When Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed al-Sudani arrived in New York City in September for the UN General Assembly, a delicate truce was in balance between the two foreign powers that loom over Baghdad.
Iraqi paramilitaries, backed by Iran, had frozen their attacks on US troops in the country. Iraq’s new leader arrived in New York City amid the lull. He was feted on a circuit of swanky receptions with western businessmen and diplomats on the sidelines of the General Assembly, as he pitched Iraq’s oil-rich but corruption-riddled economy as an investment destination.
Four months later, the Iraqi leader is condemning Iran and the US for launching deadly strikes in his country and his investment pitch to the global elite at Davos Switzerland is overshadowed by his call for the US military and its coalition partners to leave Iraq.
Since the Hamas-led attacks on 7 October and the war in Gaza, Iranian-backed militias have launched at least 70 attacks on US forces in Iraq.
In early January, the US hit back with its most powerful response yet, launching a drone strike in Baghdad that killed Mushtaq Taleb al-Saidi, also known as Abu Taqwa, a senior commander in the Popular Mobilisation Units, an umbrella organisation of Iraqi state-funded and Iran-aligned, Shia militias.
Baghdad hit out at the strike as “a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty”. But no sooner was Iraq chastising the US for the strike, when Iran launched a barrage of ballistic missiles into the Iraqi city of Erbil, killing four people, including a prominent Kurdish real estate developer and his one-year-old daughter.
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