Iranian desperate efforts to embarrass Al-Kazemi in front of Washington

Iranian desperate efforts to embarrass Al-Kazemi in front of Washington


Iranian desperate efforts to embarrass Al-Kazemi in front of WashingtonBAGHDAD – Attacks by pro-Iranian Shiite militias against US interests in Iraq are daily, in a desperate attempt by Tehran’s proxies in Iraq to put pressure on Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi, who will meet the US President Thursday for the first time.

The Iranian regime’s fears of losing its control over the course of the situation in Iraq have escalated, especially after Al-Kazemi assumed the presidency of the government and moved forward towards curbing the influence of militias and confining weapons to the hands of the security and military establishment.

Observers believe that these repeated attacks will not achieve their goal and will not affect Kazemi’s close relations with the US administration, on the contrary.

The same sources added that the Prime Minister will have great American support in order to move forward in putting an end to the incursion of Iraqi militias loyal to Iran.

Al-Kazemi assumed office in May in a country where Iran and the United States have fought over influence. It is expected that he will discuss with Donald Trump the presence of about five thousand American soldiers in Iraq since the war against ISIS and how to ensure their safety.

For its part, Iran has the support of the Popular Mobilization Forces, a coalition of paramilitary factions now integrated into state institutions, and is calling on the Iraqi parliament to remove US forces.

The crowd denies any connection to the attacks that targeted the American presence and interests in Iraq, but videos and messages posted on the Internet reveal a possible link with them by groups operating under different names.

“It is likely that the individuals who make up the new militias arose from the pre-existing armed factions that make up the PMF,” Ramzi Mardini, a researcher at the Pearson Institute at the University of Chicago, told AFP. They are working under new banners to hide and protect the leadership of existing armed groups from facing potential retaliation. ”

Other experts believe that the aim of the attacks is to embarrass Al-Kazemi, who is closer to the US administration than his predecessor, and who is campaigning to regain control of border posts where armed groups carry out smuggling and ransom payments for import and export.

This angered the Iraqi factions supporting Iran, which lost its operations commander, Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, who was killed along with Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in an American strike near Baghdad airport, while Iran is subject to harsh US sanctions.

It carried out 39 missile attacks against US interests in Iraq from October to the end of July. The attacks intensified after the confirmation of the meeting in the White House between Al-Kazemi and Trump.

The pace has increased since the fourth of this month, when seven attacks targeted Iraqi logistical convoys carrying supplies that were on their way to bases housing American soldiers, and six missile attacks targeted American sites, including the embassy in Baghdad.

After an attack against a military convoy in the south, on August 7, a man was arrested in possession of explosive devices and an identification card confirming his belonging to a faction within the crowd and preparing him to cross the security checkpoints, according to an intelligence source.

Since the beginning of the attacks, a group has claimed responsibility for targeting a logistical convoy in Dhi Qar, southern Iraq, calling itself the “Brigades of the Twentieth Revolution”, in reference to the 1920 revolution against the British.

The Twentieth Revolution Brigades published a statement broadcast by pro-Iranian accounts on the Telegram app, after Qais Khazali, one of the leaders of the Popular Mobilization Forces, compared his men with the real men of the Twenty Revolution.

Another group calling itself “The Rebel League” also broadcast footage of a drone of the US Embassy inside the fortified Green Zone, threatening to bomb it.

Ramzi Mardini said that operating under different names “gives these groups room to maneuver and avoids direct responsibility for attacks on US interests.

And if these groups operate outside of government, Washington is unlikely to hold the government accountable and punish Baghdad.

He added that the intensification of recent attacks “is a message that the Prime Minister cannot deter these attacks by threatening raids and arrests against the militias.”

Previously, 14 people belonging to Kataib Hezbollah, the most radical faction in the Popular Mobilization Forces, were arrested, accused of launching missile attacks on Americans.

After they appeared before a judge affiliated with the Hashd, 13 of the detainees were released after three days, except for one man who is still in detention.

As a result of the repeated attacks, many residents of the south, where most of the attacks took place, drew parallels between the propaganda clips and songs published by Shiite groups and those spread by Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. The Shiite population fears a decline to the same fate that led to the devastation of Sunni areas during the war on the radical Islamists.

And in a country that emerged ten years ago from a bloody sectarian war between Sunnis and Shiites, the government fears a renewed conflict between Iraqis. Several government officials say their strategy is to move, but without naming anyone.

When a German woman was kidnapped for three days in July, Baghdad did not charge anyone after her release. However, officials familiar with the course of the investigation reported that the names of armed factions had appeared. An intelligence official told AFP that the perpetrators were “from factions claiming to belong to the crowd.”

The assassination of the researcher Hisham Al-Hashemi in Baghdad was considered another message addressed to Al-Kazemi. Al-Hashemi was close to the prime minister and worked particularly on the file of the crowd’s organizational and financial networks.

A month and a half later, the investigation has not yet revealed the parties behind the assassination, and on Friday evening an activist who opposed the increasing influence of the armed factions in Basra was assassinated by firing twenty bullets at him from a pistol equipped with a silencer.