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On September 24, 2021, some 300 Iraqi notables, both Sunnis and Shi’ites, held a conference in Erbil, capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, calling for Iraq to join the Abraham Accords and establish diplomatic ties with Israel. They also called to abolish the law criminalizing contacts between Iraqi and Israeli citizens. The conference was initiated by the Center for Peace Communications, based in New York.
The conference drew intense fire from the Iran-backed Shi’ite militias in Iraq, which threatened harsh action against what they called “the Zionist-American dens” in Erbil and the “treasonous” conference participants, who deserve to die, they said. They also threatened the authorities in Iraqi Kurdistan. It should be noted that Iraq has issued arrest warrants for three of the conference participants, and stated that similar measures will be taken against the rest “when their identity becomes known.”
Over the last year, several Iran-backed militias have claimed responsibility for attacks on U.S. targets in Erbil, including two drone attacks in July 2021.
The following are some of the responses of the pro-Iranian militias to the conference:
Hizbullah Brigades: Jihad Against Zionist-American Targets In Erbil Must Continue
A statement issued by the Hizbullah Brigades on September 25, posted on the militia’s website, said that “northern Iraq has become a safe haven for collaborators and plotters against the state and a theatre of action for hostile Zionist-American organizations and intelligence apparatuses.” It called the conference “a scandal that cannot be accepted in silence” and claimed that Saudi Arabia and the UAE were behind it. The conference, it added, did not reflect the position of the Iraqi people, who support the Palestinian people and “will not agree to normalization with the criminal and usurping entity and cancerous growth [i.e., Israel] that was planted [in Palestine] by the global arrogance [i.e., the U.S. and the West].” The statement stressed the need for “continued jihad against the Zionist-American dens, so as to eliminate their evil, protect the security of the state and block the path of the traitors who are normalizing with Israel.”
Shi’ite Militias: Normalizers With Israel Deserve To Die; Our Drones, Smart Missiles Will Find Them Wherever They Are
Other militias and groups likewise threatened the “treasonous” conference participants and Kurdish authorities. Akram Al-Ka’bi, secretary-general of the Al-Nujaba movement, tweeted that they had “betrayed Iraq’s honor” but that their conference would not change Iraq’s “historical and principled” position. “The treasonous normalizers have no place on the pure soil of Iraq, and they deserve to die by any standard. The Iraqi people will give them what they deserve,” he wrote. He also held the Kurdistan authorities responsible for the conference and for “the presence of the Zionist entity’s intelligence agents in its territory.” 
A statement issued by Ashab Al-Kahf (“The People of the Cave”) militia said: “Erbil has now become a replica of this satanic [Zionist] entity, for it is plotting, spying and implementing political, security and economic plans destructive for Iraq and its allies. All the cities in Erbil [governorate] are full of training camps and operations rooms. The latest conference, aimed at legitimizing normalization with the Evil Entity, is further proof of the collaboration and treason of the [Kurdish] ruling family that hosted this Freemasons' conference… The Masoud [Barzani] family must know that the fire will return and consume the bases of evil in Erbil. It must know that in Iraq there are men who do not only voice condemnations but [also] take action. Normalization will not take place, even if it costs us an ocean of blood. Any action that helps the Israeli front will be met with a more painful action by us and our brethren. You, Barzani, will regret [your actions] and will be humiliated.”
The Saraya Awliya' Al-Dam (“Guardians of the Blood Companies ”) militia warned that “all the normalizers [who participated] in that conference are legitimate targets.” It noted that it has already acted against American targets in Erbil, and threatened: “We will not hesitate to act violently and forcefully against any traitor who sells out the holy places. We will not hesitate to burn down all the places where the traitors are present with our smart missiles and drones, and we will not hesitate to pursue the collaborators wherever they are – especially in Erbil, whose leadership wishes to turn it into a theater of operations for cowardly traitors. The militia’s leader likewise called to “defang the Barzani tyrants, by any means.”
A group called Liwa' Tha'r Al-Muhandis (“The Brigade for Avenging Al-Muhandis”) made similar threats, stating that, “from now on, the Islamic resistance will not stand by in the face of reprehensible conferences and initiatives. Our people has a legitimate right to respond [to them] forcefully. We will not allow collaborators with Freemasonry… to act with impunity…”
 Hjc.iq, September 26, 2021.
 See MEMRI JTTM reports: New Group Affiliated With Iran-Backed Militias In Iraq Claims Responsibility For Drone Attack On U.S. Forces in Erbil, July 25, 2021; Guardians of the Blood Companies Claims Responsibility For Attack On U.S. Base in Erbil, July 7, 2021.
 Kataibhezbollah.me, September 25, 2021.
 Twitter.com/Akram_Alkabee, September 25, 2021.
 Telegram.me/Alkhuf, September 25, 2021.
 See MEMRI JTTM report: Guardians of the Blood Companies Claims Responsibility For Attack On U.S. Base in Erbil, July 7, 2021.
 Telegram.me/hsz3959, September 25, 2021.
 Telegram.me/Alwalaaee, September 25, 2021.
 Telegram.me/muhands_general, September 26, 2021.