A high-ranking Iraqi delegation arrived in Iran this week, carrying a message from Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi to the Iranian regime. The delegation, according to a report in Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, was headed by a former director of the Iraqi Prime Minister’s Office. Its intention was to request that Iran exercise greater control over the myriad of militias that it supports in Iraq.
The visit comes at a tense time for Iraq. The anniversary of the killing by the US of IRGC Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi Shia militia chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis falls next week, on January 3. There are rumors of possible Iranian retaliation against US targets in Iraq, probably to be delivered by one or the other of the militias. These rumors and tension reflect a volatile and unsettled reality.
Kadhimi, a former dissident and journalist who subsequently served as commander of Iraq’s National Intelligence Service, is a pro-Western figure. He came to the prime ministership in the wake of the protests of 2019-20, and with the support of the protesters. He has little political base of his own, however. The Iraqi Parliament remains dominated by pro-Iranian forces. Pro-Iran figures are also present in Kadhimi’s cabinet…
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