Sunday 22 September 2019
News ID: 66216
Publish Date: 20 May 2019 - 21:20
Zionist Regime, Saudi Arabia Suspected
BAGHDAD (Dispatches) -- Leading Iraqi figures warned Monday against attempts to pull their country into another war just as it is on the path to recovery.
The warning came hours after a rocket slammed into Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, landing less than a mile from the sprawling U.S. Embassy. No injuries were reported and no group immediately claimed the Sunday night attack.
Shortly after, President Donald Trump tweeted a warning to Iran not to threaten the United States or it will face its "official end."
Trump's hawkish national security adviser, John Bolton, also headed to the White House to discuss the rocket attack.
Last week, the U.S. ordered the evacuation of nonessential diplomatic staff from Iraq amid unspecified threats and rising tensions across the region. The White House has also sent warships and bombers to the Persian Gulf.
U.S. energy giant Exxon Mobil then pulled its foreign workers out of an oilfield in southern Basra in a move which Iraq's Oil Minister Thamir al-Ghadhban denounced as "unacceptable and unjustified".
Iraqi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasoul tweeted Monday that the army command in Baghdad is working "day and night" to guarantee the security of citizens, foreign missions and international and local companies.
On Monday, two influential Shia clerics and a leading politician warned that Iraq could once again get caught in the middle. The country hosts more than 5,000 U.S. troops, and is home to powerful militias which want those U.S. forces to leave.
Muqtada al-Sadr said any political party that would drag Iraq in a war "would be the enemy of the Iraqi people."
"This war would mark the end of Iraq," al-Sadr warned. "We need peace and reconstruction."
The cleric's statements were echoed by the militias, which distanced themselves from Sunday's attack.
Qais al-Khazali, the leader the Asaib Ahl al-Haq, or League of the Righteous group, tweeted that he is opposed to operations that "give pretexts for war" and added that they would only "harm Iraq's political, economic and security conditions."
A spokesman for Kataib Hezbollah said the rocket attack was "unjustified" and suggested a third party was trying to provoke a war, citing the occupying regime of Israel or Saudi Arabia.
The office of Hadi al-Amiri, the leader of a coalition of paramilitary forces, released a statement calling on Iraqis to work together "to keep Iraq and the region away from war."
"If war breaks out ... it will burn everyone," al-Amiri warned.
The U.S. has lately turned its attention to pro-government military groups which played a crucial role in defeating Daesh and other terrorist groups in Iraq.
Washington has commonly described the popular Iraqi forces as "Iran-backed proxies” despite being formally funded and incorporated into Iraq’s security forces.
Earlier this month, during an unannounced visit to Baghdad, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on the Iraqi government to restrain popular mobilization and anti-terror forces, saying they posed a "threat” to American interests.
Western media reports said Washington had notified Iraqi officials that the U.S. might even directly attack the groups without coordinating with Baghdad if it perceived any threat.
The U.S. military also said its forces in Syria and Iraq were ordered to stay vigilant over fears of "imminent threats" from what it called Iran-backed forces in the region.
Speaking to reporters last Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi made it clear that Iraq had not observed "movements that constitute a threat to any side.”
Iraqi political analyst Wathiq al-Hashimi said Sunday Washington was building up a tension about the security situation in Iraq in order to drive a wedge between the Arab country and Iran.
He said in an interview with China Central Television (CCTV) that the recent measures by the U.S. in Iraq were meant to send Iran a clear warning following high-profile visits to Baghdad by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif.
"Presidents of the U.S. and Iran and foreign ministers of the two countries previously visited Iraq in a row. Now the U.S. sends a warning signal to Iran that it is going to do something," Hashimi said.
Trump caused outrage among Iraqi people and officials by suggesting during and after his Christmas trip to the country that he would use Iraq as a platform to "watch" Iran and take action against it if necessary.
While dismissing U.S. brinksmanship as a psychological warfare, Iranian officials have made it clear that such maneuvers will not coerce Tehran into negotiations with the United States.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said last week that Tehran would not negotiate with the United States on another nuclear deal and such talks would be "poison".

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