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Iraq may go to war, minister says


According to Iraqi foreign minister Dr Fuad Hussein, Iraq may be compelled to engage in combat due to reciprocal assaults on its land by Iranian-supported militias and US soldiers.

"The current level of tension between Iran and the United States is extremely elevated," he said.

"I trust that both parties will cease their assaults." "They will not resolve their issue on Iraqi territory," he said. "We incurred a substantial cost."

Recently, there has been a series of US air attacks resulting in the deaths of 17 combatants belonging to Iranian-supported armed factions. Subsequently, a lethal missile strike targeted Abu Bakir Al Saadi, a leader of the militia, resulting in his vehicle being engulfed in flames on a residential street in Baghdad. The administration here strongly criticised the bombing as a deliberate killing, disregarding the lives of civilians and violating international law. This severe accusation reflects negatively on our partner.

The American airstrikes were conducted as a response to the assassination of three US service members in Jordan. The US military affirms its commitment to undertake essential measures to safeguard its citizens.

While the two factions engage in conflict, Iraq is experiencing significant destruction.

The minister emphasised the need to resume discussions about the removal of 2,500 US soldiers, who were deployed as advisers since 2014 to mitigate the potential rebirth of the self-proclaimed Islamic State. The prevailing sentiment, both within the administration and among the general public, is that they have exceeded the acceptable duration of their presence.

"The majority of Iraqi citizens are opposed to the presence of foreign troops on Iraqi territory," he informed us. "We will engage in negotiation with the invited individuals (the Americans)." Those not receiving an invitation are expected to depart, preferably via negotiation.

The unwelcome visitors, whom he did not explicitly invite, are formidable pro-Iranian militiamen who have been deliberately attacking US military personnel. Formally, several individuals are affiliated with Iraq's security forces. Critics assert that they serve as operatives for Iran.


The minister asserts that the militias are now facing opposition, which marks a departure from the previous situation when expressing dissent would result in receiving threats. This marks a pivotal time in Iraq.

"Currently, if you engage in conversations with numerous political leaders, they are beginning to discuss this," he said. A significant number of individuals refrained from discussing the matter." Our is an inherent aspect of our nation's current state of affairs. However, the current topic of discussion revolves around it. Individuals dare to assert to those individuals, "It is sufficient.”

He asserts that the militias have received the communication that if they persist, they will propel our nation into a conflict that does not pertain to us. He asserts that the communication has also been received in Tehran.

The foreign minister acknowledges that Iran has "influence" in this region but refutes the notion that it is exerting control over policies in Baghdad. Dr. Renad Mansour, a senior research fellow at Chatham House, an international affairs think tank in London, describes it as an ongoing negotiation process.

"Are they obligated to heed Tehran's instructions?" "Occasionally affirmative, and occasionally negative," he states. "The answer is contingent upon various factors." The Iranians assert their position by stating their non-negotiable terms and boundaries. Frequently, they come together, but sometimes they move apart. The situation is more dichotomous and straightforward than it may first seem.

The Iranian influence is significant in this area, including politics, militias, and the general public. Amidst the barricades and the palm trees, one might come across posters of Qasem Soleimani, the prominent Iranian military leader who was assassinated at Baghdad airport in January 2020 by a targeted US bombing. The visage of Iran's top leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, may be seen intermittently in congested traffic.


Several tuk-tuk taxis, adorned with images of Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the influential leader of Hezbollah, a formidable military group supported by Iran, can be seen speeding around Tahrir Square in the afternoon sun.


We asked the foreign minister about his concerns about the extent of Iranian influence in this region. He said, "I am concerned about the extent of the influence that surrounds us, not just from Iran." We are endeavouring to eliminate all these impacts. "The determination regarding Iraq must be made in Baghdad, and it must be made by the Iraqi people in Baghdad," he said.


Currently, the nation is caught in a complex situation where it is caught between its two conflicting allies: Iran and the US Both parties may not want a significant intensification of their dispute - and it seems they do not - yet it cannot be excluded entirely.

Following the assassination of the militia leader in Baghdad, pro-Iranian armed organisations in this region have declared their intention to intensify their assaults against US soldiers. "The assassination of him... flagrantly disregarded all rules of engagement," said the Islamic Resistance of Iraq. "We urge our comrades engaged in a holy war to unite with the forces of resistance... to drive out the occupying forces."

Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, the United Nations ambassador for Iraq, says the situation in Iraq continues to be unstable. "Iraq and the broader region are in a highly precarious situation," she continues, "where even the slightest miscalculation could lead to a significant and widespread conflict."

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