A US flag flies in front of compound of the US embassy in Baghdad.(Reuters)

January 29, 2020

Iraqi parties aligned with Iraq took the unusual stance of distancing themselves from the latest rocket attack against the US embassy in Baghdad.

On previous occasions, the parties would have hailed the attack against the mission, but they adopted a different tone this week.

Iran-aligned parties in the caretaker government described the firing of five Katyusha rockets against the embassy as an “act of sabotage” that aims to obstruct the withdrawal of foreign forces from Iraq.

Attacks against the embassy began after the United States’ killing in an air strike of Iranian top military commander Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on January 3. Deputy chief of the pro-Iran Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was also killed in the strike.

The development prompted parliament to call for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq.

The pro-Iran Badr organization, headed by Hadi al-Ameri, said Sunday’s rocket attack aims to spark strife and impede efforts to restore Iraq’s sovereignty. He urged the government to exert serious efforts to protect diplomatic missions and uncover the perpetrators.

Leading member of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq, Jawad al-Tleiby denied that “resistance factions” were behind the rocket fire.

The Kataib Hezbollah factions rejected the attack, although acknowledging that it was a “natural reaction by Iraqis”, but adding that it “embarrasses” the government.

The PMF also distanced itself from the attack.

Caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi condemned the attack, saying it harms Iraq’s “higher interests and relations with friends”.”

Member of the parliamentary security and defense committee MP Mohammed al-Karbouli told Asharq Al-Awsat that the frequent targeting of the American embassy has become a problem for all parties, especially the state and institutions that want to function normally.

“They do not want to be affected by forces seeking to stoke problems and crises amid the extraordinary circumstances the country is experiencing,” he added.

Any attack against any diplomatic mission undermines Iraq’s credibility as a state, he warned.

The government must act firmly against acts that violate its sovereignty, he demanded.

MP Mohammed Salem al-Ghaban from the Fateh alliance condemned attacks against embassies.

Such assaults are a violation of the state’s sovereignty and of diplomatic norms, he told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The government must take all necessary measures to uncover the perpetrators and bring them to justice. He blamed them for “complicating” efforts to end the deployment of international coalition forces in Iraq.

Asharq Al-Awsat

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Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.