Soleimani Was in Baghdad on Mission for Saudi Peace

Iraqi PM says Soleimani was supposed to deliver reply to Saudi message

On Thursday night, the US assassinated top Iranian Gen. Qassam Soleimani in a drone strike at Baghdad International Airport. His arrival was actually part of ongoing diplomatic efforts, according to Iraqi PM Adel Abdul-Mahdi.

Soleimani’s visit was related to well-documented Saudi attempts at diplomacy to ease tensions with Iran. The Saudis had dispatched a message of peace to Iran, with Iraq acting as an intermediary. Soleimani was coming to Iraq to deliver the Iranian government’s reply.

The US assassination, then, undercut the peace effort to an enormous level. Iraq was keen to facilitate peace between its two neighbors, hopefully to calm down US threats against Iran. Instead, the US undercut the entire process.

It’s not clear this totally ends the Saudi effort for peace, though it may be difficult for Iran to safely get messengers into Baghdad in the near future, with the US rather openly threatening more assassinations. Since peace overtures were the Saudi “plan B” after the US didn’t attack Iran, they may no longer bother, given the rapidly escalating military tensions.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.