ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Monday offered his condolences over the passing of Colin Powell, the former United States secretary of state whose false claims aided the US-led invasion on Iraq in 2003.
“I’m saddened by the passing of former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a lifelong friend of the Kurdistan Region and Iraq,” Kurdistan Region’s Prime Minister Masrour Barzani said in a tweet.
“We worked closely together to rid the country of dictatorship. I know he sought lasting peace for the region,” added Barzani.
Former Iraqi Minister of Finance Hoshyar Zebari also tweeted to say he is “deeply saddened by the passing of a great American friend, patriot and warrior.”
Powell died at the age of 84 due to COVID-19 complications, his family said. In 2003, he made a controversial case to the United Nations Security Council that Iraq was using weapons of mass destruction that led up to the US invasion on Iraq, which he later said was not true and a mistake of intelligence.
In his visit to the Kurdistan Region town of Halabja, the site of a chemical attack by the former Saddam Hussein regime that killed 5,000 Kurds, Powell used the tragedy to justify the invasion, which was praised by many Kurds, including leaders such as Masoud Barzani.
Many see him a symbol of the invasion which toppled dictator Saddam Hussein during the George W. Bush administration, and brought about a power vacuum and sectarian fighting that led to the deaths of countless Iraqis.
Iraqi journalist Muntadher al-Zaidi, known for throwing his shoes at the former president Bush during a press conference in Baghdad in 2008, in a tweet said he was “saddened by the death of Colin Powell without being tried for his crimes in Iraq.”