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Iraq’s PMU Groups Say Rocket Attack On U.S. Embassy “False Flag”, Oppose Government Actions

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Iraq's PMU Groups Say Rocket Attack On U.S. Embassy "False Flag", Oppose Government Actions

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On December 27th, pro-Iranian Kata’ib Hezbollah, which is part of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), began openly opposing the central Baghdad government in its rhetoric.

It all began with Qais al-Khazali, the leader of Kata’ib Hezbollah saying that he denies any responsibility on the side of the Iraqi groups for a recent attack on the US embassy in Baghdad.

Khazali said in a tweet, “The decision of Iraqi Resistance Coordination Commission is not to target the US embassy in the first place.”

“It is our right to liberate our country and avenge our martyrs, but we specify the time to respond and it is not far away,” he added.

Kata’ib Hezbollah also said in a statement the rockets attack on the US embassy in Baghdad is an “uncontrolled” act, calling on the government to take the necessary steps to arrest the perpetrators.

“We condemn the indiscriminate attack against the US embassy, ​​as it poses a threat to civilian lives,” the group said, calling on “the United States to suspend the military activities in the area for the residents’ safety.”

Kata’ib Hezbollah, has called the rocket attack against the US embassy in Baghdad a false-flag strike and a plot hatched by Washington.

Muhammad Mohi, the spokesman for Kata’ib Hezbollah, which is part of the country’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), made the comments in an interview with the Al Jazeera news broadcaster, saying Washington is the “sole beneficiary” of the so-called attack as it “wants to increase pressure on Iraqi resistance groups.”

Mohi said the pressure by the US comes as Iraqis are preparing to commemorate the first anniversary of the Trump-authorized assassination of Iran’s top anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy head of the PMU, in a US airstrike near Baghdad airport on January 3.

The U.S. claimed it is concerned of another attempt against its diplomatic missions and military bases in Iraq.

“Washington fears demonstrations near its embassy or any kind of popular activities aimed at exposing the US role in Iraq, and this concern has prompted the American leaders to launch these (fake) strikes against their [own] embassy,” further said the spokesman of the Kata’ib Hezbollah group.

Mohi added that the outgoing Trump administration is trying to push Iran and the resistance groups to give “a reckless response” by exerting pressure and creating a crisis, “but we are aware of this plot.”

The rockets, which were fired late on December 20th, landed close to the US diplomatic mission, causing sirens blaring within the compound without any casualties apart from some material damage.

Following the attack, the Iraqi military said in a statement that an “outlaw group” had fired rockets at Baghdad’s Green Zone, Reuters reported.

The rockets hit a residential complex inside the Green Zone, damaging buildings and cars, but causing no casualties, the statement added.

Iraq's PMU Groups Say Rocket Attack On U.S. Embassy "False Flag", Oppose Government Actions

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  • On December 28, a logistical convoy of the U.S military was targeted by an IED attack in Diwaniyah province;
  • On December 27, two logistical convoys of the U.S military were targeted in two separate attacks in Babil province;
  • On December 25, Qasim al-Araji, one of the commanders of Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, was arrested under the order of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhim. The commander was released on December 26 following the increase of tensions between Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq members and Iraqi security forces in Baghdad;
  • On December 20, at least eight unguided rockets landed in Baghdad’s Green Zone targeting the U.S Embassy area.

Influential Iraqi political figure and cleric Muqtada al-Sadr also condemned the attack and said he was “ready to cooperate” with the Iraqi government in protecting civilians and diplomatic missions.

“No one has the right to use weapons outside the jurisdiction of the state,” the top cleric said.

Anyone who does so is either “a terrorist or outside of the Sharia (Islamic law) and the law,” he added, condemning the rocket attack against the US embassy in the heavily fortified Green Zone of Baghdad earlier in the day.

Initially, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi appeared to be a sort of figure of compromise, with all sides – the pro-Iranian and the pro-US ones accepting him as a viable leader, but that seems to have passed.

And according to US-state funded VOA News, al-Kadhimi appears to have “come out on top” in a battle with pro-Iranian Shi’ite militias from the PMU.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustapha al-Kadhimi, accompanied by his top military advisers, has inspected parts of the capital, Baghdad, visiting several key security centers and taking selfies with ordinary citizens.

The prime minister’s impromptu inspections came amid a show-of-force with several pro-Iranian Shi’ite militia commanders, including Qais al-Khazali, leader of the Asa’ib Ahl al Haq militia, over the arrest of a militia member accused of firing rockets at the U.S. Embassy compound.

Even Israeli media reported that al-Kadhimi appears to be walking on a “tight rope”.

“Kadhimi is walking a tightrope. The Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia, part of the Hashd, which is part of the security forces, has threatened the prime minister, US forces in Iraq and Iraq’s sovereignty itself.”

Asaib is run by Qais Khazali, a former US detainee who was held at Camp Cropper. He is a former ally of Muqtada al-Sadr in 2004 but broke off from him and became a Shi’ite militia gang leader.

Khazali fought the Americans, linked up with Lebanese Hezbollah, got himself sanctioned by the US and built Asaib into a formidable military force and armed gang. Asaib was part of the 100,000 members of the Hashd who fought ISIS and have opposed the US role in Iraq.

If al-Kadhimi continues his recent policy, it is possible that he might be met with a firm resistance from the PMU and others.

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