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Iraq warns Middle East is on ‘brink of the abyss’ after US strikes on Iran-backed targets

February 4, 2024 at 10:35 am

The funeral ceremony of Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF, Hashd al-Shaabi) militia who were killed in the US air strike on the Al-Qaim district of the Al-Anbar province, is held on February 04, 2024 in Baghdad, Iraq [Murtadha Al-Sudani – Anadolu Agency]

Iraq has warned that the Middle East is on the “brink of the abyss”, following airstrikes by the United States on alleged Iran-backed targets in the country on Friday.

In an apparent response to Iran-backed militias’ killing of three US soldiers by a strike on a base in Jordan early this month, the US military launched overnight strikes on 85 targets in Iraq and Syria on Friday, killing 16 people – civilians reportedly among them – and injuring 25.

According to a statement by Iraqi prime minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani’s office, the American strikes were a “new aggression against Iraq’s sovereignty”, and assertions that they were coordinated with the Iraqi government beforehand are “lies”.

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It stated that the presence of the US-led military coalition in the region “has become a reason for threatening security and stability in Iraq and a justification for involving Iraq in regional and international conflicts”, representing the growing frustration of many in Baghdad with the ongoing American military presence amid increasing tensions with Iran-backed militias in the country.

One unnamed Iraqi official was quoted by British media outlets as warning that “This aggressive strike will put security in Iraq and the region on the brink of the abyss, and it also contradicts efforts to establish the required stability.”

The official emphasised that “Iraq reiterates its refusal to let its lands be an arena for settling scores, and all parties must realize this”, adding that “Our country’s land and sovereignty are not the appropriate place to send messages and show force between opponents”.

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