Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council on Sunday issued arrest warrants for at least three people who took part in a conference promoting normalizing ties with Israel, an event which sparked angry official reactions in Iraq.
A conference organized by the US-based Centre for Peace Communications was staged on Friday in Iraq’s autonomous region of Kurdistan.
More than 300 people from across Iraq gathered “to call for diplomatic and civil relations” with Israel, organizers said, to follow the footsteps of other Arab countries that signed the US-brokered Abraham Accords last year.
However, the conference was condemned by the federal government in Baghdad, Kurdistan’s regional government and several politicians.
The Supreme Judicial Council ordered the arrest of three, including Wissam al-Hardan, a senior tribesman from Anbar province, for supporting normalization with Israel at the conference, according to a statement.
Al-Hardan leads a group of pro-government Sunni fighters known as the Sahwa.
Legal action will be taken against the rest of the participants once their identities are revealed, the statement added.
A court in Anbar province ordered the arrest of others.
In his speech, al-Hardan called on Iraq to join the Abraham Accords, which he described as “promising change in the region.”
He later apologized, saying he read the speech without reviewing it first, according to Shafaq news website.
Israel signed the agreements establishing diplomatic ties with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in September 2020. Shortly after, Sudan and Morocco inked similar deals.
In a tweet, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett praised the conference as a call that comes from the people, not the government.