State Dept Gets High-Ranking Iraqi Official Banned From Twitter

Mohandis was criticizing US policy on Twitter

Twitter has banned the account of a high-ranking Iraqi government official and militia leader. According to US State Department officials, this banning came directly as a result of the State Department complaining about him to Twitter.

The banned figure, Abu Mehdi al-Mohandis, is one of the top leaders of the Popular Mobilization Committee, the Iraqi government’s umbrella organization for pro-government Shi’ite militias, who are cooperating with the government in fighting ISIS. Mohandis is also the head of the Kataib Hezbollah militia, and a member of parliament affiliated with the Dawa Party.

The State Department says that a Shi’ite militia with the PMC fired a rocket at the US Consulate in Basra. The rocket didn’t hit the consulate, and no one was wounded, but some US officials implied this was Iran’s fault. Other US officials have conceded they have no evidence who actually fired the rocket, or who may have directed them to do so.

In reality, Mohandis had been deeply critical of the US in his Twitter posts, accusing US policy of driving the unrest in Basra. US officials say it was Mohandis’ “remarks” that prompted the call to Twitter.

Twitter isn’t officially commenting on the ban directly, but their statement did brag about removing “terrorist accounts.” This would suggest that the US is using Mohandis’ role as a militia leader to imply that he is a terrorist, and using that to get him banned from Twitter, which they’re only seeking because he’s using Twitter to voice disapproval of US policy.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.