Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi is alive following an attempted murder. At least two drones attempted to kill al-Kadhimi on Sunday inside Baghdad’s Green Zone, killing multiple bodyguards. Al-Kadhimi’s office later said the attack would not be tolerated.
Nobody took credit for the attack, but the Iraqi government said it knew who was behind it. The public perception appears to be of the Iranian-backed Shiite militias, furious over last month’s elections. There was also a standoff between militia members and the Iraqi army which resulted in at least one death (Associated Press).
The protests turned deadly on Friday as protesters tried to enter the Green Zone. Security forces used tear gas and live ammunition. There was a firefight in which a militia-affiliated protester was killed. Dozens of law enforcement officers were injured. Al-Khadimi has ordered an investigation to determine what sparked the clashes and who violated the order not to open fire.
Some of the leaders of the most powerful militia factions loyal to Iran openly accused al-Kadhimi of Friday’s clashes and the demonstrator’s death.
“The blood of the martyrs is to hold you accountable,” Qais al-Khazali, militia leader Asaib Ahl al-Haq said, addressing al-Kadhimi in recorded comments to supporters. “The protesters only had one request against election fraud. Responding (in high heat) means that you are primarily responsible for this fraud. “
AAH denied involvement in Sunday’s attack, as did Katiab Hezbollah. through Rudaw:
There are “cheaper and safer” ways to carry out such an attack than using explosives-laden drones, reads a statement by Kataib Hezbollah’s senior commander Abu Ali al-Askari posted on his Telegram channel.
“According to our confirmed information, no one in Iraq even has the desire to lose a drone over the home of a former prime minister,” he added.
Foreign nations condemned Sunday’s killing including Iran. They blamed the West, according to al-Jazeera, but did not say which “think tanks” sent the drones.
US President Joe Biden called for calm, also thanking al-Kadhimi for not lashing out at those who tried to kill him. Biden also offered help to the Americans in the investigation of the assassination attempt. There isn’t much more I can say as US forces are expected to end combat operations this year. Perhaps the only other thing he can do is order the State Department to involve Iraq’s turbulent political environment in talks about power-sharing or an end to violence. This is more al-Kadhimi’s work together with the various clerics who enjoy power in Iraq.
What is strange is the fact that the Shiites retain power in the Iraqi parliament with the Sadrist movement having the most votes. The group is also a friend of Iran, but prefers Iraqi sovereignty. AAH finished fourth with the group blaming the fraud for the loss of political power. Al Jazeera reported the loss was likely due to the killing of 600 protesters in 2019. It is difficult to defend protesters’ deaths regardless of political affiliation or motive.
It could end up hurting AAH in the long run based on the Middle East Institute’s comments.
“[The militias] and al-Kadhimi have been involved in this tug-of-war and will benefit most from leaving al-Kadhimi out of the picture, “said conflict resolution director Randa Slim. said al-Jazeera on Sunday when asked about the current situation in Iraq. “But in my opinion, it is a very stupid and shortsighted move, because if anything it will make al-Kadhimi a victim and increase his political chances of returning to the prime minister’s office.”
The Iraqi parliament will ultimately decide whether al-Kadhimi will remain in office.