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Iraq: latest leak of recording by former PM sparks more outrage

Former Prime Minister of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad, Iraq on January 4, 2020 [Murtadha Sudani/Anadolu Agency]
Former Prime Minister of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad, Iraq on January 4, 2020 [Murtadha Sudani/Anadolu Agency]

A new leaked recording attributed to former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki has sparked widespread outrage in the country. The Secretary-General of the Islamic Dawa Party and head of the State of Law coalition apparently called upon Iraqi factions to focus their efforts on working with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. An investigation into the source of the leaks has been launched.

This is the fifth and most recent leak of such a recording. Al-Maliki is heard saying that relations are good with Qais Khazali, the leader of the pro-Iran Asa'ib Ahl Al-Haq militia, and that Al-Fatah alliance, the factions, Iraqi Hezbollah Brigades and Sayyid Al-Shuhada are all affiliated with Iran.

"Qais Al-Khazali, is good, and he is the one who will strike his opponents. Khazali is good, but the brothers in the Al-Fatah and Badr alliance…. are in their own world, busy with farms," explains the person said to be Al-Maliki in the recording. "When I visited Iran, I spoke with the Iranian guide's advisor, Ali Akbar Velayati, the Speaker of the Shura Council, and with the information minister and they all agree with me, but in the end they say the matter is in the hands of Quds Force Commander Esmail Qaani and they ask that we focus our efforts with the Revolutionary Guards."

READ: Iraq launches probe into leaked recordings attributed to ex-PM

The first of the leaked recordings provoked an immediate response from the leader of Iraq's Sadrist movement, Muqtada Al-Sadr, who called on Al-Maliki to resign from political life and turn himself in to the judiciary despite Al-Maliki's assertion that the leaked audios are fake. Al-Sadr accused Al-Maliki of threatening to assassinate him.

In some of the tapes, the former prime minister accused Sadr of "working within a direct British project," adding that "the current situation is very dangerous." He said that he wanted in the past to structure the Population Mobilisation Forces (PMF) "much like the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, but they did not let me."

In other leaked recordings, Al-Maliki is heard to say: "Iraq is on the verge of a devastating war from which no one will emerge unscathed, unless the project of Moqtada Al-Sadr, Massoud Barzani and Muhammad Al-Halbousi is defeated. If we defeat their project, Iraq will survive and if we are not able to achieve that, Iraq will enter the danger zone."

The audio recordings were published by US-based Iraqi journalist Ali Fadhel.

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