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Rudaw

Opinion

Iran's attack on Kurdish parties in Koya raised in UK's Commons

By GARY KENT 14/9/2018
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British MPs in the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the Kurdistan Region have begun to mobilise to help expose the reality of the Iranian missile attack on September 8 on the Iranian Kurdish camp in Koya and to discourage any further Iranian aggression.

The APPG Chairman, Conservative MP Jack Lopresti has submitted a written question to the Foreign Secretary asking him what representations he has made to the Iranian Government about the attack in the Kurdistan Region in Iraq. The answer may take some weeks to emerge, given the parliamentary calendar, but it makes an important point.

APPG vice-chair, Labour MP Mary Glindon, has also tabled a Commons motion which argues the following: "That this House strongly condemns the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp's bombardment of an Iranian Kurdish refugee and political camp in Koya, which is within the borders of the officially recognised Kurdistan Region in Iraq and 200km from Iran; notes that the six ground-to-ground missiles accompanied by a drone were designed to coincide with a meeting of the leadership of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran; sends its condolences to the families of those killed and wishes a speedy recovery to those who were wounded."

It also "believes that this was a blatant violation of international law, sovereignty and good neighbourly principles; further notes that the US and its allies in the international coalition still  retain responsibility for protecting the airspace of Iraq; fears that failure to respond to Iran's violation will encourage the Iranian regime to take further action; believes that Iraq and the Kurdistan Region should not become a battlefield for the major powers' conflict of interest; and urges the UK and other countries to make protests to the Iranian regime at the UN and other levels about that regime's actions and for all such activity to cease forthwith."

The motion has so far attracted the support of fifteen MPs from six different political parties and may resume its growth when parliament returns in a few weeks’ time.

Jack Lopresti and Mary Glindon also came together for an emergency briefing with Iranian Kurdish representatives on the last day of Parliament before a recess for the party conferences. They and other parliamentarians heard about the huge loss of life and injured at the camp and explanations for Iran's action, and they agreed to act together to help lift the silence about this attack.

The APPG's remit is to build friendship with the Kurdistan Region and does not have the resources to focus on the other Kurdistans. But, clearly, the Iranian attack on the Koya camp is an act of aggression against the Kurdistan Region and aimed at intimidating it.

As well as its concerns about the terrible loss of life in Koya and our solidarity with those who were injured, several critically, the group cannot remain silent about the threat to the Kurdistan Region. The KRG wants good relations with all its neighbours and needs UK and international support to tell Iran they have no right to send missiles into the Kurdistan Region in Iraq, whose airspace is under US and allied protection.

I also hope the Iranian Kurdish parties co-operate more to tell parliamentarians more about the reality of life for the Kurds in Iran so parliamentarians are better equipped with information they can use to encourage the UK government to take a stand on their rights.

Very few people have any idea about the existence of millions of Kurds in Iran, their history, and the discrimination and repression they suffer, including executions of activists.

Iran is a wonderful country with a rich history and civilisation that could be such a positive force for the good but its current leaders operate a form of apartheid where minorities such as the Kurds are not allowed to advance on merit and democratically. This is combined with aggressive and zealous expansionism that threatens the peace, wants its neighbours to be subordinate and would destroy Israel if it could, with calamitous consequences for the whole region.

And I commend the UK Ambassador to Iraq and the Consul-General in the Kurdistan Region, Jon Wilks and Martyn Warr, who have been active on this issue. This week a UK Government spokesperson said: "The UK has been following recent events in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq with concern. Following the attack near Koya, the UK Ambassador to Iraq this week travelled to Kurdistan Region of Iraq to speak to all parties alongside Consul General Erbil.

“The Iranian attack on Koya was disproportionate and dangerous. The UK supports the statements issued by the Iraqi government, the Kurdish Regional Government and UNAMI. We urge all parties to show restraint, and to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq.

“The UK further condemns in the strongest terms any violence directed against diplomatic missions, including those of the US, as we have witnessed in Basra and Baghdad in recent days.

“The UK continues to urge all parties to proceed with the formation of an inclusive government in accordance with the constitutional timeline, which will address the needs and hopes of all Iraqi
citizens."

I understand that an Iranian drone has again been hovering over the camp in Koya and there are fears of further attacks on the camp or even a land attack using forces that are on or over the border. There have been some Iranian military actions against the Iranian Kurds inside Kurdistan in recent years but the attack on September 8 was the first such attack since the liberation of Iraq from Saddam Hussein. Further exposure of the attacks is necessary to deter any repetition and help ensure the integrity of both the Kurdistan Region and Iraq as a whole.

Gary Kent is the Secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG). He writes this column for Rudaw in a personal capacity. The address for the all-party group is appgkurdistan@gmail.com. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Rudaw.


Comments

 
Gunrash | 14/9/2018
Really?! What does that even mean?! UK F**ked us the hardest back in October. British Petroleum signed contracts with Abadi for Kirkuk's oil before you let IRGC and their Iraqi dogs take it from us. Now we're supposed to think you care about Rojhelat? Us Kurds have never been anti-west and probably never will be but by now -100 years later- we finally are convinced that, despite the sweet talk, we have no real friends in the west. But as long as our "leaders" (ie hijackers) are pawns, there's not much we can do about it.
Using and abusing the Kurds | 15/9/2018
Theresa May may give some poisonous and secret insignificant help to the Kurds just to force Iran to some commercial deal with the UK , a deal that would include weapons for Iran and a joint declaration with Ayatola Khamaini condemning the "Kurdish Terrorism " repeating thus the same pattern used with the Islamist despot Erdlgan.Obviosly it is just to alliviate the commercial loss issuing from Brexit. It is so easy to betray the Kurds, so easy to kill Kurds.the Kurds are very useful for the British interests. In such a development what could the Kurds friends of the APPG do ?
Tawes | 15/9/2018
@Using&abusing Kurds, you nailed it man! our so called leadership has never understood when these powers (regional and international) have used them as pawns in their dirty games. Notice how when a foreign delegation arrives the media here praises serok tarmash and serok tarasaz, with front page pictures showing serok taramash crouching over and hiding his private parts (classic submission posture) even in meeting a low level foreign delegation. Going on and on, on how "significant" these foreign delegations are and all the praise and "support" they offer Kurds, without having a clue that the real reason for their poisons support is to scare/pressure Baghdad/Tehran/Ankara on some bigger issue or deal. Even minoraties like Turkmen and Christians deploy this tactic with Kurdish deligtions, that's how bad our leadership is at politics
Wan | 16/9/2018
What support are we recieving exactly? nice articles, speeches and debates about Kurds in some random parliament session? or giving real financial, military and political support when we really need it? like right after a legal independence referendum for instance.
Bijan | 16/9/2018
Kurds should lay down weapons against Iran. This war will not change anything than increasement of number of deaths on both sides. Violence is not a solution, neither old fashioned way of communist/socialist revolutionary politics mixed with armed attacks/violence.
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