Why Iraqi militias are likely behind the attempt on prime minister’s life: opinion

Recently, a drone strike targeted Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, in what Iraqi security sources described as an assassination attempt, increasing tensions between Iraqi forces and militant Shiite groups.

According to the Iraqi Interior Ministry, three drones were used in the attack, two of which were shot down by Iraqi security forces while the third managed to damage property.

Despite the lack of a liability claim, observers suspect that the incident was carried out by pro-Iranian Shiite groups that have participated in similar attacks in Baghdad’s Green Zone. The attack had all the hallmarks of the same pro-Iranian militias that attacked the US embassy in Baghdad and the Erbil international airport.

The Iraqi prime minister was likely targeted by Iraqi Shiite militia groups, as it is unlikely that there will be other suspects in Iraq with drones suitable for such an attack. Pro-Iran groups use drones for various reasons, one of which is that it is difficult to discover who is behind them once they have been launched.

The attack came after pro-Iranian groups threatened Kadhimi, accusing him of being responsible for the casualties in a recent clash between Iraqi security forces and pro-militia protesters protesting recent election results, in which pro-Iranian militias they suffered significant losses in parliament.

Supporters of Iraqi Shiite armed groups burn portraits of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi and Iraqi security officials during a protest against the election results near one of the fortified entrances to the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, on November 6. from 2021 (credit: REUTERS / THAIER AL-SUDANI)

A few days before the drone strike, both Qais Khazali, founder and leader of the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq militia group, and Abu Ala al-Walai, leader of the Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada threatened Kadhimi.

Khazali, who was also present among the protesters, said Kadhimi should be held accountable for his conduct against the protesters, who have been holding demonstrations outside of Baghdad’s guarded Green Zone demanding that votes be counted manually.

Kadhimi was Iraq’s intelligence chief before becoming prime minister last May. As a result of his efforts to maintain ties with both the United States and Iran, the militias believe he is close to the United States.

In addition to executing civilians and activists, Iranian-linked Shiite militias use rockets and drones to target US troops, Iraqi armed forces, and US-aligned forces such as those in Iraqi Kurdistan.

This appears to be the second assassination attempt with a drone against a state leader. It is imperative that they respond decisively to ensure this is the last effort of its kind, at least for now. This implies a change in US and Iraqi strategies in the region.

Iraq is being turned into a republic of fear by Iranian proxy militias. Hundreds of Iraqis linked to the protest movement have been killed, more injured, and activists regularly killed or kidnapped by these myriad groups.

These groups should be designated as terrorists so that they can no longer enjoy the legitimacy of the state, and their leaders and associates can no longer threaten Iraqi officials. As members of the so-called “Popular Mobilization Force” (PMF), these militia groups have constitutional legitimacy and access to at least $ 2 billion in federal funds.

In Iraq, Washington’s counterterrorism strategy focuses on ensuring the long-term destruction of ISIS and its remains. However, in addition to fighting remnants of ISIS, US and Iraqi forces should devise a strategy to attack these militia groups and degrade their bases. The incorporation of these militia organizations into the political structure and society of Iraq prevents the use of the same strategies used to fight ISIS. Therefore, both US and Iraqi forces must implement a decisive new strategy to limit the movement and activity of these groups.

Shiite militia groups linked to Iran could be at least partially defeated in a feasible and long-term way if the United States and its allies began to openly identify them as a terrorist group and implement policies accordingly.

As the record shows, between January and October last year, nine different Shiite militia groups under various names were established in Iraq.

Following the January 2020 drone attack that killed both Iranian al-Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, Iraq has seen the emergence of dozens of new groups. little ones who are more enraged than the previous groups. Among these groups that have appeared in Iraq, Rab ‘Allah has made a name for himself, threatening to retaliate against the Americans. The group has already taken responsibility for several other attacks against other opposition groups.

The writer is an Iraqi Kurdish political and security analyst, a researcher in the Department of Political Science at Louisiana State University, and also has a postgraduate degree in terrorism and international security from the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at the Louisiana Institute of Technology. Georgia in Atlanta. .



Reference-www.jpost.com

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