Iraqi political factions react to assassination attempt against PM

Iraqi political factions react to assassination attempt against PM
Multiple Iraqi political leaders united to denounce an assassination attempt that targeted the prime minister Sunday morning. The attack comes amid heightened sectarianism and political tensions following the general election.
3 min read
07 November, 2021
The main entrance of the Green Zone in the Iraqi capital, hours after a drone attack on the residence of Iraq's prime minister [AFP/Getty]

Public reactions have multiplied among Iraq's political class following an attempt to assassinate the Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi in his residence early Sunday morning.

Members of several pro-Iran political factions, which are opposed to the prime minister, have denounced the attempt and dismissed claims that pro-Iran militias could be behind the attack.

"We will not accept a coup against the constitutional system," Iraqi president Barham Salih stated this morning in the aftermath of the incident. On Twitter, Salih called the incident a "heinous crime" and a "dangerous transgression", urging Iraqis to unite in confronting those threatening the security of their nation.

A security official from the Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah group in Iraq denied theories that pro-Iran Iraqi groups could be behind the attack, which came hours after the release of video showing Qais al-Khazali, the leader of a pro-Iran military group, verbally threatening the Prime Minister. 

Khazali, who leads a Shia paramilitary group close to Iran, called for accountability following the death of at least one protester on Friday during demonstrations against the results of the last general election held on October 10.

Leaders across the Iraqi political spectrum condemned the assassination attempt, including former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Ammar al-Hakim, the leader of the National Wisdom Movement - one of the main Shia political parties of Iraq. 

Muqtada al-Sadr, the leader of the Sadrist movement - a nationalist political faction critical of Iran - also denounced the attempt, accusing armed groups of trying to drag the country into chaos.

The leader of the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan region of Iraq, Masrour Barzani, condemned the terror attack "in the strongest terms", adding: "We stand with [the Prime Minister] and reaffirm our support for his efforts to consolidate democracy, the rule of law and stability for the country."

Kadhimi survived an assassination attempt early on Sunday, prompting a heavy deployment of security forces in the Iraqi capital.

His residence in the Green Zone was targeted with a booby-trapped drone and several members of his personal guard were injured.

Tensions have heightened in Baghdad following October election results, which were contested by pro-Iran factions - who have lost much of their parliamentary power following the vote.

Iraq's numerous political parties are currently negotiating to form coalitions and name a new prime minister.

Demonstrations led by heavily armed pro-Iran factions took place on Friday and Saturday in Baghdad.