The United States Embassy in Iraq has publicly condemned Monday’s drone strike on Arbat Airport in Sulaymaniyah (Silêmanî), Iraqi Kurdistan’s second largest city.
“We condemn the attack … We reaffirm our support for respect of Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity – both are essential to Iraq’s stability and security”, United States Ambassador to Iraq Alina Romanowski shared on Twitter (now X), on Tuesday. She also expressed condolences for the victims’ families.
While her comments were welcomed by some Twitter users who celebrated the open show of support over an incident in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region, others berated the ambassador for appearing to avoid naming Turkey as the culprit.
On Tuesday morning, the Iraqi army announced that the drone had been deployed from Turkey. Later in the day, Iraqi President Latif Rashid sent a letter of protest to the Turkish presidency reiterating that the drone attack had been an unacceptable violation of sovereignty, threatened territorial integrity and endangered the lives of civilians.
There has been widespread condemnation from the international community over the attack. The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), while condemning the attacks, failed to acknowledge Turkey’s responsibility.
Recently the Kurdistan Region of Iraq has suffered a series of accelerating assaults by the Turkish Armed Forces and Turkish-backed factions. Kurdish actors in the region are divided, and questions have been raised over ties between the region’s ruling party, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), and Turkey.
The KDP has come under scrutiny for betraying the Kurdish movement, effectively trading in autonomy by strategically negotiating with Turkey over key oil positions such as Kirkuk, and aiding Turkey’s attacks on opposition Kurdish forces in the area.