Pro-Iranian factions hold a gathering marking the second anniversary of the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and the leader of the PMF, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. (Reuters)

January 3, 2022

The Iraqi authorities’ assertions of the withdrawal of US combat forces from Iraq and the transformation of their mission into an advisory role do not seem to have convinced the pro-Iranian factions, whose leaders took advantage of a rally in Baghdad on Saturday, to remind the Americans of the “ongoing resistance” against them.

During a gathering marking the second anniversary of the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and the leader of the Popular Mobilization Forces, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, Hadi al-Amiri, leader of the Badr Organization and Al-Fateh coalition, Qais Khazali, Secretary-General of Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, as well as Faleh al-Fayyad, head of the Popular Mobilization, expressed their rejection of the US forces continued presence in Iraq.

In response to the agreement between Baghdad and Washington, which passed through several stages, including four rounds of strategic dialogue, Khazali said that the US occupation was trying to circumvent its military presence in Iraq.

In a first reference to the missile and drone strikes against US military bases and the US embassy in the Green Zone in Baghdad, Khazali said: “You had to understand well the lessons that the heroes of the resistance addressed to you… and the messages sent to you by the heroes of the resistance with their missiles and drones.”

Amiri and Fayyad, for their part, stressed in their speeches the need for the Americans to withdraw completely from Iraq, pledging that anti-US forces would remain “on standby”, despite the authorities’ assertion that the US combat forces would leave the country.

The Iraqi government, headed by Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, had conducted four rounds of strategic dialogue with the US, the last of which during the Iraqi premier’s visit to Washington on July 25, which resulted in the signing of an agreement stipulating the withdrawal of US combat forces at the end of 2021.

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.