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Iraqi militia commander: Arab and Islamic countries should close US embassies

By Rudaw 7/12/2017
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Iraqi militia commander: Arab and Islamic countries should close US embassies
The largest US embassy in the world is in Baghdad. The US has also started to build its largest consulate in the world in the Kurdish capital of Erbil. File photo: US Army
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Islamic and Arabic countries should take practical steps by closing US embassies in their capitals in response to US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, stated an influential Iraqi Shiite commander on Thursday.

"Here is what Arabic and Islamic states have to do if they had anything Islamic or Arabic left in them. It is to close the American embassies in their capitals," Qais al-Khazali said in a tweet, adding just publishing statements in condemnation is a "laughing matter" that is aimed to contain the "public anger."

The largest US embassy in the world is in Baghdad. The US has also started to build its largest consulate in the world in the Kurdish capital of Erbil.

Khazali, who is the head of the Iranian-funded Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq Shiite militia, part of the Hashd al-Shaabi forces, also tweeted on Wednesday that the US decision is "the beginning of the end of the racist Israeli project," while urging what he called the free people to stand united against the "arrogants," a term used mainly to refer to the United States and its Middle Eastern allies.

Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba, another Iranian-funded Shiite militia group has also condemned Trump’s decision while describing it as "stupid."

It added that it could be a "legitimate reason" to attack US forces in Iraq, Reuters reported.

The US has thousands of troops in Iraq as part of the US-led Global Coalition against ISIS.

Khazali, the Shiite commander, in October called on the US to prepare to withdraw its troops immediately from Iraq following the end of the war on ISIS. He made the remarks after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson demanded the Iranian elements of the Shiite militia to "go home," something that was condemned by the Iraqi government and the Hashd al-Shaabi.

A US congress draft bill introduced in October aims to put terror-related sanctions against the two Shiite groups, Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq and al-Nujaba. Both condemned the move.

The Iraqi government, like the rest of Arab and Islamic countries, has condemned Trump’s decision. It warned that it may escalate tension in the Middle East.

 

Also on Wednesday, Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs Ibrahim al-Jaafari announced he was summoning US Ambassador Douglas Silliman.

According to a statement, the ministry was to give Silliman a "message in protest" of Trump's decision on Jerusalem.


The US Embassy in Baghdad cautioned Americans to remain vigilant while in Iraq and to “avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.”
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