Iraqi caretaker Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi has condemned the targeted assassination of the top Commander of Iran's Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, and the deputy head of the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, stating that both were symbols of the war against the Daesh terrorist group.
Referring to Al-Muhandis, Abdul-Mahdi added: "The assassination of an Iraqi military leader who holds an official position is an aggression against Iraq, a state and a government and a people, and that carrying out liquidation operations against Iraqi leadership figures or from a brother country on Iraqi soil is a flagrant violation of Iraqi sovereignty."
He called on parliament to convene to "take legislative steps and necessary provisions to safeguard Iraq's dignity, security and sovereignty" with some lawmakers expected to accelerate a US military withdrawal.
Iraqi President Barham Salih also condemned the attack, considering it to have serious repercussions on the country and region's security. "With great sadness and sorrow, we received the news of the martyrdom of the two martyr leaders, Hajj Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, deputy head of the Popular Mobilisation Committee, and the martyr Hajj Qassem Soleimani, who had an important and decisive role in the fight against Daesh."
Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Sistani, the top Shia cleric in the country issued a call through his representative for restraint warning of difficult times ahead. Meanwhile the Shia cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr reactivated his loyalist militia, the Mahdi Army, as a possible indication of renewed armed resistance against US forces and potential collaboration with the Iranian-supported PMF.
The Mahdi Army is back. Maybe the end times are herehttps://t.co/Pygn47UFvU
— 신 (@reclaimkorea) January 3, 2020
Although some immediate reports suggested some Iraqis had welcomed the killing of Soleimani, footage showing thousands of Iraqis in Karbala chanting "Down with the US" following Friday prayers illustrates that the actions by the US may backfire into unifying Iraqis against an American military presence that has long out-stayed its welcome.
— Mohammad Ali Shabani (@mashabani) January 3, 2020
Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei has promised a "harsh" retaliation over Soleimani's killing and has already appointed a new commander of the Quds Force, Ismail Qaani, who, like his predecessor, is a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war of the eighties.