Washington, Riyadh behind Iraq’s current unrest: general

November 3, 2019

TEHRAN – Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, former chief of the IRGC, says the United States and Saudi Arabia are the culprits behind Iraq’s current riots.

“Without a doubt, Iraq’s current problems is due to the extent of Americans’ presence and the country’s embassy in Iraq,” Jafari said on Saturday, hailing the U.S. embassy takeover by Iranian students forty years ago.

“The Iraqi nation should know that as long as they do not rid themselves of the hands of Americans, they will continue to hatch plots and provoke the deceived or dissatisfied elements,” he added, Mehr reported.

General Jafari also pointed out that the U.S. will not leave places wherein it has interests. “It will try its best to install elements that secure its interests,” he stated.

At the start of October, street protests erupted in several Iraqi cities over unemployment and a lack of basic services.

The protests resumed on October 25 after a pause of about two weeks. The gatherings have turned violent at some points over the past days, with conflicting unofficial reports of fatalities.

Iraqi President Barham Salih said on Thursday the country’s embattled Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi is ready to step down if a replacement is found, emphasizing that a snap parliamentary election will be held once a new electoral law is passed.

More than 200 have been killed and thousands of others wounded since the protests erupted, with security forces using tear gas and rubber bullets against those taking to the streets.

In a statement on Friday, Iraq’s top Shia cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani urged the end of bloodshed in the Arab country, warning of a civil war and chaos.

“The innocent blood shed during the past few weeks is very valuable to us, and measures must be taken to prevent further bloodshed,” the top cleric said.

“The country must be kept from slipping toward the edge of the precipice of a civil war, chaos, and destruction,” Ayatollah Sistani urged.

MH/PA