Iraq has denied permission to a North Korean plane bound for Syria to pass through Iraqi airspace because it suspects it could be carrying weapons, a senior official said.
Ali al-Mossawi, media advisor to the Iraq’s prime minister, told Reuters the scheduled plane’s itinerary, from North Korea to Syria, was what had aroused suspicions but that there had been no contact between the Iraqi government and North Korea on the issue.
Syria’s upheaval is politically tricky for Iraq’s Shi’ite Muslim-led government of Iraq. Close to Assad’s ally, Shi’ite Iran, Baghdad has resisted joining Western and fellow Arab calls for the Syrian leader to step down while also calling for a reform process in Syria. Iraqi leaders fear Assad’s fall would fracture Syria along sectarian lines and yield a hostile, hardline Sunni Muslim regime that could stir up Iraq’s volatile Sunni-Shi’ite mix.