A group of protesters have gathered outside the Iraqi embassy in London to condemn the United States’ meddling in the Arab country’s internal affairs.
In the Sunday rally, the protesters denounced the US interference by chanting “God is the Greatest US is the Great Evil.”
The protests come as the US is reportedly evacuating its staff from the American embassy in Baghdad as part of a plan to close the embassy.
The US has reportedly said it is shutting down its embassy in Baghdad unless Iraq prevents rocket attacks.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly called Iraqi President Barham Salih and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Sunday.
“What we’re being told is that it is a gradual closure of the embassy over two to three months,” an Iraqi official was cited as saying in a Wall Street Journal report.
“The decision to close the embassy in Baghdad is in President Trump’s hands and is ready. … If our forces withdraw and the embassy is closed in this way, we will liquidate all those who have been proven to have been involved in these attacks,” Pompeo said in a phone call with Salih, naming anti-terror groups of Kata’ib Hezbollah and Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, which are part of Iraq’s pro-government Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) or Hashd al-Sha’abi.
An unnamed source told American news website Al-Monitor that Salih had convened a meeting with leaders of political factions and told them that he had received a letter of warning from Pompeo.
Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV channel also quoted American and Iraqi political sources as saying that the threat of sanctions and limits on dollar transactions, including withholding aid through the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for Iraq, had all been raised by the top US diplomat in his “very tough message” to Salih.
Recently, several rocket attacks have targeted American military bases in Iraq. A compilation by Iraq analyst Joel Wing says there have been 25 attacks on convoys carrying supplies to US or coalition facilities, on the Green Zone where the US Embassy is located, or on the Baghdad airport so far this month.
Iraqi-US relations have soured since January 3 when a Trump-authorized US drone struck a convoy at Baghdad airport, assassinating Iran’s top anti-terror commander General Qassem Soleimani and Hashd al-Sha’abi deputy chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
Just two days later, Iraqi lawmakers unanimously passed a bill mandating the expulsion of all foreign troops from Iraq.
Trump then threatened Iraq with sanctions and seizure of its oil money held in American banks if the country’s leaders followed through on their pledge to expel US forces.
Nevertheless, Iraqi resistance groups have promised to take up arms against US forces if Washington fails to comply with the parliamentary order.
Source: Press TV