Athens – Citing the attack on Athenian fighter aircraft flying under the Byzantine League banner, the treatment of the Kurdish minority, and a general duty to protect human rights, the Empress has declared a formal state of war against the Republic of Iraq. Immediately following the declaration the Hellenic Forces launched air, artillery, and missile strikes into the country.
The move was generally considered only a matter of time after two fighters enforcing a no-fly zone were shot down, one pilot of whom is confirmed to have been killed while the other is still missing, and the Republic of Iraq was openly declared responsible by the government. The initial strikes seem to have the goal of eliminating Iraq’s capability to defend against a ground invasion. Such a ground invasion has been launched by the Third Army and Peshmerga crossing the border into the Kurdish regions in Iraq. Controversially the government appears to have used thermobaric weapons, these bombs sometimes also called vacuum bombs are considered especially deadly and by some adjacent to a weapon of mass destruction.
In an additional statement following the declaration of war, the Chief Magistrate has declared that the Athenian Federation will not accept anything less than the complete removal of the Iraqi government and integration of the Kurdish regions into the Union of Kurdistan. What is intended for the rest of Iraq is unclear, however it seems likely that the government will seek integration with the Athenian Federation to eliminate any threat Iraq can pose to the Kurds in the future and at the same time correct historical borders established by British and French colonial powers.
While the initial strike only included Athenian forces, other members of the Byzantine League and non-League partners will join in later moves. This was confirmed by Ambassador Marinos, the permanent representative of the Athenian Federation at the Byzantine League, who stated that the Athenian Federation has moved on its own due to signs that the Kurdish population faced imminent danger but that the Council of the League is unified in its belief on how to respond to Iraq’s aggression.