejection of the conference and affirmed “its adherence to the position of the Iraqi government and the Iraqi people rejecting normalization and its adoption of the demands of our Palestinian people.”
Militia leaders loyal to Iran threatened to target the conference’s organizers, describing them as “traitors.”
Kurdistan, an autonomous region in northern Iraq, maintains friendly relations with the Jewish state. It stands in contrast with the positions of Iraqi officials and political factions loyal to Iran, Israel’s archenemy, which enjoys strong influence in Iraq.
In recent decades, many Iraqi Kurdistan leaders have visited Israel and Kurdish politicians have publicly called for normalization with it. And in 2017, when Iraq’s Kurds organized a controversial independence referendum, Israel was among their few supporters.