Three rockets fall in Baghdad, two hit near US Embassy
On Sunday, three rockets fell in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, injuring six people, multiple reports said. Of them, two hit near the heavily fortified US Embassy, while one landed in the nearby Jadriya area. This is the second time within 24 hours that the green zone came under attack. In the last two months, US installations were attacked at least 14 times. Here's more.
The rockets which attacked the green zone were Katyusha ones. In fact, a Katyusha rocket fell close to the US Embassy on Saturday as well. Simultaneously, another rocket landed near As-Salam palace, Iraqi President Barham Salih's home. Apparently, anti-American group, Kataeb Hezbollah had set 5 pm as a deadline for the ouster of all States' military, and the green zone was attacked after that.
It should be noted that the ties between the US and Iraq hit rock-bottom after Iranian General Qasem Soleimani was eliminated by the former. Soleimani, who headed the Revolutionary Guards and was a US adversary, was killed in an airstrike last week. Iran, which was already miffed with the US, called it an act of terrorism and vowed to take "severe revenge".
While US' ties with Iran have been sour, Iraq is seen as an ally. This is why nearly 5,000 US troops are stationed in the country to deal with the Islamic State (IS). But Soleimani's killing has put Iraq-US ties to test. In a symbolic vote, the Iraqi Parliament on Sunday approved a Bill for the expulsion of all US soldiers from their country.
During the session, chants of "no to America" filled the Iraqi Parliament. But the resolution doesn't amount to anything until Iraqi PM Adel Abdul Mahdi signs it. Further, Mahdi's caretaker government doesn't have the authority to go ahead with such a monumental decision. "It would be up to new government to take this forward," Farhad Alaaldin, former advisor to Iraqi President Barham Saleh said.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo shrugged off the vote and called it an act of a "resigned PM" who is under "enormous threat from the Iranian leadership". "We are confident that the Iraqi people want the United States to continue to be there to fight the counterterror campaign," he said, virtually dismissing the probability of US troops coming back home.
"We've spent a lot of money in Iraq. We have a very extraordinarily expensive airbase that's there. It cost billions of dollars to build. We're not leaving unless they pay us back for it," US President Donald Trump reportedly said.