Iraqi Protesters Chant “America is the Great Satan” On Tense Soleimani Death Anniversary
Mass demonstrations have taken over central Baghdad on Sunday, marking the one-year anniversary of the death of popular Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, killed by US drone strike at Baghdad’s airport on Jan.3, 2020.
As Reuters observed, angry Iraq protesters are changing anti-American slogans as they fill up Tahrir square in the center of the capital: “Demonstrators gathering at Tahrir square in response to calls by an assortment of militia groups known collectively as the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), which are mostly backed and trained by Iran, waved the Iraqi flag and chanted anti-American slogans such as ‘America is the Great Satan’“.
Video from #Baghdad’s Tahrir square right now.
Thousands of mourners gathered in Iraq’s iconic square to mark the anniversary of the assassination of Iran’s top commander Qassem Soleimani and a senior Iraqi leader of Iran-backed paramilitary groups Abu Mahdi Muhandis pic.twitter.com/WJj7tY9Lme
— Nafiseh Kohnavard (@nafisehkBBC) January 3, 2021
The day prior on Saturday thousands blocked the highway leading out of Baghdad International Airport in a march to mourn the IRGC Quds Force commander’s death in a simulated funeral procession, Reuters noted further.
Iraqis are also mourning Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, commander of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU). The Shia militias which often coordinate with national army units are widely seen as supported by Iran, and have been frequently blamed in the past of carrying out attacks against US troops and the embassy in Baghdad.
— Aurora Intel (@AuroraIntel) January 2, 2021
Iranian state media quoted one Tahrir Square demonstrator as saying, “We are here to commemorate the martyrdom of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Qassem Soleimani.” He added: “Let us not forget, they sacrificed a lot for Iraq and they defeated America in Iraq.”
Iraqi PMU leaders have called on the nation to participate in a “million-man march” which is being dubbed “Days of Martyrdom and Sovereignty.” However, thus far the protests don’t appear to be anywhere near that size.
As #Iran marks one year since the killing of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Maj.-Gen. Qasem #Soleimani, US security officials warn tensions in the Middle East are at a dangerous high pic.twitter.com/fC9XJfFWiJ
— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) January 3, 2021
Currently US bases in Iraq are on high alert given fears that Iran may use PMU forces to retaliate; however, the Islamic Republic thus far has appeared reluctant to provoke a response from the US while Trump is sill in office.
Iranian leaders have of late accused Israel and the Trump administration of coordinating to create a fabricated “pretext for war” ahead of Biden’s entry into the White House.
Sun, 01/03/2021 – 08:45