Iraqi Shiite militias close to Iran challenge Washington

Crowds attacked the US Embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday December 31.
Crowds attacked the US Embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday December 31. AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP

It was a veritable show of force against Washington, which was carried out by Iraqi Shiite militias affiliated with Iran, Tuesday, December 31, in front of the United States embassy in Baghdad. In the early morning, a funeral procession made up of thousands of supporters of the Popular Mobilization Units (MP), a government force dominated by these militias, gathered to protest against the American raids that killed, on Sunday, 25 fighters of the militia of the Hezbollah Brigades. The demonstrators then besieged the American diplomatic representation located in the green zone, an however ultra-secure district of the Iraqi capital.

Calling out "Dead to America" and waving Hezbollah and MP flags, the crowd attacked the Embassy compound, snatched surveillance cameras and burned facilities inside the huge complex. US forces responded by firing live ammunition before using tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the protesters, injuring 62, the MP said. After reinforcements were deployed by the Americans to protect the embassy and its staff – the US ambassador was absent at the time – the MP supporters set up tents to start a sit-in. They say they are determined to maintain it until the Americans leave Iraq.

Read also Risk of escalation between the United States and Shiite militias in Iraq

Trump accuses Tehran

Unanimously condemned by the political class, the American raids also federated against Washington among the population, relaunching the ambitions of the leaders of the MP and their Iranian support to implement this old design of unity. In support of the rioters, national security chief Falah al-Fayyad and his deputy in the MP, Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, as well as the leader of the Badr militia party, Hadi al-Améri, and that of the militia the League of the Righteous (“Asaïb Ahl Al-Haq”), Qaïs al-Ghazali, thus displayed themselves in front of the American embassy.

Their presence was intended to be a snub to the US administration, which said on Monday, through the voice of its representative for Iran, Brian Hook, "Significantly restored American deterrents to Iran" targeting five Hezbollah Brigade sites believed to be responsible for the rocket attack on Friday against an American base in northern Iraq that killed an American contractor.

President Donald Trump accused Iran of Tuesday "Orchestrating" the"Attack" against his embassy, ​​for which he will be held "Fully responsible". "They will pay THE HIGH PRICE! This is not a warning, it is a threat. Happy New Year ! ", the forty-fifth president of the United States tweeted.


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