Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi yesterday threatened to submit his resignation "if [protesters] want to continue to stir up chaos, conflict, discord, and strife" and confirmed that an investigation will take place to determine who opened fire on demonstrators and those who fired missiles at the Green Zone in central Baghdad.
Efforts have been intensifying in Iraq to find a way out of a political crisis that has been going on for more than ten months and led to clashes and security chaos in the capital, Baghdad, and other provinces for 18 hours on Monday and Tuesday.
In a televised speech addressed to the Iraqi people, Al-Kadhimi said: "We formed an investigation committee to determine those responsible for placing weapons in the hands of those who opened fire on the demonstrators and shed blood despite the strict directives we issued to prevent the use of bullets," adding, "it must be determined who opened fire, rockets and mortars on the government area."
According to medical sources, the clashes left at least 23 dead and 380 wounded, as confrontations erupted between demonstrators of the Sadrist movement and the security forces supporters of the Coordination Framework – a Shia group close to Iran.
READ: Coalition proposes initiative to Al-Sadr prior to forming government
"I served my people with honour and honesty, and I was never a party or part of the problem," Al-Khadimi said. "I was patient with all kinds of abuse, obstruction and declared war from all sides to weaken the state and its decision, blackmail it, or reduce everything that was achieved for electoral goals."
"In spite of that, I did not and will not abandon my responsibility towards my people and any option that serves Iraq's interests and security and achieves political agreement between the various forces. I was and still support the principle of peaceful transfer of power."
Al-Kadhimi noted: "I warn that, from now on, if [protesters] want to continue to stir up chaos, conflict, discord, and strife, and not listen to the voice of reason, I will take my moral and patriotic steps by announcing the vacancy of the position [of prime minister] at the appropriate time, according to Article 81 of the Iraqi constitution, and hold them accountable before the Iraqis, and before history."