Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi survived an assassination attempt on Sunday 7th November 2021. According to reports, armed drones attacked his house in Baghdad’s high-security Green Zone. The area is home to many government buildings and embassies. Iraqi PM largely remained unharmed but was wearing a bandage around his left wrist, which could be seen during his TV appearance after the attack.
Iraqi officials told the media that the drone attack injured 7 bodyguards. The security forces claimed that there were 3 drones used in the attack but they shot down 2. They also said that someone launched the drones from near the Republic Bridge on the River Tigris.
Iraqi PM calls for Calm and Restraint
No organization or individual has claimed responsibility for the incident. The attack came after the vicious disturbance in Baghdad over October parliamentary election results, which were condemned by Iran and the US. The latter denounced the said drone attack and the Iran-backed militia also condemned the attack but highly downplayed its significance. Officials said that it was too early to point finger at suspects as they were going through intelligence reports and waiting for investigation results.
Iraqi media published images showing the damage to the Prime Minister’s house and a vehicle parked in the garage. Security forces recovered the remains of an explosive drone and took it in for examination.
Iraqi PM urged the public to remain calm and collected in their speculations for the sake of the country.
Tensions Rising in Iraq
Iraqi PM was former intelligence chief before becoming prime minister as a result of 2020 elections. He has worked to balance fragile ties between Iran, Iraq, and the US. Iraq held elections in October 2021 in hopes to have “free and fair” elections. However, it turned out that pro-Iranians suffered a huge loss in the October elections and its supporters put up a camp outside the Green Zone to demand a recount of the vote.
Leaders of the Iran-backed groups also united to mourn a killed protestor in Friday clashes with the police. These groups heavily blame the Iraqi PM for rising violence in the country. Pro-Iranian Abu Ali al-Askari questioned whether the attack was just the prime minister’s attempt to play the victim. He elaborated that if anyone wanted to assassinate that “Facebook creature” then there were many other ways than wasting an expensive drone on his house.
Explosive-laden commercial drones were a popular tool of the terror organization, Islamic State (ISIS) during the 2017 Battle of Mosul when it held several parts of northern Iraq.
Government Free from Foreign Interference
The critics of the Iraqi PM alleged that he was pro-American so wanted to get rid of him. However, the pro-Iranian factions lost many of their seats after receiving only 41% vote, showing how Iraqi nationals were not hopeful of the predicted change. The winner of most seats was the party of Shia Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr who started pushing for a government that was free from foreign interference such as Iran and the US.
His purpose is to end Iran’s influence over the internal affairs of Iraq. Moqtada is also suspected of ordering the assassinations of the grandson of Ayatollah Abu al-Qasim al-Khoei, Abdul-Majid al-Khoei in 2003. The leader of the Sadrist movement has denied the charge and the proof of his involvement has not been found yet.