As it was expected, the Iraqi people’s fury very fast afflicted the US, starting with the American embassy in Baghdad that was stormed by angry Iraqis protesting American airstrikes on Tuesday targeting the positions of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) camping on the Iraqi-Syrian border to prevent ISIS terrorists from returning.
Fearing of unpredicted events, the US evacuated its embassy in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone. The people moved abruptly to the American embassy after holding funeral service to those killed by the American air raid. They held protests outside the diplomatic building for several hours in a show of anger with the American “barbarous crime” against the volunteer force that was founded in 2014 to fight the ISIS terrorist group emerging fast and seizing large swaths of land in the country at the time.
The demonstrators set alight the American flag and wrote “down with America” and other chants on the building’s walls. They, despite the US troops’ tear gas and rubber bullets firing, managed to penetrate the security blockades and enter the parking. All the protestors wanted to send one clear message to Washington: go out of Iraq.
The US, which carried out the attack on the PMF fighters in an effort to promote interests in Iraq and protect its forces operating in the Arab country, has ended up in new big trouble not easy to get out of. The American officials, still favoring a policy of blame-shifting, talk about a response to Iran which they claim is the cause of the trouble. Trump in a Twitter post said: “Iran killed an American contractor, wounding many. We strongly responded, and always will,” Trump tweeted. “They will be held fully responsible. Also, we expect Iraq to use its forces to protect the Embassy, and so notified.”
The remarks by the American president should be seen as a sign of the US frustration with finding a way to walk out of the new crisis. While many Iraqi people on Tuesday reacted to the US “aggression” and disrespect to their national sovereignty, the American officials instead of apologizing and accepting that they did a wrong move to placate the outraged Iraqi protestors alleged that the wave of anti-American demonstrations was directed from outside of Iraq. This proved to be contempt to millions of Iraqis calling for the US forces to move out of their country. The American behavior ignored the Iraqi people’s wariness of over a decade of the US occupation, civilian killings, conspiracies, political meddling, and promoting chaos all done by the Americans in their country.
Trump’s stance on the developing crisis bears witness to the depth of the White House policies’ contradiction and vacillation regarding the Iraqi developments. The American media and diplomats maneuver over the alleged anti-Iranian nature of the Iraqi protests that have been held unceasingly over the past three months. To prove their claims, the Americans even orchestrated attacks on Iranian diplomatic places in Najaf, Karbala, and Basra provinces of Iraq using their agents mainly the remnants of Baathist party. Now they have contradicted themselves by accusing Iran of standing behind the US embassy attacks. In fact, Trump unconsciously confirmed that Iran’s influence in Iraq is large to an extent that it can mobilize thousands of anti-US protesters only hours after the American airstrike on the PMF to storm and even push to closure the American embassy.
This largely contradictory position is indicative of the continuation of the wrong American policies and strategic mistakes in Iraq. But now the situation has changed dramatically. Even if the American occipitals do not seek the expulsion of the American forces from Iraq, the people will form a movement making such demands to the Iraqi leaders. For now, there should be some patience to see where the course of the new crisis will go.