UNITED STATES NEWS

UN envoy warns more attacks on Iraq threaten its hard-won stability

Feb 6, 2024, 4:14 PM

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Iraq’s government is focused on avoiding a domestic or regional spillover of the Israel-Hamas war but continuing attacks on the country threaten its hard-won stability, the U.N. envoy for Iraq warned Tuesday.

With the war raging in Gaza, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert told the U.N. Security Council that “the Middle East is at a critical juncture” and “the same is true for Iraq.”

Attacks originating from inside and outside Iraq will not only undo the country’s stability but “other achievements made in the past 18 months,” she said, adding that “messaging by strikes only serves to recklessly heighten tensions, to kill or injure people and to destroy property.”

She pointed to the Jan. 28 drone strike on a Jordanian facility hosting U.S. forces fighting Islamic State extremists that killed three U.S. Army members and injured many more – and to the U.S. response with 85 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against sites used by Iranian-backed militias and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard on Feb. 2. Both Iraq and Syria claimed civilians were killed and injured, and property destroyed.

Hennis-Plasschaert said many Iraqis were also shocked at an Iranian missile attack in mid-January on the northern city of Irbil, the seat of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region, which killed civilians and was at odds “with the great efforts made on the Iraq-Iran security agreement.”

“Rather than shows of force, all efforts should center on safeguarding Iraq from being drawn in any way into a wider conflict,’ she said.

The U.N. envoy urged restraint from Iraq’s armed groups, its neighbor and other countries, saying this is “crucial” for the country’s stability and progress.

“With Iraq cloaked in an already complex tapestry of challenges, it is of greatest importance that all attacks cease,” said Hennis-Plasschaert, who announced that after five years in Baghdad as the U.N.’s special representative she will be departing at the end of May.

Russia called a council meeting Monday on the U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, and its deputy ambassador, Dmitry Polyansky said that despite the security successes achieved by Baghdad, “the situation on the ground is tenuous.”

He again blamed the United States for attempting to transform Iraq “into a stage for geopolitical score-settling to advance their parochial internal agendas” against a backdrop of its failed policy for a Mideast settlement and the current presidential election campaign.

U.S. deputy ambassador Robert Wood countered that Iran-aligned militia groups “threaten to undermine Iraq’s hard-fight gains” since Islamic State extremists were defeated seven years ago.

“Since October 2023, these groups have attacked U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq, Syria and Jordan over 165 times,” causing deaths and injuries, including among Iraqi forces, he said.

Wood said the U.S. is waiting for recommendations from an independent review on how the U.N. political mission known as UNAMI “can help further Iraq’s plans to build a sustainable future for its citizens and adapt to its political transition and ever-changing security needs.”

Iraq’s U.N. Ambassador Abbas Al-Fatlawi told the council his country is seeking to regain the country’s “leading role” in the region and the world, outlining steps it is taking internationally and domestically.

He condemned “American, Turkish and Iranian aggressions against Iraqi territory” which violate its sovereignty, and warned of the danger of expanding the Israel-Hamas war and its continuation.

Al-Fatlawi said Iraq and the United States are conducting a first round of talks on the future presence of U.S. and coalition forces fighting the remaining Islamic State fighters, and discussed drawing up a timeline for their drawdown “in a manner that would guarantee a smooth transition.”

United States News

Liam Lazo boards a diesel school bus near his home, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024, in Virginia Beach, Va. D...

Associated Press

Tired of diesel fumes, these moms are pushing for electric school buses

Areli Sanchez’s daughter, Aida, used to be one of 20 million American kids who ride a diesel bus to school each day. Aida has asthma. When she was little, she complained about the smell and cloud of fumes on her twice-daily trip. “When she would come home from school or be on the bus, she […]

41 minutes ago

Associated Press

Warren Buffett tells investors to ignore Wall Street pundits while paying tribute to Charlie Munger

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Warren Buffett credited his longtime partner — the late Charlie Munger — with being the architect of the Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate he’s received the credit for leading and warned shareholders in his annual letter not to listen to Wall Street pundits or financial advisors who urge them to trade often. Buffett […]

2 hours ago

FILE -Stephen Parlato of Boulder, Colo., holds a sign that reads "Hands Off Roe!!!" as abortion rig...

Associated Press

Alabama IVF ruling puts spotlight on state plans for tax breaks and child support for fetuses

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The recent Alabama Supreme Court ruling that frozen embryos are legally protected children is highlighting how support for the idea that a fetus should have the same rights as a person underpins far less dramatic laws and proposals from abortion foes across the U.S. Lawmakers in at least six states have […]

10 hours ago

This image provided by Tyler Watts shows Florida Man Games competitors, from left, Joshua Barr, Mic...

Associated Press

At the Florida Man Games, tank-topped teams compete at evading police, wrestling over beer

They rose up by the dozens from across Florida, caricatured competitors in tank tops and cutoff shorts, for a showdown that treats evading police and wrestling over beer like Olympic sports. Promoted as “the most insane athletic showdown on Earth,” the Florida Man Games poke fun at the state’s reputation for bizarre stories that involve […]

10 hours ago

Andie Nelson, right, embraces Brian Jaskot, both of Virginia, after their race during the 25 meter ...

Associated Press

‘Totally cold’ is not too cold for winter swimmers competing in a frozen Vermont lake

NEWPORT, Vt. (AP) — Plunging into a frozen lake and swimming laps may not be everyone’s good time but for winter swimmers who return year after year to a northern Vermont lake near the Canadian border, there’s nothing better. The 10th annual Memphremagog Winter Swimming Festival kicked off Friday with the 200-meter (218-yard) freestyle race […]

10 hours ago

FILE - A school bus moves up Rock Door Canyon Rd., in Oljato-Monument Valley, Utah, on the Navajo r...

Associated Press

Native American tribes gain new authority to stop unwanted hydropower projects

Federal regulators have granted Native American tribes more power to block hydropower projects on their land after a flurry of applications were filed to expand renewable energy in the water-scarce U.S. Southwest.

14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

...

Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

UN envoy warns more attacks on Iraq threaten its hard-won stability