Iraq FM Faults ‘Dangerous’ US Threats to Close Embassy

Says US making threats at wrong time and wrong place

Most of the Iraqi government has been trying to dissuade the US from its threats to close the Baghdad Embassy, but Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein took a different tack. Instead of adding to pledges of security and reassurance, Hussein warned the US threats were “dangerous” themselves and were made at the wrong time and wrong place.

Hussein said the US threats encouraged other nations to withdraw from their embassies, and were also sending a message to the armed groups responsible for recent rocket fire that their attacks were working and they could reach their goal of chasing the US out.

Several rocket strikes have been aimed at US forces and diplomatic sites in recent weeks. The US has blamed Shi’ite militia groups and demanded the Iraqi government do something. The government has struggled with this, trying to discourage the militias from unilateral actions.

Iraqi PM Mustafa Kadhimi has promised to protect diplomats across the country, but so far, rockets continue to be reported in Irbil. The US talk of pulling diplomats out has raised concern of a new US war breaking out, presenting the militias as Iranians and making this a US-Iran proxy war inside Iraqi territory.

The Irbil rockets landed near the airport, and were fired from Nineveh. Officials say they believe the rockets were fired by PMF militias targeting US coalition forces at the airport. The US said there was no damage or casualties.

No group has claimed credit for the rocket fire, which is in keeping with other recent firing. The US has issued broad statements of blame, but so far, it’s likely just a small faction within the large PMF umbrella force.

The US has been pressuring Iraq to ban the PMF for some time, and this is the latest justification. The recent Iraqi governments have tried to clamp down on them, with no real success, and have backed away from this fearing the militias, who mostly have political allies, are too powerful for interim governments to force out of the picture.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.